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

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Another Thank You To West Milford Township Library!

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.

 

Happy Birthday Clara, Supplier Of Tea Love Talks!

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!

Another Great Tea Love Talk, Another On The Way, And Dying Easter Eggs With Tea

First and foremost, I want to thank the Fairfield Free Public Library for hosting  me this past Thursday!   It was another wonderful group with some insightful guests.   Unfortunately, I did arrive a little late but everyone was very gracious, gave me ample time to set up, and I think we had a lovely conversation.   I got to hear from people who brewed tea in an Indian fashion – strong with milk – people who had Kombucha tea (which they said was delicious), and others who absolutely hated tea but was willing to give it a try (he said he would always be a coffee drinker at heart, but I am glad he at least gave it a shot!).   We talked about the affect that the staple and glue has on a cuppa (while I found no evidence swaying either way, try and use loose tea anyway) and how green tea can assist with weight loss.

Second, I have another Tea Love talk coming up!

Tea Love Hosting Children's Event at West Milford Township Library

Tea Love Hosting Children’s Event at West Milford Township Library

Yes, West Milford Township Library asked me to return, but this time, for a children’s talk.   I will be hosting an afternoon tea with all the boys and girls (fancy dress is required!), teaching them about the afternoon tea history, having a relay race, a mini fashion show where they can show off their tea cups, and breaking for lunch and a book.   Come on out, it’s bound to be a lot of fun!   And Tea Love will be giving out prizes at the event :-)

Finally, onto a fun topic that I wrote about for the Riverdale, New Jersey newsletter – dying Easter eggs using tea.

Everyone knows that tea stains.  Teeth whitening commercials always address those pesky coffee and tea stains on your teeth that will be magically removed with one application of their fine product.  Clothing commercials feature red wine, coffee, and split tea mugs dashed across lily-white table clothes, only to be removed with the power of baking soda, peroxide, and awesome stain-fighting power.  But, with Easter just around the corner, children and adults alike can use the staining power of tea to make their own tea-infused eggs.

You can dye the eggs with one of two methods – the standard dip method where, rather than use food coloring tablets, you would use tea, or a method where you can give the eggs a marbled look.

To use the standard sip method which will produce an egg similar to your other Easter eggs, take your eggs and put them in a mixture of a tablespoon of vinegar, a cup of water, and a very strong-colored tea such as a raspberry herbal.  Allow it to soak refrigerated for a minimum of two hours, though the longer you leave the egg in the tea, the stronger the color will be.  When you take the eggs out and start eating them, you should get a slight taste of tea with each bite.

For a different look, you can also try the tea egg method.

Marbled Tea Eggs

Marbled Tea Eggs

According to blogger Ellen Easton, writer of Tea Travels, the tea eggs, also called marbled eggs due to the marbled look they get when they are shelled, are sold in Asia as tasty snacks or appetizers.  One can often find them on the streets being sold by vendors, though you can also find it in the restaurants and even convenience stores as well.

According to blog Appetite for China, to create these, hard boil the eggs prior to dying.  When the eggs are cool enough to handle, gently crack the eggs either by rolling them in a paper towel or by tapping them all over the shell with a spoon.  You want to be careful not to break any of the shell off the egg so that you get the cracks and lines but not a huge splotch of color.  Put the eggs back into the water and add two tea bags of black tea, ½ cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar, 2 pieces of star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper, and 2 to 3 strips of dried mandarin peel.   Cover the eggs by an inch, then bring the water to a boil.  Lower the heat then to a bare simmer, and allow the eggs to stay for at least one to two hours or until you reach the desired flavor and color.

When you are ready to serve, get the camera and watch the pleasant surprised faces as people get to see your lovely creations.

One Talk Down, One To Go!

Yesterday’s Tea Love Talk at the M. Allan Vogelson Regional Branch Library was a huge success!   Thank you to the library for hosting the talk and thanks to all of those who came out to hear it :-)

We had about thirty people from all over come to learn about about tea.   Some people were more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers, and expressed their both positive feelings towards tea (“Wow, apricot black tea is really amazing!”) and negative thoughts regarding tea (“I need a bold drink like coffee.   Tea is dirt water!”), but all responses were welcomed as everyone was in good humor.   One woman mentioned how she was just watching the History Channel that morning and saw an expose on how caffeine changed the world with their main focus being on tea.   She went on to explain that the TV show “How It’s Made” also did a show on tea and it was highly interesting.

There was a woman who made tea but drank coffee, a woman who was amazed that tea originated in China rather than Britain, and a woman with a mug in the shape of a terra cotta planter that advertised her friend’s business.   A wonderful couple who came to America from India 40 years ago explained to me that “chai” translated literally meant “tea” in multiple languages, so we laughed how “chai tea” is in fact like saying “tea tea”.

Sadly, we had to cut the party portion of the tea short, as there was another group that came in directly after us, but it was a lot of fun!

I can’t wait until my next one!   Disappointed that you missed this talk?   Make sure you come to the Fairfield Public Library on Thursday, April 10th, for my next one!

Tea Love Talk At The Fairfield Free Public Library!

Tea Love Talk At The Fairfield Free Public Library!

Plus… I have another talk that I will be announcing soon.

Another Talk?!

Another Talk?!

 

New Tea Love Talks!

Hi everyone!

A quick announcement :-)   I have not one, but TWO Tea Love talks coming up in April!

Make sure you see the fliers below and attend :-)

I hope to see you all there!

Tea Love Talk At The Camden County Library!

Tea Love Talk At The Camden County Library!

Tea Love Talk At The Fairfield Free Public Library!

Tea Love Talk At The Fairfield Free Public Library!

 

Coffee And Tea Festival – New York City, Baby!

Next Saturday to Sunday, March 22nd – 23rd, the 9th annual Coffee and Tea Festival will take place in New York!   This event will be held at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue (between 25th – 26th).   VIP Hour is held Saturday, March 22nd, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM.   The general public can then join in on the fun Saturday, March 22nd, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sunday, March 23rd, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM.   While Saturday is currently sold out, Sunday still has a few tickets left!

What is the Coffee and Tea Festival, you might ask?   Over 60 vendors from around the world selling tea in one spot, hosting tastings, and giving away gift bags!   What more can you ask for?   Not only that, there will be special foods that are meant to complement all the teas that you are tasting, adding an extra delight to the show.

Who will be at the show?   Well, a small sampling of the tea vendors include DavidsTea, serendipiTea, Harney and Sons (a favorite and a company that I had tried to work for but sadly, without luck), Damn Fine Tea, Salada (anyone remember that tea contest that Tea Love had a while back?), and many others!

As everyone who knows me knows, I am obsessed with philanthropy, charity, and giving back.   The Coffee and Tea Festival is no exception.   This year, the Coffee and Tea Festival has partnered with Cup for Education.   According to the Coffee and Tea Festival website, “Cup for Education is a non-profit organization that is helping poor, rural coffee communities of Central and Latin America build schools within their communities, and assist in providing them with teachers and the basic tools needed to educate future generations of coffee farmers. Cup for Education has bettered the education of children in over eight countries through the implementation of schools, computer labs, libraries, playgrounds, and more.”   The organization will have a booth at the festival.

A traveling tea exhibit will be present where artist Michele Brody collected tea-stained bags, asking drinkers to write their thoughts and general reflections on the tea, dubbing the exhibit “Reflections in Tea“.   Brody will be present to sip some tea with you.

Finally, the events!   Multiple events pertaining to tea and coffee will occur throughout the day.   Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a little more about Taiwanese tea.   Or perhaps the robust black tea that, per this workshop, conquered the world!    Maybe you want to sample some tea with a cocktail, chocolate, or cheese.   Not to fret; there is a workshop for you.

The event is sponsored by:

- Salada and Red Rose

- Ito En

- Capital Teas

- The Disney film “Saving Mr. Banks

- Roast Magazine

- Fresh Cup Magazine

- Tea Time Magazine

- The Tea House Times

- The Village Voice

Got some free time?   Get on over there for the experience of a lifetime!   The next festival will be November 8th and 9th in Philadelphia.

Japan Earthquake – Three Years Later

As some of you are aware, March 11, 2014 marks the third-year anniversary of the now infamous Japanese earthquake, an 8.9 magnitude quake that triggered a tsunami, a volcanic eruption, and a nuclear meltdown.   According to Global Research, Centre for Research on Globalization, “On April 12, 2011 the Japanese government officially announced that the severity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster had reached level 7, the highest on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Before Fukushima, the only level 7 case was the 1986 Chernobyl disaster…”

People know Japan for their famed tea ceremonies, matcha tea, and amazing atmosphere.   During the 2010-2011 school year, my good friend since fifth grade, Sara, decided to go study at Soka University, immersing herself fully into the Japanese culture and gaining some amazing friends in the process.   Sara’s mother and I decided to go on a visit to see Sara in March.   About ten minutes after Sara’s mother and my plane landed in Narita Airport, the earthquake hit and we went on a wild ride consisting of sleeping in airports, feeling tremors throughout the night, meeting amazing angels who took us in at a moment’s notice, and thanking God the moment we touched down on American soil five days later.

I could go into more detail regarding our experiences, but that might be a post for another day.

I will, however, say that the people we met there were so magnanimous, beyond compare to anyone I have ever met before.   Masana, who stayed with Sara’s mother and me while we struggled to get a hold of Sara via cell phone during the midst of the earthquake.   Not only that, she, along with foreign exchange student Peter, bought us food, drink, and kept us safe and calm during all the events while we were at the airport without any funds to support ourselves.   Hairoko, who housed us during the rolling black-outs that plagued the towns we were visiting.   Momoko, who welcomed us into the Soka University dorm room where Sara’s mother arranged our flight information.   Momoko and her friends also fed us and kept us calm during the disaster.

I still thank them for all of their help to this day, and still look at them as angels for all that they did for complete strangers.

Our Group Of Vagabonds, Eating Breakfast Thanks To Generous Strangers

Our Group Of Vagabonds, Eating Breakfast Thanks To Generous Strangers

Now, three years later, the Japanese government is still dealing with radiation levels.   They now also have to deal with radiation-contaminated water.   People are still missing after all of this time.   The people still need help.

To help the people of Japan, please consider donating to the Red Cross.   The funds aid in long-term recovery projects and general assistance to those in need.

Don’t forget these people.   They still need our help.

Thank You, West Milford Township Library!

Hello everyone!

I apologize for not posting last week!   But here I am again with a thank you to the West Milford Township Library :-)

So, at the talk, I explained basic tea knowledge, including the history of tea, the science behind tea, the medicinal benefits of tea, and finally, how to brew a good cuppa.

We had over 50 people at the West Milford Township Library, all with some amazing tea knowledge!   At the end, we celebrated the day with tea and goodies made by the Friends of the West Milford Township Library.

Everyone had wonderful tea mugs, including proper tea saucers and china, some heavy mugs that seemed sturdy enough to hold a whole pot of tea, and even some mugs that would be suited for a museum.

Some of the patrons told me that they have tasted tea from all over the world, including Israel where they have an herbal mint tea of mint leaves and sugar with a touch of lemon, another who sampled tea in Turkey, and yet another who sampled from Africa!   Obviously, we had some very well-traveled tea samplers as well.

One patron asked for some tea shops in the area where they could search for some good loose and bagged tea.   While I could not provide the answer, not being from the area, all the other patrons stepped up and threw out so many names, I was in awe!   So many places to shop in West Milford for tea!   Obviously, I am growing up in the wrong town.

At the end, people thanked me for the talk and some mentioned that they exchanged contact information with one another in order to host a tea party of their own.   The power of tea, bringing people together for a relaxing cup :-)

So again, thank you so much, West Milford Township Library, for being wonderful hosts!   I hope to come again to give another talk.

Downton Abbey = Tea Time!

So, my mom is absolutely giddy – Downton Abbey, the popular television show on PBS about a British aristocratic family going about their drama-filled lives starting with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, is starting back up tonight.   From what I’ve seen of the show, all I know is that Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter) is in the show,which is enough for me to say it must be excellent.

Obviously, being proper Brits, this family MUST have their tea.   Whether it’s the afternoon tea imbibed between  4pm and 6pm or the high tea sipped between 5pm and 7pm, sure as rain, you can find this elite family sitting down and having their tea to discuss the issues of the time and the drama of their lives.

Violet Crawley, played by Maggie Smith, sitting with her silver teaware for an afternoon tea.

Violet Crawley, played by Maggie Smith, sitting with her silver teaware for an afternoon tea.

Tea companies apparently watch the show too, as they are coming out with numerous Downton Abbey merchandise.   Here’s a small sampling:

Downton Abbey Tea, The Republic of Tea:

Two of the three Downton Abbey teas from The Republic of Tea.

Two of the three Downton Abbey teas from The Republic of Tea.

The Republic of Tea was founded not too long ago, 1992, and has strived to spark a tea revolution in order to get people to sip most tea.   For Downton Abbey, The Republic of Tea has come out with a line of teas, including an herbal English Rose filled with raspberries, roses, and hibiscus flowers, an Estate blend consisting of earl grey,  and a spicy Grantham Breakfast blend flavored with ginger root and Assam tea.

So why not buy some tea and sip away while watching the Crawley family fall apart?

Keep Calm And Ring Carson to Bring Tea, Signals.com:

Keep Calm and Ring Carson To Bring Tea Shirt

Keep Calm and Ring Carson To Bring Tea Shirt

Signals.com’s slogan is to offer “Gifts that Inform, Enlighten, and Entertain”.   They specialize in public television that invoke thought and discussion while inspiring continued learning.

Apparently, the thought here is to get a butler to bring you tea.   I don’t know about you, but I think I can get behind that thinking.

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding –

More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs by Emily Ansara Baines, Barnes and Noble:

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore's Christmas Pudding -  More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs by Emily Ansara Baines

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding – More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs by Emily Ansara Baines

Wouldn’t you love to serve some smoked salmon mousse with your tea?   How about some crunchy fig and bleu cheese tarts?   Wouldn’t some dark chocolate truffles go so well with the Grantham Breakfast blend from The Republic of Tea?   Emily Ansara Baines gathered recipes that your favorite characters supped on and is offering for you to dine like British aristocrats.    Available in both hardcover and for the Nook, you can have your high tea with a little bit of clotted cream and some scones like The Dower.

What are you drinking in order to prepare for the season premier tonight?

A New Year, A New Tea Tradition

Hello everyone, I AM BACK!!!!!

I greatly apologize for all the hustle and bustle that is going on in my life!   October is the month where my friends and I run around like crazy for Halloween, then November was just insane, then December was Christmas (which we hold at my house), then things busy at work, and ACK!   But no more fear!   I am back :-)

First and foremost, guess what!   We have another Tea Love talk coming up!   This one is on Sunday, January 19th, 1:30 PM at the West Milford Township Library, 1490 Union Valley Road, West Milford, New Jersey 07480.   As always, we will have a sampling of teas after the talk, so make sure you bring your favorite mug!   Registration is required. To register, make sure you email wmtl@wmtl.org, call 973-728-2822, or visit the Adult/Teen Services desk of the library.   Hope to see you there!

Second, 2014 is on the road and is coming up fast (ACK!   Everything seems to be coming up fast lately!).   So, people are breaking out the party poppers, champagne, and noise makers as they anxiously await 2013′s exit and 2014 grand entrance.

But, where can tea play a part in all of this?

Well, why not borrow from the Chinese New Year for ours?

An image of a 10th century tea offering, found in a tomb in Hebei, China.   Image from TeaGuardian.com

An image of a 10th century tea offering, found in a tomb in Hebei, China. Image from TeaGuardian.com

According to the Tea Guardian, a website whose mission is to promote fine tea as a gourmet habit, an offering of tea is a gesture of respect and gratitude.   Therefore, on New Years in China, children would offer to the elders of the family a cup of sweetened tea, made sweeter by candied fruits and vegetables placed at the bottom of the cup (keep in mind, different fruits and vegetables symbolize different things!).   This was done with great care, with the handle facing the right of the person receiving the offering and the left of the person offering.   The child holds the saucer with both hands as the elder takes the cup by the handle with one hand and the saucer with the other, and sips the tea while listening to child offer well wishes for the upcoming year.

The person offering does not leave empty-handed, though.   The elder, after hearing the well wishes, gives the child a red packet and offers wishes in return.   At one point, the red packets use to hold the wishes, but now they tend to hold trinkets and monetary gifts.

So, this New Years, after making all the noise, the chatter, the clinks, and the mess, offer your elder a cup of sweetened tea and wish them the best for this sure-to-be-wonderful new year.   Start a new tradition that not only celebrates tea, but also celebrates gratitude and the wisdom of years.

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