by Chris Davis
When I started subbing tea for soda I made a mental note to buy a nice tea pot and turn the whole tea-making process into as ridiculously elaborate a ritual as possible. The goal: to beat back convenience with a heady mix of tradition and science, to make everything about tea the opposite of dropping a couple of grubby quarters into a vending machine. Nuking office-water in a chipped, constantly moldy “Treasure of the Incas” commemorative mug just wasn’t going to get this job done.
There was one flaw with my master plan though. I could find tea pots that I liked and tea pots I could afford, but these sets never crossed over. Then, as if on cue, the ES appears like a vision among the hot pots and rice cookers, and for less than the price of two El Biggos at Starbucks, I have everything I need to tide me over until I'm ready, once again, to level up.
Yes, I know hardcore tea enthusiasts will mock my new pot’s metal mesh strainer basket because it leaves a funny taste in the brew. This isn’t something someone who’s spent 30 years sucking chemically enhanced bilge from an aluminum can really notices. What I do notice is that there’s more flavor in a 6 oz mash-up of black tea and Bergamot oranges than there is in an entire 12-pack of sugar- free cola.
I still want to invest in a nice piece of practical art some day. But I like my Cleveland pot a lot. It set me back all of $8.99; a bargain, like so many things at the always interesting, and interesting-smelling Viet Hoa.