A Vertical Tea

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Hello.  So glad you could stop by!

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I’m short on space today, so I’ve prepared what I’m calling A Vertical Tea.  Just place a small table where there’s room, and build up!  My son gave me these adorable stacked cups.  They’re convenient because they take up so little space.  Whether you need a morning boost, cup with lunch, or an afternoon pick-me-up, they’re always ready on my counter, for tea or coffee.  I love the lively colors.  It turned out El Nino was not all it was cracked up to be, and February proved hot and sunny on the West Coast.  DSC01800 sized DSC01796 sizedMy wisteria is in full bloom, so I braved all the buzzing bees and grabbed a few stems to add some life to our table.  I’ve brewed a combination of flavors from tea bags and loose leaves.

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There are many different kinds of tea bags on the market.  I don’t care as much for the ones made of a silky material (shown as a triangle here).  They just don’t seem to make a strong a cup.  I can usually get two cups from a paper tea bag.  I often mix flavors to come up with something exciting.  Although I didn’t include it today, I especially enjoy throwing in some Chai for that bold, spicy taste.

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When employing loose leaf tea, you will need a strainer and/or infuser.  Infusers range from large, pierced balls adequate for an entire pot – to small shapes suitable for the lone cup.  DSC01794 sizedI especially like wire mesh infusers.  Just be sure to keep at least half your infuser empty.  Tea leaves expand in water and you want some space available for the liquid to move through the leaves.  I’ve found that filling less than 50% of the infuser works well.  IMG_3308cropcorrect sizedDon’t feel shy about checking the pot for your brew’s strength and remove the tea once you’re happy.  Some people even place the leaves directly in the pot, then employ a sieve for any that escape during the pour.  Many teapots have built in filters where the spout meets the body of the pot.  You will still need an additional strainer if you prefer this method.  Have fun and experiment!

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I’ve chosen some upbeat, light jazz to accompany our black currant tea.  Try one of my favorite store bought cookies, soft Almond Amaretti Virginia Biscuits, imported from Italy.  I love their cheerful wrappers!  Apricot kernels are one of their key ingredients.   Grab a strawberry, get comfy, and tell me about your weekend.

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Tips:

  • Add some colorful napkins to make your table lively.
  • Remove tea leaves from the pot or cup once desired strength is reached.  Bags can often be re-used for a second cup.  Just watch those drips!

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  • If space is limited, build up.  Utilize cookie or candy jars instead of a tray.
  • A plain teapot works well with casual, multicolored cups.
  • Whenever possible, utilize fresh flowers or plants on your tea table.
  • Keep the dry tea scant when filling infusers.
  • Keep tea stored in tins.
  • Be careful when opening infusers after use.  The tea will have expanded and wet leaves often spring out when the container is opened, making a mess.

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Thank you for joining me.  I look forward to meeting again soon!  Check out this poem.  I got a kick out of it:

“We had a kettle, we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven’t had any tea for a week…
The bottom is out of the Universe.”
–Rudyard Kipling

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COPYRIGHT 2016. VICTORIA BENCHLEY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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