Family First


Happy New Year and Happy Spring to everybody.  Happy New Year is for all of my Iranian friends who celebrate Nowruz.

I thought for sure, that after last year (here is the post) there would be another Iranian tea, either from my dad or from myself.  That may still come in a future post in April or soon thereafter, but for now I let my dad do all the work, and I get to relax a bit.  Well sort of.

Leave it to my dad to obtain a tea literally from obscurity.  But that’s what makes this so fun.  I wouldn’t and shouldn’t always be writing about teas that are easily accessible and easily well-known.   I take pride in trying something new in all facets of my life whenever possible.   With that said I’m so grateful to have had my first cup of White Tea & Blueberry from ManzaTe of Costa Rica.

It used to be that I would initially write-off and have presumptions, preconceived notions, and other nasty things to say about something before even trying it.  Just because something is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it should be frowned upon or put on the back burner.  It could easily be a treasure that otherwise would be forgotten.


There won’t be much in the way of pictures of steeping and prepping, because, once again my dad broke this out with little notice.  I love when an idea falls into my lap when I’m not looking for it.


What a thrill this was to sip.   Even if it were disappointing, I would still find so many positives about this experience.  Hanging out with family and the people you care about is always a positive.  And when the tea is great, it definitely is an added bonus.

Yes this tea is delicious.  It was so easy to sip and those blueberries taste natural, and not artificial.  Well at least I hope so.  There’s not much information about this specific tea online.

However, there are online stores where you can purchase their other flavors.  I have two links for you, here and here.


But no Nowruz gathering would be complete without some sweet Iranian pastries that we have more than once a year.  Trust me.  We go overboard here.  We tend to have these at least once a month.  The honey based pastries complement the white tea and blueberries to a tea.  Ha I made myself  laugh with that one.


If you would like to find out more about these sweet treats, here are the links for Jalebi, Bamiyeh, and Persian Baklava.   All of this is so good and so beautiful.


This is a tradition that I hope goes on forever.  And I just don’t mean celebrating New Years and enjoying a meal, a cup, and some sweet treats with my dad and other family.  I would like it to happen as much as possible.  And not all of them are meant to be shared.  As some are meant to be kept internal between yourself, the people you shared them with, and the universe.


If time permits and the opportunity presents itself I would like to write about another tea in another of Iranian New Year.  I figure I have a window of a few weeks to write about a Persian tea if I get the chance.   I hope  I do.  I will hopefully make that happen.  But like with this experience, it will best come organically.


And If I get another chance to write about ManzaTe, I will.  This was a wonderful first impression.  It was easy to drink, easy to appreciate the smells, but most importantly it’s about family and being around great company that you appreciate and that appreciate you back.


This is what life, at any time of year is all about.

I look forward to what April brings.   But for now Happy New Year and Happy Early part of Spring.


A Tea for the Spring & Summer


I was told that the Peach Turmeric Tea from The Spice & Tea Exchange will only last a few weeks.  And if captain obvious is showing you that along with the tea I reviewed last week, the Wild Berry Spring, these are both in the Limited Time Offer section all to the themselves.

My question would be after this limited time offer ends, where would the extra tea go?  I think I answered my own question. At least for the Peach, it doesn’t have a chance.  And I mean that in a good way.   I would not be surprised if this tea is near the end of supply or getting close.   This is up there with some of the best tea I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a lot of teas but I haven’t had them all.  Nor will I ever.  But at least for this moment, and it might be a temporary or short burst of feeling, this is up there with the classics.


Where the Wild Berry is fantastic, the Peach is just in class of its own.  I love both but I think I love the Peach just a little bit more.  I can see others loving the Berry more.


Turmeric is something that has been a a part of my life and my family going back as far as I can remember.  Yesterday, was the first day of Spring which also mean the first day of Iranian New Year.  And Turmeric has been used in traditional Iranian and Middle Eastern dishes for many a lifetime.  No, this wasn’t planned.  But I’m so happy I can incorporate Iranian New Year into this post.


But this tea has so many joys of not just the spring, but the summer as well.   When I first got my first smell of the tea at the Rehoboth Beach store, I just knew this was going to be special.   Yet with this blog, I knew there would be a little bit of a wait.  And boy it was worth the wait.


Yet a tea like this needs a beautiful presentation.  Maybe not quite like last week but another cup and infuser was in order.


Leave it to me to split my purchases with Rehoboth (the teas) and Ocean City (everything else), when I could have done it all in one place, or even online.


I spotted some fancy cups and thought a lighter blue would be more fitting.  I’ve done so many variations of greens that something else was necessary.  But I need more.  I needed a proper infuser for this occasion.  Leave it to Fred and Friends, and my new friend the ManaTea.  Yes it’s a silicone tea infuser and he looks so friendly.  No, not creepy.  I said friendly! Yes!


But after looking at him I can understand why one might get freaked out.  It looks like he keeps staring at you, similar to a creepy stuffed animal or some dopey looking person on a billboard.  But enough, how was this tea I keep heaping praise on?

The smells matched how it was after brewing.  I only had to place a little in the infuser since I was steeping it in such a tiny cup.  I placed less than a teaspoon and it worked to perfection.   The peaches, honey, coconut, and Rooibos really shine through to make this the perfect tea for the spring and the summer.   This can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Some sweet spring and holiday themed treats pair wonderfully with the tea itself, the cup and the season.  And that color and shine on that tea is magnificent.

Speaking of  cold, I realized I had a little left after a few hours and naturally got to savor this tea chilled.  It was beautiful.  Everything about this was beautiful.   In hindsight I wish I bought more and I may do just that.

Since I have a relatively small bag of this and the berry, I will appreciating and savoring every moment I can with these teas.  For a limited time really means just that.

And onto the subject of limited time.  That’s what spring (and much of life in general) feels like.  It comes and it goes.  So on this second day of spring my goal once again is to appreciate every moment.  It would safe to assume many of you want to do the same.  We don’t have to document or blog every moment (though that helps for yours truly) but to create and imprint new Spring memories is what life is all about.

Spring is a time of rebirth, a revitalization, a time of hope, joy, peace, love, and everything positive synonym and superlative you can think of.  I said Summer earlier and we do love Summer.  But one day at a time.

Yes this is a tea for both seasons.   If you only could get one of the two teas I’ve written about, I would go with the Peach Turmeric.  But that’s just me.

Here’s the list of Spice and Tea Exchange’s locations and their online store.  I have only had good experiences with them.

I want to thank Yanna at the Rehoboth Beach shoppe for giving me a discount on my teas (which went above and beyond) because of my blog.  And thank you to Tiffany at the Ocean City store for help on my new infuser, glass, and getting me essentially another tea for free.  Which I hope to get to down the line.

A limited time on teas, a limited time on this earth, means an unlimited amount of time to enjoy tea, enjoy each other, and enjoy life.  That’s the point of all this.

If it works out for next week, I will hopefully write about an Iranian tea like I did last year to celebrate New Years.

Nevertheless Happy First Day of Spring, Happy Spring, Happy New Year, and Happy Everything.


The Joys of Spring


I love Spring.  We’re so close to the official day, which will be less than one week from when this thing gets posted.

There’s plenty of things I love.  One thing I know for sure has been my love affair with The Spice and Tea Exchange (for past posts click here), and with every new shoppe of there’s I visit, there’s another reminder of why I enjoy visiting their stores and sampling their incredible array of teas.


As I just stated, I love checking off the list of locations I’ve been to.  At my count I’ve been to their Annapolis, MD; Alexandria, VA; and New Orleans, LA locations.  For only visiting three I feel like I’ve built a genuine connection with these wonderful company, and it all felt so effortless.

Williamsburg, VA should be on that list but I don’t think I can count that (more on that maybe down the line, as I don’t recall if I actually visited their store) and another friend was thoughtful enough to bring me a tea from their Forth Worth, TX store.  Good to know my friends know me so well.  And I think that’s what this tea experience is all about, enjoying tea and enjoying the company you have that tea with.

Now this is not going to turn into a national tour of visiting all their stores, even though that would be so wonderful, this is more about two fabulous and similar, yet so different experiences this past weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE and Ocean City, MD.  Yes, two more off the list.   And yes, I went to the beach a little early this year.  But it’s never too early or too late for tea.

I think I shall break this down into two parts.


My first ever visit to Rehoboth was a couple of days ago and was one of those experiences that continues the tradition of why I love this place so much.   And what a cozy and charming area Rehoboth Beach in general is.  It has a great small town feeling.

Yanna,  who was working at the time was enthusiastic to help and answer any questions. Whenever I visit, my main intent is to check out their seasonal teas, because they come and go in rapid-fire fashion.   They’re turnover with the new season of teas is sometimes less than a month.


With that, before time runs out, I am proud to bring you the first of two Spring teas, their Wild Berry Spring Tea.


I got to experience many free smells of their teas, but this was my first.  And it really got me excited for Spring.  The aromas of berries, vanilla, mint, and tulsi make for a lighthearted yet at the same time powerful bouquet of flavors that I could not wait to try.

The anticipation and build-up was worth it.

At the Ocean City Store that same day I bought a beautiful, new infuser mug that fits the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.  You know because of well, yeah.

I want to thank Tiffany at the OC location for also being so kind and so helpful in my search for new tea gadgets. There will be more on this next week.

I’ve really set high expectations with this tea, and I still had a near three hour drive home before I got a chance to brew it.

I have good and breaking news.  This tea tastes just as good as it smells.  And just as good as advertised, if not more.

It once again has a powerful initial taste, which might be the cream.  But it’s light and for a Spring tea that’s what you want.  As the weather improves and the temperatures rises, we might be looking for more of those light bodied and lighter flavored teas that will be gentle on the stomach and in turn we’ll feel grateful and spiritually rejuvenated to have such a wonderful and majestic tea.

I put the suggested amount and that really made the difference.  I think adding too much may undermine the intent of what this tea is all about.   A few good minutes of steeping paid enormous dividends in the end.

The pictures of the tea leaves before and after are a thing of beauty.  How they expand after boiling, steeping, and infusing in water is absolute art.  Not all leaves, and for all intents and purposes, flowers bloom in this fashion.   What a treat and a what a blessing this was to witness.


The green mug did not fully to the color of the this tea justice that I enlisted a new friend to help me show you how it looks in a clearer cup.    There it is!


Beautiful right?  And my new holiday themed buddy enjoyed its (his?) (her?) tiny cup.  I almost think my friend savored theirs just a little bit more than I did.  This was an easy one to drink.  And if you’re at a nearby store, I would strongly suggest getting this tea while supplies last.  I’ve been told these teas will be around for 3-4 weeks.


You can have nothing or everything with this tea.  These holiday themed sugar cookies were more for decoration than anything else.  I did have a little myself but a healthy tea likes this deserves a great complementary snack to go with it.  And that can be anything ou want.  In that sense the cookies worked perfectly.

I didn’t give all the details of both visits. I’ll save that for next week.  But I have posted some pictures from the Rehoboth store throughout this post for your viewing enjoyment. This is one where another post is more than necessary.

And any chance to write about Spice & Tea is good enough for me.   And hopefully some of you will get some enjoyment and seek out their teas, and maybe their which are also available for purchase online.


This tea was fantastic, and with that I am so looking forward to trying the Peach Tumeric tea.  If the weather permits I will present it hot and cold.  I’m confident in that and confident the weather will cooperate on all levels.  It is Spring after all.


And Spring mean a new year, new hopes, new opportunities, and new teas to try and share with the people we love, or in solitude.

As the days grow longer and the sun looks stronger, I now the tea experience will continue to get better.    And man I’m excited to get to part two next week.

See ya then and Happy Spring Forward, St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Spring itself!

The best is here and the best is coming,





Something Sacred


In the midst of all the tea posts I have pending, many to fall by the wayside.  Others have an expiration date or statue of limitations that would make no sense to see the light of day.  Maybe I’ll explain that another time, or maybe give you an example in the future. But then there’s others that I feel are so personal and so inspiring that either it’s a memory I want to retain just for me and the amazing people I shared it with (and in many instances I was alone), and then there’s growing businesses and the fantastic people behind it that you feel a personal responsibility to share it with as many people as possible.

Back in October I was at one of the many festivals that makes Baltimore so unique and so special.  And at many of these events I keep in the back of my mind about something I could write about in the future.  Little did I know that I would discover one of those incredible food and tea combinations I’ve ever had.  And this pairing is always going to be at the top of my list.

I wanted to give a huge thank you and hello to The Sacred Kitchen.

At many a festival food trucks and the usual food stands are all too commonplace.  The options for something different have become lost in the shuffle. What’s different now is basic meals and what’s become the norm is sometimes businesses being too cute for their own good.

And then there’s The Sacred Kitchen.

On this one day I just couldn’t make up my mind on what to eat.  I wanted something healthy, something that wouldn’t blow me up, and something out of the regular options.

These guys came through without having too try to hard.  And their booth was so much more welcoming and approachable than just about anything I’ve come across in a while.

Their mobile vegan operation is one that I’m fortunate to have discovered in the early stages of this growing venture.

I got the pleasure to meet the owners Harpreet and Kelly, and we were chatting like we had known each other for years.

But wait just a minute.  What does this have to do with tea?  Look at the menu below.


It took me a second to figure out what this Blueberry Tulsi Mauby Tea is.  I’ll tell you what and I’ll be honest, I still don’t know.  What I do know is this was so refreshing, so enlightening, and such a healing drink.  I can’t tell you why exactly.  Part of is for me to appreciate but part of it I truly think doesn’t need to be explained.


Meeting the great souls who made this tea and having this for the first time instantaneously is one of those truly remarkable things that I appreciate just for what it is. Nothing more and nothing less.  Well hopefully more.  I’m craving a cup right now.


You might be asking what this visually pleasing plate of food is.  That would be the Armitsari Chole made of garbanzo beans and spices, that yes, do uplift the senses and the soul.    Throw in some Punjabi Puri Bread and this is one of those life-changing meals that will well, change your life.

This entire experience raised my spirits.   Why it took me nearly five months to write about this is something I can’t explain, other than this is the time that it was supposed to happen, and…


Spring is approaching and that means more festivals, more events, more parties, and hopefully more opportunities to try amazing tea and food like this.

I need to get myself to the Kent Island Farmers’ Market on a Thursday at the very least.  If you’re anywhere close by, I would highly recommend you do the same.

If you’re interested in having them cater your event or be a part of your party or festival, you can contact them here or email them at

When and when the opportunity presents itself I hope I get to share another amazing tea and food experience with these genuine and down-to-earth souls again.


Everything about this was beautiful.