first course

I took my mom and grandmother to our favorite tea room, Shamrock, Rose, & Thistle, for Mother’s Day. I ordered the Serene Green – Chinese green tea, chamomile, lemon grass and peppermint. The flavor of the peppermint was prominent but not overpowering. I could definitely detect the chamomile and lemon grass. Amazing aroma and heavenly taste! My mom and grandmother chose the iced Crime of Passion (Papaya pieces, sunflower petals and criminally exotic passion fruit notes infuse superior green tea) and gave it rave reviews.

tea sandwiches

We enjoyed the Abbey Garden Tea with a first course of tomato-basil soup, ham & leek quiche, and lemon-poppyseed tea cake. Our second course consisted of a three-tier tray with scones (served with lemon curd, Devonshire cream, and jam), tea sandwiches – smoked salmon with capers and cream cheese, baguette with brie and peaches, and roast beef on wheat, and last, but definitely not least, the desserts: toffee-coconut blondies, chocolate cake with fresh raspberries, and fresh fruit served with mascarpone cheese in phylo.

dessert tray

Afterwards, I began pondering what the pros do to get that perfect cup of tea. Lately, I’ve been hooked on Earl Grey by Bigelow Tea with a teaspoon of local honey. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty pleased with my daily cup, but being the inquisitive girl I am, I couldn’t help but wonder how I could make it better.

Well, I found exactly what I was looking for at the Mark T. Wendell Tea Company. I paid particular attention to the brewing tips for black and green teas as I favor those. MTWTC recommends steeping green tea for 2-3 minutes in 170-180° F water and 4-5 minutes in 190-200° F water for black tea.

Now, I’m thinking I should make the switch from tea bags to loose tea using either a French press or filtering the leaves after brewing in a teapot. Why would I want to do this when tea bags are so convenient? Check out Bagged Tea vs Loose Leaf at The Tea Scoop. Need more convincing? Watch Alton Brown’s tea tutorial.