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Thursday, July 9, 2009


Tea Friend and Tea Educator Nan Taylor, out in Southern California, is the owner of Tea Graces. Nan leads tea classes, publishes a quarterly newsletter, and speaks on various seminar topics. She is the author of The Graceful Art of Tea, now in its fourth printing.

Nan grew up in a home where tea "was a second language", and fortunately for all of us, she shares her vast knowledge in a set of 3 tutorial DVD's that I will be individually reviewing today, tomorrow (July 10), and Friday (July 11).

Tea Time Tutorial I is an energetic 45-minute DVD filled to the brim with everything you need to know (and more!) about setting a tea table and making a proper pot of tea.

Cream Tea

Nan begins with the Cream Tea - first, a definition of what it is and then a demonstration on how to prepare the table for one. Every step is carefully outlined from the tablecloth to the china, from the food to proper tea etiquette.

One of the many things I really like about this DVD are all the little extra tips (gleaned from her own experiences) that Nan shares, such as using 4" round decorative paper doilies between the teacup and saucer for noise control, and information about the many clever varieties of decorative sugars that are available for the tea table.

Afternoon Tea

Nan moves next to Afternoon Tea, demonstrating how to set the table and this time sharing suggestions for tea sandwich recipes and teatime decor ideas. She also wisely shares with her viewers the difference between Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea, and High Tea.

A pot of proper tea or a proper pot of tea???

Finally, we learn how to make a proper pot of tea (or should that be " to make a pot of proper tea"??) We are reminded that the tea beverage is the most important part of any tea party, and then Nan treats us to a brief history of tea and the development of the teacup, how to properly hold a teacup (and how not to!), a discussion on looseleaf tea versus bagged tea, and much much more. Nan then shares her personal method for preparing large quantities of tea for group functions, events, etc.

As an added grace note, Nan displays her email address and telephone number, inviting us to contact her with any questions at all we might have about tea.

This DVD (a perfect companion to Nan's Graceful Art of Tea book) is a superb teaching tool - whether for presentation at a tea gathering or as a resource for those interested in becoming a tea educator.

I can't wait until tomorrow to tell you about the second DVD in this set!

P.S. You can order these DVD's here.

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