TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

October 24, 2013

Ramblings: Ever wanted to own a tea room? Here’s your chance!

Filed under: food,tea,tea business,tea rooms,Tea sites — by JanisB @ 4:02 pm
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Some of you may know that before starting this blog I was the editor and publisher of TeaGuide Worldwide Tea Directory. What began as a few pages on my Cat-Tea Corner website (“Our cats, some tea, and recipes … and a photo-tour of Romania!”) for listing tea rooms and tea shops that I myself had visited evolved into the most comprehensive directory of venues around the world that served or sold (or both) good quality teas. TeaGuide went live online in June, 1997 and it served tea lovers around the world for fifteen years, until it was retired in July 2012. (Read the how and why here.)

Readers of TeaGuide were encouraged to review the tea rooms and shops they had visited. A small number of the businesses received repeated and consistent recommendations as being the best of the best. One of those tea rooms was Clipper Merchant Tea House in Limerick, Maine. Reviewers raved about the location, decor, and service, and of course the food and the tea. Most of this was due to the care with which the owner, Heather, took with every aspect of the business. (She is also a very nice lady who operates a dog rescue group.)

Clipper Merchant Tea HouseHeather is now selling the Clipper Merchant as she moves on to the next stage of her life. If you’ve ever considered owning a tea room, or if you’d like to relocate to beautiful Maine and are looking for a thriving, well-known business with room for growth, this may be your golden opportunity.

The details:

FOR SALE BY OWNER
Award-winning, nationally acclaimed  Clipper Merchant Tea House
58 Main Street, Limerick, Maine (click link for map)
Telephone: 207-615-3126

Clipper Merchant Tea HouseTwo-story restored historic 1800s home in southern Maine lakes area, with beautiful lawns and attached two-story barn. Tea room seats 45. Sale includes inventory, restaurant furnishings, china, reliable staff available, and everything you need to continue this successful tea house business. Sale also includes name, business, real estate, and goodwill.  Huge potential for increasing operational hours including dinner seatings and year ’round service.

Second floor of home has three large bedrooms with mountain views and full bath.

Priced at $425,000.00

As Heather says: “We’d like to see The Clipper Merchant Tea House continue on with all the love and attention to detail that we have invested in it.”

Heather is available to train new owner/s. Please contact her direct via telephone or email (heather@clippermerchant.com) for more information.

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All content Copyright 2013 JP Badarau; all rights reserved.

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October 14, 2013

Ramblings on reviews: Not just samples

Filed under: exotic tea,food,oolong tea,tea,Tea sites — by JanisB @ 3:25 pm
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Occasionally I get a comment from someone who wants to know if reviewers write  reviews just so we can grab some freebies.

Let’s face it: If it weren’t for vendors who very kindly provide samples of teas, tea ware, and tea-related products, reviewers — myself included — would miss out on a whole lot of great teas and “stuff” that we never would have known about. So I am certainly grateful for these “freebies.”

Other reviewers will have to speak for themselves on this topic. As for me, I do not limit my reviews to samples only. If I happen to purchase an excellent tea, a piece of beautiful tea ware, or some charming tea-themed object, I’ll certainly write a review. After all, why keep it to myself?

Samples, by their limited size, are not generally conducive to sharing with others. And there are many teas and other items that I’d simply like to have more of once the sample is used up. So I do often purchase teas and other items that I have sampled for free.

Recently my dear husband got it in his mind to buy some tea for his dear wife. He told me to choose whichever teas I wanted from whichever vendor I wanted to buy them from. Having recently sampled and reviewed some rather exquisite teas sourced from Taiwan Tea Crafts, I decided to take advantage of his generosity to stock up on some of my favourites from this source, and to choose a few others that looked interesting.

So I visited the Taiwan Tea Crafts website and filled up the cart, and DH placed the order, which arrived about a week later from Taipei. Here’s what the box looked like when I first opened it:

Taiwan Tea Crafts order

Colourful sacks of wonderful teas!

I hope I’ve thoroughly answered this question for anyone who was curious. And now for those of you who have commented that I don’t include enough photos with my reviews and ramblings, here are a few more:

Taiwan Tea Crafts order

An array of colourful sacks of Taiwan tea. TTC very kindly included a few samples with my order, and I look forward to sampling and reviewing all the new-to-me teas.

Taiwan Tea Crafts order

Tools of the trade: kettle, duck-on-lotus clay pot, teapot standing in for fairness pitcher, and small glass cup for sampling and sipping.

Taiwan Tea Crafts order

This morning’s cup is baked Four Seasons oolong (Lot 245): tea sack, made tea in the teapot and teacup, while another steeping continues in the clay pot.

Taiwan Tea Crafts order

Baked Four Seasons oolong leaves after the second infusion.

Taiwan Tea Crafts order

Made tea ready to drink … just need to put the cozy on the pot!

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All content Copyright 2013 JP Badarau; all rights reserved.

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October 3, 2013

Tea for the birds: DIY teacup bird feeder

Autumn is here, and that means it’s time to start putting out food for our beautiful feathered friends. If you don’t have a bird feeder, or you’d like a prettier feeder (or two or more), or you’re looking for a useful do-it-yourself gift project, guest contributor Samantha Joyce shows you how to invite the birds to share tea with you.

bird feederWith a few odds and ends from a home improvement store you can make a mini platform bird feeder out of a cute cup and saucer. The teacup holds the bird feed while the saucer acts as a shield to prevent Mr. Squirrel from taking over the smorgasbord. Teacups are better suited than mugs since the cup and saucers are thin enough to drill through with a bit designed for porcelain.

Materials list:

  • teacup and saucer – from a thrift store or garage sale; the birds don’t mind mismatched or chipped!
  • wooden table leg – from a home improvement store, painted in the color of your choice
  • cordless drill – with Phillips head bit
  • spear point bit – with Tungsten carbide tip or similar
  • wood drill bit – smaller diameter than the wood screw
  • three (3) – plastic or rubber washers as cushions
  • one (1) – wood screw 1.5 inch to hold it together

Bird Feeder CollageFirst, find a stable surface. I have holes in my dining room table after one craft project that involved turning teapots into flowerpots. Do yourself a favor and use a magazine or phone book to prevent this kind of damage. Drill the bottom of the teacup slowly with a bit designed for porcelain, ceramic, and glass. I like to drill the teacup as it sits upside down for easier access. The hole should be centered but it does not need to be even. Be careful not to apply too much downward pressure. Let the drill do the work for you. Repeat this step with the saucer. Set aside.

bird feeder finishedA wooden table leg comes with a long pre-threaded section to attach it to various table surfaces. In this case we turn things upside down: the threaded end becomes a very sturdy spike to plant the bird feeder into the ground. Use the wood drill bit to pre-drill a starter hole for the wood screw on what used to be the bottom of the table leg. It does not have to be as large as your wood screw and only as deep as the wood screw. This is now the top of the bird feeder post.

The three rubber washers are used to insure that the teacup and saucer do not fracture under stress when you snug things up with the cordless drill and Phillips head bit. Have a friend hold the table leg, with the spike end down and the starter hole up. Balance a washer, then the saucer, an additional washer, the teacup, and the final washer. Carefully center the wood screw and use the cordless drill with Phillips head bit to slowly unite the layers at once.

Voilà! This is a quick and easy project once you get the hang of it. You can do it yourself, but it is always nice to have an extra set of hands. And a cup of tea! These make excellent homemade gifts and look charming in multiples around the yard. If you do not have a yard, they also look terrific set into a large potted plant.

For notes on selecting the right kind of bird feed, bird feeder placement and other common bird feeding questions see The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Samantha Joyce is a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear and enjoys sharing her knowledge of all things coffee and tea. She has made many, many teacup bird feeders — and you can too!

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Contact us (by email or via the form below) about reviewing your tea or tea-related product, or to be interviewed.

All content Copyright 2013 JP Badarau; all rights reserved.

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