The tradition of serving tea has been around for many centuries. This custom has aspects of social importance as well as of political significance, and many an alliance has been won, or lost, over an afternoon tea. It could be said that one’s social standing is often judged not by their manners or the level of their hospitality, but by the quality of their tea service.
Many a household will sacrifice some of the niceties blooming tea of life to maintain their ownership of a well-made teapot and matching set of tea cups. Tea services made of silver, bone china, and good porcelain are revered as family heirlooms, and are passed down from generation to generation with a sense of pride and position.
Although this list of tea service qualities does not usually include glassware, many services are, in fact, available in glass. There are more sets of teaware made of glass today than ever before, which introduces a new category in this age-old tradition of social intercourse.
Glass teaware is accepted as keeping to the rules of entertaining, as long as the teaware is of a high quality. This is an area of distinction that separates the good from the not-so-good, and the investment in a quality glass tea set will carry with it the same prestige as did its predecessors. A well-made glass teaware set of solid construction and artful design will retain its value as well as any other tea service material.
Investing in a glass tea set or glass teaware has another benefit that the other more traditional tea services cannot provide. This is in reference to the recent arrival of herbal teas into the realm of an acceptable tea for socializing. One of the most intriguing aspects of the brewing of herbal teas is the visual display that occurs during the brewing process.
The traditional “herbal” teas in the past were mainly the oolong and long jing teas from China and Japan, usually referred to as “Japanese tea”. These teas have made up the bulk of the herbal tea market for years, yet those same Asian tea makers have been selling many other types of botanical brews for as long as there has been a market for tea – in other words, for centuries.
The “discovery” of these other varieties of herbal tea in Western cultures has resulted in an explosion in the availability of quality teas that do more than turn brown in a cup. Asian tea artisans have been handcrafting works of art for the teapot these many years, refining their art to provide all of the health benefits that herbal teas contain along with an entertaining sideshow that pleases the eye as well as the other senses.
Flowering tea that manifests a veritable ballet of form in a teapot cannot be fully appreciated in anything other than a glass tea set or glass teaware. The palette of colors that is possible with herbal tea brewing is another reason to invest in glass teaware. Even the monochromatic display of the everyday tea will take on a special significance when viewed through the veil of a glass tea set.