" Come sit by my side and over a cup of tea, speak to me of the goodness of life."
Lady Evelyn Fitzgerald Dodson

Friday, December 31, 2010

Tea Tray

My older sister sent via Santa a lovely little tea tray, perfect for nibbles and tea for one. It'll be kept on the sideboard, ever ready to provide a little comforting sustenance in 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Santa Brings Tea Stuff

We must have been good in the parlor this year, as Santa brought us a couple of delightful tea-related items.

This is a lovely, deep cobalt blue, single serving tea pot from one of my sisters. The color is much darker than the photo (my apologies for the glare). It came with Stash chocolate mint oolong tea, which we tried Christmas afternoon. The mint is very strong, and I couldn't detect any hint of chocolate, but it made a nice change from our preference for strong black tea. The parlor's new year's resolution may be to branch out in our tea sampling.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Morning Breakfast

Christmas morning here in the parlor (as well as Christmas Eve morning), we served bagels, cream cheese, and lox for breakfast, accompanied on Christmas morn by leftover deviled eggs. Stash Christmas Morning tea was the tea accompanying the food, of course, a nice, rich but delicate blend of Assam, Ceylon, Keemun, Sumatra, and Jasmine teas.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wigilia Dessert and Tea

Wigilia, the traditional Polish Christmas Eve celebration, included a delicious blueberry bread pudding which was served with Twinings Christmas Tea.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Twinings Christmas Tea

This week we were serving chocolate covered cheesecake bites in the parlor, made for our office Christmas party. As you can imagine, few made it back to the parlor.

To go along with the cheesecake, we selected Twinings Christmas Tea. It's a blended black tea mixed with cinnamon and cloves. A little milk and a touch of sweetener made this slightly spicy tea an excellent companion to the chocolatey goodness.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Beehive Cosy

Made for thepunkrockinchick for the tea cosy swap at Crochetville. My first design--a bee skep. I used 1.5 skeins of Lion Brand WoolEase in Gold (171), with some metal bee buttons. It's hard to see, but I tried plain stitching to mimic the small opening; not too successfully as it's too indefinite. But I am really happy with how it came out.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mrs. Sayer's Apple Cake

This week we have been serving Mrs. Sayer's apple cake in the parlor (and in the cubicle, too, which made the coworkers very happy). It's an old fashioned, heavy, very moist cake, perfect with a strong cup of tea.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

The holidays are approaching, and nothing is more American than pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie courtesy of H, tea courtesy of Twinings (English Breakfast, clearly my favorite tea blend).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lady Grey

Winter has finally arrived in the parlor, with evening temperatures downright nippy and a vest or coat finally necessary equipment and not something you push past in the closet to get to the dog food. So today at work we are enjoying Twinings Lady Grey tea with a lemon scone. Not a crumb left.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tea Towels

Tea towels from TPRC, along with a tea bag holder. Can you make out the adorable clay tea pot and cup buttons on the bookmark?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adorable Debbie Mumm Fleece

Nights will start getting a little nippy here in the desert parlor soon, so it's time to take out the Debbie Mumm teapot fleece purchased last winter. It's overwhelmingly orange, not a color we have anywhere in the parlor, but perhaps that's part of its appeal.  We have a secret love of folk art and folksy decor in the parlor which we rarely indulge, and this fits that niche in a most snuggly way.

Monday, October 25, 2010

TPRC cosy, take 4

Every kitchen should have a little kitsch, and I like mine in my tea cosies. TPRC made me this adorable cupcake tea cosy, which makes me laugh every time I look at it. Tres kitsch perfecte!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

TPRC cosy, take 3

My larger tea pot sadly only had one cosy before TPRC sent four cosies to the parlor, but it is currently sporting a pumpkin cosy that is perfect for autumn.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

TPRC cosy, take 2

The next cosy made for me by the generous thepunkrockinchick. This is crochetroo's scalloped tea cosy pattern (available at her etsy store). I made myself that green one for Christmas last year, but looking at TPRC's, I realize I did the top a little wrong. So, I may make myself another one in red, green, and white for Christmas this year. I've been wanting a multi-colored scalloped one, but I don't have colors in my stash that looked good together, so I was delighted to receive this beautiful one. It is so bright and cheery; it will definitely lift my spirits if this winter gives us some cold and dreary days.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cosies from thepunkrockinchick

Over the next several posts, I am going to publish photos of four beautiful tea cosies sent to me by my tea-loving friend, thepunkrockinchick. I love them all, and since they run the gamut from beautiful and classy to kitschy, I will always be able to find a tea cosy to suit my mood. So thank you again, TPRC! The parlor is all gussied up with this lovely flower button garden. No garden is complete without a cat, which you can see lounging behind the teapot. And this cat has a flower name, Daisy, so it's a perfect combination.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Father's Teapot

This was my dad's teapot when he was little. I love it, for so many reasons--blue, old, tea, but most of all, because of it's association with Dad. I do so hope my mom will leave it to me.

Maker and year of manufacture unknown.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tea Cosy by F

F made this lovely tea cosy for me, and there's nothing we love more in the parlor than a pretty tea cosy! The colors are somewhat better in the photo below, where you can see the striping pattern of green, off-white, blue, and tan. It's incredibly soft and perfect for autumn. She even gave me the tea and cookies to go with it. We love using different tea cosies in the parlor, and this one will have pride of place for the next month. Thank you so much, F.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tea and Croissants

Today in the parlor we are serving Twining's English Breakfast tea, one of our favorite full-bodied black teas, with an egg and cheese croissant sandwich. We fancied our croissant up with a smear of garlic and herb cheese on one side, and cheddar on the other. Canadian bacon offers the perfect salty, meaty layer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Twinings Irish Breakfast

This week we have been sipping Twinings Irish Breakfast tea. There is nothing we love more in the parlor than a good, strong breakfast tea, and this one fits to a, well, T. Irish breakfast tea and Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats make a perfect start to the day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tea Quote

"The women said they preferred their tea neat..."
"Tea was a luxury seldom indulged in, for it cost five shillings a pound. But country people then had not acquired the taste for tea; they preferred home-brewed."
"They made a good deal of camomile [sic] tea, which they drank freely to ward off colds, to soothe the nerves, and as a general tonic."
"Peppermint tea was made rather as a luxury than a medicine; it was brought out on special occasions and drunk from wine-glasses..."

Lark Rise by Flora Thompson (1945)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lavender Earl Grey Muffins

We haven't experimented with cooking with tea as much as we should here in the parlor, so today we served freshly baked Earl Grey muffins, using Revolution Lavender Earl Grey Tea. Just slightly sweet, with a hint of the earl grey flavor, these are delicious accompanied by a steaming hot cup of tea.

We used justbento's Earl Grey Muffin recipe.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Family China

My mother's coffee set, which I love. I couldn't read the mark, so don't know who made it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tea Books

The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss

Although I've been a tea drinker all my life, even when I seriously started to pursue loose leaf teas and search out tea rooms, I never knew or understood the differences between the different types and grades of tea. This book is a wonderfully illustrated encyclopedia of all things tea--types, grades, definitions, regional varieties, environments, tea accessories, and instructions for brewing every different type of tea. The nerdy historian in me loved the section on the history of tea around the world and the physical descriptions of the different tea growing regions. A good, thorough tea guide that goes far beyond the basics, and interesting to both the tea lover and new tea drinker alike.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tea Towel Tatting

This tea towel belongs to my good friend and fellow tea lover, M. M tatted a lovely yellow edging on it, and uses it to top a small table in her kitchen. I think it's adorable.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Alice's Tea Party

Title: Alice in Wonderland, Author: Lewis Carroll, Illustrator: Gordon Robinson, Release Date: August 12, 2006 [EBook #19033] Language: English. Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Sam'l Gabriel Sons & Company, New York Copyright, 1916, by Sam'l Gabriel Sons & Company, New York.

[Public domain image from http://publicdomainclip-art.blogspot.com]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lipton Cold Brew

When the outside temperature hits 106 degrees Farenheit (41 degrees Celcius), things slow down here in the parlor, and it becomes difficult to move, or breathe, much less contemplate drinking a nice, hot cup of tea sometimes (although we drank two cups of Prince of Wales tea yesterday morning, so go figure). We admit it--when the long, very hot days of summer arrive, we cheat and make tea the easiest way we can find. Sun tea is perfect for lazy days. How more lazy can one be than to just let the sun boil your tea and make the perfect summer drink? Well, here's a way to be even lazier, cut out a few steps, and--best of all--not have to venture out into that abominable heat to make iced tea nectar.

Our neighbor recommended Lipton refrigerator tea to us as a strong, fast, and easy to make iced tea. When we went shopping, we could only find Lipton Cold Brew, in a blue and yellow box with the word 'redesigned' splashed all over it. We assumed it was the same product and bought some. We can just about expend enough energy these days to throw tea bags into a pitcher, pour water over same, and deposit said pitcher in the recesses of refrigerator (thus maximizing the amount of body skin exposed to cold refrigerator air). The cold brew experiment was undertaken two nights ago.

And we're pleased with the results. It's a nice, strong, full-bodied tea. It was difficult to get any agave nectar swirled in to sweeten the cold brew (despite not being a solid that needs to dissolve), but we could stand to lose some sugar out of our diet, so that may ultimately be a good thing. We expect to hook up a continuous IV bag of this stuff to get us over the next few weeks of suffocating summer doldrums.

Ah, the tinkling sound of ice cubes clinking against a tall, dark glass of rich, amber-colored tea! All that is needed is a good book and a few hours to relax. Summer is indeed here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Peet's Tea

Peet's Coffee and Tea is a chain out of the Pacific Northwest, and is probably more well known as a coffee shop than a tea purveyor. I've been eying their selection online for a few months now, and have selected several I'd like to try. So when, during a layover on a cross-country flight a few weeks ago, I came across a Peet's stand in the airport, I immediately ran over to grab a cup to take with me. I selected what I thought was their basic breakfast blend, but in hindsight may have been their Pride of the Port blend, because it had a bracing, strong, somewhat malty flavor, well suited to milk and sugar. Even if bagged tea in an airport kiosk is not really representative of the loose teas available online, this sample proved very interesting and enjoyable, and I'm eager to revisit Peet's and try some other blends.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keemun Congou

One of the things I love about Teaberry's is the sample jar. A large, clear glass jar, brimming with samples of a few ounces of all their different teas. I was buying some tea things as thank you gifts for my housesitters, so the very nice lady in the shop urged me take a sample to accompany the cosy. Than she urged another, and a third. This tea lover will never turn samples down.

I kept the one black tea, the Keemun Congou, for myself, and decided on Sunday that my Unplugged Independence from Immediacy Day was the perfect morning to try it. Delicious!

I tend to be partial to Indian teas, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed this Chinese tea. It's very robust and strong, and held up well to milk and a small bit of agave nectar. (Tea purists, I know a keemun should be drunk black, but we here in the parlor love a little bit of milk and sweet in our tea and don't feel anyone should be told how to drink their tea, just urged to enjoy it.) Perhaps the milk masked any fruitiness inherent in the tea, but it maintained its distinctive flavor. Most enjoyable, and keemun congou will be be added to the tea selection in the parlor.

By the way, the keemun was served with a homemade cinnamon coffee cake (photograph forthcoming). The perfect accompaniment to a lazy Sunday morning spent on the patio, reading P. D. James and listening to the birds chatter while the dogs loafed in the shade and the cat explored the backyard.

Here's a definition of keemun congou:    Keemun Gongfu or Congou (祁門功夫) - Made with careful skill ("gongfu") to produce thin, tight strips without breaking the leaves.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Teaberry's Tea Room

My favorite tea room is Teaberry's in Flemington, NJ. The food is delicious, the service wonderful, the tea selection extensive, the ambiance lovely and genteel. Teaberry's relocated last year from one floor of a small Victorian house to an entire Victorian all their own, but just down the street, and lost none of their charm. If at all possible, the charm multiplied. There are several rooms for dining, all exquisitely decorated, and a small patio for when the weather is cooperating. The menu hasn't changed, and I was delighted to order my favorite soup, the Hungarian mushroom, on this visit, as well as the quiche. My mother had the turkey sandwich, my sister the vegetarian splendor sandwich and the windsor pear salad. Desserts sampled this time were the lemon tart and the sticky toffee pudding. Usually I try a single estate or blended tea, and this time I selected a different blend to try: Camellia's Blend, a blend of Darjeeling, Ceylon, and Oolong. It was very smooth, very mellow, very delicious. A perfect afternoon.

Although a Victorian style may not appeal to everyone, I recommend a visit to Teaberry's to all tea lovers nearby. We were there on Father's Day (and no one rushed us at all--we enjoyed ourselves for over two and a half hours), and there were several dads there with their daughters. And one father with his wife and two teenage sons--and it was only dad who was drinking tea. Don't let the very feminine appearance put a visit off--the food is delicious, and the atmosphere elegant. Nearby antique shops and beautiful restored Victorian homes make a stroll through Flemington delightful, but Teaberry's alone is worth the trip.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday's Tea Quote

Hope, resolve, and calm contemplation can be found in a warm cup of tea.
There is time to reflect, relax, and nurture friendships when we finally slow down and sip.

"The Art of Afternoon Tea" Victoria. May/June 2010, p. 85 (From Our Table column)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Archer Farms Organic Golden Breakfast

Archer Farms Organic Golden Breakfast loose leaf tea, a mellow, smooth breakfast tea. Perfect with raisin challah french toast and tofu bacon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today's Tea Quote

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.  

Japanese Proverb

 http://www.clker.com/clipart-45447.html for additional information on this woodcut

Monday, May 31, 2010

Blueberry muffins

Tea on the Parlor moved outside for breakfast tea on the patio today, where homemade blueberry muffins and pancakes were served with Yorkshire Tea.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yorkshire Loose Leaf Tea

Yorkshire Tea and a large cinnamon twist from La Parisienne Baguette Bakery--afternoon tea delight.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tohono Chul Tea Rom

A very kind friend thanked me for an easy favor (which I was delighted to do) with a gift certificate to the Tohono Chul Tea Room. I've brunched, lunched, and had tea there before, but as it's been quite a while since I had the afternoon tea, I decided a tea date with myself was in order.

The assorted finger sandwiches (4 in total: egg salad, chicken salad, cucumber, and cheese) were quite good, although nothing out of the ordinary. The sweets (4 in total: a brownie, carrot cake, a nut-based confection, and a cranberry scone) were also quite good. I wish each was a smidge bigger, so I could gorge myself, although I left perfectly sated. My only complaint on the food: the scone was on the dry side, impossible to cut without shattering and too big to eat with your fingers. Precious morsels were lost to my clumsy knife. The pot of their Sonoran Sunrise Breakfast Black was delicious, but two and a half small cups just whetted my appetite--I could have easily consumed another cup or two. No offers were made to refill. On the down side: my first tea cup arrived cracked, and the fork was dirty. Just a simple dishwasher issue, but with the reputation the Tohono Chul Tea Room has, surprising.

Still, a recommendation for the tea room is offered. The atmosphere in the park is gorgeous, the historic structure which houses it just lovely, and the air of grace delightful. The Tohono Chul Park Tea Room wins hands down for atmosphere of all the tea rooms in the city.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chantilly Tea Room

I wanted to treat my friends who pet-sat for me to a lovely thank you, and what more charming place that at Chantilly Tea Room? They began serving breakfast there in the fall, and having enjoyed myself so much in October when I tried it out, I knew breakfast was in order this time.

We drank that day's special, a rose-infused black tea, and Yorkshire Gold. As always, the food was very good, promptly served, by a smiling and friendly waitress. I had the fritatta, while the others both had breakfasts that could have doubled as desserts (maple french toast and the special). I've lunched here, as well, and the menu at both meals, while not extensive, is good. The tea pot is filled with hot water as soon as it needs refilling (tea lovers always know when a tea lover is serving them, or a tea lover is the owner/manager--your pot is never empty for long).

The signature of Chantilly is choosing your tea cup from their collection of antique and new tea cups, to which you are led quite ceremoniously after you chose your tea (two pots per table from a fairly extensive list of black teas and tisanes). Antique and new sets and individual cups are for sale and are gorgeous. Lacy aprons, tea note cards, and loose leaf tea (Harney and Sons and others) are sold in the little shop. Chantilly is a very Victorian and feminine tea room with pink walls, lacy fichus and aprons hanging from screens, and a cosy fireplace with a dainty love seat, but I've seen men partaking of the tea delights each time I've been there. A very small patio makes breakfast dining delightful. I always enjoy visits to Chantilly. It makes a tired, dusty scientist feel very girly again.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tea Candles Continued

Hot buttered rum scented candle. I am inspired to acquire some elegant tea cups by this candle to expand my small collection beyond flowered and solid colored tea cups and mugs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tea Candles

Even though I hate to dust, I am smitten by these tea candles I've received from nice friends. This is a miniature candle, with a lovely chintz-like blue and yellow flower pattern.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Taste of Summer Sun Tea

Because not all tea must be consumed hot...

Yesterday we served a pork tenderloin with a honey-Dijon sauce for Easter dinner with Twinings Taste of Summer sun tea. It's a lovely black tea that is naturally sweet and needs no added sweeteners. We're tempted to try this as a tea 'sangria' with our current crop of grapefruits, lemons, and oranges.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tea on the Patio

Sadly there is no photo to document this, but Librarian M stopped by Sunday afternoon, bringing a beautiful painted egg for the holiday and a box of Taylor's of Harrogate Scottish Breakfast Tea. We sat on the patio, drinking Tazo Awake and eating thick pumpkin cookies with tiny chocolate chips--delicious! The weather is now perfect for eating outside.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Prince of Wales tea

Today we are serving Twining's Prince of Wales tea in the parlor. It is a smooth and very mild tea; so mild, in fact, that we couldn't steep it enough to make it more to our taste.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Irish Breakfast

A belated St. Patrick's Day celebration: Adagio Irish Breakfast tea served with raisin challah French toast, with a new bird-decorated tea cup in honor of The Mossy Nest.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Earl Gray Bravo

Today we are serving Van's multigrain waffles and Morningstar Farms tofu bacon in the parlor with Adagio Earl Gray Bravo.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tea and Toast

While playing hooky (well, not really--since we in the parlor worked last Saturday, we took this Friday afternoon off while the computer network at work was unplugged and reconnected to a new system), that traditional combination of tea and toast is lovely, especially when enjoyed while reading a book outside on a beautiful spring afternoon. Cinnamon raisin toast may be the cosiest of comfort foods.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tea Towels and Cinnamon Coffee Cake

We like to serve something a little special on Sundays in parlor. Sundays are meant to be days to relax, and what better way to relax than over a leisurely read of  the newspaper, accompanied by a hot cup of tea and something delicious. This morning we served a cinnamon coffee cake loaf. It immediately fell apart when transferred to a serving plate after it had cooled; the entire loaf split horizontally. But it's still delicious, even if messy!

Recently, a coworker passed on an initial embroidered tea towel that had come into her possession. The parlor doesn't have any other dedicated tea towels, but we certainly do like this one, especially since it's embroidered in our favorite color. We are afraid we see a new obsession looming over the horizon.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


This week, breakfast in the parlor has been mini quiches (broccoli, onion, and cheddar cheese) and turkey bacon, served with the last of a box of Tazo Awake and Lipton Loose Leaf. The parlor is making inroads on the stash in the tea cupboard, and I've already begun perusing what teas will be tried in the future. The parlor is partial to black teas, and not green tea or tisanes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dainty Tea Cup Cover, Revolution Earl Grey Lavender

The dainty tea cup cover by lullabiesandlace. I realized I needed to make it larger too late, and so the increase I added made it curl. No matter. Dainty and frilly go hand in hand. 

This afternoon we will be reading Agatha Christie's 4:50 From Paddington while drinking Revolution Earl Grey Lavender Tea. An interesting play on a regular Earl Grey, the hint of lavender makes this a more dainty tea. Tradition with a twist--a digital novel and a tea one note off its classic taste. It may be a parlor, but that doesn't mean it has to be stuffy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cranberry Apple Winter Tea

This morning we are serving Cranberry Apple Winter Tea. There is no trade name associated with the packet of tea, which was included in a gift basket of cheeses, crackers, and scone mix sent to the Mossy Nest for Christmas by Little Sister. It's a Ceylon black tea with cranberry apple flavor, but the apple is a far more prevalent note, making the tea quite sweet. It's probably more appropriate for afternoon or even after dinner, because of its sweet note.

The pups in the parlor, meanwhile, were served sardines in water as part of their dinner. They graciously shared the sardines with their feline housemates.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Litpon Black Pearl, Girl Scout Trefoils

Tea in the cubicle is not as leisurely as tea in the parlor, but that doesn't mean one shouldn't enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up. Today in the cubicle we enjoyed Lipton Black Pearl (in the cute pyramid bags) and Girl Scouts Trefoils shortbread cookies. Because in the parlor, we can resist neither puppies nor kittens nor adorable, bright-eyed girls asking, oh-so-politely, if we'd like to buy some cookies.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trader Joe's Organic Black Decaffeinated

Tonight we are sipping Trader's Joe's Fair Trade Organic Black Tea Decaffeinated, a Nilgiri black from southern India. I usually find decaffeinated black teas too weak for me, and this is no exception, but I support the fair trade aspect of the tea, and at a Trader Joe's price, one doesn't expect a roaring strong tea.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Adagio Valentine's Tea

Today we are serving Adagio Valentine's Tea with date bread and cantaloupe with vanilla yogurt in the parlor. The Adagio is a delicious blend of chocolate and strawberry with black tea, which produces a heady, chocolate-y aroma--delicious! This is the last of the 2009 cantaloupe crop that was frozen in August. It's a delicious, sweet burst of summer to tantalize the tastebuds during the dead of winter.