September 2011


When the world is at odds,

And the mind is at sea,

Then cease the useless tedium,

And brew a cup of tea.

_

There is magic in it’s fragrance,

There is solace in it’s taste;

And the laden moments vanish,

Somehow into space.

_

And the world becomes a lovely thing!

There’s beauty as you see;

All because you briefly stopped,

To brew a cup of tea.

                                              -Author unknown

No need to add any further sentiments to this ode. The words so sweetly sum up the importance of taking time for tea!

Cheers,

the TeaLady

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Grahame and I have just come back from England and drinking lots of TEA was certainly on the agenda, in part due to the inclement weather we had for the whole 2 weeks! So it was ‘Oh well let’s go have another cuppa’.

Our first tea outing was planned ahead and it was actually a sunny afternoon when we arrived in the city of ELY.(SE England)  Laura had reserved a table at Peacocks Tea Room and it was just delightful.  The afternoon tea was excellent, consisting of 3 different sandwiches, scones with your choice of jam, followed by a cake of your choice.  I managed to eat the sandwiches and scone but had to take my cake home, there was simply too much to finish.  This was all washed down with copious amounts of tea (we all chose different ones!) served in individual teapots.

During afternoon tea (an earlier post explains the difference between high tea) we had a debate about the best way to eat scones.  If you were following correct etiquette then you would place your clotted cream and jam on the side of your plate, select your scone, slice in half and break into a bite sized piece.  One would then apply cream and jam (or lemon curd from a blog post from the Spring) as each piece was eaten, taking sips of tea in between.

However, I am not talking correct etiquette here.  In Yorkshire (a post bit about my hometown Harrogate) we don’t mess about with bite sized pieces!  Our debate was ‘Do you put jam on first before cream or cream on first before jam’.

I have always put jam on first and never really thought about changing the habit of a lifetime of scone eating, but it totally changed the taste experience and I loved it.  Grahame really enjoyed too!  Let us know which way you like your scone.  Please post on our Facebook page.

Thanks to Laura for finding this gem of a tearoom and thanks to Peacocks for the delicious afternoon tea.

How do you like your scones? Jam or cream 1st?

This holiday was our second of the summer, we visited northern Michigan in the Spring and here is a link to my earlier post.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a small tree native to the subtropical Atlantic forests of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. This evergreen member of the holly family was introduced to modern civilizations by the indigenous Guarani of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.  An infusion, brewed from the dried leaves and stems of the tree, is consumed by millions of South Americans as a healthful alternative to coffee.

What does the tea taste like?  Well yerba mate lives up to its name ‘cup herb’, it is very herby or vegetal/grassy but can be very agreeable if made correctly!  Water must NOT be boiling as this can cause bitterness.  Steaming hot is quite sufficient.  This is what Michael drinks most Saturday mornings at the Local Tea Company tent at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.

Yerba Mate Tree

The traditional way to drink the infusion is from a hollowed out gourd through a straw called a ‘bombilla’.  The ritual is a common social practice shared with friends and carries a set of rules too.  Usually one person, the host will prepare and refill the drink. The gourd is passed around often in a clockwise circle and re brewed many times. You will say ‘gracias’ and return the gourd to your host only when you have had sufficient! I talk to many visitors who have enjoyed this experience when traveling in South America.

Yerba Mate in Gourd with Bombilla

I am a fan of our Roasted Mate.  As the name suggests when preparing the herb it is toasted as part of the drying process, imparting a slight roasted taste.  The leaf is dark and tastes almost coffee-like, and is a good choice if you are trying to ‘kick’ the coffee habit!

Michael prefers our Sweet Orange Mate which is a blend of green and roasted mate along with some citrus and licorice which tends to soften the ‘herbieness’ a little. Either way, you will receive a surge of energy and mental clarity which really gets you on the right track and sets you up for the day!

Like most teas, Yerba Mate is surrounded by legends.  First discovered centuries ago by the indigenous people in South America, Yerba Mate has become revered as the ‘drink of the gods’ because people survived drought and famine drinking this tea.  It is said to enhance health, vitality, and longevity and is now becoming an alternative to coffee in many other areas of the world too. With 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, high antioxidant levels and naturally occurring caffeine, yerba mate is a very well balanced stimulant!

Mate has some amazing qualities which make it a whole body tonic. The stimulation comes to us via 3 components called Xanthine Alkaloids: – Caffeine, Theophylline and Theobromine (found in chocolate!)  This mighty combination along with minerals to support the nervous system and B vitamins to relax the muscles produce a balanced and long lasting physical and mental stimulation!

You may find comments about Yerba Mate having ‘more anti oxidants than green tea’ so lets just say Mate contains ‘abundant anti oxidants’  and is low in tannins, so can be brewed very strong without any bitterness which also makes it easier on the stomach.  Along with a massive burst of energy, Mate will curb your appetite, raise your metabolism and burn calories i.e. loose weight.  Sounds easy if all you have to do is drink Yerba Mate.

As with all teas you can change the experience to suit you.  Brew your favorite way, whether in your favorite tea pot or a Travel Mug or a Tea Maker or a T sac.  Give it a try and let us know what you experience. Gracias.

Cheers,

the TeaLady