Today is the last “Downton Day” of the year – the final episode of Downton Abbey Season 5 airs tonight on KQED/PBS at 9 p.m. Pacific time. This season’s plot has brought the Crawleys and their servants into the mid-1920s, and nobody’s lives are settled and secure, as usual. What better way to catch up on the doings and happenings in this fictional world than with a cup of tea and some treats at the ready? Look in the tea party pantry for some English tea-time favorites, like scones (you can use a mix or buy them ready-made), cream, jam, and cakes. You can make an elaborate spread suitable for the Dowager Countess, or a simple tea table that would make Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes, or Lady Rose’s Russian refugees comfortable.
Tag Archives: tea
Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, expressed her love for tea last year at her first official public appearance with Queen Elizabeth and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to 306-year-old Fortnum & Mason, when the department store’s restaurant was renamed The Diamond Jubilee Tea Station in the Queen’s honor. Katherine said “this is so interesting. I would really like to learn to make the perfect cup of tea as when I last made a pot of tea with dried tea leaves I got it very wrong.” Tea shop staff obliged and demonstrated making the perfect pot of tea, and hopefully Katherine has had a chance to use her newly-learned tea-making skills.
When pregnant, it was reported that the Duchess of Cambridge craved black tea, scones, and lavender biscuits. Now that she is a mother, however, Katherine’s dietary needs have changed. Since she is breastfeeding, she shouldn’t drink caffeine freely, as she could before her pregnancy, although a bit will probably be welcome from time to time to combat the fatigue that is common to new mothers, especially once she resumes making royal appearances on September 12th.
As she rests at her parents’ home in the country, Katherine should be able to indulge in a calming cup of tea each day. While there’s no official consensus on the topic, many doctors believe that drinking 1 to 2 cups of tea per day is safe for a nursing mother and her baby. Many recommend that the mother enjoy her cup of tea after nursing her baby, in order to minimize the amount of caffeine that passes to the child through the milk. There is some question about green tea and its effect on a nursing mother’s folic acid levels, however.
On the other hand, tea-drinking is so much a part of Asian cultures that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children of almost all ages drink tea as they have every day for centuries, with no (reported) caffeine-related health problems. De-caffeinated black tea, however, is generally thought to be safe for most nursing mothers, although it still contains trace amounts of caffeine.
As for herbal teas, so-called “mother’s milk”, “nursing” or “breastfeeding” teas have not been proven to be either safe or effective for increasing milk production, despite numerous testimonials to the contrary and recommendations from naturopaths. During pregnancy, while it is tempting to use herbal tisanes to combat discomfort, expectant mothers are encouraged to proceed as slowly and carefully when considering herbal remedies as they would when considering commercial pharmaceuticals. The reason for this is the fact that there haven’t been enough studies done on the subject of the safety of natural remedies and herbal infusions during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the FDA encourages caution.
The result of all this contradictory information? A vague answer that a new mother doesn’t really want to hear, but the only one an online article can give: check with your doctor! You might also want to sign up for the American Pregnancy Association Natural Medicines online database.
Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.
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For more information:
“Tea and the mold-free diet”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Japanese tea from San Jose’s Japantown”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?”
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“5 ways to treat cold and flu symptoms with tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding-viewing party”
“2012 Olympics-watching calls for tea and British food”
“Pregnant Kate Middleton craves tea and scones”
“Kate Middleton will be back in the limelight after the birth of Prince George”
“Kate Middleton will breastfeed Prince George, but won’t be a pinup for it”
“Kate Middleton, the Queen and Duchess of Cornwall on official visit to Fortnum & Mason”
American Pregnancy Association Natural Medicines database
“Can you drink green tea while breastfeeding?”
“Green tea and breastfeeding”
“Breastfeeding and caffeine”
“Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?”
“What effect does the mother’s consumption of caffeine have on the breastfeeding infant?” La Leche League
“Consequences on the newborn of chronic maternal consumption of coffee during gestation and lactation: a review.” Nehlig, A., Debry, G. _Journal of American College Nutrition_,1994.
“Herbal safety for nursing moms”
“Review of 5 nursing teas”
“Herbal tea and pregnancy”
San Jose’s British population, along with local Anglophiles, can have tea with the Queen (in spirit!) to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee this week. February 6, 2012 marks the 60th year that Queen Elizabeth II has been Queen of England, which puts her in league with her predecessor Queen Victoria in the length of her reign. Celebrations across the pond will include at least 4 royal garden parties, and English afternoon tea for an estimated 34,000 well-wishers!
The anniversary will be marked through the month of February, and again in June to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. June events are said to include something called The Big Jubilee Lunch, where all of the residents of the U.K. are encouraged to have their own street parties and neighborhood picnics as part of the celebration, and the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, which will include 1,000 boats on the Thames, including the Queen’s Royal Barge, named the Spirit of Chartwell. This is supposed to be the largest flotilla on the Thames for 350 years.
While we can’t attend any of Her Majesty’s garden parties, teas, or pageants from here in San Jose, there’s nothing stopping us from having our own. San Jose’s public gardens are perfect places to bring friends and family for a picnic lunch, especially in June, but even occasionally in February! And while our Guadalupe River isn’t deep enough to sail on, there’s a nice pathway along it, for walks.
If you plan a Jubilee party, consider re-creating some traditional British recipes that were inspired by royalty, like Queen Victoria’s favorite cake, Victoria Sponge, or a dish created for her own Diamond Jubilee in 1897, Cherries Jubilee. Then there’s the Queen of Puddings, Coronation Chicken, Duke of Cambridge Tart, and many others. Specialty British ingredients and products can be found at Nob Hill stores, as well as the new Fresh & Easy groceries (owned by UK grocery chain Tesco), as well as the British Food Shoppe in Campbell.
Decorate in red, white, blue, and Union flags to keep within the theme. You can even purchase commemorative paper plates, cups and napkins if you want! Because Queen Elizabeth is also Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda and other nations in the Commonwealth, as well as former Empress of India, traditional foods from those cultures would make great additions to your party menu.
Alternatively, you could celebrate by visiting one of San Jose’s British-style pubs, or take it further afield, and attend the Mostly British Film Festival, which will be running most of next week in San Francisco.
Britannia Arms – Almaden
5027 Almaden Expwy., San Jose
Britannia Arms – Downtown
173 W Santa Clara St, San Jose
265 N. 1st Street, San Jose
Whether you are a fan of monarchy or not, you can realize the accomplishment that it is to remain on the front lines of a nation’s politics, with comparatively few non-working vacations, doing government work for 60 years! I don’t think I could handle it! So let’s raise a cup of black tea like English Breakfast, or good old PG Tips, to this remarkable lady.
Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.
For more information:
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee website
“The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – celebrations and events”
Diamond Jubilee page from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The Big Jubilee Lunch
The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
“Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II” Wikipedia entry
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee China at Old Durham Road
The 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Party Range product page
“Cherries Jubilee” recipe from the Food Timeline
Bay Area Brits Meetup group
Mostly British Film Festival
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Canada Day tea party, including Red Rose Tea”
“Celebrate Beatrix Potter’s work with an English tea party”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Take your tea into one of San Jose’s gardens”
“Bring a tea picnic to the Bay Area-local Mostly British Film Festival”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding-viewing party”
While many San Jose residents are eager to save money this Christmas season by making some of their gifts, there are still quite a few for whom the convenience of purchasing gifts is worth more than the money spent to buy them. Many holiday sales are still in effect, and some internet vendors are offering free shipping and other discounts, so if you are buying gifts and you have a tea-lover on your list, here are some suggestions that you might want to look for:
- A decanter or pitcher specifically for making iced and hot tea in. Teavana sells one, but there are several brands on the market.
- A commuter mug with a built-in tea strainer. Satori Tea Bar sells one model that is very convenient, but you can also get them at Peet’s Coffee & Tea and on the internet.
- High-quality loose-leaf tea. The most expensive teas are surprisingly affordable if you purchase sample sizes of them. Many tea vendors sell samples for less than $5 each. You can buy them at Satori Tea Bar, Lisa’s Tea Treasures, other local tea shops, or on the internet.
- Tea or chai ice cream. Haagen-Dazs has a green tea and a chai flavor that are available at local Safeway and Nob Hill stores. Local Asian markets also carry green tea ice cream mochi treats in the freezer section.
- Powdered instant chai and liquid chai concentrate. Both are shelf-stable items (the liquid must be stored in the fridge once opened), that require only the addition of milk or a dairy substitute to make a nice glass of hot or cold chai. Tazo makes a tasty liquid chai concentrate, and Oregon Chai makes both a liquid concentrate and a powdered instant chai; Tazo and Oregon Chai liquid concentrates are available in most local supermarkets, and Target grocery departments, and Oregon Chai powdered instant chai is available at Nob Hill stores.
- Books about tea. Lisa’s Tea Treasures and Satori Tea Bar sell a few titles, as do Barnes & Noble bookstores, but there are many more titles available on the internet. Check Amazon or other mail-order sites.
- Tea-flavored candies. San Jose’s Asian markets carry a surprising collection of these goodies. You can get Oreo Matcha candy bars at the Japanese groceries in Japantown, and Bali’s Best Tea Candy hard candies in many Chinese groceries and even in some American supermarkets in the Asian food aisle.
- Tea-themed calendar. There is a Collectible Teapot Calendar put out every year, that is available at the calendar store and kiosks at local shopping malls like the Great Mall of Milpitas. Also available on the internet.
- Tea-of-the-Month Club membership. Some vendors, like Mighty Leaf Tea, offer 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month memberships in Tea-of-the-Month Clubs. Members get one or more new teas sent to them every month.
- Tea Shirts. Not just a T-shirt, but one with a clever tea-related slogan on the front, like “Instant Human, Just Add Tea.” Available on the internet from places like CafePress and Etsy.
- Tea lotions or other cosmetics. Celestial Seasonings has a few holiday teas that they’ve added to body lotion for a holiday gift set. Look in Safeway supermarket specialty holiday product displays for this sort of thing.
Of course, teapots, cups and saucers, tea strainers, tea towels, or anything else that can be used for making or enjoying tea, will make great Christmas gifts for yourself or your favorite tea-lover! Places like Target, Ross, Marshall’s and Cost Plus World Market have lots of fun things.
Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach
For more information:
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Review: Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“Review: Buccaneer blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review: Passion blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review of Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Review of Oregon Chai Original Chai Tea Latte concentrate”
“Where to buy books about tea in San Jose”
“5 books that should be on the tea-lover’s bookshelf”
“Review: Japanese Oreo matcha candy bar by Nabisco”
Collectible Teapot Calendar Amazon link
San Jose’s cold and flu season has definitely begun, and while flu shots definitely help ward off the virus, they are not 100% effective; you may still find yourself getting sick. There are few beverages that are better for getting rid of a nasty virus than a nice hot cup of tea or tisane.
Doctors recommend that while you are fighting off your bug, you should keep your system hydrated, and cup after cup of tea will help provide the necessary fluids. Caffeine can be dehydrating, however, and since you’ll need to drink so much liquid, it would be better to drink decaffeinated tea or alternate your regular tea with caffeine-free tisanes. Here are some suggestions for using tea and herbal tisanes to soothe cold and flu symptoms, strengthen the immune system, and even weaken the flu virus!
— A classic remedy for nausea and nasal congestion: ginger “tea” with honey. The most flavorful and effective way is to buy fresh ginger, grate it yourself, bring it to a boil in water, steep it for 10 minutes or more, strain the liquid, add honey and drink it. Squeeze half a fresh lemon into your cup of tea for some Vitamin C and extra flavor. If you aren’t up to being in the kitchen, you can also purchase ginger herbal tea in bags from Stash, Celestial Seasonings and other vendors, but my personal favorite is Lemon Ginger herbal tea from Twinings.
— Another traditional nausea, congestion and cough remedy is mint tisane. Fresh peppermint or spearmint leaves, roughly chopped, and steeped for several minutes in boiling hot water, is the classic recipe, but you can use dried mint as well. If you don’t have any fresh or dried mint, Stash sells a wonderful Oregon mint tisane that is really minty, and convenient. It is my current favorite bagged mint tea.
— A favorite of professional and amateur singers and musicians: licorice tea, which soothes the throat and clears mucus. Stash makes a nice Licorice Spice tea.
— A Japanese-style dish to settle an upset stomach: “tea on rice”, which is hot green tea poured over hot steamed white rice to make a soup, and eaten with pickled ginger on the side.
— A remedy for sore throats might be a flu preventative: gargling with brewed green tea. The results of a recent (2006) Japanese study suggest that gargling with strong green tea can ward off the flu virus, but researchers agree that more study is needed before doctors can recommend it as a sure preventative. However, if you have a sore throat, a warm gargle is a soothing thing anyway, so why not try gargling with some tea while you’re at it?
Of course, most people have their own favorite flu and cold home remedies, but it is interesting to note that tea and herbal tisanes and preparations figure prominently in most of them. Ginger, garlic, sage, thyme, cinnamon, cayenne, and pepper are also widely-used herbs and spices that traditionally combat congestion, sore throats and coughing when added to foods or drunk as tisanes. Luckily, San Jose’s large Asian populations basically guarantee that both the Asian and American markets will sell things like ginger, garlic, cayenne, hot-and-sour soup, and many other helpful herbs and spices, not to mention a variety of soothing teas and tisanes.
Sources and Further Information:
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?”
“Tisanes, or ‘herbal teas’: what are they and how do you make them?”
“Flu season is tea season: best teas to drink when you’re sick”
“Drink tea with your swine flu vaccine.”
“Tea – a natural immune booster to help prevent and treat H1N1.”
Stash Tea; You do What with Tea?!
“Gargling with tea reduces flu by 87%”
“Gargling with tea catechin extracts for the prevention of influenza infection in elderly nursing home residents: a prospective clinical study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 Sep;12(7):669-72. Yamada H, Takuma N, Daimon T, Hara Y. Division of Drug Evaluation & Informatics, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka, Japan. email@example.com
“Herbal cold & flu preparations”
“Flu Season is Tea Time”
“Cold & Flu Survival”
“The Best Cold and Flu Remedy Tea in the World!”