Wednesday 7 December 2011

Tea Bags!

Christmas aroma – mince pies, plum pudding, brandy sauce, rich Christmas cake baking away ... what was that all pervading spicy smell that my little nose could smell all the time – Eureka – I found the culprits ... Tea Bags!

Yogi Products
via Amazon
Some German friends of my mother’s had sent us over a pack of Christmas Collection teabags ...  so the ‘warm holiday notes and exotic spices’ have been wafting around making me wonder where the scent came from.  I am not complaining .. they really do smell Christmassy.

Described as a perfect cup of Christmas .... it’s the ideal tea to share ... twelve different types:

Sweet Chilli
Glucks Tee/Bright Mood
Ingwer Hibiskus/Ginger Hibiscus
Inger Zitrone Tee/ Ginger Lemon
Abend Tee/Bedtime
Black Chai
Hotel Louis C Jacob Hotel, Hamburg

The Herb and Spice Infusions (ingredients) make for some interesting reading:

Cinnamon         Liquorice         Ginger                 Rooibusch      Cocoa shells 

Fennel       Basil           Cardamom         Roasted Chicory          Hibiscus

Black Tea            Peppermint                  Carob                    Lemon grass

Barley Malt            Black Pepper                Anise                   Spearmint

Chamomile               Cloves         Dried Lemon Juice               Orange Peel

Lemon Balm                 Hops          Citrus Extract (natural flavour [nf])

Nettle                  Lavender Flowers              Sage           Lemon Peel

Orange Extract (nf)              Cinnamon extract (nf)            Ginger Oil

Turmeric Root             Beetroot              Chilli Pepper          Nutmeg

Fenugreek                           Yarrow flower                     Cardoman Oil   

                            Vanilla Beans               Vanilla Extract

The Library at the Hotel
The soggy tea bag has come a long way since being first marketed in hand-sewn silk bags over 100 years ago; a New York merchant shipped his loose tea around the world in these bags, which were meant to be emptied, but convenience quickly became the norm – and tea bags, coffee bags etc were born.

The silk teabags resembled paper sacks, before the invention of the rectangular one in 1944.  Silk gave way to paper fibre. Now we have all sorts of shapes and sizes for our loose teas made with many varieties of tea infusions, herbs and spices.

The Bistro - part of the Hotel
The Yogi Tea range, from which my Christmas Spiced teas have come, is by a company formed in 1969 when Yogi Bhajan, a teacher of holistic living started sharing his knowledge of Ayurveda.

It’s interesting how that quintessential English drink “tea” now reaches all corners of the earth ... in various guises and where herbalists have created brews for the 21st century .. that come back to Eastbourne, England, via Hamburg, Germany but with roots in China and India, transhipped to America ... using many Asian herbs and spices.

Similar Ice Creams
Interesting snippets – Tetley’s introduced the tea bag into England after rationing had ended (not during rationing) ... I expect we thought we were getting more tea for our ‘bucks’ ...

Ever thought about collecting tea bags?  Apparently there are sites for tea bag collectors – strange idea!

Teabag folding – is a form of Origami – whereby the fronts of the tea bag sachets are turned into rosettes .. and can be used to decorate gift cards ...

Hamburg on the Elbe -
pink splodge just above here!
Sunburn (not in this neck of the woods now – it’s rather cold) can be treated with recycled (used) tea-bags ...

Finally I have to thank the Hanseatic League (that economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe: the Baltic to the North Sea and, later on, inland during the 13th – 17th centuries) for allowing ships to penetrate right up the Elbe to the hub of Hamburg.

The Terrace on the banks of the Elbe
These trade links allowed my mother and I to stay at an old coach house on the Elbe, on the outskirts of Hamburg where these German friends live ...  the Louis C Jacob hotel is on the list of the best small hotels in the world .... it was a big treat!

A few years ago, when they were excavating to update and improve the hotel ... the digger nearly fell into a hole 100 feet x 80 feet .... that was a shock?!  The Hotel is on the old coach road along the river’s edge – which runs for 80 miles or so before reaching the North Sea ... that hole turned out to be the ice cellar from those early days.

Their expansion occurred over the road and they had to put in a pedestrian bridge from one side of the hotel to the other ... it’s a beautiful place – and when I’m wealthy!!??!! I’d love to go back.

Fine dining watching the kitchens at work
(where the boys had their ice creams)
The hotel does mini tours – when they take guests around and show them the hotel ... so we went one afternoon with the boys – Jan-Philipp and Tom Benedict – when they were given chefs hats to wear, then treated to ice-cream in the kitchen .... 

.... the Chef then appeared and decorated their plates with candles, smarties, chocolate dots, and goodies – they couldn’t wait to get stuck in – despite being overwhelmed with the situation.

The Ice Cellar
We took Swantje and Christian for a drink in the Cellar bar ... you can see how deep the hole is from this photo – I’m glad I wasn’t the digger man!  The cellar was the old ice-store room – where contraband and legitimate trade would have been stored.  The river is heavily tidal .. and unloading wouldn’t have been too difficult ...

... in the Middle Ages – the huge deep water dock area had not been thought of ... so the marshy bank on the other side of the Elbe would not have been suitable for the Excise Men.

Quite honestly who would have thought Tea Bags could produce a blog post at Christmas time – still I thank Jan-Philipp and Tom Benedict for having such a clever mother .. and for sending us these deliciously scented teas ...

I’d have never have thought that nettle, barley, beetroot and hops would be part of the ingredient list included in my tea bags  ...   Well now – I can go and have a ?well-deserved cup of tea!

Well done Jan-Philipp and Tom Benedict ....

Louis C Jacob Hotel, Hamburg

Photos from Expedia re Louis C Jacob Hotel

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Thomaschrishan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rosaria Williams said...

What an inspirational post! Quite an education here on the list of ingredients for Christmas teas. I also enjoyed the previous post (just catching up here) and the allure of Chanel #5, a favorite of mine.

Patsy said...

There's nothing quite like a nice cup of tea, is there?

Bob Scotney said...

Hilary, one of the things I have been doing to keep myself amused is editing Charles Dickens magazines as part of the Dickens Journals Online Project.
In either Household Words or All The Year Round (one of the magazines I've reviewed) was an article by Dickens of the introduction of tea to England and how it was taxed so that only the upper class could afford to buy it for many years.
Tea bags never got a mention then.
Now of course the Tea Party has other connotations.
Great post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosaria - delighted you enjoyed it - I gather you've been ill .. and so wish you well. Chanel No 5 and nettles .. well that would be a good mix.

@ Patsy - definitely .. quite often a good cup of tea is delicious.

@ Bob - what an interesting project - you must be learning loads!! I must find out more from you.

Taxing of teas .. as salt, as "anything worth its salt" was until that product became ubiquitous .. it's really interesting the histories of household items.

No mention of tea bags .. makes sense ... and as you say the Tea Party - I think we'll leave that particular party on the other side of the Atlantic.

Thanks Rosaria, Patsy .. and Bob - lovely to have stimulating comments .. cheers Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Oh no, how am I supposed to follow "stimulating comments?" These teas are a perfect gift for the holiday season. I never realized that tea bag folding was a "form of Origami." Thanks Hilary,for always being part of my reading enrichment program!

Diane said...

From your description I can smell those tea bags from here :) We drink nothing but herbal teas and I really like the sound of Ginger Hibiscus
and Ginger Lemon. Diane

Joanne said...

Hi Hilary, I imbibe in the quintessential English drink seasonally. Once the weather gets cold, I have a cup of green tea in the evenings. I find it so relaxing, it just makes me stop what I'm doing and unwind a little with it. I'll enjoy tea all winter, well into Spring until the weather gets too warm. Then, well then I switch to a Popsicle :)


Very inspirational Hilary, all my family loved their cuppa. Before I was married I worked for PG TIPS (before tea bags came on the scene)
in Bristol.
Hope it's not too cold for you.

Unknown said...

I just finished a cup of green tea. I drink a lot of tea in the winter, especially Earl Grey, my favourite. The smell of bergamot is the best. What an interesting fact that tea was shipped in silk. I guess that makes sense. Thanks for the informative post.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

I usually drink tea: A) When it's very cold or B) when I'm sick. Yet, the recent varieties I've tried are luring me into becoming a more regular tea drinker.

I love Earl Grey English Breakfast Tea with Tazo Calm coming in a close second.

Susan :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I want your Christmas, Hilary. The photographs are stunning and your examples sound divine. Heavenly. I loved to have a Charles Dickens' Christmas. That or The Polar Express.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie .. add to the mix - as I know you do. This Christmas collection is available via Amazon - to my 'horror'! I hadn't realised the Origami connection and just thought someone will be interested! Glad you enjoyed the tea post!

@ Diane .. me too - they're under my nose still! Ginger is always a good warming drink .. and I'm looking forward to trying these - now I can .. I've written my post!

@ Joanne .. I've never really got into varieties of tea .. perhaps these will entice me. Cold tea is meant to be extremely refreshing ... Joanne - the Popsicle Queen .. I'll remember that!

@ Yvonne .. Tea is an intrinsic part of our British life isn't it. I'm now glad I left that part in about the tea bag introductory date .. Well the PG Tips job must be interesting to look back on - as to how times have changed .. and those adverts they made with the Chimps ... It's colder - but nothing like last year thankfully ...

@ Clarissa .. Earl Grey is delicious isn't it - I'm very pleb-like and have plain common and garden tea - I don't drink enough to warrant different sorts around. But bergamot - that citrussy aroma is delicious. I shall enjoy these in their paper fibre bags .. I found it interesting about the silk bags ...

@ Susan .. I think these might be enticing me towards herbal teas ... I quite often have a cup when I get back from my mother's ...

Coffee is my thing in the morning and then tea in the pm .. and water in between .. but perhaps I should branch out.

@ Joylene - Should have been here last year with our snow - then it's a real Dickens Christmas .. and they have a Dickens' evening in one of the local villages, which is usually hustling and bustling .. roasting chestnuts, Carols, Dickens costumes abounding .. mulled ciders ... etc etc ..

The hotel is stunning - pity it's in Hamburg! One day I shall get to stay and visit again ..

The Polar Express .. just read the notes in Wiki - hadn't really realised the story line before .. loved the ending - so appropriate for you and your grandson!!

Thanks so much Julie, Diane, Joanne, Yvonne, Clarissa, Susan and Joylene .. lovely to see you and enjoy your cuppas .. Night night from me! Hilary

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I enjoy herbal tea with honey and milk. My favorite is Lipton's cinnamon apple. But I get out of the habit of drinking it and then read something like this and realize it's been a long time. And the weather is perfect for a hot cup of tea on a cold afternoon. Thanks for the tour of the hotel. Looks very rich and classy and somewhere I'll never be able to afford, but I could enjoy it through your pictures.

Arlee Bird said...

Tea makes for a great Christmas post as I've often seen and received gift sets of tea. I rarely drink tea although I do like it a great deal.

It's one of those things that you have to slow down for in order to prepare and sip and I just forget to do it. We have several different types of tea in our cabinets, but my wife only drinks chamomile tea.

I usually drink tea when I'm feeling a little under the weather. For a cold or flu I like to have some tea with honey and brandy. Soothes my throat and helps me sleep.

Fascinating post as always.

Tossing It Out

Anonymous said...

These teas all sound so delicious! And the pictures are totally delicious also!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Scarlett Clay said...

This is great, love the interesting tea trivia and photos...can't imagine what chilli pepper would be doing in tea, but I suppose we will leave it up to the experts! :)
Lovely hotel, indeed, what a are spicey scents this time of year, thanks Hilary!


Rubye Jack said...

Just recently, within the last couple of months anyway, I have gotten back into drinking tea in the evenings. Sadly, all that can be found locally is Lipton but if I drive for an hour I can find Yogi and Celestial teas. Actually, I find a cup of tea more relaxing than a glass of wine but sometimes I enjoy the wine a bit more when the day has been frustrating.

Susan Scheid said...

Ah, indeed, tea bags have come a long way, though, I fear, not always in a good way. I find too often that the spicy mixes are loaded with cinnamon, which, to my mind, just doesn't meld quite right. Most of the herbs and spices you've listed, though, are mouth-watering--as is your whole post. A real world tour of tea bags!

Patricia said...

I am not much of a tea drinker, but a local herb shop sells one called Candy Cane Lane this time of year that also just smells like the season and I enjoy a morning cuppa.

I do not drink coffee because the smell is so awful to me.

I usually just drink water, hot or cold, sometimes with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in it...

Very interesting post here Hilary, I enjoyed reading it very much and when my ship comes in I would like to eat at that river front spot myself!
Thanks for sharing

MorningAJ said...

I shall have a lot to think of with my Earl Grey later!

Great post. I'm a real tea lover and this is all fascinating stuff.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen .. herbal tea with milk and honey - & cinnamon apple = an interesting mix. Now is the time of year for a good cup of tea to warm us up .. the hotel is beautiful and JP and Tom-Benedict thoroughly their icecreams ...

@ Arlee .. These teas look very attractive, so they're a really good present .. especially with the tea bag post!

Sitting down and just switching off with a cup of interesting tea .. a little like meditating for a short while - recovery zone. But with your schedule I can see you don't have much time....?

Yes - I drink hot lemon and spices when I'm coldy or fluey .. and if I have a headache a tiny amount of sugar goes into normal tea - and that seems to shake it off.

@ Ann - thanks so much - and I hope you get time to just sit and enjoy a cup of tea occasionally!

@ Scarlett - I thought you might like the Origami take ... and creative side of tea bags!

We have black pepper ground into over our strawberries .. I guess chilli pepper isn't much different - minute quantity though - and you need a 'Grand Nez' to smell/taste it.

@ Rubye Jack - I can imagine you might have changed one or two habits .. driving an hour for tea is a little excessive, I can see that!

Yes .. the day itself varies our needs, or so we think - but I agree there .. wine sometimes and tea at others.

@ Susan .. granted, some tea bag teas are terrible aren't they! I'll keep my mind open to the mixes when I get round to my tasting sessions for these, and check if cinnamon is predominant. I enjoyed my tea bag post!

@ Patricia .. well water is very good for you and I drink that mostly too .. I went off coffee for a while - but now just drink plain nescafe (not proper coffee - I find that too much usually) ...

Thanks so much everyone .. Karen, Lee, Ann, Scarlett, Rubye, Susan and Patricia ... sounds like we all enjoy a different flavoured herbal tea occasionally ..

.. and yes that hotel would be a good meeting place when our ships come rolling in!

Have great rest of the week .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Morning AJ .. enjoy your Earl Grey later on .. as my mother said to me this week, when she was asleep and I was putting some cream on her face, 'you're a creeper today'!! ...

... so here you crept in to comment - great to see you and glad you enjoyed the post!

Have a lovely day - when it comes around - dawn will come soon I guess!

Cheers Anne .... have a good rest of the week - Hilary

Juliet said...

What a yummy collection of tea bags, and it's certainly sent you off on an adventure. I had no idea how tea bags began - and it wasn't even intentional. Tea has certainly become more interesting over recent years. We have a specialty tea shop here in Auckland called Tea-total, which serves delicious mixes of exotic tea flavours - but all loose, with glass teapots so you can see the colour. Enjoy your tea!

quilthexle said...

Had to grin when I saw "Yogi Tee" on your blog ;-)) to me, tea is my choice in the morning, no coffee for me before lunch ... sigh. good thing I love tea ! My favourite tea is "Lapsang Souchong" - another love/hate story, I guess. You love it or you hate it - I LOVE that smell and that flavour!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I can't do without my coffee but I also cannot imagine life without my tea. I love all flavors too.

Plus this post, Hilary, is so pretty. I love the tree and all of it.

Now I need to go fix myself a cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

What a delightful and informative post Hilary. Twinings is my preference and I am now off to make myself a cup. Oh and your kind and thoughtful comments on my blog and email are greatly appreciated :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet .. the present did send me off in various directions - just the kind of conversation Mum and I would have had .. never a dull moment! You're right about the various mixes of tea available today .. and your Tea-Total shop sounds rather fun .. especially using their glass tea-pots. Thank you - I think I will enjoy them all ...

@ Frauke .. German origins for my post! I had tea in the morning for a while, then reverted to coffee .. now it's tea at tea-time. Actually thank you for mentioning "Lapsang Souchong" .. the tea I couldn't remember .. I love it and as you say that smoky flavour ... is very unique.

@ Teresa .. I'm with you on needing both tea and coffee ... always tea after a long drive. By the time I've tried each of these flavours .. I'll be hooked too - hope you enjoyed your cuppa.

@ Deborah .. I'm pleased you can take some time out to visit and to enjoy a cup of tea - not an easy time for you and family .. glad that my comments and emails have been appreciated. With thoughts ..

Thanks so much Juliet, Frauke, Teresa, Deborah for your visits .. enjoy the rest of the week .. cheers Hilary

Laura Eno said...

You always have the most interesting and unusual blog topics, Hilary! I love your attention to detail.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Hilary! What a wonderful subject for a blog post. I am a tea drinker. I enjoyed a cup of chai tea earlier today. Blended with a bit of sweetener and milk, yum.

Must say I do enjoy a cup of coffee or iced coffee, but I prefer a good cup of tea, if given my choice.

Linda said...

Lovely post on tea, it's many flavors and history. Mostly I drink sweet iced tea, but my Mom used to drink hot tea. A brand she favored was Red Rose. They often put a ceramic figurine in each package. They are now collectibles.

Here is a link. Red Rose Tea

I think I'd have to pass on some of those flavors. Do you drink Russian Tea at the holidays?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa .. earlier commenter - you know I just copied the packet details .. now you mention the Christmas tree shape - I can understand. Thanks!

@ Laura - thanks Laura .. good to know you enjoy my blog topics ..

@ Susanne - glad you appreciate the odd subject .. seemed to fit though.

I think I must through drinking my way through these flavours see what it's all about! Not sure about the sweetener and milk though .. each to their own I guess.

I used to love cold coffee as a kid ... now I just tend to stick to the norm for me .. I do love a cappuccino though.

Thanks Teresa, Laura and Susanne .. fun discussion .. cheers Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm a bit of a tea addict, and get my favorite fixes from a quaint little British shop a hop-ski-and-a-jump away from home. They don't carry any of the special Christmas teas you mention, though. Too bad. They sound intriguing. Oh, and after a glass or two of wine, I'd be happy to tell you my awful punny joke about how honest tea is the best policy ... oh, darn! I've gone and told you the punch line!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Linda .. many thanks .. it's funny I don't like iced drinks (usually - and never have ice in my drinks .. if I can manage it) .. and the brand Red Rose - I've never heard of .. I went over the website and had a look - interesting story ..

Very interesting history .. with their striker bottoms ... I'd like to find out a little more ..

There's obviously a major tie in with Canada, moving to the States - very interesting website ..

I'm going to be trying all of those flavours - no passing! Russian tea - no .. we're very British - no European roots that are obviously known .. ie back to the late 1700s ...

Russian tea - however is another interesting topic ..

Thanks Linda - lots of info here ..

@ Susan - you can get the Yogi teas via Amazon if you wish! Great you visit a quaint local tea shop ..

A glass of two of vino - I think I need another to understand the joke - probably my dull Britishness .. help someone please! Honest tea is the best - that I agree ..

Thanks Linda and Susan .. lovely comments with lots of extra info .. the Red Rose Tea site is fascinating .. Cheers have good Fridays .. Hilary

Pearson Report said...

Hello Hilary,

I have found my way here through Lee (Arlee Bird) and have added myself as your 280th follower (nice round number!).

A fan of tea, I really enjoyed this post - but the bonus was the inside scoop on "The Hotel" in Hamburg (which is on my vacation list next May - to spend time with a dear friend) - fun to get a little history lesson!

Cheers, Jenny


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jenny .. good to meet you and thank you for joining up etc .. I see you're from Vancouver - one day I shall get back to visit properly - my mother and I had a stop over before going on to VI to meet up with a cousin ...

I've just sent you an email .. glad the post has inspired you to put the Louis C Jacob hotel on your list .. it's a fascinating place and out of the town - but in a beautiful area. I loved Hamburg .. it's very interesting ..

Good to see you here and thanks for linking up .. have a good weekend .. cheers Hilary

Len Lambert said...

Oh wow. This is an interesting read on tea. My husband likes trying different tea flavours. For a long time now, his favourite has always been Earl Grey. Mine is green and lemon tea.

Ahhh now I'm going to get myself a cuppa! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Len .. glad you enjoyed it .. well perhaps next year you can get these - I was surprised to find them on Amazon - not cheap though!

Earl Grey is a delicious flavour, but green and lemon sounds good too ..

Enjoy your cuppa - your post about your son is a wonderful read .. I would wish the world full of men like your Father Christmas and his Elves - such kindness .. and the photo is just bliss to see.

Lovely to see you here - cheers Hilary

Karen Lange said...

Suddenly I am in the mood for a good cup of tea! :) I do prefer tea over coffee, and you are inspiring me to try some new varieties. Thank you for sharing this info and for sharing your fun excursions too. Love the photos!
Have a wonderful weekend,

MTeacress said...

Tea bag collectors? That's one collection I've never heard of until now.

Here in the US we have a company called Celestial Seasonings, and I love their herb drinks...peppermint, chamomile. Mmm, with honey. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen .. just got in myself - so now need a cup of tea (basic) .. it's cold out there!! We'll have to compare notes on new tea flavours ...

The hotel is fabulous .. and I love having the pictures on the blog now .. You too - have a good weekend ..

@ Michelle - I know when I saw that people collected tea bags .. I thought I'd gone nuts .. but no - true apparently!

I've heard of Celestial Seasonings .. and probably have their herb drinks here .. it's just I've never got used to drinking these other teas - I must try .. and with honey .. I only have that when I'm sore throaty ..

Thanks Karen and Michelle great to see you here .. cheers and enjoy your teas this weekend .. Hilary

TALON said...

Love a cuppa and lately I've loving the Rooibos.

Just reading the ingredients brings back all sorts of wonderful scent memories, Hilary. I'm going to have to have some chamomile tea now :)

Every time I'm in the garden when the bee balm is in bloom, I have to have a cup of Earl Grey :)

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
My goodness, as per usual, a fascinating and informative posting. To think you could make such a potentially quotidian topic such as tea, so fascinating, demonstrates your superb ability to write in such an entertaining way.
Imagine my confusion when I found out that 'tea' could also refer to a light snack in the afternoon. I went to someone's house because they said, 'why don't you come for tea?' Little did I realise that 'tea' could be so much more than um...'tea' :)
Have a wonderful weekend, Hilary.
In kindness and tea drinking wishes, your way, Gary

walk2write said...

Interesting topic and small world, Ms. Hilary. My mother grew up in a little town not far from Hamburg and the Elbe River. When we visited her family, though, coffee was the drink of choice, served with cake in the afternoon. And boy was it ever strong! Then the wine and liqueur were brought out in the evening, I guess, to mitigate the effects of the coffee. I do like a good cup of tea in the afternoon. I guess that what comes of drinking in all of that English lit over the years.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Talon .. you're right - I got into Rooibos before I left South Africa - perhaps my Christmas Collection will rekindle those tastes and memories ..

I was just fascinated at all the listings .. or herb and spice infusions .. and seemed to bring out so many aromas and scents.

Bee Balm .. must be wonderful to have around in the garden .. I see it's also called horsemint, oswego tea and bergamot .. (bergamot - because of the leaves and their fragrance resembling that of Citrus bergamia fruits). Earl Grey is delicious though ..

@ Gary - what a great word .. "Quotidian" - I had to look it up .. art criticism ..

Well I just sort of linked tea bags back to the pop songs of fragrance and symphonies of perfume .. ?! Those Christmas scents ...

Yes - well you could have High Tea too .. no not as in Church High .. but as in nearly supper time, but after tea-time .. and then be tempted by those delicacies of pilchards - yugh! One of my least favourite things .. lots of sandwiches, cakes et al & brown tea ..

Yes tea can mean anything .. sometimes specially made cakes - when really one just wants a decent cup of tea to relax and savour ..

You too - Gary - with thoughts for the weekend .. and enjoy the tea of your choice!

@ W2W .. really .. so interesting to find that your mother grew up in the Hamburg neck of the woods - it's very pretty I found.

Continental coffee is very strong .. and then the wine and liqueur .. oooooooh - I'd have been asleep well before dinner!

I agree a good cup of tea at some stage in the afternoon does make a lot of difference ..

Have you been drinking in and absorbing all that English lit? - boy .. you must be well versed!

Great to see you Talon, Gary and W2W .. thanks for the visits have lovely weekends .. Hilary

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hilary -

I linked to your post on scents today. :)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. thanks for linking over .. I linked back to the Silent Movie Joan of Arc post I wrote .. which really evoked aromas to me ..

Cheers and have a lovely weekend .. Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

Oh Hilary I love the way you pack so much into each of your blog posts. You make me feel as if I'm short-changing my followers!!

That Christmas tree arrangement of words is lovely and you got me thinking about drinking tea when I was a child. It was always loose leaf and you'd never pour it without using a strainer.

Incidentally, tea may be pretty universally drunk nowadays but that didn't stop a waitress in a large cafe in Jerusalem exclaiming in horror, "with milk!?" when we asked for tea and she brought a mug of boiled milk for us. Yuk!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ros .. I do write once every 5 - 7 days or so .. sheer laziness on my part.

The Christmas tree I just copied off the box - their idea! But got a couple of comments about the design - so they did something right.

We always had loose tea too - but the strainer got omitted .. we had tea leaves at the bottom of the cup - that we read for our fortunes.

Oh yes - the cold milk v hot milk story .. shows you the power of being precise with words in 'dem foreign lands! Hot milk and tea - I'd do yuk too .. and probably drink it with out ...

Thanks - great to see you here .. cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

What interesting reading, Hilary! I always love your posts - where else could I learn so much about the history of the tea bag? That terrace on the Elbe looks idyllic.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. thank you - you probably have some idea about the Elbe having lived in Poland for a while. Tea bags - as a post: well it surprised me too ...

Enjoy Canada .. and have a great Christmas and New Year .. cheers Hilary

JJ said...

Hilary: I have been all through that area, and have lived and taught in Germany and Poland, but I have never stayed at that beautiful hotel. Maybe, someday...

Also, the River Elbe is magnificent!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JJ .. what an experience you must have had working and teaching in Germany and Poland.

The Louis C Jacob hotel is a wonderful place to stay in, or just visit and have a drink or tea on the terrace.

I agree the Elbe is magnificent .. one day I'll see a great deal more of the area, I hope ..

Thanks for the visit .. cheers Hilary

dolorah said...

Wow, that was a fascinating journey Hilary. Who would have thought such aromas could come from tea bags.

Thanks for the free trip :)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - delighted you enjoyed the 'free trip' or tour around tea bags! The hotel is pretty good too ..

Good to see you - cheers Hilary

Connie Arnold said...

Can't beat a nice, hot cup of tea! Wow, what a lot of varieties, and you never cease to amaze me with your wonderful, enjoyable and informative posts, Hilary!

amy@ Souldipper said...

Whereas most people enjoy having a liquor cabinet, I sport a diverse tea cabinet. I love having a good selection of herbal, black, green and yerba mate teas.

That was a wonderful gift to receive, Hilary. Thanks for sharing it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Connie - certainly a good cup of tea and a book, or with some friends .. always a relaxing time. Just delighted that you enjoy the reads - thanks.

@ Amy - ah a tea cabinet: that sounds fun and much more useful ... we can use the cabinet all day every day - not so the alcohol one. Glad you enjoyed my take on tea bags!

Thanks Connie and Amy - lovely seeing you here .. have a good week - cheers Hilary

Sue said...

Hi Hilary, I love the formatting of the Christmas Tree out of the types of tea. I'm not convinced about the sweet chilli tea though most of the others sound interesting or refreshing...well, except for the beetroot...and fennel...and fenugreek. I didn't realise the original tea bags were silk or that they were so old. I hope you get back to that old coach house - when you're wealthy, or just anytime!
Enjoy your cuppa, and a lovely week.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. good to see you - their idea and so I can't take the credit!

I'm obviously going to have to give a report back on how they all taste! Once the blog post goes up tomorrow - I'll be enjoying them I think ...

I was fascinated to read the fact that tea bags were originally of silk .. that Coach House is just a wonderful place to be .. long cycle paths and walks along the Elbe - it's amazingly straight.

I shall enjoy my cuppa - and you too have a good week .. cheers Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love finding out more about tea. Interesting! I always thought that the ritual aspect of tea drinking was crucial to the experience, too. Very calming, I think.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Elizabeth - lovely having you here .. the tea ceremony is something else isn't it - there's so much history and lore involved in a real tea ceremony. That quietness that settles over a tea ceremony ... I agree would be very calming to one's soul.

One day I'd love to attend a real tea ceremony .. thanks for visiting .. cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Hilary what a delight this post is.
I love tea and your post gives it such flavour and makes me feel like I'm sitting in a Lyons tea shop waiting with delicious anticipation to be served by a lady dressed in old fashioned maids uniform with a silver tea set and layered tray of cakes!

Southpaw said...

I love to start my day with tea. Last year I had something called "Christmas Tea" and it was delicious, but I don't see it this year. :(

A used warm tea bag is suppose to be helpful for a sty.

I love that cellar.

Anonymous said...

I have not collected tea bags. But I do like tea and the different combinations of tea and other herbs and spices. There is a tea store in our mall and they always have great samples to taste of some kind of blend or another.

I use tea bags once in BREAKTHROUGH when Chase has a tooth knocked out and places a wet warm teabag where his tooth was until he can get medical help.

short poems said...

What a beautiful and inspirational post Hilary, I love the formatting of the Christmas tree :)


Unknown said...

Hilary, I finally sit down with a cup of tea and start catching up on the blogs and you're talking about tea. I used to be a coffee addict but I drink more and more tea. I love it.

What a fascinating and informative post. Thanks for sharing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Madeleine - oh yes that Lyons Corner tea shop .. and those cakes - I used to love Battenburg, and Viennese chocolate dipped slices .. and the service - always efficient and welcoming. Thanks for reminding us ..

@ Holly - what a pity that you can't find your Christmas Tea .. it's funny how some of us are coffee fanatics and others tea drinkers!

Warm tea bag to help the sty - interesting addition to the home remedies.

I agree Holly, that cellar, is very special .. and brilliant that they were able to restore it.

@ Stephen - it's interesting how much tea has changed for us in the West .. all those herbs and spices now coming to the fore - Good that you can try and taste before you buy ...

Did you use tea bags in your book Breakthrough ... I obviously needed to keep going with the tale and couldn't stop reading for knocked out teeth! Is that a tried and tested method?

@ Marinela .. your Christmas poem is very evocative and rife with the Spirit of Christmas ... something we all need to remember - loved it.

@ Shirley - it's a bit wet and cold up your end of England .. no wonder you need a cup of tea!

Well I'm slightly surprised I've blogged about teabags - but each to his own I guess.

Thanks Madeleine, Holly, Stephen, Marinela and Shirley ... enjoy your winter cup of tea .. cheers Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm a coffee drinker through and through, but I've had some tea. I love chai tea. In the US, there's a limited edition Sugar Plum Fairy tea I love. In fact, I should look for it now! If I'm not feeling well, Celestial Seasoning makes a blueberry and mixed berry I love.

Enjoy your tea and thanks for an informative post, as always!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. lovely to see you - I think if I had your job - I'd be coffee drinking too!

Sugar Plum Fairy tea - sounds rather fun .. I love Sugar Plums!

I know I have some favourite things I feel like drinking when I'm feeling unwell ... Celestial Seasonings sounds like a good mix of spices and berries ..

You too - enjoy your tea .. and thanks very much - cheers Hilary

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Very cool post, Hilary! I had no idea that tea bags were made from silk originally.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your happy thoughts, Hilary!! XXXX from me and Jen

Ella said...

I love tea, I really enjoyed your post! I loved all the histeary! ;D

I made a craft using tea bags...I will be posting soon!

enJOY your Christmas tea; I'm off to make a cup of Spice tea. Thank you; cheers!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sharon - it was a fun piece of trivia to find out about!

@ Ann- delighted and you and Jen have the most wonderful peaceful and happy time together with family and friends - hugs and xxxs back!

@ Ella - thank you - I'll look forward to see your craft idea using tea-bags ..

I will enjoy my Christmas tea .. and I hope you enjoyed your spice tea .. cheers to you.

Thanks Sharon, Ann and Ella - have fun and lots of happiness this Christmas ... Hilary

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

That was a marvelous tour...ahhh... I loved the learning about the tea, and about that fabulous hotel.

I am a coffee lover... but I have lately become obsessed with Chai tea. Hmm... a chai tea latte sounds good right now :-)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Doris .. it was a fun post to do - I have to say I never thought I'd write about tea bags ... but it was an opportunity to post some pictures about the hotel - which is superb - as you mention.

Perhaps Santa will bring you some tea selections? It's morning and I'm on the coffee! Tea comes later ...

Have a great week .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi everyone .. I received this email from Jan-Philipp and Tommi's mother ..

"Dear Hilary!

Thank you very much for the last letter with your tea bag story - incredible how you remembered so many details quite a few days ago... It was a deja-vue for us reading your blog!!!

Have a good time at X-MAS & all the best for you both for 2012!!!

With love from all of us"

It is great to hear from them - both boys are studying English ..

Merry Christmas to you all ... Hilary