Friday, April 6, 2007

Tea Parties and Teaware

I'm drinking a couple of new teas today, and will post a review of Hojicha de la creme from Art of Tea later this afternoon, after I have a chance to brew another cup (jury is still "out"). Yesterday was a big day for deliveries, and aside from my order of 9 teas to try from AOT (yeah, I went a little crazy), I also received two packages with teaware I ordered for my tea party.

From the Republic of Tea, I ordered two teapot warmers - one porcelain, and one made of silver wire (pictured to the left). The porcelain one wasn't as large as I'd hoped, so I'll keep it to use with my smaller ceramic pots, but won't be using it for my party. It's a nice piece though, and packaged very handily in a fabric covered box that keeps it quite safe and snug...would be a nice gift item with a small personal sized teapot.

The silver wire one, however, is absolutely stunning, and large enough for even my biggest teapots. I'm very impressed with it, and ordered another one today to take the place of the porcelain warmer that's too small on my tea party table. I ordered the glass teapot you see in the picture as well, because of what happened with my Adagio shipment.

I knew something was wrong the minute I picked up the box from Adagio. It's never a good sign when you hear glass pieces rattling around in there. I opened everything up carefully, and took out the tea I'd ordered (Jasmine green blooming tea - perfect display tea for a party), and a box of filters, then opened the box my 42 oz. glass teapot was in. Unfortunately, the lid had come lose from it's packaging, and cracked. It was at the side of the teapot, next to a nice round chunk of glass that had been knocked neatly out of the side of the pot, I assume when the metal infuser knocked against it. I was pretty bummed - I'd ordered the smaller version of the same teapot months ago, and it got here with no trouble at all, but I'll have to return this one now for a replacement.

Needless to say, I didn't even take it out of the box (didn't want to damage it more, though I'm not sure why - it's completely unusable). I took a few pictures in case Adagio needed them, and just closed the box back up to get it ready for shipping. I went to the Adagio site this morning, and printed out a return label - I'll send it back on it's way this afternoon, but I doubt my replacement will be sent out to get here in time for my party on the 15th, allowing time for the damaged one to get to them, and another one to be sent to me. So I ordered the other pot from ROT, and it should be here by Thursday of next week, at least. I can't serve a display tea without a clear pot to display it in!

As for the rest of the party - I've finalized the menu of scones, tea sandwiches, and sweets (mostly a traditional English tea menu), the 3-teired server was delivered this week (and I *love* it - it will be well-used around here), I have two of the three teapots needed, and I'll be serving Jasmine green blooming tea from Adagio, Earl Grey de la creme from Dragonwater, and White Pear from Adagio (unless the white tea I got from AOT really impresses me...we'll see). I thought about serving a rooibos too, but decided that three teas are enough - if someone needs an herbal, I'll make up a filter bag for them. I'll serve iced tea as well - Cranberry Blood Orange from ROT in a lovely hand-blown glass pitcher I got from Dillards (it's gorgeous - I'm using it to serve iced tea for Easter lunch this weekend too).

I'll have a second pot of the Earl grey made up in my triniTea for refilling the serving pot, and I'll keep a kettle warm on my stovetop for refreshing the green tea, and resteeping the white. The blooming tea will be served from the glass pot, of course, the Earl Grey from my standard white English teapot (brown betty style), and the white will be served from my Lenox Butterfly Meadow pot. My mom and sister are bringing some english style teacups we can use, and I'll use mine as well...might go thrift store shopping and see if I can find a few more cup/saucer sets for a reasonable price. The table will be quite bright with spring placemats and a couple of african violets in bloom, not to mention the teaware, overflowing server with the goodies, and clear glass plates for the guests to use. I'll try to remember to get a picture to post when I get it all set up.

This is kind of a trial run for me - I'd like to do a tea party once a month or so for friends...just a time to get together, hang out, talk, watch movies, whatever. So we'll see how this goes. It will probably be a little skewed, since it's paired with a Home & Garden Party, but mostly I just want comments from my guests on the tea, food, etc. If it seems like a success, I'll set up another one in a month or two just for tea & chatting. :-)

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