January and February are great months to cultivate the tradition of afternoon tea, since January is known as National Hot Tea Month.
With its popularity soaring as a healthy and inexpensive beverage, now is the time to get acquainted with various teas, and to bring out or seek out teacups to enjoy a cup of teatime pleasure. You'd be surprised where you can find teacups and even tea rooms, since as I have said in many of my teacup workshops and ladies' group parties, this is not your grandma’s pleasure anymore.
In my visits to tea rooms in several different areas, I have found that a tea room is a room wherever you want it to be. A place where you can relax and sit down in a quiet atmosphere. Teas rooms are found in every kind of buildings imaginable, and don't have to be in a Victorian setting.
Some of the tea rooms have incorporated gift shops where you can find many home décor items, fine gourmet teas and coffees, homemade boxed candies, tea books, crystal, cups and mugs, along with homemade quilts and aprons from the area.
Melissa Placzek, of Red Wing, is the author of two books, “Welcome Home” and “Chin Deep in Bubbles,” and blogs at www.chindeep.com. She also has a Facebook page dedicated to tea, Tea Paparazzo.
“Virginia Woolf once said, 'Every woman needs a room of her own.' I believe her, since I think it should be her relaxing sanctuary even if she just blocks off a corner of a room using a room divider to call her own and escape the stresses of the day. I also think that it's especially true for stay-at-home moms and women who work from home," she said.
"Women that are home all day and who work from home are always at work," she continued. "How wonderful for them to be able to steal away for a few minutes here and there throughout the day to read a favorite magazine, sip a cup of tea, and have a mini fridge full of their favorite treats for impromptu teatime celebration!”
Heidi Wyn owns Curiosi-Tea House, North Mankato, MN running the day to day operations and everything in between. Kyra Wyn Beske, is Heidi's daughter and manager of the Winona, 901 West 5th Street location of Curiosi-Tea House. Kyra said, “This woman owned family business sells high quality loose leaf teas and accessories at prices that anyone can afford for gifts and special occasions. Opening, last October for retail only, we are now working on the kitchen to start serving tea and food.”
Chris Rand Kujath: “Old River Valley Antique Mall, Stewartville, has a few vendors that have teacups. Most range from $2 and up, with a few that are Rosina, England; EW, Japan; Sonsco Japan; and Hammersley, England.”
Joan Thilges: “We have quite a few teacups throughout New Generations of Harmony. One of our vendors currently has a large number of teacups on sale, ranging from less than $5 to $12. The makers include Noritake, Royal Albert, Wedgwood, and Bradford Edition.”
Sarah Kieffer, of St. Charles: “My teacups and saucers usually range between $5 to $16 at Sarah's Uniques & Jim's 'Man'tiques, where several pieces are of bone china that include Royal Imperial, Royal Albert, Royal Minister and Notleans."
Kayla Jannsen, daughter of Brenda and Doug Jannsen, owners of Treasures Under Sugar Loaf Antique Mall in Winona: “My little brother and I have a variety of teacups in our booths. Most of them are floral, around $5 per cup-and-saucer set, but there are a couple different ones. For instance, we have two sets of cups and saucers made in Holland that feature a blue windmill, and there's another set that features fruit.
"While most customers may be interested in these for their collections, a couple of recent customers had unique reasons for buying teacups. One of them was making a clock, and the other was hosting a tea party for her ladies' group, and wanted each person to have their own unique set of teacup and saucer.”
Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at email@example.com.