Friday, November 19, 2010

Tea at the Briar Patch

Cow barn in the spring in the Simmenthal.

Rats, the terrible two have discovered the bird feeders and sit on the porch steps waiting for them. Hopefully they will get tired of this and go do something else. The blue jays act as sentinels and while they haven't attacked the cats, they let everyone know if it is safe to feed or not. I moved the feeders farther from the house, hoping this will help.

I had a delicious tea this morning and a very nice chat with Carrie Tompkins, the owner of the Briar Patch , in Owego, NY. This is a small but delightful shop choc-a-block with good things to eat, taste, decorate, smell and just enjoy. Carrie has been in Owego about 3 years. She only got into tea 31/2 years ago and has already begun to blend a few teas and write a monthly article for our local paper, The Moonlighter. If you remember, I reviewed one of her teas not too long ago - Honey Lemon.

Carrie's introduction to tea was a Formosa Oolong she had at a Japanese restaurant. She found it to be so good, she wanted to learn more. She was also quite taken by the whole relaxation angle of tea and the fact it has so much less caffeine than coffee. Carrie has been making and selling beautiful candles for over 12 years and loves to experiment with blending different scents. This love of the sensual was a natural segue into the beginnings of tea blending. So far she has blended rooibus with mate, and chamomile with peppermint on her own, using European Chamomile instead of Egyptian, as she feels it has a smoother, softer edge, with more of an apple overtone. Next up is lavender with Earl Gray. I will definitely be interested in comparing that with others.

At the moment, Briar Patch carries over 50 teas and Carrie ships them around the country. She always has a big pot on the counter so you can taste the tea of the day. Today's was wonderful!
I am not a big fan of spice teas as usually the clove in them is overwhelming. However, Carrie's Cinnamon Orange Spice was really super. Very cinnamon-y and spicey, but so well balanced! The orange lightened it some and there was a definite sweetness in the brew. Although it is not an herb tea, it made me feel warm and cosy. I bought some and decided it would make a very nice holiday treat.

You can check out the Briar Patch offerings at

1 comment:

Steph said...

Oooh, I'm so glad that you enjoyed this! I am late at getting your prize off to you. I've not had time to make something I want to include. Should be off to you soon!