Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Barb's TEA Shop Wishlist 2012

Signals has the perfect Tea-shirt for Downton Abbey fans
Barb's TEA shop is excited to present this year's wish list after a year of tea excursions and intensive research. Compiled for the tea enthusiast on your list  (and you should be on that list, too - I know I am), we present the following items for 2012:

Fans of Downton Abbey and tea will find the ultimate "tea-shirt" from Signals. "Keep Calm and Ring Carson to bring tea" starts at $22.95, and will need no explanation to those devotees of this millennium's "Upstairs Downstairs".

Hooked from the very first episode of the PBS Edwardian drama, I look forward to Sunday evenings to see if Lady Mary will find true love with cousin Matthew or to hear the next quotable quip from Dowager Countess ("what is a week-end?").

(In April, for my birthday, my brother bought me "The World of Downton Abbey" available at Amazon. It's a fun book with beautiful photos that should be a delight to any Downton Abbey-ites).

Another idea for your D. Abbey fan 
*Spoiler Alert* that will remain a *non-spoiler alert*. While we were in Ireland in October, we saw an upcoming episode of Season 3 which left us all shocked. Since that offers no value whatsoever to all of you, let's move on to what we hope will be. . .

Speaking of Ireland, next on our list, is a delicious tea selection from the Emerald Isle. In Dublin, we visited Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street and stocked up on some of their delicious tea. Almost out of inventory, I'm ready to welcome new boxes to the tea pantry.

Find  Bewley's tea on-line
Unfortunatley, only teabags can be ordered from Bewley's website, but Amazon does have a few loose varieties. I would be thrilled to get Bewley's Irish Afternoon tea, in the tea tin, for only $12.99.

Once you've prepared your fine loose tea, you'll want to have a tea strainer worthy of such brew. We found one that we think is both pretty and utlitarian at Kristeas in Berkley. We purchased one during an Election Day sale, but full price is $27.00. And, alas, we feel we need to add a few more to our tea table.

Pretty tea strainer at Kristeas
We've skipped a step, though. We need to brew our tea and we need to do it in style. How about a Breville Tea Maker? This is for the tea-geek on your list and it is functional as well as entertaining. It is programmable to brew all types of teas and you get to watch the tea basket move up and down, as the Breville website further describes, "gently agitating the leaves to precisely infuse your tea."

Our friends have one, and I can tell you, I've spent time at their house viewing the basket ascend and descend with more delight than I should admit to. At $249.99 at most retail stores, including Macy's and Williams-Sonoma, it certainly needs to be more than just a hot water heater.

Breville's Tea Maker makes tea brewing a spectator sport
With great tea, fancy strainer and high-tech brewer, the only thing left is a beautiful teapot. The Detroit Institute of Arts currently has a Faberge exhibit (which we are attending this month.).  In keeping with that theme, their gift shop offers this lovely Lomonosov teapot for $100 ($90 to members). This is sure to please your special tea comrade.

Lomonosov teapot is available at the DIA
And for those looking for tea adventures, we recommend a trip to the Grand Hotel for afternoon tea. The historic hotel offers brand merchandise and gift cards on their website. (Currently for every $200 gift card purchase you receive an extra $25).  We were there in May with the whole family and enjoyed everything from the view (inside and out) to the tea fare.

Historian Bob Tagatz narrates a DVD.
Afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel

Until you can make the trip, however, there is a Grand Hotel History DVD  narrated by the hotel historian, Bob Tagatz. We had tea with Bob and I can attest, his tales of the past are fascinating.

Another destination on my wish list is a trip to The Charleston Tea Plantation.. This is the only tea plantation in the United States and the tea tour is complimentary. However, someone planning your Charleston itinerary including a charming B and B . . . . priceless.

But, I think all teaophiles always enjoy trying a new tea. So, in addition to Bewley's, we'd also like to add the following teas - all new this year - to our list:

Bingley's Teas:  Their latest is Miss Lucy Steele tea which was introduced at the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville last July. Bingley's teas make great gifts as they always come packaged as a period novel.

Wanderer's Teahouse:  Broad Art Museum tea inspired by the grand opening of it's namesake on MSU campus.

 Light of Day:  Oriental Beauty white tea. A four year wait, but worth it.

Whether enjoying a period drama, traveling across a Great Lake or an ocean, having a tea party with fancy accessories or just enjoying some time alone sipping a special tea, we wish you the happiest of all holidays and all best wishes (whether on the list or not) for 2013!

Seasons Greetings from Barb's TEA Shop!!!

1 comment:

parTea lady said...

Great tea lovers gift items - my wish list just got longer. :-)