Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cupan Tae

Tea is kind of a big deal in Ireland. Sure, Dublin has a coffee shop on every corner, from the ubiquitous Starbucks clones to boutique spots catering to the hardcore coffee nerds, but tea is still the quintessential Irish hot beverage.

Families have been torn apart in the Barry's/Lyons wars for total tea supremacy, but there are also innumerable tea shops selling every style and combination of leaves-in-hot-water humanity has ever imagined. (I'm partial to the Tom Crean blend from Clement and Pekoe myself.) The Irish tea obsession is best personified by Mrs. Doyle, the housekeeper on Father Ted, the show everyone tells you to watch if you want to understand Ireland. She always has tea at the ready, and "no thank you" is simply not an acceptable response.

I decided early on that I should buy myself a tea set as an Ireland souvenir, but I never found one I really liked. Meanwhile I acquired an assortment of mugs to drink my tea from, so a full set began to seem unnecessary; I started looking just for teapots, but nothing caught my fancy. Until now:

The teapot is entirely ordinary, albeit with a handy built-in tea filter. The real treasure is the tea cozy, which was personally hand-knit by Pauline McLynn, the actress who played Mrs. Doyle. It guarantees that, no matter where I am in the world, my tea will always be as Irish as tea could possibly be. And woe betide the misguided soul who dares refuse a cup.

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