Saturday Morning Tea


This weekend is what we have been waiting for throughout the cold, icy New England winter. Sunny skies and temps in the 80s with everything blooming and filling our environment with color. I feel joy swelling in my heart. I’m starting to think about iced tea and for me and my caffeine sensitivity, that means herbal.

My favorite herbal is South African Rooibos. I’ve written a little about it here and here. This morning’s tea is called Poire Creme, a green Rooibos decorated with sunflower petals and  flavored with pear and creme.


I steeped it for 8 minutes in slightly less than boiling temp water. As the Rooibos and flower petals steeped, they seemed to be floating in an ethereal dance together.


We had a truckload of bark mulch delivered this morning. The threads of reddish Rooibos remind me a little of the big pile in the driveway. Guess what I’m going to be doing this weekend?

The red amber liquor greets me with a fruity aroma which carries on into the taste. I love the blend of tart fruitiness and creamy richness in the flavor. This tea would make an excellent iced tea. I prefer the “cold brew” method of making iced tea. Fill a large container with cold filtered water and add a tablespoon of herbal tea leaves for every 6-8 ounces of water. Let this mixture sit overnight in the fridge and then strain into another container the next morning. As these measurements will make a concentrate, you can add water and ice to taste. I prefer drinking the Rooibos concentrate just as is with some lemon or orange slices.


I’m enjoying my hot herbal cuppa with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Simply substitute chocolate chips for the raisins in your favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.  Mmmm…

A thoughtful reader wrote to me this past week regarding my steeping times for Assam tea. I like to brew my whole leaf Assams for 5 minutes and he thinks that a 5 minute steeping time is too long and yields a bitter brew for him. That brings up a good point that it is important to experiment with steeping times to see what works best for you as everyone has different taste preferences. If a tea ever tastes bitter, that is a very good indication that it’s been steeped too long for you. Thanks, Bruce!

This morning I am off to look at more properties and then home to shovel bark mulch in the garden. Enjoy the weekend!

“Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

~May Sarton

Saturday Morning Tea


This past week was my first week back to full-time work. I keep telling myself that this is a good thing, giving me the ability to work towards my dream of owning my own home. Still, there has been some sadness associated with things I’ve had to let go of. Time for my art, especially.

As I prepared for my morning tea today I realized that I haven’t had many reviews about herbal tea. Or infusions, I should say, because herbals are not really tea. I apologize to any caffeine sensitive readers who are interested in exploring herbal options. I will strive to be more balanced in my tea choices and if there’s anything – tea or herbal – that you want to hear more about, please do let me know.


This morning I am enjoying a cup of Honeybush Vanilla, a delightful herbal with Bourbon vanilla pieces and dried marigold petals. Mountain Honeybush, Cyclopia intermedia, is a bush that grows wild on the slopes of the Kouga mountains in South Africa. The leaves of this bush are harvested and processed much like the tea plant, camellia sinensis. It gets its name from the scent of its flowers.

Can you imagine wandering through a field of blooming honeybush and experiencing that sweet scent filling the air?


This herbal is very smooth so you can steep the leaves for awhile without worrying about it turning bitter like oversteeped tea. I boiled my water and let it cool a short while before steeping the honeybush for 8-10 minutes.

The aroma is of sweet vanilla without being cloying or overpowering. The beautiful pink amber infusion tastes smooth and sweet with fruit and flower underlying the vanilla taste.


I have filled this beautiful china cup, a gift from a dear friend who knows how much I love new tea “equipage”.

Every week I usually stop by the library to pick up books that I have put on my online queue. However, this week drew me back to my own bookshelf to a book I had picked up about 3 years ago at the bookstore. I remember reading it at that time and enjoying it but this time I can feel each word penetrating my psyche on a deeper level.  Perhaps it is because of all of the changes I’ve experienced this past year and also the ones I am facing in the year to come. Called “The Courage to be Yourself” by Sue Patton Thoele, it is about finding an expanded vision of yourself and getting in touch with any self limiting fears that can get in the way of that expansion. Sue’s writing style is wonderfully down to earth and I feel like we’re sitting down in a cozy place having a cup of tea together while she shares the wisdom of her own personal journey.

She has 2 affirmations that she lives by.

I choose to live my life fully.

I will never give myself away again.

A truly wonderful book. Have a marvelous week.

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was

oftentimes filled with your tears

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,

The more joy you can contain.

~Kahil Gibran

Saturday Morning Tea


Happy Valentine’s Day!

It is a sweet day, perfect for a tea party. Won’t you join me?


Today I’m sipping a different kind of tea. Well, actually it is not a tea at all. It is an herbal called South African Rooibos, rooibos meaning “red bush” in Afrikaans and pronounced roy-boss. The rooibos bush is grown in South Africa and harvested and processed similarly to the tea leaf. The leaves are picked and then bruised to release their volatile oils and flavor.


As you can see, there are small pink candy hearts in my rooibos, a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. This is called Rooibos Candied Almond because there are also small pieces of almond in the blend.

The liquor is an amber color with a candy sweet fragrance and taste. However, the sweetness has not covered up the natural citrus, vanilla taste of the  rooibos. This is a wonderful “tea” for a children’s tea party as it doesn’t contain any caffeine.


We’ve experienced some warmer temps this past week. Along with a day of rain and high winds, our snow piles have shrunk down to reveal patches of grass here and there.

I can’t wait to see peeks of green emerging from the soil.

Enjoy sweetness this day.

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. ~His Holiness the Dalia Lama

Saturday Morning Tea

I’ve always loved citrus scents and flavors for their clean refreshing quality. In my efforts to use natural cleaning products, I have acquired many with  lemon or orange oil. So, in all of my cleaning and purging for the move into my new home at the end of this month, I’ve been surrounded with a lot of citrus scents lately. This has inspired me to try an herbal called Australian Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia Citrodora). Grown in  the Queensland rainforests, it is a wonderful source of citral essential oil, known for its anti-microbial action. I could probably use a solution of lemon myrtle for cleaning but right now I would much rather drink it!

The leaf is a leathery yellow green, chopped up into smaller pieces. Lemon Myrtle is a tree that grows to about  1 1/2-2 feet in a home garden but a lot larger in the wild. The aroma is fresh and lemony. I was expecting a tart taste but the liquor is smooth and sweet with just the right amount of lemon flavor. I bet this would make a great iced tea for the warmer months, either by itself or mixed with South African Rooibos.

I have been very busy with the cleaning and purging process so there hasn’t been much time for me to write lately. The wonderful news is that I will be living in a house once again which means my own studio space and a garden. I look forward to writing about their process and birth into my life again!

Saturday Morning Tea for the flu


I’ve been in the grip of a nasty flu all week. Drinking loads of hot beverages and not really tasting them but the warmth has soothed my sore throat. So, this morning I veer from my usual tea path and offer my thoughts on an indispensable herbal for relief of your cold or flu symptoms. It’s also great if you’re not sick and find the inside heated environment too dry.

Throat Coat is an herbal blend created by Traditional Medicinals, “a socially responsible and environmentally conscious company, providing the highest quality botanical products with a balance of responsible business practices as its guide”. You can find their products and this herbal “tea” at any of your local grocery stores. It contains licorice root, wild cherry bark, bitter fennel fruit, cinnamon bark, sweet orange peel, slippery elm bark and marshmallow root. These herbals are wonderful for soothing a dry and sore throat. I drink this blend regularly throughout the winter and quite a lot of it in the last week.

I am hoping that by next Saturday this flu will have loosened its grip and faded away and I will be able to resume my usual tea review.