TARA CHAPMAN + HONEY HOT TODDY
A native rural West Texan, I had barely been out of the state when I left for college on the East Coast at 18. Intense culture shock abound those first few years and didn't get much better after I accepted my first job out of college at the Central Intelligence Agency. I spent the next ten years working for various agencies with the federal government, and a fair amount of that included travel to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Missing Texas terribly, I convinced my boss to let me work part time from Austin. During one of these trips back I stumbled across a beekeeping class and soon devised an exit strategy. Trading in my head scarves and kevlar for a beekeeping veil, I quit my job and worked for a beekeeping company in East Texas for four months and then returned to Austin to start Two Hives Honey. Now I spend my days working apiaries, slinging honey, and working with some of the best chefs in the business!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GO TO COFFEE DRINK?
Though the aroma is heavenly, I've never liked the taste of coffee. But I do consider myself a tea connoisseur. And what goes great with tea? Honey! My favorite way to combine tea and honey what I call the Two Hives Honey Hot Toddy. Though our spring honey harvest tends to be very light and floral forward, our fall honey harvest is typically much darker and richer with a really bold flavor, which makes it a great pairing with whiskey. Brew a cup of spiced tea, such as a chai or a orange cinnamon, and add a dollop of Two Hives fall honey, a thimble (or two) of whiskey or brandy, and garnish with a few lemon slices and cinnamon sticks.
DESCRIBE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE ASSOCIATED WITH COFFEE?
Two years ago, I met a fella and fell for him almost instantly. This fella had just quit his job to travel the world for a year, but we spent every minute we could together over the next month. We left the relationship pretty loose, and after he left Austin we stayed in touch and even met up a few times. Six months into his trip, while visiting him in Thailand, I confessed that I was in love with him. He didn't share those feelings at the time, and I decided that staying in contact when I didn't know what the future held was too hard for me, and I asked him to not contact me anymore. Two months later, on Valentine's Day, he sent me a picture of a glass of coffee next to a beautiful Vietnamese landscape with the caption "I sure do wish I had some sugar with this coffee." "Sugar" is a pet name my East Texas gentleman often used with me. I knew at that moment that boy was mine. Seventeen months later, he is back in Austin--and mine.
DO YOU MAKE COFFEE AT HOME? IF SO, HOW DO YOU PREPARE IT?
No coffee for me, but I did receive a gorgeous Smeg tea pot for my birthday recently. I drink even more tea than before simply because the Smeg makes me smile.
WHAT WAS THE CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING YOUR PLAYLIST?
I grew up in a tiny town in rural West Texas, and left at 18 for college. At the time I had only been out of the Texas panhandle a few times. I spent the next 15 years on the East Coast and in various foreign countries working in intelligence for the federal government, and a great deal of that time was spent homesick for good Tex Mex, good Texas folks, and good Texas country music. But what I missed perhaps most of all was two-stepping-- my mom taught me when I was six, and it's my favorite past time. Listening to classic country records passed down to me from my mom and Nana kept me connected to Texas on many a lonesome night. My playlist consists of some of my favorite red dirt and classic country artists. Feel free to scoot a boot while you take a listen. (That's West Texas for dancin'!)
TWO HIVES HONEY HOT TODDY
Brew a cup of spiced tea, such as a chai or a orange cinnamon, and add a dollop of Two Hives fall honey, a thimble (or two) of whiskey or brandy, and garnish with a few lemon slices and cinnamon sticks. Enjoy.\