When I was growing up tea was a thing of mystery. My family drank powdered iced tea of dubious quality, but that was about all I knew about tea. Except that tea was black and you bought cheap teabags at the grocery store and steeped them and probably added milk, sugar, lemon or whatever.

Some of the many black teas available for tea drinkers. (ETS image)

Some of the many black teas available for tea drinkers. (ETS image)

Once upon a time, at least outside of Asia, this is how things were done. Tea and black tea were synonymous and that was that. Yes, as I’ve noted before, imports to the United States of Japanese green tea and other types were significant in the nineteenth century but somewhere along the way something changed and black began to prevail.

But there are indications lately that black tea is not quite the dominating force that it was. Even a casual observer to what’s happening in the tea world has probably noticed the surge of interest in green tea and some of the lesser known types.

As it turns out, there is apparently evidence to support all of this. In the United Kingdom, that great bastion of black tea drinking, a recent article in the press there notes that “While sales of ordinary black tea bags have dropped by nearly five per cent in the past year, demand for green tea has rocketed by almost 10 per cent.”

In addition to green tea, beverage lovers there are also turning to fruit flavored teas and tisanes such as peppermint and chamomile, all of which have seen an increase of eight percent in a year. The good news for black tea is that the category still accounts for nearly twice as much in sales as all others combined. Not that the news is bad for all tea companies, mind you. At Yorkshire Tea they’ve managed to buck the trend and claim that their sales of mostly black tea have jumped by 66 percent over the course of the last five years.

A recent article in the Washington Post claimed that we’re gradually becoming a nation of tea drinkers. Maybe so and maybe not and I’ve already discussed that claim in a recent article for this site. But it’s also interesting to note the facts that were cited in the article, courtesy of the U.S. Tea Association.

As they note, the tea market in the U.S. has jumped from about two billion dollars in 1990 to more than ten billion dollars last year. Half of all the tea we drink is of the black kind (I’m certainly doing my part on that front), followed by fruit and herbal “tea.” Both categories are faltering however, with a small increase in the latter since 2000 and a drop of about 2.5 percent for black tea.

Not so for green tea, which has grown by about 40 percent since 2000 and now accounts for about a tenth of all of our tea. So-called fringe and artisanal teas like white and oolong and others have grown by about 8,000 percent in the last decade but still make up a fairly small portion of our tea market overall.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Various items in nature – plants, birds, fish, animals, insects, mountains, and so on – have been inspirations for artists and craftsmen for years. Sometimes, though, it seems that the resemblance is a little too uncanny! Thus it was the day we found a whole, intact cicada shell (the exoskeleton that he had wriggled his way out of and then flown off to await the hardening of the new one). I saw it and was immediately reminded of a certain teapot I had. So the urge to bring it inside and snap a photo or two was irresistible. And here is the result:

Cicada – real life versus teapot (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Cicada – real life versus teapot (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Cicadas are common in temperate-to-tropical climates. They are widely known, being of a large size and emitting a unique song. There are about 2,500 species of cicada, and they are related to leafhoppers, which are responsible for the flavor of a certain oolong tea known as Oriental Beauty. Small wonder they tend to ornament teapots like mine. But these insects have other aspects, too. They are an important food source in many countries, including China, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, the Congo, and Latin America. They were also popular in Ancient Greece. The females are meatier and therefore more sought. The shells are even used for medicines in China; a decoction is prepared by boiling down the shells to a concentrated broth that you drink, or they can be ground to a powder and added to water. The cicada (chán  蟬 or  蝉) is also an important symbol in China. It represents eternal youth and happiness, rebirth, immortality, and life after death (it survives underground for a long period of time and then emerges and flies into the sky).

Now, in case you’re wondering, a cicada on my teapot lid does not make the tea taste better nor assure that I will live to a ripe old age. It does assure me of getting a good grip on the teapot lid when I need one (and don’t we all need a good grip on things? hee!), and it adds a bit of cuteness (unless cicadas creep you out) to my tea time. This particular teapot is made in the Yixing area of China from Zisha clay. It is unglazed inside and out and therefore absorbs some of the tea during infusing. Over the years, this tea residue builds up and actually enhances each pot of tea. But you have to use each such teapot with a separate type of tea. This one is for oolongs in honor of those leafhopper relatives of the cicada.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Iced tea with lemon (stock photo)

Iced tea with lemon (stock photo)

Lemon and tea. They go together like, well, like birthday cake and mustard. But that’s just my opinion. Yours may vary and for a lot of people lemon is an essential part of the tea-drinking experience. But how did this come to be? It might be a task for a mightier historian than yours truly but I figured I’d try to sort it out anyway.

As it turns out, finding a definitive answer was not as easy as I anticipated. But one point that came to mind while researching the topic was the term “limey,” formerly (and perhaps still?) used to refer to British sailors. The term is derived from the practice of giving limes to these sailors to help prevent a dreadful malaise known as scurvy. In truth lemon juice would do just as well as lime and was often – perhaps more so than lime – given to sailors and frequently mixed into their grog (watered down rum).

For my money the combination of tea and lemon doesn’t seem like a particularly intuitive one. But given the fact that the British were rather fond of tea by this time, it’s probably not a big leap to speculate that lemon juice managed to make its way into tea as well. In 1794, a British sailor named William Hutchinson even theorized that it was his consumption of tea that help drive away the scourge of scurvy, though he did not mention lemon or other citrus. Which might not be totally farfetched, given that some types of tea are rather high in vitamin C.

But that’s kind of beside the point for the purposes of this article and doesn’t quite sort out how lemon came to tea. Fortunately, a recent book called Modern Tea: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage, by Lisa Boalt Richardson, gives a few more clues. It suggests that the concept of punch – supposedly from the Hindi word paunch – was picked up by British sailors in India. It was composed of water, sugar, lemon, arrack (distilled palm syrup) and tea. Later versions of punch might or might not have contained lemon and tea but in the end it’s likely that lemon might have made its way to tea through one of these paths.

Which ultimately led to what some feel is the greatest combination of tea and lemon. I think you know the one.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Awhile back I wrote about comfort foods and teas to go with them (see the article here). Some comfort foods are just right for your Autumn tea party. Time to focus on those.

A strong cuppa Assam, a dollop of fresh whipped cream, and a small lit candle make that pumpkin pie even more comforting. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A strong cuppa Assam, a dollop of fresh whipped cream, and a small lit candle make that pumpkin pie even more comforting. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Top of the list: Pumpkin Pie – oh yeah! You can buy one at the grocery or the local bakery, bake your own using a premade crust and canned pumpkin, or go all out with a handmade crust and your own filling made from a pie pumpkin (they tend to be about 8-10 inches in diameter). Teas to have with it: Ceylon black or green, Dragonwell (aka Longjing or Lungching), and Darjeeling.

Bread stuffing – no need for a bird! The best stuffing (as far as I’m concerned) is the kind that has been cooked inside that roasted turkey, but I’ll settle for the kind that is just baked or even the instant stovetop kind! Teas to have with it: Ceylon, Yunnan, Darjeeling, and Oolong (any).

Corn bread, corn pone, corn fritters – whatever form you choose, these corny foods are comforting, tasty, and great with tea. A touch of butter or (surprise!) clotted cream give them an even more comforting appeal. Teas to have with it: Assam, Ceylon, Yunnan, and Kenyan.

Coffee cake – but have it with tea! These baked delights are usually moister than regular cakes and flavored with cinnamon, brown sugar, and other sweet flavorings. They are unhappily misnamed since they go equally well with tea. And the combination can be even more comforting. Teas to have with it: same as for corn bread.

Scrambled eggs – easy, tasty, very comforting, and great with tea! Along with tea, I have noticed more and more the mention of scrambled eggs in movies (even ones from the 1930s and 1940s) as a quick and comforting food to have during time of trouble. Of course, you can also have them during times of calm – which is even better. Teas to have with it: Assam, Ceylon, Keemun, Darjeeling, Kenyan, and Oolong (any).

Baked squash – cousin to the pumpkin. We tend to like Acorn Squash, baked, with butter and garlic. But you can prepare it other ways and sweeten with honey or brown sugar. It all depends on if you want something more savory or dessert-like. Teas to have with it: same as for pumpkin pie.

Don’t forget a little candle to set the mood! Daylight hours are shorter and temperatures are cooler, so that little flame will add a bit of light and warmth.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there’s a festival to fit every taste or interest, but there are certainly some offbeat ones. For example, there’s the Underwater Music Festival, held in the Florida Keys, Australia’s Tunarama, which features a tuna tossing event, and Mexico’s Night of the Radishes. And of course, there are tea festivals. They might not be quite so offbeat as the above mentioned, but there’s certainly no shortage of them. As we noted most recently in an article located here. Which covered many of the “big name” tea fests that people are more likely to have heard of. But there are a few others that might not be as well-known that I thought were worth a mention.

Canada was well represented on previous lists with the Victoria Tea Festival and the Toronto Tea Festival but Ottawa is also getting in on things with the appropriately named Ottawa Tea Festival. The 2014 incarnation of the festival will take place in December, and it appears that it has been going on for at least two years already. Also in Canada, there’s a festival that’s geared more toward industry types and in which tea shares billing with that other drink. That’s The Canadian Coffee & Tea Show, which takes place in Mississauga, Ontario.

On the other side of the Atlantic, there’s Scotland’s Tea Festival, which I mentioned recently in another article. It got underway for the first time ever in August, 2014, but let’s hope to see more of it in upcoming years. Other festivals in this part of the world that also share billing with the other drink are the Dublin Coffee & Tea Festival and The Tea & Coffee Festival, which is held in London.

Finally, let’s be sure not to forget South Korea. Where the green tea growing region of Boseong celebrates with the Boseong Green Tea Festival. Their web site is mostly in Korean so here’s some information in English from a Korean tourism site.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Awhile back I wrote a whole slew of poems about tea and other things such as chrysanthemums. These wonderful flowering plants are particular favorites, especially during Autumn, for inspiring my inner Muse. And they go nice with tea time!

‘Mums add a lovely Autumn touch to tea time! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

‘Mums add a lovely Autumn touch to tea time! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Chrysanthemums have been cultivated in China since the 15th century B.C. They regarded this flowering herb as an important part of their medicines. (Chrysanthemum tisane is said to have numerous health benefits, but I will leave that for you to discuss with your doctor.) In Chinese symbology, the chrysanthemum is known as Autumn, one of the Four Gentlemen (the four seasons). It also signifies the 10th month of the lunar calendar (roughly equivalent to October) as well as longevity and eternity. In Japan, the Festival of Happiness celebrates the chrysanthemum, which is the symbol of the Emperor there. Australians, whose seasons are reversed from those here in the U.S., present chrysanthemums to mothers on their Mother’s Day (in May which is their Autumn). The chrysanthemum is also the flower of November. It has been cultivated here in the U.S. since 1798 when a variety called “Dark Purple” was imported from England.

Tea with Chrysanthemum vs. “Chrysanthemum Tea”

In parts of Asia, including China, yellow and white chrysanthemum flowers (species C. morifolium) are boiled to make a sweet drink called “chrysanthemum tea” (菊花茶, júhuā chá). This is not really a tea. The term chá covers any liquid where plant matter is infused or is boiled to make a decoction. In English, many have adopted the term “tisane” (from the French) or call these beverages by the term “infusions.” This distinguishes them from tea with chrysanthemum. Many versions of “chrysanthemum tea” are available, including one in the Chanakara Assortment (Chakra #7: White Lotus – a pale golden infusion of white lotus, chamomile, chrysanthemum, and linden).

Tea with chrysanthemum, on the other hand, has true tea in it. True tea is the kind made from the leaves of the family of plants under the name Camellia sinensis. There are several varietals and many cultivars. They have a variety of aromas and flavors, depending on where grown, when harvested, and how processed. Some are so wonderful that it’s a shame to add anything to them, but maybe it’s like adding some spices to your stew. Chrysanthemum petals are one such “spice,” adding their unique qualities to those of the tea leaves.

Sprucing Up Tea Time with Chrysanthemums

“Mums,” as they are often called, are very popular in Fall. A nice vase full or a potted plant gracing your tea table will add a great atmosphere. White, yellow, rust, etc., add their beauty and aroma (which, incidentally, help deter insects from ‘bugging’ you!). If you don’t want the actual flowers, go with some teawares or table linens with chrysanthemum designs on them. Whatever your choice, you’ll have a very festive tea time!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Café by day. Bar by night. Fun things to do.”

This is how Drink, Shop & Do describes itself, and this London tea spot certainly does offer a wide variety of entertainment. As well as serving food and drink, it hosts a range of events from dancing, to poetry readings, to arts and crafts activities, to live DJ sessions. But it was their food and drink that was my focus on a recent visit—or, to be specific, their tea.

Interior of Drink, Shop & Do - party time! (photo from their web site)

Interior of Drink, Shop & Do – party time! (photo from their web site)

Drink, Shop & Do has a lovely selection of loose teas, which are ordered by the pot. In addition to the unflavoured black teas, several flavoured black teas sit alongside a range of rooibos infusions, a white tea, and a standard (but still tasty) Japanese green tea (they did not specify which one, but my guess is a sencha). I was there with a few friends and since we ordered different teas I was able to sample more than just one of Drink, Shop & Do’s offerings.

I ordered the green tea (the suspected sencha), and it was no more nor less than what I would expect: the slightly sweet, grassy taste of green tea came through clearly, and the presence of an infuser allowed me to steep it to my preferred strength. One tea companion ordered the chai — not a traditional Indian masala chai, but a black tea flavoured with various spices. It was very aromatic, and flavourful to boot; the spices were deliciously strong. However, if you are not partial to strongly spiced teas, this chai may not be one that you would enjoy. The third tea drinker in our party ordered a classic: Earl Grey. This Early Grey blend had a decently strong black base, which meant that, although it was still aromatic, for me this would be a morning brew rather than a light afternoon tea. But since I find it hard to go wrong with an Earl Grey, this tea certainly got my approval.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about Drink, Shop & Do is its décor. The furniture is charmingly mismatched, and the colourful interior gives the café a fun vibe. The mismatched theme continues in their teawares, and it is always a lovely surprise to see what style of teacup and teapot your tea will arrive in. And, significantly for this tea drinker, most of their teapots are very generously sized. One of our party actually found himself unable to finish his pot—not a common occurrence, I can assure you! But fear not, the unwanted tea did not stay unwanted for long.

All in all, Drink, Shop & Do is a lovely place to stop off for a (large) pot of tea. And, if you are up for something a little more extravagant, or if you fancy a bite to eat, they also do a traditional Afternoon Tea, along with several variations on the theme (such as “Boozy Afternoon Tea” and “Man’s Afternoon Tea”)…

Tempting. Perhaps I’ll sample some of those on my next visit.

Can’t get to London? Shop for the same tasty teas here.

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Consistency for many is a very good thing while for others it is a bit of a bore. The same is true of consistent tea. For some it is ho-hum and for others it is the “must have” cuppa three, four, or even five times a day. So, what is a consistent tea and what makes it so appealing to many? Time for a closer look.

Stephen Twining (right) helping to get the proper blend (Screen capture from video)

Stephen Twining (right) helping to get the proper blend (Screen capture from video)

What Is Consistent Tea

In short, consistent tea is one that maintains a consistent flavor cup after cup. This can be tricky to achieve. Tea crops vary due to a number of factors. There are things like the growing climate for that harvest (called a “flush”), when the harvest is done (there are from 3 to 5 per year for most black teas), where the teas are grown (China, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Australia, etc.), the tea plant cultivar (there are hundreds with some being better for producing black teas and others for green, oolong, pu-erh, and white teas), and even how they are harvested and processed (by machine or by hand – usually it’s a combination of the two). These differences mean that the batch of tea leaves from one garden harvested in the Springtime will be different from the leaves harvested in late Summer or in Autumn from the same garden or even one nearby. This can pose a huge challenge for tea companies who want to satisfy customers that have become accustomed to their tea tasting the same cup after cup after cup, something that came about over time, presumably thanks to companies like Twinings. And a process called blending.

Some Notes on Tea Blending

This step in the processing of tea leaves is the key to achieving that consistent tea flavor. It, combined with carefully selecting the batches of harvested tea leaves, will determine the flavor profile of the finished product. The process will make use of the strengths of each batch of tea leaves used (they can be from different countries or just different growers in a particular area of one country, such as Kenya). Attributes like clarity, color, flavor, and aroma are balanced to get just the right result and to bring out the best of each batch. The top vendors selling these blended teas go through quite a process. They will cup a sample (steep some and taste it) sent to them by the grower. They place an order based on the cupping results. When the shipment arrives at their blending facility they will cup some of that. (They may even try some right off the delivery truck.) And of course they will cup some after the blending to be sure all has gone as planned.

Some Consistent Tea Brands

PG Tips, Twinings, Typhoo, Bewley’s, Barry’s, Taylors of Harrogate, Harney & Sons, Red Label, Lyon’s, and a host of others are all blended for this consistent flavor. In fact, they have more than one blend, each created for certain characteristics.

Some examples:

  • Yorkshire Gold Label Tea is a blend of teas from India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and Africa that have been balanced to produce a malty tea with a rich brown color and overall stronger flavor that is great for breakfast with milk and sugar added to smooth things out. In contrast, the Yorkshire Red Label Tea blends premium teas from the same countries but for a strong aroma, rich color, and satisfying flavor.
  • Barry’s has a Gold Blend, an Irish Breakfast blend, and a Classic Blend. The gold has a uniquely refreshing taste and a bright golden color, using the finest quality teas from the high mountain slopes of Kenya and the Assam Valley of India skillfully selected. The Irish breakfast is robust and designed for any time of day, a little smoother and milder than the gold version, using teas from the high-mountain slopes of Kenya and the Assam Valley of India (gives the tea a pungency, strength and flavor). The classic uses only the finest teas, blended by experts, to create a taste that is distinctive and refreshing and enjoyable every day and for any occasion.
  • PG Tips has their original signature tea blend and several new ones, including The Fresh One and The Strong One. The original has been around for over 75 years, blending the finest Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas to produce a rich and refreshing flavor. The Fresh One is a blend of 100% Kenyan tea (from various growers) for a fresh and smooth taste and an aroma like “freshly baked bread.” It steeps up a deep red color and is as fresh as tea gets. The Strong One is a blend of Kenyan and other African teas for a bold taste, a strong, bright red coloring, malty aroma, and thick tea character.

The Appeal

The appeal here is that people can pick a brand and then don’t have to think any further. They will know what to expect when they steep some up. This is great when their tea needs are fairly straightforward, wanting something to lift them up in the morning, soothe and invigorate at lunch, perk them up at Afternoon Tea, and yes even calm them in the evening. For many there is nothing to equal that cuppa Typhoo or Lyon’s, etc., for giving them the predictable flavor and effect they want. And the professional blenders have the very important task of assuring those brands live up to that expectation.

Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Is the United States a nation of tea drinkers? Most people who know anything about the topic would probably say that we are not. While we drink quite a bit of iced tea, at least relative to the hot kind, our overall consumption doesn’t rank us among the world’s great tea-drinking nations. In fact, our twelve ounces a year only places us near the bottom end of the top seventy of tea-drinking nations, in a tie with those voracious tea drinkers in Somalia.

But that’s all changing – if we’re to believe a recent article in none other than the Washington Post, titled “America is Slowly—But Surely—Becoming a Nation of Tea Drinkers.” Their claim is that “There’s a quiet, and lightly caffeinated, trend brewing in America.” Which I won’t quibble with. As we’ve noted many times in these very pages, tea has been on the upswing here in the United States in past decades.

The post quantifies this by noting that in just over two decades there’s been a five-fold increase to $10 billion dollars annually, according to numbers provided by the US Tea Association. If that’s not enough to convince you then consider the USDA’s estimate that tea imports to the US have jumped by more than 700 percent in the last 50 years.

The article goes on to note that we like iced tea best and prefer black over any other type but also notes that green tea drinking is on the rise. Oh, and coffee consumption has largely remained stagnant for about the last 40 years. Nor will I quibble with any of this.

But while I can’t really argue with any of the above I’d stop short of saying that we’ve become or are becoming a nation of tea drinkers, as much as I’d like that. The article claims that “Tea has infiltrated most Americans’ everyday routine,” but I’d venture to say that for many of the people I know – with a rare exception now and then – tea still is a subject that barely comes up on their radar. Which is anecdotal evidence at best but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I love Autumn. The cooler temperatures that bring relief after Summer’s heat. The lower humidity level that makes that cooler air seem refreshing. And the colors. Especially the colors. So why not bring that indoors to your Autumn tea table? One great way is with a dishware pattern. There are tons to choose from, but these seven caught my eye. They show the variety that’s out there, mainly featuring colorful Autumn leaves but also a classic design with a very plump turkey – we had this pattern (#7 in the image below) as kids and ate our Thanksgiving dinner off of them every year. Just the sight of them can make me start salivating for my mom’s cooking.

7 patterns to set an Autumn mood (Yahoo! Images composite by A.C. Cargill)

7 patterns to set an Autumn mood (Yahoo! Images composite by A.C. Cargill)

1 Hall’s Autumn Leaf

Created starting in 1933 and ending in 1976 by the Hall China Company exclusively for the Jewel Tea company in Barrington, Illinois, that gave out pieces to customers as premiums when they purchased other products (now a grocery store chain in the northern Midwest). Different pieces would be discontinued over the years to make customers want them more. The teapot is especially sought after.

2 Franciscan Autumn Leaves

This pattern is called Autumn Leaves and was made by Franciscan China between 1955 and 1966. Delicately designed leaves in various colors are on a cream-colored and speckled background. It’s pretty typical for its era and is in what is called the coupe shape, the same as their Starburst pattern but not as popular.

3 Taylor Smith & Taylor Autumn Harvest

The Taylor, Smith & Taylor Pottery was founded in 1899 by C. A. Smith and Col. John N. Taylor. They took over the facilities of the Taylor, Smith & Lee Pottery that had ceased operations three years earlier and enjoyed quite a bit of success until closing in 1981. They were historical for being one of the first potteries in the U.S. to switch from older methods used by “pioneer potteries” to the most modern mechanical devices available at that time. This pattern was made from 1959 to 1965. (See more about the company here.)

4 222 Fifth Autumn Celebration

The 222 Fifth is a brand name used by PTS America, in New York City, the marketing and distribution arm for PT Sango Ceramics, Indonesia. Their Autumn Celebration pattern, featuring glorious fall foliage, is discontinued but remains very collectible. Bold patterns featuring plants, flowers, geometrics, and even some solid colors are fairly typical for this brand. They also control the entire manufacturing process to assure quality, blending the raw materials to create their own porcelain, stoneware, and fine china. The patterns are applied using a silkscreening process that is regarded as one of the finest around.

5 Royal Albert Lorraine

From Royal Albert LTD., maker of many fine china wares. The Lorraine pattern of grapes and leaves are beautifully painted in hues of blues, greens, browns, and purple.

6 Ganz Autumn Leaf

This pattern features embossed leaves and green trim. It’s part of the Bella Casa line of products from Ganz, a privately-held family company established in 1950 by Samuel Ganz and sons Jack and Sam Ganz. The headquarters is in Toronto, Canada. In the beginning they made toys, especially plush kinds like the popular Webkinz and even a plush Grumpy Cat! Later they added collections of giftware, tabletop accents, candles and personal care, garden décor and more. The Autumn Leaf pattern is discontinued, but you can find pieces here and there online.

7 Johnson Brothers Autumn Monarch

This pattern features an ornate fruit and vegetable design on the rim of the plate and a puffed up tom turkey in the center. Made by Johnson Bros, (Hanley) Ltd., a firm founded at Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in 1883 (in 2003 they moved their manufacturing operations to China just as many others have done). In 1888, they began producing under-glaze printed ware for which they became famous, so much so that they had to open up additional factories to meet demand. In the 1930s, they started bringing in more modern production methods, including kilns run by electricity. This pattern is discontinued but, as I said above, was around and served up our Thanksgiving dinners for several years when I was a kid. It holds a special place in my memory and would certainly do the same for you.

Seek out these or other patterns for a fabulous Autumn tea table!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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