Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tearoom Gaffe to Feng Shui Spring Cleaning

By Cal Orey

(Excerpts from the new The Healing
Powers of Tea)

During one of my trips to British Columbia, I visited Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver for a traditional afternoon tea. I ordered a pot of chamomile tea and the house apricot and current scones. When the tea server clad in a chenogsam arrived to my table, I was intimidated. In hindsight, perhaps a high pour of the  teapot (like “A Lot Like Love” film Oliver does for show in the restaurant scene with Chinese flue music playing in the background) would have impressed her. She left the Blue Willow China tea pot at my table. I didn’t know I was supposed to strain the tea.  
Oops. Looking down at the wilted leaves in my cup of I sulked: I thought: “How can I drink this? The leaves will get stuck in my teeth.” And, the leaves steeped too long so it was a dark yellow tea. When the server walked past my table, like a child I pointed to the flawed brew. (But at least I didn’t pick up my saucer with the cup.)  She replaced the full tea cup with wilted tea leaves floating like dead goldfish. I felt my face warm up and turn red from embarrassment because I failed tea etiquette. I asked for a doggy bag for the pricey scones, and walked out like a pup with its tail between its legs. I should have laughed at my gaffe, and offered a tea leaf reading. But remember, I am a just a health author, not a tea master.  What did I know? 

* * *
Springtime is the season to welcome your home to the art of Tea Feng Shui—the ancient Chinese art of placement—with a twist of tea and teaware... By putting stuff in the right spots in your kitchen, dining room, and outdoor deck or patio you can enhance the flow of positive “chi” or energy and avoid negative vibes, which may bring you good health and well-being. The ambiance of tearooms is light, airy, and a place to relax and rejuvenate you and yours. Read on—you, too, can learn the art of Tea Feng Shui for newbies, from room to room. 
Flaunt Tea Tins.  Some of the tin cans (such as ones from Harney and Sons) are so attractive and hold good memories when I savored each and every tea, I couldn’t toss. Instead, once empty I put them in an assorted arrangement on a large wooden shelf. The collection is pretty and gives the kitchen a homey, rustic feel—chic and shabby. 
Scent It Up. Naturally, the aroma of tea, especially herbal teas, can give you scent-sational aromas for each season. Use a coffee pot and place one teaspoon of tea leaves in the coffee filter and brew a few cups of tea. (Go ahead—use your creativity and choose your fragrance. I recommend spice teas for autumn, Chocolate-y teas for winter, fruit teas for spring, and citrus teas for summer.)

Bring out the Tea Fruit, Herbs, and Spices. Tea—hot or iced--teamed with fresh slices of lemon, orange, lime are inviting and healing. Also, whole sticks of cinnamon to springs of fresh mint are extra touches that can be added to many types of teas.

Place Tea Books in Piles. Books including the topic of tea such as baking, cooking, culture, and health can all be attractive and interesting for you and your guests. Arranging fascinating tea books in different rooms where tea is served can be attractive and timeless. Putting the cultural-type books in the living room, cookbooks in the kitchen, and health-related books in the dining room can all work well, especially when savoring a cup of tea.
 (More must have tea-infused household tips, home cures, and tearoom recipes in the new tea book!)

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Tea 2018. All right reserved. Reprinted with permission from 

Got a question about tea or honey? Ask the Healing Powers series author!  

--Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)  Her website is .

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