Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Tea Caddy Collection

On April 16th of last month, Barbara, of Lady B's Time for Tea,  wrote a blog post about her tea caddies.  Her post motivated me to gather all my tea caddies together, and share them on my blog.  I've never thought of myself as a tea caddy collector... but I guess I must be.  I have more caddies than I realized!  ;-)  Do you collect tea caddies?

The dictionary defines a tea caddy as a small box, can, porcelain jar, or chest for holding tea leaves.

An abbreviated encyclopedia reference states:  The word tea caddy was first applied to porcelain jars filled with tea and imported into England from China.  In the 18th century many caddies were made from silver, copper, brass, pewter, and other decorative materials, such as veneers of tortoiseshell or ivory on wood.

Below is the very first tea caddy I acquired, and it was actually before I became smitten with tea.  My kitchen had many copper accessories then, but when I got into tea, the copper accessories all had to go with the exception of this tea caddy, a teapot, and a tea kettle, to make way for a new tea decor! 

The first tea caddy I purchased after my journey into the world of tea began.

T.J. Maxx stocks tea caddies from time to time, so it pays to visit their home goods department.  The next three caddies came from their store.

The tea caddy below was on a clearance table at an antique mall.  It was tarnished, and just needed some polish and a little bit of tender, loving care to restore its beauty.

An antique store find - a hand painted tea caddy from Italy.

This tea caddy has to be silverplated brass, because with each polishing there's less silver and more brass.  But I like it anyway, because the caddy looks well used.  

A rustic, galvanized-like tea caddy.

The caddy below is my newest acquisition, and if you've been following my blog, you know it's one of the Delft pieces my hubby bought me on our recent trip to Holland, MI.

My all-time favorite caddy, and the best one that I own, is a 19th century wooden caddy with two compartments [one for green tea, and the other for black tea] with a mixing/blending bowl in the center.  Because tea was so expensive during that time, tea was kept under lock and key, and the lady of the house kept the key with her at all times.  The caddy was a Christmas present to me from me in December 2011!  ;-)

Three silverplated, repro tea caddy spoons.

Like all tea lovers, I have a cabinet full of tin tea caddies, but here are a few of my favorites that are keepsakes from trips I've taken, or commemoratives.

This tin came from Windsor Castle in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday.

The last tea caddy is unique, because it's a miniature replica of the wooden tea chests with riveted metal edges, used to ship loose leaf tea from the plantation factory to warehouses, and then to the retailer.  Very creative tea packaging!

[Butlers Warf, London, England]


  1. A beautiful and eclectic collection, Phyllis.
    I have few of those in my collection too and enjoy the memories they evoke.

    Thank you for sharing! I am still on the lookout for an antique caddy with a blending bowl.

    Have a happy day,
    Mary Jane

  2. I have one tea caddy (like the one you pictured with the spoon hanging beside it) and a couple of tea tins, and am keeping my eyes out for more. Love seeing the pictures of yours.

  3. Beautiful collection --- very much a collector! ;)

  4. Great collection! Looks like mine. Amazing how we always find room for another....1/3 of my counter is full of teas and em. You have a great variety. Thanks so much for sharing your collection! I really enjoyed seeing them!

  5. I too love tea caddies and have two precious ones but my favorites are also the tin ones you can get as souvenirs of tearooms. You just reminded me I'll have to look for some while we're in Europe next Fall. You have some lovely ones.

  6. My my! You have some really unique tea caddies. I mostly have the tins from local tea stores which are plain silver but I have a few that are different.

  7. Dear Phyllis,
    Just catching up with this post. What a fantastic collection you have!! Very special pieces. I really enjoyed seeing them all. I wonder where you keep them all. Are they all put away together?
    Happy Memorial Day from Dame Ruthie at Lady B's

  8. What a collection of caddies!

  9. What a fantastic collection! I think the only one I have like one of yours is the silverplate one with the blue insert. That last one (the tea chest replica) is so unique -- never seen anything quite like it. Thanks for sharing these! Oh, and I loved the one that was the Christmas gift from you to you. Funny!

  10. What a wonderful assortment of tea caddies, Phyllis! I see you went to the Charleston SC tea plantation. My hubby and I went a few years ago and I enjoyed it so much!


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