As much as I enjoy a good cup of coffee, tea is my second favorite beverage. I never knew the intricacies and beauty of brewed tea until I was introduced to it years ago (many years ago) by a producer at the Children's Television Workshop (makers of Sesame Street) in New York City. Every afternoon she brewed tea and served it beautifully and elegantly in her office for staff. Several years later, I experienced High Tea at the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza Hotels in New York City. Recalling fond memories of these tea experiences, I've asked my sister to share her own “Tea” story.
Locale: China. Several years ago I traveled to China. I climbed a part of The Great Wall, visited the Terra Cotta Warriors, experienced Tiannamen Square, ate so much delicious food, drank fragrant tea and met some absolutely gracious and lovely people. One of my favorite memories of this trip was touring a tea plantation and learning about the history of tea.
Our travel group saw several acres of terraced tea plants on this plantation. I recall walking through the plants and reaching over to smell the lovely scent of these beautiful tea plants. They were delicate and the buds were so tiny. Tea is dried and then is ready to be steeped and enjoyed.
We were then invited into a room where we were shown how to make and serve tea. You only use loose tea and boiling water which was poured over the tea in a clear glass. It was explained that tea of poor quality was put into bags, sometimes with filler, and you should only drink tea made with loose tea leaves. No sugar, lemon or milk was offered. I bought two tins home and am still enjoying them.
Locale: London. Fast forward to 2019, my husband and I traveled to London, England on vacation. Walked through The British Museum, Kensington Palace, took a River cruise up The Thames River seeing The London Eye and The Shard. Walked over The Tower Bridge, shopped at Harrods, ate delicious fish and chips and drank many cups of fabulous tea.
My friends Lucy and Donna, who live in the States and are from England told me we must have high tea. We did this at The Kensington Hotel and it was so decadent, lovely and delicious. My favorite was English lavender and white tea. We walked all over London that week and it rained every single day. Nothing like a ‘cuppa’ at 4:00pm at the end of many busy days of touring. Of course I bought home lots of tea!
My sister Pat was given English tea as a gift and has been enjoying it in the afternoon with her husband. I also sent her some ‘crisps’, English biscuits (her favorite is milk chocolate Hobnobs) and English crackers. I’ve always liked the experience of drinking tea, but never more than right now.
A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune to participate in a lovely home tea party hosted by my friend Wendy. Friends gathered, each bringing a dish and were served some of the most wonderful teas on exquisite china. I fondly called this “Gertrudes Tea Party” honoring a very special person to Wendy. I loved every moment of this Tea, complete with friends, tea and some of the most wickedly delicious sweet and savory treats.
My own tea time includes a blend of calming and restorative teas. Grateful for the precious moments when I can just catch my breath, breathe in and count my blessings.