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Did you know that all the different tea times in Britain have a specific name? Pretty neat. Afternoon tea and high tea are sometimes used interchangeably but if you really know your British tea habits, you will know they are nowhere near the same. Afternoon Tea is more for the non-working class or those who have plenty of afternoon time while high tea is for the working class. (aka: most of us busy people)

Afternoon Tea

If you’re like me, you’re snacking between lunch and dinner because it feels like such a long gap of no food. This is exactly what afternoon tea was designed for. Afternoon tea emerged in the early 19th century. This tradition is carried out at 4 pm and everyone sits down with their cuppa & nibble on some sandwiches and scones. Back then, they often ate diner very late back because afternoon tea fulfilled their hungry tummy’s. Then they usually serve dinner as late as 8pm. (I’d be starving)

In today’s day, they simply use afternoon tea as a refreshment, not a decadent meal. Not many have the time to sit down and enjoy many scones & cakes at 4pm. They are working and getting along with life. Ever wanted to try out this tradition? Check out some of the famous tea rooms in Britain.

High Tea

As we said above, many are working during afternoon tea so they have to wait til after work to enjoy their cuppa. Since they are enjoying after work, they are usually very hungry so the meal that comes with the tea is little more hearty. Some may even refer to this as supper because it is basically a full meal.

 

-Alexis

 

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Personally, I enjoy both coffee & tea but some greatly prefer one over the other for different reasons. It could be simply for the taste, for the caffeine amount or the ease of making it. As we are a tea store, we mainly focus on tea benefits but it is informative to compare the two most consumed morning drinks in America. There are benefits to both coffee and tea as can be seen in the interesting facts below. Enjoy the benefit face off!

 

The average American coffee drinker drinks 70 gallons of coffee per year while the average American tea drinker drinks 10 gallons of tea per year.

 

An 8 fl oz. cup of coffee contains 75-100 mg of caffeine while an 8 fl oz. cup of tea contains 0-40 mg of caffeine.

 

Coffee is greatly studied to show decreased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in consumers while tea is greatly studied to show decreased stress in consumers.

 

Coffee has been linked to protection against Type 2 diabetes while tea has been linked to protection against stoke & heart disease.

 

Topically, brewed coffee can add a glossy shine to your hair while the tannin’s in tea work well on puffy eyes.

 

 

Thank you to the mayoclinic, medicaldaily, naturalivingideas and teasource for this information.

 

-Alexis

 

Image result for christmas puddings

 

We are all about tradition here at the English Tea Store. English Christmas Pudding, also known as Plum Pudding or Figgy Pudding, is a delicious Christmas dinner tradition dating back to the 14th century! It has been changed & re-invented over the years. By Victorian times, it has molded into what they are today, a delicious modern take on a blend of nutmeg, raisins, nuts, apples, cinnamon & many other ingredients! (Each brand has different ingredients) Spend more time enjoying your family this Christmas than in the kitchen and get a Christmas pudding today!

Putting a silver coin in the pudding is another custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it first! That may be a fun tradition to start with your family.

 

#1: Matthew Walker’s Classic Christmas Pudding

Matthew Walker's Classic Christmas Pudding - 14.1oz (400g)

Ingredients: Sultanas (31%) (contains Cottonseed Oil), Sugar, Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Wholemeal Wheat Flour, Wheat Germ, Yeast, Salt), Water, Cider (7%), Palm Oil, Wheat Flour, Molasses, Candied Citrus Peel (Glucose, Orange Peel, Sugar, Lemon Peel, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid), Salt, Mixed Spice

You can purchase this pudding in 3.5 oz.14.1 oz or 28.2 oz.

 

 

#2: Matthew Walker Luxury Christmas Pudding no. 13

 

Matthew Walker Luxury Christmas Pudding no 13 - 28.2oz (800g)

 

Ingredients: Sultanas, raisins, currants (32%), cider (11%), demerara sugar, sugar, breadcrumbs (wheat flour, wholemeal wheat flour, wheat germ, yeast, salt), palm oil, brandy (4%), glace cherries (4%) (cherries, glucose-fructose syrup, colour: anthocyanin, acidity regulator: citric acid, preservative: sulphur dioxide), rum (3%), rusk (wheat flour, salt), wheat flour, sherry (2%), almonds, walnuts, orange and lemon peel, molasses, mixed spice, salt.

You can purchase this pudding in 3.5 oz.14.1 oz., or 28.2 oz.

 

 

We highly recommend that you put a whiskey butter, whipped cream or clotted cream on top of the pudding for some added flavor!

 

-Alexis

 

 

 

Mistakes happen. It’s just part of life. This is true of those of us who blog about tea, too. So what should you do when a tea blogger gets something wrong? Well, as with many things, there’s the helpful approach and the not-so-helpful approach.

(ETS image)

(ETS image)

The Not-So-Helpful Approach

You see something wrong on a site and immediately start peppering the blog with comments. Since most blogs are set up to approve comments before they get posted (as a way to deter spam and those self-serving comments that include a link to your own blog), you will get increasingly frustrated as these comments do not appear on the site. The next step is to escalate things to social media sites, posting your correction there. It’s sort of understandable when you are so passionate about a topic, as many people are about tea. Seeing blatant misinformation getting posted such as which teas have what amount of caffeine or calling a Darjeeling tea an oolong can really get you riled, but resist the temptation to go ballistic.

The Helpful Approach

If the blogger is someone you’ve been reading awhile, been in touch with through social media, or even met in person, or if you have their email address, send them a private message about the error. Someone was nice enough to let me know privately through social media that I had the wrong “Mary” listed in a recent article. I thanked him and made the correction. No harm, no foul, and the error is fixed. On another occasion, I got an email showing that a tea I had said was Darjeeling was actually from Sri Lanka (I had gone by the vendor’s label and, being the helpful sort, passed along to that vendor the correction as well as fixing it on my own blog).

It would seem that the helpful approach is best. Of course, that’s true of a lot of things, following the old adage “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Of course, people don’t always listen when you try to clarify things and get the misinformation straightened out, but staying cool and posting your own article that gives the real information is a better alternative. I’ve done it several times.

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.

Angels Dream video still. (ETS image)

Angels Dream video still. (ETS image)

In January of 2009 the world of tea changed forever … well, at least up to today and hopefully for years to come. This blog was launched. About eight months later I was invited to join its team of writers. And about 3 years ago as of the posting of this article I accepted an invitation to be the blog’s editor – the fifth person to hold that position and the longest. Time to celebrate both events!

The English Tea Store Tea Blog is owned by (obviously) The English Tea Store, which was founded as part of Online Stores, Inc., in 2001 in Pennsylvania just a little east of Pittsburgh. The focus was on bringing a decent cuppa to the American public via an online store (thanks to Jeff Bezos who founded the first online store in 1994 and paved the way for many others that followed). They offered typical British brands such as PG Tips and Typhoo and their own brand, in both bagged and loose leaf form. Of course, for the Brits, tea time is nothing without the proper treats, so they also had British foods available, from that tea time staple – scones – to traditions such as a variety of “biccies” (biscuits or what we call cookies) such as McVitie’s digestives and now their own brand called “Border,” and several types of cakes such as Jaffa Cakes. And of course to steep tea, you need teapots, and to drink tea, you need teacups, so they got added to the product line, too!

Blogs (short for “web logs”) for companies were virtually unheard of in 2001, although they had been around for several years by then. They were mostly “posts” that were fairly short and that displayed in reverse date order, putting the most recent at the top. They were also tricky to implement until sites like Blogger.com came along (later bought by a large search engine company). It made posting text and images much easier and more accessible. Around 2009, companies started catching on to this new tool to contact their customers. The English Tea Store was an early entrant in this area, seeing the value of helping customers learn more about tea in general and about their products in particular. A list of writers have contributed posts on everything from the importance of water quality, the perfect way to steep, details about various types of tea, and the best way to serve, to tea traditions, gadgets, news, oddball items, and just about anything else related to tea (see my recent article about themes on our blog).

Some of those contributors over the years (besides me, of course):

  • William I. Lengeman III
  • Elise Nuding
  • Janet Sanchez (aka “steapteabakery”)
  • Sarah Rosalind Roberts
  • Robert Godden
  • Melanie Pruitt
  • Cinnabar
  • May King Tsang
  • CurtissAnn Matlock
  • Lainie Petersen
  • Stephanie Davies
  • Janis Badarau (aka “teaguide”)
  • Stephanie Hanson (aka “theteascoop”)
  • Sue Talbert
  • Ashley Horne (aka “hornefamily5”)
  • Adam Yusko

To them all and the others not named above we say “Thanks!”

As editor, I know the blog wouldn’t be much without the contributions of these people who love tea as much as you do! And of course, your readership is the key ingredient that makes it all work. Thanks and know that you are greatly appreciated!

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.

Simply Sunflowers Gift Basket (ETS image)

Simply Sunflowers Gift Basket (ETS image)

Over the years, our blog has addressed lots of tea themes. From what tea is and how to prepare it, to different tea customs, history and teawares. We have looked at every twist and turn and nuance of tea and yet the articles keep coming. Why? Because that is tea – ever present and changing and yet the same. For those fairly new to our blog, though, I thought a look back at some of those themes was in order.

What Tea Is

A lot of things get called “tea” these days, even a soupy version of decayed vegetative matter for use in your garden (of course, those spent tea leaves can do some good there, too). Sorting out what is what can be tricky. These articles and more seek to do just that:

How to Prepare It

This section is huge, popping up page after page of articles (325 and counting). A few highlights:

Tea Customs

Tea, the global beverage, second only to water in popularity, is enjoyed in a variety of ways, many of which have become true customs. Some of them are shown here:

Tea History

Tea drinking has been around for thousands of years, so it is safe to say that it has a bit of history. A quick search again popped up a long list from our blog. Here are a few samples:

Teawares

Cups and pots and kettles and strainers and gaiwans…oh my! How do you sort it all out? With these and other articles from our blog:

Foods, books about tea, and simply enjoying tea moments (with or without a good book) are also themes we’ve covered and will continue to cover. Check out the blog sometime to see what is there. You never know what treasure you will find!

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.

One thing that is normal in any profession, especially where some creativity is involved (as is the case with writing), is personal growth and development. That has certainly been true for me. Reading back through some of my early articles can make me cringe. As the anniversary of my second year as editor of this blog approaches, I did take a look back, cringed, and then also felt a bit of satisfaction for being able to cringe. It meant I had grown as both an editor and writer during the past year.

Most writers want an appropriate atmosphere, and editing a tea blog is no exception. (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Most writers want an appropriate atmosphere, and editing a tea blog is no exception. (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A major accomplishment was bringing in writers who added some articles to the blog that were above the basic “What is black tea?” or “How to Steep a Great Cup of Tea.” (One of these writers is Elise Nuding, who has recently completed a full year as a contributor to this blog. Congrats!) They brought their own experiences with tea, often in a professional capacity, to blog readers and thereby enhanced the tea experience for those readers. As editor, I had the pleasure in some instances of helping them develop an article idea into a series, turn an event in their lives into an article to learn more about tea, or explore and write about some teas they hadn’t tried. In other cases, I simply sat back and gave encouragement to “go for it!” A few great examples:

On my part, I stretched my own knowledge and imagination to make each article unique, entertaining, informative, and accurate. That takes time and research, but proved to be worthwhile, both for myself and for you, the reader (based on your comments and other feedback). Some of my personal faves:

A good editor doesn’t just make sure the commas are in the right places and that the infinitives aren’t split too badly. The editor drives the overall content of the publication, blog, or other media, and helps assure the content is professional and worth the readers’ time. We also deal with issues such as copyrights, especially when scrounging around for a photo to go with the article, and keeping away the spam comments. Based on the growth in readers subscribing to our blog during the past two years, I would say that we’re on the right track here.

A good editor also wants to respond to your ideas on topics to cover. To that end, I encourage you to send in your requests. Either I or another writer for this blog will do our best to bring you the information you are seeking.

Cheers!

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.

Many tea vendors have, in addition to their online store, a company blog about tea (pssst! you’re reading one now). Often, the goal is to increase the knowledge of tea among their customers so they feel more comfortable ordering teas outside of their normal selections. Considering the price of some of the more fine teas, this knowledge is a great convincer. Being able to link to reviews on external sources lends further credibility.

Great photos like this one are essential to a good tea blog. (Photo source: stock image)

Great photos like this one are essential to a good tea blog. (Photo source: stock image)

Are all these blogs created alike, though? Do they give you reliable information? Or are they slanted in favor of their products? Well, no to the first question, and yes and no to the 2nd and 3rd questions.

1 Keyword Loading

Some blogs are geared more toward making sure their posts are loaded with the right keywords to trick search engines like Yahoo! and others into putting them at the top of the hits lists. One store’s blog touted as among the best at first struck me as good, too. Then, I wrote an article for the site owner and found out that this was one of those blogs more interested in loading up the keywords. He gave me instructions to include certain terms in the first 50 words, and the terms should be repeated at least once in that space. (If you ever wondered why some blog posts start out with words like “iced tea” being repeated several times in the first paragraph or two, now you know.)

2 Hidden Authors

Lack of bylines and heavy editing of anything submitted to the blog is another issue. Sure, store blogs are marketing tools. However, like any tool, they can be used for good or not. The item I wrote for that store blog was heavily edited and then posted without my name appearing. (I didn’t mind the lack of a byline since some of the blog owner’s edits actually changed meaning enough so that the article was no longer accurate.) It turned out that most of the items on that blog were written by people other than the blog owner, yet he made it appear as if he wrote them. Some blogs don’t even go that far in giving you any idea who wrote the stuff on their blog. For all you know, it could have been Cheeta. It is good to give proper credit to the writers and not to heavily edit their text. As a reader, I like knowing who is putting forth the information and if they are knowledgeable enough on the subject matter to have their content be taken seriously.

3 Unsubstantiated Health Claims

Not only do a lot of store blogs have no writer credits, they also have no medical study credits. The blog I wrote that article for was full of others making various health claims about tea, none being credited (that is, linked to actual medical studies). Even though I might not be able to fully understand the studies, I would still like to know that the claims aren’t something the writer just pulled out of the ether of his/her imagination.

4 Tunnel Vision

Contrasting viewpoints are not always presented on those store blogs, sometimes because they go against what products the blog owner is selling on the store site. And nothing negative gets presented unless it shows their own products in a good light. This blog has always followed a policy of encouraging different viewpoints from writers. For example, there were two reviews posted of the same style of steeping mug with very opposite takes. Both reviews were posted even though that product is an item offered for sale by this blog owner. Another example is that some writers promote bagged teas while I mainly promote loose teas; both viewpoints are posted. Some like milk in their tea, while others don’t. Vive la différence!

5 One-Note Tune

Most of these blogs stick to straightforward posts about tea. We go for variety. Our topics range from reviews of their products, to info on teas, to more in-depth looks at some of the companies producing the teas and treats they sell, to tea book reviews, to stories about enjoying tea as part of life, to the latest news tidbits and gadgetry, and more. Anything and everything related to tea!

Bottom Line

While tea vendor blogs have their place in your line-up of tea info resources, their content can vary. And seeing who is writing the info you are reading can be a good thing. Thanks for reading!

© 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.

A harvest of tea info on our blog.

A harvest of tea info on our blog.

From the World Tea Expo inLas Vegas to more tea-related info than you can shake the proverbial stick at, it’s been a busy year for our team of tea writers and for me as blog editor. Members of the team have drifted in and out, but through it all blog readership has grown, and we all thank you for being there.

Some highlights of the past year that we hope you’ll take a few moments to enjoy again:

I invite you to read the above and the rest of the articles that have been posted to this blog during my first year as editor (15 Mar 2011 to 15 Mar 2012). The coming year promises to be even better, with more great articles from the team of tea writers. Your comments are welcome, too, since they are part of the experience 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.

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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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