You may have noticed that I use a white tea cup in a lot of my tea photographs. It’s because my “good china” is all white. We thought it was the best way to never get sick of our good dishes or see them become dated. They work in every season. We’ve been married 26 years and I’m still in love with them.
Peaches are coming into season soon, and I love the sweetness, tartness…and juiciness of a fresh, sun-ripened peach. Peach pairs well with ginger, so this morning as I prepared to put the finishing touches on my Dad’s wood-working project for my kitchen, I poured myself a cup of President’s Choice Ginger Peach tea.
Don’t let the brand fool you. Not all less expensive teas are “ less than”. This little sachet was flavourful – sweet and a little spicy (like yours truly)! The colour is an inviting rosy shade and the fragrance made my mouth water. The ginger was tempered so it provided heat without overwhelming the palate. True, it has a slight acidic and artificial flavour to it, but most peach teas do, and this was not obnoxiously so.
Peach is one of those fruits that don’t dehydrate well and the leaves aren’t peach flavoured. This tea is an herbal infusion, so no caffeine. It’s comprised of apple, blackberry leaves, citric acid, ginger root, hibiscus petals, rose hips, roasted chicory root, and natural flavours. It is definitely higher on the list of other peach teas I’ve tried, and like many others, I think it would make a fantastic iced tea for hot summer afternoons.
It’s one of my favourite smells in the world: vanilla.
It is one of the most widely used (and most easily recognizable) spice in the world, but it is only grown in 5 countries: Mexico, Madagascar, Tahiti, Indonesia and Uganda. Flowers on the vines of vanilla orchids, which originated in Mexico, are pollinated by hummingbirds or melipona bees. These flowers become pods, which when harvested and cured, become “vanilla beans”. It takes 3 years for the vine to grow, and flowers are only open for 1 day and must be pollinated within this time frame. Flowers can be hand-pollinated. Pods take up to 9 months to mature. They are about 10 cm long, and can contain thousands of black vanilla seeds.
The curing process may vary from region to region, but typically there are 3 steps:
1. Blanching in hot water to stop the maturing process and activate fragrant compounds.
2. Sweating, a months long process of wrapping and storing them in a warm, dark place and drying them in the sun.
3. Conditioning them by packaging them in wax paper and dark boxes for up to 4 weeks.
Just like tea leaves, the different climates, soils, curing methods and species of vanilla affects its flavor profile and characteristics.
Vanilla first made a recorded appearance in cookbooks in the early 1800’s. And thank goodness it did. It’s richly aromatic spice adds so much to desserts…and this morning in my cup in David’s Tea Vanilla Bean Black!
This tea combines the warmth and comfort of vanilla with the robustness of black tea. Other ingredients include coconut rasps, apple, bean peel, white hibiscus blossoms, and stevia extract. It reminds me a lot of Tetley’s Red Vanilla Rooibos, which is caffeine-free and also a very satifying vanilla treat! But unlike Rooibos, it is a rich, dark colour.
Like spending time in a garden, vanilla tea can help reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, Stanford researchers have said the chemical compounds in vanilla tea boost the brain’s production of a relaxant. Just inhaling the scent can relieve stress and anxiety in 90% of people…in less than 3 minutes.
It’s Monday! I’m inhaling…and tasting…and savouring my vanilla tea this morning…with caffeine…in the garden.
What’s in your cup today?
If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden.
The sun is shining, it’s not too hot, and while not everything isn’t “peachy” in my world, I’m choosing to join with the birds and sing!
This morning I fixed myself a cup of T-Kettle’s Peaches & Cream tea, after I hung out the clothes to dry on the line.
Of all the peach teas I’ve reviewed, this tea boasts the fewest ingredients and it’s the only one that is not an herbal infusion. Peaches & Cream is a black tea base, so it’s is high in caffeine. It also includes mango, peach, amaranth petals and camomile petals. Amaranth is a plant long used for medical purposes, boasting a purple-coloured flower. It should not be consumed by dogs, cows, or people with kidney issues. Strange list, but apparently true. Some studies suggest it may help lower chloresterol, but no study has conclusive evidence that this is the case in people, at least.
It has a delicate colour despite being a black tea base (but you can’t, which didn’t show up in this vintage tea cup so you’ll have to trust me). I also appreciated the depth the black tea gave to the peach flavour. Often I find peach teas taste as though they are artificially sweetened (some actually list peach juice granules as an ingredient, so it’s not wonder!) and like they’re missing something! Overall, it was tasty, but I think I prefer peach teas as an iced tea on a hot day.
Other peach teas I have reviewed include Tetley’s Peach Bellini and Ginger Peach with Dandelion, both of which are caffeine-free and contain hibiscus and blackberry leaves. Another summer favourite was David’s Tea “Just Peachy“. I used Peach Bellini to make sorbet last year, and T-Kettle’s Peaches & Cream would work just as well! Yum!
Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.
I’m thrilled to introduce my third guest “What’s in my Cup” from my sassy friend, Nicole. Nicole has a great sense of humour, a big heart, and a boisterous laugh! She is an amazing singer, a great guitar player, and super cool aunt!! For years, Nicole and her sister have led rowdy opening and closing sessions at Vacation Bible Camp, with silly songs and skits. I have been in some of those skits and I definitely had more fun than the kids! We share many of the same passions, including music, worship, and tea!
(Are you excited? Because I’m excited!!)
I’m not a coffee drinker and have always been jealous of the look coffee drinkers have on their face while they drink their first cup in the morning. I didn’t think tea could be a substitute, but I was so wrong!
There are so many different teas that I love but my go to is a concentrate Tazo Chai Tea. It might be cheating, in a way, compared to steeping, just adding milk and heating, but it’s quick to make on those early mornings before work or worship practice (isn’t the weekend for sleeping in?). It gives me something to look forward to getting up in the morning, especially since I’m not a morning person!
After a long day of work, I will sit in my favourite spot on the couch, curl up and have my cup of tea and feel the stress of the day leave me. It has become almost ritualistic!
Sharing a cup of tea with my mom while visiting makes me feel like a real grown up! At almost 51, maybe one day I actually will become one!!
The cup is as important as well! A tiny tea cup will not do! I love a large cup of tea, one that might mean I’m sipping it over a couple of hours (I’m not afraid of it cooling off a bit). My favourite is one I made myself, matching one my sister made as well.
My cup of tea is a comfort to sip on a cold afternoon. It’s awesome cold in the summer! It somehow makes me feel better when needed. Life is just better with any tea really!
I’m very pleased to introduce my first “What’s in my Cup” guest and a very special woman: my Mom!
I am a self confessed tea granny, with tea granny genes, which I have passed on to my daughter. And when she ran out of ideas for her blog, she called on her readers to share some of their favourite teas & teacups.
Then she asked her mother.
Now while Jennifer loves to try new teas & flavours, I prefer mine strong, hot, black, & fully loaded with caffeine. She keeps plying me with wonderful new flavours, some caffeinated & some not; others, flowery, nutty, maple-y.
I have decided that I prefer the richer stronger flavours over the flowery ones.
One of my favourite decaffeinated teas is also a comfort food. When I feel like I’m getting a cold or just feel crummy, I brew some Tetley Lemon Ginger tea. I love the lemon with just a hint of ginger. It is herbal & best sipped hot & clear, to allow the full lemon flavour to come through.
I’m serving it in a fragile semi transparent teacup that belonged to Jenn’s grandmother. Wish we knew its story.
Now dear readers of this blog, be brave & send your own tea choice. I know some of you & will be watching for your contributions. 😉
Now to enjoy my lemon ginger tea!
Life handed me lemons, so I made lemonade, lemon cake, lemon drops, and I even used the rinds to make lemon art. So, the joke is on you, life, haha!
I love all the amazing crafty ideas (and I confess, the pet shaming memes). Like watching baking shows, it stirs my desire to create while instilling the misbegotten belief that I can do this…and do it easily. My misplaced confidence is shattered when my final product fails to impress.
A recent tea/ garden project was no exception. It looked so simple.
First, I went to the dollar store and purchased 2 tea cup shaped mugs and a set of spoons. I would be making the cutest bird feeders in the neighbourhood!
Next, I coerced asked my patient Dad to glue those spoons inside the mugs. The shape of the cups made this a time-consuming task (for him), but the glue made me feel very relaxed.
Dad carefully boxed my mugs for the car trip home.
They made it in one piece.
The final step, before adding bird seed and admiring my feathered friends, was to hang these mugs in a tree using string or a ribbon.
Excitedly, I grabbed the pink mug first (because it was the prettiest) and a roll of string from my garden tool box. I wound the string around the handle before reaching (shakily with my frozen shoulder) to tie the mug to a branch. Instead, I watched it fall in slow motion and smash on the ground.
Dad should be pleased. The spoon was still firmly glued in place.
I forgot to test the string. A mosquito landing on it could shred it. I went in the house, convinced nothing I did worked and vowing to never look at Pinterest again.
A few days later, with my ego still bruised and a new roll of string, mug #2 made it in the tree (one with grass under it, not cement, just in case).
My creative Auntie M made this for me for my birthday using a tea cup and saucer that was my grandma’s. Maybe I should start sending her my find Pinterest finds…when I break my vow. It’s only a matter of time.
If everything I pinned ended up in my house, I’d be on an episode of hoarders.
Just imagine…by some miracle, you have been invited to afternoon tea with the Queen. You have donned your best dress, coiffed your hair, and applied your “paint” (aka make-up). You are breath-taking! After accepting your dainty tea cup and finding a comfortable place to retire, it’s time for your first sip. Pinky in or out?
Have you ever wondered from where this affectation came, and is it really the “queenly” thing to do?
I’ll give you a hint…
Harley Quinn, the Queen of bat-crap crazy and girlfriend to Joker in the Batman franchise, (also a member of Suicide Squad), lifts her pinky!
So does this handsome fellow, Mako Rutledge, aka Roadhog!
American author, novelist, and socialite, Emily Post, who was famous for writing about etiquette, was adamant that pinkies out was ill-mannered.
American columnist and etiquette expert, Judith Martin or Miss Manners, thinks it began around the 17th Century, when tea was first introduced in Europe. The hot beverage was sipped from cups without handles and naturally, fewer fingers were used to prevent burns. How does one balance a hot cup with one handle? Since tea was an imported luxury, the gesture was adopted by the elite and remained even after handles were added to tea cups.
A less popular theory is that finger sandwiches and dainties served with Afternoon Tea would be eaten with 3 fingers, not 4 or 5 fingers, like a common person. In order to distinguish themselves from the riff-raff, socialites adopted the pinky affectation. This might account for the attitude that this is a posh statement by the “elite”, and why it is often used as a parody for social climbers.
The proper way to hold a tea cup is with your thumb and index finger meeting in the handle. Your pinky may be used to balance the cup on the underside of the tea cup. If seated at a table, the saucer should remain on the table. If you are standing, hold the saucer with your left hand at chest level. Finally, if you are not seated at a table, hold the saucer in your left hand, balanced on your knee. Raise the saucer to chest level, holding the handle of the cup with the opposite hand to prevent spills, before lifting the cup to drink. Your tea cup should always be on the saucer when you are not drinking.
Always Pinky IN.
A cup of tea would restore my normality.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy