Missing The Tropics


Actually I don’t recall the last time I was in the tropics.  So this title is purely for show.


However, a serendipitous visit to Coffee Nature in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington, DC gave me a little piece of the tropics at home.


As I’ve stated before on numerous occasions, the atmosphere, the energy, and everything else around you is just as important as the tea you’re drinking.  If someone rubs you the wrong way, say a friend, family member, the staff member of the shoppe/restaurant, or some random person, if can suddenly dilute even the tastiest of food and drink.  The opposite occurred here.

Tea houses are not as ubiquitous as coffee houses, so sometimes that’s where you’re going to find some hidden gems.  It may be their own loose tea, the standard tea bags you can find at your local grocer, or some obscurities that you would only find when you weren’t looking.  I wasn’t looking for anything. I’m guessing the Tropical Hibiscus from Rishi Tea falls somewhere along the latter.

Before I even walked in I got the sense that I was in for something special.  The shop is nestled amongst a neighborhood of charming homes.  It felt like home walking in.  I didn’t even need to do research afterwards to get the sense that this has that community feel that I always hope to find when discovering a new place for food and drink.

Now I don’t know anyone in the neighborhood but I imagine, even for a city like Washington DC, that some friendly bonds and comradery would materialize organically and rather swiftly.  That’s also up to the individual and the universe itself.

I was all set to get a more familiar tea for the day but then I saw smack dab in the middle of all these teas was that Tropical Hibiscus and I’m grateful I did.

I ordered a turkey wrap for no particular reason other than I was in the mood for some turkey.  I figured the avocado was enough to make believe I’m on a tropical island.  An armchair will do.


To my pleasant surprise was the presentation.  My tea was brought to me with a silicone tea cover.  This also made the tea sipping experience that much better.  It may be a little thing but it’s a big thing.


The tea has loads of orange and tangerine flavors.  That’s the true stand out here. For a tea of this magnitude it’s going to feel feeler than what you might expect. Lemongrass is always a welcome addition to any cup for me. And I just love the fact that hibiscus and rosehips are ingredients in so many of the teas I’ve come to love. This one in particular I’m intrigued by.

Why am I intrigued?  I can’t find it on the Rishi site itself.   I hope I’m wrong but if you do a search it doesn’t come up.  So I’ve posted third party sites, like this on here, where you can find this tea.


The staff at Coffee Nature was laid back and welcoming.  Again, for DC I was surprised. Once again, it’s what you choose to see and what you attract.  Not everything in every cosmopolitan town is watered down and pretentious.  There’s a place for everyone. There’s room for everyone.   How funny that I’m the one who unintentionally had to write about one of the more obscure teas.   So I’m the jerk.

To find all of Rishi teas in your area (aside from obscure pick) click here.


This photo was taken at a local grocer near me, Whole Foods.  Every Rishi tea known to man except the Tropical Hibiscus, oops.

If you’re in DC, check out Coffee Nature.  I hope to be back.  If I lived nearby I’d frequent it at least a few times a week.   And I love Rishi tea.  I hope to get the opportunity to talk about some more soon.

Here is my original post on their teas.

As we approach the chillier months, it’ll be most likely back to hot teas and complementary foods to go with.  If the weather presents itself, or I’m feeling unconventional, there will be a cold or iced tea review that will make a sporadic appearance.


Thanks so much,


Feeling Blue


Blueberries that is. Philadelphia has been so good to me.  Each time I visit I do tend to be drawn to my regular spots here and there. But I’ll always make room for new things, new experiences, and new locales.   This journey brings me to Steap and Grind in Fishtown.


A search for tea houses led me here.  One might assume that a coffee shop is going to have a limited amount of teas, or they may have the standard teas you can find at your local supermarket.   This place exemplifies the opposite.  I don’t like to give a label to a place. To me it just feels harmonious and a place to relax.

The several patrons inside were sitting off in respective corners, wanting to go unnoticed. Doesn’t really matter if they were studying, relaxing, or just off in their own universe. It’s a happy place to be.


My visit technically took place while we’re still in Summer.  As of this post, we have two days until the Autumnal Equinox.  That was hard to type.  Well not that difficult but time is moving right along and I’ll do my best to move along with it.  So that’s part of why I’m feeling blue.

For that reason and the weather was beautiful, I went with the suggested Blueberry, Pomegranate, and Goji Berry Green Tea on Ice.  Words will not do this justice.  Saying it’s refreshing just isn’t enough.  After a few quick sips I realized it’s time to slow it down.  I was a bit dehydrated but I still needed to appreciate what was presented to me.  This is one of the best chilled teas I’ve had in some time.  And I’ve had many.


And I love Goji so much.  It’s made the tea experience that much more amazing for me.

I envision this heated would be even more awesome.  But that assumption can remain as such until the necessary weather change.  Ah that makes me kind of sad to write.


The blueberry cobbler bar I ordered with my tea was joyous as well.  You would think I may get another sweet treat to counterbalance the flavors but this was just fine. It was a blueberry kind of day and while I was feeling blue, I was feeling  hopeful.

After a few moments inside, I realized I was my own worst enemy.   The times of appreciating outdoor dining or professional chilling, or whatever you want to cal it, are still to be had.  So let’s take this outside.


Much better!  After I got a few photos in, I enjoyed several minutes of appreciating my tea and pastry.  And my own thoughts.  Places like this lead to a lot of organic and natural contemplation about life.  Mostly good thoughts though.  The energy fields in here were at high decibels.  I can’t fully describe why.  Something just felt right.


Some informative links for you : How To Steep and Tea 101.  This is a great site.


The feel-good vibrations led me to hang out at the park which was footsteps away.  I even got a couple more photos in.   I could have sat here for hours, but I think I settled for one. And that’s an hour of my life I will look back on and say, I’m glad I walked in.  And I’ll be glad to come back.  Steap and Grind, thank you.




I Could Have Sat Here For…


And I mean that.  I sat outside the back patio and garden area of The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop, for a good while.  It felt like an hour.  Actually it felt like time stood still and I was the only person on Earth, or at least the only person back here.


Philadelphia has always feel full of enchantment and exciting things and places to come across.  This shoppe, nestled in the Northern Liberties part of town, ranks right up there with the best of them.

When I walked in I had to explain to Becky, the owner and Birdie who was working the counter about what I was doing.  I could’t be inconspicuous in such a cozy space like this. I’m glad I wasn’t.  Both could not have been more friendly and accommodating.   I took a bunch of photos of all the amazing wonders, artifacts, and teas on the wall.

Yes, I’ve heaped so much praise on this lovely establishment and I’ve yet to get into the teas I sampled.


A the weather continues to be glorious, the House Sencha was recommended.  Of course I had it in iced form and as an aside, when I walk into most places for the first time, I usually go for the ‘house” anything or a similar strong recommendation from the staff. It may sound amateur or touristy, but that’s the fun of this.


The honey I tasted from the sencha was incredible.  I was also dehydrated so initially I was taking much quicker sips than I should have been.  I need to take it easy and walk over to the garden, and that’s where I slowed down.

In between taking a few (well maybe a bunch) of pictures I just sat there.  All worries, all fears, all anything seemed to dissolve.  This was as relaxing and tranquil as could be.  And to say that all thoughts went away would be a falsehood.  I mean it did but then other thoughts and feelings presented themselves.  Many were positive yet many were contemplative.  As long as it’s a place of peace and de-stressing than you’re doing something right.  In this busy and hectic way of life many of us live, to find a place to sooth your soul is always welcome.  I’d like more please.  And then I’d like some more please.  And I took my sweet tea time with the sencha and appreciated it that much more.

Speaking of more, after a while, Birdie brought me a sample glass of their Red Berry Mélange.  What a joy this was too. It helps that this was free but I would gladly pay for the tallest glass in the place.  I love that the synopsis reads good for kids and grown ups alike. I felt like a kid and a grown up all at once while at this shop.  I adore this place.

If you believe in positive energy than this is going to be an uplifting and romantic experience.   I have romanticized places during my time of blogging and in my personal life for years.  I think that’s how it should be done.  A place that makes you feel good should be expounded upon as much as possible.


This was my first time, and the first can sometimes me the most memorable.  But I sense that a recurring visit will lead to many great memories in the future.  This tea room is perfect for solitude or a relaxed time with a love one.  Maybe next time I’ll do the latter. But either way you’re going to be good.  The staff will take great care of you.


Now here’s all the information you need, from their wonderfully user-friendly website.

Here’s their menu of teas, upcoming events, exhibits, and their menu, which is deliberately limited.  I love how they downplay serving food.  It really makes them stand out.  However, you may have seen a minuscule looking cookie in some of these pics.  Yes this is was a magnificent vegan rosemary shortbread cookie.  It complemented both of my teas to perfection.

Maybe most of important of all, you can purchase their teas online.  This is where things could become habit-forming if their first two teas I tried were any indication.

I love Philadelphia and I adore this shoppe.  It’s so approachable and I love the size.   It’s so understated, yet overwhelming initially, but oh-so-welcoming.   I look forward to be welcomed again soon.

Feeling Good,


This Was A Good One


But they all can be and should be.  However, this was more about the experience than anything else.   Otherwise I don’t know how good the Chamomile Tea from Stash truly is or isn’t.


I can’t believe it’s September already.  Well yes I can as well.  Time just keeps on going. Yet for this post I’m going to take this back to June, when it wasn’t even officially Summer on the calendar year yet, but as you can tell by these pictures, the Sun was on our side.

This is one of those stories that might be too good to share, but also too good not to. I’m glad I waited this long to talk about it.  It’s gotten better with time.

The tentative plan was to grab some lunch nearby in Baltimore before I took a dear friend to the airport, in the Washington, DC area.   We gave ourselves ample time. However, there were signs all over that we should just drive closer to the final destination  and see where the wind takes us.

I had been to historic Herndon, VA a year prior on another random encounter, and saw nothing but happy and folksy people.  Like most historic locales you have your farmers market, museums, mom and pop shops, community centers, and independent restaurants. It was real and I soaked it all in.  It was with the understanding that right outside this epicenter is nothing but big buildings and gigantic companies that have infiltrated major cities.

One year later as we’re driving, that light bulb went off in my head.  I had investigated happy places to grab a bit to eat, in a cozy area beforehand, but realized that happy town was minutes away.

We found a great place to eat with outdoor dining, and took our time.  The town called for it.  It felt like we were the only people on Earth.  I don’t mean to overstate how amazing the Sun was on this day. Actually the heck with it, the Sun is our friend. The more I expound on this special trip, I realize how perfect everything was.

No rush, no running around, no beating the clock.  It was as close to Zen as you can get.

After a little walking around, a little tea and coffee seemed necessary.  Green Lizard Cycling, (yes a cycling place) came through in the clutch.  Yes I wrote that on purpose. Maybe it was one of those moments where I felt random, but after a hearty meal a hot tea was a must.  And my inspired thought was that Chamomile.


Looking back at these pictures I realize how much that tea matches the color of the sun. The signs and the positive energy are all around us.  It just freaks me out, in a good way, how good this day was.  And all the intricacies and details that I overlooked have been presented to me months later.  This is what we call endearing.


But like I said, on another day, I’m not sure how great this tea would be.  Chamomile has not always been my favorite flavor, but this might be a change of heart.


Circumstances allowed this to be a lot better than I think tea might be.   But Stash has been one of those brands that I feel is overlooked versus some of the more household brands you see at the store.  This is not a dig but more of an observation.

I need to review more Stash teas.  They’ve always been good to me.  Here is the one time I did a recap of one of my favorite and inspiring teas by them.  Talk about a dichotomy. Again,  nothing but signs and serendipitous situations.

The specifics of this day are not necessary and sometimes your best memories should be kept from within, and I’ll leave some details out.  But I did add a couple of pictures of the town and outside the cycling shop to give you a feel for how peaceful and inspiring this day was.  I might be overstating how tremendous all this was but I don’t care.  This was awesome and yet all so simple.

The future is looking bright and full of hope.  A good cup of tea always brings hope. And joy!

Here’s to many more unplanned and inspiring events to come!