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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A nice cup of tea

In this month's Top Ten Tips about the care and maintenance of her muse, Diane Perkins mentioned providing her with tea and scones, so I thought I'd blog about tea, which is a very important part of my life.

The origins of tea seem a bit vague--I've read that someone, thousands of years ago in China, felt like a nice cup of hot water, and brewed up beneath a tea bush. He found the leaves that fell into his cup improved things immensely and so was born the nice cup of tea.

Tea first came to England in the seventeenth century when it was acclaimed as having healthful properties and quickly became the fashionable drink of the time. At first very expensive, it gradually became affordable although even in 1810 tea caddies were made with locks. This beautiful example is made of rosewood with bone decorations and it has two interior storage areas--one for green tea and one for black. Quite often tea served as a sort of currency, with servants sometimes receiving a tea allowance as part of their wages (yes, I write historicals. How did you guess?)

Of course to make your tea taste extra special you need a lovely teapot (I admit to using a tea/coffee press purely because I have broken so many teapots in my time) and if I did own a gorgeous example like this one from 1820 I wouldn't dare use it. I have a truly vulgar teapot in the shape of a cottage and I shall always regret not picking up the one in the shape of an elephant in the same store.

Do you like tea, and if so, what sort do you drink? Do you own any nice teapots?

Janet (inviting you to the Spiced Tea Party blog where she partakes of refreshment as Jane Lockwood).


At 5:58 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

I have two teapots, Janet. One is English bone china, the other matches some Lenox mugs I have, the Butterfly Meadow series.

Unfortunately, the teapot is very hard to pour...

I like English Breakfast Tea, nice and strong.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

I also have two teapots. One is the Spode teapot I shared in my blog post about tea last month, and the other is a white pot decorated with gold bamboo designs.

My father bought the bamboo tea set in Hong Kong during the Korean War. The cups are eggshell china--you can see through them when you hold them up to the light--and the saucers are actually little trays large enough for all sorts of tea goodies.

Like Diane, I like English breakfast tea. I also enjoy Oolong and Jasmine and the occasional green tea.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Alipurr said...

Earl Grey is the tea I am craving these days...unsure if it is related to my pregancy, since I have always loved hot tea (and teapots, too)

(I am a friend of trish milburn's, btw, hopped over here from there)

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Lorelle said...

I do miss the Typhoo tea we had in England and the rich milk that was almost yellow in color. I arrived in England at barely 119 lbs. and left at 130 lbs. It had to be the milk I put in my tea because I walked everywhere.

I have yet to find an American tea to match Typhoo, sadly. Just as well I left my teapot and strainer in England.


At 6:59 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Janet, another beautiful teapot! I need to get one. I love tea. I especially love any sort of mint or peppermint tea.

Thanks for the fun info on tea!


At 2:26 PM, Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Lorelle, if you have an Indian grocery store near you, they generally have very reasonably priced good tea. You can dig out that tea strainer once more.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

I have a yixing teapot that I bought at the leaf, and I only brew my Shanghai oolong in it. Yixing (pronounced yee-shing) are made of clay and take on the taste of the tea over time. They're named after the type of clay made in that area. I don't have any really glamorous teapots. They're all pretty utilitarian. One does have cats on it, though.


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