Jan 242012
 

The little yellow teapot in the centre of the table draws my eyes like a beacon as I walk through the door into the modern, spacious, arty space.

Our hosts today are Jackie and Peter. Peter, lovely chap though he is, seems almost insubstantial next to his other half, who seems to glow with inner warmth as she welcomes me in to join the throng.

To my left I see that odd young man in a dressing gown. Someone suggested his name was Thomas, but I don’t know. Every so often he bursts forth , Wilde-like, with some funny utterance, but then prefers to slip back into the shadows.

Sitting next to him, as I suspected, is Milly. Beneath the harmless old lady exterior that she likes to play on is a keen wit, a sharp eye, saucy humour and a big heart. It’s like a variation on Angela Lansbury’s most famous role, except here, it’s “Tea, She Wrote” and there’s a lot more double entendres. Wellington snores at her feet.

My eyes skip over Cynthia — I know who she is, but she’s kind of hard to spot next to her partner Estella, who is handing her a small glass of Oriental Beauty, or “Bug-Chewed Oolong” as it’s often – and accurately – described.

It’s not hard to see why I find Estella fascinating. It could be just the natural curiosity to see things that are different to oneself — the fascination of the lesbian to the heterosexual man, the intrigue of the dyed-in-the-wool Marxist-Pinko-Socialist-Communist-whatever to an insipid, vaguely Orwell-inspired social-liberal-conservative-democrat like myself, or even the fact that Canadians and Australians share a common British ancestry and fear of becoming American.

But I suspect it’s more to do with the way she rails against injustice, wears her heart on her sleeve and can find humour in the blackest of situations.

Obviously, my place is on the other side of the table, with the Antipodean contingent. Hazel is there, steadfastly refusing to drink tea. Hard to figure out why she hangs with this crowd, except that she shares our tilt on life and we all think the world of her. She’s laughing, which seems to be an almost permanant state.

I sit in the middle between Hazel and Meredith, who is as Australian as I am but is forced to live in exile in New Zealand. I note that not only does she have an enigmatic nametag, but her teapot is also sporting a nametag.

At that moment, Liss and Ken come in; contrasting world weary and well-travelled with youthful exuberance. Ken’s already joking with Jackie; as usual much laughter ensues.

Peter pours Liss a nice green and we chat amongst ourselves. I enquire after The Literatus, but no-one’s seen him for a while.

On an easel is a photo of our last gathering, from the Tea and Coffee Brewery in Temecula, Dianne steeping heroically whilst Eddie tinkles the ivories. The photographer has done masterful job, and whilst it’s unsigned, the perfect angles and the small hissing cockroach inserted into the corner tells me who it is.

Then Jackie rings a bell, the signal to get down to business. “Today, The Devotea will share something special with us”, she announces as I pull a packet of Daintree from my pocket, basking in the glow of a dozen friendly faces.


This story is brought to us by our guest contributor The Devotea.

Ed.note: This post was originally posted in late 2010 but was lost in a technical error. It has been recovered and is being reposted in honor of Milly. Rest in Peace.

Mar 302011
 

French Press for teaThe argument about the best method for brewing tea is a big one. Opinions vary from each person to the next and techniques are as varied as there are types of tea. Hardware innovations in tea brewing don’t happen very often, though every now and then a new gadget pops up on the market promising a better way to brew tea.

However, there is a modern way to brew tea – one that is better than anything that has come out in recent memory. We say modern only because it is a method that is just over a hundred years old. Compared to yixing pots, that’s practically a baby…

As a tool or method for brewing and rebrewing tea, it doesn’t get much better than the French Press. Originally created for coffee, it has since found its way into the tea world as way to brew, enjoy, and savor the agony of the leaf.

Like many things with tea, there is a secret to using it and it is easy to get it wrong.

> Click through to find out the secret of using a French Press for tea

 Posted by at 13:31
Mar 142011
 

This morning, Jackie had a brief conversation with Adagio Tea’s brick-and-mortar retail guru, Charles Cain, via Twitter. It started with a simple question posed by Charles about at what price does tea become expensive. It’s a good question and, in our opinion, really gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to challenges that the tea industry needs to overcome. The question itself speaks to the primary factors that are holding back that great Tea Revolution we’ve heard so much about and it all comes down to two things – price and availability.

[blackbirdpie id=”47282549260693504″]

Click here to read the conversation with Charles Cain and learn more about what we think

 Posted by at 12:25
Feb 232011
 

As part of our development of Tea Trade, we’ve now officially moved our blog onto the Tea Trade blogging system. Our forums are present as are all of our posts. This is an entirely new installation of Leafbox Tea.

We are completely confident with the Tea Trade blogging setup and have moved Leafbox Tea into it not only to consolidate our websites, but also as a proof-of-concept. We’ve remapped our domain, leafboxtea.com, to our new setup. The Tea Trade blogging platform is designed to help you preserve your blogging brand while giving you integrated access to the best and most robust social-based network for tea bloggers.

As we continue to develop the Tea Trade initiative, the feature set to promote and connect bloggers is only going to improve. We’ve partnered up with some of the best developers in the industry to ensure that the platform supporting Tea Trade stays modern, up-to-date and innovative.

 Posted by at 13:18
Jan 182011
 

ode to teaThree mugs of tea into the day and enlightenment finally sets in. I’ve been wondering what to write about and my thoughts turned to my relationship with tea. Yes, we all know I love it. Of course I do, or I wouldn’t be devoting all this time to writing about it, and building a whole web site dedicated to it. So, yep my loyalties to the fine leaves have been tried and tested.

Tea and I have a very special thing going and I know that. In fact, we’ve clearly hit the stage many long-term relationships are said to reach. I am 100% dedicated to this drink. I am absolutely loyal to this drink. However, I am not infatuated. I love tea, but I don’t think about it every minute of the waking day. I don’t revere it, and I don’t put it on a pedestal. I don’t spend hours gazing at it in a glass pot. I make it, I drink it and I truly enjoy it. Simple.

I know what I have with my tea. There aren’t many mysteries between us. I know what I get when I sip. I know how to make it beautifully. I know how to bring out the best of the leaves. But I’m not obsessed. Passionate, certainly – because for me there is no other. Keep reading Jackie’s ode to tea…

Nov 232010
 

There are a lot of rules for tea – there are probably more rules for tea preparation than any other drink. Even George Orwell published an essay about brewing tea – eleven rules for tea. There are fewer commandments in the Bible…

Here at Leafbox Tea, we are no different. We are currently writing an ebook about tea. Turns out, that you can’t write a book about tea without putting in brewing instructions. So, we set out to find out what the rules really are.

That’s twelve rules so far, there are a lot more. Generally though, the rules are not much more than quaint cultural holdovers which express the tastes of the people,  businesses, institutions and cultures which write them. Click through to break the rules with us…

 Posted by at 17:23
Nov 092010
 

Tea pickers wanted for modeling jobs &

promo photo shoots!

Lipton tea tin

We are: A very large tea company with small garden values. Small values in a garden, really.

We seek: Happy people, but this isn’t Disneyland. You’re not dead in paradise yet, so we’ll just settle for “people.”

Residency: Preferably from some former colony; because that means you’re not doing so well now.

Suitable candidates: We like Tamils from Sri Lanka, and lower caste Indians. Impoverished pluckers from Japan and China are quite acceptable. Model tea pickers from Africa? We could use some more. White skinned natives need not apply at all. Not that we think you would. Click through to see more qualifications