Celebrating Earth Day With Tea

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Earth Day is Friday, April 22nd. What are you all doing to show respect for the earth? Kat and I try to do various things on a daily basis to show our love for mother earth. We actually do a few tea-related things, which got me thinking that it’s time to share our tips with everyone! Here’s what you can do to combine staying green with your love for tea:

Composting- You can compost your loose tea or tea bags. Add your leaves or bags right to your compost bin. if you have paper tea bags or tags with staples, you need to remove those staples first. The paper tags are even fine to throw into the mix. You should let the leaves decompose a little bit before you add any of the compost to your garden- tea could change the acidity in your soil. Kat makes sure not to waste a drop of brewed tea, and uses it for her plants.  She dilutes leftover tea (doesn’t happen very often!) and waters her houseplants. If you have acid-loving plants, you can even sprinkle those leaves right over the base of the plants. You’ll want to mix the leaves with a bit of the dirt to get them closer to the roots.

Cleaning with tea- go green with your cleaning supplies. Cleaning with tea is safe and easy! It is all natural and tea is actually quite a good cleanser. You can clean windows, floors, even use as a room deodorizer. Check out my previous post on the subject. I think you’ll find it economical and easy.

Planting herbs- A great way to avoid buying herbal tea and wasting lots of packaging is to grown your own herbs and make your own tea! I posted about great herbs for tea awhile back and you can find the post here. It’s just so lovely to walk into your own herb garden, pick your herbs and brew up a fresh pot of tea. Kat doesn’t have a large backyard, and she grows her herbs in small planters. It still works perfectly! She even has a friend that has a windowsill herb garden. I also recently came across a wonderful idea on pinterest- Dearies, you can make your own tea herb garden seed kit! This would make a lovely gift. You can include seeds for herbs such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, mint, and basil. The combinations are really up to you! You can include herb markers, even a little gardening shovel. Put it all in a pretty box, and it’s ready for gift giving.

Dear readers, I know you are all very good and staying green. Do you have any tea-themed tips we can use for Earth Day? Please let us know. We can never do enough to help our earth.

DIY Tea Crafts For The Home

teacraft.jpg It’s no secret that Kat loves crafting. She’s always looking for a new way to get creative, and of course tries to incorporate a tea theme into her creations. This week she was browsing around pinterest for inspiration and found something she never would have thought of on her own- a wreath made out of tea bags!

A tea bag wreath is a unique way to keep your favorite teas on hand. Just hang this in the kitchen and you’ll be able to grab your tea bags without even opening a box. It is eye-catching, and a great conversation starter. How fun would it be to gift these to your favorite people? Kat’s making a few to give on Mother’s Day.

I also found nifty ideas to make a tea bag dispenser! A sweet little house or other cardboard creations would be adorable sitting on your kitchen counter. A pretty way to have easy access to your favorite teas without endless stacks of boxes laying around. You can customize your tea house with wrapping paper, stencils, stickers, whatever you like. It’s a fun way to really get crafty with your tea bags!

I love this tip for a DIY tea box. Larger than a countertop tea dispenser, but perfect for a drawer. Especially for those where kitchen space is at a premium. Ditch all of the extra tea boxes and go for one large sectioned box! Wouldn’t this be the perfect thing to bring out during a dinner party? You can show off your love for tea with a personalized box for all of your favorites.

These are fun crafts to try during those spring weekends that bring April showers. If you dears are anything like Kat, you’ve got a stash of craft supplies, ready for the next burst of inspiration. So on those rainy weekends, stay home, make a lovely cup of tea, and get crafting!

Tippy Interviews Asya, the Turkish Tea Cup

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Dearies, I’ve decided it’s time to add a new series to the blog. As you know, I’m a traveling tea cup, and have been all over the world. I meet so many interesting pieces of tea ware, and it’s time that you started to learn their stories. Today, I’m interviewing Asya, a tea cup from Turkey that now lives in the US with one of Kat’s friends. I hope you enjoy!

Tippy: Please introduce yourself to my readers. Asya: my name is Asya, I am a glass lotus-shaped tea cup from Turkey. I was created in Turkey but now reside in a kitchen in the US I am a very busy tea cup, I get used all day long. I don’t have a particular saucer to call my own, my owner will pair me with whatever saucer she feels like using that day. She has quite a few colorful options. I love spending time with people, giving them lots of delicious tea to sip.

When are you used most? well, as I mentioned, I’m really busy all day long. Turks take their tea very seriously! I am used during breakfast, when company comes, for mid-afternoon work breaks, and after-dinner relaxation.

What kind of tea do you usually hold? In Turkey, lotus tea cups hold mainly bold, black tea. We refer to tea as çay. We brew our tea very strong, and then dilute it in the glass with hot water. Sugar is available as Turkish tea loves like tea sweet. We even have special tea kettles to prepare the tea.

Can you tell us a little more about the special tea kettle? Yes, we use a special double tea kettle, which is similar to the Russian samovar. It basically looks like one teapot stacked on top of a second one. Black tea is brewed in the top pot, and water is boiled in the bottom. The water is used to dilute the tea for each individual glass, so everyone can drink the tea as strong or as weak as they like.

Where do the tea leaves come from? The tea we prefer to use is grown and processed in Turkey on the coast of the Black Sea. Not many people realize that we grow tea in Turkey! We are actually the world’s sixth largest producer of tea.

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Everyone has heard of Turkish coffee, but is tea really that popular in Turkey? Yes, tea is really quite popular in Turkey. It is always offered to guests and visitors as a sign of hospitality. As I mentioned I am used multiple times a day at home, and people also consume tea in cafes.

Is the custom to drink the tea by itself, or add any milk, sugar, or anything else? We usually drink our tea without milk. As I mentioned you can add sugar, often two lumps will be sitting on my saucer ready for use. You may add the sugar to your tea, or people in some areas like to put a sugar cube between their tongue and cheek, and let it slowly dissolve with each sip. The only other thing that may be added is a slice of lemon.

Can you tell us one of your most memorable tea experiences? Well, when my owner Natalie was visiting her family in Turkey, she was taught how to brew tea using our special kettles. One afternoon she was alone in the house when a family friend dropped by. After greeting the friend, Natalie offered her something to eat, but not any tea! After a little while I was able to get her attention and explained that she must offer her guest tea. When her parents came home, she was reprimanded for not immediately offering her guest tea. It’s considered very rude not to have tea ready for guests! Everyone was laughing at Natalie’s mistake, but she was quite embarrassed. I am actually fond of this memory, because it’s the first time I was able to help Natalie out with tea time.

Thank you so much Asya for the interview! See Dearies, I’m not the only chatty teacup! I hope you enjoyed the first interview in our series. If you have any questions for Asya, let me know in the comments!

Teaching Children About Tea

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Do you love children as much as Kat does? Any time she has the change to babysit her little niece Camille, she gets so excited! She’s always planning on games to play with her. On Camille’s last visit, she was curious about Kat’s tea. She had a sip and decided she liked it. Kat decided it was time to cultivate Camille’s love for tea! I’ve been watching Kat teach Camille, and I took a few notes. Here are a few tips on teaching kids about the joys of tea:

-Offer them sips of your tea when they take an interest: Kat always always offers Camille a taste of her tea. If her niece wants her own cup, she’ll take out a rooibos, herbal, or decaffeinated tea for her. She always puts it in a fancy cup with a saucer to make her feel extra special.

-Talk to them about the growing regions all around the world: After their sip of your tea, tell them where the tea was grown! You can also find books about the regions, or find information online to share. Make sure you have lots of pictures.

-Teach them how tea grows, how it’s picked, processed, and shipped all around the world. Again you can find books, and print out information about the teas they are interested in. This would be a great ‘how to’ project for a child in 2nd or 3rd grade.

-One of my favorite ideas is to have a party for all the senses- let the children see the leaves of different types of tea, smell the leaves before and after steeping, and have them take a few sips. Have them try and describe what they smell and taste. You’ll be amazed and surprised at what they’ll say! Children of all ages will enjoy tea, treats, and lovely decorations.

To create your party, cupcakes, scones, and tea sandwiches are sure to catch their attention. I also  found this recipe for tea gummies! You could make them in any shape you’d like. I just love the idea!

Serve a tea that’s caffeine free, so they can enjoy as much as they like. Kat reserves some of her Hy-Vee Honey Orange Chamomile for her niece when she visits. Her niece loves the sweet orange flavor. It’s tangy, and the smooth honey is also quite soothing. Don’t tell, but Kat sometimes lets her niece add an extra dollop of honey to make the brew even sweeter. Dearies this also makes a wonderfully refreshing iced tea.
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Teaching children about the wonderful world of tea will open their minds to different flavors, and they’ll learn about places all over the world.