When I saw the link for a Knitters Tea Swap I knew I had to sign up for that. When asked which I prefer, coffee or tea, I say both – each has their time & place in my world.

Knitters Tea Swap

Suzie, the swap hostess asked us to show our tea stash – so that was the catalyst for this post. As I was contemplating what to write about my stash ideas kept coming & coming so I thought it would make a good post here instead of just a quick post on the KTS blog. (Greetings to my fellow KTS pals who have stopped by!)

My Tea Mosaic

When I look at this mosaic of tea items what do I see?

  • Constant Comment is always in my stash because it was always at home – it is a frequent “go to tea” when I can’t decide what I want or when I’m not feeling well. The smell of Constant Comment reminds me of my mom in her robe at the kitchen table with breakfast ready for us when I was growing up – she would have a her hands wrapped around a mug of tea and frequently have a kitty in her lap.
  • My NPR mugs from assorted membership drives – I first discovered NPR when I was in college & didn’t have a TV in my room. On my daily commutes to work NPR is on the radio – I know it’s a bad commute when the 2 hour loop kicks in & I hear a story repeated.
  • Babingtons Tea – memories of my Italy & Greece trip last summer (see below).
  • I bought my white teapot on clearance at Pottery Barn 9 years ago (before it became ‘POTTERY BARN’) – I love the simple & classic shape of it.
  • The electric tea kettle – boiling water in an instant. I’ve only had one for the last 3 years…it is great, how did I live without it?
  • Pomegranate Pizazz – while not technically a tea because it is fruit & herbs only it is my favorite iced tea these days. I’m rarely without a pitcher of it made up & ready to go in the fridge.
  • Sweet vs. Unsweet? Upon moving to Georgia in high school I was quickly introduced to the world of “sweet tea” when ordering iced tea. Sweet iced tea is definitely not my cup of tea! It is pretty much simple syrup with a bit of tea – in high school I worked at Chick-fil-A & had to make gallons of it (one of their highlights) & was amazed at the amount of sugar that was put in a 5 gallon tub. I also learned that it is hard for sweet tea restaurants to make decent unsweet tea – they think you can brew the unsweet tea for as long as you do the sweet stuff – basically, keep the bags in forever or until you remember them. I prefer my iced tea unsweet but like a smidge of sweet in the hot tea.
  • A bit of kitsch – My tea stirrers are cocktail swizzle sticks in fun tropical themes. They are stored in an extra Arizona Iced Tea instant tea tin – pre-PomPizazz this was a great iced tea to always have on hand.
  • VarieTEA – My stash has quite an assortment of brands, types, flavors, etc. I’m always picking up something new to try.
  • Lottsa Mugs! This doesn’t even count the 8 mugs from my dinnerware & I think I may have a few extras in storage in the basement. One of the pluses of having a lot of mugs is that you’ll always have clean ones are the ready for a quick pot of tea – whether by myself or in the company of family & friends.

As I was pulling things together from the stash, I also started thinking about the wonderful tea time memories with family and friends – so I thought I’d include a few highlight memories in this post as well. I don’t have digital pictures from all these memories but here are a few pictures.

In May 1999 my family took a wonderful vacation to Bermuda. One afternoon we enjoyed traditional afternoon tea at the Lighthouse Tearoom at the Bermuda Lighthouse. We had a lovely view of the surroundings, a wonderful tea menu and many great memories that we still recall today. In fact, whenever we talk about going back to Bermuda (soon) we have afternoon tea on our list to do again.

Tea at the Peninsula

Here in Chicago I’ve experienced afternoon tea at 2 downtown hotels. The first place I tried was the Drake Hotel – it was a beautiful room filled with dark wood and live music. The first tea was a baby shower in 2003 for a friend that had moved away. The second tea was a birthday celebration with a friend later that year. The next hotel I tried is definitely my favorite hotel tea – The Peninsula Chicago. Both times that I have been have been “Kansas Sister” outings when Rebec has been in town. The first time was a surprise birthday present for the younger sisters. The second time was in December 2004 – we had a sisters afternoon that started with the Jackie O exhibit at the Field Museum and ended with tea in the Peninsula lobby that was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

Afternoon Tea in Rome

While on our Italy/Greece trip last summer we also managed to have a lovely afternoon tea – although, I must confess we chose iced coffee (cafe fria) as our refreshment from the hot Roman sun. Our day in Rome was nonstop – in line for the Vatican Museum at 7:30 AM and on the go from there (through the Coliseum and forum and then a walking tour). We had been looking forward to seeing the Spanish Steps – visions of Audrey Hepburn & Roman Holiday definitely shaped that. So we come to the steps and in a word we were disappointed – the steps were overflowing with people (which we expected because it was tourist season) and the church at the top of the steps was being renovated so the scaffolding was covered in nearly obscene advertisements. We had a bit of free time in the area & discovered Babington’s Tea Room just to the left of the steps (when looking up them). So while the kids were thrilled to fill up at the golden McDonald’s on the other side of the steps and do some shopping (Bennetton, seriously) we enjoyed a respite from the heat & bustle. On our way out the door we each picked up some tea to bring back with us as well as a cup and saucer.

I’m always on the lookout for new teas & new tea experiences – what are some of your favorites?