Sunday, October 7, 2012


Since we opened The Berry Tea Shop over 21/2 years ago we have pretty much worked every Saturday and Sunday, as this is when Berry is at it's busiest.  We usually have our days off on Monday & Tuesday but it's just not the same as sharing the weekend with everyone else.  Today was the first Sunday we had off in a while and it really felt like Sunday (if that makes sense?).   I actually got up early and headed out to the Berry Market then realised I wasn't actually that early as the clock's had gone forward.  There were lots of people out and about and I found it hard to find a parking spot - not usually a problem in Berry.

I happened to find a parking space outside the CWA and was lured in by the sign out the front.  It was a bit early for tea and scones (even for me) but I wandered inside as they were having a car boot sale.

 Unfortunately I didn't find anything there but those scones sure did smell good.  I wandered across the road to the markets and picked up a couple of little treasures...

 A vintage Royal Albert cup and saucer and a few Wedgewood plates (for the shop, of course!)

A few vintage buttons, some thread and an old sewing magazine.  

 And a cute little skirt which was made by a lovely local girl called Marty of Harp Handmade.

After a good few hours browsing the wonderful stalls, I headed home to spend some time in the garden.  I was very excited to see that our seedlings had emerged and are almost ready to planted.  We'll hopefully have lots of home-grown vegies in no time!

The best part of the day was sitting down to a beautiful Sunday roast (again not the same on a Monday) and spending a few hours reading the papers.

I'm now feeling very relaxed and ready for a busy week ahead...

Hope you all enjoyed your Sunday?

Paulina xo

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012 Darjeeling Teas now in store

Darjeeling tea is tea that is grown in the Darjeeling district of India and is known as the "Champagne" of teas.  Tea from this region is some of the best in the world.

Plucking season begins with the first flush of new growth in March and April. Following a short period of dormancy, the plants put forth a second flush that is picked from May into June. The summer months bring daily heavy rains from July until September, yielding a monsoon flush. (I was surprised to find that some of the gardens had switched to green tea production during the high yield monsoon season to secure large international contracts.) The autumnal flush is picked in October and November. The cold winter months of December to February are a period of dormancy.

Two and one-half acres yield an average of only 1,200 pounds of dry tea (less than a third of the yield of gardens in Assam or Nilgiri). Each Darjeeling tea bush yields only 3 - 4 ounces of processed tea in a year. Each pound of fine tea consists of more than 9,000 individually hand plucked shoots!

 In Darjeeling what is called a garden is actually a large plantation that may cover 1,000 or more acres, and cover 1,000 feet in altitude. These plantations, established by the British in 1852, are home to hundreds of workers and their families. Most are self contained communities with their own school, hospitals and temples.

No other tea in the world carries the distinctive muscatel overtones and bright coppery color of a tea from the Darjeeling region of North Eastern India. Its appearance, liquor and aroma are instantly recognizable by tea drinkers worldwide. A Darjeeling China bush will not produce the same muscatel tones if taken from its nest on the mountain and planted in the lowlands of Dooars or Assam. Darjeeling teas owe their unique flavor partly to the type of bush and partly to the climate. 
Yet it is estimated that 40 million kilograms of tea, often marked as “Pure Darjeeling,” finds its way into the market each year. This counterfeit tea may be a copper-colored light tea grown and processed in Sri Lanka or Kenya, or it might be tea brought across the mountains from neighboring Nepal, Sikkim or Bhutan. The Tea Board of India and the Darjeeling Tea Association have decided that to protect their unequalled reputation - and prices - their product must be trademarked and verified.
To make the name Darjeeling distinctive, the Tea Board of India has designed a logo now used by all producers, packers and exporters of Darjeeling tea. Application must be made with the Tea Board of India for its use.  Hopefully, this branding will give assurance to consumers that they are buying authentic Darjeeling tea.
 We now have some beautiful Darjeeling 1st and 2nd flush teas for 2012 in store:


One of the finest offerings of the Darjeeling 1st flush season from an organic garden.  A very fine  tea!
This beautiful  offering from Dooteriah is probably among the best 2nd Flush 2012 teas we will see from Darjeeling this season.

The leaf is coppery brown with a generous percentage of silver tips present. The aroma on opening the packet of dry leaves is distinctly 'Muscatel'. It promises a very brisk cup and it sure delivers on it's promise.

It brews a deep golden liquor and has a slightly oaky bouquet.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Zero Japan Ceramics

If you are looking for the perfect teapot then look no further than the range of handmade teapots from Zero Japan ceramics.  

Created by Koji Inoue, who was working at a Japanese porcelain manufacturer when he first thought of creating his own range of teapots. He longed to express his creativity; blending beautiful and functional design with rich tradition.  The idea grew so compelling, Koji quit his job one afternoon to pursue creating what is now known as Zero Japan.

In designing Zero Japan, Koji was driven by the Japanese pursuit of balance. All elements of the teapot range work in harmony with each other: the round shapes soften clear cut lines; the design combines practicality with strong, smooth shapes and interesting finishes—including a traditional Japanese style kikko crackle.

One of the most striking aspects to a Zero Japan teapot is its stainless steel lid. While it looks beautiful, Koji actually designed it to solve a problem for his mother, after she accidentally broke the lid of her favourite teapot—it just slipped off and the porcelain shattered. Upset, she asked to Koji to please find her a spare lid she could use but he could not find one. In fact, Koji discovered that many Japanese households had similar experiences, having no lid for beautiful teapots as they often slipped and broke. Koji ended up buying his mother a new teapot.

With this in mind, he started designing the durable, stainless steel clip-on lid featured on all Zero Japan teapots. It allows the pot to be easily used with one hand; as the lid is clipped on, it will not fall off. Needless to say, Koji's mother was very happy!

With so many colours, finishes and shapes to choose from there is one to suit every style and personality. The spout of every Zero Japan teapot is created by hand, so each lip pours a long, thin stream of steaming tea which falls precisely into your cup. The attention to detail is such hand-checks every pot. Koji knows that a beautiful looking teapot alone does not make beautiful tasting tea—so he put a lot of effort and thought into creating what lies under each lid.

A stainless steel infuser is suspended over the rim, which, after your first cup, keeps the tea leaves clear of the water to prevent over brewing, and ensures every cup of tea tastes as good as the first. This is particularly useful when brewing Japanese or Chinese tea, which can be used for several infusions. The filter cup is wide and deep, giving the tea leaves enough room to fully unfold and release their flavour.

Tea is as much a ritual as it is a beverage and in cultures all over the world it is a time to gather with special people and pause; to enjoy each other’s company and tell each other stories. We invite you to share your own story through your own Zero Japan teapot.

We have a large range of Zero Japan teapots available in store or on our website:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

YiXing Teapots aka Clay teapots

YiXing (pronounced ee-shing) teapots have long been known in China for their simple beauty and unique tea brewing qualities.   These handmade Clay teapots have been praised for the way in which they "drive away the smell of boiled water but do not rob the tea of its aroma".

Archaeological excavations reveal that as early as the Song Dynasty (10th century) potters near Yixing, a small town located a little way inland from Shanghai, were using local zisha clay to make utensils that could have functioned as teapots.   Zisha or "purple sand" refers to the locally occurring clay, which fires to a variety of rich brown colours.

Yixing teapots are meant for use with black and oolong teas, as well as aged Puerh tea. They can also be used for green or white tea, but the water must be allowed to cool to around 85 degrees Celsius before pouring the water into the pot. Yixing teapots absorb a tiny amount of tea into the pot during brewing. After prolonged use, the pot will develop a coating that retains the flavor and color of the tea. It is for this reason that soap should not be used to clean Yixing teapots. Instead, it should be rinsed with fresh water and allowed to air-dry. A studious tea connoisseur will only steep one type of tea in a particular pot, so as not to corrupt the flavor that has been absorbed.

Chinese Yixing Teapots are considered by some connoisseurs as the best possible way to steep tea.  We love our little clay teapots and just wanted to share a little of their beauty and mystery with the world x

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tea of the Month - Warm Spice

Winter's coming.......... the smell of burning log fires in the air, autumn leaves rustling by in the wind and the winter wardrobe has new additions. Our tea of the month, Warm Spice,  finds itself very appropriate.

Warm Spice is an enciting blend of warming spices and fruit pieces - cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, citrus peel and apple - combined with Rooibos tea. The perfect caffeine-free pick me up. 

For May ONLY buy Warm Spice online at 20% off. 


Happy Mothers Day

We would love to wish all the beautiful mothers out there, a very Happy Mothers Day!!!!

Treat yourself or request that a loved one (if they have not yet responded to the deep desires of your heart) make you a delicious and large pot of tea, along side a little treat of your choice.  You deserve it.

It is in the event of taking time to have a tea that we can reflect on our blessings, disappointments and victories in life, love and the adventure of it all.

Mothers, drink up!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Royal Albert

 Established in 1896, Royal Albert is inspired by everything English - the country garden and the national flower, the rose. Quintessentially English, Royal Albert Giftware and Tableware is both traditional and avant-garde.

Royal Albert has been dedicated to English grace, elegance, and romance since Victorian times and is completely 'passionate about florals'. We are so excited to have the new Royal Albert range in store this weekend, just in time for mothers day! Classic, elegant and very British - the ultimate way to enjoy the traditions of English tea.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Milk in First or Second?

We often get asked this question by customers and everyone has different views on the subject.  Scientists at The Royal Society of Chemistry (London) believe the correct way is to put the milk in first because the hot tea homogenizes the fats in the milk.  However, our theory is it is better to put the milk in second so you can tell exactly how much you will need.  We often have customers fill half of their cup with milk then add their tea and then say "Ooh, this tea's a bit weak!". 

Pouring the tea in first was said to have originated amongst the Upper Classes as a way to show off the quality of one's china and, of course, the brew itself.  English writer Nancy Mitford, who is best remembered for her series of novels about upper-class life in England and France, scathingly referred to the lower classes as MIFs, or Milk In Firsts - in the earliest days of tea drinking, milk was put in first to help protect poor quality china from cracking on contact with the tea.

The more important issue though, isn't whether you should put milk in first or second but whether you should add milk at all.  While milk often goes well with black teas it should never be drunk with light and fragrant Green Tea, Oolong Tea, White Tea or Herbal Infusions.  This may be common knowledge to most tea drinkers but to the beginner it can be a little daunting.

However, at the end of the day,  there's no right or wrong way to take your tea - the best way is exactly how you like it!

Enjoy x

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Inspirational Messages for 2012

Love these little messages from Cristina Re (stationery designer). Just wanted to share this bit of inspiration with you all and wish you a beautiful, magical and creative year ahead...
Stay tuned for lots of exciting new products and happenings in 2012.

Lots of love,

Paulina and Cliff xoxo