I Will Not Take These Things For Granted

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So the title came to me earlier tonight.  And it’s inspired from this.

As I mentioned last week, there are certain teas, stores, and cafes that will hold sentimental value to me.  Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company will always be in that conversation.

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As you can see in my history of posts, the love affair is real.

The teas haven’t always been the best, but the service from their Annapolis and Timonium locations has always been stellar.

If I were to do a weekly blog just based on this wonderful company, I would never run out of material.   I’ve been here that many times, but sometimes I go just for me.  No blogs no writing, not anything.  Sometimes we need that.  Not everything is meant to be shared.

But as the title says, sometimes a story is necessary.  Sometimes an entity deserves all the praise. I can only do my part to show my appreciation.  Because that’s what Baltimore Coffee & Tea deserves, all the appreciation.  Because I can’t take a place like this for granted.  It’s been so good to me.

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And you know where else has been good to me?  The state capital of Annapolis (my history with tea in and relating to Annapolis can be found here) is the backdrop for so many small things and memories, that are truly the big things.

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I can’t go the entire summer without not giving love to this magical, colonial, and historical place.   So with that, my most recent visit was last week, and I was going merely for a cup of coffee.

That changed because I felt inspired.

When I’m reviewing teas purchased here, I usually grab them a bag from the display rack, or kindly ask one of the friendly staff members to open up a box of a tea I’d like to try.  They’re so good about that.  It’s opened up many new doors and experiences, I didn’t know existed.  The tea journey is never-ending, and they’ve added multiple dimensions to that.  I’m thankful for that.

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So how fitting is it, that I decided to order a tea from the menu.  And what do I see but the original or originals, the Eastern Shore Back Porch Iced Tea,  As the description says, it’s your standard iced tea.  There’s nothing fancy or earth shattering about it.  But if you know what to expect it’s going to be just fine.

For where I was, it was just fine.

I’ve never been a fan of just iced tea.  It’s not that I’m opposed to it, but I’ve always wanted something just a little more.  And I don’t mean sugar or any additives.  I appreciate a little natural flavor of some sort.

But sometimes you just want a cup of tea, you want some iced tea, and nothing else.  Well I can’t be too dramatic.  They did give me a lemon, which was plenty.

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I also got a simple chicken salad over lettuce.   And I found myself in a front corner spot of the store, which has now been a home away from home.  I’m serious when I say this.  I’ve sat here countless numbers of times over the past couple of years, that if I don’t get that spot (or porch in this instance) a part of me feels confused.  And no I haven’t always sat there but I think this resonates with a few people.

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In saying all this, the old man or old soul is coming through a little more than I’d prefer. But that spot, and this place is a part of me.  It has a small piece of my heart, and I’m grateful to give that piece to them.

After I took a few pictures I sat there for a while.  And it may have been an hour, but it felt like time stood still and I could sit there all day.  In many ways I did, I’v had before, and I will again.

Man I love this place.

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I’m not ready to put an end to summer just yet.  I’ve got iced teas I could write about for weeks, and maybe months.  I hope I can get to all of them, if not, I’ll save it for another time.  But you can be sure Baltimore Coffee and Tea will be a part of the conversation again, and soon.

How can it not be?

To purchase this tea, along with others, click here.

If you’re in the area, or will be visiting, here’s their list of stores, FAQ, and contact information.

Finally, here’s more from Eastern Shore Tea Company.

Thanks so much and I wish you a happy upcoming holiday weekend.

We’re just getting started.

Blessed,

Ideen

 

Tuesday Jam Session

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The sweet tooth bug has really hit me these past couple of weeks.  I have no explanation why.  Maybe it’s the sunny weather (or lack thereof), or maybe it’s some inexplicable and something that doesn’t need to be made sense of.  There I go getting all deep on you again.

I believe the choice of tea for this week is only fitting.   Oh and there’s cake too.

Random circumstances brought me back to the Timonium/Towson area and the stars aligned for me to return to a now familiar stomping grounds, Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

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With past posts I’ve been critical of their stalwart tea, Eastern Shore Tea.

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One of the many pleasurable aspects of this thing is that I get to be random.  If I see a tea that catches my eye or even one that looks ominous, I’ll give it a whirl.  As I referenced earlier, my knack for something sweet has been permeating.  So with that resonating in my subconscious, I went with the Berry Jamboree Tea.

I’ve mentioned this before.  There is something missing with these teas. There’s been some quality ones don’t get me wrong.  But the oomph and the pizzazz is lacking.

For sure, I thought one bag would be enough.  The jammy elements of strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry should have made this black tea magnificent.  I wanted to feel cozy.  And with this horrific rain we’ve had all month, it would only be so fitting.  The irony was that it wasn’t and it was sunny.  Go figure.  Even two bags didn’t multiply the fruit.  If anything this cup plateaued.

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Regardless, this tea was good enough to drink but it needs a thing or two to put it over-the-top.  The touch of hibiscus was unbeknownst to me until I read the synopsis.

There may be something to be said about location.   Towson has a feel but not the shame charm I remember.  The store nestled in an office park should scream anonymity and a sense of a tight-knit community.  That might be there but I don’t see it like I used to. Maybe my energy level was not at its best on this day or in previous incarnation, but there’s something more.

The first visit or first experience is always the most unpredictable.  You have no expectations and no preconceived notions.  Well there’s exceptions but I think you know what I mean.  My original visit to the Timonium location was special.  But honestly I have no memory of when this was, what I ordered, or whether I was with anyone.   But it was special.  Some memories stay so private and internal, even with the person who created them.

Annapolis, on the other hand, has my heart.  And there’s that small town and community feel I yearn for and that I love.  Oh and there tea variety is a bit more expansive.   I just have to go back and report from there again.

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I love local and love supporting this company.  Even though this tea was only good, but not a masterpiece, will not deter me from trying some more.  Something tells me this will be revisited this summer.

For more on their teas or to purchase, click here.

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To sunnier days ahead,

Ideen

P.S. That lemon cake was delicioso!

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Lots of Fruit

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It’s a new month and the weather is showing signs of life.  And I am grateful for this.   It’s not quite shorts weather but we’re getting there.  I should also appreciate everything that February has to offer.   It’s traditionally the worst month for snow but it’s also the time when we start seeing spring-like products start to show themselves.  And tea is a big part of that.

I feel it’s only right to review a tea that represents the winter well but also contains flavors right in line with the spring-time that is forthcoming.   Maybe I am getting ahead of myself.

And with the tea I’m about to discuss, maybe I was.

I take it back to one of my favorite places, Baltimore Coffee And Tea Company, which I’ve written several pieces on before.   Those links are accessible here, or maybe over here, or somewhere far far away, or maybe just right here.

This is from a recent visit to their Baltimore Area location, which is hidden but everyone knows about it.  I love the set-up and the cozy environment.  The friendly faces behind the counter also add to everything.

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However, the Della Robia from Eastern Shore Tea was missing everything it was touting it had.  It’s a serviceable black tea but I did not find any plum, pear, orange, and apple that was supposedly in the tea.   And where was the hazelnut?  What I did  get was small samples of what might be fruit or spice, but I don’t know what those may be.

I’m a huge fan of Eastern Shore, so it makes me take a step back when I try a tea of theirs that’s lackluster.  I’m genuinely surprised by this.

My last review I echoed the same sentiments.  What’s going on here?   Otherwise I’ve been championing their products for years.

What you see in the photos is a bacon and chocolate chunk scone.  People are going to love it.  I had an arduous time finishing the pastry as it was very rich for me.  But I’m going to assume I’m in the minority.  And I hope my tea disappointed reviews from here are going to be the exception as well.

And for information on all the teas they carry, go to this link.

For folks in Maryland their store are listed here.  I’ve been to a couple of their shops and it’s always a genuinely good experience.

You can also order online.  Just click on the teas you’re interested in and go from there.

I’ll be back here soon and with all the confidence that the tea will be amazing.

 

Best,

Ideen

 

 

From Baltimore to Annapolis

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There is so much good about where we live and so much more to explore.  Sometimes we find ourselves in places, either because of planning, or, because of happenstance.   And just maybe, the serendipitous happens.

I have a plethora of tea related things I want to talk about, but I have called an audible.   And I’m happy with my decision.

I always love driving toAnnapolis.   It’s a place I don’t visit enough.  And because of that, places, foods, and things all seem fresh to me.

And I keep discovering new things!   I knew there was a Baltimore Coffee & Tea Co. location in the area.  But I wasn’t sure precisely where.   And without looking, it just appears to me in all its beauty. Life is good like that sometimes.   And I wasn’t even trying to find it.

I walked in and had no idea what tea I wanted. I just asked the friendly face at the counter, what were the teas to choose from, and she asked me to turn around.   And what a beautiful display to choose from.  She just handed me my cup of hot water and I was left to go on an adventure and discover.

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As you can see, there was a copious amount to choose from.   I wanted to stay local, so I saw the Eastern Shore Tea Co. stash, mixed in with everything else.  Maybe I pulled a rabbit out of a hat, because I landed on the Celebration Tea.  How fitting.  There is much to celebrate being in the great state of Maryland.  And there is much to be proud of being a part of the Baltimore and Annapolis areas.

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What really stands out is the powerful fruits. The trifecta of Passionfruit, Mango, and Starfruit really pack an amazing punch.  It’s a melange of what celebration is all about.   Throw in the Hibiscus and Roses, and everything about this screams joy, peace, love, happiness, and everything that’s right with the world.  This can be served chill for outdoor parties and complement various snacks and meals.   I enjoyed it boiling, but can’t wait to try it cold when the weather really shines through.

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If you would like to read a previous recap from this amazing company, click here.

I could have stayed at this shoppe for a while. Not only do they have tea, but plenty of coffee, and some charming gifts. These pictures are only just the beginning.  If I could try all these teas, I would.  And in time, I will.

The staff was incredibly friendly and that set the tone for the great energy inside the store.  What else can you ask for?

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The sun may not have been shining today but its only April.  We’re going to be blessed with many beautiful days.  I’m excited for the Summer, but one day at a time.  I will enjoy Spring, I will enjoy Maryland, and I will enjoy Baltimore.

All the Best.

Love,

Ideen