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Month: November 2019

TEA: Tea Bars

TEA: Tea Bars

More and more people are hearing the term “Tea Bar” these days . . . quite frequently, really. Tea is becoming as hot as coffee was before it became ever-popular staple enjoyed now. While tea is often on the menu at coffee shops, a new type of establishment is emerging that makes tea the focus. Tea bars have started appearing in urban areas, and their popularity is causing a growth of shops that are dedicated to tea service. There are tea fusions, tea cocktails, hot tea, cold tea– whatever you can imagine, it is being explored. A tea bar is where we began custom tea blending.

What is a tea bar? Imagine if you will, the Baskin Robbins® of tea selections with even more than 31 flavours–canister after canister of ingredients lining shelves and counter tops. Many exceptional, and unbelievable, ingredients (not just tea leaves) are available to mix and match as we blend the perfect tea for the perfect occasion. Experimenting is half of the fun!

We started experimenting almost five years ago. At the White Rose Manor, we have a built a relationship with a tea-aficionado in California through our daughter’s relationship with him. One of our daughters lived there and thought we should have custom blends here at the Manor. She was so right! Now we get to share them with you!

Admittedly, some of the blends do not happen as imagined; some are better. Then again, while some flavours are not my favourites, I have found others to enjoy them– like our loose, black tea, A Black-Tie Affair with licorice root which we released three years ago at a New Year’s Eve celebration. Where else is better to experience “a black-tie affair”?

To date, we have thirteen custom teas here at the Manor, plus a Wonderland Collection of six tea packets designed with Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Listed below, we have started featuring a different one for each month of the year. “A Black-Tie Affair” and our Manor House Chai are not shown, and we have approximately 10-12 under development.

BUY TEAS HERE

  • January – “Fig”ment of your Imagination
  • February – Queen of Hearts
  • March – Maple Leaf Rag
  • April – Lavender Grey Dilly Dilly
  • May – My Fair Lady Anne
  • June – Serenity
  • July – A Golden Afternoon (part of our Wonderland collection)
  • August – Peach Blossom Special with/without Lavender
  • September – Pomberry Tea
  • October – “Just in Time for Tea” (part of our Wonderland collection)
  • November – Pearamel Delight*
  • December – Holiday Magic

We have blended some custom teas for others, like Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC. Their tea is named Southern Peach tea; in addition to serving in hot/cold, they have crafted signature cocktails using the tea as a base. We would love to work with you to create custom blend for you to enjoy and share. Call us at 704.735.6161 or email reservations@whiterosemanor.com to discuss what you might like. Discover what a fantastic, personal tea has to offer. Casual, everyday tea that is not your everyday experience.

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

*Pearamel Delight is available in November only. Holiday Magic, our Christmas blend will debut on Thanksgiving. All of our teas are available in bulk which is less expensive per ounce than the Sampler packages. Please contact us for pricing and orders (BUY TEAS HERE).

CLEANING: Laundry – Keeping Whites White and General Stain Removal

CLEANING: Laundry – Keeping Whites White and General Stain Removal

We have white towels. We have white washcloths. We have white hand towels and bathmats. Then there are our white napkins, tablecloths, sheets, and pillowcases. While all of these can be “standard issue” in a household, the white can be an underlying issue. Fair warning—long post.

When I was growing up, I thought everything should be white because you could bleach it clean. Put in washer. Add soap and bleach. Wash. Ta da! White again. This, however, was not how our housekeeper saw it. She believed that everything should be dark colours. Her rationale? “If it stains and the spot does not come out, you will never see it on dark colours.”

Enter, my grandmother. Apparently, NOT the right thing to say. And so, the lessons began.

Today, flipping to the back of Grandmother’s cookbook, the secrets of old are shared; many I learned as a young girl. Here we go–

  1. Lift any solids from the fabric. Do not rub as this only presses it further into the fibers of the fabric.
  2. Be sure to rinse the area(s) in cold water making the water flows through the fabric the reverse way the stain was created to keep it from permeating further into the fibers. Rinse as much of the residue as possible.
  3. Pre-treat and wash. Aside: We will forgo the discussions of boiling whites because that is not happening at my house.

End Grandmother’s notes. Now enters Alice and her cleverness, aka, tips/tricks learned through trial and error, and a few friends along the way.

I fully check tablecloths and sheets before they are ever removed to launder. I pre-treat simple stains with Spray ‘n’ Wash® stick where the fabric lays, then I remove and wash.

Some stains are tough! Depending on the stain type, there are ways to fight back. Chocolate, blood, lipstick, mascara, and rust (from hard water and old pipes) have always been challenges. So, here is what works for me—

Yes, definitely complete steps 1 and 2 above.

Protein stains like oil-based lipstick/make-up, blood, cooking oils, meats

  • Dawn® dish washing liquid (safe for the environment, so great when camping, too) – Rub concentrate into stain until stain is mostly/all gone. Wash as usual.
  • Spray ‘n’ Wash stick – So there is a story behind this. It does tend to work well if you act quickly. Sometimes I can even let it sit in the laundry basket until more pressing things are washed and out of the way; however, the stick does not work as well as the original Spray ‘n’ Wash aerosol from years ago. The reason? Phosphates, which were exceptional for destroying proteins, were removed from cleaners when deemed they were not safe for the environment. Nevertheless, with proper attention, the stick works well. Other people I know use Tide® sticks, but I stick to tried and true for me.
  • Wash with laundry soap and a full cup of baking soda. We will come back to the baking soda part.

Chocolate

  • LOTS of cold water until you get it ALL out, if possible.
  • Pre-treat any remaining visible signs with liberal amounts of Spray ‘n’ Wash stick.
  • Wash in cold water, laundry soap, and a full cup of baking soda.

Blood

  • LOTS of cold water until you get it ALL out, if possible.
  • Depending on the fabric and freshness of the blood, hydrogen peroxide works great! I learned that at a hospital when I wanted to save a little baby’s cap for a keepsake. Old blood is more of a challenge.

Old blood/rust/age spots – These are the awesome ones!

  • Efferdent! Yes, Efferdent—the denture cleaning tablets. Get a tub and liberally use the tablets, possibly, multiple times or even starting again with new tablets. Do not worry if the Efferdent is blue, the colour will dissipate. Believe me, I panicked the first time I saw the blue. I have never had any issues with the blue adversely affecting the fabric. Be patient! It could take a few days, but if the item is important to you, it is worth it to do it right. I brought a family heirloom Christening gown back to white with absolutely no distress to the gown.
  • Hydrogen peroxide—Depending on the fabric and freshness of the blood, hydrogen peroxide works great! I learned that at a hospital when I wanted to save a little baby’s cap for a keepsake. Old blood is more of a challenge. Persevere, but be prepared for less fortunate results, just in case.
  • Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover—Use as directed. It even removed dried blueberry juice from my grandmother’s damask napkin; I missed one when initially washing the tea napkins. Warning, in this case, the stain turned black as soon as the spot remover was applied. I shrugged, figuring it would work, or not. No risk at that point. I could not use the napkin with the stains. And, it worked! Absolutely no sign of the stains.

Back to the baking soda discussion . . . This helps keep everything fresh without fragrance and can help keep your washing machine smelling fresh, too. I buy it in large bags and use about two per month; I use it on all the laundry in the house. With regular use, it also helps neutralize body musk in clothing and sheets.

Just for fun, here are renditions of some similar tips I found. Let me know what works for you!

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stain and rub it gently into the fabric with a clean, soft cloth until the stain is gone. Do this before laundering as usual.
  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and pour it over the stain. Allow the area to saturate for 20 to 30 minutes before gently scrubbing the area with a clean, soft cloth. When the stain is gone, launder the garment as usual.
  • Rinse the garment immediately with warm running water to remove as much of the stain as possible. Apply 3% hydrogen peroxide to a clean, white cloth, and dab the area to remove the rest of the stain before washing the garment as usual.
  • Cut a lemon in half and rub it all over the stained area making sure that it’s completely saturated. Place the garment outside in the sunshine for at least an hour. Launder the garment as usual.

Please share your tips/tricks in the comments!

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

TEA: Caffeine, or No

TEA: Caffeine, or No

Did you know that teas have different caffeine levels, including none? I was speaking with a young woman last week. She did not realize that tea plants can have less caffeine during stages of early development. The white teas are harvested from early growth–the first leaves produced– and have a short harvest time because of the maturing that continues if the leaves are left on the tea tree or bush. The limited yield of an early harvest is why white teas have a tendency to be quite a bit more expensive. Green tea has more caffeine than white tea, followed by black tea. Reds and herbals are decaffeinated, if not blended with things that contain caffeine.

Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea (Source: Wikipedia). It naturally contains caffeine. Dry, black tea has more caffeine by weight than coffee, but when prepared in a cup, a brewed black tea contains significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee of the same size.

I have not tried to decaffeinate tea, so I take the label at face value, but should you need to remove some of the caffeine from your favourite teas, here is a link that shares more information. https://www.wikihow.com/Decaffeinate-Tea

We have launched our Pearamel Delight black tea blend for the fall season*. It contains black tea leaves. This tea blend is caffeinated. We also have white and green caffeinated teas. Our reds and herbals are decaffeinated. The attached photo (Source: Republic of Tea) can serve as your reference for caffeine levels, comparing coffee as well.

Enjoy a cuppa!

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

*Pearamel Delight is available in November only. Holiday Magic, our Christmas blend will debut on Thanksgiving. All of our teas are available in bulk which is less expensive per ounce than the Sampler packages. Please contact us for pricing and orders (tea@whiterosemanor.com).