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Bingley's Teas returns to Jane Austen Festival with new tea blends

Four of Bingley's Teas were featured on the Festival's afternoon tea menu.
Four of Bingley's Teas were featured on the Festival's afternoon tea menu.
bj gulley

Bingley's Teas featured prominently once again at the Jane Austen Festival last weekend, selling their products in their distinctive tent as well as being part of the afternoon tea menu. Held at historic Locust Grove in Louisville, Kentucky, the event is now in its seventh year and Bingley's Teas, with its Jane Austen-themed teas, is literally a perfect blend to the popular event.

Julia Mattson, along with husband, Kyle, serve up samples of Bingley's Teas to Festival guests
bj gulley

Julia Matson, owner and creator of Bingley's Teas, started the company based on her shared interests of both tea and Jane Austen. In business since 2008, Matson's company, with the help of her husband and two sons, continues to grow and add new teas each year. The most recent additions were introduced to the Festival last weekend.

"This year, 'Anne Elliot' was the newest tea", says Matson, reached for an interview late last week by email. "This beautiful green style tea, though technically a very lightly oxidized oolong, was discovered when I was on my last trip to Taiwan this past Fall. The farmer and his family showed us their tea fields and production area. It's very small compared to other family farms I had seen, but they have an excellent reputation and a very clean facility with beautiful, naturally grown tea. It is unpretentious, like Anne herself, not dressed up with flowers or added flavoring, but with sophistication and more to it than meets the eye initially."

Other new teas are 'Lydia' and 'Mr. Woodhouse', a couple of Jane Austen characters that couldn't be more different from one another. Lydia is the shallow, 'silly' younger sister of Elizabeth Bennet in 'Pride and Prejudice', while Mr. Woodhouse is Emma's overly concerned, heath-conscious father. While different in personalities, they share a common trait in Bingley's Teas as decaffeinated tea blends.

"We had been receiving more requests for caffeine-free styles," says Matson, "so along came Lydia, which is a cream puff with coconut flakes flavored Rooibus tisane. I hope that description speaks for itself as to why it is chosen for Lydia."

As for a tea based on Mr. Woodhouse, Matson describes it as "a combination of Japanese Houjicha and roasted Genmaicha. This makes for a warming, toasted bread cup of tea, perfect for rainy days."

"I don't believe Mr. Woodhouse would want to have too much caffeine or excitable flavors," Matson speculates. "He would prefer to be by the fire with a comforting cup and his toast, don't you think?"

In addition to tea and tea products for sale, Bingley's Teas were also part of one of the Festival's most popular events, afternoon tea. Guests had their choice of 'The Patience of Miss Price' (black tea with a hint of vanilla), 'Mr. Knightley's Reserve' (Earl Grey), 'Marianne's Wild Abandon' (mix of green tea and floral) and 'Mrs. Jennings Delight' (green tea with apple and fig).

For more information about Jane Austen-themed tea and other tea selection visit Bingley's Teas website.