You can tell by now that I am pretty crazy about history! So combing tea and history has me working in my element. I was asked to host an Irish afternoon tea event at Barrington Hall, an 1839 Greek Revival style mansion in downtown Roswell, Georgia earlier this month. The building is ranked as one of the 50 most beautiful homes in Metro Atlanta and it’s been fully restored and furnished with many period and family pieces. The original owner, Roswell King’s daughter (Eva and her husband Rev. William Baker) moved into Barrington Hall in 1883 and owned a tea and coffee importing company. The Bakers have entertained some rather famous people for tea including President Theodore Roosevelt and Margaret Mitchell, so, naturally I wanted to know about the tea they imported and served and ferociously began researching.
The tea that they imported was Orange Peoke! The ‘orange’ in Peoke is sometimes mistaken to mean the tea has been flavored with actual orange. However, the word “orange” is unrelated and refers to the Dutch house of orange black tea leaves of a specific size and quality. These grading are typically used from teas from Sri Lanka, India other than China. After research I found that the closest tea I could serve was an Irish Breakfast tea (I served Punjana). Irish Breakfast has a higher proportion of Assam blended with a little Ceylon. The Assam is copper colored and what we call in Ireland ‘a hearty brew’ and it’s good with a wee spot of milk. We like to say it’s full of Malty gusto and it’s great any time of the day (if your Irish or Irish at heart).
So, I hope this inspires you to fill a kettle and enjoy a spot of Irish tea that’s been enjoyed from Victorian times and a historic pleasure we can all afford to enjoy every day!
Hope you make time for a cuppa today!
Judith the Irish foodie