Claire Cottrell is a multimedia director and creator of the most charmed online book store BOOK STAND. We met while shooting her kitchen and geeked out pretty quickly over our mutual affections for tea, produce, sunshine and such . . . Claire's got her hand in many different pots, with experience and expertise in landscape architecture, design, filmmaking and creating interactive events to celebrate books and plants. She dreams it up and makes it happen. She's an inspiring soul!

What is your favorite type of tea and how do you take it? 
Oh my, so many. Generally speaking I'd say I'm a black tea or an herbal tea kinda girl. Kukicha tea is my favorite way to start the day. It's a Japanese blend made from  stems, stalks and twigs. I can't get enough of it. It has a distinct earthy flavor. A fun fact: it's made from the parts of the tea plant that are discarded during Sencha or Matcha production. I'll always love a classic Earl Grey. Bellocq's No.36 is a nice one. They use Sicilian bergamot and the tiny blue cornflowers look pretty in a glass teapot. The Bellocq Breakfast blend is another favorite - with wildflower honey.  And then there's always Mariage Frères' Marco Polo tea for special occasions.

Peppermint and verveine are two of my favorite herbal teas. I grow both in my garden, and add honey and oranges in the summer to make the most delicious iced tea.

And then I love hibiscus tea too. It's as simple as adding hot water to dried hibiscus flowers. A touch of cinnamon honey is really nice.

My tea accompaniment of choice is: Bezian Bakery's tea bread or a coconut macaroon.

Aoki Hayato, Bob Dylan or a movie . . . is on when I'm having tea. 

I first started drinking tea when . . .  I was 3 or 4. My mom made me a version that was mostly milk. My Dad's British, so high tea - or something like it - was part of our everyday. Around 4PM my mom would put out the tea pot, biscuits or welsh cakes (an old family recipe) and jam.
My dream tea party would include . . .  My friends plus Alice Waters, Maira Kalman, Isak Dineson, Ray Eames, Jane Campion, Georgia O'Keefe and Gandhi. Girls and Gandhi ;)

When I sip from my tea cup, I . . . relax, no matter what.


  1. such a nice morning leela ! tea forever !! xx

  2. Claire's apartment looks so charming!

    1. it really was so so adorable, just like Claire!

  3. love Claire
    love tea
    love this!!


  4. fantastic indeed!
    everything about this makes my heart swoon!
    claire you make my heart swoon ;)
    and i need to find Bellocq's No.36--didn't know about this!

    XX bigtime, lili

    1. lili, i felt the same! totally charmed by claire and her tea wonder...


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