Taking Tea with Mackintosh

The advent of the tearoom came about in 1875 when Glasgow tea retailer Stuart Cranston hit upon a simple idea for encouraging customers to sample his teas. He provided tables and seating for 16 people at his Queen Street store and advertised a cup of China tea “with milk and sugar for two pence–bread and…

Who Was Earl Grey?

Earl Grey is a name that has been synonymous with tea drinking for over a century. It ranks at the top of the list of the five most recognized teas in western society. It is, after all, the favorite flavored tea in the world, and its derivatives are legion - Lady Grey, Earl Grey Lavender,…

Seven Steps to Making Good Tea

At the conclusion of my lectures, I am often asked, "Can I heat my tea water in a microwave?"  The straight answer is "yes."  However, my question to the inquirer is, "Will the use of a microwave add to your sense of ritual?" Most tea professionals will forego a microwave in favor of a proper…

The 6 BEST TEAS of 2020

As 2020 drew to a close, I looked back on the exceptional teas that came my way throughout the year - even as gardens experienced temporary lockdowns and shipments from Asia encountered delays. While I was unable to visit gardens in person, I continue to search for teas that represent the classic taste profile from…

Waiter, My Tea is Blue

Japan's entrance on the world tea stage began as soon as her trade gates were pried open by Commodore Perry before our Civil War. It didn't take long for the United States to become Japan's best tea customer. The rise in Japanese tea imports, beginning in 1859, was due to the direct transpacific shipping routes…

The Tea Things of Jane Austen

  What tea did Jane Austen drink? And what role did tea play in her novels?This Regency period writer often used tea as a literary tool to bring the sexes together, and the term tea things was frequently employed to set the stage for conversation. In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor attends a social gathering at…

What Is a Dish of Tea?

It was a common occurrence in the Colonial era to receive an invitation to “share a dish of tea.” In 18th century Boston or Bath, a dish of tea referred to a teacup or tea bowl, containing black or green tea, placed on a saucer.