Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Flowers: At the Tea Room

I am going to turn this week's Friday Flowers post into a discussion about one of my favourite pleasures. The picture today is of the Prince of Wales Hotel (circa 1864) in Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario. This lovely town is full of blooms from spring to fall and is a very popular tourist destination on the Niagara Peninsula. I like it far better than The Falls. Tea Rooms are a magnet for me and this hotel serves the finest afternoon tea in the Drawing Room. I have this picture on my desk at work as my chair faces a dull wall. It is easy to mentally transport myself inside this sun room with a view of the flowers.

One of the Facebook groups I have joined is called "A Cup of Tea Solves Everything". This is a very active and enthusiastic group of 131, 844 people from around the world who share a passion for their beverage of choice. The group description reads...

When you are upset... have a cup of tea.
When life seems too complicated... have a cup of tea.
When you wake up in the morning, and can't be bothered to do anything... have a cup of tea.
It is scientifically proven (maybe) to make you feel better.

I have been tagged a couple of times recently to list some interesting facts about myself. I struggle to think of something personal to share that has not already been covered elsewhere in this blog. So I will share a few random facts about my relationship with tea.

  • I had made first cup of tea in 7th grade in our Home Economics class. We never had tea at home but the ritual of making a proper pot of steeped tea appealed to me greatly.
  • I prefer black tea with milk and my favourite brands are Tetley and King Cole. I have tried loose teas too but generally stay with the convenience of a tea bag. I drink herbal and green tea occasionally.
  • Travelling to the USA takes some planning because it is very difficult to get a good cuppa hot tea in a restaurant there. So I pack a water filter, kettle, teabags and a pot in my bag when I go south of the border. Mexico has no tea culture at all!
  • The first thing I do in the morning is boil the kettle for a pot of tea.
  • The first thing I do when I come home from work is boil the kettle for a pot of tea.
  • I introduced my daughters to milky tea early...perhaps at three years of age. They each have a Royal Doulton Bunnykins mug and are tea-lovers. When we are all at home we drink from a very large tea pot called "Big Blue". ( husband drinks coffee)
  • I drink hot tea every day, but on a warm day, iced tea is very refreshing. I make this recipe by the gallon in the summer months.
  • Because I drink tea, I am less likely to break my hip. Doc of Ages says so here!
  • Tea cannot be served in a styrofoam cup. It cannot be made with warm water. It cannot be stored in a carafe that has had coffee in it at any time.
This pansy tea set is also Royal Doulton and belonged to my grandmother. Mom gave it to me a few years ago. Tea drinkers must love flowers and gardens and leisurely afternoon tea parties.

Happy Friday! I must turn on the kettle...


  1. Oh I want tea...just before going to bed. Thanks mom.

  2. As always a nice post to wake up to--that tea pot is just beautiful and it was your mother's? how nice for you to have it complete with her memories.
    Thanks for the smile early in the morning.

  3. You do make a cuppa tea sound immediately appealing. And if I had that wonderful bepansyed little pot, I'd be drinking it right now.

    Oh dear, no styrofoam cups? Lipton's tea in a styrofoam cup is my standard drink down at my mother's nursing home. I suppose you also object to microwaved water as a starting point. We Americans really don't know our way around tea, do we?

  4. Ahhh, tea ... yes it is good to get a good cuppa ... I ferret out the places.

    Recently I read about this study:

    which say milk negates teas good qualities ... rats, cuz I like milky tea. Because I'm trying to cut a goodly portion of sugar from my diet, I tend to drink green and white teas now. But when I go to a good tea house ... it is milky tea ... all the way ... to heck with the studies!

  5. I don't ever remember not drinking tea. My parents used to take turns getting up first, making tea, then delivering tea on a tray to the rest of the family in the morning wake-up ritual. Until I left home, I was spoiled by being gently woken most mornings with a cup of tea brought to my night table. I make three or four pots of tea every day. I take milk, and it has to go into the cup before the tea...otherwise it doesn't taste quite right. Something about the milk being heated slowly versus being scalded by being poured into hot tea.

  6. When studying for exams, I lived on tea!

  7. I love tea and agree with you, it's hard to find a good cuppa tea in the USA (I think the reason for this goes back to the Boston Tea Party). I love your Grandmother's Royal Doulton tea pot!

  8. Becka- When you get older you won't be drinking tea before you go to bed!

    Beth- Yes the pot went from my grandma to mom to me. I remember your post about your broken mug. I am very sentimental about teapots and mugs too.

    FMDoc- Microwaved water in a styrofoam cup!!! Not real tea I am afraid. The last time I flew on AA from Dallas to Toronto, the flight attendants tried so hard to make a good cup of tea for their Canadian passengers. They were so sweet about it, I didn't mind the styrofoam cup that one time.

    CS- I read that about that study. In another year there will likely be research telling us milk in tea is better for us. I will add milk regardless (but I never have used sugar in hot tea)

    Karen- Your childhood mornings sound like heaven to me! I also add the milk first and then the hot tea. There is something very comforting about the tea ritual. You sound like a soul mate...

    Jean- Well there is some caffeine to keep one awake while studying, plus the inevitable trips to the WC.

    Pam- Americans love their iced tea, but hot tea is harder to find, especially in the north. Cicero Sings emailed me a link to a tea blog from Georgia. I think tea traditions may be stronger in some areas of the south.

  9. We have several tea rooms in our area, believe it or not. :c) I enjoy a cup of hot tea occasionally, and recently have been using the Harvest Berries Red Tea from Good Earth which I enjoy in the evenings. No milk for me though... just a Splenda or two. :c)

  10. Anonymous9:10 pm GMT-5

    Wonderful article, Ruth. There's nothing like a nice cup of tea. I prefer it to coffee.

  11. Ruth, my Mom used the same method to make tea - steeping overnight. I do sun tea with Splenda and fresh lemon slices. Over time, I've noticed I can't drink caffeinated tea after 6pm. Ughh. I love iced tea but rarely drink it hot. Like Lipton's tea and Red Rose :o)

  12. Jayne- I believe you would have some good tea rooms in your area. I have read Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mysteries, a set of light "who dunnits" that feature recipes and tea culture more than murder. They take place in Charleston SC.

    April- I only drink one or two coffees a year, only is well made tea is not available.

    Mary- My m-i-l always used Red Rose tea. I have heard of sun tea but have never made it. I like my tea strong.


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