Summer is fast approaching, but even here in springtime, the urge to be in the great outdoors is irresistible. For us tea lovers, that means putting on a tea time picnic. There are three basic approaches:
1 Take along store-bought bottled tea
To me, this is the very bottom of the proverbial barrel. No offense meant to those bottlers of that stuff they call tea. But unless I am totally desperate, I would avoid these in favor of the options below. However, tastes vary, and some tea drinkers find these teas quite satisfactory. You can get them sweetened, unsweetened, and in various flavors. Lemon, strawberry, and raspberry are quite popular. Blueberry is also becoming a favorite.
2 Pre-steep tea and take it with you
How you proceed here is determined by whether you want to have cold tea or hot tea at your picnic. If you want to enjoy some cold tea, be sure to steep the tea up a bit extra strong. You’ll be wanting to add ice, which will melt in the tea and dilute it. If you are going for hot tea, use an insulated carafe or similar container to retain the heat between your kitchen and the picnic area. How much heat will be retained will depend on the insulating ability of the carafe/container and the distance to the picnic spot. Backyards are a good option here (short travel distance usually) as are decks and patios (especially for those who live in a condo, townhouse, or apartment).
3 Take along the implements to steep tea at your picnic site
Diehards are going to want a way to steep tea fresh at the picnic site. You will want to employ methods similar to when you go camping and steep tea (see Camping with Tea by May King Tsang). A Facebook buddy recommended a cast iron teapot and a small charcoal grill as a great way to heat water and steep tea (you can do both in that style of teapot). Loose leaf teas often come in airtight pouches, so bringing some along is simple. If, like me, you insist on milk and sweetener in your teas, you may have to rough it at that picnic site (unless it is at your home). Non-dairy creamers (liquid or powder) will be your best substitutes. Don’t forget bottled water and your sweetener of choice. You folks who like some lemon in your tea should opt for the bottled lemon juice, or you can pre-slice a lemon.
No tea time picnic is complete with the goodies to go along with that tea. Pre-packaged is one alternative, especially for cookies and other baked goods. In fact, you can prepare your tea time picnic basket pretty much as you would a normal picnic basket. Add in some appropriate drinking cups for the tea (especially if you are steeping onsite and will be drinking it hot). Don’t forget something to ward of the ants, wasps, bees, etc.
Whatever your choice, it can be quite refreshing to have a tea time picnic outdoors after being indoors all Winter. Enjoy!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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