The World Is a Tea Party Presents: Your Guide to Determining What Kind of Tea Time You Are Having

Have tea like the Victorians did. Travel to other countries and experiencing tea as they do. Better yet, you can have that experience at home. This little teapot suspects that you already are and prepared this guide so you can find out. TOOOT!


Sections in This Guide


Going British at Tea Time

Going Indian at Tea Time

Going “Jane Austen” at Tea Time

Going “Mad Hatter” at Tea Time

Going Texan at Tea Time

Going Totally Turkish at Tea Time

Going Hogwarts at Tea Time

Going French at Tea Time

Going Southern at Tea Time

Going Russian at Tea Time

Going Victorian at Tea Time

See also:


5 Signs That You’re “Going British” at Tea Time


See also: Your Guide to Traditional British Desserts for Tea Time

No matter where you were born and raised, you could find your tea times taking on an increasingly British air. How do you tell if this is happening? Here are 5 signs that you’re “going British” at tea time:

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Heightened Anticipation

You start to feel a heightened sense of anticipation as tea time draws near. It begins with a dryness in your mouth and throat and progresses to watching the clock at narrower and narrower intervals (every 10 minutes, every 8 minutes, every 5 minutes, etc.). And no matter what you’re doing when tea time comes, you stop. After all, what’s more important than tea?

2 Tea Preference Changes

Where you used to grab a bottled tea from the frig or settled for a quick cuppa made from the nearest low-grade teabag, now you settle for nothing less than a top British tea brand: Twinings, PG Tips, Typhoo, Fortnum & Mason, Harrisons & Crosfield, Barry’s Tea (Irish), Bewley’s Tea (Irish), Taylors of Harrogate, Lifeboat, Brooke Bond, etc.

See also:

3 Your Methodology Realigns

Your tea time meant steeping a quick cuppa by dunking that low-grade teabag dunked in a mug of barely warm water. Now, everything halts while you heat water to a proper boil in a kettle, prepare the teapot by warming it with some hot water swished around and then poured out and then adding that British brand tea you are now preferring and letting it steep a full five minutes. And no mugs. You now find that only a fine china teacup with matching saucer will do.

4 Treats Are Now a Must

And not just any treats. No donuts here. No PB&J’s. No American-style biscuits or cookies or the new and improved Twinkie. It’s finger sandwiches, shortbread, crumpets, scones, clotted cream, fruit preserves, tarts, even sponge cakes.

5 You Tend to Have Tea in Groups

Rather than drinking that tea by yourself, you now see tea time as a more social occasion, one where you stop what you’re doing, take time not only to prepare the tea but sit down with other tea lovers and enjoy sipping, nibbling, chatting, laughing, relaxing, and unwinding from whatever tensions you’re experiencing. This is a key part of a true British tea time.

Has your tea time “gone British”?

If it has, good for you! If it hasn’t, what are you waiting for? Stop what you’re doing, go get some British brand tea, don’t forget the treats, and meet up with some friends and co-workers for a bit of cup lifting. Slurp!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going Indian” at Tea Time


Your tea time evolution takes a turn as the influence of the second largest tea exporting country in the world takes hold. How do you tell if this evolution is taking place? Here are 5 signs that you’re “going Indian” at tea time:

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Expansion

The word “masala” becomes a favorite part of your vocabulary as your eyes keeps drifting to the “chai masala” in the spice cupboard. You bought it awhile ago when shopping in the international section of the local grocery. Suddenly and perhaps a bit desperately you need to give it a go. (“Chai” means “tea” and “masala” means spice, and “chai masala” means a spice blend just for tea.)

2 Tea Preference Changes

Since you have succumbed to that Siren-like call of the chai masala, your choice of teas has had to change, too. Some are more suited to the process used for making the more authentic version of “masala chai” (spiced tea). The main tea is a CTC style of Assam. However, I have found other teas equally suitable, including English Breakfast Tea (a blend of the finest Assam, Kenyan and other choice teas) and Irish Breakfast Tea (a stout robust blend of February Kenya BP1 and 2nd flush Assam).

3 Preparation Alteration

You start heating a saucepan of milk to make cocoa, and make masala chai instead. It just sorta seems to happen. There you are with that milk all ready to go and, instead of that cocoa, you grab the tea and the masala and add some water to the saucepan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsps dry Assam tea
  • 1/8 tsp tea masala (adjust the amount as needed)
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 2/3 cups of whole milk (you could use reduced fat milk or soy “milk”, but skim/fat free milk is not recommended)

Preparation:

  • Put the tea, masala, and water in a saucepan.
  • Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Add milk and bring back to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for another 3 minutes.
  • Strain into mugs and enjoy.

4 Tea Time Treat Transformation

Scones and clotted cream and raspberry preserves are a very British treat at tea time. But as you “go Indian,” you will find yourself going for the naan and chutney instead. My favorite flavor is mango, but you might want to go with something more unusual like Spicy Tomato Chutney by Elizabethan Pantry. Naan is also good when cut into toaster slot sized pieces, lightly toasted, and then buttered.

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

You find yourself switching from a dainty dress (and even a hat and little white gloves) or a nice pair of slacks and shirt (or even a suit and tie) to more exotic attire. The sari (or saree) for women and a knee-length jacket with loose pants for the men (sometimes called a Jodhpuri suit) and some options.

See also: Tea Time Fashions

So how did you measure up?

Has your tea time “gone Indian”? If it has, good for you! If it hasn’t, what are you waiting for? Get that saucepan out, prepare some masala chai, toast some naan, and enrobe yourself appropriately. You might even want some appropriate music to set the right mood. Namaste!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going Jane Austen” at Tea Time


See also: A Jane Austen Tea Time

One of the most popular and enduring British authors is Jane Austen. She lived during the Georgian Era (1760-1820 according to one source and 1714-1811 according to another, and her lifetime spanned 16 December 1775 through 18 July 1817). She wrote at a time when women authors were not taken seriously. Women of Austen’s social status (a member of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry, according to this) usually tried to “marry well” (someone with good finances and social position), bear a bunch of children, and fulfill certain social roles (giving parties, helping local charities, etc.). Pursuing anything akin to a career, such as being a novelist, was just not done, generally speaking. Yet she did. Thank goodness, or the world would be deprived of seeing Colin Firth in the ultimate portrayal of Mr. Darcy and every actress worth her salt getting a stab at being one of Austen’s heroines, including, of course, the most well-known one: Elizabeth Bennett. So, it’s only natural for such a huge cultural influence to wash over your tea time. Here are some signs:

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

You find yourself using proper grammar, including adjectives and adverbs, and saying things like “One must always behave with proper decorum at tea time” to your guests. A sure sign that you have begun “going Jane Austen” at tea time!

2 Tea Preference Changes

Basic green (usually Chinese) and black (usually Indian) teas were the norm. You could go with Chun Mee, Hyson, or Gunpowder for the green teas and a hearty English Breakfast Blend or CTC Assam for the black teas for that “going Jane Austen” tea time.

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

You arrange for a bevy of servants to carry tables, chairs, an array of foods, and the tea, of course, out to a remote part of your vast estate for a picnic tea time à la the scene from “Emma.” Definitely a sign you’re “going Jane Austen” at tea time!

4 Austen Era Recipes Dominate

Recipes in the Georgian era called for lots of butter spread on just about everything, cream by the pintful, and up to a dozen eggs in a typical cake or pudding. Portions were smaller, though, about the size of custard cups. Even so, Georgians in the upper classes tended to overindulge, so things like gout and obesity were problematic. A typical tea time menu would include: sliced chicken and cucumber sandwiches, dilled salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, drop biscuits, freshly sliced french bread, various jellies, camembert cheese, pound cake, and almond pudding.

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

Fashion during Jane Austen’s lifetime was transitional, ranging from “Georgian” to “Regency” eras. The Georgian fashion was exaggerated with full skirts, frills, and bows (as shown in this movie), and women’s hair was piled up very high on their heads. The modern movies (like this one) show the Regency fashion that began around 1798 according to this source and that was comprised of simpler shapes and lighter fabrics with the waist line of the dress under the bust line (inspired by Grecian statues). Many portraits now around of her show her in the Regency style of dress, but many were made a half century or more after her death (see this one). You could go either way, since no official likenesses exist according to this article. One thing is certain: even contemplating which style to wear at tea time means you’re “going Jane Austen.”

Have you “gone Jane Austen”?

If so, have a great time. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!

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5 Signs You’re Going “Mad Hatter” at Tea Time


The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has a most memorable tea party, headed by a most memorable character, commonly known as The Mad Hatter. He is the brainchild of Lewis Carroll in his novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (the sequel). This character has been portrayed in a variety of ways from comical to downright frightening (the Johnny Depp version in Tim Burton’s movie). But what is a mad hatter? And how do you tell when your tea party is morphing into Carroll’s version?

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

You find yourself saying that someone is “as mad as a hatter” (the phrase comes from usage by hat makers in the 19th century of a mercury-based compound in the making of fine hats – long-term exposure caused various symptoms of mercury poisoning, including tremors and mood-swings, making them appear “mad” to others). Then you chastise your guests by saying, “You’re terribly late, you know. Naughty.” Or you tell them, “CLEAN CUP, MOVE DOWN!!!”

2 Tea Preference Changes

Nothing could be madder (or should I say madcap?) than blending Indian black teas with Rooibos (often misnomered as “red tea”) to create a totally mad cuppa for your tea party. Yet, it’s been done. And in fact a new tea company was born specializing in such a blend. Totally mad! If you find yourself serving such a blend at your tea part, you have assuredly gone “Mad Hatter”!

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

Lots of colors, teacups and plates of various patterns, an extra long table with lots of extra places, and clocks around with no hands on them are your tea party décor. You set up your table and chairs outdoors, preferably in an area that is fairly wooded, and invite the rabbits and other critters to join in.

4 Mad Tea Party Recipes Dominate

If your cake has too many layers and tilts at a precarious angle and looks like a stack of miscellany (including teapot shapes) and is frosted in a profusion of colors, then your cake, at least, has gone “Mad Hatter.”

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

You paint your face like the Johnny Depp version of the Mad Hatter, or simply don a wild red wig, you top it off with an ultra tall hat and wear a wardrobe that includes a bright purple tail coat, a waistcoat, and a stiff collared shirt. Yep, you’ve gone totally “Mad Hatter” so just give in and enjoy it!

Have You Gone Totally “Mad Hatter” yet?

If so, relax and enjoy!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going Texan” at Tea Time


Everything is bigger in Texas – at least that’s the standard saying – and tea time is no exception. So it seems logical that largeness would be one sign that you’ve “gone Texan” at your tea time. But there are other signs, some more subtle and others – well, they’re definitely Texan! However, as a fan of Bob Phillips’ show “Texas Country Reporter,” I know Texas is not just big, but varied, and so, apparently, is their approach to tea. Time to check them out.

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

Instead of saying something like “It’s time for tea,” you find yourself saying “I’m fixin’ to steep some tea” or “I’m gonna steep me some tea.” When someone offers to help you or starts giving you advice on how to proceed, you say “This ain’t my first rodeo!” Or you are visiting a friend to have tea and say, “Is that y’all’s teapot? It sure is cute!” Any of these is a sign you’re “going Texan” at tea time.

2 Tea Preference Changes

Like many in the South in the U.S., sweet tea is quite popular in Texas. Green tea with lots of sugar in a bottle seems to be everywhere year round – one brand is simply called “Texas Tea” (naturally). (There is another concoction also called “Texas Tea” that, like “Long Island Iced Tea,” is … well … lacking in that “tea” part.) But Texas has a wide variety of tearooms, such as:

  • In San Antonio – stop in at Bawdsey Manor called “a little corner of England” and run by Vicki Seder and Christine Thomas (sisters from the UK) who serve PG tips tea.
  • In Austin – you can’t go wrong at The Steeping Room, run by Emily Morrison formerly of Eastside Café and Amy March, who was a tea expert at Central Market.
  • In Dallas – there’s The Adolphus with fresh-made cakes and pastries and a pianist playing their antique Steinway piano, and Rosewood Crescent Hotel where you can choose from about 12 different teas and traditional tea time snacks.
  • In Houston – check out St. Regis Hotel’s butler service (reservations highly encouraged) serving your tea and treats, the Hotel Granduca (featuring the Royal Albert Old Country Rose teaware pattern), and the less formal Jenni’s Noodle House.
  • In Bryan – stop in where the Aggies drink their tea: The T Garden Café.

You can find more one this handy map.

If you find yourself heading to one of these places, you’re “going Texan” at tea time!

And don’t forget our site sponsor Tea Punk Teas in Granbury, Texas!

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

For those of you having your tea at home, you may find yourself heating your water in a big cast iron Dutch oven hung over an open fire outdoors à la those cowboy flicks. Right next to the barbecue pit (see #4 below). In a way, this approach to tea is akin to those “swag men” in Australia using their “billy” to heat their tea water (see Our Guide to Some Australian Teas). And the tea you serve will probably be strong enough to take that really hot water! You could find yourself drinking from a rather tall mug like the one shown above. Or your teawares can be more on the dainty side. I’ve even seen some that go for butterflies on their plates, cups, and teapots! Here’s an example:

4 Texas Recipes Dominate

As for that previously mentioned barbecue pit, it will be roasting some very un-vegan things like ribs, steaks, and sausages. Barbecue has been named by many as the top food in Texas. Accompanied by hushpuppies. So when these things pop up on your tea time menu, you are most assuredly “going Texan” at tea time!

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

Cowboy hats, cowboy boots (no spurs), a little handkerchief tied around your neck, a plaid shirt, and either blue jeans or a blue denim skirt are your choices for attire at tea time. You can also dress up if you want. One thing about Texas seems to be their spirit of the individual where you can be yourself. Even your favorite team’s sports attire is fine, as long as rivalries don’t break out. Another sign you’re “going Texan” at tea time!

Have you “gone Texan”?

If so, have a great time. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!

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5 Signs That You’re Going “Totally Turkish” at Tea Time


Turkey ranks with England and Ireland when it comes to a passion for enjoying tea. And they rival Japan for their tea ritual. Theirs isn’t as complex, but it’s just as important to them. You may find yourself getting drawn into that Turkish tea ritual without even realizing it. Here are some signs:

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

Turks love to haggle. It’s an art lost upon many of us here in the U.S. We’re so used to set prices. But there, the store owner will sit you down for tea and a nice session of congenial haggling. No respectable deal can be done otherwise. So, if you find yourself saying things like “no way that car is worth five of my best milking cows,” you may have gone Turkish at tea time. And if you ask for some “Rize tea,” you may be a lot closer than you think to being “Totally Turkish.” (Most tea grown in Turkey is from the Rize area.)

2 Tea Preference Changes

You find yourself craving a strong black or green tea (often steeped for 10-15 minutes and the leaves left in the pot). In Turkey, herbal tisanes are also popular, although mostly with tourists; the most popular are apple (elma çayı), rose hip (kuşburnu çayı), and linden flower (ıhlamur çayı). Sage tisane (ada çayı, also called “island tea”) is most popular in the Mediterranean coastal region. Your choice steering in these directions is a strong indication of your progress toward going “Totally Turkish.”

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

You steep the tea (black or green) up strong and serve in a Caydanlık (a stacked double kettle contraption). The tea goes in the top teapot and hot water is in the bottom pot. The top pot acts as a lid for that bottom pot. The tea is served hot in glasses and without milk but with some cubes of beet sugar.

4 Turkish Tea Time Recipes Dominate

Your tea time treats switch from scones and finger sandwiches to baklava (oozing honey), sweet and savory cookies, pastries, and cakes – all lavishly arrayed. You might also go with some salty biscuits and cookies (tuzlular or “salties”) often covered with sesame seeds, black cumin, and poppy seeds.

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

Bright colors are the key. Reds, greens, blues, and yellows dominate. Modesty is another key. Nothing slit down to here or hemmed up to there or so tight that no imagination is needed. Head scarves in a wide variety of styles, colors, and patterns are also common. If you find your normally somber hues (I tend to wear a lot of dark colors or black or grey or brown) replaced with these bright hues, and if your wardrobe at tea time is usually described as a notch away from something that would make even Miley Cyrus blush but now would be welcome in the most modest of locations, you have gone Turkish at tea time.

Have you gone totally “Totally Turkish” yet?

If so, just give in and enjoy it!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going Hogwarts” at Tea Time


You may not even be aware of it, but you could be “going Hogwarts” at tea time and not even realize it. The popularity of the Harry Potter series, both in books and film, is nothing short of phenomenal, so this effect is far from surprising. From that first revelation (“You’re a wizard, Harry!”) to the final battle between good and evil, the saga of Hogwarts and its professors, headmaster, and students lives on in your tea and treats. Here are some signs to look for:

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

You begin saying things like “I just conjured up some tea for us” or “I see by my crystal ball that the scones are done – time to take them out of the oven.” (This last statement may be accompanied by a flourishing of your wooden mixing spoon in a very wand-yielding manner.) You might even say something like, “Abracadabra…let this be tea!” as you pour from the teapot.

2 Tea Preference Changes

You go with some “Hogwarts black” tea or some “Slitheren green” tea in place of your normal muggle teas (things like Earl Grey, PG Tips, or Gunpowder). [Note: These “wizard teas” are not really any different from those muggle teas except for the name changes. But that’s our little secret.]

3 Suspended Candles

You start hanging candles from the ceiling (being a muggle you can’t work a spell to get them to really float like they would in the great hall of Hogwarts) at tea time. A well-lit tea time saves such disasters as dunking your “biscuit” (as the British call their cookies) in the cream pitcher instead of your teacup or plopping the jam on first instead of the clotted cream (yeah, I know you folks in Cornwall think that’s the right way to do it), or even put salt in your tea instead of sugar (actually, that might be interesting to try sometime). Just watch out that the candles aren’t too near things that are highly flammable.

4 Trained Owls

You have several owls trained to fly in, drop off that package of McVitie’s Digestives or a box of Jaffa Cakes, and fly out again. Don’t forget, though, that these owls might … uh, to put it delicately, drop off a little something extra. I’m not sure how they handle this at Hogwarts. Owl diapers maybe? Or some magic spell?

5 Wardrobe Changes

What you wear at tea time is rather important sometimes and not at others. When attending that annual tea party at Buckingham Palace, you will want to dress appropriately (women in a delicate and not too revealing dress and men in suits). When you are at a Cream Tea, more casual attire is just fine. Well, a “Hogwarts” tea time would call for it’s own fashion statement, such as those black robes the students wore. Some of you might prefer the outfit that Dolores Umbridge (portrayed by Imelda Staunton) sported in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

So how did you measure up?

Did you recognize yourself here? I know that pink outfit is really not me, but it might be you. Either way, here’s wishing you a magical tea time!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going French” at Tea Time


France has been in the news lately as having a surge in tea consumption at levels similar to what they imbibed when tea first came there courtesy of the Dutch in 1636. Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, started drinking tea in 1665, thinking it would cure his gout (a condition caused by excessive consumption of rich foods). The Marquise de la Sablière is said to have initiated the practice of adding milk to tea. Tea drinking took a severe nose dive in 1789 during the French Revolution since that beverage was associated with the monarchy. It resurged, though, about 50 years later in part due to a bit of feverish attraction to all things English taking hold. These days tea is vying with wine as one of the most popular beverages. And tea time is quite the affair. So you could well find yourself “going French” for your tea time (that’s how these things tend to go). That’s where I come in to point out the signs so you can tell how far along your transformation has gone.

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

Conversation at tea time can be lively yet should stay pleasant. And in a language common to all attending. However, even if you don’t speak French, you can find your speech morphing. Things like “oo-la-la,” “croissant,” and “merci” start popping up in your vocabulary at tea time. A sure sign you’ve “gone French.”

2 Tea Preference Changes

Flavored teas are taking over in France. The more outlandish, it seems, the better, with the major tea companies competing to see who can come up with the next big hit. However, thé au lait (tea with lots of milk added) is still popular, possibly due to the number of ex-pat Brits living there. If you find yourself serving teas like French Blend Tea or Versailles Lavender Earl Grey Tea instead of your usual strong black tea blend, you are definitely “going French” at tea time.

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

The French seem to be quite visual in their approach to things, and tea time is no exception. White dishes showcase the food and tea being served. And the colors of the foods tend to be as aimed at pleasing the eye as the palate. Accessories like a Lavender, Chocolate, Lime, or Pink Chateau Dome Cozy also “Frenchify” your tea time. If you find yourself going for those white dishes and piling up the treats in interesting arrays and keeping your teapot cozy under one of those Chateau (means “castle” or “palace”) teapot cozies, you have certainly “gone French” at tea time.

4 French-style Recipes Dominate

Be on the lookout for these treats popping up at your tea time: Hazelnut Cream Puffs, Éclairs, Orange Pate de Fruit, Petit Fours, and Almond Meringue, or for the kiddies a piece of baguette with some chocolate or Nutella spread. They are a sure sign that your tea time has “gone French.”

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

French fashion flare is world famous. So dressing up for tea time, especially when enjoyed in one of the growing number of tearooms in the country, is expected. Women wear dresses or suits in lighter colors and may also wear hats and gloves. Men wear jackets and ties. The atmosphere is a bit more formal but not “penguin suit” formal. And tea time is regarded as more of a festive, not serious, occasion. If you see yourself dressing this way for tea time, you’ve “gone French”!

Have you “gone French”?

If so, have a great time. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going Southern” at Tea Time


See also: Tea Time Treat: Southern Chicken Salad

Maybe you’ve been having tea in the afternoon in the British style or you’ve even gone Indian. Or maybe you stick with that teabag dunked in a mug of hot water. Then you notice a change coming. The signs are there — you just have to be able to recognize them. Believe it or not, you could be “going Southern” at tea time.

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

While the British have a “cuppa” or even a “spot of tea,” Southerners will be talking about the fixins for the tea. And beware how they say “Bless your heart!” It can be anything from “Aren’t you nice” to “You loathsome creature.” If one of your guests says about your tea time “Well, bless your heart,” it could be a compliment or a derision. Sometimes it’s really tricky to tell. There are more “Southernisms” that could start morphing your vocabulary, especially at that Southern tea time.

2 Tea Preference Changes

The South in the U.S. tends to prefer tea served iced. And sweetened. Very. If you find yourself switching from your hot tea to this “sweet tea” (as Southerners call it), you are truly “going Southern” at tea time. Usually, the tea used is Orange Pekoe black tea.

3 Preparation Alteration

This is sort of covered in #2, where you change from drinking your tea hot to drinking it iced, even during all but the most frigid temperatures. There are two basic methods:

1) steeping strong tea (that is, very strong as in three times as strong as normal) and pour over ice, and

2) steeping normal strength and putting in the refrigerator overnight.

Either way, lots of sugar is a key ingredient. Here are several recipes. And don’t even think of using an instant.

See also: The Sweet Tea Debate Heats Up

4 Southern Recipes Dominate

You seek out recipes online like this one to prepare for your tea time guests: Best Pumpkin Biscuits (3/4 cup of pumpkin makes them very seasonal – click on the image for the full recipe).

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

You don’t have to go all GWTW here, with a Scarlett O’Hara gown made from the drawing room curtains and a Rhett Butler suit complete with fancy vest and hat and that pencil thin moustache. But Southerners do put a bit of dress up in their tea time. And by dress up I mean that the ladies look quite feminine in a classy way and the men look very gentlemanly without the “penguin suits.” When you find yourself making similar attire decisions for that tea party, you’ve definitely “gone Southern.”

Have you “gone Southern”?

If so, have a great time, y’all. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation compete!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going Russian” at Tea Time


The world is an ever-changing place, with country border lines being redrawn almost daily. But tea remains constant. And tea time in Russia remains an important part of life. They tend not to go out for lunch or dinner but instead will invite you over for a cup of tea (almost always with food involved). The event will last from 30 minutes to two or three hours. Like the British, Russians see tea as the cure-all, solving a host of ills from stress to tension, as well as being part of any celebration or family gathering. It dominates their culture even above vodka according to some experts. Time to see if you’ve caught that “Russian tea fever.”

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary Morphage

So, your host asks if you want a refill on your cup of tea, and you say “Da!” instead of “Yes.” You pronounce your “v’s” like “w’s”. And things like “borscht” and “Romanoff” crop up as pause fillers. (By the way, the Russian word for “tea” is “Чай” but I have no idea how it’s pronounced.)

2 Tea Preference Changes

Russian Caravan tea is not named that just for the fun of it. As the story goes, this tea, usually a blend of oolong, Keemun, and Lapsang Souchong teas, was transported from the tea growing and producing regions of China (mostly in the southern and eastern provinces), India, and Sri Lanka (called Ceylon at that time) to Russia by camel caravan. The teas supposedly took on a smoky quality from the campfires where they stopped for the night. If you find yourself serving this tea, you’re “going Russian” at tea time.

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

The centerpiece of a Russian tea time is the samovar – shown in the image below with the white teapot set on top of it. The teapot holds extra strong tea. The samovar holds hot water. You pour a little tea in the tea glass (in its silver/metal holder) and add in water from the spigot on the samovar. The samovar and plenty of savories piled on the table are great signs that you’ve “gone Russian” at tea time.

4 Russian-style Recipes Dominate

A Russian open-faced pie or tart pastry called vatrushka takes front and center on your tea table. It’s made from yeast dough and filled sweetened fresh cheese, similar to a cheese Danish. Or you can fill with jam, fruit preserves, mashed vegetables, or ground meat, as shown in this recipe. Other traditional Russian dishes are also good to have at tea time: soups such as such as tyurya, okroshka, botvinya, shchi (cabbage), rassolnik, and solyanka; meat dishes such as zharkoye, offal dishes, and Pelmeni; blinis (thin pancakes made with yeasted batter); pirozhki (small buns/pies stuffed meats and/or vegetables); and more.

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

A certain fairly well-known Russian personage has been photographed more than once with his shirt off and doing things like wrestling bears, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, etc. If you guys out there find yourself doing this to entertain your tea time guests, it’s a sure sign you have gone “russkiye.” As for us of the feminine gender, the sky seems to be the limit. Russian fashion ranges from the folksy traditional to ultra-modern.

Have you “gone Russian”?

If so, have a great time. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!

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5 Signs That You’re “Going Victorian” at Tea Time


The natural thing to do in these times when nostalgia is all around us is to “go Victorian” at tea time. You don’t have to live in a house built during the Victorian era (1819-1901) for that to happen. It’s just a little thing here, a little thing there – all signs that you’re “going Victorian” at tea time! Check out the signs below to see if they apply.

Click on each photo to see details:

1 Vocabulary and Manners Morphage

Words like “peckish” and phrases like “I’ll have a spot of tea” start to cross your lips. Your “boarder house reach” seems to have been naturally curbed, along with your tendency to jump into the middle of someone else’s sentence to blurt out some thought you suddenly had. Yes, indeed, clear signs that the transformation of your tea time is beginning. Much of the use of English in Victorian times was extremely proper, and their spoken grammar was close to their written form (we tend to be much more loose when speaking versus writing). Charles Dickens’ novels are a good example of how they talked. In Victorian times, manners were considered a must to all within society and were learnt from a young age (the standard of Victorian manners and etiquette were set very high). Invitations to dinner parties or events were sent seven to ten days in advance and required an acknowledgment from the recipient. Victorian men were taught to make that iconic gesture of tipping their hat when greeting a woman, opening doors for them, and walking on the outside, something we see today but that was started during the Victorian era. The art of conversation involved listening carefully to others and never interrupting. Monopolizing conversation was considered very bad manners.

2 Tea Preference Changes

Twinings is going to be popping up at your Victorian tea time. Their English Breakfast was also enjoyed in the afternoon. Then along came their Earl Grey tea with its flavoring of oil of bergamot, created in the mid-1800s. Basic green teas from China such as gunpowder would also be available and even a Darjeeling tea blend. Such teas seem to demand a Victorian style of preparation, and serving them is a sure sign of your transformation.

3 Preparation and Presentation Alteration

Whereas your tea preparations had consisted of dunking that teabag up and down in a mug of warmish water, you now find that there is a decided element of formality that is creeping in. It starts with using a teapot for steeping. Then you find that you start switching to loose leaf tea, and a silver tea strainer makes a sudden appearance among your tea things. And, of course, nothing but bone china teacups and saucers will do for the vessel of choice from which to imbibe that tea. You find yourself drawn to those lacy tablecloths at the store (or pulling out the one you inherited from your grandmother and stuck away as too old-fashioned).

4 Victorian Recipes Dominate

Instead of some stale packaged cookies from the store with your tea, your tea table is now groaning (audibly!) under the weight of goodies such as trifles, molded ice creams, pastries from the local bakery (preferably French style), heavier dried-fruit-filled breads, and things like freshly baked gingerbread. You may also include a scone the size of one of the layers of a multi-layer cake and lots of fruit preserves, butter, and clotted cream (no one ever said that these tea times were Atkins or Weight Watchers approved). Be sure to break breads, cakes, cookies, scones, etc., before eating. Cramming them whole in your mouth would make Anne, the Duchess of Bedford, writhe in her grave. Besides, such behavior would not be seemly if you are in Victorian garb.

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

Okay, stop cramming that scone in your mouth. You’re getting crumbs all over that lovely Victorian outfit. For men, that usually meant stylish facial hair (sideburns, moustaches, and beards) that were neatly trimmed, and some variation of a suit, generally with a long coat almost to their knees, a vest, a largely knotted tie or bow tie, balloon style pants with long socks, and a large “bucket” hat. Pocket watches and canes were optional. Women’s fashion would depend on which part of the Victorian era you were emulating. They started as closer to those from the Georgian age where straight skirts were later spread over large hoops which were eventually replaced by skimmer skirts. Sleeves changed from slim to leg of mutton shapes. The corset was an essential since a cinched waist was expected. Shawls were also part of the costume. The only thing I consider problematic here is the corset. It might limit my intake ability.

Have you “gone Victorian”?

If so, have a great time. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!

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