Tea Time

by Stefani on 7-January-2010

Cup of TeaI have never been a tea drinker, but I’ve always wanted to be.

As a good southern girl, I can put down some sugar shocked ice tea at a summer picnic with the best of them, but it’s not something I drink with any regularity. I make sun tea probably once a year… just out of duty.  I even grow mint each spring with the express purpose that this will be the year I learn to drink tea like I mean it. But it never sticks.

Same goes for hot tea. Our Texas winters are so crazy short and I just can’t abide drinking hot drinks any other time of year.

Still I try, because I’m an old fashioned girl. I believe in tradition. I do, and it just seems like I should be drinking tea, doesn’t it? It does. I know it does.

So a few weeks ago when I broke out that needlework that I told you about ages ago (I will not be showing you my progress because you’d laugh yourself silly over how very very little I’ve accomplished), and I sat with my completely ridiculous and yet oh so necessary lighted magnifying glass draped over my neck , I felt anew that I should be drinking tea. I mean really, I was the picture of a proper old lady needlepointing by the fire with a crocheted blanket over my knees, save for the fact that I did not have by my side a cup of steaming tea. I’m all for a complete picture.

Two Lumps

So I broke out the tea and made up a cup.

Now if I had ASKED at this point for my boys to drink tea with me, they would have turned their noses straight up. But since I didn’t so much as offer, they were very much interested in trying out this tea business. So we made a party of it.

Tea Time

We’ve had a tea time every day since, though two of the three men prefer hot chocolate. At half past two (for no other reason that the fact that we like saying “half past”) we bust out the tea cups and commence with the boiling of water.

It’s given us a fine excuse to peruse the imported “biscuits” aisle when we do the shopping,and to make up fancy things like cucumber sandwhiches. Thus far we’ve had Lemon Zinger, Mandarin Spice, Peppermint, and Raspberry Earl. I think the last is my favorite. In fact I find myself actually LOVING it.

A Boy Tea Party

As it turns out, all I ever needed in order to love tea was a handful of gentlemen with which to drink it. The ritual of it, the company, the chance to pause the bustlings of an ordinary day and do something just a little fanciful… it’s really rather nice. Plus it’s awfully fun to listen to their horrendous versions of something meant to be English accents.

So, all you tea drinkers out there, what flavors should we try next?

Stay warm everyone!

Amy J January 7, 2010 at 9:37 am

Well, I’m not one for flavors. I am a Constant Comment girl from wayyyyyy back. And now I like the Constant Comment Green Tea. Also, English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

My kids love it too! Hope you stay warm today!!

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I see a trend… “Constant Comment” keeps popping up! It seems we simply must!
You stay warm too! I’ve put it off long enough, and now the three sets of shivery legs around here are demanding that my sewing machine turn the piles of folded fleece into warm pajama pants 🙂

jade January 7, 2010 at 9:40 am

great idea stef! what a great substitute for afternoon snack. i think i’ll start that too! and in the summer it just moves to sweet iced tea. and i LOVE the biscuit isle. pick up some tim tam’s next time you are at heb. you won’t regret it! i found out about them while traveling in australia. they are, hands down, my favorite tea time snack!

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

It really is the perfect way to snack… just a few smallish things, a little sandwhich a little sweet a little fruit and some tea. And this way it is well before dinner. Up to know it would be 4 or 5 o’clock when they’d want a snack and then if I caved in, they’d not want their dinner. Plus it’s just good fun. I never thought I’d get to do tea parties with a house full of boys. Of course we don’t CALL it that. Never 🙂

Amanda J January 7, 2010 at 9:55 am

We are big time tea drinkers, all four of us. We love to break out the pretty tea pots and little teaspoons. Try Darjeeling and Constant Comment they are dellightful. Tazo also has lots of wonderful flavors, like wild mandadrin. If you like Chai, try Tazo Chai and vanilla soy, equal parts of each. It’s my favorite winter drink.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I can’t even begin to tell you… it’s ridiculous really… how many tea pots and cup and pretty little spoons have been gathering dust here. It’s so nice to have a use for them!
Seems like I tried Chai ages ago, but I can’t remember if I liked it. Of course anything mixed with vanilla cream sounds lovely!

Jennifer January 7, 2010 at 10:01 am

I grew up in England so tea is part of everyday, though not with all the trimmings every day. I do love chai but my go to, is plain old British Blend or English Breakfast. Glad you are enjoying your new ritual.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I did read somewhere that the closet thing we have in the states to proper English tea would be the breakfast blends. I will definitely have to try those!
As for the trimming, I think there’d be our own version of the Boston Tea Party if I should try to eliminate the trimmings 🙂

Lia January 7, 2010 at 11:11 am

I drink tea everyday. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I guzzle tea with the same zeal as an avid coffee connoisseur. My personal favorite is Tetley British Blend with cream (half and half) and sugar. But I grew up loving Constant Comment. It’s an orange-spice blend that is wonderful and very easy for kids to fall in love with, too.

Tea time sounds like a very fun and wonderful idea. I can’t wait to do it with my boys. Thanks for the idea!

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Hurrah for more boy tea parties!

Karen January 7, 2010 at 11:12 am

I like Serendipitea’s Coco Loco, which you’ll have to order online unless you live in New York. Also, I’m a big fan of Allegro’s Nilla Nut, but it’s only available during the holidays.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Oh dear … you are clearly a woman after my own heart. “Coco and Nilla” how could one go wrong? Thanks for the tips!

Holly January 7, 2010 at 11:15 am

So, our favorites for our tea parties are Celestial Seasonings Almond Sunset, Vanilla Hazelnut and English Toffee. Our favorite herbal tea of all time is Creme au caramel Rooibos. To Die For!!! And all good for kids. Try and enjoy. We love cream cheese and jam sandwiches cut in various cookie cutter shapes, or cutting out the top with a cutter so you can see the beautiful jam.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Lawsy, toffee and caramel! Sold! And I think little jam sandwiches with cookie cut out windows will have to be our next tea treat!

marjorie January 7, 2010 at 11:29 am

Good Earth (original) — I never get tired of it. And it’s caffeine free, so it’s good for later in the day, too. (Almost every night in the winter 🙂 The best part is imagining all those english accents.. too cute.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

They sound a bit more like pirates than English gentlemen, but it’s pretty cute none the less. 🙂

Marie January 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

I’m a huge fan of green tea, Red Bush or Rooibos is also delicious…and has no caffeine, another good one to try is Yerba Matte and if you want to try something kind of smokey I’d try some Lapsand Souchong. Sounds like a great exploration, and a wonderful ritual with the boys!

enjoy

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

My tea cup overflows! All these wonderful suggestions are going to keep me busy for a while!
Thank you!

Cassandra January 7, 2010 at 11:40 am

Oh goodness, how I love tea parties!

I’m a big time ice tea drinker when the weather is right. Or in restaurants. But hot tea? Never really for me until very recently. I decided that coffee was causing me some problems (i.e. fatigue and foggy headedness that I was not liking) and here in the cold of winter, I’ve come to rely on a hot drink in the morning at work to get me moving. So, I’ve started drinking tea. And my newest favorite is Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea (meant to be flavored up with cream and sugar…perfect!) I’m a convert.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Irish tea with cream…. mmmmmm I think that you might well make me a believer too!

Debbie Rosenkranz January 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

At my house we drink Arabic hot tea sometimes it is called Maramia and before I tasted this tea I didn’t even so much as like even iced tea, now I know this is not right for a Texas girl, but I swaer that tea turned me. Basically this tea (the way I make it) is a bag of regular tea witha bag of green tea and a dried herb is added in Arabic it is called Maramia. I think it is pineapple sage. Oh it is so delicious! Not only did it turn me into a tea lover but when I feel a sore throat or the sniffles coming on I drink it and it makes me feel so much better!

I must confess that Rasberry Earl tea sounds fabulous!! Where did you find it and what brand is it. I would like to try some. Will you please share?

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

and where to you find the Maramia? It’s sounds divine!

As for the Raspberry Earl, It’s a Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, found here http://www.gypsytea.com/Raspberry-Earl-P48C12.aspx

They have so many delicious sounding blends!

Aimee January 7, 2010 at 11:47 am

We love the Republic of Tea “Good Hope Vanilla” red tea…delicious! For brewing iced tea, we use a few family-size bags of Lipton along with 1 Constant Comment bag….and sugar of course 🙂

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm

There goes that “Constant Comment” again… it is indeed a constant comment! Alright, we’re going to have to have some!

Butzeballchen January 7, 2010 at 11:54 am

I am a devoted tea drinker; hot in the “winter” and iced in the summer. My favorites are Tazo’s Zen tea and Stash’s Moroccan Mint. Pinwheel sandwiches are fun for tea time, too. Pinkies up, dear 😉

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm

You know I think that at least half the fun of tea drinking, save for the english accents that it brings out in us, is the gorgeous sounding names. “Moroccan Mint”… I feel that I might need to wear bangly bracelets to drink that one 🙂

Julie Alvarez January 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I adore all the natural herbal teas. Without any actual tea in them, ehem… I make camomile, mint, linden (my three favorites) and some others.
A tea I adore, thay may be my favorite in the whole world among the ones you can purchase, is this one:
http://www.amazon.com/MarketSpice-Teabags-box-of-24/dp/B00029KOVO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1262888595&sr=8-3
It was brought to me twice from Seattle. I can’t buy it here. So I have ir brought from there any chance I get! It’s spicy, slightly sweet, and delicious!!!

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

It sounds lovely, as does linden. Linden is one of my favorite scents, so to be able to drink it sounds just about perfect!

Julie Alvarez January 8, 2010 at 7:28 am

And it’s benefits are amazing! If your muscles are contracted, a cup of linden tea will do all the difference! If the kids were too boisterous all day and you need to relax, a cup of linden flowers tea is what you need.

Heather January 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

mmmm tea! I love your new space over here.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Why thank you, Heather!

tams January 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I just bought my first teapot last weekend!
I haven’t purchased any teacups yet but oh i will! You’ve inspired me to do a little etsy shopping for some missmatched pieces!
stay warm.

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

You know, I bought my first set of tea cups (which are luncheon plates really – the ones in the last photo above) well before I even had my own place to live. I was just out of high school and had very fine ideas about the life that I would lead. They have come out from time to time over the years, but never with such regularity as they do now. I love old tea sets the best… they seem to come with their own memories and it’s so nice to think that each time you use them you are adding to their history. Happy hunting to you!

Kelly January 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Another Constant Comment drinker! I love it & have it at least once at day be it hot or iced. I’m actually drinking some right now!

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

You constant commenters! Alright alright, I’m going to find some TODAY!

Jody January 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I’m all about plain ole Earl Grey. I actually just bought myself a new tea kettle yesterday in a lovely olivey green color. I love hearing the tea kettle whistling it’s welcome song. I’ve been a bit sniffly lately and the tea works wonders with that too – so I’ve been drinking more than my share this week. (And running to the bathroom quite a bit more often too…hehe!)

Stefani January 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

A kettle is next up on our list. I’ve not gotten one yet, as I’ve been waiting to see if this tea trend sticks, but I do think it would thrill all of us to hear it whistling 🙂
Feel better!

Torry January 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm

A kettle is also great for making boiled water faster than a pot or pan. So if you are running low on time for the spaghetti water, start some in the pan and the rest in the kettle. And you will get your water done much faster.

Kristine January 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

My kids have peppermint or chamomile or a blend of those two, most mornings. We’ve also been enjoying licorice tea (very sweet!) – plain if I can find it, or Yogi makes a good blend that still tastes like licorice. I just make a big pot, and drink up (cold) whatever the kids don’t finish. I tend to like teas that tastes like herbs or twigs or leaves – nothing too sweet (except for the licorice!) or fruity. Drank lots of raspberry leaves during pregnancy! Like a good strong orange pekoe in the afternoon.

But, I find my tea tastes best, whatever kind it is, when it is HOT and drunk with friends (or when everyone else is asleep!).
K.

Maria January 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Ooooh, I love tea! With this cold winter we are having, I need to make more of it! I usually make my own blends (I have an apothecary with over 150 herbs in it!!), but I have to say that my favorite tea right now is Chaibos from Summit and Spice (http://www.summitspiceandtea.com/servlet/the-105/Chaibos/Detail)
With a little maple syrup, and a dash of cream… MMmmmmmm!!!
I have one that I’ve made that is kind of like creamy root beer. That one is nice too!
I’d love to send you some different flavors to try if you’d like!

Debbie Rosenkranz January 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Stefani there is a place in Austin called Phoenicia they may have it but I could not swear to it. A lot of times my husbands family brings it back from overseas.

Debbie Rosenkranz January 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Oops, I am talking about the Marmia of course…sorry.

Dianne@sheepdreams January 7, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Oh my, the power of suggestion! I didn’t even finish reading your post before I had to get up and put the tea kettle on. There’s Constant Comment in my cup right now! (I’m a Kentucky southerner and drinking iced tea is a way of life, but like you, I want to develop the habit of drinking hot tea during the winter.)

Lindsey Alyce January 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm

For a beginning tea drinker (and for anyone, really), I would definitely recommend Yogi brand Mayan Cocoa Spice tea. Spicy, warm…yum!

Anne January 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I love Tazo Zen tea in the afternoon. I drink black tea in the morning, usually English husband’s PG Tips, but the bright herby green tea goodness of Zen in the afternoon is lovely.

Relyn January 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

As always, I find the stories of life with your guys absolutely enchanting, happy-making.

Colleen P. January 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Definitely try any of your teas with a bit of milk and sugar-I lived in England for six years and that’s the “proper” way to do it, or so I was told! Earl Gray is especially good this way but any good dark tea is delicious made this way. It tastes like dessert in a drink! Fantastic!

Colleen P. January 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Not sure if you allow links, but your kids will love this!

It’s really good tea as well, just so you know!

http://www.pgtips.co.uk/

catherine January 10, 2010 at 12:08 am

i was going to post a separate comment, but had to reply to this one… pg tips is my go-to tea. i do drink it weak, because i’m a wimp, but after working in a british antiques store for 2 years it became my favorite.

i vote pg tips!

Janelle Neely January 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

You gotta try Tazo Chai. If you frequent Starbucks order a chai with no water. You won’t be sorry. 🙂

Gold Coast Kate January 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I was born and raised in NZ – now living in Australia. And raised with a healthy ‘Tea Habit’ that I have passed onto my son and daughter – English Breakfast being our tea of choice. Always with milk and NEVER with sugar! If I make only myself one, the little people clamour to finish the last few teaspoons of liquid in the cup. Your mention of Iced Tea got my attention – not so common here, I would love a tried and true recipe that I can enjoy on a hot Gold Coast afternoon. Many thanks

Suzanne January 8, 2010 at 1:06 am

My little guy just discovered a love for strawberry tea with honey. yum!

kristen January 8, 2010 at 6:33 am

Just the thing to slow down a busy day, something to look forward to and reconnect. My kids love red zinger!

Tara January 8, 2010 at 8:14 am

I grew up with regular teatime… my grandmother/father coming from Holland… and love it. Elevenses! Afternoon tea at 4pm! I still find a really good black tea is best! We get Assam tea and Red Label from a local indian store. Even my two year old son loves this. Right now he’s up to drinking half milk half tea in a small mug. AFterwards, he goes around draining all the dregs from our teacups.

Kim January 8, 2010 at 9:02 am

Darljeeling and Jasmine tea are my favorites. Jasmine has a floral tone that reminds me of when we lived in Thailand. Darjeeling is a N. Indian black tea and I love it!

Tammy January 8, 2010 at 9:41 am

How sweet… I wonder if I could get my little ones to join me in the same thing?…

kristy January 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I cannot start the day without my morning cuppa! So glad you guys have discovered tea.Have you tried Lady Grey?

Chris January 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Although I’m not a big tea drinker (I prefer coffee), I keep trying different kinds of tea since tea is healthier. My favorite so far is Stash brand Lemon & White Tea. If you like a mild lemon flavor, this is the best! I like it both hot and iced.

Hannah January 8, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Another vote for Good Earth!

Maybe some day for an extra treat, you could take your guys to The Steeping Room at the Domain. It’s lovely (my favorite place to meet girlfriends) but not too girly. The teas are excellent, and they have scones with clotted cream! There’s even a “Kids’ Tea Service” with tea and scones or some such combo. I extra love them because they have gluten-free carrot cupcakes.

Lindsey January 9, 2010 at 11:51 am

Constant Comment was the first tea I knew, and it’s my old standard.

However, I’ve recently discovered Bigelow’s Green Tea with Pomegranate, which I really like! I also like Tazo Joy (you can only get it at Starbucks, at Christmastime), and Earl Grey (I tend to just buy Bigelow because it’s affordable, but I like other brands, too). Another good one, Lipton’s Pyramid Tea called Bavarian Wild Berry. You can see it at http://www.liptonpyramidteas.com Your boys might really like the pyramid teas. 🙂

Stacy Jones Herrera January 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves – slowly, evenly without rushing toward the future. 
Thich Nhat Hanh

 I just read this and thought of this post. Maybe it is time for a tea “ceremony” at my house!

amber January 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm

kalahari brand – raspberry truffle flavor YUMMMMMMMMMM dessert in a cup! and its made with rooibos tea (pronounced “roy- boss” – a red tea from africa) which is healthy for you. hope you can find it and enjoy! love your blog, its on my favorites list!

luci January 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I love tea as I am english – but am fussy with herbal teas. Black tea that you add milk to. the best. try english breakfast, earl grey or lady grey if you can get it, assam, darjeeling are aslo good. english brand names like tetley or pg tips are great. I also like speciality flavoured black teas like christmas tea… at this time of year. liptons are ok if you cant get any other varieties.
If you need any help on how to brew a good cup… maybe I should do a blog post this week on my blog this week for you… would you like one?

Emma November 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm

this is a great idea but it is not only for southern girls why not men too?

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