Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An Earl Grey Kind of Moment

"They" say that Earl Grey is the most popular black tea blend in the U.S.  And I can believe it. When you travel as much as I do and stay in any chain of hotels, you soon discover that the standard "fancy" teas they provide in your room or in the hotel restaurant are Earl Grey, Chamomile or if you're really lucky, Bigelow's Constant Comment.

While I've tended toward unflavored teas in recent years, I'll admit I like a good Earl Grey here and there, and today was just one of those days.

Today, a fun treat from Hampstead Tea of London. Now, when it comes to Earl Greys, there's an entire spectrum of bergamot influence. There's the blend with the very light touch of the citrus all the way up to the Bergamot with hint of black tea added. On a scale of 1 to 10, Hampstead Tea's Earl Grey is about an 8.5 on the Bergamot scale. Just perfect for the addition of milk and sugar. Citrus lovers, this one's for you.

I don't know what it is about Earl Grey, but it's a very cozy tea. It begs for sweater-wearing and book reading. So, despite it being in the 90's in sunny, southern California, I'm improvising and curling up on the sofa with an afghan nearby (too hot to actually wrap self in) and a favorite mystery (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie), and sipping this comfortable treat.

The funniest thing happened. While writing this very post, I see that I just received an email from Elmwood Inn Fine Teas with a blog post on "Who was Earl Grey?" I guess it really is just an Earl Grey kind of day!

To celebrate it, let's have a drawing! Comment on this post with your favorite Earl Grey Tea Moment by September 20, 2013, and I'll send a package of Hampstead Tea's Earl Grey to a randomly selected winner. Can't wait to hear your "Moments!"

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Virtual Tea Party Moment

I don't know when exactly it happened, but somewhere along the line it seems that if I want to try and get together with friends, we end up scheduling weeks or months in advance - especially if the friends have children too.  With school and sports and jobs and doctor appointments and birthday parties, it can feel like every waking moment is scheduled.

I'd rather be busy than bored, but I'd also prefer to catch up with old friends and have the opportunity to make new ones. While I'd love to have friends over for tea, I've had to make peace with the fact that it's just not going to happen any time soon.

Unless... I do it here.

So, sit down with me, old friends and new. Grab your favorite tea cup. Steep your favorite tea.

World Tea House is the first to arrive with their fun travel mug. Perfect for a stroll on the beach, I see.

And Rachel, of i Heart Teas with these beautiful cups that soothe my mind just looking at them.

Here comes Cynthia with a glass tea cup from her parents' set, c. 1970's.
And Jo, of A Gift of Tea, brings with her this cup of simple elegance.
Seattle Coffee Gear joins the gathering with their own clear glass tea cup,
while Robert Godden, a.k.a. The Devotea, shares his beautifully ornate glass cup,

and Geoffrey, a.k.a. The Lazy Literatus, brings his own version of the clear glass tea cup, which is his trusty AquaOvo travel mug.

Nicole, of Tea For Me Please, brings her cheery polka dot cup (which she would be wise to hold tightly, as I might "accidentally" abscond with it),

and Heidi, of Tozy Tea, sets out her beautifully swirled tea cup that reminds me of Russian porcelain but with a modern twist. 

It's so fun to bring friends together and learn just a little more about them, about their preferences and about how they take their tea.

I knew it would be tough for my friend of The Dorothy Days to choose which tea cup to bring to the party, but I was not disappointed by this delicately beautiful choice.

And I found Beth's choice, of Teas Etc. fame, so fun and whimsical.

And finally, I was delighted that Aimee, of MySteepedTea.com, joined the party with her own fun tea mug.

As I enjoy this moment, learning the story behind each treasured tea cup, I feel connected again. I may not have time to stop and smell the roses today, but I created time to stop and sip. With you.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Makeshift Tea Moment

Sometimes a girl just wants a cucumber sandwich. And sometimes all there is in the fridge is a heel of a cucumber, the dregs of some cream cheese and whole wheat bread. Not ideal, but I don't have the time or patience to be picky. So, in goes a little sour cream with the cream cheese, the cucumber is sliced, and dill is sprinkled liberally. And, of course, the crusts are trimmed.

A cluster of grapes, and just the right tea. I'm running low on Assams. This is truly tragic. But wait!  What is this? An Assam from my visit to The Urban Tea Merchant in Vancouver. Perfect! I even forgo the milk and sugar that I usually reserve for Afternoon Tea Moments.

I choose my Ivy and Roses tea cup as an homage to the last of my summer roses blooming in this unforgiving September heat.

Fall is creeping in. This is the season of new beginnings, in my mind. Thoughts of thoroughly dredging out the closets and cupboards, organizing shelves and drawers, and maybe even attacking the garage have overtaken my daydreams. Welcome to motherhood, I think to myself. When free time is devoted to cooking and/or cleaning. What has happened to me.

But I can still indulge in this guilty pleasure. The afternoon tea, however makeshift it may be, is still an oasis from any storm however mild or harrowing. 

Now, how do I get my mitts on some more Assam...