Miss Adele Poppy wrote: As some of you know, I am relatively new to tea-drinking and have been experimenting with different teas to find the ones I like best. We also took little side excursions into the the question of loose tea vs. tea sachets (vulgarly called “tea bags”). Not surprisingly, loose tea won that contest. But on to the varieties of teas that we drank.

“We”, of course, are my excellent brunette and I. We have been together for many years (eleven, actually. Is that many? I suspect it may seem so to my poor, beset brunette), and we both have found ways of compromise so that we may live together in loving accord.

Bear with me. This is pertinent. You’ll see.

Brunette Wife’s Philosophy: The most important phrase in the English language with respect to marriage is: “Yes, Dear”.

Blonde Wife’s Prime Rule of Engagement: If you are in an argument, and you are right and your wife is wrong, you must apologize to her immediately, humbly and, above all, sincerely.

And then pour her some very good tea! Which brings us (finally) back to the subject of tea.

After much experimentation…oh, not really much, as these things go. After drinking some very lovely tea over the last year I have found two that I like particularly well: lapsang souchong (which is both capitalized and lower case, depending on the source) and Ti Kwan Yin.

Lapsang Souchong, also called Zengshan Xiaozhong, is a scented black tea with a pronounced woodsmoke flavor, which I like in the morning due to its bright, strong taste. Lapsang Souchong is perfectly wakey-uppy, but not at all subtle. I think it is delicious.

Ti Kwan Yin Oolong, also known as Tiguanyen and “Iron Goddess” (and lots of other names, actually, according to Wikipedia) , has a quiet, rather sweet flavor with a complex and very pleasant aftertaste. It is called a “poet’s tea”, and I am hoping that it will cause me to become poetical, though that is probably beyond the capability of the best of teas. Ti Kwan Yin is a delicious tea that deserves appreciation. The flavor is flowery, and in fact seems to bloom in the mouth like a flower. It is my favorite of the two.

Have any of you pettes a favorite tea? Please tell me about it. I would be thrilled to try more varieties.

Miss Sushuri Madonna replied: I have never had Kuan Yin tea. It sounds most exciting!

My very favouritest tea is Gyokuro, which is a fine Japanese tea, probably too expensive for me to buy, but my dear cousin sent some (actually for an elder of my household, but one partakes!

Gunpowder Green is a very nice tea which comes in affordable little boxes from our (relatively) local Filipino supermarket (though the tea is in fact Chinese).

I think having the right teacups is very important. We have some gorgeous Japanese ones which we were fortunate enough to acquire for 5/- (about ($10).

Well if one is not that lucky, some dear little Chinese teacups are readily available at reasonable prices from any Chinese supermarket.

Happy drinking!

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When you have found your perfect tea to drink, serve it in the perfect setting, whether it be a Japanese tea-house, or a summer garden:

Miss Melinda May added: I found this receipt for the perfect afternoon tea:

Use the prettiest, most delicate, china tea service you can.

Make sure your cutlery is gleaming bright.

Set the table with a snowy white lacy or linen table cloth and matching napkins.

Use tealeaves rather than teabags and provide a tea strainer.

As well as milk and sugar (lumps for preference, with silver tongs) have a small dish of sliced lemons.

Provide two teapots – one containing the actual tea and one with hot water.

Have a three-tiered cake stand with sandwiches on the bottom tier, freshly baked scones on the middle tier and a selection of fruitcake and fairy/cream cakes on the top tier. Place paper doilies on each tier before placing the food on it.

Suggested sandwich filling are: thinly sliced cucumber, salmon, and cream cheese. Use a mixture of white and brown/granary bread. Sandwiches should have the crusts removed and be cut into small triangles.

Garnish your sandwiches with a little mustard and cress or watercress and pretty up the scone and cake tiers by adding a few strawberries or other soft fruit.

Put jam, honey, clotted cream and butter into small individual pots or dishes.

Ideally, and weather permitting, serve your afternoon tea out of doors.

Although, I would suggest, not so far from the house that you would get soaked if it did start to rain!

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