Pairing Tea and Chocolate

Of the world’s three great temperance beverages–cocoa, tea, and coffee–cocoa was the first to be introduced by the Spanish into Europe in 1528. A century later, the Dutch brought tea to Europe. Finally, coffee made its European debut in 1615, thanks to Venetian traders.From the onset, cocoa, tea, and coffee were afforded only by wealthy families.…

A Tour of the Starbucks Mega Store in Shanghai

Starbucks established a bold presence in Shanghai last December with the opening of their two-storied Reserve Roastery, which delivers a multi-sensory, interactive coffee and tea experience like no other. With 3000 stores located in 136 cities across China - including 600 in Shanghai alone - the Seattle-based company is taking advantage of the booming Chinese economy, which…

Six Steps to Better Iced Tea

    Just as Americans have refined their hot tea ritual, we are beginning to brush up on our iced tea skills as well. Pitchers of weak tea made with grocery brand teabags and sweetened with copious cups of white sugar have become passé.     Here are my iced tea suggestions that will leave your…

The First Tea in Scotland

Mary of Modena, Duchess of York Tea was first served in the royal palaces of both Scotland and England by queens who grew up on The Continent where tea was already a fashionable beverage. The Duchess of York, Italian born Mary of Modena, picked up her tea habit while living in the Netherlands. She poured…

Twankey Tea Takes on a New Role

Chinese worker rolling Twankey green tea using his feet.Not all tea was of equal quality during the 18th century. Two sometimes distasteful Chinese teas commonly found in London and Boston were Bohea (black) and Twankey (green).Both would likely be passed over by today’s savvy tea buyers. One reason for the appearance of these poor teas…

A Broken Teapot Fetches $800,000 at Auction

Gasps, and then applause filled the room as the gavel fell at Woolley & Wallis Auctioneers in the cathedral town of Salisbury last week when an unpretentious teapot—missing its lid and with a broken handle— fetched over $800,000, courtesy of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Remarkably, the keen-eyed owner paid only $20 for the relic…

Tea Tables from Colonial American

George Wythe House, c.1750We often forget that Colonial America was immersed in the tea ritual on a scale equal to that of their English cousins and, consequently, tea tables were necessary furnishings in the fine homes located in major port cities.As European furniture makers immigrated to the colonies, they set up shops in Boston, Philadelphia,…

Can We Grow Tea in America?

Robert FortuneWhy can't we grow tea in America?  We can, and we now do. The history of tea planting in the United States can be traced to the years just prior to The Civil War.On July 21, 1857, Charles Mason, United State Commissioner of Patents, wrote to his seed suppliers in London to inquire about…