Category Archives: Movies

Review: Downton Estate Blend tea from Republic of Tea

Downton Estate Blend tea from Republic of Tea.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Downton Estate Blend tea from Republic of Tea. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

The BBC’s popular serial drama, _Downton Abbey_, has returned to PBS for a 5th season!  Full of beautiful costumes, sets, and English countryside, this historical drama also includes tea as a regular part of life, as it was in Edwardian, and now “Roaring Twenties” era – English society.  The program has inspired a variety of products, from high fashion designs, to furniture and jewelry, to china and other housewares, to tea blends.  The Republic of Tea is the best-known company to have come out with a whole line of tea blends inspired by Downton Abbey.  The teas are available at Cost Plus World Market, and at some independent tea shops like Thyme for Tea in Niles.  I purchased this tin of tea for about $12 at the Cost Plus on Coleman Ave. in San Jose.

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Tea and _Saving Mr. Banks_

_Saving Mr. Banks_ official movie still.  Copyright Disney Studios

_Saving Mr. Banks_ movie still from the film’s Facebook page. Copyright Disney Studios

San Jose residents have the opportunity to see, among the other usual holiday movie offerings, a biographical sketch of the author, P. L. Travers, creator of the beloved character “Mary Poppins”, immortalized by Walt Disney.  Starring Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, _Saving Mr. Banks_ is the story of the author’s deep personal love for her characters, and her fight to keep them from being too “Disney-fied” in Hollywood.

The plot also features frequent flashbacks to Travers’ childhood in Australia, and gives glimpses of the various people in her life who inspired Mr. and Mrs. Banks, Bert, and Mary Poppins, in particular.  Fittingly, the movie also features tea many times; Travers is only seen drinking tea, and makes many pithy comments about tea, including: “it is an abomination to drink tea from a paper cup”, and “tea is balm for the soul.”  She also weighs in on the “milk in first/milk in last” question: she takes her milk in first.  During one of the childhood flashbacks, Travers’ prim and proper aunt – a major inspiration for Mary Poppins herself — arrives to help the family, and promises to fix everything while opening her capacious carpetbag and taking out a teacup and saucer.  Walt Disney also visits her in London and asks for “a cup of your English tea.”

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