How the Movies Communicate the Heart of Tea





I recently watched Miss Potter for the first time. Enjoyed the movie, thoroughly (Ewan McGregor sings, how could I not?). A classic story of English aristocracy, this interpretation of Beatrix Potter showcased many of the values I hold dear. These included:

  • a commitment to creative work despite the objections of others, even one’s own family.
  • a love for farming and preservation of the land.
  • living through heartache and coming out stronger on the other side.

But another value I hold dear that may not have been as easily noticed by other viewers was the constant presence of the teapot. [Read more...]

Awesome Tea Menus For Summer



Here in Kansas,  it has been over 100 degrees for nearly 2 weeks.  Summer is HERE with a vengence.

If you are ready to plan some “summer fun” then you need some original ideas for an awesome tea menu.  Here are some of my top picks for MUST HAVE tea books.  If you don’t collect tea books let me encourage you that you should.  Tea books give you inspiration to create and if you want to create a great tea menu then these books will help you in the process.

Give yourself a treat right now and buy one of these books for your collection.  THEN!  Plan a tea party for this spring.  Let me know which book you chose and what recipes you used at your party.  OOH and send photos.  I would love to “see” your big event.

I will cut through the process for you and give you my top 3 MUST HAVE’S

The Book of Afternoon Tea1. The Book of Afternoon Tea is an essential.  I have had this book for years and it has some of the best “British” style tea recipes ever.  My top pick in this book is their Lemon Curd.  It is outstanding.  I really can’t say enough about this simple to follow guide.  There are photos and step by step recipes.  If you don’t have it. Amazon has this book!






Invitation to Tea2. Invitation To Tea - This fantastic idea combines tea appropriate music with cool, easy to follow, recipe cards.  The photos are lovely and they make great favors as well.  Plan your event, use the recipes and then give the cards (tied with a bow) to each of your guests.  They will love taking with them the recipes that they just tried.





Tea Party Ideas3.  Tea Party: 20 Themed Parties with Recipes.  This is a beautiful book with great ideas and recipes filled with inspiration.  Not only would this book look great on any shelf but the content will help you create a spring tea event worth talking about.

The party suggestions are perfect for afternoons with friends, bridal and baby showers, cocktail and dinner parties, picnics, and brunches. A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party–for a birthday or an unbirthday–will delight kids and adults alike with tea sandwiches made with edible flowers followed by Eat Me! Cupcakes. Chai Breakfast Tea reveals a fantastic recipe for the sweetly spiced irresistible drink along with recipes for chai-scented pancakes and candied almonds.

Ideas and inspirations abound for fabulous, easy, and affordable invitations, decorations, table settings, and charming party favors that tie into each party’s theme.



Other articles you may like:


Addiction, Exploitation and Empire – A Book Review

Tea’s Role in Literature


Tea Party Girls Asks: Which book did you pick for your top Tea Menu book and why? Leave your comments.  Then share this post by tweet, facebook or email.

Addiction, Exploitation and Empire – A Book Review

Despite the increasing popularity of tea, few good books exist on the history of tea trade. Roy Moxham’s book, Tea – Addiction, Exploration and Empire, offers an interesting examination of the subject.

Moxham, author of several historical books, recently retired from the University of London. As such, the story is told from a British perspective. Since the British were so influential in the tea trade, this is a logical viewpoint.

The story opens in 1960s Britain with Moxham’s personal story. Although just a few pages, the most interesting part of the book traces the author’s employment on a tea estate in modern-day Malawi. Unable to get into college, he seeks employment and ends up working in Africa. Working on a tea estate, Moxham brings a high degree of authority and credibility to the subject. His experience adds perspective when reviewing tea history.

After his personal story, the book traces the rise in popularity of tea in Britain. Interesting stories of tea smugglers and penalties for smuggling mark this section. Readers also learn about some tea companies, still familiar to us today, such as Twinings and the East India Company.

Tea is a major part of British history. In the next sections of the book, readers learn how cultivation of tea affected British policy in the countries of China, Sri Lanka and India. Interesting history and anecdotes make theses sections compelling. Readers learn, for example, how Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) known for some of the worlds best tea, started out growing coffee.

As happened often in history, atrocities were committed to satisfy the need for resources, such as tea on this occasion.

A reoccurring theme of the book is the poor treatment of workers by the British. Local populations were exploited by

The Author, Roy Moxham

the desire to make tea global. The bad conditions faced by local workers may make tea drinkers feel bad as they have a cup of their favorite drink.

An interesting highlight to the book are fascinating illustrations, maps and pictures, many of which come from the 1700s and 1800s. These items provide insight into people at the time. One of best examples is a trading card from an 18th century grocery store. Another favorite picture is of James Taylor, a Scotsman, who is known as the father of Ceylon tea.

The book comes full circle and concludes with Moxham’s time in Africa. The most compelling parts of the book were his work on tea estates. More stories from time spent on tea estates would have added to the book. Maybe this is for the sequel.

Tea drinkers will learn a lot from the book, which should lead to a new appreciation of the world’s most popular beverage (other than water).


Paul Gerst is the founder of, an Internet tea retailer. offers the leading brands of English Tea, Irish Tea, Scottish Tea, Russian Tea and more.


Books and Tea ~ Creating a Literary Tea Party

Available on our Tea Art Page


Available on our Tea Art Page

Click Here To Buy This Wall Art


Is there anything quite as comforting as curling up with a good book and a cup of tea? Doing it with a group of friends! Hosting a book tea party can be a great way to experiment with some cozy teas and share some great books. You can have a quiet party where guests can read, or combine a reading and sharing party, exchanging tea and book ideas, or conducting readings. There are a number of options to choose from.

A book party can be a very special event, offering guests a unique opportunity that cannot be found elsewhere. Because it is a private party, your guests can enjoy the feel of a teahouse without all the distractions.



In addition to tasting teas, you can allow your guests to quietly read (sometimes people need a good “excuse” to take some quiet time!), or you can offer a range of activities. Consider having a group discussion on a particular book or conducting a book swap where guests bring a book by a favorite author to trade.

You can listen to stories, having guests read or listen to an author read his or her works on tape. If there is a local author in your area, invite him or her to do a private reading for your party. (This option could be a little pricey, but you never know until you ask!) Or have a party based on a literary character or specific book, such as Sherlock Holmes or Jane Austen.



The atmosphere for this type of party should be warm, comfortable, and inviting. Set the mood through lighting and furniture rather than through decorations. Scatter some books throughout the room as well to help set the tone.

Use low lighting, and if guests will be spending quiet time reading, try to have some type of light available at each setting. You can also hang posters of or references to famous authors or literary characters.

If you’re able to host the party in a personal library or room with a lot of bookshelves, this will also help create a reading atmosphere.



Light classical is a perfect choice for this type of party. If you’re doing a themed party based on a character or book, look for music that fits the theme, such as something more mysterious or mystical. Stringed instruments are a nice choice, as they create soft music that makes for a pleasant background. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is one such example, as is Pachelbel’s Canon.


Invitation Ideas

Invitations shaped like a book are a good choice, or if you are using a character or specific book, incorporate pictures into the invitations. If you can’t find a book invitation or don’t want to make them, look for invitations that incorporate a reading or writing theme, such as pens or bookshelves.



The food you serve can be almost anything you want. Baked goods lend themselves to the cozy atmosphere, such as biscotti or scones or ginger cookies. If you focus on a particular book, choose foods that are featured in the story. Chocolates are also a great choice, and some go very well with teas.




There is nothing like a good book and a hot cup of tea! For this event, try a traditional smoky tea like a Lapsang Souchong, or if you would rather go with a classic, nothing’s better than a good cup of Earl Grey. These teas are both available through the gorgeous online store American Tea Room.



Other articles to check out:

Tea Mystery Books You May Have Missed
How To Host A Mystery Tea Party

Tea Party Girl’s Top Ten Favorite Tea Reads (So Far!)


Tea Party Girl Asks: How would you host a Literary Tea Party?

Tea Mystery Books You May Have Missed

Dead As A Scone



I admit it.  I tend to like the television series that do not get picked up.  You know, the 8 episodes that are pulled from the channel due to lack of interest.  Yep.  Those are my favorite.  So it is no real surprise that I am in love with a short lived book series called “The Royal Tunbridge Wells Mysteries.”

There were two books in this series published in 2004.  “Dead as a Scone” and “The Final Crumpet” by Ron and Janet Benrey.  Both books are now out of print though you can pick them up used on Amazon for as little as .25 cents used.  The great news is that the authors have just republished the books on Kindle!  For only $2.99 you can instantly download the books and read them on your digital kindle or on your computer or phone.

Here’s the story:

Dead as a Scone:

Murder is afoot is the sedate English city of Royal Tunbridge Wells … and the crime may be brewing in a tea pot!

Nigel Owen is having a rotten year. Downsized from a cushy management job at an insurance company in London, he is forced to accept a temporary post as managing director of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tea Museum. Alas, he regrets living in a small city in Kent, he prefers drinking coffee (with a vengeance), and he roundly dislikes Flick Adams, PhD, an American scientist recently named the museum’s curator.

But then, the wildly unexpected happens. Dame Elspeth Hawker, the museum’s chief benefactor, keels over a board meeting—the apparent victim of a fatal heart attack. With the Dame’s demise, the museum’s world-famous collection is up for grabs, her cats, dog, and parrot are living at with Flick and Nigel—and the two prima donnas find themselves facing professional ruin.

But Flick—who knows a thing or two about forensic science—is convinced that Dame Elspeth did not die a natural death. As Flick and Nigel follow the clues—including a cryptic Biblical citation—they discover that a crime perpetrated more than a century ago sowed the seeds for a contemporary murder.

The Final Crumpet:

No wonder the tea bushes didn’t grow!

When Nigel Owen and Flick Adams—the new director and curator of The Royal Tunbridge Wells Tea Museum—dug up two stunted tea bushes in the museum’s garden, the last thing they expected to find was the body of England’s most famous missing person.

Etienne Makepeace, England’s renowned “Tea Sage,” disappeared forty years ago without a trace. But there he lies, in a shallow grave, and every policeman and reporter in the British Isles wants to know why.

So does the stodgy manager of the stodgy English bank that’s about to fund the museum’s acquisition of a major collection of antiquities. He’s ready to pull the plug on the deal.

Flick and Nigel have no choice. To save their beloved museum, they must learn the secret of Makepeace’s disappearance—first! Their investigation takes them back to the 1960s and reveals what even the spymasters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service don’t know: Etienne Makepeace brewed more trouble than tea during the Cold War.


Royal Tunbridge Wells (where these stories take place) is a real town west of Kent, England and only an hour or so drive from London.  Want to virtually visit? Here is a link to learn all about this area of the world:


Want to discover the fictional tea museum?  You can! The authors of this book series have created a virtual tea museum at Explore the museum floor plan, the characters and read a free chapter from each book.

Personally, I want MORE! More books in this series.  So download them, read them and tell me what you think!


More articles you will love:

How To Host A Mystery Tea Party

The Way to Tea–A Book Review

How to Take Tea with Jane Austen


Tea Party Girl Asks: What are your favorite Tea Mysteries?