Lauryl Lane
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tea time | coconut grove tea

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Welcome to my new column, Tea Time! I am so excited about this!!! I love tea. As a young girl, my mother drank herbal teas at least once a day, and I was often asked to put the kettle on and bring a cup of chamomile or wild berry zinger to her while she worked in her art studio. I enjoyed tea back then, but it wasn't until I arrived in England to study in my late teens, that my true love affair with tea was born. My extended stays in London and Stratford-Upon-Avon immersed me in a land where people stopped what they were doing in the middle of the afternoon and DRANK TEA. I have delightful and delicious memories of tea at hotels, tea at tea rooms, tea at the National Gallery, tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace... there was always tea, every single day, and after two summers of that, I was hooked.

I love drinking tea: but I also love the ceremony of tea time. I love drinking from a pretty teacup. I love the act of heating the water, pouring it over the tea leaves, stirring in milk and sugar. I especially love taking time to relax, sip, let the world around me go on hold for a few minutes... Tea time can be a very private and soothing ritual, but it can also be a beautiful social activity. My close friends would tell you that I almost always offer a cup of tea when they drop by my house.

In this column, I'll share pictures and info about my favorite teas, and perhaps some nibbles to accompany. In this particular case, I enjoyed a smooth black tea with a hint of coconut flavor (subtle, not overpowering) from The Spice Station here in Silver Lake. I've been on a coconut kick lately, and this tea has been feeding my craving. The banana bread with coconut was purchased at Gingersnap Bakery, right down the street from me. It was such a perfect accompaniment, with the coconut again being a subtle added flavor. I don't think I would normally pair a tea with a treat that had the same flavor, but in this case it really worked. Yum, yum!

Coconut Grove Tea from The Spice Station, 3819 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 (323) 660-2565

Coconut Banana Bread from Gingersnap Bakery (adjacent to Gingergrass) 2396 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90039 (323) 644-1600

Do you know how to brew a good cup of tea? Do you drink tea regularly? Do you want to know what temperature your hot water should be or where to get the best tea accoutrements? Let me know if I should share more about the process of preparing tea, or if you'd rather I just stick to favorite teas!