Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let Russell Hobbs Warm Your Holidays and Your Tea

Hello TEA Friends,

Russell Hobbs became my new best friend last spring when my husband, Chris, bought me the "tea tray" set for my birthday. Chris, who is always on the lookout for a new tea gadget saw this as being my new necessity - and he was so right. (It's wonderful when you are married to your own R & D Department).

Now, in my extensive research (i.e., Wikipedia), I found that Russell Hobbs, was, in fact, comprised of two different people: William Russell and Peter Hobbs. Both natives of England, they combined their talents to bring us the first electric percolator in 1952.

Previously working for the same small appliance company, they launched their own business which subsequently made other innovative products including electric kettles, food processors and microwaves. Reportedly, Russel's unorthodox method of safety testing for any new product was to pour half a pint of boiling gravy on it. (I find this bit of information both alarms me and makes me hungry.)

But, back to our purpose here. The Russell Hobbs kettle/carafe set is a convenient way to brew your loose tea. For those of you who already own an electric tea kettle, you know the speed is a "perk" you enjoy. But, this set also features a tea pot with a removable tea infuser. Just put your tea leaves in the elongated mesh basket, pour your quickly-heated hot water into the carafe and you are ready to brew. After you've steeped the leaves according to taste, remove the infuser and then flip the small button below. This sets of the warming plate below the carafe so your tea stays warm until you're ready to pour the next round.

There are a few minor negatives, however. The tea infuser's plastic handle is a bit flimsy and falls off occasionally. And, unlike a tea cozy, which is more aesthetically pleasing, and offers you warming capabilities wherever you are, with the Russell Hobbs you're confined to the kitchen counter and as far as your plug will reach.

Otherwise, this is a 2009 must have. I see they are going on sale at Macy's this week. Purchase now and you'll be ready to serve tea to your Thanksgiving guests. . . but, I recommend leaving the gravy in the serving dish.

Yours in tea and friendship,


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tea Merchandise in time for the Holidays!

Just in time for the holidays, Elmwood Inn teas and books have arrived at Barb's TEA Shop! Start (or complete!) all your shopping with BTS' great selection of fine tea gifts.

We now carry Elmwood Inn fine teas (loose and bags). How about the delightful "Christmas in a Cup" tea, warm and inviting with a touch of cinnamon to "spice" up your holidays! Nicely packaged in a red label, why not pair up with Serenity Green tea, to add a bit of traditional color to your table!
We also have a full-line of beautifully photographed books by Bruce and Shelley Richardson (see "Celebri-Teas blog entry). The pages are filled with original and tasty recipes from their years of running their successful tea room at the Inn. The Elmwood Inn book series are autographed by the Richardson's. Buy one or all three. What a special gift that would make.

For those who love to travel, consider one of Bruce Richardson's "Great Tea Rooms" books. We have "The Great Tea Rooms of America" and "The Great Tea Rooms of Britain". We also have the "Tea in the City" series which feature London, Paris and New York. The tea-lover on your list will enjoy charting their next tea excursion with these fun guides.

In addition, BTS is the exclusive carrier in the local area for "Civiltea" - a delightful black tea made specifically by Harney Tea for Tea Etiquette Consultants of the Protocol School of Washington.
BTS also offers tea steepers in fun shapes and sizes and convenient T-sacs for loose tea in-the-pot brewing.

Finally, don't forget we offer another exclusive line of unique, hand-crafted tea cozies in traditional and contemporary designs that will fit small, medium and large teapots.

While our e-store is under new construction, please contact Barb's TEA shop at or call us at 248-840-4356 for ordering and pricing. Our mission is to provide you with quality products and great prices!