Significant progress with the tea stove! One of our biggest challenges was lighting the charcoal, and so we thought, “let’s go buy one of those charcoal starter chimney things“. When we were in the store looking at them, though, it seemed to me that their design was really simple. Just a grate to hold up the charcoal, a space underneath to light a fire, and a bunch of holes all around for airflow. It seemed very similar to something we already had…
Hey, that’s just like the inside of the tea stove! I don’t think it was designed with this lighting technique in mind (judging by Peter Novak’s posts), but it worked quite well for us.
We filled the bottom of the stove with newspaper and set it on fire, and then placed several hunks of charcoal in the top grate. The paper burns quite quickly, of course, so we continued to feed more paper into the bottom section through the large air holes as it burned. It may have worked even better if we had some actual kindling in there to keep the fire going with less work. The result: glowing charcoal in about twenty minutes! I think we can even do better than that, now that we have some idea of what we’re doing.
To celebrate, we infused several delicious pots of a buttery Hawiian oolong, given to me as a gift by the owners of Dobra Tea after their travels there earlier this year. So bold in color, but mellow and sweet in taste, I’m very happy to have this tea and the wonderful tea stove with which to make it!