An important part of any good tea session is the space you’re in. But there isn't space for a dedicated tea table in most Hong Kong apartments! Here are some tips on how to set the environment for a relaxing pot of tea wherever you are, no matter how cramped your space is.
The main elements of a good tea space
Good light makes any space inviting. A windowsill makes for a wonderful tea space! No matter what your view at home is like, sitting by some natural light will definitely improve your mood. And it’s nice to watch the changing light make patterns on your tea.
If you don’t have much natural light at home, a small lamp is very effective in creating a warm glow and a nice ambience.
2. A tea tray
A tea tray is an easy way to create a portable tea space in any room, even on your bed! It also fulfils the important function of defining your space, forming a nice boundary for your session and your attention.
Any wooden tea tray will do, or you can opt for a drainable tray to catch spills. Drainable tea trays are great for wet brewing with clay teapots.
We love the simple modern style of these drainable cast iron Tea Trays by Xiyan, designed by a collective of artisans in Jiangsu, China. They match virtually every type of teaware, and are easy to drain (just lift the upper tray). They come in round, square and rectangular shapes.
Plants are proven to have a soothing effect on the nervous system, and they instantly make any space more beautiful. We often feel like a tea space is not complete without fresh or dried plants or flowers, as a reflection of the natural beauty of the tea leaves themselves. So why not add a little vase to your tea tray or windowsill?
1. A good kettle
It’s nice to have your kettle nearby, so you can top up your tea easily. If that’s not possible, and you don’t want to go to the kitchen for every top up, you can also use a thermos.
To find the right kind of kettle for you, think about your brewing style. If you like to do brewing experiments, a kettle with a temperature gauge is a good option. If you like your tea sessions to be peaceful and relaxing, go for a kettle with a quiet boil.
We like how quickly and quietly the TeaWith Kettle boils. In fact, it has won several design awards, including the Red Dot Award, for it’s chic appearance and flawless function. It pours very smoothly and you can easily adapt the water stream from strong to gentle to suit the tea you're brewing.
2. A simple brewing vessel
When brewing tea, your teaware is just as important as the tea itself. With so many beautiful vessels out there, you may find yourself with an overflowing teaware collection in no time! Some dedicated tea practitioners have a different tea pot for every style or category of tea. But you can keep things simple, too, especially if you're short on space.
We love this compact Tea Infuser and Cup Set by Kanaami-Tsuji. Made with the finest craftsmanship in Japan, it couldn’t be easier to use. Simply put a pinch of tea leaves in the strainer, add hot water, remove the strainer after a minute or two and enjoy your tea!
This Tea Travel Set is also nice and compact, with everything you need for a tea session in one.
It can be packed away nice and quickly when you’re done.
Storing your tea
Tea is best stored in a cool dry place, away from strong smells (preferably not in the kitchen). If you don’t have that option, you can get some airtight tea canisters that do a good job of keeping the moisture and odours away.
These brass and copper tea canisters by Japanese family brand Kaikado are designed to be airtight, protecting your tea from humidity and odours. These tea canisters are left unlacquered intentionally, so the more they are handled, the more they develop a rich patina unique to each person or household.
We love how this Handmade Bamboo Curio Shelf brings a beautiful designer feel to any space. You can set it on the floor or nail it on the wall to display your tea and teaware. You can also rearrange the shelves anytime you want to refresh the look.
We hope this guide has given you some ideas for setting up a beautiful space for tea at home. Share your tea corners (or sills) with us on Instagram @plantation_hk!
For more home-based tea activities, see our other 'Tea @ Home' guides: