Songs for Teatime!

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Part of Kat’s weekend tea ritual includes slowly sipping a good cup of tea while listening to music. Kat says taking some time to fill her senses with fragrant tea and her favorite music goes a long way at helping her feel peaceful and happy. No matter what craziness is going on during the weekend, she almost always finds a few minutes for this special ritual. Always the helpful teacup, I thought it would be fun to find her music that mentions tea. I’ve come up with a fun little playlist that would be perfect for a tea party, backyard summer BBQ, or of course a few moments for yourself.

  • Have A Cuppa Tea- The Kinks: This is a classic song from a classic British rock band! Pull out your English breakfast tea and get sipping to this. This song is from their 1971 album The Muswell Hillbillies. Kat’s mother adores The Kinks and her love of good British classic rock has influenced Kat’s music choices as well.
  • Tea For Two- Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli: this is a lively, cheerful song to listen to on a Sunday morning. It’s jazzy, catchy, and you’ll be tapping your toes while you sip on your tea. I’d recommend a nice smooth, comforting Keemun tea to go with this. Kat likes to pair music from Django Reinhardt with Sunday brunch gatherings. It’s lovely to listen to, but also great in the background.

 

  • Tea For One- Led Zeppelin: This is a surprisingly jazzy yet mellow rock song, very good for savoring a cup and relaxing. It reminds me of sipping iced tea on a hot summer day. I’d pair it with a nice, citrusy iced tea.
  • Englishman in New York- Sting: If you follow tea folks through various social media sites, you’ll occasionally see someone posting the quote ‘I don’t drink coffee, I take tea my dear” which is from this famous song of his 1987 album …Nothing Like the Sun. This song also has a jazzy feel, and is great for relaxing with a British style strong cup of black tea with milk.

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  • Tea in the Sahara: – The Police: For those that really like Sting, he also sang about tea with The Police back in 1983 from their album Synchronicity. It’s got the classic Police 80s sound, and is perfect with a nuanced oolong tea. Lately Kat is loving the oolong tea from Wegmans. This tea is a little toasty, earthy, with a nutty finish. It reminds Kat of going to her mother’s favorite Chinese restaurant as a child. Mom would get a big pot of oolong tea and they’d share dumplings and noodles until they couldn’t eat another bite. With a full belly Kat would steal delicious sips of her mother’s tea and enjoy the fragrant brew. The Wegmans tea brings her right back to the restaurant, enjoying a special afternoon with her mom. It’s a tea that’s light enough for an afternoon sip, but complex enough for a meditative cup.
  • Everything Stops for Tea- Jack Buchanan- This is a delightful song from the 1940s on the joys of stopping a crazy day to enjoy a cup of tea. He sings about how much the British love their tea, and how it basically makes the day better. I couldn’t agree more! If you can find this lovely song, do give it a listen. It’s perfect with an afternoon sip of a hearty black, or Chinese green tea.

If you’re a Disney fan, I’m sure you are quite familiar with this one:

  • Be Our Guest- From Beauty and the Beast- How can I include a list of tea songs without a song that includes a singing teapot and teacup? Dearies, did you know tea is actually in the lyrics?

With dessert, she’ll want tea
And my dear that
’s fine with me
While the cups do their soft-shoein

I
ll be bubbling, I’ll be brewing
I
ll get warm, piping hot

See? I’d say this is one that you can drink your tea of choice and enjoy! This is a song that would be fun for a child’s tea party too! Break out the rooibos or other herbal teas and have a festive party!

Dearies, I hope you like my fun list of tea songs. I’m sure there are many, many more we could add to this list. Do you have any favorites? Do be sure to let me know! I’d love to keep my tea playlist growing.

Teas for Dad on Father’s Day

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Father’s day is almost here, and I’m sure many of you are in the middle of brainstorming what to get for Dad. I’m going to bet many of you have tea-loving fathers! Even if Dad hasn’t had much experience with tea, a tea-themed Father’s Day gift could be just the thing to start him on his tea adventure. I just happen to have a few suggestions on what teas to select and gift to Dad.

If Dad is a coffee drinker, a nice strong black tea is a nice choice. You can go with a malty, sweet Assam, slighty smoky Keemun, or perhaps for something with more punch, like an Irish Breakfast blend. Strong black teas are always a nice tea for coffee drinkers to start out with. They get that brisk flavor they crave, but with different nuanced flavors.

If Dad is a scotch drinker, how about something with earthy nuances like a puerh? This tea is aged and produces leathery, and wet earth notes that always reminds Kat of scotch. It also can cost far less than an aged bottle of scotch! Kat is seriously considering a puerh for her father, who likes to end a busy week with a small glass of scotch.

If he’s a fan of camping how about a lapsang souchong? The smoky flavor will bring him right to the campfire. It’s a strong black tea blend that brews up nice and strong. It’s also a good choice if he’s a fan of smoky meats like bacon! Perhaps a breakfast pairing of pancakes, bacon and lapsang to surprise Dad on Father’s Day!

One of my most favorite choices for dad is Chai. The blend of earthy black tea and strong spices are sure to please a father with a refined palate. This is an especially great choice for the foodies! Kat is a big fan of chai, and often makes her own homemade version from black tea and fresh spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. But usually she is pressed for time, and reaches for a packaged blend. Lately she’s been especially fond of an organic chai from True Goodness. Kat’s mom knows she loves a good chai, and found this one in her local Meijer store. Her mom is so sweet, she’s always looking out for new teas for Kat to try! She tries to find adventurous blends that Kat may not have seen before. But it’s hard to stump my Kat- she tries as many new teas as possible. Her mom likes that this tea has no artificial flavors (you’d be surprised at how many tea blends have artificial flavors!) and contains organic ingredients. She decided to send Kat a box, and it’s been our go-to for months now. It has just the right amount of malty, earthy tea, warm cinnamon and ginger, spicy cardamom, clove, and pepper. I just know the Dad on your list is sure to love this tea! Won’t Kat’s mom be surprised when she sees this tea included in her husband’s Father’s Day gift!

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If you have young children, I just adore the idea of a special father/child tea party! Create a special tea time just for dad and his little ones. Wouldn’t this be the perfect way to get some quality time together? You can work with your children to pick out everything from the menu, the teas, and the décor. They’ll enjoy being so involved in the process. I love the idea of creating special time for Dad and his children, it’s so hard to find time to slow down and enjoy family.

Don’t forget the teaware! There are many fun mugs out there, something to match your father’s style. You can even custom make a mug with a loving message, or a lovely picture of his children. Or how about a clear glass mug with infuser, so he can watch his leaves dance and steep. This will let him get more involved in the tea making process. If he’s interested in gadgets, a variable-temperature kettle would be a fun gift. This way he can choose the exact temperature for his tea, depending on tea type. There are even tea-makers on the market, which you could choose if you’re looking for a fancier gift.

What do you think of these ideas, Dearies? Do you have any to add? Feel free to contact me through twitter or Instagram if you need any further suggestions! I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Tippy’s Tea-Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

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Dearies, it’s Memorial Day weekend and the grilling season is upon us! I thought I’d share my easy chicken tea marinade that Kat likes to use for an easy weeknight grilled meal. It’s also perfect for a crowd! It’s easy to double or triple the recipe. The tea creates a tender, juicy grilled chicken.

 Tippy’s Tea-Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 cups strong black tea fully cooled (you will need 2 tea bags, we like to use Harris Tea Decaffeinated Black Tea)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated ginger

pinch of black pepper

 Boil water for tea. Steep 2 tea bags in 2 cups of water, for 15 minutes and set aside until fully cooled.

 Pound chicken breasts out until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick. The thinner you pound them out, the faster they will cook.

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 In a medium sized bowl combine cooled tea, soy sauce, ginger, and black pepper. Whisk together well. Pour over chicken and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but can also be left overnight. Kat will often put the mixture together in the morning, and will let everything marinate while she’s at work.

 Once marinated, we like to grill our chicken, and serve with fresh jasmine rice, and steamed broccoli or green beans for a healthy and light meal. But you can also cut the chicken up into pieces and stir fry with assorted veggies.

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Kat likes to use Harris Tea Decaffeinated Black Tea in this marinade. The tea is simple, brisk, and perfect with the chicken. She always has it in her pantry for the times that she wants a quick, easy, tasty cup of black tea at any time of the day. It also makes a lovely cold brewed iced tea! This would be a refreshing pairing with the chicken breasts. Kat likes to add lots of lemon and a touch of honey to this iced tea. Serve this meal for your family or your next outdoor gathering. It’s super simple and tasty.

Get ready for grilling season with this delicious tea themed recipe! I do hope you enjoy it.

Special Tea-Themed Gifts for Mother’s Day

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Dearies, it’s the special time of year when we get to spend the day honoring the most important women in our lives. What are your plans for Mother’s Day? Last year Kat made a lovely breakfast for her mom, and this year she’s planning to have a little spa getaway for just the two of them. She’s been brainstorming beautiful tea themed gift for her mother, so I started thinking up some creative ideas of my own. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Tea Themed Gift Basket: I love the idea of a basket brimming with tea goodies. Package favorite teas in beautiful tins, add a tea-for-one teapot and cup set, a small jar of local honey, maybe even a few delicious cookies. Don’t forget to add a luxurious DIY Tea soak, matcha face scrub, or one of my other tea beauty product ideas! A basket filled with gifts to pamper that most important woman in your life. I’m sure every mother out there could use a bit of luxurious relaxation!

I recently saw a photo on pinterest of a white teapot that had beautiful words and quotes written on it with an oil-based sharpie. You can personalize your own teapot for mom! I love this idea. You can add poetry, quotes from her favorite authors, or lovely little tea themed phrases. It’s a sweet and sentimental way to show your love. She’ll be reminded of you every time she brews a pot of tea. You can get kids of all ages involved in this project.

A small windowsill tea herb garden would also make a sweet gift. If you’re really feeling crafty you can reuse tea tins for the garden! Or you can make a seed kit with all of your favorite herbs to brew into a relaxing nighttime tea. I love adding herbs such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, mint, and basil. But really, you can mix and match seeds for any herbs you think your recipient would love to grow and brew. Include a few pretty plant markers and even a small shovel or nice pair of gardening gloves for the ultimate tea gardening gift!

If your mother is a bookworm, how about a tea book? if your mother is anything like me, she’d love to spend the day reading and learning about tea. You could select an informative book like the classic  Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties. This is practically a tea textbook, with everything a tea lover would want to learn about teas from all over the world. Or go for a fun, exciting read that’s a tea-themed mystery! Author Laura Childs writes a series of tea shop mysteries that take place in Charleston, South Carolina. They are fun and filled with tea tidbits!

If you are including tea in your Mother’s Day gift, don’t forget to create your own tea bags with personalized tags! This is one of Kat’s most favorite gifts to create and give. It gives such a lovely personal touch to the gift, and this way you can include lots of different loose leaf teas in easy to brew packages.

Whatever you choose for your Mother’s Day gifts, you can’t go wrong with lots of tea! I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I raise my cup to each and every mother. You have the hardest and most important jobs of all!

Teas For National Orchid Day

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Dearies, April 16th was National Orchid Day. I bet you didn’t know that! I found out while examining the kitchen calendar. I love orchids, aren’t they just so beautiful? They may be challenging to grow, but their unique shape and vibrant colors are absolutely worth the effort! Kat actually has an orchid plant that she’s lovingly taken care of for years. It often blooms toward the end of the winter time, and it just brightens up the whole house. Just when Kat starts complaining that winter will never end, the plant gifts us with a burst of springtime color. Dearies, did you know that many oolong teas have a natural orchid aroma and flavor to them? You can bring the beauty of blooming orchids right to your cup.

In fact, there’s even an oolong tea that’s called ‘honey orchid’. The aroma and flavor comes directly from the leaves, and is not an added flavor. Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong is literally honey orchid oolong tea. The orchid flavor and aroma is quite prominent. This tea is grown in the Phoenix mountain area which produces beautiful aromatic oolongs. The tea is fruity, honey sweet, and quite floral. A definite must if you haven’t tried it before.

Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) is one of my most favorite oolong teas, and it has a powerful floral aroma. One sip will transport you to a lush, exotic garden. A good quality oolong will leave your palate remembering that floral flavor for quite a long time.

You can also find oolong teas that have been scented with flowers to recreate that orchid scent. These are of course lovely to drink as well, especially if you are looking for a very strongly scented floral tea. One sip and you’ll imagine your house is filled with vases of gorgeous flowers.

Oolongs range in flavor and can be very light, similar to green teas or much more heavily roasted. I love that you can pick an oolong based on how you’re feeling. Do you want something light and floral with heavy orchid notes, or something more toasty and nutty? If you’d like to learn more about oolong teas, the best way is to taste as many as you can. Prepare them, taste, see what you like. I wrote a post all about oolong a little while back you can find it here.

Kat and I have decided that we love these oolong teas so much, we’re not going to just have them around this floral holiday. We’ll be toasting National Orchid Day all spring and summer long.

DIY: Tea Bags and Tea Tags

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Dearies if you’re looking for a fun tea craft this weekend, how about creating your own tea bags with personalized tags? It would be perfect for your next tea party! Who wouldn’t love tea bags made just for them? It’ll give your tea table a cheerful, intimate feel.

For the tags, you can create your own designs; add your friends’ names, the type of tea, anything you’d like on them. With any paper you’d like, you can create all shapes and sizes. Kat likes to create heart shaped tags for Valentine’s Day, stars for July 4th, flowers for Mother’s day…you name it. The options are endless!

The simplest way to create tea tags is to staple your personalized labels over existing teabag labels. If the existing bag label is too big, you can always fold it over to fit the new one over it. But to really get creative, you can create your own tea bags with those tags! There are lots of tutorials online and be sure to visit my pinterest page for printouts and lots of ideas. You could create teabags with your own tea blends as well. You can even make large bags with your tea potpourri blends as housewarming gifts! If you missed my potpourri blend post, check it out here.

Personalized tea bags are fun for tea parties, hostess gifts, and even Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner. I also love leaving them for overnight guests to use for their morning cups of tea. It takes a little extra time, but it shows how much you care. So the next time you’re looking for a tea-related craft project, think about making your own tea bags! Kat always keeps this idea in her craft arsenal when she’s feeling like having a bit of DIY fun.

Have you dabbled in making your own tea bags and tea tags? I’d love to see pictures of what you’ve done!

Pairing Tea And Pie

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You know I always look for reasons for celebration, and I’ve noticed that March 14th (3/14) is Pi Day! Yes, there is an entire day dedicated to celebrate the mathematical constant 3.14. Dearies, I’m more interested in tea and treats than mathematics so I’ve decided to celebrate with pie! Pie and tea, to be exact.

Let’s start off with sweet pies and teas. I like pairing a first flush Darjeeling with lighter tasting fruit pies such as peach, lemon, and strawberry. The earthy, grapey sweet muscatel notes in the tea work very nicely with these delicate fruit flavors. A light green tea such as sencha or nuttier dragonwell would also be a good choice. A lightly roasted oolong such as a Lishan would be a lovely choice. It is sweet, floral and a little bit grassy. These teas are light enough to let the delicate fruit flavors shine through, and their sweet and floral notes will complement the fruit.

For stronger fruits like blueberry, and cherry I like heavily roasted oolongs such as Tieguanyin and Da Hong Pao. The strong toasty notes, stone-fruit sweetness, even caramel notes compliment the pies and let the darker flavors come out. The fruit have bold flavors and need a stronger tea to compliment them. You could also try a nice Chinese black tea such as Dian Hong, which will be sweet, malty, with hints of dried fruit. The brightness of the tea will bring out the tart fruit notes.

You could also go for a savory pie! How about a shepherd’s pie with a dark puerh? The puerh will work well in cutting through that savory meaty goodness. It also helps with the digestion! Or I think a second flush Darjeeling would be lovely with a chicken pot-pie. It’s just the right amount of earthy, floral, and a little bit astringent to complement the chicken and veggies.

Instead of pairing teas with your pie, how about putting tea in the pie? I found this scrumptious recipe for Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Pie. This sweet, buttery, lemony tea-filled pie would be the perfect way to celebrate pi day! I’m printing this recipe out right now and leaving it on Kat’s desk. I’m not too subtle when it comes to hints, especially tea-related ones!

So my lovelies, will you be celebrating pi day with some pie and tea? I can’t think of a better reason to indulge. Can you?

Types of Teabags

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Kat strives to drink as much loose leaf tea as possible, but she also has space in her cupboard for bagged teas. Many bagged teas can contain high quality tea, and are easy for on-the-go use. Kat keeps a few tea bags stashed in her purse at all times. She never wants to be without her favorite teas. It’s never fun to drink a poor quality tea, so she always ensures she has plenty to spare.

There seems to be differing stories as to how the tea bag was invented. Many folks believe that it started in 1908 when Thomas Sullivan, an American tea importer sent loose leaf samples out in silk pouches, and the recipients plopped the whole pouch in the water to steep instead of removing the leaves first. They liked this method so much that they asked for more. But it appears that there is a patent filed in 1901 by Roberta Lawson and Mary Molaren in Milwaukee for something that appears to be very similar to the modern tea bag. They called it a ‘tea-leaf holder’ and was a ‘pocket-like device’ made out of mesh fabric. Using this holder only a smaller amount of tea would be used for one cup, instead of wasting larger quantities of tea making a whole pot that the tea drinker may not finish. This brought an easy, mess-free solution to tea making. After years of experimenting with different fabrics, paper teabags became popular.

The sack style of tea bag was in use until about 1944 when the rectangle became popular. You can of course still find two types of rectangle bags- the ones with a tag and the ones without. Not much changed until the late 80s/early 90s when round teabags were introduced by Tetley (who invented the round bag is also in dispute). It seems that this style wasn’t much of an improvement, but more of an aesthetic change. The pyramid shape was later invented by Brooke Bond. The shape gives the tea leaves more room to expand. Teabags now also come in a few different materials. They can be paper, cotton, gauze, nylon, silk, or biodegradable cornstarch. Phew, dearies is that enough choice for you?

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For me, I believe that you should enjoy the tea, and not worry what type of bag it comes in. Kat has recently started drinking a few pyramid shaped teabags from HEB. She picks a few up every time she visits her favorite cousin in Texas. Her favorite right now is the Mango Black. The robust, malty black tea base is accented with a subtle, sweet mango flavor. It’s a warm tropical breeze amidst this frigid winter weather. She enjoys this decaffeinated tea in the late afternoon as a warming sip after coming out of the cold, and as an evening relaxer. The pyramid tea bags have plenty of room for the leaves to expand, and are the perfect size for Kat’s favorite large mug that she wraps both hands around.

If you’re looking for the ease of a tea bag but would like to use your own loose leaf teas, how about using disposable DIY filter bags? These are large empty tea bags that have an open flap, so you can fill them with your own tea, and then close and brew. Kat keeps these around the house for iced teas. The bags are quite large, and she can put as much leaf as she needs for a whole pitcher. It infuses the tea the same way a traditional tea bag does. These disposable bags can be found in most grocery and health food stores.

Whatever shape you choose, you’re sure to get a delicious cup of tea. Do you have a teabag shape preference? I’d love to know!