Tea Love: Instilling a Love of Tea, One Sip At A Time

Hello tea lovers!   This past Friday, Tea Love had its first ever children’s tea talk, complete with pretty dresses, a few princesses here and there, and of course, lots of tea :-)

West Milford Township Library invited me a second time (I held an adult’s talk over there a while back) to come speak to a group of little girls (and one gentleman) and their mothers.   There, we had a lot of fun learning about afternoon teas and talking about tea in general.   I was amazed by how many of these fancy boys and girls had actually sampled tea prior to my talk!

After talking to the kids for a bit, we had a relay race.   There, children balanced a book on their heads (because after all, that’s what fancy people do to stand up straight), walk tea cups to a plate, take a “sip” out of their cups, and place their cups on the corresponding color that was underneath the cup.

After all that fun, everyone was hungry, and who wouldn’t be?   We had snacks of sandwiches, homemade cookies shaped like tea bags, and English muffins with some lemon curd and fruit!   The kids REALLY liked the cookies and the English muffins (I had to wait until I got home so I didn’t get my dress all messy, but I think they all came out rather well).

My favorite part was when we got to read Fancy Nancy, a book about a little girl who is just oh-so-fancy!   We heard all about Nancy’s super fancy boutique (that’s fancy for really amazing shop) and her efforts to try and buy a fan by selling all of her old clothes and a rhinestone necklace that her little sister truly wanted.

Finally, what would a tea party be without some tea?   Tea Love supplied four different types of tea from Clara Ngo, offering every child a small sample of any tea they wanted (with their parents’ permission, of course).

We held a raffle where six children won a Golden Tea Bag plaque and everyone took home coloring pages which will hopefully be submitted soon for an amazing blog!

So again, thank you so much for your hospitality, West Milford Township Library!   I hope to work with you guys again :-)   And thanks to all the wonderful parents and the darling children that came out to the talk to partake in a fun afternoon.

 

This blog is to wish a very happy birthday party to a very important person for Tea Love, Clara!

Happy Birthday, Clara!

Happy Birthday, Clara!

Clara is an awesome woman who has put up with me time and time again sending her messages for my Tea Love talks.

When Clara and I first met, it was at her shop in my hometown.   Quite frankly, she should have just kicked me out of her shop and asked me not to return, now that I look back at it.   Her shop was in a small corner of town, one that I feared her to be in (not for safety, but for marketing).   No one really knew where she was since she was on the outskirts and I had flat-out said to her that I was worried for her shop’s future.

Boy, did she prove me wrong!

Her shop became popular with her marketing and connections.   In time, she and I formed a partnership and she became my main supplier for my Tea Love talks.

Soon, the demands of her life and child had her make a hard decision – she sold shop.   Dismayed, I started researching other tea vendors to supply my tea for my talks.   However, no one was quite up to par with Clara.   I sent her a message on Facebook, explaining my predicament.

Happily, she said she would continue to supply my talks!   To this day, when I have a Tea Love talk, you can be sure Clara is behind the tea you are sipping on.   Her tea is always supreme and I constantly get positive feedback.

So raise your mugs in honor of Clara today!   HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Cheating, But Addicted

Since I started this blog a few years ago, that’s how people know me – “You’re the tea girl!” “I have a question about tea.” “What are your thoughts on bagged versus loose tea?” “What kind of tea do you like?”

I have gotten tea-related gifts galore, some of which I use during my Tea Love talks.   One person gave me a huge package of blooming tea and a glass teapot.   My sister-in-law gave me a tea strainer with a duck at the top.   One of my friends, for Christmas, gave me a TARDIS tea mug and my parents gave me a TARDIS tea strainer to go with it from the popular television series Dr. Who (which, by the way, features tea an awful lot).

Coworkers delight in sending me tea-related articles and info-graphs constantly.   One time, my coworker walked in on me and another colleague exchanging loose tea from a Florida shop, something that apparently looked more like an illicit drug deal rather than a friendly beverage exchange.

So, you can only imagine people’s reactions when I walk around with a cup of coffee in hand, which is honestly more often than not.

“Wait, you’re drinking coffee?   Isn’t that, ya know, sacrilege or something?”

“But, but, but, you’re the tea girl!”

“Ha, betraying your drink, huh?”

Wow…

I adore tea, I really do.   Addicted to it, I would even venture to say.   Given the choice of only drinking one beverage for the rest of my life, I would say tea (arguably, more than one beverage simply because of the vast array of choices).   But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like a cuppa joe every now and again.   Actually, most times I write my blog, I am drinking *gasp* coffee (as I am right now).

That being said, what I convey to people is the difference between drinking coffee and drinking tea (and yes, there is a huge difference).   When I am drinking tea, it is at the end of a long day, at the beginning of the morning’s first ray of sun when I can settle down and read a book, after I had done a massive cleaning of my house, while I am crafting.   In short – while I am relaxing.

Coffee, however, is for days like today, when I went to sleep around 2:00 AM last night, only to wake up at 6:30 AM this morning to shower and get ready for a beach trip with my boyfriend and his family, or for when I have twenty 100-page items to edit by the end of the day at work, or for when I know I need to hit the ground running and not even think about relaxing.   It’s for my hectic lifestyle which admittedly, is very quick-paced and does not allow me too many opportunities to settle down and relax.

So, to all you tea drinkers, I lift my mug to you, and to all coffee drinkers, I do the same.   You’ll just have to wonder what’s in my mug at the time.

 

First, a note – Sorry that I have not posted in a while!   Things have been crazy busy lately (in a good way, though!).   I am going to be posting here again, as well as writing my Riverdale New Jersey news column, my posts on Cranford Patch, and my Tea Love talks (speaking of which, little children in West Milford, New Jersey should mark their calendars on July 11th for a children’s talk!).

And now, onto tea…

***

June is a time of hot summer days, relaxation by the beach, and ice cold glasses of tea. It’s a time of relaxation, spending time with family and friends, and allowing the days to drift on by.

No wonder why June was chosen to be National Iced Tea Month. Iced tea has been popular in the United States prior to the Civil War.  According to Upton Tea, the first iced teas were actually most of a mixture of tea and alcohol dubbed “tea punches”.

Cookbooks like The Kentucky Housewife would print recipes calling for readers to scald their teapots, put the green tea in the boiling water (being that general stores in the 19th century mostly stocked green tea from China or Japan and was thus more accessible), allow the mixture to stand and finally pour it over ice, sugar, cream, and a bottle of red wine or champagne. The reason recipes started becoming more popular was because of the increased availability and popularity of harvested ice from the New England lakes and rivers.

However, though cookbooks and magazines were advertising iced tea and an article in the Nevada Noticer explaining the meal requirements for the 1890 Missouri State Reunion of Ex-Confederate Veterans called for 880 gallons of iced tea, the drink’s popularity really got its boon from an English entrepreneur named Richard Blechynden.

Blechynden, often incorrectly named the inventor of iced tea, did help the drink get its start to fame. In 1904, Blechynden was put in charge of the drink pavilion at the St. Louis World’s Fair, also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. He was competing with merchants from all over the world, including Indian and Ceylon who were also trying to promote their own tea.

The fair that day, however, was blistering hot. No one wanted to buy any of the equally hot tea that Blechynden was trying to sell. Soon, the merchant became exhausted. There seemed to be no way that people would want to buy his ware. So, desperate, Blechynden tried serving the tea cold in glasses of ice. His plan worked, and his drink became an instant success, helping to popularize the drink from then on.

Now, iced tea is the most common way that the United States enjoys its tea, with over 80% of consumption being iced rather than hot. While many do enjoy to have the instant, bottled, and bagged iced tea, iced loose tea does hold a certain flavor to it that one cannot get in a plastic bottle from a vending machine.

Brewing iced tea is also a simple process – simply brew your hot tea and then allow it to cool in the refrigerator. This method can produce a cloudy tea, but it will not affect the taste. However, if you would like a clear look, Upton Tea also recommends to simply add double or triple the amount of tea leaves you would normally use for a hot brew into a cold bath and allow that to steep overnight. This, they explain, should help produce a wonderful taste and is simple to execute.

However you wish to brew your tea, make sure to grab your mug or your cup, go outside, and enjoy the gorgeous June weather while keeping cool sipping on your healthy beverage.

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day From Tea Love!

Happy Father’s Day From Tea Love!

Happy Mother's Day From Tea Love!

Happy Mother’s Day From Tea Love!

Happy Easter!

A Very Happy Easter From Tea Love!

A Very Happy Easter From Tea Love!

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