Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tips For Taking Your Tea Outside

It's the time of year when the incessant rain leads to vivid springtime blooms. The trees are finally lush, and the grass is long and cool. The ocean starts to beckon. It's time to take those tea sessions outside, but how to package up that cherished teaware for an outdoor adventure?

If you're like me, you've taken the time to carefully choose and purchase your favorite pieces of teaware, but they end up staying in the house where they're less likely to break. In this post I'll explain a few easy ways to take your favorite teaware outdoors. There are some amazing travel sets out there, but this post is about using what you've got, whether you are taking out your gongfu set just for yourself, or need an afternoon tea picnic for a crowd.

Just one of many ways to pack up teaware
The secret to getting your tea outdoors is in the packing. The first thing to consider is padding. Your precious pieces need to be safe and secure! When I first started taking my teaware to the park, I would simply roll everything up in tea towels and secure it in a backpack. This became cumbersome and cups would always end up falling out of the towels. One morning I was packing my son's lunch, and a light bulb went on. I could use his old insulated lunchbox! It was the perfect size for a gaiwan, pitcher, and cups. Padded insulated lunch bags can be inexpensive and lightweight, such as this one (and I really like the leafy print), and there many other options online.

My blue choo-choo train lunchbox was working fine, but it was quite worn out and I wanted something a little larger. Early last year I was chatting with my dear tea friend Jo, and she recommended a small makeup case like this one by Rownyeon for teaware. I thought this was such a brilliant idea! It has adjustable compartments to fit teaware and accessories, pouches to keep tea secure, and lots of padding. A small makeup case is slightly larger than a lunchbox, and it is perfect for tea sessions outdoors. It can also easily fit into a backpack.

This solved my personal tea problem, but I still wanted to find something bigger for intimate group tastings. I recently discovered a larger case meant for professional makeup artists. The larger case is roomy enough for an afternoon tea picnic or even a small group tasting, and has all the necessary padding. I've used this case to take teaware to work for my Office Tea Club meetings, and for small tasting events. I like to call it the 'Mary Poppins' case, because it holds so much more than you'd think. Or you could call it the Tardis of tea cases- way bigger on the inside. As you can see from the above photo, I've been able to fit a large teapot, a wine-bottle sized cold brewer, tea and accessories all in one case. The padded dividers can be moved around to fit whatever you need, including chaxi accessories such as a runner and tea pets. I also love that it looks like a briefcase, making things very professional.

These makeup cases have padded dividers, but using a few small sheets of bubble wrap to wedge everything in is certainly worth the peace of mind. Or if you're really in a pinch, newspaper or even paper towels do the trick.

Once you've got the packing down, it's time to think about water. If I'm taking my teaware out for the day, I heat my water to the appropriate temperature and put it in a tumbler to keep it warm for a few hours. This way if I'm going on a hike or traveling to the beach, it won't get cold before it's time for tea. I find Zojirushi tumblers are the best for heat retention. I've had the same one for many years, and it keeps the water hot all day long. I'll either put my tumbler in my tea case, or add it to my backpack.

As I mentioned, your tea of choice will fit in any of the above carrying cases. If I'm packing for a small session, I usually pre-measure the tea directly into the vessel I'm taking with me to make things even easier.

If you find yourself without the need for teaware, this fantastic Take Flight Tea Case case created by Darlene of The Tea Lover's Archives is a nifty kit. I reviewed it a few months ago, and use it every chance I get. It's an easy way to take loose tea with you, especially out to restaurants.

So what are you waiting for? Take that tea session outside! If you ever see me walking around with a black briefcase, come and join me for outdoor tea! Do you have a special way of taking your tea outside? Do you use your teaware or do you have a separate travel set? If you'd be willing to share, please let us know in the comments!


  1. Thanks for this post! I was wondering how you manage to have your outdoor tea sessions. It always looks inviting, but I was never sure how one would go about doing this. Now I'm inspired to try it myself!

    1. I'm so glad it inspired you! Of course there are many ways to do it, these are just some of my personal suggestions. Enjoy!! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing Sara! I'm not very good at packing for, or initiating, outdoor tea sessions so it's nice to get some tips and inspiration. I love how elegant the Rownyeon case is, I usually just lug my stuff in a box so I might have to upgrade... Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for reading, Rie! I'm so glad the post was helpful. It really is a nice case :) Thanks!