Teapots, teacups, sugar/creamer sets, and other teawares can tend to build up in your home. They deserve better than to be shoved into cupboards or stacked haphazardly on shelves. They deserve to be on display where they will add to the ambience. Here are three ways to maximize that quality:

A media shelf unit better suited to teawares. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A media shelf unit better suited to teawares. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

1 All together in a special place

My mother had a hutch cabinet. It was a base cabinet with drawers and a separate shelf unit on top. Here she displayed varied and sundry dishes. Many people today use this type of cabinet for their teawares. Depending on which pieces you have and how many, you can probably fit them all on the hutch part so they are neatly displayed, not too jumbled or crowded. One thing to be careful about here is not having the pieces touching so one doesn’t scrape another. Another thing is making sure they are securely in place, especially if you are in earthquake country or live near well-used railroad tracks. You might have to consider a glass-doored display cabinet instead. Another option furniture wise is a media shelf unit. We bought a sizeable one for our various music and movie discs (and VHS tapes since it was that long ago) but found that it was better for our collection of teacups and mugs and smaller teapots.

Mix it up by putting some teapots on a bookshelf along with some books. (stock image)

Mix it up by putting some teapots on a bookshelf along with some books. (stock image)

2 Spread around here and there

Not everyone has a spot in the house or apartment or condo for a large display cabinet or shelf unit. So, some teapots here and a few teacups there are a great idea as long as they are safely perched to avoid hazards such as leaping kitty cats and kids running around, plus those train tracks and earthquakes. Shelves mounted fairly high on the wall come to mind here, but you’ll not have easy access to those teawares. Smaller wall-mounted display shelf units with or without glass doors are another option. If you have bookcases in your house, you can reserve a shelf or two or even put some books in with those teawares.

3 Arranged by themes

Asian, English bone china, transferwares, floral patterns, or various color collections (all robin’s egg blue, for example) are just a few options here. The Asian theme could include a tea boat/table, a tea pet, a bamboo plant or maybe a bonsai, your Asian style teapot (cast iron, Yixing, kyusu, etc.), and even some of your tea implements such as a chasen (whisk for matcha). The English bone china theme can include pictures of British scenes, various icons such as their flag and a statue of Big Ben, along with those teawares. Any subject of interest to you from butterflies to space travel can also serve as a theme here since teapots come in a seemingly endless array of design styles, with more coming daily.

Make your home a delight for yourself and others by displaying those wonderful teawares!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When thinking of indulgence, what comes to mind but chocolate of course. Velvety chocolate enhanced by tea encased in a buttery pastry covered with sweet whip cream. This is a recipe sure to be devoured as soon as it is made.

Tea Chocolate Cream Pie (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Chocolate Cream Pie (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

3 cups milk
1 tbsp black tea (chai would work well also)
5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
8oz quality semisweet chocolate (use a high cocoa content product 50% or more)
1 tub or can of whip topping
1 ready to use pie shell

In a medium sauce pot heat the milk to 212° (boiling), and steep your tea in it for about 3-5 minutes. You will need a double boiler or a pot fill 1/3 with water and a metal bowl to set on top. Place the water base over medium heat and bring to a simmer. In the top bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. The mixture will be crumbly and a bit dry. Make sure it is thoroughly mixed. Place the bowl on top of the heating water base and put in the chocolate.

When the chocolate starts to melt whisk the egg mixture and chocolate together then slowly whisk in the tea milk. Once the mixture is completely blended and resembles the consistency of hot chocolate, pour out the water from the base and pour in the chocolate mixture. Bring the chocolate mixture to a boil, this will thicken it to a pudding consistency. Once thickened remove from heat, place in a bowl with plastic wrap directly on the top of the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until cool.

Once the mixture is cooled spread it into your prepared pie shell. Spread the whip topping over the top with an offset spatula or pipe on with a piping bag. To garnish use a vegetable peeler and shave a chocolate bar. Sprinkle the shavings over the top of the pie. Allow the pie to set up in the fridge for at least one more hour before serving.

This same recipe can be used to make a lovely mousse by simply whipping up 1 pint of heavy cream into whipped cream and folding it into the cooled chocolate mixture.

See more of Janet Sanchez’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bubbles showing the water is really boiling! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Bubbles showing the water is really boiling! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The importance of water when it comes to the taste of your tea is a subject that has been discussed often on this tea blog and on others. Steeping techniques have been examined in the minutest detail all over the blogosphere and social media sites. So, what else is there to say? Plenty!

While people are fussing about water quality (hard water versus soft water, distilled and filtered versus municipal system water coming out of the tap), they tend to forget about temperature. Some teas steep very quickly – even for only a few seconds – and others need more time – as long as 10 minutes. It’s those long-timers that are the issue here. Anything that has to steep for 3 minutes or longer will experience some cooling, even if the steeping vessel is covered.

Several things affect how fast water temperature will decrease during steeping: room temperature, what the steeping vessel is made of, its shape, whether it has a lid, if a fan is on nearby (especially if it’s blowing towards the steeping vessel), and if you cover it with a cozy or tea towel. All pretty obvious.

There is some debate among tea professionals about whether the temperature decreases enough to adversely affect the steeping. A particular cozy design, for example, was under assault a few years back from these “experts” who claimed the cozy kept the teapot too hot, that a little cooling was needed to avoid oversteeping the tea (no scientific evidence was ever presented to support this). This concern seemed strange considering that for most folks, the big concern is usually about the water cooling too fast so that the tea did not fully steep. That’s touted as a main benefit of the Brown Betty teapot – it keeps the water warmer longer even without a cozy or tea towel over it.

One thing is for sure: you can think about things like this way too much and end up spending too little time actually enjoying the tea.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Great smile! (screen capture from her web site)

Great smile! (screen capture from her web site)

If you want to peruse the full range of Lisa Boalt Richardson’s tea-related achievements, consult her web site here. There are quite a few of these achievements, but we’ll just touch on some of the highlights. She claims to be “one of the first 15 in the world to graduate from the Specialty Tea Institute (STI) with a ‘Certified Tea Specialist’ title in 2008″ and has trained and worked with various other tea organizations.

Then there are the books. There’s Tea with a Twist: Entertaining and Cooking with Tea, which came along first, in 2009, and in which the author “inspires readers to set their tables for fun and serve up any of her eight contemporary tea parties.” The next year saw publication of The World in Your Teacup: Celebrating Tea Traditions, Near and Far, which finds the author “leading tea-lovers on a fact-filled, taste-as-you-go journey around the world.” The latest of Richardson’s books, which is so recent that it’s not even out yet, is Modern Tea: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage, which is set to be released in late 2014. Richardson has also been featured in or written for such august publications as the New York Times, Woman’s Health, Real Simple and Cooking With Paula Deen, as well as many, many others.

In an interview with the National Geographic Intelligent Travel site, Richardson said that her love for tea came about first because she liked the taste of tea. Following that she became enamored of the contemplative aspects of tea drinking and culture and the ability it gives one to slow down. Finally, she said, “When I really began to study tea as a career, my interest in tea grew to discovering and loving tea traditions and culture from around the world. Learning where tea is grown, who grows it, and how it is experienced all over the globe became fascinating to me.”

When asked her favorite tea, however, Richardson declined to pin things down, citing some of the following as favorites, “Darjeeling first flush, keemun, golden monkey, oolongs of all kinds, jasmine pearl green tea, and dragon well.”

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Easter is quickly approaching. Time to think about what to include in your Easter baskets for the little ones in your life (or for yourself, even). There are five things that seem essential – that is, it just isn’t Easter without them! Here they are:

Looks just about perfect! No teapot, though. (ETS image - enhanced)

Looks just about perfect! No teapot, though. (ETS image – enhanced)

1 A Basket

Actually, chocolate should be #1, but I thought I’d start with the basket so you’d have something to put the chocolate into. These are usually the woven kind with a tall, arched handle, and are often painted white or a pastel shade of yellow, pink, green, or blue. They are often filled with that fake grass.

2 A Stuffed Toy

Bunnies, chicks, and ducks seem to be the usual items. Even a little lamb. They are signs of the renewal of life’s cycle after the cold and winds and snows of Winter. The stuffed toy versions are very cuddle-able (you can squeeze them tight without fear of squishing them too hard), don’t grow into adult animals that you have no place for in your home and end up having to get rid of, nor do they need to be fed and cleaned up after. A win-win all around.

3 A Teapot

What? You don’t put teapots in your Easter baskets? How are your children going to grow up to be tea fanatics if you don’t include a teapot in the various gift baskets you give them during the year? You can make it a child’s version teapot, if you like. If a teapot is out of the question, then substitute something like some cookies or other things. But don’t blame me if they grow up to be cola drinkers.

4 Plastic Eggs and/or Peeps

These should be filled with various candies, of course. You could always substitute something else seasonal such as Peeps, which are no longer confined to being chick-shaped and yellow (there are now bunnies, and the colors include pastel purple and a rosy pink).

5 CHOCOLATE!!!

Finally, and most importantly, chocolate critters (usually bunnies and squirrels) are essential. So are things like Cadbury crème eggs. Some chocolate lovers out there are so anxious for these treats to be available that they start asking about them well in advance of their arrival (the best ones are imported from the UK). When munching the bunnies and squirrels, you can either save the head for last (which is what I usually did as a kid) or start with it first.

The final item you need is self-restraint, as in not gobbling up all the goodies before Easter morning. Good luck!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you’ve ever noted some of the weighty titles and subtitles of books that are published nowadays, rest assured that this is hardly a recent trend. Older books equaled or surpassed anything that modern-day publishers and authors can come up with. If you want proof of this then look to the subject of this article, Breakfast, Dinner, and Tea: Viewed Classically, Poetically, and Practically: Containing Numerous Curious Dishes and Feasts of All Times and All Countries, by Julia C. Andrews.

The book was published in 1860 and as the title suggests it’s a somewhat unusual take on the cookbook. Obviously tea is not the focus of the book and the “tea” in the title refers to tea in the sense of a meal rather than a beverage. But the tea section is an interesting one nonetheless and is further divided into five chapters.

Black tea boiled for 15-20 minutes? Yikes! (ETS Image)

Black tea boiled for 15-20 minutes? Yikes! (ETS Image)

Three of these look at the Tea-Biscuits and Cakes, preserves and other things that might be served at a tea, including such items as rye drop cake and Mrs. Grundy’s Cake. There are a few short chapters on tea the beverage as well, which are certainly worth a look. Tea as a Beverage considers the origins of the drink, pinpointing it no further than some unknown date in “the Chinese Empire.”

What follows is a brief sketch of the history of tea after it was first introduced into England, a time when it might sell for nearly fifty dollars a pound. The author claims that tea first came into use in New England in about 1720 and goes on to briefly cover tea during the time of the Revolutionary War and some of the tea substitutes used then.

The author claims that the variety of black teas at the time were Bohea, Congou, Campoi, Souchong, Caper, and Pekoe, while the green teas were Imperial, Hyson, Twankay and Hyson. She also remarks on the cheering effects of tea, which are “unanimous” in every country where it is used. And I’m certainly not going to argue that point.

From there it’s on to preparation. Andrews gets it half-right here, remarking that green tea should not be boiled, which is great advice. However, I’d shudder to think what her black tea must have tasted like after it had been boiled for the fifteen to twenty minutes she recommends.

But as long as you’re not adhering too closely to the author’s advice on tea prep this one’s worth a look for yet another glimpse at how tea was perceived in an earlier time. Take a look at it here.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The fourth month of the year is beginning, a time of things like cute bunnies and Easter and everything blooming. A time to be very “hoppy” about tea. In recognition, here are some teas that I would tend to think of as spring-like and not to miss in April:

5 “hoppy” teas for April (you’ll need to supply the cute bunnies in teacups yourself). (ETS image composite)

5 “hoppy” teas for April (you’ll need to supply the cute bunnies in teacups yourself). (ETS image composite)

1 Foil-pouch protected from those April showers: Stash Jasmine Blossom Green Tea

Jasmine is a lovely flower and has been used for centuries to add its wonderful floral fragrance to teas. This is a Chinese green tea scented with jasmine. There are seven grades of quality, depending on the type of tea used and the care used in the scenting process. (Read more about this type of flavored tea here on our blog.) In this case, this a downy silver tipped green tea and most of the jasmine blossoms have been removed. The result is a balanced and delicate flavor of tea and bloom that will add a touch of romance to your day and is also pleasant to sip and relax with in the evening. As one of our customers commented, a dash of agave nectar will sweeten and heighten the jasmine presence in your cup.

2 Ready for those Spring-time blooms: Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea

Black and green tea take on the glorious Spring-time scents of jasmine blossoms and cornflower petals while also combining with natural flavors such as oil of bergamot. The combination results in a tea perfect for that afternoon tea break to catch some rays after being cooped up inside during the cold months of Winter. The teas used are a high-grown Ceylon black tea flavored with oil of bergamot, green tea from the Fujian Province of China scented with jasmine, some malty Borengajuli Estate Assam black tea, Dimbula Ceylon tea, and some Kenyan from Kambaa and Kagwe. They play together like the London Philharmonic Orchestra where everything is in tune and harmonious yet distinct. A couple of our customers have commented that this tea really lifts their mood and goes well with sweet foods!

Just remember as you’re sipping that this tea has been a long-time favorite at the annual garden tea part held in May by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. See more about the annual Buckingham Palace Garden Party here on our blog.

3 VersatiliTEA: Peach Apricot White Tea

Just remember that April showers bring those flowers that into fruits do grow – and mixed with white tea they do bring glee with each sip setting heart aglow! Hee! A bit of tea time poetry here. Seriously, this is a wonderful white tea with natural flavors of peach and apricot – two stone fruits whose flavors often are imitated in some of the finer teas but here are added in, almost like a fruit-ade but with that white tea goodness. One customer remarked on the divine aroma of this tea and another said she combines it with our blueberry green tea for an even fruitier taste. Whatever way you steep it, this tea will be an uplifting experience.

4 A real surpriser: Oolong Orange Blossom Estate Tea

Be forewarned that this tea is not a straight oolong but a blend of Ceylon black, Taiwanese oolong, and green teas. If you are used to steeping your oolongs a certain way, such as in a Yixing teapot or gaiwan, it will not necessarily be a good idea here. In fact, I prefer one of my smaller ceramic teapots (the reason that I have a bevy of teapots instead of just one or two – in fact, I’ve added to that bevy since writing this article awhile back). One of our customers commented on this and her own experiments with steeping it various ways. In addition, while the name says “orange blossom,” there are actually jasmine petals and other natural flavors, including dried orange pieces, in this tea. Another customer blends it with blueberry tea for serving iced.

5 Generations of tea knowledge in a cup: Harney and Sons Earl Grey Imperial Tea

Several generations of Harneys have built a tea company with a solid reputation, and this tea is one that does them proud. A classy black tea is infused with lemony oil of Bergamot to just the right level. You will find it perfect for your afternoon tea moment or even for that quiet night-time tea time when the house is still and everyone else is in bed. One customer remarked that this tea was rich in flavor, smooth, and not bitter. Sounds like a winner to me.

Hope you get to try some of these during April to help you get make that transition into Spring a smooth one. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Once upon a time there was tea. It was black – for the most part. It was a time, here in the West, when tea and black tea were nearly synonymous. But in the last decade or so it’s green tea that’s grabbed the overwhelming share of attention.

With the popularity of green tea there’s also been a search for the next big thing in tea – a search that has turned up the likes of white tea, oolong, and even puerh. The latter is a type of tea that’s not known to most people and isn’t even known to many tea drinkers.

Pu-erhs to consider, with flavored versions becoming more popular. (ETS Image)

Pu-erhs to consider, with flavored versions becoming more popular. (ETS Image)

The super-condensed version of what puerh is: a type of tea that’s produced in Yunnan, China, and that’s notable for being fermented after the processing stages. If you do even a cursory scan of the web, you could be forgiven for believing that puerh is something of a magic elixir brimming over with health benefits.

What you’ll also notice is that a lot of those making claims for puerh seem to have a horse in the race, as the saying goes. Which is to say a lot of the claims for puerh’s benefits come from merchants who are keen to sell you…puerh tea. Which is an easy enough claim to make about a type of tea that’s considered to be rather exotic.

But is there any truth to the health claims made for puerh tea? This is no place for an in-depth study, but we’ll look at a few of them. Though it’s also worth considering whether any benefits said to arise from puerh have to do with puerh specifically or tea in general.

As the popular Dr. Andrew Weil notes at his web site, some of the claims made for puerh are “promotion of weight loss, reduction of serum cholesterol, and cardiovascular protection.” However, he goes on to claim, “not many scientific studies exist on pu-erh tea, so we don’t know how valid these health claims are. Some research suggests that pu-erh may help lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk, but this hasn’t been confirmed in humans.” An article at one major city paper echoes some of these claims and references a 2009 Chinese study that indicates that puerh lowers cholesterol. It also points to a 2011 study that suggests that puerh can inhibit tumor growth.

As for those claims regarding puerh and weight loss, there are actually several studies that have looked at this topic. All were carried out by Chinese researchers, not surprisingly. This one used rats as subjects and suggested that puerh might have some benefits with regard to weight loss and cholesterol reduction.

This study used puerh extract and human subjects and claimed a slight reduction in weight over a three-month period, but no significant reduction in cholesterol. Here’s a study that summarizes “current progress on understanding the mechanisms and bioactive components of Pu-erh’s weight-cutting effects as well as highlighting current weaknesses in the field.” Last up, a study that compares antioxidant content of puerh and various other teas and finds that it compares favorably.

Which is just a brief look at a topic that probably merits a closer look. It also merits at least a tiny bit of healthy skepticism. But that’s probably true any time health claims are being made for foods or beverages.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

C Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Left this cuppa on the warmer too long – ewwwww! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Left this cuppa on the warmer too long – ewwwww! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Tea scum can be the bane of a steady tea drinker’s experience. And there appear to be two different kinds. One is from the tea itself and the other is from the milk that many of us add to our black teas to have that British experience. Time to find out how these come about.

Scum Caused by the Tea

At one time, the scum on the surface of a cup of tea was said to come from a thin layer of some waxy substance coating the tea leaves that melted off in the hot water. In 1994, though, an important discovery was made by chemists from Imperial College during their careful research into a matter that plagues tea drinkers everywhere. Samplings of the scum from various cups of black tea were put through a detailed chemical analysis, discovering that it was 15% calcium carbonate and the rest was various other chemicals. Thus, hard water that has a lot of calcium in it is a culprit here, but the tea contributes chemicals, too, that add to that scummy build-up. Less than one milligram of scum is formed in a cup of tea and is not thought to be a health risk, just an annoyance.

You can filter out the calcium (bicarbonate ions) or add acids to convert it to CO2 (carbon dioxide). You can also switch to bottled water, which is what we did in our house. Steeping the tea up very strong is another solution since the acidic tea polyphenols will partly neutralize those bicarbonate ions. Or you can add lemon, which has now been officially declared to be a solution by Michael Spiro and Deogratius Jaganyl, two British chemists at the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine in London.

Tea stains inside teacups and teapots are sometimes referred to as tea scum but are not. Black tea is usually the one where the concern over these stains arises, especially on the inside of teapots and teacups where they are difficult to remove using normal dish detergents. It is said to be caused by pigments, formed during the fermentation of the tea leaves, that are left behind when the tea liquid evaporates. A damp rag, vigorous scrubbing, and a little baking soda have proven effective.

Scum Caused by the Milk

For those of us who like milk in our tea but don’t always drink that cuppa as quickly as we might the dreaded milk scum is a trial and tribulation. What it is, however, seems to be some cause for disagreement. Some say the scum is made of fat globules that coagulate on the surface when their surrounding film of proteins is broken due to heat. Thus, skim milk that has all the fat removed will not form this scum. Others say that the scum is coagulated proteins that form due to heat and then rise to the surface to form that scummy skin. Constant stirring is supposed to help prevent this, but if I had time to stir my tea, I’d have time to drink it before this scum formed and thus would not even see it. Using a cup warmer is another issue, where the lower the level of liquid in the cup, the higher the likelihood of scum forming on the remaining tea (with milk in it, that is).

Bottom Line

Both types of scum are problematic to tea drinkers but seem to have fairly easy solutions. For the first kind, you can switch to bottled water or to using lemon in your tea. For the second kind, you can drink faster so the scum doesn’t have time to form. Gee, I wish all problems had such simple solutions!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation (from Amazon.com)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation (from Amazon.com)

As I research assorted and sundry articles dealing with various aspects of tea history, I’ve run across a number of important historical events that have taken place in the month of April (or more specifically on the 1st). Here are a few of them:

April 1, 2813 BC
Chinese emperor Shung Mung discovers tea and the tea bag at the exact same moment. The Emperor is folding pieces of paper (which he’d invented the year before) into little kitty shapes when a sudden windstorm blows a bunch of leaves from off of the tea plant located right next to the window of his workshop. As he happens to look away for a moment a number of the leaves happen to blow directly into the paper kitty he is working on. At this very moment he just happens to drop the paper packet and tea leaves into a pot of water that was boiling on a fire next to him – for no apparent reason.

April 1, 1703
At the request of the eccentric inventor Baron Percival Egspeth Snork, a blacksmith creates what is believed to be one of the first tea infusers. It is a large, unwieldy device fashioned out a heavy piece of cast iron and tends to crush the dainty porcelain tea cups it’s tested on. Unfortunately, while working on the design of a second prototype of this device, Snork dies in a bizarre whittling accident that remains unexplained to this day.

April 1, 1773
Mrs. Edna Winkerbean holds the first tea party in what will soon become the United States. The party is held at her home in Boston. It is a very nice affair and is attended by several ladies in the neighborhood. Crumpets are served. The participants refer to this momentous event as the Boston Tea Party, which turns out to be a bad choice of names.

April 1, 1899
Jedediah Whufflesnorfer invents the Teafflesnorfer, which he insists is not named after himself. It’s a device that automatically begins to prepare tea at the sound of a rooster crowing. Through a complicated system of gears, belts, and levers, it cleans itself after each use and refills itself with tea leaves and water. It does not do windows. So don’t even ask.

April 1, 2013
Alarmed by the news that the Dormouse kept dozing off during the Mad Tea-Party in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a number of tea companies begin research into tea products that are “enhanced” with extra caffeine.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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