Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day #2 Traveling Tea Friends in Kentucky

Our group gathered for breakfast at 9:00 a.m. in the Boone Tavern Hotel dining room. Linda's daughter, Melissa, of Stockpiling Moms blog was with us for two nights and one day, and three of Linda's friends who live locally, Lynn, Patty, and Mary also joined us.

[L-R from bottom: Angela, Nancy, Me, Lori, Lynn, Patty, Melissa, Mary, and Linda]

Below is the breakfast and Sunday Brunch Chef, Cliff Mullins - a long-time family friend of Linda's, and a godchild of Mary's.

[Mary, Cliff, and Linda]

Cliff got my vote for best breakfast.  I ordered "Poached Eggs of Autumn" - Poached Eggs on a Toasted English Muffin with Mushrooms, Shaved Ham, Pimento Cheese, and Lemon Hollandaise Sauce with Weisenberger Cheese Grits.  The tea I ordered was Cherry Rose Green Tea from Elmwood Inn Fine Teas.  It was a Japanese Sencha blended with rose petals and cherries - very light, and not overly floral.

After breakfast, we gathered in the hotel lobby for some photos before departing for a tea tasting in Danville, Kentucky at Bruce & Shelley Richardson's Elmwood Inn Fine Teas.

[Front row: Melissa, Me, Maureen, Lynn, Angela, and Linda]
[Back row:  Lori, Patty, Cliff, Mary, and Nancy]

Bruce is well-known in the United States as a tea authority, author, publisher, tea blender, and tea master for the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.  Our tea tasting was scheduled for 10:00 a.m., and we were so happy Bruce was in town.

The shop is a tea lover's delight!  Lots of loose-leaf teas, tea books, and practically every kind of tea equipage imaginable.  I could have spent lots of money in there very easily!

Bruce & Shelley's son, Ben, at the check-out counter in the left photo below.

I first heard Bruce speak in 2002 at the American Tea Society gathering in Denver, Colorado. Then I had the privilege of hearing him again in 2005 at Nancy R.'s Sweet Remembrances tea room, when he was the guest speaker for the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association's first annual seminar.  He is so knowledgeable and interesting.  As Bruce spoke, his assistant, Lois, prepared three different teas for us to taste. [Left photo below.]

Bruce showed us an antique Twinings tea chest from England [left photo below], and a 2007 pu-erh tea cake from a 1,000 year old tea tree in China's Yunnan Province [right photo]. Pu-erh tea gets better with age.

Bruce definitely had the undivided attention from our group in the photos below.

The first tea we tasted was a Hawaiian tea grown by tea master, Eva Lee, called Forest White. It was hand clipped, and sun dried naturally.

The second tea we sampled was Mayor's Cup, a blend of single estate black teas from Sri Lanka, Darjeeling, and Assam.  The last tea was Temple Garden - 20% Sencha green tea, and 70% Ayurvedic herbs.  The white tea was the most expensive, but my favorite was Mayor's Cup.

Below Bruce is signing my book.  Prior to 2005 I had the habit of adding sugar to my tea before tasting it.  Bruce pointed out that sugar can mask tea's true taste, and he challenged me to taste the tea first before adding sugar.  He said I'd find that many teas taste good without it. He was right, and I rarely use sugar anymore.

I met Shelley in the summer of 2004 when my hubby and I traveled to their Elmwood Inn Tea Room before it closed, and again in 2005 when she accompanied Bruce to Pennsylvania. It was so nice to see her again.

What did I purchase at the tea shop?  A Boston Tea Party Teapot, and a tin of Abigail's Blend black tea.  It will be a great visual for U.S. tea history presentations.

After shopping we headed back to Berea to get ready for Afternoon Tea at Boone Tavern Hotel which was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. - that'll be tomorrow's post.


  1. I think I would like to move into the Boone Tavern permanently! What a scrumptious breakfast! Wow!! And what an amazing tour. Thank you for the pictures and commentary. A great learning experience.

  2. Loved seeing more photos Phyllis. You know what I like best about your trip? You didn't just order poached eggs, but "poached eggs of autumn" and I've read of other enticing names as well. Something like this is what makes the trip special I think.

  3. I, too, enjoyed reading about your gathering and seeing today's photos. I like your choice of souvenirs, too. Looking forward to reading more about the trip tomorrow.

  4. How fun seeing these photos and Bruce's shop reflects his masculine gender.

  5. This was such a great visit and, like you, I could have spent lots of money there! It's probably a good thing I had to make up my mind quickly and move on. So grateful Linda managed to arrange this trip for us!

  6. What a special gathering of friends from near and afar. So good to see you again!


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