When you have a nice big kitchen, making tea is quite easy. You can choose a pot, boil some water in a kettle and pick a favorite cup from your cupboard. But, what do you do when space and resources are tight? Well, I can't think of a more sparse scenario than a college dorm room. You only have a couple of outlets, no stove and not even a sink to get water from. But don't worry! Just because you are in a 10 x 12 cinderblock room, it doesn't mean you can't make great tea!
Choose your accessories carefully
Everything you own in your dorm room must be a multi-tasker, as in it can perform multiple jobs for you. College students really don't have the option of having items that only serve one purpose. You own one plate, one bowl, a cup and one set of silverware. It all needs to count.
Your tea setup must also be mobile
While college is awesome, sitting in your dorm room all day isn't. You have classes to go to, people to talk to and, well, a lot of places to hang out at and do nothing. So even if you had the worlds greatest teacup, who wants to sit in their dorm all day sipping tea?
First, you need a durable travel press
A travel press is an insulated cup that has a tea plunger built in. All you need to do is add loose tea to the cup, pour in the hot water, wait a few minutes and press the plunger down. When the plunger is pushed all the way down it stops the steeping process ensuring that your tea is never oversteeped. The insulation on it means that your tea will stay hot for hours while you zip around campus. And to top it off, a travel press is a wonderful multitasker. If you also drink coffee, you can use it as a french press (using the same technique described above for tea) and the insulation means it makes a wonderful "to-go" cup for cold beverages like soda or iced tea.
You also need hot water
The toughest part of dorm life is the lack of a stove. Sure, you can use the microwave for everything, but microwaving water can be dangerous unless you are careful. And, it also means you need a separate cup that is microwave safe. The solution to this is an electric kettle. An electric kettle can be filled up at the nearest sink or water fountain and simply plugged in. It is small, lightweight and safe because the water is enclosed in the kettle instead of swishing around the microwave with an open top. One of the most underrated things about the kettle is it is fast. Pour the water in, hit the button and in less than 4 minutes the water is boiling (for a full kettle). The electric kettle also allows you to make the staple of the college diet, Ramen. Ramen noodles cost about .15 cents per meal, so it fantastic for when you may have blown your weekly budget on the first day. Trust me on this one, if you have an electric kettle it will be so popular that you will have friends coming over to use it!
Just because you do not have a sink or stove doesn't mean you can't drink great tea. This setup with the travel press and electric kettle will allow you to avoid the food hall instant tea and drink the real stuff. And the best thing about it is you will save money. Even a cheap teabag costs $1.50. With these two items, most gourmet loose teas will cost about 25¢ per serving. All that saved money means more money for other fun things!
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