Curating Your Tea Collection | Storing Your Teas (part 2)

In the last post, we explored how one spring cleans one’s tea cupboard or cabinet. Hopefully, you were able to pick up a useful tip or two! The one thing that is worse than having no tea at all, is not being able to enjoy a much craved but expired tea due to its lonely residence in the depths of our tea cupboards.

But now that we have rescued our teas from near oblivion, how does one go about keeping them organized to avoid the inevitable? Below are some ideas that I’ve used to give my teas a happier home:

1. invest in a tea caddy to economize space:

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This is a pretty inexpensive tea caddy made from bamboo. You can get these for less than $20 on Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond.

2. buy little organizers from the dollar store:

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These slender white organizers came from the Dollar Store. It’s amazing what you can find there and all of the different uses you can get out of them!

3. Other trendy storage ideas from fellow tea lovers:


Group individual tea bags into groups in your caddy, dividers or jars (chamomiles with chamomiles, chais with chais etc.)

Organize your tea caddy, dividers, or jars back into your cupboard and arrange them along the perimeters of the cabinet, so that there is a space in the middle. It’s ideal to be able to see at first glance all of your teas instead of moving things out of the way to see them all. If, instead of shelves, you have a drawer of teas, store them flat and plainly visible so that when you open it, you are able to see them all at first glance.

Tip: label loose leaf teas with the date of purchase or when the tea was made (a good question to ask when you’re buying teas at a shop) so you have an idea of its freshness.

Next time, I’ll show you how to shop for teas, what questions to ask and what to look for!

Keep on steeping, tea lovers!

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Curating Your Tea Collection | Spring Cleaning (part 1)

If you’re even the slightest bit obsessed with tea, chances are that you may have a handful of boxes of teas somewhere in your kitchen…and over time, that tea collection can render itself unruly!

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My tea situation last week!

Just as we are accustomed to “Spring Clean” our homes this time of year, our tea cupboards merit a bit of spring cleaning themselves.

If you suffer from this unfortunate circumstance, I’ll show you what I’m doing to keep my teas from falling by the wayside.

Spring Cleaning Your Tea Collection:

  1. set out all of your teas on your countertop or table so you can see everything you have

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    My very messy tea collection!
  2. separate your teas into 3 categories: teas you know you’ll drink in the next month, teas you think you won’t drink any time soon and teas that already have expired (usually, there is an expiration date stamped on the side of the tea box or tin)
  3. If you have different brands of the same tea (like chamomile or different types of chai), group these together.

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    Here, I grouped teas with like teas (chamomiles, breakfast teas, etc)
  4. Replace your teas with like teas back into your cupboard or drawer (either toss out your old tea or hold on to them somewhere else and use them for tea hacks I’ll be posting about soon!)

    Before and after!

Tea Tip: don’t overcrowd you tea cupboard so that it makes it hard to see the teas in the back. Make sure you can see all of your teas when you open the cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind also may apply to your teas!

I’m taking upon myself to curate my collection of teas to just what I love, and not have other teas cluttering my tea cupboard. This is my first step in this series to curate my perfect collection of teas. I’ll also be exploring how to shop for your future teas, how to properly store them and what to do with expired teas or teas you don’t plan on drinking anymore.

Stay tuned for the next part, tea lovers!

Keep on steeping,

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Titanic Tea Party at the Tilted Teacup Tearoom

Over the Easter weekend, I was able to visit The Tilted Teacup tearoom & boutique for a special event: “Romance of Yesteryear, a Tribute to the Titanic” luncheon.

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Nestled in the sleepy town of Brooksville, Florida, this unique tearoom boasts a stunning building built in 1924, with 3 main rooms to enjoy you afternoon tea, as well as a boutique sporting a myriad of tea-themed gifts, handmade accessories and the teas you get to enjoy from the Metropolitan Tea Company from Ontario, Canada.

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Everyone was dressed in traditional Edwardian clothes and accessories. Even the waiters and waitresses looked like they stepped out of an early Downton Abbey episode!

*sigh*
This tea room has quickly become one of my local favorites for the expertly executed event ambiance, the exquisite teas, the freshly baked sweets and the scrumptious savories!
So…do you want to go to a real party?titanic real party

Our waiter (or better yet, our Titanic bellhop), escorted us to our table and immediately took our tea orders: we chose the Buckingham Palace tea and the Long Island Strawberry tea!

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I had the Long Island Strawberry tea throughout our Titanic experience and it went very well with the sweets and savories! It’s a bright summery green tea with notes of strawberry and papaya….more suited from our Florida heat than the chilly Titanic but who cares? It was absolutely delicious!

Our first course was a chilled strawberry soup with mint which was extremely refreshing.

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Then came the long-awaited tower of freshly baked blueberry scones, still hot from the oven, with Devonshire cream, vegetable quiches, beef wellingtons, salmon and shmear on a baguette, fig and walnut finger sandwiches, and cranberry chicken salad tarts.

On the dessert tier, there were raspberry lemons bars, pina colada mini cupcakes with toasted coconut, and strawberry shortcake cups!

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We were warned about halfway through our tea of the iceberg we just hit but that there’s nothing to worry about and that there may be a drill we would have to do towards the end of our tea. (I don’t know where the Tilted teacup got this waiter, but he was absolutely fantastic and never broke character!)

Once our tea was over, we “toured the ship” for a bit and took pictures with the harpist and the infamous grand staircase!

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This was a delightful event to attend and if you’re in the area, they’ll be having a Kentucky Derby themed Mother’s Day tea and an December Downton Abbey tea!

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The tea room: http://thetiltedteacuptearoom.com/

the teas: http://www.metrotea.com/

I hope you enjoyed your maiden voyage through the Titanic’s afternoon tea!
Keep on steeping tea lovers,
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Follow Me Through Twining’s Tea Tour at EPCOT

I’m spoiled to live only hours away from the happiest place on Earth.

No, not tea heaven, unfortunately.

I mean Disney World! And Epcot is my favorite 🙂

During Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival, which is between March 1st and May 29th, the Twinings Tea Caddy in the UK section of the World Showcase is holding complimentary tea tours of their meticulously kept English Garden. Pretty much the closest thing to tea heaven I’ve experienced thus far!

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Winding pathways take you through teacup displays of Twining’s teas, ranging from black teas, to flavored green teas and herbal teas. You may even catch a glimpse of Alice from Alice in Wonderland or my personal favorite, Mary Poppins!

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I’m no authentic British tour guide, But I’ll do my best to take you through the Twinings herbal tea displays!

Side note: the first half of the tour is dedicated to the Camellia Sinensis plant, from which “true teas” are derived. I’ll be diving in to the Twinings herbal teas, or also called infusion or tisanes, which are anything but tea derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Camomile, Honey & Vanilla

 

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  • Camomile is naturally caffeine-free and the base of this herbal blend
  • Camomile flowers (Chamaemelum nobile) have a strong, aromatic fragrance and bloom in early to mid-summer
  • Twinings selects just the yellow part of the flower to capture the purest taste of Camomile
  • Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is the aromatic seed pod of a vining orchid that grows in the tropics

Pure Peppermint

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  • Twinings uses the purest peppermint leaves sourced from over 100 countries
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a perennial which flowers from mid to late summer
  • Caffeine free and enjoyed either hot of cold for a refreshing and uplifting experience

Lemon & Ginger

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  • Herbal tea made from lemons, lemongrass, blackberry leaves and Chinese ginger
  • Lemons (Citrus limon) are widely grown in India and China for their juice
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogan citratus) and blackberry leaves (Rubus sp) contain no caffeine
  • Chinese ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used from over 2,500 years to create invigorating teas

Berry Fusion

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  • Sweet and juicy blend of berry fruit flavors that is naturally caffeine free
  • Twinings Master blenders travel the globe in search of the finest ingredients
  • Mouthwatering balance of strawberry (Frageria sp) and blueberry (Vaccinium sp) flavors in a Hibiscus (Hibiscus sp) base

Orange & Cinnamon Spice

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  • Made with Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), a native plant found only in southern Africa
  • Rooibos leaves are fermented to enhance flavors and produce a distinctive reddish-brown color
  • Blended with the refreshing flavor of orange peel (Citrus sinensis) and Vietnamese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi) to produce a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea

Buttermint (The newest Twinings blend and my personal favorite!)

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  • New herbal blend of cool peppermint leaves (Mentha Piperita) and aromatic vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) creates creamy comfort
  • flowers of the tropical vanilla orchid vine are often hand-pollinated and the pods are laboriously cured to create intense flavor
  • Velvety-smooth Buttermint takes you back to sweet shops of olde

Bonus: Earl Grey with Lavender (a true tea made from Camellia sinensis but wanted to throw this one in for the Lavender!)

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  • A modern twist to a classic tea
  • the luxurious flavor of English Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) along with natural Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) creates a rewarding tea that will calm your soul
  • New, fresh floral aroma and soothing taste

Hopefully this has inspired you to “branch” out of the norm try out some new teas from the EPCOT’s Tea Tour!

Keep on steeping, tea lovers! And cheerio!

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How To | Homemade Hibiscus Tea

I wish this next story was my own, but it’s not. It’s my mother’s.

She and my dad traveled down to Brazil to visit family and they stopped in a little artisanal shop in the countryside of Sao Paulo state. A rather old, withered kind of man ran a little shop and at the time of my parents’ arrival, he was harvesting dried hibiscus flowers and bagging them up for tea!

Oh the joy!

She brought back a tin full for me and it smells like a juicy tropical heaven baked in the sweet spring sun. Are hibiscus flowers edible? Because that’s exactly what I wanted to do.

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Now, as we waved goodbye to my parents after they came back from their trip to bring gifts to our house, I took notice of something. I have two large hibiscus bushes on either side of our house. By large, I mean 7 feet tall. Around the base of the twin hibiscuses (hibisci??), there are dozens and dozens of fallen, dried hibiscus flowers.


*lightbulb*

What if I made my own fresh hibiscus tea and even attempted to dry some flowers to store for later?

Oooooooh, the DIYer in me surged through my nerves!

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HIBISCUS FACTS
  • Native to tropic and subtropic regions, the hibiscus plant has several hundred different varieties of the hibiscus plant.
  • Hibiscus tea is more commonly made from Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, native to East Asia and has vivid red petals.
  • In Hawaiian tradition, if a girl wears a hibiscus flower in her left ear, she is married or in a relationship. If worn on the right ear, she’s single!
HIBISCUS BENEFITS
  • High in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
  • Aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and is a natural anti-inflammatory.
  • Generally speaking, Hibiscus tea is safe to drink, though not advised when pregnant or breastfeeding.

DRYING HIBISCUS FLOWERS

  1. harvest your hibiscus flowers
  2. pick the petals off individually or remove the stamen (the long thing in the middle that has the pollen at the end of it) and the green leaf cap at the base of the flower if you want to keep the flower intact.
  3. give them a good rinse in a colander and pat them dry.
  4. in a tea towel, an herb net dryer, or a clean old sheet that you don’t mind getting stained, arrange the hibiscus petals in full sun (this also works well if you have a dehydrator in your kitchen for 45 minutes to an hour).
  5. Let them fully dry in the sun. If it takes more than a day, move them inside so they don’t get wet with dew overnight. The key is to remove the moisture.
  6. Store dried petals in an airtight container!PicMonkey Collage
A CUPPA HIBISCUS TEA
  1. Use 10 fresh hibiscus flowers or 1/4 of dried hibiscus petals for every 4 cups of freshly boiled water
  2. let steep for 10-20 minutes, depending on how strong you like your hibiscus tea
  3. add lime juice, mint and/or honey to taste!img_1664.jpg

I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did, tea lovers!

Keep on steeping,
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