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Recently my family and I had to pack up and move to a new house. While I was sorting through my things, I came across some of my tea sets. I noticed that I had several tea-for-one sets. My fiance saw them and immediately wanted to try them out. Then I remembered that National Hot Tea Month was coming up again so now is a good time to delve into tea-for-one sets!
If you are unfamiliar with these unique tea sets, many of them are usually made of ceramic, porcelain, or bone china. Each set comes with a small teapot to brew a teabag or two in, depending on how strong you like your tea, a cup, and a saucer. Stack the teapot on top of the cup and set it all on the saucer and voila! These nifty sets look great on any counter, cupboard, or table, and they fit nearly anywhere.
English Tea Store carries our very own brand of tea-for-one sets, much like our own regular teapots. These are made of ceramic and carry up to 16 ounces of delicious tea along with a 10 ounce cup. They are touched with a beautiful glossy finish and come in a range of lively colors, from blue to lime green. You may end up starting a collection!
But if you want to explore the more exotic versions, we carry an excellent variety. There is the beautiful Shabby Rose Turquoise Porcelain set, which is a pleasing look for the eyes, or the Rose Porcelain set. This one features a beautiful gold trim* and a more traditional teapot look and very charming. One of our best selling sets is the Irish Claddagh, beautifully decorated with creamy colors and Celtic knotwork and patterns. A Claddagh is embellished in the stoneware, symbolizing love, friendship, and loyalty.
These tea sets are very ideal to give to someone who fancies a quick cup of tea but doesn’t want to pull out the entire tea set. I had received my tea-for-one sets as gifts and they are the best ever. These are sure to wow and you will enjoy using your tea set.
*For tea sets with gold trim, these are not recommended for microwave use.
As soon as summer is over, pumpkin spice and cinnamon begin to fill the shelves of stores faster than you can say “Halloween”, boots replace flip flops, and coats are brought out from dark closets and into the bright orange sunshine. The cooler weather is finally upon us for a short time, and you can finally enjoy tea hot once again! What better way to celebrate Fall than with our Fall flavored tea?
Our refreshing Cranberry Black Tea is a good way to transition to fall but still have a sweet fruity flavor. The black tea is grown in the high districts of Sri Lanka: Nuwara Eliya, Uva, and Dimbula. This tea is flavored using oils and not flavoring crystals, which give the tea a more brighter taste. Try it iced for a cool, refreshing experience!
Or are you a huge fan of pumpkin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai is perfect for your pumpkin fix without having to get a latte. Twinings is one of Britain’s best known tea brands, using quality black tea along with the finest spices for their chai teas. Add milk once your cup of pumpkin chai is ready and you will be taken to a spicy heaven! Not a fan of chai? Try our English Tea Store Pumpkin Spice, a blend of black tea and South African Rooibos, creating a medium caffeinated tea to give you a lovely balance of flavor. We also have Stash’s Pumpkin Spice, which is a decaf blend and is in a small 10 pack.
For the apple lovers, we have our very own Mercedes Apple Spice Tea. It’s a crisp and spicy blend of apple, hibiscus, cardamom, cloves, pepper, and cinnamon. It’s caffeine free and it’s loaded with Vitamin C! Need more of a spicy kick? Try Twinings Apple Chai, a sweet chai equivalent to the Pumpkin Chai but with apple flavor. It is a one of a kind tea experience that will leave you wanting more!
With the Olympics going on at the moment, it’s been quite a ride so far for the delegates over at Rio de Janeiro. History was made not just by America’s own Michael Phelps but some nations alone such as Fiji, who won their very first medals. Whether you support Team USA, Team GB, or any other team, celebrate them by toasting them with a lovely cup of tea. Not just with any tea, toast them with a cup of GOLD!
Not sure on which of our special teas to try? Here are a few good ones to get you started!
Yorkshire Gold: Much like its standard counterpart, only a bit stronger. It has a malty taste thanks to a fine blend of teas from Africa, Sri Lanka, and India. It’s a perfect mate for your breakfast either black or with milk and sugar. Try it in loose leaf, too!
Typhoo Gold: Another fine brew, Typhoo Gold is a strong blend of Assam and African black tea leaves. This tea is also Rainforest Alliance Certified.
PG Tips Gold: This is the finest and the most indulgent cuppa that PG Tips has to offer from their range. A golden blend of Ceylon, Assam, and African teas are pressed to release their natural juices and create their bold and rich flavor. The teabags are pyramid shaped to allow more room for water to flow through and decrease the brewing time.
Barry’s Gold Tea: This Irish tea is a signature blend for Barry’s Tea. Their tea comes from the most luscious tea gardens of Rwanda, Kenya, and the Assam valleys of India and produces a lovely golden color. This tea is one of our must-try teas! We also carry it in loose leaf!
Lyons Gold: Another well known Irish brand of tea, this expertly blended mix of Ceylon, Assam, and Kenyan teas brings a rich, full bodied flavor to your teacup. Every box comes with 80 teabags but it may not last very long if this is your favorite!
Whether you have tried one or all of them or you simply like their regular brands better, have it with a little cake or cookies while watching your teams play. Don’t forget your flags!
For USA and other national flags, head over to our sister site, http://www.united-states-flag.com/
The first discounted tea this month is our Keemun Panda, in bags or loose leaf. Keeman is written in traditional Chinese like this: 祁門紅茶, and pronounced chee-MEN. It brews into a vibrant red with smoky and chocolately hints.
Of all the China black teas available, Keemun Panda is probably one of the best known. Keemun is one of the congou-type teas meaning it requires a great deal of gongfu (disciplined skill) to make into fine taut strips without breaking the leaves. Interestingly, the characters in the written Chinese script for time and labor are the same as those used for ‘gongfu.’ It is often said that a properly produced Keemun, such as Panda, is one of the finest teas in the world with a complex aromatic and penetrating character often compared to burgundy wines. Traditionally, Keemuns were used in English Breakfast tea. Keemun is one the best-keeping black teas. Fine specimens will keep for years if stored properly, and take on a mellow winey character.
The name Keemun comes from Qimen county in southern Anhui province where almost all the mountains are covered with tea bushes. Qimen county produced only green tea until the mid 1870’s. Around that time a young man in the civil service lost his job. Despite being totally heartbroken and completely embarrassed by his shame, he remembered what his father told him: “A skill is a better guarantor of a living than precarious officialdom.” In America we would say, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” Following this advice, the young man packed up his courage and his bags to travel to Fujian Province to learn the secrets of black tea manufacturing. Upon his return to Qimen in 1875, he set up three factories to produce black tea. The black tea method was perfectly suited to the tea leaves produced in this warm, moist climate with well drained sandy soil. Before long, the superb flavor of Keemuns became very popular around the world.
If you haven’t tried our exquisite Keemun Panda tea, now is the perfect time, with 15% off through the month of May only.
As a tea lover, I can’t go a day without at least one cup of tea. I brew my tea either using teabags, self-made teabags with loose leaf tea, or loose leaf in a strainer. Lately in my efforts to go green, I have begun to use the strainer as much as I possibly can. I find it fun and easy to use and it’s very interesting to open the strainer after brewing to see the steeped tea leaves. I have noticed that the tea leaves expand in the hot water, so it’s very important for the tea to have much room to brew as it can. If you have seen advertisements for tea (at least in Britain), you will notice they boast how much room the teas will have to brew. So far, PG Tips is a game changer with their pyramid tea bags, while Yorkshire comes square and Typhoo is round and flat. The teabags also do not have tags or strings. Many tea companies have eliminated the use of these due to their efforts to reduce paper and other material waste that would affect the earth.
The teabag came to be entirely by accident! In 1908, a tea merchant named Sir Thomas Sullivan sent packets of loose tea to potential buyers in silk-muslin sachets. The buyers took this as a new way of brewing tea by simply tossing the bags into boiling hot water to brew and enjoyed it. Sullivan was confused and surprised when his customers began to ask for “tea bags” but was unable to continue his silk-muslin combination due to high costs of silk. To combat this issue, Sullivan adopted the use of gauze sacks.
Since then, tea has been sold in bags but before the teabag, it was sold loose and brewed in infusers and strainers. In 19th and 20th century England, however, tea was brewed in silvery tea balls (also called tea eggs). Some are made with mesh so the tea leaves have a harder time escaping, while others are metal with tiny perforations. These have been making a comeback lately since many people are trying to make efforts to go green. It is good to use larger-leafed teas like Organic Pearl River Green Tea to steep inside an infuser. If you have a tea with tinier leaves, like Organic Peppermint Tea, it is probably a better idea to use a paper filter so the tea leaves do not seep through the strainer and float throughout your tea. However, everyone’s tastes are different. Either way, brew green!
Our second tea for March is vanilla flavored black tea. According to our site, “Vanilla calms the nerves, lifts the spirits and improves the romantic aspect of one’s life.” Wow. Maybe I should have written about this one last month instead of wasting space driveling about chocolate (oh, wait, sorry, chocolate is never drivel.).
I’ve lately found myself tempted to buy some essential oils and experiment, because they are great for making your own lotions, body scrubs, and candles. Around the DIY sites you can find 1001 uses for them, and vanilla is one of the most popular. If you mix some coconut oil with sea salt and a few drops of pure vanilla, you can smooth and nourish your skin in one inexpensive step. A drop of vanilla on the cardboard toilet paper tube before you put it on the holder will make your bathroom more inviting. And if you are painting a room, a tablespoon of the oil into the paint will not only knock out paint fumes but make the room smell pleasant for many months. Who knew? Vanilla being at the top of the list for creating your own “me time” products attests to our site’s statement.
I’m not sure how the weather is in your locale but where we are, the winter has been one of the coldest, breaking a few records. More commutes than usual have seen white knuckles through ice, significant snow, and “wintry mix” (euphemism for “holy man, not this mess again!”). I am voting for a two-minute mini break when you get to the office. Brew a strong cup of our vanilla black tea, inhale deeply and languidly, then sip slowly as the steam brings warmth back to your cheeks and the scent envelops you. If your boss pokes his (or her) head out and yells, you can tell him (or her) I gave you permission for this and your productivity will be higher. If you are the boss, treat your reports to this tea.
My 4 cup Brown Betty arrived today. I requested it after receiving questions like, “how do I season this?” “What’s the difference between the older Brown Betties and the newer?” Our blog has some information on the humble Brown Betty but is lacking so far.
I am reminded of the customer who ordered a simple, inexpensive English Tea Store tea pot in the color brown for less than $6 and was sorely disappointed it was not an authentic Brown Betty. I must caution you here that to receive a genuine Brown Betty, you must actually purchase one.
I unpacked this teapot slowly. It was delivered in much bubble wrap and packaging that could weather any storm on its way to me. The bottom (backstamp) is marked, “Original Betty – Adderley Ceramics, Made in England.”
I had done some reading about the early Brown Betty, with a tea strainer built into the pot and the spout attached from a second piece of clay. This pot has no strainer built in and the spout is formed as part of the pot’s main unit.
The tag reads, “Adderley Ceramics, Manufacturers of the Traditional Brown Betty Teapot in Red Terracotta Clay and Rockingham Brown Glaze. Had made in England. a 100% British Product.” On the back we have the following story:
During Queen Victoria’s reign, tea became a symbol of Britain’s greatest period of expansion and stability. Every home owned a teapot, even if it was a basic “Brown Betty.” Tea was no longer a refined, upper class beverage but a basis of a whole meal.
While Charleston dancers and many Victorian glamours have disappeared from the scene, the humble “Brown Betty” teapot has still remained a firm favourite. Its origins go back to the end of the 17th century and to the birth of the British ceramic teapot, although in 1700 an ordinary small unglazed teapot made of Red Clay from the Bradwell Woods area in Stoke-on-Trent was a luxury item costing about 12 shillings.
Our “Brown Betty” Teapots are still made from Terracotta as used by the Elder Brothers in 1695. Their method of making was by ‘jolleying’ but in later years it became ‘slip casting’ giving a smooth finish and even thickness.
Succeeding generations of Englishmen have proved that the Brown Betty, as these red ware teapots are affectionately known, make the best pot of tea in the world! The shape of the pot causes the tea leaves to be gently swirled around as the boiling water is added, thus producing an exquisite infusion. The Red Terracotta Clay with its Rockingham Glaze, coddles the brew and gives the perfect cup of tea.
Adderley Ceramic’s website states, “A considerable amount of time has been spent researching the Brown Betty teapot. We have found the original recipe as used by the Elder Brothers in 1695, for Red Terracotta Clay and Rockingham Brown Glaze and sourced the raw materials from the UK, which we use in the manufacturing of our products today.”
Jolly good, but what is jollying vs. slip casting? How do you season and otherwise care for the pot? How does the Adderley version differ from the Cauldon and where does Staffordshire come in (I expect I will be also be getting a geography lesson!)? Please join me this month as I research to answer these questions. Of course, as I write, I will be experiencing tea from my very own Brown Betty!
The Groundhog was right on his prediction when he said there would be six more weeks of winter. Pretty much everywhere in the United States there is snow, freezing rain, or just cold in general. I have been fortunate enough to live in a state that has managed to avoid most of the dreary, wintry mess of a season. That is, until now.
Yesterday I left sunny California for over a week to go to the icy cold East Coast of the United States! I normally love cold days in California but the lowest it usually gets is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m staying where subzero temps are the norm for now. Brr! So to help handle the bitter cold, I will be packing a lot of tea with me, including some picks for this month’s teas of the month that are sure to keep you nice and warm until Spring arrives!
For a sleepy wintry morning, the Nonsuch Estate Tea is a good choice. It’s a little strong so it’s perfect for the morning. It has a fruity but floral-like maltiness to it that I find yummy. This tea is a blend of Nilgiri tea from South India where it is grown 5000 feet above sea level.
Next up we have the Mim Estate. I really like its name, which I learned has come from Mim in Northern India where you can see Mount Everest on a good day! Our Mim Estate is a Darjeeling, second flush. A second flush is a harvest in June where the tea is fully developed. When I tried it, I could taste a hint of currant and muscatel (grape). It tastes pretty light if you like a less strong tea but I find it nice to relax with a few digestives or scones.
When traveling, sample packs are the way to go since they are small so they save space in your luggage. The Estate Sampler has a few of our estate teas including the ones I mentioned above plus others. it’s a nice gift to give to your host (always try to bring a gift since they are kind enough to let you stay at their home), or share it with the loved ones you came to visit.
The upside to my trip is that I won’t be having tea by myself! My fiance will be joining me and he will enjoy a few cups with me during the cold, bitter days. As February winds down to a close, I still find it the month of romance and I would love to make my dear a nice warm cuppa (cross your fingers that I get him into my biggest tea obsession, PG Tips.
One tea that has definitely caught my taste buds by surprise is the English Tea Store Brand’s Earl Grey Cream Blend. I made this on a rainy day a few days ago and was very surprised at the taste! A little milk and sweetener helped make this stand out.
I wanted something caffeinated but something different from my usual PG Tips. Then I remembered I had a bag of Earl Grey Cream, so I opened that up while I had the kettle boiling on the stove. As I waited, I studied the tea leaves and noticed there were little purple flower petals in the bag. I later found out that they were corn flower petals. Found them to be very pretty, though.
This tea tastes very much of smooth, creamy vanilla, especially after the milk and sweetener were added. It made me want to have a scone right then and there! It feels very much like a dessert tea. Or better yet, skip the sweet treat and just have another cup of tea!
In my research, I learned that 98 percent of this tea comes from estates that are part of the Ethical Tea Partnership. The ETP website explains they they are a non-profit organization working to improve tea sustainability, the lives of the tea workers, and the environment in which the tea is produced. They are a worldwide organization that includes tea companies big and small. Some tea companies that are partnered with the ETP include well known British tea brands like Ahmad Tea and Twinings.