Posts Tagged ‘leaf tea’

Swan Hotel Newby Bridge guides the way with its Tea pot lights

In 1623, near Lake Windermere, the foundations of the now very elegant Swan hotel were laid. Luckily for all us tea lovers, they are not only using tea pots for very stylish lighting. Big brown tea pots with their house blend compete for table space at breakfast as well as serving a really wonderful range of leaf tea at other times of the day  – spectacularly meeting the hearts desire of any self respecting leaf tea fanatic. I adore the decor and would very happily copy  any aspect of their beautiful interior design. Tea with Mary Kate will be rushing back to this gorgeous venue.

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Jewel coloured silk cushions greet you in this hidden courtyard as the soft blue sky warms the lavender scented breeze – it is pretty nice sitting here she notes in understatement…….

In the distance I hear the distinctive hiss of boiling water.

I raise my expectations for a more than average cup of tea that can live up to these delightful surroundings. Truth be told my dears, I already know I am onto a tea winner here. There are not too many venues that boast a separate blackboard listing their tea. I have chosen a black rose.

A moments apprehension sweeps over me. At this point, my imagination has dreamt perfection.

I need not have had a moments doubts though. Ah, leaf tea in its own brewing bag is brought with, yes, you have guessed it, extra boiling water to infuse the splendid aromatic blend. If you are ever passing Campos, I hope this has given you reason to pause and indulge in the quality leaf tea at this splendid establishment. A contented Tea with Mary Kate is thrilled the Spanish have expanded their taste beyond coffee!

a lovely cup of leaf tea in Mallorca


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After an unexpected encounter with the death mask of Mary Queen of Scots at Falkland Palace, Tea with Mary Kate was in need of some serious sustenance. Luckily Kind Kyttocks was on hand to minister tea and coziness on a rather snowy day.  And better still, a delightful discovery was the availability of proper leaf tea – can you imagine how splendid I thought that was! A lovely large brown pot of Assam arrives, accompanied with extra hot water – quite frankly my dears, any establishment is already on a winner with me for that touch alone. The soup with home made bread was divine. Tea with Mary Kate hopes to be back very soon.

Tea time at Kind Kytocks

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I have had the great fortune to meet with and visit James at Northern Tea Merchants

One sunny afternoon, I took him up on his very kind offer of an afternoon of tea tasting. It was really excellent fun and very educational.

My favourite tea of the afternoon is his black Rose congou tea.

Delightfully fragrant, it looks as good as it smells with beautiful rose petals dispersed amongst the thin twisted very black tea leaves. The tea has depth with a perfect balance of rose blended with just the right amount of black china tea.  The end result is a delightful flavour combination that is far from too sweet although rather importantly, the fragrant aroma of the rose still comes through.

The great thing about this excellent tea is that can be taken with or without milk, though if truth be told I have it with milk most of the time. What Tea with Mary Kate will not accommodate however is the tea being drunk in anything other than a gorgeous vintage china tea cup. There are standards to be maintained, my dears, I am sure you agree.

Rose Congou Leaf tea in a vintage tea cup

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A rather splendid visit to Betty’s Imperial Tea Room in Harrogate

I am aware of a distant sound, old fashioned melodies drift into my consciousness. Suddenly, I remember the instructions given when I booked, and as we sweep past the queues and up the stairs towards Betty’s rather splendid Imperial Tea Room, I see the source, a piano being played, and wonderful music emanates. Perfect timing, the table by the window has just been vacated. And there, looking out onto drifts of purple & white crocus in the splendid spring afternoon, is perfect contentment and the exciting prospect of Afternoon Tea at Betty’s.

Bettys Birthday Afternoon Tea Time Treat

How wonderful that the most difficult decision is going to be what tea to choose

Time slows along with my breathing as I opt for black rose tea. My darling guest, not unexpectedly I have to add, is opting for English Breakfast . He adds that it is a traditional choice, as I hint it is the safest and most conservative one! As the tray of tea arrives, I revel in the treat of extra teapots filled with boiling water to top up the pot of infusing leaves.The waitresses that deliver the sumptuous fare are delightful and appear to be from another era, dressed in their  pretty high necked white lace blouses and long black skirts, they could quite happily be transported back  100 years and no one would notice.

Bettys splendid afternoon Tea

Happy Birthday!

Quite unexpectedly, a beautiful flower decorated cake appears, the flame of the candle burning bright as the piano plays “happy birthday”. The joy of the memory still endures as I recall the occasion. Quite honestly, I am plotting to think of any excuse to more frequently repeat this rather sophisticated birthday tea.

Bettys birthday cake

Tea with Mary Kate Adores Betty’s Tea Rooms

It feels intimate, old fashioned and rather special. The noise of teaspoons chinking against china, quiet conversation echo’s beneath the noise of the piano, Betty’s is clearly a well oiled machine, efficient, yet attentive, that delivers that rare atmosphere of a quintesionally British tea room.

Oh, and to let you into a secret, the ladies bathroom is quite the most splendid I have come across. It does make such a lovely change to powder one’s nose in such a pleasant atmosphere. Although far from the first time I have visited, Betty’s continues to delight. I highly recommend a visit.

Splendid Ladies rooms at Bettys

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I was enchanted by a marvellous demonstration on how to make a corsage at the RHS flower show in Cardiff.  I loitered just long enough, and was given a beautiful rose corsage, just the inspiration for a rose inspired Vintage Afternoon Tea.

Make it special – Send an invitation for a rose inspired Vintage Afternoon Tea.

The sheer delight of receiving such an invitation is a signal that it is special. I think 3.30pm is the perfect time, ideal to do your preparations, and still have enough time for you to get ready too.

Elegance Vintage Attire is just the ticket

Your invitation could include a dress code, I would suggest nothing too complex or expensive, but something that will mark the event as a special occasion, which of course it is! I am enchanted by the elegance of a 1940s vintage tea dress, it conjures up waitresses in black and white uniforms serving an elegant clientele, quintessentially the perfect outfit for afternoon tea.

A rose corsage for each of your guests as they arrive is such a lovely gift.

I adore those corsages that are designed to be worn on your wrist, so very vintage! Do choose a perfumed rose, and the smell will be gorgeous. A creative alternative is to make them as part of your afternoon tea event on the day.

What really makes a vintage afternoon tea  is authentic vintage crockery

Of course, lay the table the vintage table cloths. In my imagination, there is chatter and the sound of teaspoons chinking on bone china. Harlequin sets are quite lovely, and you are feeling terribly generous, you could even give everyone their tea cups as a gift from the day. A favourite vintage china tea cup of mine at the moment is this beautiful Wellington china cup –  I love the bright yellow contrast to the stylish pink roses.


Beautiful vintage crockery makes all the difference


Another key element is a vintage Cake stand to display all those gorgeous sandwiches and cakes.

What you choose to serve is of course up to you but delicate sandwiches are a must. It could be a Welsh inspired theme. I look for inspiration in yesteryear cookery books like Mrs Beetons household management. For my rose themed tea, I’m planning on creating rose scented panna cotta.

No ifs, no buts, no maybes, Leaf Tea it must be!

The only rule I have stipulated for this rose inspired vintage afternoon tea event  is that the tea must be leaf tea. But oh, I hear you sigh, hesitating, what about washing out the teapots afterwards? Dismiss that minor inconvenience immediately – it is a vintage tea after all, where there would never have been a bag option – and leaf tea tastes so much better! I’ll be choosing a rose flavoured leaf tea, in keeping with the rose inspired vintage afternoon tea theme. As it’s fairly unusual, I’m looking forward to the novelty in exploring quite a different flavour. And you can always have a less exotic  but gorgeous blend on standby for those that are feeling less experimental. A personal favourite is Yorkshire Gold, a wonderful blend, with a good strong flavour, and to my palate has a gentle aromatic hint of peaches.

No reason is too big, too small, all it takes is the idea and some encouragement to motivate you!

Tea with Mary Kate is all about inspiration for living life, with idea’s for events that provide the motivation to connect with those who are important to us. Your Rose inspired Vintage Afternoon Tea could be to celebrate a birthday, to raise money for a charity event, or just to have a lovely girlie afternoon together.

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