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You love your mother. She does so much for you and sometimes it feels like we don’t do enough for them. Busy schedules usually don’t allow for it but why not spend Mother’s Day having tea with your mom?

If your mother is a huge tea fan and loves to drink her favorite type or brand of tea, she could never have too much! We always carry a wide variety of loose leaf and tea bags along with all of our popular teas, ranging from our very own brand to the popular British brands, along with many more.

However, if your mother is talking about trying new things, why not trying an English Tea Store Tea of the Month subscription? While you can pay month to month and choose loose leaf and tea bags, you can also pick a prepaid annual subscription along with a 20% automatic discount! This way, our teas of the month will simply arrive at your mother’s door! Click here for more information.

To enjoy with her tea, pick some of Mom’s favorite cookies and cakes or get her something she has never tried before! Some of our newest cookies include two of Cadbury’s most popular chocolate bars in a biscuit: Cadbury Crunchie and Cadbury Wispa. The Crunchie biscuits have a honeycomb crunch while Wispa biscuits have a bubbly, chocolatey middle. If she prefers something simple, then you can’t go wrong on Walker’s shortbread, pure buttery rounds of sweet crumbly goodness. Perfect with nearly everything from tea to coffee.

For more Mother’s Day gift ideas, check out our wonderful selection of gifts.

 

-CD

Please note: When purchasing chocolate products in the spring or summer time, please be aware of weather conditions as chocolate may melt during shipment. For chocolate to arrive in top condition, please select “Next Day Air” at checkout.

It’s a month of being thankful. From the beautiful Fall colors to the bountiful harvests, we have a lot of good things going on around us. And the same goes for tea. The tea farmers have, for the most part, done their final harvests for this growing season, and the leaves have or soon will be harvested into teas like these:

5 “Thankful” November Teas! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

5 “Thankful” November Teas! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

1 Full of Character: Yorkshire Red Loose Leaf Tea

A great tea, blending the best from India, Africa, and Sri Lanka for that distinctive character on Yorkshire Tea has. Strong aroma, rich color, and satisfying flavor will make this a tea you will certainly be thankful for!

2 A Great Tea Gets More Variety: Earl Grey Teas

Quite frankly, there are many folks out there who couldn’t get through the day without a cuppa Earl Grey (hey, that rhymes!). This flavored tea has been around since the 1800s and is said to have originated with Charles Grey, the second earl in his line, who supposedly was given the recipe by a Chinese mandarin with whom he was friends, and whose life he had saved. How true this is remains a bit of a mystery. The flavoring comes from the Bergamot orange, a cross between the sweet or pear lemon (Citrus Limetta) and the Seville or sour orange (Citrus Aurantium). The sour orange is native to southern Vietnam, but whether the hybrid existed then is another matter. The Bergamot orange is currently grown in southern Italy in Calabria. Plus the tea is said to be a blend of Indian and Ceylon teas, but when this tea came about, tea from Sri Lanka (formerly, Ceylon) was not generally known to the Chinese, who had plenty of their own growing. But who cares? We have it today, and the flavor still ranks as a top tea in The UK and U.S. There are also various versions available, such as the Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea, for those who like a stronger taste of citrus. Lots to be thankful for!

3 True, Clean Taste: Blackcurrant Naturally Flavored Black Tea

A fruity black tea featuring blackcurrants and Ceylon high-grown (above 5,500 feet elevation) tea. The blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) is rich in vitamin C, various other nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. It therefore combines well with tea! The fruit can be eaten raw but is usually made into jams, jellies, syrups, and juices. It can also be used, along with the plant’s leaves, for homeopathic medicines and dyes. Such a versatile fruit is certainly something to be thankful for!

4 Refreshing: Gyokuro Japanese Green Tea

True gyokuro is a very special tea. It is made from single buds that are picked only in April/May. For 3 weeks before harvesting the leaves are covered with black cloth, bamboo, or even shades made of straw. This is supposed to increase chlorophyll, turning the leaves darker green, while reducing tannin so that the flavor is sweeter as opposed to bitter. Quality levels vary from tea garden to tea garden, due to terroir (basically, soil and growing climate) and the skill of the tea master who processes those leaves. This involves plucking the small leaves, steaming them at the tea factory for about 30 minutes in a “kill green” process that halts oxidation, fluffing the leaves and then pressing and drying them to move about 30% of the moisture, and then repeated rolling to shape those leaves into the traditional dark green needles, usually unbroken if the tea master is highly skilled and more broken if he/she is not. So we can all be thankful for a gyokuro processed by a highly skilled tea master!

5 Hearty and Satisfying: Scottish Breakfast Tea

Full-bodied, malty, and bright flavor with a hint of oaky character makes this tea blend (Assam and Keemun) a real must have tea any time, not just at breakfast. And the best part is that you have no need to travel to Scotland and don a kilt. Just steep some up and sip on it to get that feeling of heather and peaceful lochs. Both great things to be thankful for!

Hope you get to try some of these during November and give thanks to those tea farmers!

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.

The colors of Fall are all around us, especially those in the U.S. northeast. Reds, golds, oranges, and chestnut browns have replaced those verdant views. And Fall flavors tend to invade our menu, especially at tea time – and especially when it comes to those delectable sweet-smelling (when fresh from the oven) scones!

Some Sticky Fingers Scone Mix Fall Flavors (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

Some Sticky Fingers Scone Mix Fall Flavors (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

The brand I like best is Sticky Fingers. Each package needs only a little water added to the mix to make about 12 scones (depends on how large you make them). The mix has a one-year shelf life and no eggs or partially hydrogenated oils (and thus no cholesterol, transfats, or saturated fats) but do contain dried buttermilk. Simply follow the step by step instructions, and you’ll be enjoying fresh scones from the oven in no time. (A tip for increasing their moistness: add an extra teaspoon of water, a spoonful of applesauce or fruit preserves, or even some additional dried fruits. And use the shorter baking time on the package.)

The big key is the scone flavor. Here are a few that would be tops on my list:

  • Scone Mix – Pumpkin Spice -15oz (425g) – Wonderful autumn-inspired spices and pumpkin flakes – a welcome treat at any time of the year. But Fall is when they are best. Pair with Ceylon Black or Green tea, Dragonwell, or an Autumn Flush Darjeeling.
  • Scone Mix – Cinnamon Raisin – 15oz (425g) – Delivers a unique, spicy taste, and full of plump raisins and a generous helping of sweet and spicy cinnamon. I love these with a little butter (great backup plan when you run out of clotted cream). Pair with a hearty tasting black tea like Assam and Yunnan or an Autumn Flush Darjeeling.
  • Scone Mix – Pumpkin Cranberry – 15oz (425g) – A taste of fall any time of the year. Sweet and spicy with lots of spices, rich pumpkin flavor, and cranberry pieces. This autumn inspired flavor is one of my favorites. If you have any pumpkin butter on hand, add a spoonful to the mix just for that extra touch.
  • Scone Mix – Cocoa Chocolate Chip – 15oz (425g) – Loved by kids and adults alike. Each bite is packed with chocolate chips and are sure to curb your chocolate craving. Pair with green teas like Sencha or Gyokuro, oolongs, Darjeeling teas, Earl Grey, or more hearty tasting black teas like Assam and Yunnan.
  • Scone Mix – Apricot – 15oz (425g) – California apricots make this scone flavor absolutely delightful. The apricots are chewy but not too tart. Delicious with tea and jam, these scones are sure to become your next favorite.
  • Scone Mix – Blackcurrant – 15oz (425g) – A traditional scone flavor that’s a long-time favorite, our Blackcurrant Scone Mix is sure to be delicious with afternoon tea. This mix contains blackcurrants with a touch of nutmeg for a gourmet taste that will have you coming back for more. Pair with Dragonwell, Darjeeling, or any oolong.
  • Scone Mix – Cranberry – 15oz (425g) – Packed with tart, chewy cranberries, this mix is accented with a hint of orange and subtle spices. The perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee.
  • Scone Mix – Apple Cinnamon – 15oz (425g) – a great accompaniment to spiced teas, like chai, apple spice, or holiday spice. This apple cinnamon scone mix is packed with juicy apples, cinnamon, and spices, and is great for breakfast. Pair with Dragonwell, Ti Kuan Yin, Darjeeling, or any oolong.

Don’t forget to enjoy a bit of Fall scenery while munching and sipping!

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.

Apple Spice Naturally Flavored Black Tea (ETS image)

Apple Spice Naturally Flavored Black Tea (ETS image)

For some folks, Labor Day is officially the end of Summer, which among the folks in the Hamptons also means it’s the last day to wear white until Memorial Day, but officially Summer continues until around the end of the 3rd week of September. I always like to observe this official version of the change of seasons with a nice toast of the teacup. And that means steeping up some tea with great Fall flavors.

Autumnal Darjeeling Teas

Most teas come from leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush (lots of various cultivars, actually) and are harvested 3, 4, or even 5 times per growing season (flush). Each harvest has its own flavor characteristics. Many tea connoisseurs go ga-ga for first and second flush Darjeeling teas. These are the ones harvested during early to mid-spring and in June or July. But my faves are the autumnal teas, harvested during September-October. They are the final “hurrah!” of the growing season, and the plants put a lot of “oomph!” into them. They tend to steep up stronger tasting, enough so that their flavors endure in the cup even after you add a bit of milk and sweetener, which make the flavor even more naturally fruit-like with a hint of an Assam maltiness.

Apple and Cinnamon Flavored Teas

A fruit that is usually harvested around this time of year, the apple is seemingly made to go with tea. And an apple-flavored tea is better than apple pie or some other calorie-laden dish. Add a dash of cinnamon and this tea really brings out that Fall atmosphere.

A great example: Apple Spice Flavored Black Tea – A blend with a lively, fruity flavor of fresh orchard apples with delicious cinnamon notes. Uses natural high grown Ceylon tea from estates at more than 5,500 feet above sea level. Includes apple pieces, cinnamon, blackberry leaves, safflower petals, and natural flavors.

Pumpkin Flavored Teas

Another crop that is harvested about now is pumpkins. Items with pumpkin in them start popping up all over. Pies, cakes, breads, soups, candies, and teas, to name a few. A cuppa this style of tea is just right for enjoying cooler weather after the heat and humidity of Summer.

A great example: Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea – A blend of black teas and South African Rooibos (redbush herbal) – absolutely perfect when served hot with milk and sugar. Includes black tea, Rooibos, apple, almond, orange, rosehip, and vanilla pieces, calendula and sunflower and hibiscus petals, cinnamon, nut oil, and natural flavors.

Robust Black Teas

Another aspect of a good Fall time cuppa is a more robust flavor, mainly because many of us like a tea this time of year that can take a bit of milk and sweetener. A few options are:

  • Yorkshire Red Label Tea – A blend of the very best of teas from India, Africa and Sri Lanka to create the unmistakable character of Yorkshire Tea. It has a strong aroma, rich color and satisfying flavor.
  • Irish Breakfast Tea – A stout robust blend of February Kenya BP1 and 2nd flush Assam. A superb color and very full-bodied tea.
  • Organic Assam TGFOP Tea – A flavorful tea with superb astringency and jammy profile. The expansive malt character opens with milk.
  • Taylor of Harrogates Scottish Breakfast Tea – A thick-tasting and strong cup of Assam tea with a rich malty character best served with milk and a bit of sweetener.
  • PG Tips – The Strong One – A blend of Kenyan and other African teas for a bold cuppa tea. A strong, ruby-colored liquid with a malty aroma and thick tea character. Great with milk and sweetener.
  • Sylvakandy Estate Orange Pekoe Tea – A malty flavor that smoothes with a floral character. Best enjoyed hot with a dash of milk to help open and expand its flavor profile.
  • Kambaa Estate Tea – A very malty flavor with light hints of currant.

Whichever tea you choose, it should be a great way to start Fall. Enjoy!

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.

A pastry fork is totally indispensible. True. Have you ever tried to hold a plate in one hand and cut a piece off that slice of pie, tart, or other goodie residing on it with a regular fork? I have. Not a pretty sight. Makes a total mush of that lovely pastry (especially éclairs and cream puffs), British-style pudding (which is more like a cake), or other delectable goodie that some talented pastry chef slaved over in a hot kitchen for weeks (okay, it was probably just days…uh, hours…anyway, you get the point). So, why is a pastry fork (aka, a “pie fork”) indispensible? Glad you asked. Here’s why:

1 Only Three Tines

First, I need to clarify that this isn’t the kind of pastry fork used to work a batch of pastry dough prior to baking. It’s for using after all that hard work is done and you get to enjoy those efforts. Salad and dinner forks mostly have four tines. But a pastry fork has only three. And they are a bit further apart to spread them across the full head of the fork, which is the same width as the salad fork. Why is three tines better? Because of how that third one is shaped.

The pastry fork explained. (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

The pastry fork explained. (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

2 An Extra-Wide Third Tine

The third tine, counting left to right as shown in the image here) is twice as wide as the others. You are supposed to hold the plate in your left hand and cut a bite-sized piece out of the pastry or pie with the wide tine of the fork in your right hand. Thus this pastry fork is indispensible for the more casual style of tea time served buffet style.

3 Challenges Lefties

The one drawback is that pastry forks are designed for right-handed people. At least, I couldn’t find any online made for the lefties out there. So using such a fork will be a bit of a challenge for them. Maybe a left-handed pastry fork is needed. Any of you designers out there have a golden opportunity here. And an indispensible need for inventors is a problem to solve. And that’s the lack of a left-handed pastry fork!

4 Keeps Those Dessert Spoons Company

Dessert spoons can get pretty lonely in your silverware drawer. A lot of people think they are just an odd-shaped teaspoon. So, they generate a chuckle or two and then get passed over in favor of the more normal teaspoon. But those who discover the wonders of a pastry fork (the kind you eat with) will soon learn how well it pairs with the dessert spoon. According to an etiquette site, “Traditionally, a dessert spoon and dessert fork are used when eating such pastries as cream puffs and éclairs; the pastry is held in place with the spoon and cut and eaten with the fork.” So the pastry fork is indispensible for keeping the creamy fillings from squirting out too much. And for keeping dessert spoons from languishing in the silverware drawer.

5 A Conversation Starter

Whether you’re a leftie dealing with that awkward, odd-looking fork your host foisted on you, or just one prone to observing and commenting on unusual items that cross your path, you can certainly have plenty of conversational ammo here. Awkward pauses at tea time will be a thing of the past as your host regales you with an elaborate (and probably mostly fictional) account of how the pastry fork came to be while you spend your mental capacities working out which tidbit is fact and which is falderal. So the pastry fork is indispensible here, too!

Whatever the case, your tea time (solo or en masse) will be unforgettable, thanks to the indispensible pastry fork!

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.

Scone fever sets in as tea time draws near! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Scone fever sets in as tea time draws near! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

One of the traditional tea time foods remains the humble and lovable scone. No matter how you enjoy it, a scone is the ultimate treat to enjoy with tea. There are two basic types: sweet (the most popular) and savory. There are also types peculiar to certain locations, most notably British-style and American-style.

British vs. American Styles

British scones are lighter and fluffier, more like our American baking-powder biscuits. They also might contain oats and currants. They are usually not too sweet and will definitely not have a sugar coating on top, the way many American kinds do. British scones are meant to hold clotted cream and preserves (and even some butter, according to some aficionados). And they are definitely meant to be served with tea.

American scones can be complete until themselves, needing no clotted cream or other toppings, and therefore being more like a dessert pastry. They tend to be a bit sweet and have different added flavorings: fruits, nuts, chocolate, and spices are the main ones. The style here is free, shaped anyway the maker wants, and with no tradition to have to follow. Thus, there is an American-style scone for every taste. Many think this is a tragedy while others find it wonderful.

Why Scones

Scones are ideal due to their ease of preparation. You can whip up a batch on pretty short notice. Flour is the base ingredient, with baking powder, sugar, butter, and egg yolks. There are lots of recipes but a mix, like the ones from Sticky Fingers Bakery (my personal favorite), is even better. Add water, mix well, plop on a baking sheet, stick ’em into a pre-heated oven, and set the timer. Use that baking time to steep up a strong pot of breakfast blend tea.

Scones make great holders for dollops of clotted cream and spoonfuls of fruit preserves. Some scone eaters consider this the only reason to eat them and can get into heated arguments about which to plop on that scone first. Scones can be pretty tasty by themselves, especially the kind with various fruits in the mix. Anything from apricots, blueberries, and cherries, to dates, figs, currants, raisins, etc. You can use other toppings on scones, including butter, chutneys (especially ones that tend toward the sweet side like those made of mango), and even various spreads like cream cheese and peanut butter. The sky – and your palate – is the limit.

Scones elongate teatime, with their very warmth, aroma, and flavor that say, “Slow down. Enjoy me!” Followed by a full gulp of Assam or Scottish Breakfast tea smoothed with milk and sweetener, the experience is complete.

Get Baking

So, why are you still sitting there? Get baking, and don’t forget to steep that pot of 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.

People get excited about things, passionate. Thanks goodness. Otherwise we might as well be comatose. It’s just good to hold that excitement, that passion, a bit in check and not go overboard. I think of this as several major and passion-inspiring sports events have come and gone recently: the World Cup, Wimbledon, and the Tour de France, to name a few. Great events. Ones that inspire a lot of passion, a lot of excitement, a lot of team spirit. And, sadly, a lot of tea spillage. Let me explain…

Soccer, tennis, and cycling… a passionate sports season calls for lots of tea! (From Yahoo! Images)

Soccer, tennis, and cycling… a passionate sports season calls for lots of tea! (From Yahoo! Images)

The scene here is your living room, family room, or wherever you have that bigscreen TV. No wimpy TVs here. No tablets that can stream TV broadcasts. We’re talking 40” diagonal or larger. In front of this is the seating designed to certain specifications: well-padded with no springs poking up in very inconvenient places, a back that is at just the right angle for lounging (that means none of that Victorian horsehair-stuffed vertical-backed furniture where you have to sit up ramrod straight), an ottoman (unless you’re sitting in a recliner), and a table to hold your snackables, the remote control, and, most importantly, your tea!

Your timing is impeccable. You have everything ready well before the start of that sports event. You’re comfortable ensconced in that comfortable seating. The snacks are within easy reach. And the tea is at hand. Perfection!

Ah, but nothing is totally perfect.

As I said before, people get excited about things and even quite passionate. That team spirit is no exception. It’s great to cheer on your team, even when watching them on TV (those good vibes get through to them – honest!), and to get rather excited when they score. Even a non-team sport such as the Wimbledon tennis matches can have you crying out “Great shot!” or “It was in by a mile…are you blind?” (a bit of John McEnroe coming through there). The problem with such passion is that it can stir you into action… which can cause a rather messy situation regarding your snacks and tea. When the soccer ball makes it past the goalie, when that serve is smashed perfectly and your favorite player wins the match, or when those Tour de France cyclists pile up on top of each other on a sharp curve, you can jump up unexpectedly and passionately, sending everything flying. Cheese puffs, popcorn, cookies, etc., look like a snowstorm of food. But the tea is the real issue.

Hot or iced, tea is still a liquid. Therefore, it has a tendency not to stay put while you’re flinging your arm around with that cup or glass. Physics rearing its ugly head. So, make a point of setting that cup or glass down after taking a quick sip. The less time it’s in your hand, the less chance of spraying the room with tea. Of course, you could put your tea in a travel mug, so it has a lid. And then you can cheer on the victories all you want!

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.

There are guides to this and that, books for dummies by the shelf full, 101 ways to do this thing or the other, but nowhere have I found a book, web site, or even a single article just for those of us who point our pinkies while drinking tea. Time to rectify that situation.

The Demi is more demure, but the Full keeps would-be pilferers away from your tea! (From Yahoo! Images)

The Demi is more demure, but the Full keeps would-be pilferers away from your tea! (From Yahoo! Images)

Ignore Those Know-It-All Etiquette Overlords

There are dozens and dozens of sites out there claiming to know what proper tea etiquette, including whether or not to point your pinky, consists of. (One thing is certain: I just ended that sentence in a preposition, but it’s less awkward sounding than the correct way.) They claim that pinkie pointing is a way for those of inferior breeding to look like the elites.

Supposedly, pinkie pointing was done by the aristocracy for various reasons (I’ve seen everything from saving their pinkies to stir spices into their foods – ugh! – to giving a “come hither” sign by one of those dainty aristocratic ladies to the lord, chamberlain, or page boy that caught her eye). Many claim it is a natural action, but that is up for debate. I say do whichever you please and tell the naysayers to go chase after that mom who let her kid eat that bug he/she found crawling around on that jungle gym at the playground.

Choose the Full versus Demi Pinkie Point

We all have our own personality – or should I say personaliTEA? – and so we have to choose our own style of pointing that pinkie. The more gregarious among you will want to engage in the full pinkie point. That pinkie will be extended all the way out and at a bold, “in your face” angle. Those around you will be well-advised to keep a safe distance lest they get a poke in the eye as you raise up that cuppa for a sip.

The more demure and/or timid tea drinker will do the demi pinkie point. This is my preferred method since I am loathe to ram a fellow tea lover while I am trying to imbibe. I have also poked my own eye a time or two trying that full out pinkie pointing maneuver. It took some doing and involved tea spillage.

How NOT to Use That Pinkie

While the mavens of etiquette squabble over class distinctions and rudeness, I will bring up a few practical “do nots” about pinkies.

  • Your pinkie is not a napkin. Using it to wipe away jam and clotted cream from the corners of your mouth, especially if you then lick off that jam and clotted cream from your pinkie, is a “do not” for sure.
  • Your pinkie is not a facial tissue. This is even more important. A definite “do not.” If you need to … uh … remove … uh … dislodge … uh … relieve a situation, then go for an actual facial tissue.
  • Your pinkie is not a spoon, fork, knife, etc. So, those folks who think pinkie pointing was a way to keep the digit clean to use as a utensil are a bit off. Same goes for those who think the nail on their pinkie is a suitable substitute for a toothpick.

Respect your pinkie, whether you decide to point it while raising that cup or not!

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.

When thinking of having that perfect cup of tea several wonderful things come to mind that might accompany such a wonderful beverage. Cakes and cookies are a perfectly good option, but biscuits with honey are on the menu today. A warm buttery biscuit with that tangy sweet honey that pairs so perfectly with a cup of tea. Oh, how delightful!

Tea Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Preparation:

1 ¼ cup cold buttermilk
1 tbsp Golden Needle black tea (Substitute: Puerh or a very strong short steeping time tea)
1 tbsp boiling water

In a small cup combine the boiling water and tea. Steep for about 30 seconds to a minutes or until much of the liquid has been absorbed by the tea leaves. Pour the plumped tea leaves into the cold buttermilk. Let set in the fridge for at least 2 but up to 8 hours. Then remove the leaves from the buttermilk.

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 425°

2 ½ cups flour
1/8 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ cup cold butter
¼ cup shortening
2 tbsp melted butter

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor or bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces. Place the cut pieces into the flour mixture and combine.  If using a food processor pulse until combined. If using a bowl, take a pastry cutter or fork and cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture is mealy. Either method should give you the same result. Slowly add in the tea buttermilk until combined. The dough should be wet and form a lump. Pour out onto a floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out to about ½ inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter and cut out the biscuits. Brush the top of each biscuit with the melted butter and place into a 425° preheated oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

The yield will vary depending on the size of the cutter. Using a 3½ inch biscuit cutter this recipe will garner about 8 biscuits.

See more of Janet Sanchez’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.

Whilst in Brussels, I managed to find time to stop by the delightfully named Pepper Mint Tea Room. Although they do a well-rounded menu of quiches, salads, sweet treats, wine, and beer (it is Belgium, after all), their most extensive offering is tea. With a separate tea menu listing more than forty different tea options, this is definitely a place for tea lovers to stop by if in the neighbourhood. They serve tea for one or two, and also sell it loose should you care to take some home with you.

Tarte Meringuée at The Pepper Mint Tea Room (photo by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved)

Tarte Meringuée at The Pepper Mint Tea Room (photo by Elise Nuding, all rights reserved)

Perusing their long list of teas, there were several options that stood out. Rather than go for one of the classic teas, I thought I would try something a little more unusual. I found just such a tea in the somewhat extravagantly named “Tarte Meringuée.” This tea combines white tea, green tea, sencha (yes, I know sencha is also green tea, but this is what the menu says…) with pineapple, papaya, grapes, coriander, cinnamon, coco, cardamom, mango, meringue, orange, lemon, apricot, and grilled almonds. Ok, so maybe it’s not the name that is extravagant, but the tea itself! In any case, this tea was a new item of theirs and one of the more interesting ones on the menu, so I thought I would give it a try.

Not quite knowing what to expect from a mixture of white and green tea with all of those flavours, I was pleasantly surprised. Of the spices, the cinnamon flavour was the strongest, but was not overpowering. The fruit flavours come through the spice, but again, their sweetness was not overpowering, and the combination of so many flavours prevented the tea from tasting too much like any one fruit. Overall, the sweet and the spice balanced each other out very nicely. As for the mix of the green and white tea, again one did not overpower the other; it did not feel like I was drinking either a green tea or a white tea. The resulting in-between flavour (which came through despite all of the added fruits and spices!) was mellow and very pleasant.

In addition to offering a wide range of teas, the Pepper Mint Tea Room also knows how to serve it; my tea arrived brewing in a tetsubin (cast iron teapot) of a very respectable size, complete with Japanese-style teawares from which to enjoy my tea. If I’m in the city again, this is a definitely a place I will come back to!

See more of Elise Nuding’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.

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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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