I enjoy checking out antique shops, thrift stores and flea markets for tea cups and other tea accessories. I found a pair of these pretty hand-painted tea cups and saucers from A.C. Schmidt & Sons [New York] in a shop on the western shore of the Cheasapeake Bay in Maryland. Rather odd, for a native New Yorker to have to travel to Maryland to find tea things originally manufactured in New York. I especially enjoy using a pretty cup like this on a morning when the weather is not particularly cheery. It starts the day with a bit of a lift, a touch of beauty to cheer the heart. The tea is my last bit of Assam Golden Rain from Teavana, a workmanlike morning brew, brisk, with a clean taste and a slightly vegetal aftertaste. Not spectacular and not something I would purchase again. It seems to me that I get the same level of quality in an Assam tea for a lower price whenever I purchase a basic Irish Breakfast Blend, which is, admittedly, my most frequently brewed morning tea. For my morning tea I like to use a bit of agave nectar as a sweetener and, heresy of all heresies, a small splash of half & half. I find Irish Breakfast teas not only stand up to that kind of treatment but taste delicious when served that way.