While growing up in England and living in Kenya, we always had tea around. The phrase, “shall I put the kettle on?” or “fancy a cuppa?” was a warmly welcomed pause in the day. My parents enjoyed tea at breakfast time and throughout the day and I began joining in at a young age. I’ve continued the tradition of making tea at least once a day as a moment of calm – whether I’m sipping on a cup in the morning or winding down at night. The ritual of making tea begins with the aroma, the beauty of the buds and leaves. Then the perfect teapot, cup or mug - each play an important role in the process. As we settle in for cooler fall weather, this week I'm sharing my tea time essentials.
Making tea begins with the aroma, choosing from a selection of dried buds and leaves. I recently discovered the beautiful organic loose leaf teas from Bellocq. Their luxury, single estate and signature blends are made in Brooklyn and they partner with exceptional gardens, independent growers and artisans for the finest leaves and botanicals. The No. 1 Bellocq Breakfast Tea is one I look forward to waking up to. It’s a full-bodied blend of organic Indian, Chinese and Ceylon single-estate black teas. For a lighter, brighter tea, the No. 52 Etoile De L’Inde Tea is a tropical blend of organic Chinese green and delicate Jasmine teas with ripe passionfruit, lush rose and marigold.
When I’m making an afternoon tea, I'm currently reaching for the No. 55 Mint Tea. It's uplifting and brightening, plus it can be brewed hot or cold. I prefer it hot in the afternoon, but it can be steeped any time of day, since it doesn’t contain caffeine. In the evenings, my go-to is the No. 122 Nocturne Tea. It's a restful blend of chamomile, lavender, mullein flower and mint to help soothe and calm for a restful night’s sleep. All of these teas come in a refillable traveler caddy as well as the atelier bag.
Using a teapot can really elevate your tea time experience. I enjoy the calming, ritualistic benefits of pouring hot water into a teapot to steep, then pouring myself a cup of tea from the teapot. This Glass Teapot (available in 450ml and 680ml) is one of my favorites for a few reasons. It showcases the beauty of water becoming tea, letting you observe the tea leaves as they bloom. It’s also entirely made from heat-resistant glass, and is designed to not get hot to touch. I also like how it keeps my tea warm, and holds enough for a second cup.
For a classic ceramic style, this porcelain Pebble Teapot has a beautiful round shape and smooth texture. It has an easy-to-pour spout that is drip-free and comes with a stainless steel strainer. It’s available in a natural brown and black.
Mugs or teacups are a very personal part of a tea time ritual. Jeffrey and I have several on rotation and are constantly adding to our collection. Our latest addition is the Pinch Mug. Handcrafted by one of my new favorite ceramicists, Dana Brandwein of DBO Home, this mug is finished with a beautiful snowflake glaze, which gives it a satin-finished warm white, plus a hand painted bronze drip on the rim. I love the organic shape and it holds the perfect large cup of tea. I also have the Lace Mug in gunmetal and white, a handmade favorite that I’ve had for years.
If I’m wanting to make a quick tea or if I’m on-the-go, I use this Handwoven Brass Strainer. I fill it with a couple of spoonfuls of loose leaf tea and place the strainer in my mug, then pour hot water over and let steep. It’s easy, simple and super convenient while traveling.
Afternoon tea was originally introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840 when she would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. Her evening meal was served at eight o’clock, which left a long period of time between lunch and dinner. So the Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. I’m happily carrying on the Duchess’s tradition…
I'm excited to bring tea to DIANI, and share my love for this wonderful ritual which brings me back to my roots, and sets a pause throughout the day. I hope it will bring a spark of joy in your day too.