Tag Archive | High Tea

Tea trivia Sunday: for the love of white tea

Welcome to The Secret Garden’s Tea Trivia Sunday!

Each Sunday, we publish a small bit of information about tea, tea pottery and tea accessories. If you have questions, comments or would like to see us publish an article on a specific topic, please let us know.


White Tea

White tea is the most delicate and freshest tea available as it is minimally processed.
New, young tea leaves and buds from the Camellia senensis plant are harvested for only a few weeks each spring. This happens only in the Northern District of Fujian, China and can only be labeled white tea if it comes from the Fujian Province.


“Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds
are used to produce tea. It is of the genus Camellia (Chinese: 茶花; pinyin: Cháhuā, literally: “tea flower”)
of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. -wikipedia”

The leaves are typically picked mid-March to early April and only during the right conditions. The leaves cannot be picked if it is rainy or humid.

White tea is named for the silvery type down that covers the leaves and unopened buds. This is known as “Hao”.


Flavor profile

aroma-aromatic-close-up-stock (2)As the flavor is so delicate, common flavor profile descriptions include:

  • Floral
  • Sweet
  • Grassy
  • Delicate
  • Honey
  • Subtle
  • Fruity
  • Mild
  • Melon
  • Herby
  • Peach
  • Citrus
  • Apricot
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla


  1. Tea does not go bad, but it can go stale. If cared for properly your tea will remain fabulous for up to a year.
  2. Store tea in a cool, dark place and away from oxygen and moisture.
  3. Never store tea in the refrigerator.
  4. Your tea will last longer if stored in an opaque, airtight container.
  5. Coffee and spices can spread their flavor on to your tea, so it should be stored in a different cupboard or pantry.


How to brew the perfect pot of tea

Capture tea times

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the secret garden tea room photo credit the secret garden tea room and gift shopThe Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Boutique
1711 Elm Street | Sumner, Washington 98390
253.826.4479  |  sgtea.com





Tour de thé de France

Jparisoin a  Secret Garden Tea Tour and discover the most charming, romantic areas of France. Explore enchanting chateaus and gardens, watch Limoges china being made inside the factories, shop china outlets, antique shops and famous flea markets. All this and afternoon tea too!


You will feel like a true Parisian as we navigate the city like locals, hopping the Metro (subway) in Paris and joining our tour guide and driver for our journey through France.

We have chosen our 3 and 4 star accommodations for their location, exquisite charm and grace.

You don’t speak French? No problem!
You need not be fluent in French, as the tour will be a uniquely casual, family style experience as we travel together as a small group, working in unison to overcome the language barrier.

Independent Excursions
There will be free time in the schedule for independent excursions or relaxation, as most evenings free to enjoy however you please.

Tour Price Includes

  • Lodging  
  • All group travel in France
  • All group tour entries
  • All group transportation
  • Breakfast    
  • Afternoon Tea


What Is NOT included

  • Most dinners
  • Lunches and snacks
  • Optional tours and events

Tour Dates and Costs

Dates    Tuesday, June 25 to Monday,  July 8, 2019

Price    $4995 plus airfare
(based on double occupancy)

Payment Schedule

Upon Application    $1500
February 1  $1500
April 1   balance due

The tour begins in Paris on Tuesday, June 25th.  In most cases, you will fly from the US on Monday, June 24th  The tour ends on Monday, July 8th in Paris.

Day 1  Tuesday

Arrive in Paris
Make your way to hotel  (4 nights)
Hop on Hop off bus tour
Evening Welcome Tea

Day 2 Wednesday

Parisian Lifestyle Course
Mid-day Afternoon Tea (Paris Ritz)
Eiffel Tower

Day 3 Thursday

Guided tour of Isle de la Cite
And *Notre Dame
Guided Tour of *Louvre
Late Afternoon Tea (Hotel)

Day 4 Friday

Walk the Champs Elysee
*Musee d’Orsay
Mid-Day Afternoon Tea at Lauduree
Shop at Nina’s and Mariage Frères
Evening:  guided tour of Montmartre

Day 5 Saturday

Check out of hotel/Pick up by mini bus
Mid-Day Afternoon Tea at Angelina’s
*Giverny (Monet’s house and gardens)
Overnight (Rouen)

Day 6 Sunday

Mont St Michel (1 night)
Group Dinner

Day 7  Monday

Travel to Limoges (2 nights)
Limoges china factory tour and outlet

Day 8 Tuesday

Limoges china factory tour
Porcelain Kiln Museum
Shop china factory outlets

Day 9 Wednesday

Travel to Loire Valley
Chateau Villandry
Group Dinner
Amboise (2 nights)

Paris IIDay 10 Thursday

Chateau Chambord
Chateau Chenonceau
Mid-Day Afternoon Tea (Chenonceau)

Day 11 Friday

Return to Paris (3 nights)
Late Afternoon Tea (Hotel)

Day 12 Saturday

Guided tour of Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (Flea Market at Clingancourt)
Late Afternoon Tea (Hotel)

 Day 13 Sunday

Marché Aux Puces de Vanves (another flea market)
Free time
Dinner Cruise on the Seine

Day 14 Monday

Tour ends
* Skip the Line tickets

Itinerary subject to minor changes



Each day will begin with breakfast in our hotel.

There will be several days where lunch  will be on your own and you may want to keep it light or simply have a snack as more often than not  we will be enjoying afternoon tea later as a group. 

While in Paris, we will enjoy several famous tea salons and 5 star hotel teas, but once we are outside the city, there are few places that serve a traditional afternoon tea.  

Three dinners will be included in the tour, including a dinner cruise of the Seine on our last night in Paris.  The itinerary shows all included meals.

Be prepared for a lot of walking, as it is truly the only way to experience each place on the itinerary. We will use the Metro in Paris to move about the city, and will have a small bus and driver for our travels outside the city.


All rooms have en suite bathrooms.
Tour prices are based on double occupancy.  If you do not have a roommate accompanying you on the trip, you will be paired with another un-paired traveler of the same sex.

Most accommodations will have two twin beds in the room however occasionally the only choice available is a queen sized bed.

Tour British Columbia!

Contact us for information. You can visit our site at The Secret Garden Tea Tours, visit our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and of course call us at 253.826.4479


Elizabeth’s Bacon Leek Tart

bacon leek tart

Usually, when developing a new recipe for the tea room, there’s a whole procedure that I follow:  research, compile, test, re-test and re-test and then make a large batch to see how it works in quantity.

Usually, I am planning at least several weeks out, however occasionally we come up with a winner on the fly.

A couple of weeks ago we needed a savory for our high teas, and I was out of some ingredient for what I had been planning to make.  I knew I’d bought some leeks for potato leek soup that Mark hadn’t used that morning and I spotted a new package of bacon in the fridge.  Hmmm, what could I do with bacon and leeks.  I decided that a creamy goat cheese mixture plopped into phyllo tart shells might just work.  They turned out delicious and so I thought I’d share.
Printable, full recipe below.

I began by chopping the bacon into small pieces and then cooking it over medium heat.


While the bacon was cooking I sliced the leeks crosswise about 1/8th inch thick from the white end up to where the dark green tops begin.


After chopping the leeks, I did a quick swish in the salad spinner with lots of cold water to get any of the gritty mud that they’re grown in.  A quick shake to remove most of the water and they were ready for the pan just as soon as the bacon had rendered enough fat that the leeks wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.


After adding the leeks to the bacon, I stirred occasionally until the leeks were limp and just beginning to turn light golden in a few places.  While they were cooking, I cut the cream and goat cheeses into 1 inch cubes so they would melt faster.  Once the leeks were melted down, I added the cheeses and turned off the heat.


I stirred this mixture until the cheese was incorporated and then added some regular black pepper.  I gave it a taste and decided that it didn’t need any salt, but I suggest you give it a taste and see what you think;  some brands of bacon are saltier than others.  Do not eat all of it while you’re trying to decide if you need salt.

At this point, you can let the mixture cool and then store in the fridge for a few days until it’s needed, or you can go ahead and make the tarts.


I used a scoop that is a scant tablespoon (#70 for those who are scoop users), and just dropped it into the tart shells.  I sprinkled mine with a bit of minced parsley for color, but I think a miniature sprig of thyme would be very nice too.


I baked mine in a convection oven at 350 for about 8 minutes until the cheese was just turning golden brown, but in a regular oven it might be a bit longer.  Taste and enjoy!

Bacon Leek Tarts

Servings: 3 cups of filling | 48 tarts (see note below)


  • 1/2 lb smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 lb leeks, chopped and rinsed
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • salt to taste
  • minced parsley or tiny sprigs of thyme
  • pre-made phyllo tart shells


Saute the bacon over medium heat.  Add the leeks once the bacon has rendered enough fat to cover the bottom of the pan.  Stir occasionally until the leeks are limp and just starting to color.  Add the cheeses and turn off the heat.  Stir until there are no white cheese chunks left, then add the pepper and salt if needed.  Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days, or use immediately.

Assemble Tarts
Scoop 1 scant tablespoon into phyllo shells and top with a bit of parsley or sprig of thyme.  Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes until cheese just turns golden brown on the peaks.  Serve immediately or within an hour at room temperature.

This recipe makes about 3 cups of filling, so it will do about 48 tarts.  They come 15 to a box, so this works out okay.  If you don’t need that many, try the filling in an omelet, or cold on crackers as a spread.  It would also be wonderful in puff pastry.  I’m sure you’ll find a way to use it all, even if it’s just on a spoon!


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