Friends of “R” House Annual Spring Tea

A great tea gift idea: take a friend out to a special afternoon tea hosted by the staff of an historical venue.

“R” is Rengstorff House, the oldest historic home in Mountain View, CA, located at 3070 N Shoreline Blvd AND one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture on the West Coast hosts an Annual fundraising Spring Tea.

I heard of their event from a tea meetup group and learned it sells out. So I stayed up late the night before the tickets became available and at the stroke of midnight, I was able to access Eventbrite and secure two tickets for a favorite friend and I.

We were very pleased with the entire event from start to finish. A volunteer greeted us in the parking lot and directed us both to parking and where to sit once we entered the house. A thoughtful, welcoming touch.

My friend and I were seated in the cozy music room at a table for four with two other women, with whom we enjoyed chatting and getting to know. The table was set beautifully. We each had a mismatched teacup and saucer set to enjoy with our meal. We were given the opportunity to purchase our teacup and saucer set after the tea, all proceeds going to Rengstorff House.

Design with Flowers and Ralston Florists  provided the unique and attractive table centerpieces, they were available for sale after the event too.

Prompt volunteers kept our tea cups filled with Peach Strawberry, Earl Grey Floral or Boysenberry Decaffeinated teas. We enjoyed Mimosas or Punch cocktails to start. The tea foods were catered by Lisa’s Tea Treasures.

Rengstorff House Annual Spring Tea was catered by Lisa’s Tea Treasures located in Santana Row, San Jose, CA.

For the scone course, we were given one each of peach passion and cranberry orange scones accompanied by lemon curd, strawberry preserves or Devonshire cream.

The sandwiches were fresh and tasty. We each were given a tea sandwich of pesto, traditional cucumber, chicken waldorf, classic egg salad and aged cheddar cheese and tomato fillings.

Desserts were sweet and simple: chocolate iced eclairs and tartlets.

Rengstorff House volunteers encouraged us to come back on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 11 AM to 4 PM for the 150th Anniversary Rengstorff House event. For the 150th Anniversary celebration, “R” House will host an antique car show, demonstrations, lectures, crafts for kids, live music and food trucks. Sounds like another great gift idea!

When we were finished with our meal, one of the docents volunteered to bring us on a tour of the house. It was a great way for my friend and me to end our delicious afternoon tea at the Rengstorff House. This is an event we recommend and in which we plan to attend again.

 

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What would you love to receive in a tea gift basket – SW Tea Festival style?

What would you love to receive in a tea gift basket? We ask that question of folks signing up for our newsletter and entering our frequent festival prize drawings.

75 tea aficionados completed this survey at our booth at the Southwest Tea Festival held in Las Vegas at the Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino, February, 2017.

sw-southwest-tea-festival-logo-only

There were several surprise results. 27 people said they would love to receive a gift of Oolong tea – 30 said black tea. This is a real turn around. Historically, oolong tea gets very few votes. We had assumed most tea drinkers were not as familiar with oolong tea.

At the Festival this year, several tea vendors offered really good oolong teas and folks were enjoying them. We think this may be why so many more tea drinkers indicated they would like a gift of oolong tea.

The most requested tea was green tea at 36, followed by black tea at 30, oolong tea, as mentioned, at 27, white tea at 18 and, lastly herbal tea at 16.

Another surprise was the tea bag vs loose leaf tea preference. In the past, tea drinkers have been embarrassed (we guess) to admit they prefer tea in bags – the ‘right’ way to enjoy tea is to prefer the leaves loose. Of the 75 survey completers that responded to this question, 37 preferred loose leaf tea and a brave 18 tea drinkers admitted to preferring tea in bags.

We contend however you enjoy drinking tea is the right way for you. There is poor quality loose leaf tea as well as poor quality tea in tea bags. More and more now, we have the opportunity to experience better quality tea in better quality tea bags.

32 survey completers would prefer a gift of tea to be organic, 23 fair traded. Again, this is a significant increase from prior survey answers. Could the tea industry as a whole be doing a good job educating people about tea production? Maybe it is the vibrant tea culture in the Las Vegas area?

What was not a surprise was the tea treats. If you want to give a tea drinker a gift that will make them happy, it must include cookies first, tea cake or tea candy second. An interesting note here, someone expressed a desire for a gluten free option. When gifting anyone, please pay attention to their special concerns. Do not give someone who cannot eat flour, a treat with flour. If someone supports organic and fair trade, do not give them tea that is not those things. Sounds simple, but gift givers do sometimes have these oversights.

Elegant and English Tea biscuits

The number one tea tool survey completers requested was a tea infuser – 46 of the 75 responders said this. A tea thermometer, tea measuring spoon and tea scale listed similarly; 16, 19 and 12 requests.

The number one tea ware requested was a teapot, 38 requests, followed by teacup and saucer at 28, mug at 25 and tea spoons at 24.

teapot with infuser tea gift ideas

Teapot with infuser Tea Gift Ideas

Tea accessories were not ‘hot’ items. Of the 75 survey completers, 21 would enjoy receiving books about tea, 23 a tea wallet, 22 tea themed stationary and 27 tea themed gifts like candles and picture frames.

How tea wallet works photo

Tea Wallet Tea Gift Ideas

In conclusion, the perfect gift for our survey responders at the Southwest Tea Festival in Las Vegas, February, 2017 is a gift containing these things: Organic and fair traded green, black and oolong tea, a teapot and tea infuser (some teapots have built in infusers) and lots of cookies!

Thank you everyone for completing a survey and congratulations to those who won the 6 tea sampler prizes. Extra 6 tea sampler prizes as well as the other items we had for sale at the show are available at Tea Lover Teas and Tea Lover Gift Baskets. 10% off with code TEAFEST applies through Mother’s Day.

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Southwest Tea Festival – a great tea gift idea! (part 1 of 22)

I’ve written before bringing another tea lover to a local tea festival is a great tea gift idea. Admission costs are reasonable and usually there are educational options available. Not to mention all the tea you get to taste, free. Most of us are ‘tea drunk’ by the end of the day (or two days) but very happy.

Admission and your company at the annual Southwest Tea Festival which happened recently (Saturday and Sunday, February 25th and 26th, 2017) at the new Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino is Las Vegas, NV is a perfect example of a great tea gift idea.

In the words of lead organizer, Naomi Rosen, “The Southwest Tea Festival aims to unite tea educators, retailers, and growers with tea drinking consumers and hobbyists. This two day festival will provide tea knowledge, cultural experiences, tastings, cuppings, pairings, and demonstrations for tea enthusiasts throughout Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.” And that is exactly what happened. A photo of Naomi and her beautiful family at their joy’s teaspoon table at the Festival is below.

We (Tea Lover Gift Baskets and Tea Lover Teas) had a table at the show this year. In the few quiet moments I found, I talked with the other vendors asking the question “What is a great tea gift idea?” In the articles that follow, I will share all the wonderful ideas experienced tea professionals shared with me.

The sponsors of this year’s Southwest Tea Festival were; The Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Tealet whose mission it is to connect tea buyers with small family farms around the world, joy’s teaspoon encouraging communication over a cup of good tea, Kleff Premium Loose Leaf Tea the go-to tea source in the Rocky Mtn region, Purple Cloud Tea Housetea house in Auburn, CA, The Tea House Times and the new Tea Journey publications, and stickermule, an online sticker company.

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Tea Lover Gift Baskets and Tea Lover Teas go to Vegas!

The Southwest Tea Festival, sponsored by Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, aims to unite tea educators, retailers, and growers with tea drinking consumers and hobbyists. This two-day festival will provide tea knowledge, cultural experiences, tastings, cuppings, pairings, and demonstrations for tea enthusiasts throughout Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

Tickets are available and with code: TEALOVERS get 25% off. It is a two day festival; Saturday, February 25 from 10-5 and Sunday, February 26 from 10 to 4.

This weekend, Tea Lover Gift Baskets and Tea Lover Teas are 100% into preparing to participate in the Festival next weekend. We will be loading up our Santé Fe with boxes of tea ware and tea themed foods this Friday, February24th and heading to Vegas, Baby. We will be staying with the other vendors at the Lucky Dragon Casino hotel over the weekend. We understand the Casino is new, just opened this past December.

If you live in the area or plan to be in Las Vegas next week, come by the Festival. Enjoy tea, shopping and the variety of cultural experiences – maybe learn a thing or two about tea. Tea culture is inclusive and comfortable, come see for yourself. Be sure to stop by our booth for 10% off purchases of $10 or more.

sw-southwest-tea-festival-logo

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Take your Valentine to Afternoon Tea

One of the best gifts we can give another is our time. When that time is spent enjoying afternoon tea together, it is a joy to be with people you care about.

Afternoon tea provides little bites of savories and sweets, delicious hot tea and even champagne or a cocktail. Something for everyone.

I took my Valentine, my husband, to Tyme for Tea in Fremont, CA to enjoy a royal afternoon tea this Valentine’s Day. Tyme for Tea, as well as many tea rooms in the Bay Area had special Valentine’s Day teas over the weekend. I wanted to celebrate on Valentine’s Day proper.

The mouthwatering aroma of baking scones greeted us. Having been to Tyme for Tea before, we selected the Royal Afternoon Tea. Mark selected the Assam tea; I selected the decaf blackberry sage tea. The Royal tea came with 4 choices of champagne; I picked the plain, Mark the mimosa. I tried to get a photo of us toasting, but did not have enough hands, so Mark took a photo of me with our two champagne glasses in a toast.

For me, the amount of food served at tea is too much. I usually eat half of everything and am still full when I get done. This day, I ate the entire apricot white chocolate, freshly baked scone with the delicious lemon curd, cream and preserves. So satisfying! I ate the three hot savories and tasted the two sandwiches. There was a mushroom pastry, I’ve had before that is ‘meaty’ and has an intense mushroom flavor. There was a cheese and artichoke crostini, so fresh tasting and crunchy, and there was a new chees-ie pastry roll up savory I enjoyed. Then I had to forgo the desserts because I was too full.

My husband took them with him to work, the desserts were heart shaped shortbread cookies, heart shaped petit fours and large chocolate and peanut truffles dipped in chocolate.  I had tasted these not long ago when my mother, daughter and I visited Tyme for Tea together. I knew how good they were so I did not feel I was missing anything.

There were fresh Gerber daisies on each table. Around the water jar for the flowers were hard candy hearts so traditional for Valentine’s Day. The pink, yellow, green and purple candies that say ‘love you’ or ‘too sweet’. I never did find out if we were supposed to or not, but Mark and I ate, and had a good time with those candy hearts.

Sharing afternoon tea with your spouse or significant other at Valentine’s Day or other holiday is special. Tea rooms usually have special events or menus at the holidays. My girlfriends and I visit tea rooms often to celebrate our birthdays or just because.

The women in my family enjoy afternoon tea regularly, no matter where we are visiting. In March, for my mother’s birthday, it is her turn to find a tearoom when we visit her in Houston, TX.

And then about the gifts….. I don’t give my husband greeting cards anymore. After I picked up off the floor the last card I bought him, we talked about it. He does not really care about receiving cards. I love to receive cards. He bought me a card. I bought him a Chicago Cubs championship baseball cap. I thought I was being clever putting it in a Victoria Secret bag, but he did not flinch one bit. He did, though, love the hat. I scored!

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Tea Journey magazine reaches Kickstarter goal

Tea Journey is a specialized digital magazine aiming to connect tea growers, experts and enthusiasts via a rich multimedia platform including articles, photos and videos. This collaborative magazine launched by tea industry veteran Dan Bolton reached its funding goal on Kickstarter – Tea Journey recently.

If you have not yet heard of this opportunity and are interested in timely, in depth tea industry news, check it out. Dan Bolton is a seasoned professional. The contributor list reads like a Who’s Who of the tea world. The magazine itself is a work of art.

Great gift idea for yourself or a curious tea drinker on your gift list.

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Ooh La La Sharing a Cup of Friendship tea gift basket, French style

The perfect tea gift idea to celebrate the friends in your life – the oh-so-sweet one, the special one, the faithful one, and even the newly found one – with Partager une coupe de l’amitié or Sharing a Cup of Friendship, French style. $61.99.

Sharing a Cup of Friendship Tea Lover Gift Baskets

Remember her birthday, cheer a job well done, commiserate feeling low, or celebrate the holiday season with this unique, hand crafted tea lover gift basket.

This original, made in the US,  tea gift basket design includes:

o   Beautifully illustrated, hardcover book entitled Sharing a Cup of Friendship. Five (5) different friend themed afternoon tea ideas complete with recipes and tea pairings. Special Friend afternoon tea has a French theme. We will handwrite your sentiments on the presentation page.

o   The’ De Mes Revesor Tea of My Dreams green tea. Organic Chinese, sencha style, green tea blended with hibiscus, osmanthus and calendula petals. An ounce, enough for 8-12 cups hot or 2 quarts, or more, iced.

o   The’ Amour or Tea Lover black tea. Black tea, apple bits, orange peels, cinnamon, currants, almond flakes, cloves and safflowers. An ounce, enough for 8-12 cups hot or 2 quarts, or more, iced.

o   Je Vis D’Amour et The’roasted herbal tea. A ‘french roast’ flavor. Roasted dandelion and chicory root, crystal and chocolate barley malt. An ounce, enough for 8-12 cups hot or 2 quarts iced.

o   Honey. Small jar of locally grown light honey.

o   Honey dipper. Traditionally styled wooden honey dipper.

o   Cookies. Package of 3 French Galette butter and French sea salt tea cookies.

o   French TeaTime greeting card, of exceptional quality. Hand crafted in the US on linen paper, this 5” by 7” raised edge card, on which we handwrite your sentiments, silhouettes a French woman enjoying a pot of tea in her boudoir.

o   Tea Infusion guidelinesprofessionally printed for repeated use.

o   Craft/Memory cardboard boxbeautiful, coordinating and oh so practical.

o   Romantic vintagelace ribbon & coordinating handpicked embellishments.

Available now at Tea Lover Gift Baskets while supplies last. Thank you.

 

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