I love tea and, although I rarely use one with my tea, I love tea towels. They are a little bit of decoration in my kitchen and they are a tactile, textile bright spot. I always have them hanging off of my oven door. They get grundgey but they can be washed and the more you wash them the better they get.
The textiles most commonly used are linen or cotton. They are usually thick and absorbent, but not too thick. I don't like the ones that are too thick, terry cloth, or have a sheen like polyester! Yuck!
I love the vintage ones that have souvenir pictures on them. Also, any designer fabric that makes the kitchen look stylish is good. Hand embroidered vintage or new are priceless (especially if you or someone you know has done the embroidery).
There are 177 pages of items under the tag "tea towel". There are recipes and calendars, quotes and days of the week. There are funky, retro, shabby chic, and my favorite - kawaii Japanese!
Here is a sample of some that I found on Etsy.
Turquoise Lanterns by Soul Flower, Be a Lamb by little shout, Kitty does the Dishes by Cornflower Creations, Red Poppies by Michelle Brusegaard, Souvenir New Caledonia by fox and Thomas, Teacup by The Heated, Retro Birds by Melysbaby.
Sorry if they are out of order, I got overloaded with clicking and pasting and linking.