Thursday, February 25, 2021

Interview: Alex Ahearn

Alex Ahearn (Photo courtesy of Alex Ahearn)

I'm so excited to bring back tea industry interviews! Today I have an interview with an amazing tea friend Alex Ahearn, who has been studying tea from an early age. His knowledge and passion for tea is infectious, as is his convivial personality.

Alex recently published his beautiful book Flowers + Tea, an amazing combination of poetry, flower photography, and tea evaluations. It's an eloquent expression of his love for tea, and I highly recommend it. He has also published two baking books that incorporate tea as well as gluten free ingredients, Please Bake It and  Please Bake It (Again). Learn all about Alex and read his tips and ideas on tea drinking, below.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Tea Gifts for Every Type of Tea Lover

It's that special time of year! If you're wondering what to get your favorite tea lover for the holidays, I've compiled a list of suggestions from the beginner to the more advanced tea geek, and everyone in-between. Of course, a whole list of tea vendors as well! So let's bring on the gifts:

For Those Working From Home

Small Tea Tray: I have this exact tea tray in my office, and it's the perfect size for gongfu tea on a desk. I also like that it doesn't have any images or logos on it. Plain and simple!

Zens Travel Set: I have used this little travel set for years, and it's perfect for desk tea. It's small, easy to clean, and fun to use. I also like the minimalist design.

Small Teapot Set If you'd prefer to gift a teapot and cups but your recipient doesn't have much space, a travel set is a good option. This one also comes with a storage case to keep it safe and organized when not in use.

Travel Gaiwan Set: If a gaiwan is what you're looking for, again a travel set is a good option. It comes with everything needed for gongfu-style tea, and has a storage case.

Small Tea Kettle: If your gift recipient has room on a desk for a kettle, this one has a small footprint, and you can set your desired temperature. I've had this one for years and it doesn't disappoint.

Insulated Tea Tumbler: If having a kettle by a desk isn't an option, an insulated tumbler like this is a good way to go. I have a few of these that I keep by my desk, and they keep the water hot all day long, ready to brew up tea any time I need it. It comes in many colors and sizes.

For The Tea Beginner

Basic Teapot: A small teapot with a removable strainer is a great way to start a tea journey. I love that these pots come in cheerful colors. I have one I use almost every day when I'm in the office.

Matcha set: If you know anyone that wants to start whisking their own matcha, this set is a great way to start, and it has all the tools they'll need.

Basic Gaiwan: A sturdy gaiwan set with cups like this one is a good starter set. It's not too delicate which makes it a little less intimidating to use. Plus it has thick walls which won't burn fingers quite as easily, and comes with two cups. 

For Anyone That Needs Tea Storage

Tea Storage Box: I was recently gifted this box for review, and it's proving to be quite handy. It is beautifully made and the compartments are roomy. You can also take out the dividers and use it to store larger packages of tea or tea cakes. I decided to store cups in the compartments, since I have so many and they're tough to keep safe. It makes a lovely gift.

Small Tea Storage Jar: I have a few of these small jars in different colors and they are perfect for storing small amounts of loose leaf tea. They are airtight and attractive.

Large Tea Storage Jar: For something larger and minimalist, these get the job done. They are nice enough to leave on a counter and have the important features of being air-tight and opaque.

Storage Basket: For round tea cakes, I use one of these baskets. They can fit a few cakes, and allow for a nice amount of air-flow for the tea to breathe. A storage gift a bit more unique, and very useful.

For The Bookworm

Here are a few books about tea that I've enjoyed this year, everything for the tea beginner to those looking to go a bit deeper into tea facts and history:

A Dark History of Tea by Seren Charrington-Hollins: Tea has such a long and storied history, it's only natural to have seen many dark moments. The author gathers many of the dangerous and morbid events throughout tea history and compiles them into one well-researched book. An entertaining read for anyone looking for interesting tea history.

Tea: A Nerd's Eye View by Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace: This book has information for Tea Nerds of every kind. Everything from tea chemistry and plant biology, to how our senses perceive the flavors in tea.

Grow Your Own Tea by Christine Parks and tea historian Susan Walcott, Ph.D: For anyone interested in growing their own tea, this book covers all the basics of growing Camellia Sinensis plants at home, both indoors and out. 

Flowers + Tea: A Collection Of Works by Alexander Ahearn: This book lovingly illustrates the beauty of tea through poetry, tea evaluations and photography. A delightful book to give as a gift.

Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties by Kevin Gascoyne, Francois Marchand, and Jasmin Desharnais: While not new this year, this is a book for anyone that wants to learn more about tea. I use it frequently as a reference guide.

For the Tea Loving Teen

Boba Tea Lamp: I have seen this lamp mentioned in various places, and I'm so tempted to get it! It's so adorable. I know my Tween Tea Critic would go crazy for it.

Tea Pins: I love everything from the Tea Thoughts shop, especially these pins. A fun gift for the tea-loving teen to display on their bag or jacket of choice. Be sure to check out all her pins and other fun offerings.

Tea Shirt: Not just for teens, a fun tea shirt is a gift any tea-lover would appreciate. You can find tea shirts galore with a simple google search, and I'm partial to Alex's lovingly designed shirts where the proceeds go to the Trevor Project.

For The Tea Latte Lover

Milk Frother: There are many types of milk frothers, and I personally own this one and absolutely love it. It's more expensive than most but it warms the milk (no need to do that separately!) and can create two different foam textures. You can add tea powders directly to the milk while frothing, and you can also make hot chocolate in it, so that's a win-win in my book!

Hand-held frother: If you prefer to warm your milk in a pot, or just want something that froths, this is a great choice.

Fun Tea Mug: Of course, you'll need a nice big mug to hold that frothy tea! These mugs are beautifully hand-decorated, and are from a small woman-owned business. My link gives one design choice, and there are many others to choose from.

For The Teaware Lover That Has Everything

Trap China from Ivy's Tea: I'm always tempted by this line of cups from Ivy's Tea. It's super popular and make a great gift. And you'll be supporting a small, Black-owned business.

Cold Brew Tea Bottle: Your tea-loving friend is probably cold-brewing teas, so why not give them a bottle that is elegant, and narrow enough to fit on the door of the refrigerator. I use these all summer long.

Simple Glass Teapot and Cups:  Your friend may be a collector of amazing teaware, but do they have a basic glass tea set? I find this one to be super useful for a crowd- I love that everyone can see the color of the tea and the cups have been in my regular rotation for some time now.

Himalayan Tea Tumbler: This tea tumbler from The Tea Spot is huge (32 oz), and the double-walled stainless steel body keeps water hot for ages. Perfect for an outdoor tea session, and you can even steep right in the tumbler with the removable filter that's included.

Give The Gift of Education

If you would like to gift someone a tea class, here are just a few places offering online classes:

ITEI: International Tea Education Institute: Full disclosure- I studied for my tea sommelier certification with ITEI. I recommend it because I think the classes are comprehensive and the teachers are very knowledgeable and will be flexible with your schedule. A full range of online tea courses are offered. And mention my name to get a discount! 

TeaClassics: I can't think of anyone more knowledgeable about tea and food than Yoon Hee Kim. She offers tea education and regional cooking services including a wide variety of tea classes, traditional Korean regional cuisines, tea meditation, Korean tea ceremony, and tea tastings. 

Tea Blending Sisters: If you are interested in learning how to create tea blends, look no further than a class with JoAni Johnson of Tea Blending Sisters. Tea blending is part science, and part art form, and she will teach you everything you need to know to create memorable tea blends.

World Tea Academy: A resource for all sorts of tea certifications and classes.

Being Tea: A variety of tea classes and online workshops available.

MoJoosh- Offering unique online tea seminars on everything from tastings to tea culture, to history. 

This is Great, But What About the TEA?

So if you're looking to gift tea, here are a few smaller-scale vendors I'd recommend checking out. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I think you'll find lots of options. If you are looking for specific types of teas and are still unsure where to purchase, leave a comment below, or you can send me an email.

A. Tellin Tea Company: Well crafted blends that are sold in limited quantities with hand-made packaging.

August Moon Tea: Carefully sourced Chinese tea and teaware.

Bana Tea Company: Specializing in well curated pu'erh and aged teas, woman-owned company with many years of experience.

BANGtea- Delicious and unique Taiwanese teas from small organic farms

Calabash Tea: Washington D.C based Black-owned company offering loose leaf tea with a focus on interesting blends and herbals.

Crimson Lotus Tea- Pu'erh tea specialists based in the Seattle area.

Eco-Cha Tea: Taiwanese teas sourced from family run tea farms.

Floating Leaves Tea: Seattle based vendor specializing in Taiwanese teas, teaware, and they aoffer interesting online seminars.

The Great Mississippi Tea Company: Tea grown and processed in Mississippi. Every tea I've tried is really good, and they have worked hard to perfect their processing techniques.

Happy Earth Tea: Family owned Rochester, NY based company with well curated teas and gifts, specializing in Darjeeling tea.

Hatvala Teas: A great source for Vietnamese teas

Hojicha Co: For all things hojicha (roasted Japanese green tea)! 

Hojo Tea: A Japanese tea company specializing in green tea and cast-iron teaware.

Jeni Dodd Tea: Jeni is an advocate for Nepalese tea growers and she sells an excellent small selection of teas.

Ketlee: Unique and high quality Indian teas

Kettl: NYC based, well curated and harder to find Japanese teas and beautiful teaware. 

Little Red Cup: Organic Chinese teas, with lots of sampler sets and fun tea accessories.

Lochan Tea- A good source for quality Indian teas of all kinds.

Mansa Tea: Well sourced pu'erh and other aged teas, woman-owned tea company.

Nepali Tea Traders: Family-owned Nepalese tea company

Nepal Tea LLC: Organic Nepalese teas from small farms.

Oscar Brekell's Tea Selection: Fantastic single-estate Japanese teas, specializing in sencha.

Renegade Tea Shop: Teas grown and processed in the country of Georgia.

Sage Collective: NYC Based woman-owned shop of beautiful Chinese tea and wares with an eye for beautiful design.

Senbird Tea: A good source for teas and herbs from Japan.

Song Tea & Ceramics: Beautiful teas and teaware perfect for gift-giving.

The Qi: A beautiful selection of whole-flower tisanes

The Tea Crane:  Japanese teas curated by a passionate tea teacher.

Té Company: NY Based tea shop and online retailer of delicious Taiwanese tea and amazing cookies.

Tea Side: Unique teas from lesser-known growing areas like Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos

Tea Trekker: A great source for teas, teaware, and information.

Teawala: Teas sourced directly from farmers in China, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. Woman-owned tea company.

Tillerman Tea: Taiwanese teas sourced directly from farmers.

UNYTEA: A fun range of carefully sourced teas, from a passionate seller.

Young Mountain Tea: Selling Indian teas that empower the grower and the surrounding community

Please also see my list of Black-Owned tea companies to support this holiday season. There is a list of all sorts of tea vendors to choose from.

Happy Holidays everyone! If you're still stumped on what to get your tea-loving folks, you can always ask in the comments, or send me a note. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Book Review: Grow Your Own Tea

Did you know you can grow tea at home? I've been growing my own Camellia Sinensis plants at home for a couple of years now, mostly figuring things out as I go along. I was so excited to see the new book Grow Your Own Tea by tea farmer Christine Parks and tea historian Susan Walcott, Ph.D and couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

There are so many questions to answer before you start growing tea. Do I need seeds?  Where should I plant them? What kind of soil and light do the plants need? The questions can go on and on. This book covers all the basics of growing Camellia Sinensis plants at home, both indoors and out. 

Grow Your Own Tea: The Essentials

The information in the book is well organized and easy to follow. There are many illustrations and charts for easy reference. 

The book is written by both a tea farmer and a tea historian, and it features information on both. The book starts with some brief historical tea info and includes information on tea growers around North America and the U.K. Basics on the tea plant are explained before going deeper into the ins and outs of tea growing. 

The book is based on the authors' growing experience and has also been well researched. It gives all the necessary info on where to start your tea growing journey, and what the plants will look like as they grow. Readers are led through all the important decisions that need to be made before planting, all the way through tending adult tea plants ready for picking.

Once you have your tea plants started, what happens next? Grow Your Own Tea takes the reader through not just how to grow tea but how to care for them at various stages of their growth. The book also covers climate needs, and growing tea in colder areas. 

There are tasks to be done based on the season, making it easy to understand what your plants need, and when. There is even important information on how to take care of pests and other plant ailments. 

Grow Your Own Tea: As A Reference guide

Since my plants are already a couple of years old, I've been using this book as a helpful reference guide. I've been leafing through various chapters to learn about what else I should be doing for my little plants. My main issue lately has been the size of my plants. They seemed small for their age, and this book helped me troubleshoot why I've been having issues.

I had recently wondered why my plants were just growing straight up, and not branching out. Turns out I needed to prune them to encourage the branching! The book gives in-depth information on when and how to prune. 

Learning how to overwinter the plants is important, especially for my Brooklyn backyard seedlings. The book goes in depth on the steps to take, which has been very helpful for me.

Grow Your Own Tea: Important Extras

The book is a helpful reference guide, but also contains other interesting sections. I enjoyed reading about various tea growers throughout the US and the UK and what their experience has been.

There is even a section on growing tea in a changing climate, which is becoming more and more important. 

There are chapters on harvesting (knowing when to harvest is key) and processing tea at home. If my plants continue to thrive, perhaps one day I'll be able to try and process a batch of Brooklyn grown tea.

If you're thinking of growing tea at home, this guide is a great resource. It gives in-depth information and answered all of my questions about what to do. I'm grateful to add it to my tea library, and can see myself reaching for it often. Thank you to Timber Press for providing this copy for review.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Three Easy Iced Tea Methods

I love iced teas in the summer, they are easy to prepare and super refreshing. I've been having fun experimenting with various chilly tea-brewing methods and posting them to Instagram, and I've had many people ask me about the techniques! Here are three easy ways to have cool, refreshing teas: cold brewed, shaker chilled, and fizzy brewed. 

Cold Brewed Tea

Nothing beats a crisp cup of cold brewed tea on a hot day. It's simple to make, and just requires a little time to brew to your desired strength.

Necessary Equipment: A pitcher or vessel to brew the tea in. I love using something like this for my fridge, as it makes a large amount of tea and has a nice stopper to keep it covered. The glass is also quite strong and sturdy. Optional: loose leaf tea filters like these.

For something a little more elegant, I have a few of these, for smaller batches. They are beautiful and are great for presentation. They also fit the shelf on the fridge door.

Directions: Add about 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea per cup of water- either directly into a pitcher or into a loose leaf tea filter. Fill up with water and pop into the fridge. Brew at least 8-12 hours, but you can go longer with great results. Strain the leaves as you pour the tea if you left them in the pitcher.

Notes: Many oxidized and roasted teas won't get bitter or over-brewed this way so you can brew as long as you like. White teas also seem to do well with a long brew. Greener teas may become a bit astringent if left too long, so taste every few hours and see what you think. Don't forget to try herbals with this, as they work just as well. You can also use teabags for cold brewing, just add 2 teabags per cup of water.

If you want to sweeten your tea, make a simple syrup mixture instead of using sugar. This will dissolve fully and give you a better tasting sip.  To make simple syrup: combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Gently bring to a boil and stir until dissolved. Cool fully and you can leave in the fridge until you need to sweeten your tea.

Shaker Chilled Tea

I wrote about this flash chilling method a few years ago, and recently noticed that Té Company posted their own version, reminding me give it another try. It's a great way to have a strong cup of iced tea with an amazing texture.

Necessary Equipment: A cocktail shaker (I have this one) or a jar with a good fitting lid, ice, spoon.

Directions: Make a small pot of a double-strength hot brewed tea (if you normally use 1 tsp of tea or 1 teabag per cup of water, make it 2), brew for 10 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature. Fill about 1/3 of a cocktail shaker with ice, and pour in the tea. Shake like crazy! Té Company recommends at least 33 shakes, and I say go for more. The more you shake, the more froth you'll get. When you're done shaking, remove the lid and pour into a glass. Most shakers have a strainer-like top, be sure not to pour through this or you can damage the beautiful froth.

Notes: You can pour over ice, but I enjoy the texture of the foam without the interruption of the ice cubes.

Use a spoon to get all of that foamy goodness out of the shaker!

If you want to sweeten this brew, add some simple syrup to the ingredients in the shaker, before you shake.

Fizzy Brewed Tea

This is my newest obsession! A refreshing, festive drink that doesn't need any added sweeteners. It's as easy to make as a regular cold-brew, and is super festive and refreshing. Plus, if you're a fan of those fizzy flavored seltzers, these are a great alternative without any questionable added 'natural flavor'. I think I first came across the idea for this method from In Pursuit Of Tea's Instagram post.

Necessary Equipment: A small bottle of sparking water or seltzer. Or prepare a bottle of carbonated water if you have a SodaStream. I prefer smaller bubbles, so I use sparkling water. But go with what you like best.

Directions: Uncap a small bottle of  bubbly water and add about 1 tsp of tea per 1 cup of water. You can err on the side of less tea here, and see how you like it. It's easy to add more next time, instead of having a brew that is too strong. Put the cap back on, and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Have a taste, and see if it's ready. Not yet? Try another hour or two. Simply pour through a strainer into your glass and enjoy.

Notes: Herbal teas work great for this preparation, as do teas with floral and fruity flavors.

The tea seems to infuse much quicker in carbonated water than in still water. This is helpful since you don't want to go 8+ hours of brew time and risk loosing fizz.

If you don't want to steep directly into your fizzy water, you can make a standard cold-brew and add a few splashes of fizzy to your cup for some bubbly goodness.

I used 'Limonata Rosa' from Tielka Tea for my fizzy tea in the photo above, and the beautiful color makes it look like pink champagne! It's sweet, fruity, and beautifully floral. Such a festive sip!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Black-Owned Tea Businesses

We all need to support black-owned tea businesses. I often get questions on where to purchase tea, and I've created a comprehensive list of as many black-owned tea businesses as I can find. This list is based on recommendations, online lists, and word of mouth. Everything from local shops to online stores.

This post will be continually updated as I discover more places to add, so please add your favorites in the comments

Black-Owned Online Shops

Adjourn Tea House: Based in Virginia, this woman-owned shop specializes in limited edition, unique hand blended teas and accessories.

Bea's Wellness Teas: Woman-owned shop with a focus on functional herbal blends

The Black Leaf Tea And Culture Shop: Woman-owned shop with uniquely formulated tea blends.

Classy Hippie Tea Co: California based shop with many creative blends.

Dwell Tea Co: With a focus on tea and community, this DC based brand offers tea blends and accessories

Ellis Island Tea: Refreshing bottled iced tea and tisanes from heritage family recipes.

Hands of Sage: Mom-owned with a focus on wellness and herbal blends

Heal Her: Woman-owned with a focus on healing, the site offers various herbal blends.

Holland and Holland Teas: Family-owned company based in Virginia. Offering organic blends.

Hella Tea: Inspired by both tea and Hip-Hop culture this shop offers fun and creative blends.

Ivy's Tea Co.: Woman and herbalist owned shop inspired by pop culture and Hip-Hop. Focus on herbals and holistic health.

Kim Bees: Woman-owned shop with black tea blends and bottled teas.

Ke'Miyah's Tea: Woman-owned shop for relaxing blends and herbals.

Lady Rose Specialty Teas: Herbal teas for health and wellness, based in Virginia.

Little Urban Tea Co: Loose-leaf tea company from Virginia. Focus on naturally flavored blends.

Musicalitea: Veteran-owned, Fl based loose leaf and herbal tea seller.

Nirvana Tea: Woman-owned shop with loose leaf teas, blends and tisanes.

Rose Glow Tea Room: CBD infused tea blends from a certified tea sommelier and herbalist.

Samaya Herbals: Herbal teas and infused honeys from a woman-owned shop based in Maryland.

Sista Teas: Woman-owned online store for tea blends and accessories.

T By Daniel: Canadian tea company with wildly creative blends and a selection of pure teas.

True Serenity Tea: Offering monthly tea subscription boxes of loose leaf teas and herbal blends.

Taylor Made Holistic: Independent Online shop offering herbals and tea blends

The Tea Practitioner: Woman-owned shop based in Canada, a wide range of teas and tea kits available.

Teas With Meaning: California based, woman-owned shop that specializes in hand-crafted loose leaf seasonal blends and herbals.

TwenTea Company: Texas based, woman-owned shop with a large selection of teas and blends. 20% of all profits go toward raising awareness for suicide prevention and supporting organizations involved in suicide care.

Yes Darling: Woman-owned shop with a range of useful wellness tea blends. Soothing bath tea (large teabags to steep in your bath water) is also available.
Black-Owned Brick and Mortar And Online Shops

Brooklyn Tea: A well-loved shop in the community, they also offer pure teas and blends online as well as tea accessories.

Calabash Tea and Tonic: DC based shop with two locations. Offering loose leaf teas and blends with a focus on herbals.

Cuples Tea House: Maryland shop run by a husband and wife team. Focus on tea blends and tea events.

Ini Sips: Veteran and family owed shop based in Connecticut. They sell a range of sell loose leaf pure teas, blends, and herbals as well as tea accessories.

Just Add Honey: Based in Atlanta, GA. specialization in blends, holistic herbs and tea accessories.

Jayida Che: Family owned shop with tea blends and herbals, based in Georgia

Plentea: Toronto tea bar with an online tea company for unique blended teas.

Serengeti Tea and Spice Company: A community favorite tea shop on  125th street in Manhattan, and an online shop with everything from interesting blends to single-estate teas from Africa.

Serenity Tea Room: Family owned Maryland shop serving delicious food and teas. You can purchase loose leaf teas, bone china teaware, and even scones and curds in their online shop.

The Steeped Leaf Shop: Woman-owned shop offering a large selection of organic teas and teaware.

Teatopia: Missouri based shop selling pure and blended teas as well as food for pick-up.

Wellness Tea Therapy: Woman-owned shop based in Brooklyn, NY. Specializing in wellness blends and tea accessories.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Tea Vendors

It's a difficult time for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I've wondered how tea vendors have been faring in this unprecedented environment. I recently published a post about how Chinese Tea Vendors were doing during the pandemic, and I decided to check in with a few tea industry friends, to see how COVID-19 has affected their tea businesses.

I spoke with a few tea vendors and online sellers. I wanted to get a sample of individuals working with brick and mortar tea stores, and also those selling tea online. I had the pleasure of speaking with:

Elena Liao, co-owner of Té Company
Kevin Gascoyne co-owner of Camellia Sinensis.
David Campbell owner of Tillerman Tea
Martin Connelly owner of Little Red Cup Tea Company
Theresa Wong, owner of T-Shop
Ana Dane of In Pursuit of Tea

They gave many observations and insights on how COVID-19 is affecting their tea businesses. Read about the concerns, issues, changes in sales, and surprises they've come across, below.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tea Activities To Do At Home

It's been a tough few weeks, and I know many people have it far worse. Living in the middle of a huge COVID-19 outbreak in NYC has been tough, but my family and I are trying to take it one day at a time. Sometimes one minute at a time when even a day becomes too much.

Blogging has been tough lately as I'm working from home while making sure my family is healthy and safe. But I thought it would be helpful to put together a few tea-related things to do if you are staying at home as much as possible.

Support Small Tea Vendors
Independent tea vendors need our help now more than ever. Brick and Mortar stores have had to close, but most places are doing online sales. Pick your favorite vendors and either purchase tea, teaware or gift cards if you don't need any products right now. There are so many places to choose from. I will work on a post highlighting a few vendors soon. If you have a favorite vendor, let me know in the comments of this post and I'll include it when I write about them.

Host A Virtual Tea Gathering
It's important to stay connected to our friends, and taking some time to raise a cup with a few is a great way to connect. You can use programs such as zoom, houseparty, google hangouts or facebook messenger hangouts to get together. I'd love to set up a few hangouts so let me know if you're interested.

Take Some Tea Outside
For those of us that are able to get out of the house and walk through a park or other outdoor space, try to take your tea outside. Or even just have tea on a fire escape, balcony, or by an open window. All you need is a thermos of hot water, a brewing vessel and a cup. I've been trying to do this as much as possible, and it has helped tremendously. Feeling the crisp fresh air, listening to birds, and sipping tea while staying socially distant.

Try A Tea Meditation
I recently wrote a post about doing your own tea meditation. Just take a few minutes for yourself and really focus on your tea. No matter how you do it, give yourself a little bit of time to completely unplug from the world. I promise it'll help.

Dig Deep Into Your Tea Stash
I'm sure most of us have a sizeable tea stash at home. This is the perfect time to go through it and try some teas you've forgotten about. Or maybe teas you were saving for a rainy day. Those expensive samples? Break them out! Why not treat yourself!

Share Your Tea Knowledge
If you live with family, teach them a little bit about tea. Host a little family tea tasting. Or host a zoom session with friends who may be curious about tea. Sharing what you know is a great way to interact.

Create Tea Pairings
You know I'm all about tea pairings. It's fun to get creative and see what flavors work together, and what doesn't. Get some snacks, maybe cook or bake a few things, and get pairing! You can read a little bit about tea pairing 101 here and here.

Use All Your Teaware
Let's admit it, we all collect teaware. If you're like me you've got your favorite pieces and those that usually get left behind. It's time to dust off the things haven't used in ages. You may just find you have a new favorite that's been lurking in your cabinet, waiting for its time to shine.

Create With Tea
Do something creative with your tea. I mentioned tea pairings earlier, but you can also take tasting notes, write a tea-inspired story, paint with tea, or take photos of your tea. I look forward to my Instagram sessions, and my Tween Tea Critic has been joining me most days. I love to see what my fellow Instagrammers are doing!

Find A New Tea Book
I have a library of tea-related books, and I haven't opened every single one. When I'm ready to focus I'll probably crack a new one open and get reading. There are endless tea books out there, and even tea-focused stories. In that future post I mentioned, I'll also be listing tea books to read. Feel free to suggest your own in the comments and I'll include them.

Accept That You Won't Be Productive
Finally, please note this post is a list of things you can do, but it's not a list of things you must do. Accept that these are difficult times, and we can't focus and accomplish things the way we did before. Yes, we're at home, but that doesn't mean it's easy to get things done. We're all stressed, anxious, and distracted. Let's find ways to try and make things enjoyable, but it's not important to write a novel, become a tea scholar, or even clean the whole house. Just do what you can to get through the day.

So what ideas have I missed? I'd love it if you shared some of your tea-themed stay-at-home entertainment tips!