Tea has been seen as a “woman’s beverage” in Europe and the U.S. since it was popularized in Britain by Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza after her marriage to Prince Charles II. As tea became more popular, a lot of tea rooms became havens where women could go and not be seen as wild or get “hit on” by strange men. Even today, tea time is more popular with women. It’s only natural, therefore, that many teas and several herbal tisanes have women’s names.
One of the best known is “Lady Londonderry,” named after Princess Catherine. It’s a tea blend starting with a base of black tea and flavored/scented with dried orange, white daisies, and other natural flavors that are great both hot and chilled. Then, there’s “Lady Grey,” a version of “Earl Grey”; the Twinings version is made with lemon and Seville orange in addition to oil of bergamot (see tea sipper Lainie Petersen’s review). Another one is “Blue Lady,” a tea named after a common image that occurs to people who think they have seen a ghost; the blender takes a high-grown Ceylon tea of finest quality and adds citrus (grapefruit and orange) plus passionfruit and grenadine flavors for a sweet taste that stays with you like the ghost (that blue lady) it’s named after.
A somewhat heartbreaking story is about “Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling” tea garden. Margaret was the youngest of two daughters of Mr. Bagdon, the owner of a tea garden in the Darjeeling area of India in the 1930s. He lived in London but visited the tea garden regularly. On one trip, he brought both daughters with him. Margaret fell in love with the tea garden and, on the voyage home, told her father she hoped to see it again soon. Sadly, she became ill on the boat and did not recover. Mr. Bagdon changed the tea garden’s name to “Margaret’s Hope” in remembrance of her.
Oolong lovers will know this tea name: Tie Guan Yin (“Iron Goddess of Mercy”). Not a real woman, but the idea of a woman — strength yet mercy rolled into one package.
Some other examples I’ve come across:
- Queen of Hearts — An early season green tea, formed into heart shapes, that is fit for a mad tea party! And not one shouting “Off with their heads!”
- The Republic of Tea Pink Lady Apple Green Tea — A blend with a unique flavor from “pink lady apples” (also known as “blushing apples”) added to a delicate China green tea.
- Lady Hannah’s Whole Fruit Herbal — Caffeine-free and naturally sweet with the taste of lemon and strawberry combining with natural dried apple pieces, hibiscus, rosehip, pineapple pieces, papaya pieces, brambleberries, blackberries, raspberries, and natural flavors. A pleasure both hot or chilled.
- Godiva Roche Flavored Rooibos — You don’t need to ride a horse through the streets of Coventry England with naught between you and the elements but some very long blond hair to feel like you’re doing your part to protest high taxes. Just a sip of this tisane will do the trick. South African rooibos with chopped vanilla pieces, cacao bean and peel, and natural flavoring oils.
- Empress Green Sampler — A regal collection of green teas that will give you a nice sampling of the finer options out there.
- Lady Orchid Oolong Tea — Oolong tea leaves combined with powdered ginseng and liquorice grass. Health claims include replenishing energy and soothing a dry throat and cough.
- Auntie’s Pumpkin Pie — Straight from the oven to your nostrils and tastebuds, the enticing aroma of fresh backed pumpkin pie compacted into a teacup! Black tea with cinnamon, caramel, and pumpkin spice.
- Anastasia — The royal Romanovs, last in a long line of Tsars of Russia, ended rather tragically. One daughter, Anastasia, is said to have miraculously survived the massacre of her parents and siblings. The tale has been told in several movies, including one with Ingrid Bergman and another with Amy Irving. This blend of Chinese and Ceylon black teas flavored with natural essences of bergamot, lemon, and orange blossom will fill you with the spirit of mystery surrounding Anastasia.
- Rosemary Herbal Tisane — Rosemary is a name that has been around for a long time. It is also the name of an herb. This tisane made from it is said to help your health in lots of ways. One of the best uses is as a breath freshening mouthwash.
On a side note, there is a female name spelled “Tea” but pronounced “TAY-ah.” It’s Italian in origin and is a short form of Teresa and Teadora.
By the way, these teas may have feminine type names, but you fellas can enjoy them, too!
Don’t miss another female name but for a tea time treat: Madeleines, as described in the article by Jess Hodges!
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