Tea is one of those wonderful, civilized pasttimes that we don’t indulge in often enough. I also have a fondness for teapots that I can justify buying… to myself… by having daily tea. I teach a class on tea and we enjoy a good mystery as we are learning about the ins and outs of Afternoon Tea. Having said that, I am not an expert. There are many tea experts out there. It’s a similar path to becoming a wine expert which takes years of studying. I’m just a lady who enjoys tea and will happily be sharing with you some of the teas and recipes used in class.

These are blueberry scones, easy to make and wonderful to eat. Most Afternoon Tea tables have a scone course along with finger sandwiches and several dessert choices. However, I have served quiche, soup, and other options along with the traditional selections.

For the tea class my co-teacher and I put together a recipe book that we give to each participant. It includes most of the recipes we use during the eight week course. We’ve had a great time putting this together and sharing it with others.

Afternoon Tea requires teapots and tea cups and saucers which is the perfect excuse to look for those things at the Thrift Store. More on that in another post.

So today I’m going to talk about the menu for our first class.

A Northern Tea

Raisin Scones with Strawberry Preserves.

Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches w/ Horseradish Cream

Kalamata Olive Cream Cheese Squares.

Butter Tart Squares.

In a normal Afternoon Tea you would serve several choices of sandwiches and desserts but this is a class so we constrain the choices just a bit.

We also serve two teas in each class. A tasting tea which is generally a white, yellow, or green tea and a main tea which is served with the food. This is almost always a black tea. Today’s selections are: Tasting Tea: Young Hyson Tea Organic; Main Tea: Apricot Brandy Black.

These are some of the teas we will be using in class over the next few weeks.

This is the tasting tea. I use a variety of tea companies but they are all available on Amazon. You can see that the tea leaves are green in color. Brewing recommendations: Pour 8-12 oz of simmering water (180 degrees F.) over 1 tsp. of tea. Steep 2-3 minutes.

This is the main tea and it is a black tea with little bits of Apricot mixed in for a slightly fruity flavor. Brewing recommendations: .5 TBS – 2 TBS in 8-12 oz. of water at 212 degrees F. for 3 minutes.

Generally, the blacker the tea the hotter the water for brewing. Brewing times are really geared to individual tastes. Some folks like their tea to be really strong while others prefer a lighter brew. There’s no absolute. The instructions given by the tea company are for the optimum flavor but really each individual decides what that might be.

It’s always an adventure trying new teas. We’ll hope these two turn out to be a good choice.

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