I can’t remember if I shared this already.  I’m not joking :-)

Better up my tea intake!

Caffeine May Lower Older Women’s Risk of DementiaBy: Stephenie Overman | October 10, 2016


 New research indicates that drinking many cups of tea a day can reduce the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s in older women.

A substantial daily dose of caffeine—the equivalent of five to six cups of tea a day—may help older women lower their odds of dementia or cognitive impairment, according to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.
“Compared with women who consumed a low amount of caffeine (defined in the study as less than 64 milligrams daily), those who consumed a higher amount (more than 261 milligrams daily) were found to be at 36 percent reduced risk of a diagnosis of probable dementia or cognitive impairment,” Medical News Today reported.  The results come from an analysis of 6,467 women age 65 and older who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Participants’ caffeine intake was determined through self-reported consumption of tea, coffee, and cola.

Lead author Ira Driscoll, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, explained to Medical News Today the mechanisms that might explain caffeine’s possible cognitive benefits.  “The potential protective effect of caffeine is thought to occur primarily through the blockade of adenosine A2A receptors (ARs), whose expression and function become aberrant with both normal aging and age-related pathology,” she said.

Driscoll said that ARs are being increasingly investigated as a target for reversing cognitive impairment, and studies have shown that blocking these receptors can reverse Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders in animal models.  Driscoll told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “while we can’t make a direct link between higher caffeine consumption and lower incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia, with further study we can better quantify its relationship with cognitive-health outcomes.”

“The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor” with few risk factors, she added.
Sources: The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Medical News Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

London Fog Sugar Cookies


15 mins


8 mins


23 mins


Author: Sarah (devour-blog.com)

Serves: 20


¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup confectioner’s (icing) sugar

½ vanilla bean pod, split and seeds removed

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves (I just cut open one teabag and measured from there)

½ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons decorating sugar (for rolling, optional)


In a small bowl or dish, combine the granulated sugar, icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Using your hands, rub the seeds into the sugar to evenly distribute them throughout.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the vanilla sugar mixture. Add egg and vanilla and mix until blended well.

Add the flour, tea leaves, baking powder and salt and mix to combine into a soft dough.

On a clean work surface, roll the dough into a log. Roll log in decorating sugar (if using). Wrap log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet. Slice chilled dough into ¼-inch thick slices. Bake until the edges are light brown and the middles set, about 6-8 minutes. Be aware that the bottoms will brown long before the sides or tops do, so don’t over bake!

Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Will keep covered at room temperature for 1-2 days.

The Everything Healthy Tea Book

My favorite session at this year’s World Tea Expo was Babette Donaldson’s “How Can You ‘Be More Tea’ to Sell More Tea?  The focus of her talk was about developing a closer relationship with your tea customers.  I was impressed with her depth of tea knowledge and experience.

Her book, titled “The Everything Healthy Tea Book”, is a broad reference for all things related to tea and health.  For example, it describes how tea brings people together and facilitates communication; the health benefits of each type of tea; and how to buy “healthy” tea.  On page 260, she shares a fascinating story (which we heard during the WTE session) about how a fifth-grade class of “problem” students were given tea each day.  Over time this resulted in a significant increase in the students’ ability to pay attention. (Love this story!)

Babette’s other publications include,  a series of books for children called “The Emma Lea Books”; a craft and activity book, “Fun With Tea”; and a single issue magazine,”Start Your Own Family Tea Time”.  You can find her products on Amazon.   Cheers ~  Margo


Tea in a Time of War

As German bombs fell on London in September 1939, the British tea industry faced a dilemma they had feared for some time. How would they protect the commodity that fueled an empire?  

That fuel was tea.
Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, recounted the tumultuous time: “When London was being persistently bombed, I had to tell the tea blenders to remove their stocks to less vulnerable positions – a scheme drawn up by the Tea Buyers’ Association in 1937 at the request of the Food Defense Department.”
30,000 tons of tea had already been sent to a variety of safe warehouses far from London while 40,000 tons remained in the city. The tea auctions in London halted on September 5 and the Ministry of Food became the owners of all tea stocks. The 280 tea wholesalers based in London were allotted leaf in only three grades: high, medium, and low. 
Mincing Lane, the center of London’s tea trade, was bombed on May 11, 1941 and half of the brokers’ offices and records were destroyed. Over 8000 tons of tea were damaged that year. The removal of tea from the danger area proceeded with haste and, by 1942, most of the contents of 30 warehouses on the Thames had been dispersed to 500 locations across the country.

Attempts at rationing took place but somehow there was always tea to be had. The Rationing Division went so far as to dictate that a pound of tea had to serve 260 cups of beverage. They refused to define the size of a cup except that a ‘pot of tea for one’ counted as two cups.  

Tea was the great ‘cheerer-upper’ of the war. Everyone from the Throne downward can attest that civilians and military alike turned instinctively to the solace of the kitchen teapot, mobile canteen urn, or an improvised trench-built billy-can.
The water burners were lit in mobile tea canteens even before the flames of burning buildings were extinguished so that fire brigades and ambulance drivers might have a cup of tea as they completed their horrific tasks. 
Tea Canteens were spotted not only in the bombed out streets of London, but also on the back lines of the war’s battlegrounds. Canteens followed the Allied troops as they crossed France and marched into Germany. Grateful communities from Wisconsin to Ceylon raised funds to sponsor these rolling tea wagons that brought a bit of home comfort to battle-weary soldiers.

The workers aboard these mobile units were most often greeted with “That was a lovely cup of tea.” 

But the British have strong feelings about their national beverage. Novice tea makers were likely to be scolded with “Bring me another cuppa tea like this and I’ll report you to the Council!”  Clean water was hard to come by which prompted some wags to say: “Not so bad. Got a bit of a funny taste, though.” Never mind that these workers were trying to cobble together a proper pot of tea in a war zone! 

There was nothing they could do but keep calm and carry on.
Read more about the history of tea in England and The United States in A Social History of Tea.
Posted 27th April by Bruce Richardson