Archive for the ‘Tea time’ Category

Google Translate tells me that “It’s time for tea” in Irish is “Am le haghaidh tae”, appropriate today as I’m featuring Irish breakfast tea. You might know there’s also English breakfast tea and Scottish breakfast tea, but what’s the difference? Here’s what the Republic of Tea site says about Irish Breakfast:

Irish breakfast tea also has a strong Assam component, giving it a robust, malty flavor and reddish color. It is stronger than English breakfast tea, but not quite as strong as the Scottish variety. Because of the important role of the dairy industry in Ireland, it is usually served with milk. However, some Irish tea drinkers choose to take their breakfast tea plain, or with sugar only.

Interestingly, in Ireland the term “breakfast tea” is often considered a misnomer. That’s because Irish breakfast tea is actually consumed throughout the day, with many Irish tea drinkers consuming between four and six cups per day!

I drink all my tea without milk and sugar (and all my tea is consumed throughout the day, or at least until about 3 pm if it has caffeine), but I have them if you choose one or the other or both. I hope we’re not running into any national conflicts though, as the cup and saucer are Aynsley English bone china, sourced from my favorite thrift store in Naperville a few years ago. 🙂

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Every month a group of us gets together with Su at Zimmerbitch in New Zealand for tea and goodies. This month naturally it’s Christmas tea. For the occasion I made black forest biscotti, from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics: 350 Recipes For Home-Style Favorites And Everyday Feasts, which have cocoa powder (dark, in this case), dark chocolate chips, and dried tart Montmorency cherries. With it, I’m serving the last of my Joy tea, a Christmas tea Starbucks used to serve seasonally. It was discontinued a few years ago but I managed to score several large bags at 50% off at the local Teavana store in Naperville, Illinois. It’s a mix of black, oolong, and green teas with flavors.

The plate is Copeland by Spode, English china, and in the spirit of international cooperation, the cup and saucer are Limoges from France. We participants are from all over as well. Merry Christmas!

for Su’s Christmas afternoon tea 12.17.20

Friday morning, with great excitement and a feeling of wild rebellion, I headed off for one of the most annoying 6 1/2-hour drives of my life. First I had negotiate the traffic issues of the Phoenix metropolitan area, followed by a long stretch of not-much-of-anything, and ending with the traffic issues with the Los Angeles metropolitan area. What’s not to love? 😫 But it was a trip during COVID, hence much to be desired and appreciated. 😷😉

One of the highlights of Saturday was a trip to Chado in Pasadena, my favorite tea shop of the area. The city has allowed restaurants to take over part of the street for outdoor seating, so our daughter and I were safely ensconced at our own table for two, enjoying a tea service for two which included two pots of tea, sandwiches, scones (which somehow disappeared before being photographed), and a dessert selection of macarons and deliciously crisp cookies. The weather, company, tea, and food were all perfect. Care to share?

Chado has an enormous tea selection and the website says that until the end of the year, shipping is free!

Once a month, tea drinkers and snack lovers from all over the world virtually gather in New Zealand to share tea and friendship (with goodies throw in for good measure) at a virtual tea party hosted by Su.

Today I’m offering High Grown Kenyan from Williamson Tea in Kenya. It’s a lovely, full-bodied black which means it does have caffeine. But if you don’t want caffeine, there’s an easy way to remove almost all of it. Brew the leaves for only 30 seconds, throw out the tea, then re-steep the tea with boiling water. It’s easy and you’ll have no worries about how the decaffeinating was done, either. I’m happy to brew some that way for you.

To go with it, I’ve made blueberry crisp, probably my family’s most-requested dessert. I like to make it in this cobalt blue dish because I love the color and there’s the added benefit of not showing any possible blueberry stains. You can gild the lily with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you like. So take a seat, relax, and enjoy Thursday.

for virtual afternoon tea 9.17.20

It’s once again time for tea on the other side of the world (New Zealand) with our hostess Su. Let me start with my favorite tea quote, favorite because it covers two of my great loves and is by someone I greatly admire and respect, C.S. Lewis. It also happens to be the tagline to my emails.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

But wait! We can’t just have tea, we must have goodies! Today I’ve made baked whole wheat doughnuts from Sarah Phillips’ Healthy Oven Baking Book. I’d like to include the recipe, but as I don’t see it online and I haven’t asked for permission, I won’t. You can find other baked doughnut recipes online, though, and if they use whole wheat pastry flower, you’ll get more fiber than if you use all-purpose flour and the taste will be good as well. These also use applesauce, are low-fat, and my whole family will vouch for the flavor. I bake them in mini-bundt pans so that they look mostly like actual doughnuts.

“A cup of tea would restore my normality.” [Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Screenplay]”
― Douglas Adam
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It’s that time of month again…no, no, not that time! It’s time for us to have tea with Su all the way over in New Zealand where they have, by the way, brought their COVID-19 numbers down to zeros. Good for you!

Today tea is pu-erh, steeped in my antique Yixing clay pot and served in a beautiful handleless cup that our younger daughter gave me as a gift many years ago. Pu-erh is a fermented tea but don’t worry. It just tastes like rich, black tea, no fizz or anything like that. It’s the only tea that gets better as it ages. You might find it loose or compressed and it’s very good for digestion, so just right for serving with food.

Yixing clay pots are often used to brew just one sort of tea, as they tend over time to absorb the flavor of tea brewed in them. I found this one in an antique store in Seward, Nebraska while attending one of my high school reunions and instantly fell in love.

Of course we need to have something to eat with our tea so I’ve made a cinnamon chip danish. I’ll start cutting and would you grab plates and napkins? Thanks and enjoy!

#virtualteaparty2020

Sunday is oddball photo challenge time. I’m having a little fun this morning and hope your week’s off to a great start.

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In the mid-seventies, I took off between my junior and senior years of college and set out to backpack around Europe.  We started in Ireland, spending a week before heading across the water to England.  In both places, I was introduced for the first time to hot tea, tea so strong that if the pot had been broken and removed, I believe the tea would have stayed together in the shape of the pot.  In order to drink it, my cup had about half milk and half tea. After spending the better part of a year on the continent, I returned to England prior to finally flying regretfully home.  But now I drank my tea straight, something I still do today.

However, for much too long thereafter, the only “tea” I could get was Lipton and I couldn’t really get into that.  So when real tea finally began showing up in the stores, I was thrilled.  Later, when Starbucks pioneered the coffeehouse phenomenon, tea wasn’t far behind and the variety grew and grew.  I learned more and more about tea and began drinking it almost every day.

In the meantime, I finished college, had more adventures, began teaching, go married, had children, homeschooled them through high school, and ran a personal training business (among other work, paid or unpaid.)  Last year, with both our daughters no longer at home for some time, I began to think about looking for a part time job in some area of interest–writing, fitness, or tea.  Less than a month ago, our two daughters and I were in Wheaton, Illinois in a teashop, when I thought I’d ask the owner whether they needed any part time help.  They did and I came home with the now copious paperwork necessary to get a job.

Yesterday marks the end of my first two weeks. A number of you have asked how the job has gone, so here’s my report. My main concern was the register; in reality, a computer.  While there are plenty codes and things still to learn, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it might be.  We sell over 100 teas and becoming familiar with them is one of the biggest things to learn.  Every day I work, I taste teas, looking at the appearance of the dry leaves as well testing the scent of the leaves before brewing, smelling the aroma of the brewed tea and, similar to wine tasting, trying to identify the various flavors, natural or added, tea itself.  Not that this is an onerous task, but as we all want to be on the same page as to what we tell customers, there’s a lot to learn and I’ll be working at this aspect for a long time.

We also sell lots of tea-related products: teapots, infusers, cups, kitchen items, jams, scone mixes, spoon rests (or places to put the infusers so they don’t drip on the counter or stove), and so forth.  Of course, we also sell baked goods to go with the teas as well as bagged tea.  And that’s just in the shop itself.  The back room is an entirely different story.

We have regulars and I’m learning their names and preferences, as well as the day-to-day procedures.  On Monday, I’ll be helping with inventory, always an interesting time.  🙂  It will be some time yet before I graduate to actually brewing the tea itself.  For now, I’m more of a go-fer, a tea-rista in training. But talk about brain stimulation! I love dealing with people, so being able to marry that with tea has really been fun so far.  And that’s at only two weeks.  I think that bodes well for the future. I have a long way to go before being an employee who can step in anywhere at any time, but I’m getting there as fast as I can!

Want to see where I’m working?  It’s called SereneTeaz and if you’re ever in Wheaton, it’s a lovely place to relax and enjoy some amazing tea.  Of course, if you stop by, be sure to say hello.

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Happy Valentine’s Day and may your day be filled with love!

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Tea on Tuesday

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Art, Tea time
Tags: , , , , ,

As I write this on Monday, I’m at the library for the free internet.  Ours decided to go down sometime during the time I was riding my bike to the library (for fun and exercise) this morning.  After many futile attempts to figure out what was wrong, our internet provider, who shall remain nameless, said they could have a technician out tomorrow (or today as you read this), between 11 am and noon.  Hopefully that’s not an April Fool’s joke!

Driven by my desire to blog daily, I went back to the library, by car this time, to catch up a bit and get this post ready.  Then it’s back to the house to enjoy some disconnected time with a good book and some…tea.  

This is a teapot I’ve seen before. Since it’s in an enclosed glass cabinet, it’s difficult to get great photos, but I think its superb beauty and elegance shine through anyway.

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