Teas to Serve at an Afternoon Tea or a High Tea Party

At an afternoon tea party or high tea, the teas you offer guests are as important as the food. Choose several tea varieties to complement your teatime menu.

When planning an afternoon tea or high tea party, many people concentrate their efforts on serving delicious food. But just as much thought needs to be put into the beverages that will be offered to guests. Providing a choice of teas to match the food will enhance the whole dining experience.

With the huge range of teas on the market these days, how do you know which ones will be best for afternoon tea? Choose teas that are refreshing, satisfying, but not so strong that they overpower the dainty servings of finger sandwiches and little cakes.

Black Teas for Afternoon Tea

These can be served with or without milk, depending on individual taste. Also offer lemon slices, and a choice of sugar or honey to sweeten.

  • Darjeeling is considered to be the 'tea of teas'. Grown at high altitude in India and picked by hand at dawn, this delicate yet aromatic tea is perfect for an afternoon tea or high tea party. One variety called 'Castleton First Flush' goes well with smoked salmon savouries as well as strawberry jam and cream on scones.
  • Assam teas are also grown in India. These are a top-quality teas, tasting a little stronger than Darjeeling. Sometimes cardamon is used as a flavouring in this refreshing tea.
  • Ceylon teas from Sri Lanka are considered some of the

Specialty Coffees

What is meant by specialty coffees? Generally speaking, let's work with the term meaning any coffee that isn't mass manufactured by a retail conglomerate offering more than one product line. In other words, the coffee you find in cans in the grocery store aisle isn't specialty coffee. Nor is 99.9 percent of the instant coffee usually found on the other side of the same aisle, sometimes the same side.

What Defines Specialty Coffees?

There is one exception to this generalization (rules being made to be broken, after all). The chicory and coffee blend that New Orleans, Louisiana is renowned for qualifies as a specialty coffee. Anyone who has ever visited New Orleans, and sat outside in the sun–whether near Mardi Grass time or otherwise–with a cafe au lait and a beignet at the old French Market, knows exactly what I mean here. But Cafe du Monde is the exception.

Specialty coffee for the connoisseur is generally pure coffee, whether whole bean or blend. It is not adulterated during the roasting process with any flavoring. Flavoring, if you insist, can be added after brewing, to your cup and only your cup. This is the purist speaking.

A broader interpretation embraces both flavored and unflavored beans. The distinguishing qualification is the individual approach–the single varietal crop, the careful attention paid it, the roasting process, the grinding, the nuanced approach to blending coffees. The art of specialty coffees–that is, the growing and tasting and enjoying–is remarkably similar to that of wine. Even the …

Is Beer Good For You? The Hops in Your Favorite Brew Can Help you Fight Disease

The hops in beer might make your brew a power drink. Oregon State University has published a preliminary study, finding that the hops in your favorite beer contains a substance that has powerful anti-cancer properties. Before you settle down to watch the game, consider your diet for a moment. No, this isn't another nag session trying to convince you to eat right . . .well, maybe it is.

Beer and Xanthohumol

If your favorite beverage comes with a head, you might be happy to discover that the hops in your ale may help fight cancer. The xanthohumol in hops has been shown to inhibit a group of enzymes that can initiate the cancer process. According to Ivanhoe, the science newswire, Xanthohumol can give an assist to your body in stopping the early stages of tumor growth.

The Power of Antioxidants in Beer

Because there are powerful antioxidants in xanthohumol, the sticky substance in hops, it may help the body deal with the breakdown of bad cholesterol. Containing antioxidants more powerful than vitamin E, this may be very good news.

Hops and Menopause

Hops also have phyto-estrogens, compounds that help reduce hot flashes and fight osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. These natural vegetable hormones, which occur in black cohosh, sage, and flax seed, among other plants and seeds, are becoming more popular in the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms in women, and hops is taking its place in the growing group of plants that are leading the fight.

Super Cancer Fighting Beer

Before …

Back to School: Parents Suffer Separation Anxiety Too

Starting school can be a trying time in both a child’s and the parent’s lives, especially if it is the first time the child is going to school. There is initial excitement, but that is usually followed with apprehension and anxiety.

The first year of school brings on excitement as well as dread.

The end of summer brings many things, but none so eagerly anticipated –or feared – than the beginning of a new school year. For first time parents, this can be a particularly trying time. Separation issues begin at an early age, but can last or reappear even after they have been assumed resolved; especially when a major change in a child’s life occurs. School is definitely one of those times.

Naturally, your child will be fearful. After all, you have been a constant in his or her life since birth. Going to school – especially for an entire day – and being away from you is bound to cause anxiety. First and foremost, reassure your child that the separation isn’t permanent and that you will see each other again after school.

Establishing routines and beginning traditions can help ease the transition.

Boundaries and routines can be a source of comfort for your child, as well as yourself. Granted, it may seem that all your child wishes to do is push those boundaries and upset the routines. However, the fact that they are familiar can help ease the passage into a new routine. Establish new routines for the …