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tolsll_pmtmca_-00_peppermint-matcha

Christmas time is a favorite for many, meaning yummy food, delicious drinks, and of course, gifts! I find that tea can be a delicious drink and a gift rolled into one because it’s warm, cozy, and it’s something that can btolsll_-swscho_-00_swiss-hot-chocolatee given or received. I have given and received tea for Christmas and it’s always been quickly opened up and brewed so we could sample the never-before-tasted tea. This holiday season, English Tea Store has some new holiday flavors that will keep you from ripping these open before giving them away (or saving them until brewing for Christmas)!

Swiss Hot Chocolate Black Tea This is a surprising blend of Ceylon tea grown in Sri Lanka mixed with cocoa beans and white chamomile petals for a nice floral lift. You can’t even tell this is a tea! Add a splash of milk for a creamy effect.

Vienna Egg Nog For those who are fans of egg nog, this is a real treat! This is another Sri Lankan grown Ceylon tea but with delightful hints of ginger, cinnamon, and caramel. Try with or without milk!tolsll_eggnog_-00_vienna-egg-nog

Peppermint Matcha Green Tea – Our delicate matcha powder but with a refreshing peppermint flavor. This matcha powder can be drank in its simple form brewed with hot water or you can make Peppermint Matcha Green Tea Lattes oreven  in desserts such as cheesecake. Be creative!

Whether you give these teas as a gift or buy them for yourself, be sure to share with a friend or a loved one. After all, it is the season of giving and one of the best parts of tea is being able to share it with someone.

Have a Merry Christmas!

-CD

 

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Snowman Stacked Tea for One (ETS image)

Snowman Stacked Tea for One (ETS image)

Snowmen and Santas and Evergreens, oh my! Teapots with Christmas designs won’t lead you on a yellow brick road through a haunted forest and up to the city of Oz to meet a wizard, but they will say, “There’s no place like home … there’s no place like home … for the holidays!” And the designs just get more elegant, cuter, and more imaginative every year.

Elegance

Fine bone china teapots trimmed with real gold and silver paint and hand-painted with seasonal designs will be the focal point of your Christmas tea time and dinner. Check out the ones available from some of the finest ceramics and porcelain makers in the world, including Wedgwood and Lennox.

Cuteness

Santas and Snowmen are definitely in the cute category, rating about a nine on a scale of one to ten. Red suits and black boots on the Santas. Pork pie hats, coal eyes, carrot noses, and corncob pipes for the snowmen. And then there are those almost edible Gingerbread House teapots (some so realistic that they’d fool Hansel and Gretel). Each will bring a smile to the lips of everyone who sees them. And a lot fewer calories to the waistline!

Imaginative

Santa checking that list of who’s naughty and who’s nice. Frosty the Snowman sledding with the neighborhood kids. A fireplace complete with cozy log fire and colorful stockings hanging in front of it waiting to be filled with goodies. These are just some of the wonderful and imaginative seasonal designs available. They bring back memories of childhood for the older folks and create new ones for the younger “tea tipplers.”

Whichever suits your style and mood will surely enliven that holiday gathering, adding sparkle and charm and a bit of whimsy. Who knows? Santa himself might show up, so don’t forget those cookies to go with the tea!

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.

By A.C. Cargill

Once the tree is decorated, it’s time for tea! After untangling 20 miles of tree lights (ok, it’s only seems like 20 miles), deciding between the red sparkly garland and the gold sparkly garland, searching everywhere for the tree ornament hooks, and selecting which of the endless array of ornaments to use on the tree, my eyes are crossed and my brain is looping like a record with the needle stuck. A sure sign that I need a really, really, really good cup of tea.

Fortunately, hubby has foreseen this (maybe the babbling noises I was making were a give-away) and put the kettle on to heat some water. The teapot is also standing by. The air is full of the aroma of cookies baking and almost ready to remove from the oven. What remains is to choose the tea. Decisions, decisions, decisions…

The choices:

  • English Breakfast, good anytime of day, not just at breakfast. Usually a blend of black teas like Keemun, this tea brews up dark and strong. Definitely needs a bit of smoothing with either honey or milk and a sweetener, at least for my delicate constitution. It also smells so yummy, especially with that cookie smell wafting my way.
  • Indian Spiced Chai, made with black tea and traditional spices like cardamom, coriander, and ginger. Again, milk and sweetener are my enhancements of choice.
  • A delicate green tea, brewed up light. Since the cookies are chocolate chip, this tea is a great go-with. Better decide before that water boils, though, or the tea will be more of a green tea stew. Ugh!
  • Darjeeling is another option. Often called the “champagne of teas,” this tea is delicate and satisfying. Some purists might cringe at this, but I put milk and sweetener in mine.

The choice is made: English Breakfast! It’s so appropriate for this time of year and will stand up well to reheating, very important since I’ll probably end up setting the cup down somewhere for a half hour or so while I “tweak” the decorations on the tree. It always seems lopsided with more garland or lights or ornaments on one side versus another, and one or more of those twinkle lights always manages to burn out.

Some year, we’ll set up a model railroad around the base of the Christmas tree. Hubby has wanted to do this since childhood. We envision a train with an engine pulling a line of flat cars loaded with tree ornaments. Of course, we couldn’t run the train too fast, or those ornaments, through the wonder of centrifugal force, will become projectiles, going ping! around the room and landing in a less-than-gentle manner against the brick fireplace, the wainscoting, or a table leg.

If you look really close, you’ll see a little black-and-white kitty napping under the tree. That’s “T.C.” — the Christmas cat. He’s gone now, but the memories remain. He never climbed the tree, like some other cats we know, but he would bat at any ornaments hanging down below the lowest branches. We often found them off in a corner where they had rolled when he was done playing with them (after which he would join us for tea).

Holiday wishes to everyone and a teacup toast. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

By Stephanie Hanson

It’s been Christmas since August in the department stores, but now it’s getting to the point where normal people start thinking about holiday parties. We’re only a few weeks away from that crazy holiday month and constant holiday music everywhere you go. So, it’s also time to start thinking about having a holiday tea party.

Orange Spice Tea

First, let’s talk menu. What would any tea party be without tea sandwiches? You can always go with the traditional cucumber sandwich, of course, but try doing something a little different for the holidays. Think about traditional holiday foods: ham, turkey, cranberries, apples. These might work well for sandwiches. Try turkey, shaved very thin, on thin slices of wheat bread spread with a very thin layer of cranberry sauce. Cut into quarters. While not the traditional tea sandwich, ham biscuits would make a nice addition to a tea table, especially if the tea takes place at lunch time, or in the very late afternoon. Take white bread and add apples sliced as thin as possible, and sprinkle with crumbled stilton or use slices of white cheddar. Feta also works well.

But what would a tea party be without desserts? Pumpkin scones are nice and festive. Just follow your favorite scone recipe and add a generous dash of pumpkin spice to the dry ingredients. Or make apple scones, by adding chopped up apples to the wet ingredients and cinnamon to the dry ingredients.

The most important party of any tea party is, of course, the tea. Darjeeling is a lovely stand-by for absolutely any afternoon tea, but for Christmas, add in some nice spiced Chai or look for the Holiday Blend from your favorite vendor. Any orange spice tea will do nicely. For the herbal tea folks, peppermint of course.

Evergreens make lovely centerpieces, but don’t let yourself be limited by the traditional colors of red and green for the season. Green and gold or blue and silver also make lovely combinations.

Have a lovely holiday season, and enjoy the warmth of company, the best part of the season.

Get the scoop on all things tea from Stephanie’s blog!

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. 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, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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