Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday tea tunes: Equal-ity

I've heard the first four-star album of 2012, and it is "Bhiman," the semi-self-titled sophomore outing for San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman. I'm nuts about this guy. He's funny, he's poignant, he's got a very Woody Guthrie-esque balance of both. He's also an unassuming gent whose leather-lunged voice usually takes people completely by very pleasant surprise.

Here he is performing an older original, "Equal in My Tea." It's about meeting his wife and realizing she was the sweet ingredient his brew required ...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A cup of letters

I succumbed to buying a tea shirt this time last year, and a friend just pointed me toward another nifty design:

It's available at RedBubble one shirts or hoddies (as well as stickers!). Race ya.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday tea TV: Redistribution of girth

How are those new year resolutions working out for you?

If you're already sick of going to the gym, try instead the unique body-shaping method demonstrated in this Japanese tea commercial ...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Still steaming over teapot museum

This is not, repeat not, a political blog. I have my own reasons for disliking the Tea Party, but that aside the loosely defined group is a hitch in my kettle mainly because its existence has made searching for tea news and information increasingly difficult, especially online.

But one Tea Party beef is actually related to tea.

Recent stories about Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum kept mentioning that one of his cardinal sins, according to competing candidates, is that he once cast a vote in favor of Congressional funds supporting the Sparta Teapot Museum in North Carolina.

"Why can't there be a teapot hall of fame?" asked Sonny Kamm, who launched the museum with his wife, Gloria, and philanthropist Philip Hanes (as in Hanes underwear). "And we said, 'why not!'"

Amazingly, they managed to secure $400,000 in state funds for the project, as well as another $500,000 from Congress. A furor erupted over the expenditure, however, and it was canceled.

Despite all that scratch, the museum closed in 2010. Too bad, sounds as if they put on some great exhibits.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday tea tunes: 'Mad Tea Party'

Digging this rootsy amble from a Polish band called Camero Cat, here spewing a description of one spooky "Mad Tea Party":

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tea from Guatemala

From the My Friends Travel Far More Than I Do file ...

A dear long-lost friend of mine has been found, and she's in Berkley writing a wonderful spiritual blog. She also recently sent me the following envy-inducing dispatch and photos, which I'm sharing ...

Friends traveled to Coban, Guatemala, to visit their son for Christmas (said son staying at a monastery for a year). After dinner this evening, we sipped souvenirs ... Tea, from the only tea plantation in the region (see below) – yes, individually bagged, but oh-so-smooth, and fresh. It tasted like it knew exactly what it was – not Chinese tea, not British — definitely South American ... and as mellow and interesting as my dinner companions. Sweetened lightly with honey from a vial packed in my companion’s carry-on – honey from Guatemalan bees nourished only by orchids. Too good not to share with a tea-lover ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The case of the traveling tea case

When I was a budding twentysomething hipster, I thought I was too cool for cooking school when I acquired a portable bar. You can find these in antique shops all the time now — it's a splendid vintage leather case, like a bulky, hard briefcase, and contains slots inside for two bottles, as well as a pair of small cups, a bottle opener tool, cocktail spoon and strainer. The eyes must have seriously rolled as I strutted into the party and set up my own mixology post.

Now that I covet tea paraphernalia, I'm drooling over this 1920s tea case...

This article about a later reproduction of the case -- which, alas, does not indicate where you could buy such an item -- explains:

In 1930, Louis Vuitton delivered its version of this tea case, an elegant and practical piece designed to be compact and yet easy to remove and use. The case contains cups, pots and all the other paraphernalia for a proper cup of tea on the road. While path-breaking at the time, today the piece is easy to identify with. It has the economy of space and packaging that is often seen in modern luggage, consumer electronics and even architecture.

Here's a promotional video from Vuitton giving a little background for the case's creation ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday tea tunes: So I drink tea

A wintry, melancholy strum called "The Tea Song" from an unsteady lil' band Google has otherwise never heard of, the Delphiniums Blue:

I know of only one way to avoid my misery
So I drink tea

Friday, January 6, 2012


I had no idea you could still buy Teaberry gum, but lo and behold here 'tis in a neighborhood frozen custard joint with old-timey pretensions.

Teaberry is just a minty chewing gum (from ye olde Clark company) flavored from the Eastern Teaberry, a strain of wintergreen plant, so it's that Life Savers kick instead of mere peppermint or spearmint.

In the 1960s, Herb Alpert & the Tiajuana Brass wrote a theme for this Teaberry commercial ...

Native Americans, though, did infuse teaberry leaves as a medicine. Teaberry plants are plentiful, particularly in the eastern U.S.; here's a site with detail about using it as an herbal tea. The Republic of Tea makes a Lemon Wintergreen blend that contains leaves and oil.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tea, photos, music, oui, oui!

I adore checking in with the Tea Masters Blog, even though it's in French, because the fella lays out gorgeous tea spreads and photographs them beautifully. The images, like the one above, are often breathtaking. This particular post (translated link here) caught my eye and ear — dig the pipa, a four-stringed Chinese stringed instrument. Stephane talks about the music, but it's also a striking object on his tea table. His teaware is gorgeous. I've got to go to Taiwan.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tuesday tea TV: 'Gimme a tea, you bastard'

In the new year, may we all be more assertive about our tea choices ...

(Tuesday Tea Tunes will now mix up occasionally with some choice non-musical videos. The tea song well is drying up a bit, and I don't want to stretch it too far...)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How's it hanging?

How're ya feeling this morning?

If your New Year's celebration was intense, or if you don't exactly remember, a cup of tea on the morning after is always a good prescription. It's no hangover cure in and of itself, but it couldn't hurt.

As Tallulah Bankhead (pictured, looking rather blue in black-and-white) said, “Don’t be swindled into believing there’s any cure for a hangover. I’ve tried them all: iced tomatoes, hot clam juice, brandy peaches. Like the common cold it defies solution. Time alone can say it. The hair of the dog? That way lies folly. It’s as logical as trying to put out a fire with applications of kerosene.”

That advice is on a Flavorwire list of hangover cures cited from famous writers and celebrities.

A few tea merchants occasionally market a blend as a hangover salve (this one's of note) -- and this new restorative recipe involving twig tea and plums at least sounds tasty -- but plain ol' tea is the best bet. Hydration is really the only answer, anyway, and caffeine is usually good for a headache.