Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thursday Teas at Two!

Hello Friends,

Today's tea choice is a new one for me, "Darjeeling - summer blend". While looking through my tea cupboard - filled with old favorites and an ever-growing selection of new tea samples provided by my dear friends and family - I looked for anything that would (if only psychologically) warm me up. With morning temperatures hovering over zero, why not escape to a mini "summer vacation" during tea time?

I have to add, though, that I also took into consideration a proper "tea pairing" for today's tea time treat. Lucky me, this afternoon, my husband's mid-winter therapy turned to preparing homemade chocolate chip cookies (best ever from Alton Brown's recipe) Did you know that Darjeeling is a wonderful accompaniment to chocolate - both dark and milk? I can personally attest that it absolutely is.

So, now that I'm in the tea time tropics for a moment (and yes, also temporarily vacationing from one of my New Year's resolutions!), I want to let you know more about "Tea Time Thursdays" at the Troy Historical Museum. In last week's post, I mentioned my "History of Tea" scheduled for January 31st. It will be at 2:00 pm in the Old Troy Church. This will be the kick-off event to the Thursday Teas at Two series at the Troy Historical Village. There will be three other teas in the following months that will cover topics ranging from crocheting, to Women's History Month to vintage hats. All are sure to be interesting and, all are sure to be enjoyed with a cup of tea. Ticket sales for "History of Tea" have almost sold out, so be sure to make your reservation quickly. Hope to see you there!

And, for those of you planning ahead - February's TEA event is at The Community House in Birmingham. Join us for "Tea Tasting - Beyond the Tea Bag" on Wednesday, February 27th from 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Only a few seats remain for this fun night out.

Warm thoughts to all . . . and be sure to check out our very unscientific, for fun, Tea Shop Poll for our 2008 primaries!

Tea and friendship,


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tea Time at the Troy Museum January 31st

Hello Friends,

This afternoon, I decided on a decaf pumpkin spice tea for a little no-guilt indulgence. With a drip of milk, it's almost as comfor-tea-ing as slice of our favorite holiday pie. So, today while I'm taking care of a few New Year's resolutions, pull up a chair with your special tea-du-jour and join me for this week's tea chat.

This Thursday's Troy Times featured "Barb's TEA Shop" on the front page. Click on the link to get the details for our presentation at the Troy Historical Museum on January 31st. It will be at the Old Troy Church, a choice venue to delve into tea history and tea customs. Hope to see you there.

And while we talk of tea history, we're experiencing a bit of history-in-the-making-time right now here in Michigan. This week is our state's primary elections. BTS wants to be part of this excitement, so watch this blog for it's own unscientific, but certainly tasteful, tea primary poll soon.

Another development on the horizon for Barb's TEA Shop is e-commerce! Watch for an updated website soon. It will be possible to place orders directly on the site as opposed to email and phone orders. Very convenient. Very 2008!

My pumpkin pie tea time is almost over, but my thoughts are still on holiday treats. Next month is Valentine's day and that usually means flowers or chocolates. Nothing wrong with either, but in keeping with our sweet tea substitutes, I suggest Elmwood Inn's strawberry kiwi loose tea prepared with our new heart-shaped tea infusers. The tea's light, fruity aroma, along with it's rose-y color and sassy - but not arrogant - flavor, will make this a Valentine's favorite. My daughter, Rachel, counts this as her preferred herbal tea. We think, you'll agree.

Enjoy your week and we'll see you back here next week!

Tea and Friendship,


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year to Teaophiles and Teaophytes Alike!

Greetings fellow tea enthusiasts!

I'm sitting down in front of my computer with a delicious cup of Elmwood Inn's English Breakfast Tea. It's the perfect fog-cutter for a misty, Michigan afternoon, although it's not just the weather that needs some adjustment. After a busy holiday season and a tea schedule that beat last year's record, I'm ready to settle in for a few weekends and get organized and re-energized. One of my goals for 2008 is to update my blog weekly and chat more regularly with my tea friends.

Brief Year-in-Review

2007 was an expansion year for Barb's TEA Shop. We ran the gamut of tea presentations from children's manners classes and teddy bear teas to in-home tea tastings. We conducted seminars at several venues throughout the state including the Grand Oak Herb Farm , the Masonic Temple, Sajos Banquet Room (for a group of 80-plus Red-Hatters!) and rounded out the year with two Holiday Teas at the Community House of Birmingham. We traveled to Bancroft, Mount Clemens, Grosse Point, Rochester and Sterling Heights - and many places in between.

The teddy bear tea in September at the Community House was particularly special for me; my 3-year old nephew, Rigel Christopher, was visiting from Denver and joined us for (kool-aid) tea for the last half of the program. (Aunt Barb says, "You can never start tea, socialization and etiquette classes too soon.") I'm quick to note that all children who attended the tea and etiquette classes were well-mannered before stepping into class. The classes simply add an extra dimension of confidence, poise and self-assurance that can be applied to all social settings - not just tea parties. And - put your stereotypes in the last millennium - half the children in attendance were boys!

Barb's TEA Shop also traveled out of state to Kentucky to meet up again with Bruce and Shelly Richardson and - the highlight of the year - my one-on-one tea tour of New York City with Elizabeth Knight. BTS is anxious to hit the road again and we have a couple of exciting, new tea trips planned for 2008. Stay tuned. . .

Barb's TEA Shop is also appreciative of the wonderful media coverage we received this year, including the full coverage on page 2 of The Detroit Free Press (Sunday, March 17).

Now, I've detailed all the highlights and it truly was a fantastic year for us. However, not everything can run as smooth as cup of darjeeling. We did run into some "hot water" - or should I say lack of - at one of the tea events this year. We were presenting and serving to a group of over 30 women and we soon discovered there was a problem with the facility's electrical hook-ups. We were temporarily prevented from serving tea to our guests. I'm happy to report, the maintenance folks were quick to find their error, and we were back in business once they made the proper connections. It is times like these, I must say, that I'm so happy I'm in the tea business - where one can benefit from the soothing and calming qualities of this delightful beverage.

We look forward to another exciting, healthy and prosperous year and wish the same for all our tea friends. To our new and "old" friends, we'd love to hear from you, too!

Yours in tea and friendship,