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 memory 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) packed 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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Feb 19 2007

YEAR OF THE PIG

Marianne

logo-pig-12.gifIn recognition of the birthplace of tea almost 5,000 years ago, we encourage you to celebrate the Year of the Boar as it is ushered in.   Celebration of the New Year starts the long Celebration of Spring, with the beginning of new life.  The new tea crops of the year are awaited with great  anticipation.                                                           luck.gif

I encourage you to visit www.chinapage.com to learn more about the culture and customs associated with China. And to all, I say “FU” (Good Luck) in China!   

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Feb 4 2007

February is a Wonderful Month!

Marianne

valentinetag21.jpegI’ve always loved the month of February. For such a short month, it has a lot going for it, don’t you think? I mean, it starts out with Groundhog Day where we predict the coming weather. Then add in the birthdays of two of our most revered and important historical figures, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Of course, the most exciting and widely celebrated day in February is that all important February 14th, the day that can make or break the future of your relationship with that significant other. From childhood to adulthood, Valentine’s Day is full of anticipation and excitement. Flowers, sweet frilly lace, rich smooth chocolate, heart shaped meatloaf…or cake…or cookies…all of these images explode in a sea of pinks and reds, and purples and lavenders. I mean, seriously! don’t you just love February?

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Nov 27 2006

On the Tenth Day…

Marianne

shennung.jpg…a book on the history of tea would be perfect for one who wants to explore more deeply this exotic plant which has been enjoyed since ancient times. Learn about the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung who legend credits for discovering the soothing and medicinal properties of this botanical when a leaf accidentally floated into his pot of hot water from the ancient tea tree above him. Such a wide variety of books are available, in every price range.

Or perhaps a selection of fine, vintage linens or service pieces to grace the table. Any of these would make a perfect gift for the Eleventh Day.

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But ah, the Twelfth Day gift! This should be very special. Nothing is more special than that perfect heirloom teapot accompanied by a selection of fine teas. In such a wide range of materials…porcelain, silver, or pottery…and colors, the perfect teapot can be fancy or serviceable. Sure to become a family heirloom for everyday use is the one quart, sturdy pot in white or black with its’ own infuser basket and an insulated metal hood in stainless steel or copper finish. This is a pot which will fit into any decor and will last a lifetime!familyteapots.jpg

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Nov 27 2006

On the Sixth Day…

Marianne

tinyteapotpearl.jpg… the perfect gift might be a stretchy beaded bracelet with a teapot dangle. Available in a variety of beads, from crystal to pearl, this is a wonderful look which your tea pot loving recipient will treasure for many years.

On the seventh day consider a tea for one set, including a teapot, cup, and saucer, already packaged in a festive red felt box along with a small tin of tea. All you need to add is your sentiment to delight the giftee. All of these for under $20.00 each!

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vintageteacup.jpgOn the eighth day, anyone would be delighted to receive a vintage teacup and saucer, a treasure from times past with years of enjoyment still ahead. Can’t you imagine the delicate hands, the endless types of tea, and the conversation to which it has been exposed?

Or on the ninth day, perhaps a set including tea pot, sugar bowl, and milk pitcher is what your tea drinker would enjoy. So many vintage items of teaware are available, something to fit every style and budget.

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Nov 25 2006

Twelve Days of Christmas…Gift Ideas!

Marianne

holidaytea21.jpgOn the first day of Christmas, you might consider one of our unique tagalong tins of tea. Five silken sachets of premium tea in a decorative tin suitable for traveling or office. Available in a large variety of flavors at under $5.00.

On the second day of Christmas you might consider a beautiful handtied art tea. These beautiful globes open into a lovely flower when covered with boiling water, making for a soothing and serene experience both visually and in taste. A very special gift for under $5.00!

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Nov 19 2006

Holiday Open House:Saturday December 9th

Marianne

christmastea.jpgWe’re very excited about our open house and hope you will stop in during our extended business hours between 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM. We will have special purchases available for your holiday gifting as well as samplings of teas, and a special gift for you as we celebrate Nellie’s 3rd anniversary!

From 2:00 to 7:00 PM artists from Gallery 265 will join us for you to meet, and will demonstrate their talents by sketching portraits. Refreshments will be served all afternoon.

In addition, Patricia of Cellar Door Floral Designs will be demonstrating beautiful holiday flower arrangements for your pleasure.

Be sure to join us for this holiday fun!

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Nov 10 2006

THERE’S AN AUTUMN CHILL IN THE AIR!

Marianne

harneyteas_1cranaut.gif…and we have just the tea to warm you. If you like a black tea with a hint of cranberry and orange, Cranberry Autumn from Harney and Son’s is the perfect cup for you. It’s beautiful fragrance, color, and “sweet without sugar” taste will go nicely with the fall flavors of pumpkin or apple, or stands on its own as a perfect cup to soothe.
If a decaffeinated blend is your preference, African Autumn is a blend of herbal Rooibos with cranberry and orange that will hit the spot!

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