Tea and Poetry Tea Party: The Tea

Ode to a Box of Tea
Pablo Neruda, from Neruda’s Garden: An Anthology of Odes

Box of tea,
like my heart,
you carried letters,
chills, eyes
enthralled in
myth-filled petals,
and also, oh,
that lost aroma
of the tea-herb, jasmine, dreams,
and a nomad’s springtime.

Since this tea party will probably be held in the evening, it is considerate to serve a decaffeinated tea along with a regular one. Don’t buy a decaffeinated tea though. Commercial tea companies use harsh chemicals in many decaffeinating processes and who needs that. The other way caffeine is removed from tea is with water—you can do that yourself!

To decaffeinate tea, warm and fill the pot with the normal amount of tea leaves. Add the boiling water (just under boiling for green or white tea) to the pot as usual but steep only for 30 seconds. Pour out the water, retaining the leaves. Immediately refill the pot with more boiling water and this time steep for the usual amount of time. This procedure removes about 90% of the caffeine and most people won’t be bothered by that remaining 10%.

I had one question that I wanted to answer about an item featured during this tea theme. Debbie asked where to find Raspberry Vinegar or whether it could be made at home. If your local grocery store doesn't carry it, there are several online sources, including You can make it yourself too. Here's how: Combine 1 1/2 cups white vinegar with 1/2 cup sugar and heat until just under boiling. Pour mixture into a quart-size glass canning jar and add 1 cup of whole raspberries. Cover with the jar lid and store in the fridge for a week. After that time, strain through cheesecloth until all solids are removed from the vinegar. Store in the fridge.

This is the final post on the Tea and Poetry Tea Party theme. Next week the tea party theme will be for May Day. Please return then for more tea party ideas, menus and recipes.