The Restorative Tea Hour

Tea leaves, herbs, and flowers begin blooming in hot water, their transformation visible through the glass pot. A rustic cornmeal cake, warm out of the oven, sits on the counter — scenting the room with fresh thyme and Meyer lemons. The fully bloomed tea leaves have created a golden elixir to be poured over drinking crystals, honey, or sugar cubes, in a translucent teacup. A slice of cake is slipped onto the plate, where a pat of salted butter melts, mixing with a drizzle of creamy, whipped honey.

The first sip, the first bite — this is restoration. This moment to yourself is practicing the art of slow living.

An hour devoted, even once a week, to making a pot of tea and baking simple quick bread does wonders for the spirit and reminds you that you always have time for yourself, if you choose to make it.

tea hour

Photo by Beth Kirby.

Teatime is restorative in so many ways. Making the tea is meditative — I love using glass teapots because watching the tea bloom is beautiful (especially if the blend has bits of flowers in it!). Plants have been used as medicine for many generations, and some of our modern medicines are still derived from these plants. Most teas have beneficial healing properties. Making and drinking tea is meditative medicine, a healing ritual that we all have access to.

Add a bit of homemade cake to your tea, and you can create a little moment that acts like an oasis, even in the middle of a busy week. I love quick breads for the simple reason that they live up to their name; this baking doesn’t clash with busyness. Even if you have little ones running around, quick breads are a perfect treat to make because they can easily help. Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Stir. Pour into the pan and done. When you use a baking scale to measure, you’ll have only three dirty dishes: those two bowls and the pan, so cleaning up is also a snap. I describe this cornmeal, lemon, thyme bread as a marriage between cornbread and cake. It’s lightly sweet with a tender crumb that resembles cornmeal, without being too coarse. I use a finely ground cornmeal for this, but a coarser grind will create a more rustic texture.

cake on table

Photo by Beth Kirby.



  • 125 grams all-purpose flour
  • 125 grams finely ground cornmeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (roughly chopped)
  • zest of 2 Meyer lemons (regular lemons can also be used)
  • juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 125 grams olive oil
  • 250 grams buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Heat oven to 350° F and grease a loaf pan or spray with organic cooking spray. In one bowl combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, thyme, and lemon zest.

  2. In a second bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients until completely the mixture has a uniform consistency.

  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently, just until no dry bits remain. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean (with no wet batter on it). Let cool for about ten minutes, slice, and serve with salted butter & whipped honey.

Now that you’ve discovered the restorative powers of a slow tea ritual (and have a delicious bread recipe to pair it with!), all you need are the right tea accessories to take your teatime moment to a whole other level — read on for our favorites: 

le creuset set

Demi Tea Kettle and Two Mug Set by Le Creuset

The perfect vessels for your teatime ritual, Le Creuset’s classically designed tea kettle and mug set will make this meditative ceremony all the more special for you and someone special. The stoneware mugs feel weighty and comforting in your hands, while the enamel on steel kettle heats quickly for an efficient and enjoyable brew. Plus, the eye-catching flame-orange colorway brings a pop of satisfying color to your mornings.

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stacking mug

SCS Stacking Mug by KINTO

KINTO’s stylish and functional mugs are the perfect companion to a slow living teatime ritual. Thoughtfully designed with organic forms and comforting colorways using porcelain, the SCS Stacking Mug adds depth to your morning routine. Every mug is one-of-a-kind, and may even display “yo-hen,” a glazing effect that gives the mugs a unique texture and causes the glaze to undergo slight color transformations.

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Honey Dipper by Kaufmann Mercantile

Every tea lover understands the appeal of a classic honey dipper. The ultimate utensil for dripping honey into your warm cup of tea, a honey dipper instantly adds a bit of rustic romance to your teatime ritual while allowing honey to drip off without the mess. Made in Vermont using yellow birch wood, our staple Honey Dipper can be used for honeys, molasses, and sorghum alike for a smooth, spill-free drizzle.

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porter mug

Porter 16 oz. Mug by W&P

Whether you’re sipping tea on the way to run errands or cozying up around a bonfire, the Porter Mug by W&P will preserve the temperature of your cup so you can enjoy the fruits of your tea ritual from anywhere. Crafted in durable ceramic with a protective matte silicone coating, this reusable mug will help curb your usage of disposable cups and sustain your tea (or coffee) habit while on the go. It’s even dishwasher safe for maximum convenience!

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unitea cup and saucer

Unitea Small Cup + Stainless Steel Saucer by KINTO

Marvel in the transformation of floral teas or soak up the soothing colors of your finished brew with KINTO’s Unitea Small Cup and Saucer Set. The transparent glass teacup is a stunning, timeless vessel to enjoy your ‘cuppa, while the stainless-steel saucer provides a reflective surface to create the ultimate tea experience.

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large fors studio tea pot

Large Teapot by Fors Studio

Fors Studio’s Large Teapot is an elegant way to share your favorite teas with guests. Made of beautiful and durable bone china, the Large Teapot has a modern and sculptural profile that’ll complement existing mugs and ceramics in your kitchen. Every teapot is glazed by hand too, giving it a handmade look you’ll want to cherish for a lifetime. An added perk? It’s dishwasher safe for easy clean up.

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eva solo tea press

Nordic Kitchen Stainless Steel Cafetière by Eva Solo

Want to press your loose-leaf teas? The Nordic Kitchen Cafetière by Eva Solo makes brewing and preserving your tea easy. Complete with a Scandinavian design with a rustic oak handle for ergonomic handling, this stainless-steel press has a minimal, yet classic look that’ll fit right in at a campsite, cabin, or home kitchens of any style. We love that it doubles as a vacuum jug too, preserving the temperature of your hot tea.

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>> For more teatime accessories, click here! <<

Photography, story, and recipe by Beth Kirby, who journals on her website Local Milk.