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February 2013 Posts


A Day in My Shoes
Blog Entry

Episode 1, Part 2 - A Day in My Shoes

Monday, February 11th 2013 @ 12:00 AM

A Day in My Shoes – Day One – Serving with Sylvia – January 19, 2013 - EPISODE 1, PART 2

Welcome to A Day in My Shoes – a blog and sometimes vlog as The Tea House Times publisher, Gail Gastelu, puts herself in another person’s shoes for the day – going behind the scenes in the tea industry!  If you are just joining us, go to the Archived entries in the left column to catch up - beginning with January 2013.


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So, on to making some tea.  I was quite nervous at first – but how can I possibly be nervous about preparing tea? I have prepared my own thousands of times over and know the proper time and temperature. But, preparing four different teas to serve 37 guests somehow seemed overwhelming. 


No problem, the tea station was so well organized that once I got into the flow, it became routine and manageable.  The tea preparation station was well stocked with drawers FULL of clean teapots with beautiful tea cozies already wrapped around them (you know those pretty cozies from Thistledown Cozies!).  The station was fully stocked with loads of strainer baskets so that they could be quickly used and put aside and another clean one grabbed for the next pot. 


Two water stations were all ready with proper temperature water for white and green teas or black or herbal teas.  There were also plenty of little clip-on digital timers so we could time each tea as it was being brewed (these were just clipped to the side of the tea cozy).  The top of each teapot was labeled for the particular tea so there would be no confusion by the servers (especially me!).  Each tea was set upon a serving station in the dining room and each guest was served each cup of tea rather than leaving the pots upon the table which would be normal at tea time.  I asked Sylvia about this and she told me that by serving the tea TO the guests, they had a more positive experience and a good feeling of having been served (good customer service).


This tea serving I could talk about for days on end.  Pouring the tea for each guest – 37 of them – multiplied times the number of cups they each consumed is mind boggling.  I now have such a deep appreciation for people who have ever had the misfortune of serving tea to me.  When I go to afternoon tea – they must think I have a hollow leg - I could drink two pots easily by myself.  Those poor people who have to keep coming back around to give me more! I should just ask them to leave the pot!


I picked up and put down so many teacups and stood so closely to so many guests that I also started to wonder and try to remember if I had put on deodorant that morning!  Such a thing to think of!  I am sure that is TMI, but that’s keeping it real!


I became obsessed at this party of being sure that each guest’s cup was always full.  I truly wonder if I was over-attentive.  Should you wait to be asked for more? Or serve it as you see their cup has become empty?   I guess it is like someone bringing you more water. You do kind of hope they would keep your glass full.  So maybe I did it right….


As for serving food.  Well, it was easy enough since each table would get the same food at the party, but I was not familiar with table numbers so I chose to shadow Sylvia or help carry something when this came up.  (Note to self – get table numbers for the next outing!) 


I tell you, serving food is not that easy for an old gal like me.  Part of the routine was to bring the food to each table and announce each type of finger sandwich, its exact ingredients, each type of scone and their accompaniments.  Did I mention we had to describe each tea when that was served?  Somebody PLEASE - give me a cheat sheet!  Too much for me to remember on short notice, not being accustomed to the foods they normally serve.  (Of course their staff was properly trained, but being the new gal on the block, I found it difficult.)


Clearing the tables was another interesting experience. They do not use large trays to take the dishes away as you see in restaurants.  So, much of the delicate china was hand carried into the kitchen.  I had to watch Sylvia to figure out how to balance these things appropriately.  No easy task. But we will discuss clearing and cleaning another time.


Next week we will discuss some more of my own mishaps….stay tuned.





DATES for High SocieTea, Wayne, NJ when Gail can serve you!
Thurs. Feb 21, 4-6 (leaving AT 6!)
Sun. Feb. 24, 11-2 (leaving AT 2!)
Call High SocieTea-reservations required: 973-696-8327
Location: 20 Old Newark Pompton Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470 (


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