|What is about to become one of the loveliest teas I have ever had.|
Teafarm, a local farm here in the Cowichan Valley producing and creating their original blends of amazing black, green, white and herbal teas from all over the world, including from their own farm. As part of my Love Your Farmer series, I wanted to explore what Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann have created and where the tea that I love so much comes from.
A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to spend a sunny afternoon with Victor (Margit was very busy getting ready for the week) in their tea house. He gifted me with a Moroccan tea service that to me, epitomized The Way of Tea. It is a slow process of bringing the water to just the right temperature, then cleansing the gunpowder green tea in the pot with the first pour of the water. It is then swirled about in the pot and poured out into the "truth" cup. This is one of three beautiful glass tea cups that shows the recipient that the tea has been cleansed and is ready to be prepared. Next in goes gorgeous fresh organic mint, hot water and sugar. Once it has steeped, it is poured out into a glass and then back into the pot again to fully oxygenate the tea. This beautiful process feels like such a gift. Victor shared with me that he believes that "tea is love" and I fully agree.
|Victor preparing my Moroccan tea service.|
|Gorgeous Calendula that is added to the Mysteaque tea.|
|Beautiful little tea plants growing on a terraced garden|
|The tea house|
|Margit's lovely pottery, these are wonderful to drink tea|
|Margit's sculptures, beautiful lanterns.|
|Inside the tea house. I love the light in here.|
|My tea and sweet pairing. Iced Mysteaque with an Earl Grey Chocolate cake. Tea can be|
wonderful to cook with.
|Margit in her garden.|
While you may think purchasing an artisan tea is going to cost a fortune, it actually doesn't. At Teafarm you can purchase teas in tins, 250 gram bags as well as 500 gram bags (the more you buy, the more you save). If you return your tin, you receive a 10% discount and if you venture to the Community Farm Store, you can also buy it in bulk. My tea math may not be exact, but I worked out an 80 gram tin of Teafarm tea to be about 34 cents a cup. Considering that when I go to a café to order a latte that costs me over $5.00, a tin of Teafarm Earl Grey is an amazing deal for an afternoon practice of quiet. Read here to find where you can purchase your tea.
|Victor outside the tea house. I love his passion for tea!|
Earl Grey Tea Cake
Adapted from the Wilton Yellow Cake Recipe
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cups butter
3 1/2 teaspoons Teafarm Earl Grey loose leaf tea
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups whole milk
Pour milk into small sauce pan and warm with loose tea. Before it begins to boil, take it off the heat and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain the tea leaves out with a sieve and keep the milk in a glass or a jar for later.
Preheat your oven to 350℉.
Grease two round 9 inch cake pans and line with parchment.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a mixing bowl with beaters, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.
Next add the flour and milk mixture, alternating into thirds. Once everything is in, beat for one minute longer.
Pour into cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Earl Grey Tea Frosting
1 1/3 cups unsalted butter-room temperature
3 1/2-4/12 cups icing sugar-sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 Tbsp milk
1- 1/2 tsp ground whole leaf Teafarm Earl Grey tea
Cream butter in a large bowl, with a wooden spoon works best for me. Slowly add icing sugar, continually stirring to combine. Add ground tea, vanilla and continue to beat. Add milk as needed to thin the icing.
This will make enough to ice a two layer cake. Decorate with flowers and enjoy with a friend.