The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, March 29, 2010

Don't be fooled by these tea myths!

There are many myths and misconceptions about tea, as with many other parts of life. Here are my top 10 picks of the most pervasive (and in some cases, dangerous) tea myths in America! Some of the myths are related to one another and are almost two parts of the same myth, and many are even touted by some of the most respected and well-intentioned tea scholars in the nation! There are health-related tea myths, etiquette-related tea myths, and history-related tea myths, but the one thing they all share – apart from their connection with tea – is their basis in partial truths. That’s part of what makes them so appealing! Much of the misunderstanding that originally led to the formation of each myth, is linked to someone removing a fact from its context, and coming up with a cut-and-dried “blanket” answer to someone else’s question about tea. Facts removed from their context can be dangerous things! Each myth in the following list is linked to an article that reveals the truth. So, in no particular order, the Top 10 American Tea Myths:

1. Black tea has the most caffeine, oolong and green tea have less caffeine, white tea has the least amount of caffeine, and decaffeinated tea has no caffeine.

2. If I can’t have caffeinated tea, I can remove 90% of the caffeine by steeping regular tea for 30 seconds, throwing that water out, and then re-infusing the same leaves.

3. Afternoon tea and high tea are the same thing; or, high tea is the fancy tea party with all the little sandwiches and pastries.

4. Tea should be served with cream and sugar.

5. Tea is just for grannies and boring people who don’t drink alcohol.

6. All tea bags are filled with tea “dust”, which is the tea that drops on the floor of a tea factory.

7. Adding milk to a cup of tea will destroy all the antioxidants and other health benefits.

8. Drinking tea is unhealthy because the caffeine will dehydrate your system.

9. If I’m allergic to mold, I can’t drink real tea because it’s moldy.

10. The proper way to hold a cup of tea includes sticking your pinky finger up or out.

Other resources:
"Can I really decaffeinate my tea in 30 seconds?"
“Tea-time 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Put milk in that creamer, not cream.”
“Tea is not just for teatotallers!”
“Intermediate tea tasting: what does good quality tea look like?”
“Immortal Elixir: a hearty cup of tea”
“Tea and the mold-free diet”
“The enduring legacy of Emily Post: Manners still matter”
“Tea bag stigma”
Mythical origin of Earl Grey Tea: “Debunking tea myths, and other trivia”, from Adagio Teas’ Tea Class.
“Sun Tea Winner (Plus a Rant About Information Drift)”
“Caffeine and tea: myth and reality” by Nigel Melican of TeaCraft, Ltd.
“Is Sun Tea Safe?”
“An update on tea and caffeine” from The Tea Table
Tea Advisory Panel
Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How about an Irish Tea for St. Patrick's Day?

Celtic cross on the Rock of Cashel, Ireland. From
Irish Blessings and Sayings
May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!

Everyone is an honorary Irishman or Irishwoman on St. Patrick’s Day! While most people think of beer as the St. Patrick's Day accompaniment, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water, and in Ireland, it is the most popular drink, with Guinness stout coming in second! What better way to spend St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you don’t care for green beer, than having a tea party, Irish-style? Here are some menu suggestions, including variations on traditional Irish foods:
Gleninagh Castle, Ireland. From
Irish Breakfast Tea
Green tea
Lime-flavored mineral water

Irish Scones
Black Treacle Scones
Soda Bread
Kerrygold Butter
Blackberry jam
Dundee Orange marmalade

Cucumber Mint tea sandwiches
Avocado tea sandwiches with bacon
Corned Beef and Cabbage tea sandwiches
Mini Shepherd’s Pies
Boxty (Irish Potato Cakes)
Green grapes and Dubliner Cheese

Irish Lace Cookies
Lime Tarts
Irish Shortbread
Barm Brack
Raisin Tea Cake
Irish country path. From
Of course, the decorations for such a tea should feature green, white, orange and gold as much as possible. Items decorated with rainbows and shamrocks are other obvious choices. Chocolate gold coins make a perfect tea party favor for this tea! Whether you are enjoying a bit of early spring or are still buried in winter snow, an Irish tea party can be a cheery break from the everyday routine, and a real treat as we prepare -- as St. Patrick did -- for the Easter season.

"Celebrity tea drinkers: Irish-American author Frank McCourt."
Irish Recipes and Baking
“Irish Tea Traditions,” by Brenda Hyde
Irish Tea recipe
“St Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea Party Ideas: Irish Style Party Planning Tips” by Janienne Jennrich
“St. Patrick’s Day Recipes, with thanks to an Irish Aunt”
“Pot of Tea” recipe

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Two tea events in San Jose this spring!

The weather is beginning to warm up a bit, and get a little less rainy (although we seem to have another storm coming in next week), and the tea social calendar is starting to pick up. Here are two tea events that are scheduled for the coming weeks and months!

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild events:

Art Deco Hat Ornament Tea and Workshop: Our hostess has generously offered to lead the workshop and provide the supplies from her trim stash! Tea and refreshments will be provided. Bring a small sewing kit with needles, thread, pins and scissors. Older children welcome!
Date: March 13, 2010, 2 p.m.
Location: a private home in San Jose, CA.
Cost: $15 (Ladies' Tea Guild members)/$20 (non-members)
Suggested Costume: modern dress or day dress from 1920s through 1930s.

Preserving Our Past Tea and Photo Workshop: Bring up to 5 old photos with you to tea, and a flash drive or CD-ROM if you have one, and take turns scanning them and saving them in digital form. Extra CD-ROMs will be provided. Our hostess has offered to teach us how to use a scanner and prepare to have copies of our old photos printed. Gentlemen and older children welcome!
Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010 (tentative)
Location: a private home in downtown San Jose.
Cost: $20 (Ladies' Tea Guild members)/ $25 (non-members)
Suggested Costume: TBA

Payment of the ticket/food fee for each event is due 2 days before each South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild event (usually the Thursday before). The Guild can accept checks, money orders, or PayPal transactions as payment. Contact the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild at for more information and to R.S.V.P.!

And here is some updated information about the Cat Rescue Tea Party Fundraiser!

*Please note, the date has been changed! Due to Tax Day following so closely after the original event date, the planning committee has re-scheduled the tea party to Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2. Further updates will be posted as they are obtained!
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)