tea journal

Matchas Morsel Coconut & White Chocolate Cupacakes

 

 

This recipe makes 20. You will need to bake two batches

 INGREDIENTS

  • 429g plain flour
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 185g raw sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 spoon salt
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 375ml milk
  • 2 tsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tsp TeaEsk Matchas Morsel greeen tea powder
  • 85g shredded coconut, extra handful for toasting
  • Generous handful of white chocolate chips (optional but seriously delicious)

 

METHOD

  1. Pre heat your oven to 160 degree Celsius
  2. Grease and line a cupcake pan
  3. Using a paddle attachment for your mixer, place all dry ingredients together and mix until combined.
  4. Next add your softened butter. Place mixer on low speed for a minute then onto a medium speed until mixture resembles fine sand.
  5. In the meantime, place all your wet ingredients in a jug and whisk it well.
  6. Keeping the mixer on medium speed, pour wet ingredients in a slow and steady stream. Mix until there is no more dry ingredients showing. Tip: try not to over mix.
  7. Remove the paddle attachment and sift in TeaEsk’s Matchas Morsel along with white chocolate chips (optional), and fold in gently until no more white is showing in your batter.
  8. Your cupcake mixture is now ready to be filled into the cupcake holders. Fill 2 tablespoons per cupcake holder.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Or until skewer comes out clean when testing.
  10. Place on a cooling rack and cool down completely, before frosting is applied.
  11. Toast extra shredded coconut in a pan until golden brown. Or you can buy it already toasted.

 

 

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

I have used less sugar than a typical buttercream frosting, I find it more enjoyable. However, if you prefer it sweeter, then go on and add up to 500g of icing sugar.

 INGREDIENTS 

  • 250g softened butter
  • 380g soft icing sugar. Sifted
  • 1 tbs milk

METHOD

  1. Using a paddle attachment, place softened butter on low speed for 1 mintue then on high speed until pale in colour and creamy, about 3 minutes. You will need to stop mixer and scrape down the sides and mix again for a minute or two.
  2. Add half of the sifted icing sugar on very low speed until just mixed in. Then add the second half, on low speed again, until just mixed in. Add milk. Mixer can now go on high speed for another 2-3minutes. Scraping the sides as needed.
  3. You should have a fluffy and creamy buttercream frosting ready for your cupcakes.
  4. I used a 1M piping attachment.
  5. Once piped, sprinkle with toasted coconut and melted white chocolate. (melt white chocolate and cool down before applying. Using a spoon and fleck it across the buttercream frosting).

Watch the video

These are seriously so soft, creamy and morish that you won't be able to stop at one! You will have everyone impressed! Happy baking and always remember to have fun while creating. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Oceans of love

Mel x

August 23, 2017

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Posted in teajournal


Vanilla Chai Chocolate Chip Mufins

 

Hello Tea Lovers!

 

My Vanilla Chai Choc Chip Muffins have finally come into fruition- I am totally excited to share this recipe with you all.

If you are Chai fanatic like me, then these are a must try for the family, friends or just for a little self indulgence. They are not too naughty I promise! The original recipe was my mums banana muffin recipe but after 3 attempts I had to give the bananas up, they over powered the beautiful chai flavours too much. However, I still got to keep mum’s recipe minus the bananas. A win win for everyone!

Once you have made them a few times, its a versatile recipe to get creative and make it your own. The chai will work well with slithered almonds, shredded coconut or dried figs or anything that you think will compliment the chai.

 So without further ado, I hope you enjoy the recipe and I would love to see you share photos and don’t forget to tag TeaEsk so we can see your creations. Cheers to creating extraordinary tea moments together and remember- always have fun!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 120g olive oil butter
  • 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 170g tub of chohbani greek yogurt
  • 120ml milk
  • 9 teaspoons TeaEsk Vanilla chai loose leaf
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 small handful of Nestle milk chocolate chips 1 heaped teaspoon of honey

 

METHOD

  1. In a small saucepan, add 120ml milk and 5 teaspoon of TeaEsk Vanilla Chai. Place on the stove over low heat for 5 minutes or until the milk is warm not boiling. Take off the heat, cover and allow the tea to steep for 30 minutes. 
  2. Lightly grease your muffin tray with butter and line with paper muffin cases
  3. Once milk is infused, strain and discard the leaves.
  4. Using the last 4 teaspoons of chai, place in a blender and blend until mixture is fine. You will have some stubborn pieces, so I suggest sieving and discarding the large pieces that didn’t break down. (This is optional- you will have a stronger Chai flavour shining through the muffins if you do)
  5. Using a large bowl, cream the olive oil butter and sugar together until well combined.
  6. Add the 2 eggs and stir well.
  7. Next add the yogurt and ground up TeaEsk Vanilla Chai. Mix well.
  8. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time and gradually add the Chai infused milk.
  9. You may find that you will need to add a little more milk, just add some plain milk. The constancy should be creamy and not too runny or hard to stir.
  10. Add the teaspoon of honey, followed by the chocolate chips.
  11. Fill your paper muffin cups and sprinkle with a couple of chocolate chips on top.
  12. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked. I use a fork to check the centre of the muffins.


Happy baking!

Love Mel x

 

August 09, 2016

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Posted in teajournal


What Is Tea

Hello, tea lovers!

I apologise for being away from my blog for what seems like forever and I have to admit this article is no stranger. I started it just before launching TeaEsk and let me tell you I wasn’t very good at writing blogs (I like to think I'm getting better), so I decided to leave it until inspiration found me, so here I am.

I had my first tea training session with a café who, I am delighted to announce are TeaEsk's very first stockists. Holding that training day got me thinking again about a simple question (and the point of this blog), “What is tea”?. I see the confusion in many people, and this is partly because we are unclear of the differences between tea and “herbal tea”. Somewhere along the way tea started to fuse with herbals, labelling them as "herbal tea", and yes this maybe nerdy as my husband always tell me, but this, in fact, is incorrect. The correct term is "tisane" the French word for herbal or what I like to call “herbal infusion”. Herbal infusions are blends of herbs, spices, dried fruits and flowers that we "infuse" in hot water, and do contain tea leaf or caffeine. Knowing the difference can take the confusion away and will be useful when browsing for your next brew.

So, “What is tea”? All tea- Black, green, oolong, white and Pu-er tea, all come from the same plant called ‘Camellia Sinensis”. It's the way the fresh tea leaves have been processed that places them in the different categories. Another important point, ALL tea contains caffeine, this is good to know especially if you are caffeine sensitive; you don’t want to be drinking a cup of green tea at night if you want to get a good nights rest. Rule of thumb is that supposedly black tea contains more caffeine than green or white tea, this could be somewhat true but, unless the tea has been tested for its caffeine levels, then we don’t know for sure. And it's safe to say that yes some green tea may contain more caffeine than black. So you might want to switch to an herbal infusion for your evening beverage.

If you're ready to get nerdy with me, then read on!

Camellia Sinensis is the evergreen tea plant that we know as the tea bush. There is said to be over a thousand subvarieties, but the two most popular when talking tea is the Camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis, and the Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica, which has found their place in history.

SINENSIS VARIETAL

  • The ‘Sinensis’ varietal is native to China and was discovered around 5,000 years ago. It’s grown throughout China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and also in Southeast Asia, mainly in Darjeeling, India. 
  • This tea bush thrives the cooler temperatures at elevations of 2,000- 3,000 metres high in the mountainsides of these wonderful countries and can also survive the frosty winters.
  • This varietal partnered with high altitude means the tea leaves grow at a slower rate which yields smaller more, tender leaves resulting in softer more delicate flavours. Sinensis varietal is used to make Chinese Black tea, Green tea, and White tea.


ASSAMICA VARIETAL

  • The ‘Assamica’ varietal is native to the Assam region of India, but also grows in Sri Lanka and Africa where it enjoys a more tropical climate; it loves the heat and lots of rainfall. If there is an abundance of surrounding forestation, this creates a greenhouse effect, which in turn produces a stronger more robust tea with malty flavours. Assam black teas are a perfect example.
  • This tea plant grows at lower elevations of 600 metres to higher elevations of 2000 metres. The leaves are much larger than its cousin, the China bush. They are approximately 10-20 centimetres long and 4-8 centimetres wide, that again imparts robustness and strength in the cup. This varietal is used mainly for Black teas and Oolongs.


Tea plants are quite sensitive to ‘Terrior’ (soil, sun, altitude, longitude and humidity) and the interestingly beautiful thing is that they can absorb flavours of their surrounding environment, meaning, depending on where they are grown the flavours adjust to that particular climate of a region.

The other important part of understanding tea is oxidation, this determines what type of tea the fresh leaves are to become. I will never forget the apple comparison when I was studying. It is the simplest way to get your head around oxidation; think of an apple that you have cut. After a little while, the flesh of the apple starts to go brown; this is oxidation. The enzymes of the cut apple, when exposed to oxygen, begins the process known as "enzymatic oxidation", this is the same for tea. Once the fresh leaves are rolled, it breaks down the cell wall exposing these enzymes to oxygen causing them to brown. That is why black tea is darker in colour and more robust compared to green tea. Green tea is not oxidized, hence why it keeps its natural green colour and has lighter characteristics.

All of these elements play a significant role in the life of a tea plant, but let’s not forget about the people or should I say the real tea masters who, take the utmost care in nurturing and looking after the tea plant and manufacture it to produce the tea that we love today. 

My hope is to see tea being ordered and enjoyed more among us. With a better understanding of this old world beverage, I know we will get there and only then we can enjoy tea as much as we have come to know and love coffee. 

To get to know more about tea and how to brew the ultimate cup, take a read of my blog “How To Brew The Perfect Cup”. This will help you start a positive and enjoyable journey with tea.

Mel x

A WHISKY DATE

 

Hello fellow Tea lovers!

I have an exciting recipe to share with you that involves one our teas that you could also incorporate into some home baking. I was feeling creative last week and at an already attempted go at this recipe (which apparently didn't work out so well for me), I tried for a second time

I have been wanting to make a cocktail with Wu Yi Mountain Oolong for a little while and had initially tried my hand at making a peach syrup to infuse the tea in. I let that idea go for a little while until this one afternoon I was snacking on some dates and sipping on some of my oolong and found that the two paired very well together. A light bulb moment struck and wah-la A Whisky Date was born.

I made a date syrup, and cold brewed the oolong overnight. Because this oolong is a heavy roasted tea, it has excellent woody, slightly smokey and stone fruit characteristics and thought it would pair nicely with whisky as the base of this cocktail. Sometimes things are just meant to be!

 

Here’s how the recipe goes:

A Whiskey Date

 INGREDIENTS

  • 25 fresh dates, pitted (I used Medjool dates)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 4 teaspoons of Wu Yi Mountain Oolong 
  • Fine mesh strainer or muslin cloth is preferred
  • Chivas Regal whisky (or one that you like)

 

METHOD

  • Place the pitted dates and cold water in a saucepan
  • Using high heat, bring to a boil
  • Turn down the heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Stir every so often and with the back of a wooden spoon squash the dates. 
  • NOTE: If you see white foamy bubbles on top of the liquid, skim it off with a spoon.

  • Once 15 minutes is up let the mixture cool down

  • Grab your strainer or muslin cloth and strain the mixture. You’ll want to use a super fine mesh so you're getting the liquid as clear as possible. This may take a while so you can leave it and come back. Another tip, with your wooden spoon press on the mixture to be sure you get all that wonderful juice out of the dates. I only received about half a cup of liquid.

  • Once you have your liquid, add the oolong and let it infuse over night and covered. You can place it in the fridge if you want to.
  • Strain the tea leaves and discard them. Have a taste; it's so delicious.
  • Your syrup is now ready to use. You could totally use this on pancakes or as a sweetener in a cake or muffins :)

      

     

         

       

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    THE COCKTAIL

    I used one nip of whisky to one nip of the syrup. You can change the ratio to suit your taste buds. I used orange rind as a garnish, but you could totally use a cinnamon stick.

     

    • Place four ice cubes in a whisky glass
    • Add the whisky and tea infused date syrup and stir well
    • Thinly slice a strip of orange peel and twist it till its stays in a coil
    • Place orange peel on top of glass
    • Enjoy your Whiskey Date! It't the perfect winter warmer.

     

       

      Till next time

      Mel x

      May 06, 2016

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      Matchas Morsel Milkshake

      Matcha Milk Shake

      Hello, fellow tea drinkers!


      Apologies for being away from my Tea Journal; I had a lot going on, from travel to moving house, etc. But now that I am settled, it is great to be back and to be sharing all things tea with you again.

      Through these busy times when life gets a little too crazy, my Matchas Morsel Milkshake helps me get through the day and keeps me focused. So, I thought this easy recipe was a must to share. When I say "Milkshake" I don't really mean milkshake, there is no ice cream, or other naughty indulgences added, you will need almond milk, and you do need to shake it. I like to think of it as a healthy morning beverage that helps kick start your day! 

      Matcha has lots of wonderful benefits, it contains higher antioxidants than blueberries, helps boost your metabolism and it's going to give you long lasting energy over a three to six hour period but at the same time keep you feeling calm. Great before a gym workout!

      Matcha is an excellent choice for those of you who want to try giving up coffee or find a substitute, so I would highly recommend giving Matcha a try. You are still receiving an intense flavour and caffeine hit; the difference is tea releases caffeine at a slower rate over a longer period without feeling jittery or crashing after about an hour, and it's lighter on the stomach.

      For this recipe, I like to use organic almond milk and have discovered a new brand called “Inside Out” and I can’t tell you how addicted I am to it. It has NO added sugar, is gluten free; there are absolutely no nasties and has great taste, the best almond milk I have had by far. By all means, you can use whatever milk substitute you prefer. The only thing I would like to point out is, if you are going to use cows milk, just keep in mind that the calcium found in cows milk will counteract the absorption of nutrients found in Matcha, so I would recommend almond, coconut or soy milk.

      I always use my TeaTank when making my shake (500ml).  TeaTank is super handy I would be lost without mine, you don’t have to fuss around, you can brew and sip from the one vessel. The only exception when I don't use my TeaTank is if I am making it for guests, then I make it in a plunger.

      INGREDIENTS
      -    150ml 80 degree water
      -    1 teaspoon Matchas Morsel
      -    350ml almond milk
      -    1 teaspoon of honey or to your liking

      METHOD
      -    Boil fresh filtered or bottled water
      -    Pour into your vessel and let it cool down for 5 mins
      -    Add Mathca and give a stir
      -    Add honey
      -    Add ice cubes  
      -    Pour in almond milk
      -    Place lid on and give it a good shake so it gets frothy

      You can also have fun with this and add chia seeds or some of your favourite muesli for some added crunch!
      Happy Shaking!!

      Love Mel x

      January 20, 2016

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      Posted in tea journal


      How To Brew The Perfect Cup

       

      I will be the first one to put my hand up, in admitting that yes once upon a time I was a careless tea maker who used boiling water and paid no attention to steeping time, for any tea I made for myself or guests. If I knew then what I know now, I would be totally embarrassed serving any tea that was undrinkable. I was often left puzzled as to why my tea always tasted offensively bitter and astringent. I'm positive most of you know what I'm talking about, especially if you have ever had green.

      I bring you good news; I am here to help take the bitterness out of your cup (nobody has time for that) and to shed some light on how you can brew the perfect cup at home, that will make your tea drinking experience a more enjoyable one.

      I would like to point out that however you fancy your tea comes down to personal taste; I am sharing guidelines on what I feel is important to ensure that you have consistency and able to savor this old world beverage to it's full potential. I also recommend using this guide with good quality loose leaf tea.

      Tea is the second most-consumed beverage after water; apart from using good quality fresh tea leaves there are four important elements to remember when brewing tea.

      1.     Quality of water
      2.    Amount of tea used
      3.     Temperature
      4.     Steep time

      WATER
      In China, there is an old proverb “Water is the mother of tea”, suggesting the type of water you choose can make or break your tea drinking experience. Brewed tea is 99 percent water, so it is vital to use odour-free water that is as untreated as possible for a great tasting cup.

      Here in Australia, we are spoilt for choice with bottled water and very fortunate to have clean running water from our taps. Unfortunately, in most households tap water contains too much chlorine, which is a real destroyer to your tea, altering its taste and ruins complex flavours and aromas. In some cases, high amounts of minerals present can result in “hard” water that may result in adding nasty metallic tastes to your tea. Complete opposite, pure water like distilled that doesn’t have enough minerals and oxygen that can leave your tea flat and lifeless.

      I don't want to say that tap water shouldn't be used, and by no means am I a scientist; rather I am suggesting that there are other water sources to use that can enhance your tea experience. Cold fresh spring water is the purest and best kind to use. But let’s face it, most of us don’t have natural springs running through our back yards (wishful thinking), so filtered or bottled spring water is the next best thing.

      FILTERED WATER
      Filters are an excellent appliance to invest in as they should provide consistent, high-quality water. They can remove sediments, chlorine, and impurities from your tap water, allowing for a ‘cleaner’ taste so that tea's true characteristics and subtle aromas can shine through.

      BOTTLED SPRING WATER
      Bottled spring water should contain a neutral PH balance and a healthy amount of nutrients, minerals and oxygen to brew a delicious cup of tea. If bottled water is to become your preference, I would recommend comparing two or three against each other to see which suits you and your tea best.

      The bottom line is, that no matter how great your tea leaves are or how amazing your teapot is if you use poor quality water it will result in a poor tasting tea.


      AMOUNT OF TEA USED
      Something as simple as adding too much or not enough tea leaves can alter the way your brewed tea tastes. This topic has been debated many times on what the universal standard for tea to cup ratio should be, this is for Western style brewing. The conclusion is two grams of tea per 250ml of water –one teaspoon. It is a great guideline to follow; however, I do believe this also comes down to personal taste.

      Sometimes measuring becomes tricky as tea comes in all different sizes as does tableware teaspoons. If you want to have more control on consistency, I would recommend using a measuring spoon used for cooking purposes as a guide and stick to using that one spoon. From there you can decide whether to add more or less for your perfect cup. Or you can become really professional and weigh your tea.

      A good rule of thumb is that the more "leafy" the tea- Oolong tea, the more you will have to use as they tend to produce a lighter brew. Smaller cut leaves like an English breakfast will infuse much quicker emanating in a stronger brew; therefore, the opposite applies.


      TEMPERATURE    
      Temperature is vital when making the perfect cup of tea, and where most of us go wrong. You could have the finest tea leaves, and followed all the above steps, but if you choose the incorrect temperature, some tea will be burnt and ruined.

      Choosing the correct water temperature allows the tea leaves to release the right amount of astringent tannins, flavonols (antioxidants) and amino acids, allowing the tea to show off its exceptional characteristics, subtle flavours and aromas.

      Oxygen is also important when bringing out the taste of tea, it allows the aromatic compounds in the leaves to be released- mostly volatile oils. The majority of oxygen is released when the water temperature reaches boiling point. Water should never be re-boiled or over boiled, this flattens water through distillation, leaving it “lifeless”.  

      Cooler temperatures for White, Green and greener style Oolong teas, are a must as water too hot burns the tea leaves freeing too many tannins too quickly that results in the tea to become bitter, and why so many people don't enjoy Green tea. A handy tip to remember is, the lighter in colour the tea leaves, the cooler the temperature and darker they are the hotter the water.

      The way I like to achieve cooler temperature is by always boiling the water first, and pour it into my brewing vessel to let it cool down for the appropriate amount of time needed. Then add the tea leaves.

      BREWING TEMPERATURE GUIDE

      • White tea: 80-90 degrees Celsius. Two-minute cool down.
      • Green Tea (Chinese): 75-80 degrees Celsius. Five-minute cool down.
      • Green Tea (Japanese): 65-75 degree Celsius. Six to seven-minute cool down.
      • Oolong Tea (Greener style): 80-85 degree Celsius. Five-minute cool down.
      • Oolong Tea (Darker style): 90 degree Celsius. One to two-minute cool down.
      • Black Tea (most styles): 100 degree Celsius. No cooling needed.

      STEEPING TIME
      Last but not least we have reached the final step on brewing the perfect cup. The amount of time you let your tea brew for will determine its strength and taste. If you love a nice strong cuppa,  I will always suggest adding an extra teaspoon of tea rather than over brewing; this will allow for added strength while still enjoying teas nuances. Over steeping any tea causes the tea to be unpleasantly astringent and does the leaf no justice at all (in my opinion). Black teas taken with milk do permit you to brew a little longer but still not to the point of overkill.

      I have shared a guideline below as a good place to start. These instructions are for Western Style brewing.

      • White Tea: 3-5 minutes. White tea can be re-brewed.
      • Green Tea: 1-3 minutes. Most good quality greens can be re-brewed.
      • Oolong Tea: 3-5 minutes. Oolongs can most definitely be re-brewed.
      • Black Tea: 2-5 minutes.

      A great guide to follow, but by all means, you can adjust this to your personal taste.

      If you made it here to the bottom, thank you for taking the time to read my article. Even if I only help one person in turning their tea experience from a mediocre one to an outstanding one, I will be happy knowing that I made that one difference. Please feel free to share with family and friends and let it be your guide to finding your perfectly brewed cup.

      Mel x
      January 08, 2016

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      Posted in tea journal


      Tea In NYC

      Today I had the pleasure of visiting Tea Drunk, a quaint tea house nestled in the East Village NY. A great place to relax, read a book and, of course, drink some of the finest tea. I would highly recommend visiting if you ever the get the chance even if you are new to tea.

      Tea Drunk is a tea house with an extensive range of all the classes of tea –Black, Oolong, Green, White and Puerh teas, and holds authenticity in Gongfu Cha, which is the Chinese tea ceremony and method on how tea is served. In Gongfu Cha quality of tea leaf is imperative, appreciating the colour of brewed liquor, aroma and, of course, the taste. You use more tea leaf to smaller amounts of water and shorter brewing times which allows for multiple steeps of the tea, enabling you to enjoy and appreciate the subtle changes in every brew.

      As I walked in the shop, pleasant aromas of sweet florals and fruits lingering in the room happily reminded me of a freshly brewed Oolong. I was welcomed warmly by a gentleman who goes by the name Dylan, who invited me to come and sit at the bar. Soft music of the Blues playing in the background, sets the mood nicely when enjoying tea. I had a feeling this was going to be good.

      After some friendly banter, he kindly served me a taste of what he explained to be a Phoenix Oolong (guessing what I could smell when I first walked in), that is from the highly revered Wu Dong Mountain, China. It was highly aromatic with notes of sweet florals and stone-fruits. This tea had a magnificent complexity of flavours with a smooth finish and lingering notes of peach. What a treat!

      Dylan asked what type of mood I was in –did I feel like something light or heavy. With a full belly after lunch I guess you could say I was in a “something light” kinda mood. Looking through the green teas, I couldn’t help but choose one of my favourites Longjing that also goes by the name of ‘Dragon Well’. It is very rare to come across an authentic Longjing as there are many copies of this famous tea, so I wasn't going to miss the chance.

      First, I was handed the dry leaves to smell –they were fresh with nutty notes of chestnuts and slightly vegetal, and then was asked to pick out a tea pet of my liking. A tea pet is a ceramic animal that sits on the tray when serving tea Gongfu style and keeps you company while drinking your tea. They had an excellent selection, but my choice was the sweet tortoise that had a jade-green shell.

      Hot water was poured back and forth between the water pitcher and the glass server about five times; this helps to cool the water down by about 10 degrees every time it is re-poured, a cooler temperature is a must for green tea. The brewed liquor was pale yellow and bright; I enjoyed the warm toasty aromas before taking my first sip. It was deliciousness in a cup; light, fresh and nutty, I was in heaven. The tea was good for three infusions and held all its wonderful flavours till the end, me savouring every last drop.

      It was an outstanding sensory experience, and I thanked Dylan for his brilliant tea service that was truly admirable. I left feeling totally satisfied with a smile from ear to ear.

      Mel x