Show us your Tea Cupboard!

287 Replies
ifjuly said

It’s not finished, but I’m digging my new organized system so much I wanted to share, messy kitchen and all:

I take the square tea tins from Specialty Bottle (square so they stack tidily), slap chalkboard contact paper on the tin lids, and use chalk markers color-coded by general tea type (yellow is black teas, white is white teas, green is green teas, purple is oolong, and blue is anything that doesn’t have caffeine) to list company name, tea name, and brewing and serving directions. The chalk means I can switch out teas and relabel tins easily. Using chalk markers means the chalk stays on better, doesn’t smudge off accidentally.

I have these hideous huge cupboards that hang over my teeny tiny kitchen counter and they jut out so much and are so low I can’t use all the counter space beneath them for anything else (appliances are all too tall). The tins stacked about 3 or 4 high in 6 or 7 rows fill up all that heretofore wasted counter space. I really love it.

I’m still deciding what’s going to go in the last few tins (sorting out what’s going to be my go-to oolong and more herbal/decaf blends), so this isn’t what the set up actually looks like under the cupboard yet.

Uniquity said

Funky! I love the chalk marker. Reminds me of the window writer markers from Crayola. Great for doodling. :)

I absolutely love this idea, thanks so much for posting it. I’ve been looking for something to use to organize my tea and the square containers are perfect. Where did you find the chalkboard paper, I’m not sure I’ve seen it before? It looks a lot nicer than using a label maker like I do for my spices.

Now that I think about it I’m not so sure I should thank you. I’m going to go out and spend a fortune on making my tea collection look nice and that leaves me less money for buying new tea.

ifjuly said

Thanks Uniquity!

Haha Short Sorceress, apologies if warranted in advance. (:

I got the chalkboard contact paper from Amazon, because I have Prime. I reckon you might also be able to find it at Hobby Lobby or maybe even Michael’s, someplace like that. I think a roll of way more contact paper than I’ll ever need was something like $8 including “free” shipping (I know it tends to just be factored into Prime prices automatically). A set of chalk markers is usually between $5-10.

I use a label maker thing for my spice tins too! I didn’t chalk those since I know I won’t be switching up what’s in what tin ever. But since I will for tea I figured this’d work better. So far it has.

And I totally know what you mean about how organizing one’s favorite thing to collect is a pain because it means less $$ for said favorite thing! This thread is actually what motivated me to finally do something—before this everything was just in bags inside tupperware all over the house!

Oh boy, I went and did it and ended up with 24 tins total 12 for my drawer and 12 for the shelf. I actually discovered I own a roll of chalkboard paper, it came in with a product test that I’m supposed to be doing this month. What a crazy random happenstance :)

I don’t think I’ll be able to use it though, I thought about it and my tins sit within reach of my toddler. I see that as a recipe for disaster so for now I’ll use my trusty label maker or cut the labels off the bags, otherwise I’m libel to end up with 24 tins of tea with labels I can’t read and lots of baby fingerprints everywhere.

Now I just need to figure out which 24 teas I reorder the most and go from there. Sweet, I’m finally getting organized.

ifjuly said

The whittling and figuring out which teas are tin-worthy is fun! (:

And yeah, I was a bit worried about instances of labels being wiped off, and I don’t even have a toddler to worry about. Probably wise on your part, ha.

cteresa said

It´s a great idea, looks so pretty and tidy and so very practical! There are tea houses with less tea and less well organized!

ifjuly said

Aw shucks, thanks. (: Though I don’t know whether to be happy or ashamed at the idea I have as much or more tea than a teahouse, ha!

cteresa said

it´s either consolation or offense (yikes! sorry if it´s so) but poor lame tea houses which rely on “caipirinha nights”- you are totally better than those!

I love the uniformity and how acessible it is. Me, I have not yet met a tin I have not tried to rescue somehow, it´s a zoo of single animals over at my place.

OMGsrsly said

Oh, I love it! Definitely an argument for square containers. Most of mine are round, and while they stack they don’t all stack well.

ifjuly said

cteresa, I totally hear that about collecting a mishmash of stuff—honestly, I think that’s probably a lot more charming and personalized, if more spatially challenging. (:

OMGsrsly, thanks! Yeah, it’s a pain because round tins are easy to find in every size and quality (and cuteness!), but stackability was super important to me to maximize that strange wasted counter space.

Y’all are so nice. (:

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It’s all just shoved into a cabinet right now as I’ve nowhere else to put it. My new apartment doesn’t have proper organization setup just yet.[email protected]/8699394631/in/photostream/

That looks like my tea situation at home, but I don’t have any excuses for why its still so disorganized!

lol! It’s gotten worse… I realized that my pantry on here was completely messed up compared to what I own so everything is now in two boxes: put into steepster, needs to be put in steepster.

Fellow Upton junkie?

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ifjuly said

ok, this is finally coming together some.

these are the teas i reach for most, and they sit on the otherwise-wasted counter space below my massive low, deep cupboards. i’ve got an overflow stash of samples and discards (for swapping, cooking with, or maybe cold brewing) and tea bags in 2 plastic blue tubs elsewhere.

i’d like to spring for a breville to make brewing whites and greens and oolongs easier. some day. until then, my russell hobbes gets the job done and keeps pots of tea warm nicely.

regular tea time set up:

i keep the stuff i use to make tea just for myself nested in a tray and pull it out pretty much every day:

i know it’s not “classy” or elegant or whatever but i’ve found using repurposed spice jars (short and tall) for storing and serving milk and sugar ideal. when it’s time for tea i just grab my mini bottle of milk from the fridge, and it doesn’t drip or take up much space on the table where i serve and drink my tea.

multiple infusers ’cause sometimes i do side-by-side taste tests.

my sister gave me these stacking espresso cups a zillion years ago, and they didn’t see much use at first (for coffee i prefer a big mug), but have wound up being perfect for tea taste tests because they’re identical in every way—size, shape, material, etc.—except labeled with different words, which helps me a) maintain similar settings for each tea to give them a fair comparison b) keep track of which tea is in which mug by matching the alphabet order (a tea name that comes before another tea name alphabetically goes in a cup whose phrase goes before another cup’s phrase). has been so, so great! serendipity! they’re usually put away in a cupboard ‘cause i don’t tea test every day.

she also gave me the blue teacup and saucer (she saw them through a shop window while visiting germany though i don’t think they’re actually german made), which i love to death and did the moment i laid eyes on it. it’s one of a set of 4. it’s silky smooth to touch and hold, just the right weight not too delicate and not too unwieldy for my small hands, the interior shows off the color of the tea i’m drinking, and just the right size for tea (for some reason i tend to think tea tastes better in smaller cups). the saucer is just big enough to stick my stirring spoon and a cookie on, whee.

Dinosara said

I loooove your cup and saucer, and it reminds me that I have actually seen those somewhere online but I can’t place where now! But I think it’s a fairly famous pottery pattern.

ifjuly said

Aw, thanks! I love it so much too; I smile every day when I look at it. And yeah, I think a while after she got them for me I saw them or something with the same pattern at least online, but I can’t for the life of me remember where.

ifjuly said

Oh, I found out more. The brand on the bottom is “iittala” and when I google that I easily find the pattern on dinnerware at Macy’s:

and here on Apartment Therapy:

The 4 cup and saucer set I have contains 2 blue and 2 white. Hadn’t seen the red before now—lovely.

Dinosara said

Ahh, I definitely saw them on AT before. Love them!

wheezybee said

I am so impressed – this is such a wonderfully organized setup! Nicely done!

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I recently re-organized a built in book shelf area, it housed my Addictions Counselling text books & some items I received after my dad passed away. it now houses my tins, samples & small amounts of tea. I have a nice swivel chair that I think I will put in this area along with a little table so I can sit & enjoy my tea.
I’ve still got some counter space organizing to do. It never ends in my house, but my work hours are silly so by the time I get home at 8:30 I want to sleep, or on days I get home at 6:30 I just want to spend the last hour or two with my girls.

ifjuly said

it’s so cute and inviting!

Tea nook!

Sil select said

Mmmm love it!

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wheezybee said

My husband and I like to joke that our apartment doesn’t only have a one-butt kitchen – it has only half a cheek! I have managed to set aside these two shelves to tea, but our stash is still a little sparse. Now that his tuition is in-state we will finally be able to build it back up, and I’m very excited about the prospect!

Everything in it’s place: Notice that there are five saucers but only three cups. Jake was helping me get something down last night and we had a bit of a run-in with gravity. Three of the cups survived, but the enamel on the other two chipped and they’ll need to be replaced. The poor guy was horrified, but I’m okay with it – they lasted five years, they’re inexpensive, and it gives me an excuse to order some fun things (including a trivet for the black teapot, which was a wedding present) from – oh darn!

Just the tea:

Right now it’s mostly medicinal, with just a couple Tao of Tea, some Zhena’s, and one Teavana. The only reason I stepped foot in the place was because I was home visiting Mom and she wanted to. She asked for some of the White Ayurvedic Chai and they just kept shoveling and shoveling. I was flabbergasted when the total came up, but Mom was okay with it, and sent me home with a nice souvenir. All the silver tins are recycled from previous Tao of Tea purchases, and the labels were just cut from some scrapbooking adhesive paper with decorative scissors.

Sil select said

Nice! Thanks for sharing. It’s a really cute space

That green teapot is really pretty. Is that a Teavana pot?

wheezybee said

Thank you! The green teapot is actually much less expensive than a Teavana pot, and it’s lasted five years! I got the first part of the set as a graduation present back in 2008. Since then I’ve added to the collection with extra cups and saucers – which are a must because the cups get so hot. The color of mine is a little darker, part because of age, and part because of just a little bit of beeswax. Originally it was too light, but the thinnest coat of beeswax darkened it right up. I don’t know if that was a bad thing to do, but it’s worked just fine for me!

Here’s the website:

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Dag Wedin said

Cupboard with teas.
All the tins have a label on the bottom with name and brewinginstructions.
Basically I keep the indian teas to the left, Chinese in the middle and japanese in the cherry bark tins
I keep unopened teas and samples in a wooden box.

Heres some cups and other teaware.
My Wuyi oolong kit.

(Bowing down with respect)

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infused1 said

I started drinking tea 9 months ago. My collection is a bit crazy already.
My tea cupboard:
Close ups:
Top shelf, left to right: Steeped and Infused, Red Leaf Matcha, and DavidsTea Tins.
2nd shelf: Teavana, TreeFrog, Butiki, and misc bagged tea.
3rd shelf:DavidsTea, ZenTea, tealux, and misc bagged.
Bottom shelf:Sample sizes in airtight containers, a teabox of Pukka teas, and a collection of herbs and spices to create my own blends.

I have doors on the cupboard, so it reduces the light the tea’s exposed to.

Cavocorax said

I like it! I probably have a similar amount of tea as you, but mine is all tucked away in small boxes/ tins so it’s not as easy to get to. Yours us nicely organized, and practical.

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graceatblb said

I know I am bit late to the cupboard posting party but I finally got my reading room all not cluttered for picture taking. Ignore the post-its. I keep post-its on my teas so I can randomize what tea I am going to drink.

The containers contain all of my bags of tea from Mandala, Verdant, Davids and Butiki. The box on top is a stray pu’er cake. I ran out of space. There are also boxes of tea bags on the floor.

This shelf contains all of my pu’er cakes, some Davids canisters, and, of course, a bit of baking soda. There are more tea bags on the floor.

It’s not exactly vast but it’s getting there.

Sil select said


graceatblb said

It’s bad, isn’t it?

yyz said

love the idea of randomization, and love the books. It reminds me of my Stepfather who turned a whole apartment in a five plex we lived in at one point into a library.

graceatblb said

That does sound awesome and I am slowly working my way towards filling my house with books. The room my teas are in has already been overrun with filled shelves on all four walls. It’s a happy mess.

Sil select said

i’m totally jealous grace…totally. :)

Dexter said

Sounds PERFECT, a room dedicated to books and tea. What could be better?

graceatblb said

Lol thanks Sil. I just hope I don’t get the desire to browse Mandala’s site anymore…I have no room.

The only thing that could possibly make it better would be a TV…Tea+books+hockey=happiness.

Dexter said

LOL :)) Jets are loosing to Edmonton tonight…

graceatblb said

Haha. I wish they showed preseason games on Gamecenter. Devils lost to Montreal…Every time Marty loses in his hometown a piece of my soul withers away.

Dexter said

Then lets hope that doesn’t happen too often.
We are still in the “OMG we got the Jets back phase”. There would be a revolt if EVERY Jets game wasn’t televised – even preseason.

graceatblb said

None of my teams games have been televised…I’m in the Rangers TV zone so none of the Devils games have been televised. Listening to hockey on the radio is no fun.

Dexter said

:(( Soon, regular season starts soon….

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Ricky admin said

A flickr group was also created for a Steepster a while back if anyone wants to upload their pictures there.

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here we go! This is where my tea is currently, though I’m moving soon so I get to figure out something funky and new!

Is that all David’s Teas? And wish I could see the book titles.

yeah it’s all davids! (i’m a DT Fangirl) I’ll try to take a close up of the books for you tomorrow!

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