Tea Time in Texas (podcast)Aug 3rd, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
When I drove up to Sophie Parrott’s home in Northwest Austin, Texas last Friday, she was outside hanging bunting that featured the Union Jack — the flag of the United Kingdom. She was celebrating the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England.
She was also celebrating her home country.
I was there to learn about English Tea, and knew Sophie would be the one to teach me. I knew this not only because of her English heritage, but also because she founded and operates a company called The Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Company.
The woman lives for tea. Learn more about her fascinating career before tea.
Sophie takes tea parties on the road, and back in time. “They [the client] pick an era from the nineteen twenties to the nineteen fifties, and then I bring all the decor and do all the staging to recreate a time in history when attention to detail and service were absolutely paramount.”
She’s created on site parties for small and large groups, including women, children and even men. “I put together a party for a group of men on the east side recently. It was a film noir theme, so everything was dark. And the men were real champs. They all dressed up. It was fabulous!”
This charming, effervescent tea aficionado explained to me that tea is more than just a warm, sweet, and milky beverage — it is a time of day.
Several, in fact.
“Tea begins with ‘elevensies’ which, funnily enough,” Sophie said through a little laugh, “is at 11 o’clock in the morning; that’s when you might have a ‘cuppa’ and a biscuit (cookie). Next is low tea at about three o’clock, when you might add small cakes and sandwiches to the menu. Then there’s high tea, which is a more formal affair, and also might include champagne.”
To make a great cup of tea doesn’t require specialized equipment or fancy china. Sophie offers tips for the “perfect ‘cuppa’” here.
More than the time of day, or what goes into one’s tea (“Sugar goes into the cup first, then the steeped tea and tin the milk.”), or even how one might dress for the occasion — Sophie Parrot of The Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Company says it is the “lovely ritual” of preparing tea, and sharing a cup with others that makes it so special.
So grab a mug or a fine china cup and saucer, a good friend or a good book, and brew a pot of tea. You deserve it.