Keep your Tea Cosy…

Image by 1195798 from Pixabay

I often think about my grandparents and their little tea rituals and how they have lead me to where I am today. When my Nana and Great Aunt made a pot of tea it was always the same method which is ingrained in my memory bank. Boil fresh cold water in the kettle, heat the teapot for at least a minute, swirl and throw out that water, add 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea for each person and 1 for the pot, place the lid on and then the tea cosy, turn the teapot gently 3 times clockwise and let steep. Perfection in a pot ♥ I still have one of my grandmothers tea cosy’s, and while it is looking a little tired I can’t quite bring myself to trade it in for a new one…got me thinking though about where and when the idea to effectively pop a woolly jumper on the tea pot came in to play. And do they actually keep the tea warm?

It seems that back in the 1860s the first documented tea cosy was used by the Duchess of Bedford. The Duchess created afternoon tea in the 1840s and was well known for hosting such events. During these times of gathering and gossiping, the teapot would inevitably get cold, which would have caused embarrassment and the tea would have had to have been re-brewed. Hence the Tea Cosy was invented. During the late 19th century tea cosies became very popular, where they appeared in many fashionable households. British World War II soldiers who spent time in military hospitals in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) were taught how to knit tea cosies to avoid boredom. They knitted the brightly coloured cosies to sell and to remind them of home.

Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford

So does a tea cosy do what they are supposed to do? Keep the tea warm? Funnily enough there has been a fair bit of research into this. Firstly, it is really important to heat your teapot with boiling water before you make your pot of tea. A hot teapot will keep the tea hotter for a longer period of time. If the pot is cold and you put hot water into the pot, the vessel absorbs the heat lowering the water temperature and you may not achieve the optimal brewing results and certainly won’t maintain the heat of the tea. As well as the initial warming of the pot other factors need to be considered, such as what the tea cosy is made of. Traditionally it is a knitted or crocheted woollen creation but a padded cotton cosy would maintain the heat more efficiently due to its higher thermal resistance. We also need to take the size of the pot vs the fit of the cosy, what the pot is made of and most importantly what is the outside temperature? See not just a matter of popping a tea cosy on is it?

These days there are a myriad of tea cosy designs, from plain to quite extraordinary, lined, pocketed, knitted, crocheted, matching other kitchen linens…the list goes on. I fancy a pocketed one, these are so you can pop a bag of fragrant herbs such as lavender or rosemary into the pocket and as the cosy heats up the fragrance is released. Another alternative if you aren’t quite at the tea cosy stage of life, is an individual tea mug warmer – now that’s a little bit cute ♥ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNGb7aUNXwE

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39 thoughts on “Keep your Tea Cosy…

  1. It is so so important to keep traditions alive. It shows respect and love for the ones that are no longer with us. I am glad that you decieded to keep the old pot and continue making tea exactly like your grandma.

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  2. The process was exactly the same at my place when I was growing up … regardless of her was making the cuppa the process had to be carried out and my brother carries out this tradition to this day. I don’t use a teapot now as I make my cuppa in a cup as i go.

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    1. Yes life is busy and I guess that’s why at least once a day I try and be present with a cup of tea brewed in a pot ☕🙏 good for the soul.

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  3. At school, I often have had to talk students through making tea for examiners etcetera when students are on duty. They sometimes laugh at me for being so particular but I know they will use these skills in the future!

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  4. the first time I saw a tea cosy was when I was in high school I walked to a friend’s house so I could catch a ride to school with her and her mom. I usually arrived as she was sitting down to breakfast. Her mom was a war bride and since she was English she had a proper tea cosy. I fell in love with it, and always wanted one. I finally got one about 8 years ago and smile each time I use it. Always have loved tea as it is used to soothe and cover so many things from a long day to a broken heart to sickness… tea, it’s lovely, isn’t it? Cathi (DAF)

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    1. That’s a beautiful memory Cathi, thank you for sharing it. Love tea (as you can probably see) like you say so many things can be related to it ☕

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  5. Love the tea cosy. I remember as a young child my nana making the tea..just how you said. Then I would have my tea just like my grandad. Pour a little into the saucer and sip that. Then put 6 teaspoons of sugar into the tea and enjoy. I was only about 4.

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  6. The tea culture in India arrived thanks to the colonial British rule. Even though we don’t really have afternoon tea culture, the tea is consumed many times a day. Unlike, the British method, our brew is much stronger and we don’t have Darjeeling.
    Nana is what we refer to the maternal grandfather in this part of the world.

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  7. I have been raised on herbal tea, as I could not have cows milk and mom had no milk for baby either. Hence the fact that I am tea’d out and now a coffee-holic but I still like to have tea once in a while and then love mom’s tea cozy. Thanks for sharing at SIPB

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  8. I’m reading this while drinking a cup of tea made in a teapot from loose tea leaves. But I don’t have a tea cosy. I need one now that winter is coming. I’d also love a mug cosy! 🤗

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    1. Yes you do, good to keep your tea toasty warm. Hope you can find or even make what you are after. Would love to see a picture of your cosy when you get one ☕

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