Friday, January 20, 2017

Showcasing the Black Teacup Collection

Gathering together the black teacups that I have in my collection, I was surprised to see the variety that I have. Since the majority of the teacups used in the tea room are either pink, yellow, or green, most of these sets are stowed safely in a cupboard.
This Royal Albert bone china tea cup from England is on display in the tea room. It is clearly marked on the bottom of the saucer and the cup. There is an elegance with the solid black saucer and the rich black and mauve roses circling the cup.

Found in another section of the tea room is this tea cup set with a slightly more modern design. The iridescent saucer sparkles, and the black and white swirl is replicated in both the saucer and the tea cup. There is no marking on this elegant and sophisticated cup.

These two pretty tea cups have matching designs on the saucer and cup. It's always a treat to finish drinking your tea and have the beautiful floral design to admire. The cup and saucer on the left is marked 'Made in Japan' while the set on the right is stamped Royal Sealy China, Japan.

And finally, this cup and saucer set was part of the original collection that was given to me from my mother shortly after the tea room opened. Mom was happy to pass her collection to me as she was thrilled to have more space in her cupboards to continue collecting!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Make- A Really Fine Cup of Tea

These are the basic directions on how to prepare a cup of tea according to the instructions on the tin of the loose leaf tea sold by John Wagner & Sons:
How to Make - A Really Fine Cup of Tea
Use fresh water. Bring to a furious boil. Put tea in teapot, one level teaspoon per cup (more or less as desired) plus 'one for the pot.' Pour boiling water on tea. Steep three to five minutes - the longer the stronger.

These directions are specifically for black tea. And over the years, most recommendations for making tea no longer include the need for adding 'one for the pot'. Of course, these are all simply guidelines, it's all to personal taste, add more or less tea as desired and steep as long or as short as you prefer. Eventually you will find the perfect balance and achieve a really fine cup of tea.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tea & Spice Merchant, John Wagner & Sons

The John Wagner & Sons business began in 1847 'since the days of the clipper ships'. This Pennsylvania company offered a wide variety of teas and spices, and was one of the first teas that we sold in The Rosemary House, right alongside Constant Comment. There was a wide variety of flavors, each distinguishable by the color of the tin. You could find Orange pekoe (orange tin), Keemun (black), Jasmine (yellow), English breakfast (red), Formosa Oolong (light green), Imperial gunpowder (medium green), Irish (kelly green), Earl Gray (purple) Rare Mandarin (lavender), Pan fired green (blue), Mint (white) and Ch’a Ching Chinese restaurant (white).

The tins featured a descriptive explanation of each of the teas and also included instructions on 'how to make a really fine cup of tea'. The Ch'a Ching Chinese Restaurant Tea states; many times, many customers have urged us to provide them a tea such as they have been served when dining in a fine Chinese restaurant. Here at last it is - rich, full-bodied to the taste, dark and clear in the cup with a fine pungent aroma that will bring back memories of the far fabled East from which it comes. The Rare Mandarin is a black tea of great distinction, originally from the gardens reserved for the exclusive patronage of the Russian aristocracy. Blended for the taste of the most discriminating gourmet. The Mint Tea is flavored and scented with the clear fresh taste of garden mint.
Don't they all sound delicious?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

John Wagner & Sons Tea

When The Rosemary House opened in 1968 (celebrating 49 years this year!), we carried tea and spices from a local Pennsylvania company, John Wagner & Sons. The Ivyland, PA company was founded in 1847, eventually sold to another company in 1996, but is no longer available. The teas were sold in gift sets, or they were sold loose in a large Treasure Chest. This is the lid from the chest.

The loose leaf tea was sold in specialty food stores and gift shops such as the Rosemary House. The assorted teas were packaged in tins, in several sizes. Shown here are the smaller tins that were tossed in the chest. Customers could pick out their favorite teas, and select a different flavor each time they came to the shop. Look at that price! 35 cents or 3 for a dollar! Now, you can find the empty little tins on eBay for $8.00 a piece! 

Susanna was just a young girl when the shop opened, and one of her favorite activities was to pretend these tins were building blocks. She would play for hours stacking the tins, lining them up, assorting them by color, knocking them down, and starting over again. She was easily entertained.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Another Unusual Tea Pot

This fun and unusual tea set was given to me by a friend. Tea for Two!

The set includes a double spouted 6" high tea pot and two matching cups that snuggle each other and sit perfectly together on one plate. The markings on the bottom of the white porcelain pieces feature a barely visible indented stamp that says 'taste' and then a large capital S to begin the words setter and sigma.

When you're in a hurry, it's convenient to be able to pour two cups simultaneously.
Think of all the time it saves. The pretty blue and white tea towel was a gift from my niece, Jessica.
Special thanks to both Jessica (for the tea towel) and Dennis (for the tea set).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Chocolate Teapot!

Special thanks to Janet Y. for this fun Christmas surprise, the really useful Chocolate Teapot.



 The teapot, handmade in Britain, by a company named Schokolate with the tag line 'chocolate with a twist' comes complete with a little instruction booklet and a list of do's and don'ts. This 3-step adventure first includes making some hot cocoa in the little pot. We followed the directions to make several smalls cups of hot cocoa by placing instant cocoa in the pot along with a small portion of water. We enjoyed the cocoa, and using the really useful chocolate pot for this purpose. But our family, gathered around the table, was eager to move onto step 2.

Step 2 involves turning the chocolate pot into a fondue setup by adding a few tablespoons of hot water to the pot, you are instructed to stir until it develops into a smooth creamy fondue. We sampled the fondue with marshmallows, angel food cake, strawberries, bananas, and kiwi fruit. Each tasty tidbit as good as the previous sampled piece.



Chocolate High!
As you can see, we worked our way through Step 2, the fondue. It was surprising how much chocolate melted to form the fondue. It seemed like a bottomless pot as we kept dipping our goodies in the pot. Nothing left but the empty little teapot, which leads you to Step 3 - simply eat the teapot, or store it in a cool, dry place to enjoy later. Yum!

Thank you, Janet. This was a fun treat the whole family enjoyed!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

More Gifts from Friends!

Another surprise holiday gift from my every-other-month tea group was presented to me in this Lipton's Tea tin. Isn't it just the perfect way to present a tea themed gift? And tucked inside the box was this amazing assortment of hand crocheted wash clothes. Look closely...


The tin contained the cutest assortment of wash clothes - a tea pot, a tea cup, and a sugar and creamer set. How fun is that! They are almost too fun to use, but certainly perfect for a tea enthusiast. Special thanks to my thoughtful tea room customers.






And also during the holiday season, these pretty lace edged muslin tea towels were presented to Susanna and I from another good customer/friend.

Many thanks to our customers. You have surprised us and delighted us this holiday season, bringing joy and happiness with your thoughtful gifts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

To my Favorite Tea Group!

This lovely miniature porcelain tea set has found a new home in Sweet Remembrances, and I am ever so grateful for this newest addition to the collection! It is a reproduction of a gorgeous porcelain tea service used in the Biltmore House around the late 1800s. The swooping, curving design and the lavish use of such a rich dark turquoise coupled with the elegant gold highlights represents the rococo style of china. 
The tea service that this replicates can be found on display in the Oak Sitting room in the Biltmore House in North Carolina, while this miniature tea set is proudly on display in the tea room. Elegance at its finest!


And the festive card attached to this surprise gift, from my Favorite Tea Group, indeed!
 
Thank you so much for your very thoughtful gift!

Monday, January 2, 2017

We Are...

...Penn State! That's the rally cry heard around the state, particularly this week as the Penn State football team is in California, ready to play against USC in the Rose Bowl today. All TV stations will be tuned to this exciting game as Penn State celebrates the end of a comeback season under the expert guidance of coach James Franklin.

Stepping back in time to 1995, 23 years ago to be exact, Penn State played in the Rose Bowl beating out the Oregon Ducks. Through a family friend, we were able to secure tickets to the Rose Bowl game that year and sent our parents out to LA as a surprise Christmas gift. They visited with mom's sister, toured the behind the scenes of the making of the Rose Bowl parade floats, and attended the Big Game. Mom, shown here in her blue and white Penn State proud outfit, was a good sport and attended the game with Dad, knowing full well he would have much rather watched the game with his best buddy, Max.


Good Luck, Penn State!

(Final Score - USC 52 - Penn State 49)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

 May you enjoy the many blessings of a new year!
 Wishing you good health, great happiness, much love, 
      coupled with peace, joy and hope. 
     Here's to 2017! Please pass the tea!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

And they presented unto him gifts: gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Meet Ed...

Ed, the Elf on the Shelf has arrived in the tea room along with the great nieces Arielle and Gracie, almost 10 and 8. Ed usually appears the day after Thanksgiving. According to the girls, he is mischievous and has been known to eat their leftover Halloween candy! He rolls paper towels on the couch, and sometimes hides in the paper towel roll! He watches the girls... and is known to tattle if there is any naughtiness happening. And last night he tucked himself in a tea cup - watching the girls before Santa arrives! No one can touch Ed until Christmas day and the days leading to his return to the North Pole around January 2nd, after Arielle's birthday.