I was privileged to speak at the Winter Afternoon Tea event of The Woman's Club of White Plains this past weekend. This is an esteemed group of professional, accomplished, philanthropic-minded women who help a great many people. I was asked to say a few words about Tea. At the planning stages, it was thought about 50 members would attend but it turned out to be their highest-attended event with over 100 present.
The Woman's Club is housed in the elegant C.V. Rich Mansion which the Club owns. The Winter Tea was held on the ground floor spread over two rooms on either side of the mansion to accommodate the very large crowd. After the members had helped themselves to a well-appointed feast of sandwiches, petit fours, assorted desserts, savories and tea, I gave them a brief background of Tea, where it originated, that it was the most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water and a few practical tips on storing and steeping Tea. Questions were plenty:
- What was the most popular Tea in the U.S.? (Answer: Overwhelmingly Black tea).
- Could an electric kettle be used to boil water? (Answer: Yes, just fill with fresh water each time).
- Was it correct to add milk first or last? (Answer: Your choice. Just add it to robust Black teas and not to all teas, especially not to milder Greens or Oolongs).
- How much Tea should be used for a cup? (Answer: Usually 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces but steeping directions should be followed).
- Can you leave tea leaves and can it oversteep? (Answer: Can work without any damage to hearty black teas but other teas would most certainly turn out bitter or too astringent).
- What about Organic? (Answer: Look for Certified Organic products. Don't be fooled by claims that Tea is grown without pesticides. It isn't. Only Organic Tea (like other organic foods) are cultivated without chemical pesticides).
It was a wonderful afternoon amid grace and civility. I received a heartfelt letter of thanks the next day: