Jul 4 2007

SUMMER: TEA EXPO, ICED TEA, 2007 TEAS, AND OTHER MISCELLANEY!

Marianne

I honestly don’t know where to begin in reporting to you the highlights of this year’s Tea Expo which I attended in Atlanta almost a month ago. With almost 5,000 attendees this was the biggest in its five year history. Everyone has their own idea for a unique niche in the tea business, and there is no sign of the growth slowing as of yet. I guess as always, the real highlight for me was meeting new people who are enthusiastic and passionate about tea, hearing their stories and plans, and then reconnecting with those I’ve met before to see how they’ve progressed. This is true for other tea business owners as well as vendors of products.

sconemix.jpgOne of the products I’ll be carrying as a result of the EXPO is a scone mix from Victorian House Scones. The owner has perfected a scone mix which draws on a┬ámemory of scones and tea enjoyed in her youth with an elderly neighbor. Available in original or original oatmeal formulas, the mix is accompanied by handy directions for freezing and baking the dough as needed, as well as recipes for modifying the scones with various flavors and additions. You will want to try these for sure.

I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely young woman designer from Philadelphia. Harshita Lohia is a native of India, educated in the United States and married into a family in the tea business. A designer of clothing, jewelry, and home decor, she has developed a line of lovely tea themed accessories. For now, I will have some of her beautiful cotton/silk blend drawstring bags, and a few scarves, with the hope of increasing the selection of her designs in the future.

We are definitely now in the midst of iced tea season, and it’s easy to make any of your favorite teas into a perfect glass of iced tea. The secret is silkteabags.jpgdoubling the amount of tea leaf used, steep as usual, and pour over a container (individual glass or pitcher)┬ápacked with ice. If you like your particular blend sweetened, you can either add the sugar to the hot steeping tea, or make a simple sugar syrup by mixing equal parts sugar and water, bringing to a simmer and stirring until sugar is dissolved. This simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. One of our favorites with customers is Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea prepared in this way. I also have a customer who likes to blend the Hot Cinnamon Spice with Earl Grey in equal proportions for her iced tea. The possibilities are endless, so experiment and enjoy!

The 2007 tea harvests are beginning to arrive in the U.S. and we will soon be receiving our first shipments of single estate teas. Within the month we will have a Yellow Mountain Green Tea from China, an Oranic Oolong, and a new batch of the popular hand-tied flowering tribute teas.

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I hope your summer is going well, and that we will see you soon at 265 Main Street. Downtown Biddeford is hopping, and the ART WALK, being held the last Thursday of every month is becoming a popular event. On these evenings, we are open until 9:00 PM. Have a Happy and safe 4th of July!

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