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Tea Party for 110

Tea Party for 110

On Sunday dawned the day I served tea to the biggest tea party I have ever been involved with! This was definitely a first in my tea journey.

The occasion was to celebrate and give thanks to the Associates of Selby Gardens, all 110 of them and a bunch of tea lovers to boot! Not only that, they wanted the “Champagne of tea” Darjeeling. We selected a beautiful tea from the Tukdah Estate, which was the first flush TGFOP. I could not mess this one up!

Tea Party Prep

So, my dilemma. How to serve the perfect tasting, piping hot cup of tea to all these people? How much to make?  What time to start brewing?  When it boils down to it (sorry!), you just have to replicate what you do best when making tea for two. So that is just what I did, along with some helpers, of course.

I got together all the containers (one of these was a Silver Samovar, which looked fabulous) we were using.  I weighed the tea in correct proportions and got the kettles boiling! We steeped the leaves twice, first for 3 mins and second for 6 mins.  In my experience, this gives a well-balanced taste. It took one and a half hours to complete the process.

Tea Party Service

We delivered the tea to another building (no easy fete over the brick paving’s in the garden).  Then we decanted the hot tea into very nice Silver teapots owned by some of the Associates. The tables were served tea as the guests were invited to the buffet table. Each server came back for more and more tea!

It was a brilliant feeling seeing all those people slurping Darjeeling.  Sorry, Selby Associates don’t slurp, but you know what I mean.  We had plenty for everyone and very little leftover tea.

It was great to receive such good comments and no negatives. Then you start to ask yourself, why did I worry so much?

“If you say you can, you will” is a great motto.  And one which is working well for me this month, stir in a little love, and you have the perfect cups of tea.

So, if you are planning a BIG tea party, call yours truly.

The Tea Lady

Tea Class at Selby

Tea Class at Selby

February 2009 certainly got off to a busy start in my tea world!  Tea Class at Selby.

Last Thursday, we had our first Tea Appreciation course at Selby Gardens as part of the Sarasota County Adult Learning Education Program. From the second floor of the Payne Mansion with a wonderful view of Sarasota Bay, the sun dazzled on the water and shining on the Ringling Bridge.

Does this sound amazing? It was!

The picture-perfect tea morning, bright and sunny but on the cool side for us wimps in Florida.

I had 16 lovely ladies attend. (Come on, you tea-loving guys, there must be some of you out there!) During our 90 minutes together, we tasted 6 different teas; 2 black, 2 green, and 2 herbals. We discussed the origin, processing, preparation, and health benefits of each tea. There was time for lots of questions and some lively discussion about brewing the perfect cuppa.

I must not forget to thank my excellent cha walla Michael, who served the tea in true airline stewardess fashion! In Indian families, ‘cha walla’ is used as a term of endearment to encourage a fellow family member to make the tea. Also, a term used in the film “Slumdog Millionaire” for the hero Jamil Malik but not with the same endearment!

As ladies are wont to do, the ladies then proceeded to our Tasting Room to sample 3 more teas.

We had 3 more ladies attend during the afternoon and had an “unplugged version” of the same class. Very up close and personal but just as much fun. A brilliant start to the month.

Watch this space, we are planning more Tea Appreciation and other Tea associated classes in the coming months, and it would be great to have you join us.

Cheers,
The Tea Lady

Holy Basil Tea

Holy Basil Tea

At our booth at the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market, someone asked for Holy Basil tea. I was not familiar with this tea and did some research that you may find interesting.

Holy Basil, or the Tulsi plant, is called ‘Holy’ and is an important symbol in the Hindu religion. Tulsi means “the incomparable one,” and the plant is worshiped morning and evening.  No Hindu household is considered complete without a Tulsi plant.

Holy Basil Tea or Tulsi

Apart from the religious significance of Holy Basil, the plant has many medicinal benefits. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is termed “the elixir of life” as it promotes longevity.  In other words, the tea has antioxidants to boost the body’s ability to fight nasty free radicals that can cause disease and aging. It is also an adaptogen that helps the body fight stress by balancing the mind, nerves, and emotions and maintains the respiratory tract’s health.

Initially, I was curious why this customer wanted this tea.  I understood the importance of this tea when I learned about the spiritual nature of Holy Basil.  I am thrilled to know a bit more about another aspect of this beverage we love called tea.

Cheers,
The Tea Lady