Catie Joyce Bulay
It's Almost Tea Time!
On May 1st the Children’s Discovery Museum will be hosting our first ever Spring Tea Party! We’re so excited to collaborate with Tess Loubier, a local tea lover and enthusiast as she hosts this traditional English afternoon tea. (Register here, limited spots left!)
Tess will share her beautiful tea sets with us that she’s collected over the years and her tea time knowledge and style. She recently sat down with us to tell us a little bit about her collection and the tradition of tea time.
Tess started seriously collecting tea sets about 11 years ago. She has about 60 tea cups, 20 tea pots, 14 sugar and creamer sets and said she should stop there, but she probably won’t!
So, how did she get interested in tea?
“When I was younger, around nine, my grandmother brought me to her home and started teaching me how to pour tea,” Tess says. “At first I was not that interested, but many years later I wanted to do a tea party. I had lots of littles, so I started collecting at antique shops, estate sales. I had a certain price point that I stayed under so that if they got broken I wouldn't be heart broken. We had a lovely tea party at my house. We dressed up and wore hats. And then I just kept collecting – it’s an obsession!”
She says her grandmother, who was born in Waterville, was raised by a very gentile lady. Her motto was “The beautiful things that you have live with you, you don’t live with them.” So, if the tea cups get broken, they get broken, in other words, you should use the nice things you have, not store them away for safekeeping.
As Tess became more interested in tea, she learned about the different tea servings and tea times. The afternoon tea, also known as low tea, which we’ll be partaking in at the Children’s Museum, is a leisurely tea that happens sometime in the afternoon, usually around 4 o’clock (but ours starts at 2 pm). The 3 Ss are always served – savories, scones and sweets. (Thank you Holy Cannoli for providing these treats at our party!) There is typically only one hostess, and this honor usually goes to the oldest person.
In Victorian times tea cups were a sign of prestige and people often brought their own cup to the party. Echoing this sentiment, Tess always lets everybody chose their tea cup, whatever speaks to them. Come see which one you'll chose!