In the strictest sense, Tea Trappings were devices used to "trap" (i.e strain or hold back) loose tea leaves. At one point mandatory gadgets for any tea drinker in the Western world, they are optional now in an age when tea comes in tea bags.
Other objects, such as tea caddies in which tea was stored (and locked up), sugar tongs, and lemon slice plates were also referred to as tea "trappings", in the sense of all the accessories to go along with having, making and enjoying tea. The category also includes tea balls, tea presses, tea cup strainers, stick infusers, and spout strainers (which hung off the tea pot spout, and caught the leaves in mid-stream.)
Mote spoons were amongst the first devices to be invented, to help fish errant leaves out.
Though today's designs emphasize functionality, designs from the 1600s until the 1900s emphasized decorativeness and novelty as well, and many are highly prized as expensive collector's items, being made of silver or silver plated with gold (aka "gilt".)
The invention of the tea bag in 1908 heralded the beginning of the end for their glory days.
Now, just having such any one of these gadgets even in plain stainless-steel is considered novelty enough.
Tea TrappingsMote Spoon; Tea Balls; Tea Press; Tea Strainers; Tea Trappings
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