Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iced Tea Made From Loose Leaf Tea

The most common question customers(and non-customers)ask me in the warm months is how to make iced tea with loose leaf tea. Here you go!

A simple way to make the perfect iced tea from loose tea leaves (for approximately 1 & 1/2 quart of iced tea or 4-5 servings):

You will need 16 teaspoons of tea leaves & 8 Finum brewing bags

1. Place 2 teaspoons of tea leaves into a brewing bag such as Finum slim or medium unbleached tea bags- you will need 8 brewing bags.
2. Bring 1 quart of cold water to a rolling boil.
3. Remove from heat and add 8 brewing bags to the hot water.
4. Steep the tea for 5 minutes and remove the brewing bags. Pour the hot tea over 4 cups of ice cubes (in a heat-proof pitcher).
5. Pour into tall glasses filled with ice and sweeten as desired.

For "Sweet Tea" add simple syrup after step #4.

Bordeaux vs. Napa

July 24, 2009- 7:30pm
Bordeaux vs. Napa Wine Class
Both Napa & Bordeaux grow Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and both produce intense & complex wines...yet, there are distinct differences! Bordeaux has centuries of history in wine making that reveals their finesse while Napa creates wine with purity of fruit. Sample the wines of Bordeaux and Napa side-by-side to discover your favorite! A selection of aged cheese will accompany the wine. This class will be facilitated by a professional wine educator. $40 per person- reservations required.

The Hill Tea Bar Partners With The Woodmere Art Museum

I am excited to announce:
Tea and Art at the Woodmere Art Museum on July 27th at 2pm. Join us for a special tea party and an art & tea discussion. Reservations required (contact The Hill Tea Bar 215-381-2226 or the Woodmere Art Museum 215-247-0476). Cost is $20 per person.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Steeped in Embarrassment!

In Chestnut Hill we have a farmer's market that is around the corner from my shop and I usually stop by on Thursday mornings to pick up some sushi for my lunch. This past Thursday I was in a great mood and was wearing a new white blouse (a designer number with a big ruffle down the front) even though I knew I would probably have tea stains on it by the end of the day. When I went to the sushi stand the man who makes the sushi,who has never looked up from his preparations on the numerous other times I was at their stand, pushed the woman waiting on me aside and decided to wait on me himself- even though he barely spoke English. I couldn't understand why he was paying so much attention to me but I paid for my sushi and headed to the post office to buy stamps for postcards I was sending to customers. The man in line ahead of me started talking to me and when his turn at the counter was over he stood next to me and kept talking to me while I purchased my stamps. He started to guess why I needed so many stamps (was I in a band? did I run a gallery?)and I practically had to run away from him. As I walked back to my shop a UPS truck beeped its horn at me and I made a mental note to check and see if there had been a full moon the night before since everyone was acting so odd. When I arrived at my shop I walked past a mirrored case where I keep teapots and noticed the reason for my new found attention- my blouse was unbuttoned (pretty much to my navel). The ruffle had acted nicely in preventing a draft which is why I did not notice. I haven't had Assam in quite awhile but I made myself a big mug with honey and steamed milk- after I fixed my blouse. Talk about emotional tea pairing. The tea made me feel better but I don't think I will be going to the farmer's market for a long time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Emotions of Tea Pairing

One of my dearest friends lost her father last winter and she had to travel to the other side of the world for the funeral. Before she left we would drink Chai and eat cake a few times a week as we gossiped and discussed the meaning of life (which we still have not figured out). When she came back from the funeral she stopped by to see me at my shop and ordered a piece of cake and...ahem...a cup of coffee. Now, anyone who knows me understands that the coffee is good but the tea is excellent. She asked for the coffee almost sheepishly and said that she needed to alleviate her jet lag. This was in March and she is still drinking coffee every day. I asked her last week what caused the switch from tea to coffee and she said that she did not make a specific decision to switch. We figured that it was caused by the emotions of her loss and her need to have something almost bitter tasting (plus, she grew up drinking tea and maybe didn't want the reminder). I got to thinking about this and realize that there are lots of emotions behind the way we pair tea with our emotional disposition. I regularly have customers who buy three or four types of tea to drink at different times- a brisk Assam for a no-nonsense cup before work, a lavender earl grey to pair with a great novel, chamomile for a hectic and hurried day or a sencha for a sense of well being and tranquility. There are so many delicious varieties of tea that it is easy to have a few on hand to match your mood- or to improve your mood. In the meantime, I am trying to get my friend to transition back to tea!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Check This Out...

Read a story about The Hill Tea Bar at:


Monday, June 1, 2009

Tea and Sunburn

The sun and I just don't get along! My skin is so fair that it turns fiery red after just a few minutes outdoors. I am one of those odd people who really prefers the snow and cool weather. Yesterday I was a chaperone for my son's school trip to an amusement park- and since it wasn't that sunny out I thought I would be fine sitting under an umbrella in the water park area. Wrong- I am fried to a crisp! Good thing that the tannins in black tea are known to draw the burn out of skin. I am planning to submerge myself into a tub of black tea.

To try this:
You can steep really strong black tea (cheap teabags are perfect) and let it cool. Soak a clean washcloth or towel in the cool tea and then gently pat the towel on to your sunburned skin. For an all-over sunburn treatment pour 1 gallon of strong, cooled black tea into a tub filled with cool water. Submerge yourself in the tea bath for at least 10 minutes.