APRIL 2019


Tips for Collecting Teapots

Collecting teapots can be a very satisfying hobby that will take you across many eras of history, through many different designs and shapes. While no single article could ever hope to cover the breadth of what is involved in collecting an item, this article provides you with a brief overview of the things to consider when you want to get started in collecting teapots, so that you can begin your collection in an informed and directed way.

Get inspiration. Before you start collecting, it is important to know what you like about teapots. Check out collections and styles of teapots held or owned by other people that you know and try to see some exhibitions if possible. Here are some good resources to get your research started:

• Museums - especially museums concerned with design, with household items, with the way people used to live. Look out for teapot exhibitions, which are held regularly in different parts of the world. Even if you can't make one in another country, you might be able to browse some of the collection online through the museum or exhibitor's site.

• Books and magazines - look in antique and collectibles resources in the library, ditto for magazines.

• Antique and collectibles stores - browse around; you will be amazed at what you will find; and don't forget opportunity shops (charity stores) either - they will often have teapots.

• Friends and family - look at the items kept by people you know. Ask them questions about where they bought the teapot, why they bought it, how they feel about it, etc. It all goes towards informing you about how you will approach collecting teapots.

Decide on how you will collect teapots. There are many different ways to collect, based on interest, budget, availability, etc. You will need to consider how to define and limit your collection so that it is doable, affordable and fits in with your lifestyle (space!). Here are some considerations to take into account:

  • Historical teapots - Do you like teapots belong to a particular era in history? Do you only like modern teapots? Or old teapots? There are many, many possibilities here. For example, you might be fond of Victorian era silver teapots or Art Deco ceramic teapots. This will be something that your prior research will help you to decide.

  •  Style - Do you prefer a particular style of teapot? Are you looking for teapots that will match existing decor or themes in your home?

  • Make - Do you prefer a particular brand or make of teapot?

  • Material - Perhaps you are keen to a certain material only; for example, you can collect silver, terracotta, ceramic, glass, bone china, cast iron, etc., teapots.

  • Country of origin - Do you only want to collect Japanese or Chinese teapots? Or Early Colonial teapots from the southern hemisphere?

  • Design - Perhaps you only want teapots with animal motifs, or spots, or stripes? This type of collecting is known as "novelty" teapot collecting. Collecting in this manner can narrow down the options but it can be a huge source of fun and enjoyment at the same time!

  • Tea company designs - Sometimes tea companies sell their own brand teapots and this can be a collectible theme of its very own.

  • Eclectic - There is nothing preventing you from collecting teapots in an "anything goes" fashion either, collect it just because you like it! This is probably the easiest and most budget-adjustable approach to collecting teapots because you can be very flexible in your additions. An eclectic collection can be just as valuable and interesting as a themed one, provided that you take good care of the teapots and choose quality to begin with (see below about spotting problems).

Consider affordability and availability. These are two key elements of a successful collection. If it will be difficult to source a teapot, or expensive, you might want to consider alternative ways of branching out in your teapot collection. It might be a case of having one expensive centerpiece and a cheaper supporting cast of pretty but budget-conscious teapots.

Learn as much as you can about marks and designs so that you can avoid buying fakes. When you get really serious about collecting, it's likely that you'll start looking for more expensive and rarer items to add to your collection and that you will focus on particular makes.

  • A good way of doing this is to attend local auctions or to search online auctions for sales. However, it is important that you are familiar with the marks and signs of the manufacturer so that you avoid making costly mistakes and bringing home a fake. Take the time to borrow books on the topic and learn the marks and design signatures that confirm the authenticity of your teapots.

Avoid buying teapots in poor condition unless you have a really good reason for doing so. It is important to add only quality to your collection, or it won't carry value (beyond sentimental) into the future. Things to be extra careful of when examining teapots include:

  • Cracks, including fine hairline cracks that are difficult to see, and glued-back sections. Look closely at the lid and spout for the most likely break lines.

  • Chips

  • Missing parts (such as the lid, a handle, etc.).

Broaden your collection. If you have the space and the interest, you might consider teacups, tea trays, tea kettles, sugar bowls, milk jugs, tea towels featuring teapots, fabric with teapot prints, etc., as part of an overall collection. While this will increase the cost and the usage of space, it can be a very rewarding dimension to your collecting hobby that can also be put to good use during tea parties.

Source: Wikihow


Suffering from the Dreaded Mid-Afternoon Slump?

All of us are trying to keep up with the hectic pace of life, which has us reaching for less than healthy options, full of synthetic chemicals and sugars.  Want to make a change but scared to cut the caffeine?

If you are looking for convenient, effective and healthy nourishment for a healthy brain, improved concentration, attention, positive mood, memory and mental energy, you might consider a Voke superfood tab.  It is a twice-daily plant-based chewable tablet.  As noted by the company, it is supported by over 25 independent studies that show it can boost your whole-body health and give you more mental productivity.

Nature and science join forces for what Voke calls “nourishment for the mind.”  Each Voke tab contains just four ingredients: natural red beetroot, organic raw guarana seed, organic acerola cherry and natural green tea leaf caffeine. There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors. No sugar, in general. It’s gluten-free and vegan plant-based. Voke also contains 100% of your daily value of vitamin C.

Organic raw guarana seed (also known as paullinia cupana) is sourced from the Amazon in Brazil in cherry form and then dried and ground to powder for the Voke tab. It is considered a superfood for its natural antioxidants but it also improves mood, helps your mind focus, assists with weight control and boosts productive body energy. When combined with the acerola cherry (known as malpighia emarginata), also from the Brazilian Amazon, the Voke tab builds up even more natural antioxidants. The acerola cherry contains so much vitamin C that is used for immune support, essential nutrients and sport recovery.

The U.S. red beetroot, or beta vulgaris, is naturally sweet, tasty and what gives Voke tabs their light red color. Red beetroot has been documented as a natural medicine to as far back as the Roman times. Beetroot contains several bioactive agents including nitrates, vitamin C, flavonoids, carotenoids and betalains. These agents along natural antioxidants and essential nutrients to help with cognitive function, blood pressure, chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress. When combined with camellia sinensis (green tea leaf) caffeine, from China, cognitive function and productive energy increase greatly through the consumption of a Voke tab. Each tab contains approximately 75mg of natural caffeine, helpful for short term energy.

This month, Voke also received a gold seal by the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), considered the best third-party company specializing in the accreditation of nutritional supplements, natural products, functional foods, and more. Obtaining a BSCG Certification is considered the gold standard in dietary supplement certification because the company developed the program to provide protection against 485 drugs and includes 274 drugs on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list. It also includes an additional 211 illicit, prescription and over-the-counter medications not banned in sports that no other dietary supplement certification program covers. Having the Certified Drug-Free designation, consumers can be sure that Voke is made of exactly what is stated on the label and avoid potentially harmful or undisclosed additives.

Still not convinced? Eat two Voke a day and give yourself a great brain day. You can avoid the daily low point which happens around 3 pm, where we make poor decisions, are less focused and, yes, our mood declines. Try Voke Tabs to experience the healthy and refreshing benefits that come along with these convenient chewable tablets! The Coffee & Tea Newsletter team tried them and found them to be helpful in focusing and picking-up our mood but since we don’t take regular chewable tables, taste was something we needed to get used to.

Voke Tabs can be purchased online at VokeTab.com one-time or by subscription for 15% savings.


How to Reuse Tea Bags

You can get extra use out of teabags after your cup of tea.  You can reuse the teabag, but after the first cup it will start to lose flavor and strength. But if you think teabags are only used in the drink, read on, there are plenty of other uses for them!

  • Use teabags on your puffy eyes. Warm or cold teabags can help refresh your eyes whether they're achy, tired or puffy.
  • Reduce plantar warts. Plantar warts can be treated with teabags because of the tannin in the tea. On the affected area, place a warm wet teabag for 10-20 minutes, and then leave it to dry naturally. If you repeat this for a couple of days, hopefully the wart will go.
  • Give yourself a facial. Facials can be expensive, but you can make one at home... using tea. Place a brewed tea bag into a bowl of hot water. Then position your head over the bowl, and then put a towel over your head to keep the steam in. It will leave your face glowing and radiant!
  • Soothe burns and nicks from razors by applying a wet teabag to the skin.  If you have sunburn, a bruise, stings or bites, or a cold sore you can put a damp tea bag onto the area and it will help to soothe the skin.
  • If you have a big, dirty, greasy dish that seems impossible to clean, leave it overnight with hot water and a few brewed teabags. They will help break down the grease.
  • Clean dark leather shoes by wiping a wet, brewed teabag onto the surface of the shoe.
  • Control odors around the house with teabags. Put some used teabags in a bowl and place inside a smelly fridge. Leave overnight, remove the teabags and be left with the much nicer smell of tea!


Move Over Sugar…

While the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is only getting worse, one Long Island resident is making an effort to help combat this threat by changing the first unhealthy decision most Americans make as soon as they wake up – what they put in their coffee.

Chris Cianciulli has been involved in many areas of the health and wellness industry over the past 24 years and is currently the president & founder of TraLa Organic Coffee Sweetener, in addition to being president of a professional networking group.  Chris is a busy guy.

Cianciulli combines his business acumen with his experience as a personal trainer and exercise physiologist to launch a product that is a better alternative to sugar and the other alternative sweeteners out in the market. With about two-thirds of adult coffee drinkers putting sugar, cream, flavorings or other calorie-rich additives in their drinks, Chris is determined to help people start their day off in a healthier way.

What Is TraLa?  TraLa is the syrup harvested from a vegetable grown in Peru. A touch of flavor is added to give a "subtle sweetness" and delicious flavor to your coffee. They use only 100% Organic Yacon syrup and natural flavors.  Organic, no preservatives or artificial flavors, Non-GMO, Keto Friendly, Vegan, Soy Free, Gluten Free and is a top category seller on Amazon. 

“We have discovered in the last six weeks that our ideal customer is someone that uses regular table sugar, or someone that drinks their coffee black because they are sacrificing the sugar to make a healthier choice. By using this product they are able to enjoy their coffee once again with that subtle sweetness,” shared Cianciulli.  We couldn’t agree more! 

We did a little taste test in the Coffee and Tea Newsletter “kitchen” and the results were very interesting.  Almost 100% of the people in our office who tried it “expected it to be sugary sweet” and were pleasantly surprised when it “added sweetness” without being aggressively sweet.  One thing we loved best was the fact that it offered just a hint of sweetness without masking the taste of the coffee.  The flavored TraLas did change the pure coffee flavor a bit…but if someone is putting french vanilla or hazelnut flavored products in their coffee, clearly they want to taste it.  They may need to use a bit more TraLa than other flavored sweeteners to achieve a flavor punch.

TraLa is available in three flavors:  original, french vanilla, hazelnut, and sell for $11.99 for a 3 oz. bottle.


SerendipiTea Introduces The Small Farmers Tea Project

SerendipiTea just imported its first shipment of certified organic black tea from The Small Farmers Tea Project located in Peermade, a subdivision of the Idukki district, a fertile, lush, densely forested and mountainous region in the Western Ghats of South India. With a long history of spice growing, the focus is now on the organic production of black pepper, white pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mace, cloves and turmeric as well as herbs such as oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary. More recently coffee, tea, cardamom, and coconut are prevalent.

The Small Farmers Tea Project is a consortium of 1,088 tea farmers who have been divided into 50 groups varying from 15-30 farmers depending on locality. The general body of these farmers has elected group leaders, coordinators and model farmers for each group. The general body of the farmers has elected 10 consortium members to look after their interest in each zone. Green tea leaves are collected by members in five zones and then sent to a central factory for processing. Extra premiums earned by the consortium are used only for social and community development.

The overall objective of The Small Farmers Tea Project is to improve the living conditions of small and marginal farmers in the Idukki District by income generating measures through organic tea cultivation and processing. In addition, strong emphasis is placed on empowering the women in the communities and on social projects including education of children, improving and in some cases implementing public utilities services such as drinking water, by providing medical and health awareness and old age pensions.

This tea has a unique aroma and flavour, reminiscent of Nilgiri but distinctly its own. The brisk, light-medium bodied, bright copper-hued tea is ideal for all day sipping.  And, the story behind the leaves ensures that each cuppa is full of delicious goodness.

The Small Farmers Tea Project mission is, “Empowerment of village communities especially the tribal, women and the marginal farmers towards sustainable development by conserving and enhancing local resources in order to have fullness of life.”

SerendipiTea, an artisanal NY-based operation established in 1995, is known for its wide assortment of Specialty Tea and Tisane, including an extensive variety of certified organic, certified kosher, single estate, traditional and creatively blended options. All blending and packing is done on site, by hand at their New York facility.  SerendipiTea is served nationally at the finest restaurants, cafes and tea houses and can be found in select Specialty Food stores throughout the country.  www.serendipiTea.com


How Much Do You Know About Honey?

The story of honey is older than history itself. An 8,000-year-old cave painting1 in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and we know it's been used for food, medicine and more by cultures all over the world since.

But honey isn't about humans. It's the natural product made from bees—one of our planet's most important animals. Honey bees visit millions of blossoms in their lifetimes, making pollination of plants possible and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive.
Lucky for us, bees make more honey than their colony needs, and beekeepers remove the excess and bottle it. Just like they've been doing since the beginning of time.

Enjoy this honey quiz from the National Honey Board and see just how much you know about nature’s finest work. 


1. How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey?
2. How far does a hive of bees fly to bring you one pound of honey?
3. How much honey does the average worker honey bee make in her lifetime?
4. How fast does a honey bee fly?
5. How much honey would it take to fuel a bee's flight around the world?
6. What is mead?
7. How long have bees been producing honey from flowering plants?
8. What Scottish liqueur is made with honey?
9. How many sides does each honeycomb cell have?
10. What is the U.S. per capita consumption of honey?
11. What state is known as the beehive state?
12. How many wings does a honey bee have?
13. How many beekeepers are there in the United States?
14. How many honey-producing colonies of bees are there in the United States?
15. How many flowers does a honey bee visit during one collection trip?
16. How do honey bees communicate with one another?
17. What does "super" mean to a beekeeper?


1. Two million. 2. Over 55,000 miles. 3. 1/12 teaspoon. 4. About 15 miles per hour. 5. About one ounce. 6. Honey wine. 7. 10-20 million years. 8. Drambuie. 9. Six. 10. On average, each person consumes about 1.3 pounds per year. 11. Utah. 12. Four. 13. USDA has estimated that there are between 139,600 and 212,000 beekeepers in the United States. Most are hobbyists with less than 25 hives. 14. The USDA estimates that there are approximately 2.68 million honey producing colonies. This estimate is based on beekeepers who managed five or more colonies in 2010. 15 50-100. 16. "Dancing." Honey bees do a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen was located. The dance explains direction and distance. Bees also communicate with pheromones. 17. The super is the hive box in which honey is stored.

1Ullmann, Fritz (2003). Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. John Wiley & Sons