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JUNE - 2008


Scout does a quality control check on the box.


Moggie is tired of sharing her home with boxes of books.


The First Celtic Teas shipment, 32 boxes, leaves the livingroom.



Dear Tea Friends,

A sommelier is the French word for wine steward. For centuries, stewards worked in royal households where they were responsible for storing and serving wines. Over time, the tradition spread to restaurants and then fine hotels.

A couple of years ago, I was was engaged to give a tea talk for a NYC hotel that led to a long term gig as a “tea sommelier.” Their term, not mine. In that capacity I consulted with guests about the 40 teas on offer helping them select a beverage that suited their needs. The interest in tea sommeliers continues to grow according to a June 11th article in The Washington Times. Here is the link: http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/11/sommelier-for-tea-drinkers/

When I lived in London there were no tea sommeliers, but the British institution of the tea lady was alive and well. My husband reported that every afternoon a middle-aged woman trundled a trolley (rolling cart), stocked with tea and cellophane-wrapped snacks, through the office halls.  She rang a small bell to announce her presence and when she had your attention, doctored the tea with milk and sugar to your liking. Roger said that it wasn’t very tasty tea, but you could set your watch by her arrival and everyone escaped their cramped cubicles to chat for a few minutes. 

Nicola Perry, former London Stock Exchange tea lady, opened her ten-table tea room, Tea and Sympathy in NYC in 1990. She and it are beloved by Anglophiles and homesick Brits. You can read more about it in my photo guidebook, “Tea In The City New York- A tea-lover’s guide to sipping and shopping in the city.”

Visit http://teawithfriends.com/teacity_nybk.php and http://www.teaandsympathynewyork.com/home.php

Lat night, Roger and I watched a British television program called Rough Diamond. It starred stage actor David Jason who played Des, a clever thief who presented himself as a harmless old codger. Seeking to settle a score, Des gets himself sent to the same prison as a mobster hoping to discover where the thug hid some jewels. Des circulates the prison pushing a cart and dispensing tea to inmates and staff. Nobody pays the “tea boy” any attention, so Des often overhears useful bits of information.

I laughed out loud when Des whipped out a paint color card and held it against mugs of milky tea. He matched the murky liquid to the card’s range of brown shades ensuring that the brew was the proper strength for each individual.  Sipping his tea from a bone china cup, the mobster declares that Des makes the best cuppa he’s ever had. “I know your secret,” he thunders, a “you heat the pot, first!” Des ducks his head and shuffles off. But by show’s end the aged tea boy has liberated himself from prison and stolen the mobster’s stash. Who said that tea isn’t exciting!

Speaking of excitement, my latest book, “Celtic Teas With Friends- Teatime Traditions from Cornwall, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales,” has finally arrived. If you’d like to read what people are saying about it, visit:


I apologize for the delay; the volume of orders astonished me. Had a meltdown last week when the boxes of books overflowed my office, marched into the living room, and invaded the kitchen. When we had to push the boxes off the banquette and table to sit down for dinner, which I no longer had time to cook, knew something had to give. Sent a mental “Help!” to the universe and typed up a help-wanted ad to post at the YMCA, which I hadn’t visited in 6 weeks.

Within an hour, my friend Jim, who has a degree in accounting and is a real estate agent, called to return some books and said that he was looking for some temporary work. Well, he’s been here every day, all day, for 2 weeks.  My friend Grace, a retired ceramics teacher and Geo, a high school student, filled in the gaps. Last Friday, we raced to stack orders for the UPS pick up; the driver and my husband hefted 32 boxes to the truck. We all cheered for the photo. The cats looked relieved. If you haven’t received your book, or would like to order books, retail or wholesale, please email or phone me, TOLL FREE at 866-616-1154.

Just received a Schiffer books catalog with a title that might be of interest to tea educators - "Tea Art- A Modern Look at Vintage Tea Graphics" by Gregory Suriano.  The author, a historian of popular culture with a master’s degree in art history, has compiled a historical survey of images associated with tea over two centuries … including printed paper collectible art such as postcards, sheet music, book illustrations and advertising art. The catalog states, “The extensive bibliography lists fiction and nonfiction tea books as well as current websites.” No connection to author or catalog company, just found it interesting and thought others might, too.




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