Friday, May 14, 2010

Tea Bags vs Loose tea

Tea bags are so convenient, why would anyone want to switch to loose tea? The answer is simple: Quality!
Tea bags first came into popularity in 1904. Before that, tea was sent in tins. A merchant in New York, trying to cut costs, began sending sample teas to his customers in small silk sacks. The client, not knowing this was new packaging, put the tea in hot water-bag and all. And a new way of preparing tea was born. Tea bags became popular. Then, in order for the tea to fully infuse, smaller tea leaves were used. Soon, merchants began using cheaper grades of tea, known as "fannings" or "dust". The thought was that as long as they were hidden inside the tea bag anyway, no one would know. As time went by, companies began to wrap the "leaves" in paper filters, a cheaper alternative to the silk bag. This alternative doesn't allow the water to flow through to the cup as easily, eliminating even more quality.
Unfortuantely, the tea found in most grocery stores is this lower grade of tea.
That is why I have begun to work with Heavenly Special Teas. They offer high quality premium full-leaf tea blends from around the world. Visit thier web site at to see a great variety of herbal/fruit, and flavored teas. Be sure to tell them Maxine sent you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Taking the Mystery out of brewing Tea

I've been learning alot about tea lately, thanks to Heavenly Special Teas.Find them at The temperature of the water and the amount of time the tea steeps is very important. Black tea should steep in boiling hot water for 3 to 5 minutes. Green tea should steep for 3 minutes in 180 degree water. This temperature is reached just when the tea kettle starts to sizzle, just before it reaches boiling. Herbal tea, which is naturally decaffeinated, likes the boiling hot water and should steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Water that is left to boil too long gets depleted of the oxygen in the water and the result is a flat, tasteless cuppa.
For the best cup of tea, use loose tea leaves rather than a tea bag. I'll tell you why in another blog post. Ta ta for now.

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Mystery Tea Party Plan, The Sinister Sleepover

Whoever heard of attending a tea party in your pajamas? Well, that's how the guests arrive when they attend the new pajama party mystery tea party!
It seems that the hostess has awakened them all with the dreadful news that a robbery and murder has taken place while they were all snoozing. Or were they? Several of them were seen roaming the halls in the middle of the night!
This new mystery party plan is already becoming popular. One lady ordered it and wrote that she is going to do it as an actual slumber party. Another said she is ordering it for her church's ladies night out.
I always do a trial run of any new party plan, and when I hosted "The Sinister Sleepover" my guests really had fun! They arrived in pajamas and bathrobes,one had slippers with floppy dog ears, another brought her teddy bear for company.
One lady had curlers in her hair, another wore a night cap. The party was a great success. You can purchase yours by clicking on