Home Page Cafe All Set For Tea

Tuesday Jun. 1st, 2010

Carolyn Hopper

The table before us is laden with all that my friend and I could ask for a proper and delightful Afternoon Tea. Soft music is playing. The room around us is filled with art from Africa. The walls are painted in warm colors.

A parfait glass is filled with clotted cream and topped with a fresh flower. One pedestal is laden with sandwiches of our choices, including tomato and basil and curried egg salad. Another with small slices of a variety of cakes—the chocolate and lemon being my favorites. Another with scones and fruit tarts. It is hard for us to decide where to begin. We mound the scones with the cream and jam. And then there is the tea.

Frankee, the owner, knows how to properly brew tea and this is the only place in town where you will find properly brewed tea. She is also studying to become a Master of Tea. This is a 13-week course and when she is finished she will be the only Master of Tea in Montana. In order to become certified she must be able to evaluate teas and differentiate aromas, flavors and textures. She will have to be able to name the country and area of the country where the tea originates and the elevation where it is grown.

I ask for her recommendation as to the variety I should try in the afternoon. The menu lists all the varieties available from white to black as well as herbal teas. “Assam would be nice if you would like to add milk and sugar to your tea,” she recommends. The tea is served in cast iron pots with beautiful designs.

While my friend and I move from sandwich to scone and then tart to cake, we reflect on how nice it is to “take time for tea”—time out of busy schedules and rushing about. Almost together we say, “we should do this more often,” then ask for a box to take home the last piece of cake to save for later. I no longer lament that I cannot find a place for afternoon tea outside of my favorite tearoom in the Cotswolds of England.

In the future Frankee will be offering classes about tea as well as the Chinese Tea Ceremony. We discussed a little about the classes and the benefits of tea to our health during an earlier meeting over just such a ceremony. I believe that this tea ceremony itself, while not as complex as that of Japan, brings people together to appreciate the qualities of the tea as well as friendship.

In addition to Afternoon Tea the Home Page Café offers coffees, and delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some evenings they host live music. The atmosphere is encouraging to relaxation. And, as the name suggests, they are an internet café as well.

“What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?” I asked Frankee when we were talking about tea and she was demonstrating the Chinese Tea Ceremony one afternoon. “Cook,” she replied. “I’ve always loved to cook.”

A note about Frankee and Bruce and the café: The café was opened in May of 2005. They had already owned and been operating the Voss Inn Bed and Breakfast since 1989. Frankee had been developing recipes for scones and muffins and her cinnamon rolls had been featured in “Gourmet Magazine.” Frankee and Bruce met when she was on a photo safari in Botswana and he was their guide. There is more to that story, but you can read more about them, what brought them to Bozeman, and all their food and beverage refreshments at: www.homepagecaffe.com

“What would you like Bozeman to know about the Home Page Café” I asked. “We serve Afternoon Tea and we are the only place in Bozeman where you can be served
properly brewed tea.” Frankee replied.

I suggest that you visit the Home Page Café and try an Afternoon Tea. Be sure to call a day ahead to place your order for sandwiches as it does take a day to prepare for the meal. Of course you could just sample one of the delicious scones, muffins, tarts or cakes as well. Whatever you choose you are in for a real treat. Bon appétit!