Monday, January 20, 2020

January is Hot Tea Month: Warm up with some tea facts and make some tea plans!

Hot tea month - perfect time to warm up with a cup, although the tea garden in January can also serve it up iced!

January is the perfect time for Hot Tea Month:  cooler outside temperatures welcome a tasty warm-up in a cup and - it being the start of the new year with resolutions -  an opportunity to lay out some tea plans to "ink" in our calendars.

But, before we get too far into the future, let's take a  look at past and present in the world of tea.

According to The Tea Association of the US, the estimated value of the tea industry in America is "nearly $13 billion - up almost $11 billion since 1990."  While we drink that in - and that's a lot - a few other "tea-bits" to consider with respect to tea consumption in America:

  • US is the third largest tea importer, after Russia and Pakistan
  • On any given day, half our country's population drinks tea
  • Regionally, the South and Northeast have the greatest number of tea drinkers
  • Approximately, 75 - 85% of tea consumed is iced tea
  • Eighty-seven percent of Millennials drink tea (this group is okay, says a Boomer!)

Reasons for this upsurge in the past three decades is largely attributed to health benefits and lifestyle changes

87% of Millennials drink tea, and that's okay with this Boomer

So, if the tragectory continues, and we here at BTS are sure it will, we have some suggestions for planning out your "tea year" during "Hot Tea Month":

  • Try a new tea room
  • Visit a favorite tea room and write a new or updated review
  • Text an old friend and set up a tea date
  • Set a tea table at home with your own heirloom/vintage tea pots, tea cups and assorted accroutrements 
  • Make a fresh pot of loose leaf tea and start a new book

Full disclosure, we've already got these on our calendar. We'll update as we check off our list.

If any readers would like to share one of these activities with a picture, please send to and we'd love to share them on our blog.

In the meantime, Happy Hot Tea Month!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January Tablescape: Vintage heirlooms debut after years in storage!

Fine Irish linen, Waterford, silverware and heirloom china, some unused for over sixty years!

Sterling silver, Waterford glasses, Irish linens - they're not just for staying in storage anymore!

In my last blog on trends for 2020, I noted tablescapes were "in" and that I'd post a new tablescape every month. To maintain at least one New Year's resolution, I'm keeping up with the start of that commitment today - and with a tablescape that kick's off another resolution I've promised myself to honor:  using those fancy items that wait for a "special occasion".

Almost-quarterly-gourmet dinner club enjoy great food, accoutrements

This weekend, we entertained good friends for a delightful repast, it being our turn of the almost-quarterly-gourmet-dinner-club. Although I'm the only one of the five members who isn't a five-star chef, my contribution/passion is setting a fine table.

It being a new year and with my goal to give old things a new beginning,  I put to use items never or rarely used, including an Irish linen tablecloth and Waterford crystal glasses, sixty-six and thirty years old respectively!

The tablecloth was a wedding gift to my husband's parents, over sixty years ago, and my mother-in-law gave it to me, still in the original box, at least twenty years ago. Apprehension to use something so delicate and in pristine condition, as well as time spent for proper upkeep, held me back. But, it's bringing joy to no one, tucked away in a closet.

Family heirlooms need to get out more!

Also marking its debut outside the china cabinet, were six Waterford crystal wine glasses my friend, Loretta, purchased on my behalf when she went to Ireland over thirty years ago. For three decades, these sparkling vessels sat behind glass, bearing their trademark green sticker. But, it was time for them to come out of the closet as well.

In addition to the newbies, I also curated my grandmother's gold-trimmed dinner plates and my mom's silverware for the table. They, too, need to get out more.

Bringing out the old and dear does come with a cost, however. The Irish linen tablecloth -after a quick spin in the "very, very delicate" setting on the washer with a splash of Woolite - caused me to spend almost two hours of "vintage pressing" with a steam iron.

The silver, china and crystal were all hand-washed and dried, adding another hour-plus to tablescape prep. Oh, and polishing my mom's brass candlesticks took a few minutes more.

I should add, too, that the dinner my husband cooked, was amazing! Swiss fondue, followed by sous-vided carrots, roasted potatoes and venison seared in bacon fat were worthy companions to the heirloom serving collection.

Dinner menu worthy of any tablescape!

Tablescape timetable, net results:

  • Ironing Irish linen tablecloth:               two hours
  • Washing crystal and china:                   one hour
  • Polishing silver and brass:                    one hour
  • Joy in sharing family treasures:           memories that last forever

Ring in the new year with items that never get old: good friends, good food and beautiful tablescapes!