You love your tea kettle. It is there for you when you are happy, sad, angry, or need a good pick-me-up. It brews the hot water for your tea, coffee, cocoa, and many other things to make that specialIMG_20160721_2217203_rewind drink for you. But sometimes, your tea kettle may need a bit of love and care itself.

Over time, your tea kettle may develop limescale, mineral deposits, and hard water residue. If you see any buildup in your tea kettle, whether it’s electric or standard stove top, don’t worry! It can easily be fixed with something that might be sitting right in your cupboard!

Ingredients:

  • White Vinegar
  • Water

Directions:

Warning: Be sure to UNPLUG your electric tea kettle and let it cool before cleaning! Safety is always a must when handling electric appliances.

IMG_20160721_2213418_rewindFor Electric Kettles:

  • Fill your kettle with equal parts (about 1 cup of both) white vinegar and water, then let it soak for about an hour.
  • Turn on the kettle and let the solution boil up until it’s at a rolling boil or the kettle shuts off. After that, pour out the solution and rinse thoroughly with water, about once or twice.
  • Fill with water and boil again to clear out the vinegar from the kettle. It should be ready to use once you have boiled water in it once or twice, to be safe.

For Range-Top Kettles:

  • Fill your kettle with equal parts (about 1 cup of both) white vinegar and water, then let it soak for about an hour.
  • Set the kettle onto the stove, turn it on, and let the kettle get to a rolling boil. Turn off the stove and pour out the solution. Rinse thoroughly with water, about once or twice. Like with the electric kettle, fill with water and boil about one or two times.
  • If there is still a little bit of residue left, try wiping with a damp sponge.

If you look at my pictures, I admit I did not wait an hour because I was too excited to try this experiment out and it did work on my Ovente kettle! So if your kettle is not brewing the best water for your tea and other drinks, try this method before going out and buying a special cleaner. It’s cheap and it’s a “life hack” that you have mastered.

before

Before Cleaning

after

After Cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-CD

 

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(c) Crystal Derma – English Tea Store

We are in well into the beginning of summer and in the end of Iced Tea Month. The weather has already warmed up and many have switched from their standard hot tea to iced tea. Independence Day (also known as Fourth of July) is upon us and so many us of are either preparing for a big barbecue or are going to one. Others are just trying to escape the unbearable summer heat.

What other way to escape the heat than ice pops? What if I said you could use tea in your ice pops? It may sound crazy but it’s a very refreshing idea. You could use tea alone or you could add whatever else you want, like fruit or juice. All you simply need is a mold (and a few popsicle sticks if your ice mold is like mine). Simply brew your tea, any kind you like, and just let it cool. Once you are finished brewing and cooling, fill the molds so they don’t overflow and freeze. Every ice pop mold varies, so your ice mold may come with sticks or you may have to buy them separately. Once filled, freeze overnight for best results. To release from the molds, fill a bowl, pan, or container that is at least as tall as your mold with warm water and dip ice mold with pops in for about 20-30 seconds until the pops loosen. If you still have a bit of trouble getting them loose, dip them again. They should come out. Serve and enjoy!

For just a few of my flavors, I used a few flavors like Tangiers Lemon White Tea mixed with Lemonade, Pomegranate Hibiscus Green mixed with Pomegranate juice, Hawaiian Colada Rooibos with some fresh cut pineapple, and Bingo Blueberry with fresh cherries. It’s perfect for everyone, including children!

Bonus idea! Freeze tea so you can add it to your iced tea instead of plain ice without watering it down! Perfect for enjoying in the shade with family and friends or by the poolside.

-CD

 

national-iced-tea-month-june

If you have ever used a slow cooker to slow cook something, then you might know that slower is sometimes better. It’s wonderful for foods like beef stew or roasts. I love to slow cook something all day because the r20160608_085026esults are always worth it. The same goes with tea. Depending on the tea you’re brewing, sometimes it’s worth brewing it just a bit longer for a wonderful flavor.

This method applies with Sun Tea. What is Sun Tea? It is tea that has been brewed and left out in the sun for several hours. It is very easy to make.

All you need is about 3-5 teabags of your favorite tea (the most common used is Lipton but I used Yorkshire) or more, depending on how strong you like your tea, distilled or filtered water, and a large clear container with a lid.

 

 

 

  • Simply fill the container with water and add the teabags.
  • Take the container out to a sunny area, either indoors or outdoors, where it gets a lot of sun (or else it’s not sun tea!) and let it stand for about 2-4 hours.
  • Bring it out of the sun and chill in the refrigerator. Once chilled, add sweetener and ice to taste. Enjoy!

Sun Tea is the best during the summer because it puts the summer heat and sun to good use and “boils” the tea for you, saving energy and money on your gas and/or 20160614_151446electric bill. You won’t need to use a kettle so it doesn’t heat up your home. Try making some Sun Tea this summer. You will not be disappointed!

Tips:

  • Try making Sun Tea with other kinds of tea, like green or herbal.
  • Add fruit or herbs with the brew for a lovely flavor!

-CD

GraduationCongratulations to all of this year’s graduates! It’s graduation season and we’re currently at the peak of graduation season, at least in my state, California. Here in California, many schools graduate in June while many other states in the country graduate at an earlier date, in May. Many graduates range from Kindergarten to college and many other schools. The grads definitely deserve something for all the hard work they’ve put in over the years. Here are some possible gift ideas, especially if your grad is a tea lover:

Iced Tea: With summer approaching, what better gift to give than iced tea? Our range has a wide selection of teabags suitable for brewing and icing or specially made to be iced. We have our new English Tea Store iced range with varieties like peach black and raspberry black. Both teas are a lovely mix of Ceylon and black teas with just a hint of fruit flavor. If you’re not a fan of iced tea, you can also enjoy them hot, as well.

English Tea Store Samplers: If your tea loving graduate likes tea but doesn’t know which one to stick to, there’s always our sampler packs. Each sampler pack is 5-8 teabags of different flavors and the best part is many have a special theme. There’s a Summertime Sampler pack which tolsll_grnskc_1feature the best flavors of summer like lemon, raspberry, and even includes blends like Monk’s and the Highlander. Then there’s also the Tea With Friends Sampler which include China Jasmine Green and Ontario Breakfast. We also have loose leaf for those who prefer to brew with special teaware or not make any waste with tea bags by going green. The difference with the loose leaf is they are 1 ounce per bag and also vary in price, depending on the quantity of samples. The sample packs are seriously some of the best things we have!

Sweets: My niece graduated middle school and she absolutely loves sweets. I gave her some of her favorites and she was truly delighted to receive them. Your grad might love the same thing, especially with British candy like Cadbury or Kinder, which was one of my niece’s favorites. With summertime conventions coming up, Jelly Babies are some of the biggest British sweets currently sold in the US thanks to a certain time traveling man on TV and my fiance once dressed as a certain time traveling man in a big blue box for a convention we went to in Baltimore back in 2012 (the day the London Olympics started). If your grad is a big fan of this certain show, snag a bag because these go fast! And finally, toffee! If your grad has a sweet tooth or just likes toffee, Walkers makes the best around.

On behalf of the English Tea Store, I would like to congratulate all the grads of 2016!

 

-CD

Iced-Tea-2016

Here we go again! We’re back in the summer months and that means warmer weather and colder tea. Roughly 80 percent of Americans take their tea iced and sweetened. Surprisingly, the British still take their tea hot! This is possibly due to tradition and the weather difference. American summer is much more hot and humid than British summers can be.

One of the most popular types of iced tea in the US is sweet tea, which is more predominant in the Southern states but has become more popular in Western and Northern states like California and Oregon. And I myself being raised in an American family, they all take their tea iced and sweet. Other people take their iced tea flavored with a bit of lemon, peach, or raspberries for a nice hint of fruit flavor.

In the coming weeks, I will show you how to take your iced tea to the next level. This means more ways than just having your tea iced the plain old way! You’ll learn how to brew the tea differently and even enjoy your iced tea in a different form. A whole new form? That’s right! You can cool off in more ways than one with tea this summer. This June is going to be the best for iced tea! Stay tuned!

And don’t forget National Iced Tea Day on June 10th! Be sure to celebrate with a refreshing glass of iced tea, however you like it.

For more information on iced tea, visit my post from June 2015: https://blog.englishteastore.com/2015/06/10/national-iced-tea-day/

-CD

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With Memorial Day come and gone and summer just around the corner, I realize that I still haven’t gotten any of my spring cleaning done. There are several rooms in my house and spaces like closets, pantries, and cupboards that need to be taken care of. One cupboard I have is a tea cupboard. Now, I admit that I have a LOT of boxes and pouches of tea. My tea cupboard is where, unfortunately, tea bags, boxes, and pouches like to tumble out and fall on me like an avalanche. I have this bad habit of seeing a tea I want to try and/or like and I buy it, storing it in the cupboard for when I’m craving a certain type of tea (has anyone ever craved a Twinings Mixed Berries tea in the middle of the day?).

IMG_20160530_1310372_rewindA certain retro video game that involves stacking boxes comes to use at a time like this. If you take the time to think strategically, you canIMG_20160530_1329211_rewind fit the boxes of tea in just the right spots, stacking and organizing. However, while cleaning out your tea cupboard, box, basket, or however you keep your tea collection in, you may come across some old, expired tea. I’ve done this many times, where I have had old tea, lost and forgotten. If you have a lot of individually wrapped tea bags in boxes, you can take them and put them in a tea chest. You can take your tea bags, organize them by either flavor or type, however you want to do it, and put them in eight separate compartments. You can display them or keep it anywhere you want, like on a counter in the kitchen.

If you have a lot of loose tea or just have a lot of loose tea bags that are not individually wrapped, like Yorkshire Tea or Typhoo, then tea tins might be your answer. Our English Tea Store Tea Tins come with their own labels It is also a great way to save space in your cupboardIMG_20160530_1320181_rewind and makes a very nice display for your countertop or table to have your tea tins within reach. The labels come pre-printed so if you have English Breakfast, Assam, or if you have another type like decaf, you can write on the blank ones. For mine, I used Bingo Blueberry since I have tons of it and my nephews are always asking for a cup. These tins also make an excellent gift to give to someone, just add a little treat in there.

IMG_20160530_1328225_rewindIn addition to the tea tins, it’s not just for saving space, but it is also good for keeping tea fresher for just a bit longer. If you really want no air to get in, however, these air locking canisters are your best bet. It holds up to 16 ounces of tea and the cliplock latches closed so it helps keep air out. Plus, it comes with a tea scoop so you can be able to measure tea a bit better. Did I mention this canister has a little tea shaped window so you can identify which tea is in the canister?

It took me a bit of time to get my tea cupboard more organized but it’s finally done. Now that I have my tea all in order, that’s one thing off my list! Now onto the next thing on my late-spring cleaning…the rest of the house.

Happy Summer

-CD

 

IMG_6119

(c) Julia Briggs

  • Oven 190 C, 375 F, Gas mark 5
  • A greased two pound loaf tin
  • 6 oz butter
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs or 2 eggs and the whites from another recipe
  • 4 oz self raising flour
  • 2 oz ground almonds ( for a different texture, you can use all flour though)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

 

  • Icing (of your choice) I used:
  • a 7 oz block of dark chocolate and
  • 3 oz butter melted together then poured of the finished cake

IMG_6113Cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs and beat hard.  Slowly add the flour, milk and ground almonds if using and combine well.   Now divide your mixture into two and add the cocoa powder to one half.  Spoon the two mixtures alternatively into the tin and tap down to rid the mixture of any air pockets.

Now with a thin knife blade or a skewer draw through the mixture to mixIMG_6114 slightly and produce a marbled effect.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch.  Test with a cake test or skewer.  Leave to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

Place a plate under the rack to catch any drips then make up the icing and pour over the cake.  Enjoy a thick slice with any tea you like.  -JAB

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Every year and everywhere there are always events that are always talked about. In the US, while there are events like the Kentucky Derby or the Academy Awards, where there will always be talk about what who was wearing. In the UK, things are different. At the Chelsea Flower Show, not too much of that goes on! The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it’s all about the flowers!

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Leisuregrouptravel.com

Every May, the Royal Horticultural Society holds an annual flower show that is attended by many each year. While it is not the largest like it once was, it is still the most prestigious. The show is held on the grounds of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea in London nearly every year (with the exception of the two World Wars) since 1913. This flower show is the biggest flower show where gardening enthusiasts can see modern flower designs and even get new ideas and inspiration for their own gardens.

flowershow

Leisuregrouptravel.com

For five days (originally four until several years ago), the Chelsea Flower Show is held with great interest and it hasgrown in popularity in recent years, attracting over one hundred thousand visitors each year, including celebrities and the British Royal Family. It is televised exclusively on the BBC but if you are one of the lucky few, you can purchase a ticket in advance to see it in person. However, they may be sold out! Once tickets go on sale, they go very quickly since they are in limited supply due to small space. There are some days  and times exclusively for RHS members, but there are tickets for the general public but it is always best to enquire with the RHS for ticket sales.

chelsea-flower-show

Leisuregrouptravel.com

If you are able to acquire a ticket, it is well worth the price you pay. The flowers are viewed in such beautifully designed gardens and awards are given out to the best gardens and to the best florist (Florist of the Year). Along with the awards, new flowers are introduced at the Chelsea Flower Show. For 2016, the Princess Charlotte Chrysanthemum (Rossano Charlotte) was unveiled for all to see (and smell)!

The Chelsea Flower Show is a sight to see and scent to smell. It is something one must put on their bucket list! You will not regret it!

-CD

 

IMG_6124

(c) Julia Briggs

Looking through an old recipe book of my Mother’s for something tasty to make I came across these biscuits.  They always looked impressive after they had been wrapped round the rolling pin and they do taste nice.

You will need:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 4 oz icing sugar
  • 4 oz plain flour
  • Finely grated zest of one large orange
  • 3 oz butter (melted)

You need to make up the mixture and leave it for 30 minutes so no need to put the oven on until after that unless you are cooking other things.  Next week’s recipes is for a marbled cake and I used the three egg yolks left over from this recipe in that.

Whisk the icing sugar with the egg whites lightly and then stir in the flour orange zest and melted butter until well combined.  Leave the mixture in the bowl covered with a tea towel for half an hour. Set the oven to 200 C, 400 F gas mark 6.

IMG_6116

(c) Julia Briggs

Grease or line some baking sheets, then place three teaspoons of mixture on one baking sheet spread apart and stretch each spoonful into a larger, thinner circle.  Continue with the other sheets and bake for about 10-12 minutes until just starting to go brown around the edges.

 

IMG_6117

(c) Julia Briggs

Whilst still hot from the oven wrap each biscuit around a rolling pin to curl and then leave to set.  Just as with brandy snaps, if they go too cold they will break rather than curl, in this case you can just put them back into the oven for a minute or two to soften again then they will curl nicely.  Continue with until you have used up all the mixture and then leave them all to go cold.

They will store for up to one week in an airtight tin.  Serve with a good cup of mint tea and your guests will be most impressed.

-JAB

IMG_6111

(c) Julia Briggs

Who likes anything with lemon in it?  Most of you I am guessing.  Even my hubby likes these biscuits and he does not like lemon!

The recipe for these biscuits is very old and I can no longer read the name but I know it was from an old Italian lady and began with B.

 

If anybody knows these biscuits then please let me know.

You will need:

  • 2 greased baking sheets
  • Oven 180 C  350 F  Gas Mark 4
  • 8 oz flour
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Zest and some juice of half a lemon
IMG_6109

(c) Julia Briggs

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar.  Cube the butter and rub it into the flour and sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg yolks,then add the  vanilla essence, lemon zest and a small amount of lemon juice and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix well until the dough comes together.  Shape the dough into a sausage and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Then remove the dough and divide into approximately 12 pieces, use your hand to shape the biscuits into either rounds, circles or S shapes.

Place on the greased baking sheets and bake for about 10-15 minutes until the biscuits are pale golden and firm to the touch.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.  If you like you can make some icing with icing sugar and the rest of the lemon juice for some of the biscuits.  They do go down well with a nice cup of tea.

-JAB

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. 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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