Friday, February 27, 2015

Forté Breakfast Tea - Assam

 My morning cup of tea today is fromTea forté.
This  organic black tea is named Forté Breakfast.
The description on the package says, 
"this connoisseur grade,whole leaf Assam is from the Sewpur estate.
Brews a full-bodied, malty cup with a smooth finish.  
Complimented with milk and sugar."
 I purchased a Tea forté Single Steeps "pre-portioned loose leaf teas"
variety pack containing 15 "brews." 
 Each individual pack of tea is pre-measured to be steeped 
with 12 oz. boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes.  
 I used a mug-sized infuser for this 12 oz. steeping
 The five minute steep was a little too strong for my taste.
I can understand why all the Brits use milk in this Assam.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shelley "Rosebud" Teacup Trio+

This is my new Shelley "Rosebud" Teacup Trio plus an extra plate.
I'm sharing rosebuds today as we are nearing the end of February
because it is the traditional month or gentlemen to gift their ladies with pretty roses.  

There were no fresh roses for me for Valentine's Day 
because I am allergic to them. 
Instead, I received roses in the form of Shelley china!  
I would much rather have these roses in my house to enjoy
than to have fresh roses with my eyes watering and my nose itching! 
In case you are wondering, 
weddings and funerals send me into a big allergy attack. 
And, rose hips in herbal teas causes a respiratory reaction. 

OK, there you go Angela.  
The real reason I am picky about 
my tea choices. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snowbound 2015

Last week while Austin and I were home bound due to the 16+
inches of snow, minus 32 degrees, more snow, and ice. 
Austin and I drank many cups of TEA and 
I worked on our Family Tree using
(Caution!  It's addictive.  
I made progress, and found lots of exciting family information.
The photo above is of two cousins and me in 1955.  
Mary, do you recognize anyone?

Photo Below:
My paternal grandmother,Ollie, on the left, and her sisters, Mary and Lydia. 
Unfortunately, it is not marked with a date. 

Below: Ollie and Mary in 1940 

While I was immersed in family history, 
Austin played marathon computer games with his friends all over town.
It's interesting and entertaining to listen to him talk in computer game lingo 
to his buddies Adam, Thomas, Roy Alex, Dylan, and Ethan.

There were no cases of boredom in our home last week!  
We were warm, had plenty of TEA to drink, and our computers and electronic gadgets. 
So thankful the power stayed on here! 

Prayers for those who lost loved ones in the extreme cold temperatures, 
had damage to homes and businesses due to frozen water pipes
and heavy snow. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Where There Is Tea...

"Where there is tea, there is hope."
~ Sir Arthur Pinero ~ 

16+ inches of snow,
record breaking cold temperatures, 
and more snow predicted. 

Lots of tea and hope happening in my Kentucky home! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tilt-Top Tea Table

Our tilt-top tea tea table is a handmade cherry antique reproduction

Tilt-top clawfoot tea tables were very popular during 
the Revolutionary War period of the 1170s in America and England. 
They could easily be stowed along a wall when not in use. 

My tilt-top tea table has been featured many times on the blog
decorated for various holidays and special occasions. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ming Qian Dragonwell Shifeng (Green Tea)

 Today's cup of tea is Ming Qian Dragonwell Shifeng, 2014
from Red Blossom Tea Company 
The photo above shows the brew a little darker than it actually was. 
According to the Red Blossom Tea Company website, 
"this tea was gathered on March 26, 2014 from Shi Feng Shan, 
one of the most renowned Dragonwell producing areas of  Zhejiang Province.
Each bud and single leaf, a combination that is often called Qichlang or 'Flagged
Spear', is then pan-fired by hand in small batches."

"Shifeng Dragonwells are unique among the Dragonwell teas:  the leaf variety produces larger rounder leaf buds with a distinctive golden sheen — and pan-firing is typically done at lower temperatures but for a longer period of time.  The tea is organic, but not certified so." 

 "Shifeng styled Dragonwells are typically heartier, with a rich, 
buttery quality that is a result of leaf variety, terroir, and tea making style."
Most readers of this blog know, green tea is not my first choice of tea. 
But, this cup was very delicious, with a nice, smooth, mild flavor, 
I will order this tea to add to my selection of teas.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

February Wreath and Snow Updates

This is a "vintage" heart-shaped wreath from my friend Lynn.
I added a red bow for February and hung it on my front door.
Lynn and I have been friends since the 1970's since we were both young mothers.
We enjoyed a nice visit over lunch at Boone Tavern Hotel on Friday.
If you've seen the news, you know we are waiting
for a predicted massive snowfall here in Kentucky.
School was cancelled at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday for Monday.
My family is hoping for a week of cancelled school.
Time will tell if the predictions are correct...
10:00 A.M. update below
4:30 P.M. update below
12 inches of snow

7:30 P.M. update:  14 1/2 inches
the largest snowfall since 1998

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Celebrating Valentine's Week With Friendship

"My Sweet Friend Kind and Good
come and sit with me in the afternoon sunshine.
Sip your tea and share what's on your generous heart.
You must know I savor your thoughts
as much as I am blessed by your gentle kindness.
You refresh my soul and restore my joy.
You are my sweet friend — so kind and good!"
Sharing a Cup of Friendship
Harvest House Publishers 2013
Paintings by Sandy Lynam Clough

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine's Week

The tea cart sits in our "tea room" and has been decorated
in a Valentine's theme since February 1st.
The ribbon on the three tier server and the tea set change monthly.
The little lady bear holding the teacup and dressed in a pretty hat,
is helping celebrate.  She probably had a name on a tag when I found
her in a little shop in central Kentucky more than 10 years ago. 
But, if so, the tag has disappeared.  Is she a Boyds?  I don't know.
She has moveable arms and legs, and poses prettily on various holidays. 
The tea set and teacup trios are Duchess "June Bouquet."
I hand-carried them home in 2008, from a small china shop in
Stratford-upon-Avon, just a short walk from Shakespeare's home.
While the gentleman in china shop wrapped my purchases
and chatted with Glenn and Austin, I walked a short distance
to another shop and purchased carry-on bag to transport them home.
 (Fun memories!)
I like the pretty dainty rose pattern of the "June Bouquet."  
This set has been used several times for tea with family and friends.

Notice the large open sugar bowl and large milk jug?
The size is typical of many English tea sets. 

 I showed Austin the photo below while working on this post. 
He said I need to be sure you all know this photo was taken in 2008,
and not recently.  *Big Smile*
We celebrated his 9th birthday on the trip. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Taking Time

"Enjoy life sip by sip, not gulp by gulp"
~ The Minister of Leaves ~

Friday, February 6, 2015

Keemun Tea

Keemun Tea
 From Upton Tea Imports
"Often called the burgundy of teas, Chinese Keemuns are rich and flavorful.  Sweet, fruity and pleasantly full-bodied, these teas are usually enjoyed without the addition of milk or sugar.
Among the higher grades of Keemun, a delicate smoky nuance adds to the overall
flavor and appeal of the cup.   

I really like the details on the Upton Tea labels. They will personalize them, too. .
Keemun is produced in the Qimen County of Huangshan City in Anhui province of China.
Keemun was first produced in 1875, and is used in a  number of classic tea blends.

My preference is to brew Keemun for 3 minutes,
but remember, you need to experiment with different brewing
times to determine your favorite strength. 
I made a 4 cups on a Chatsford Teapot with an infuser basket.
Below you can see the lovely rich color of the leaves after brewing. 
My tea friends will not be surprised to hear
I enjoyed this First Grade China Keemun (black tea) and will be having more.

This brew reminded me of very pleasant tea time travels with Nancy Reppert.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fun Tea Decor

This is a cute tea gift I received at Christmas from Austin.
He found it at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.
It brings a little fun to my tea bookshelves.  
"You are going out for tea today,
So mind how you behave;
Let all accounts I hear of you
Be pleasant ones, I crave. "
~ Kate Greenway ~
From "365 Things Every Tea Lover Should Know"
Harvest House Publishers - 2008

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Downton Abbey Marathon

While most of the world was caught up in the Super Bowl hoopla
during the weekend, I held my own private party of watching
the remaining episodes of Downton Abbey Season 5.
Don't worry, I won't give away the twists and turns in the story. 

Austin came upstairs to tell me about the interesting ending to the Super Bowl 
game, then sat down with me to watch Downton Abbey.  
Having visited England three times in his first 9 years, he loves
the scenery of the English countryside and the people.  
Our family is very much overdue for another trip to England,
but it won't be this year because we have other travels planned.
I believe it's time for another cup of tea....

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Doily

Do you use doilies in your home?
I have memories of doilies being used in the homes of my mother,
 grandmother and aunts.
These are a few photos of doilies I use with teapots at home.
Currently, doilies are perceived as outdated or old-fashioned,
but I like the way the way my heirloom doilies look with my teapots,
and I like to use paper doilies with tea.
From the internet:
 "A doily is an ornamental mat typically made of paper or fabric, 
and used for protecting surfaces, or binding flowers, in food service presentation, etc. 
A doily is characterized by openwork, which allows the surface of the 
underlying object to show through.
Doilies are used to protect fine-wood furniture from scratches caused 
by crockery or decorative items, or from spilled tea when used
 on tea trays.  They are also used to protect the backs and arms of chairs" 

Doilies appeared in the early 1700's.  
They were produced and sold to be used as table protectors
by a Mr. Doiley who was a London fabric merchant.  
Paper versions were introduced by the French in the 1800's.  
 By the 19th century in America, crocheting doilies had become very popular.
The large doily in the two photos below and the first two above, 
were crocheted by my Aunt Mary, my mother's sister. 
I use it as a table topper on the small table below.  
The table was my grandmother's and later Aunt Mary's.      
 I saw several colors of doilies at Michael's last week
for $1.50 each and at Dollar Tree for $1. 

"Disposable paper doilies were designed as an inexpensive 
respectable alternative to crocheted and linen doilies, 
and used to decorate plates and placed under food." 

Photo below (from the internet)
"Queen Elizabeth II holding a doily-wrapped posy."

Do you use doilies in your home or when you are serving tea? 

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