You’re Beautiful, It’s True

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As I promised, this is a continuation from last week of my love affair with Bigelow Teas.  And their newest addition to the tea party is Bigelow Benefits.  And what positive benefits they are.

All the information you need is right here.

My dear friend, who has helped me with this big in so many ways, suggested I get to writing about these when I had the opportunity.   Only been released since the beginning of this year it has been a slight challenge finding these beneficial teas in my local store.

With a few searches that turned up nothing, I didn’t give up.  But I did take a step back and realize once again that if I’m going to find these teas I’m going to find them.  Even more importantly, they’re going to find me.  And that’s exactly what happened.

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The Harris Teeter I visited near me carried all seven of this collection.  No, I’m not going to do all seven.  I will revisit the others not mentioned today in a future post.  But today I’m going to focus on not two, but three of these that stood out to me the most.

And now they stand out to me even more after the fact.

Before I started I figured I was going to write in sequential order of the teas that I sipped. However, after thinking about it I’m going to go in reverse and it only makes sense thinking about it.  Well I hope it does.

First (or the last one I sipped) is the Sleep (Chamomile & Lavender Herbal Tea).

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This one quite simply knocked me out. What I had wanted to do was write about this as I was midway through this cup and be done with this post as I was finishing. That didn’t even come close.  Whether it was me or the tea, I got tired and groggy almost instantaneously.

This is better than any sedative I’ve ever had and I don’t do sedatives.  But you hopefully know what I mean.  This tea is heavy and the chamomile and lavender are going to hit you without any warning.  This might be my new cure for insomnia and lousy sleep. Not that I have a lot of the former.  But my sleep patterns haven’t been the best.  Maybe some of you can relate to that.

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I got some of the best rest I’ve had in sometime and it’s good to know that the benefits this tea is claiming are valid.  It may not be the most palatable tea but it did it’s job.  The flavors may not appeal to some but I found it enjoyable enough to sip, and to know it aids in rest and relaxation means I will be having this again before bedtime for the foreseeable future.   Not the most flavorful but it does its job.

The tea I did have second (and second here funny how that works out) is the Balance (Cinnamon & Blackberry Herbal Tea).

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I absolutely love this.  I had this in daylight and outdoors, and it added to that experience.  This is about taking care of your sugar balance.  And the universe knows I need that.  Maybe the same situation applies to you.  Cinnamon is one of the gifts from the universe and it works so perfectly here.  There’s so many fruits and leaves of fruits that it’s like tasting a fruit salad in a cup. This is so my kind of tea.  I would like to think that the combination of blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry (and everything else in between) is what I tasted and it was beautiful.  This is so beautiful.  This is a tea for all seasons.  And so perfect for the time of year we’re in and what’s to come.  I love this tea so much.

That’s why it’s hard to say if the Balance or the final (or first) tea I sampled is my favorite.  It’s a horse race to be honest but the Radiate Beauty (Blueberry & Aloe Herbal Tea) set the table for a great trios tea tasting party.    This was created to help with your skin, you glow, and just overall well-being.  I felt so good drinking this. It could be the labels, the packaging, or the entire aura of all these teas.  But there was something different.  It carries a different energy than their teas you see in many stores.  And I enjoy many a cup via their selections.

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But these three, and especially the last two are some of their best.   I could go on and on but if you come across the teas I highly recommend them.

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I highly recommend giving them a go.  I haven’t seen them everywhere other than at Harris Teeter, as I sense it’s so new it’s still being slowly introduced into stores.  If I come across more locations, I will update this post as needed. At only $3 a box for an 18 count tea, it was well worth it.  It felt like I was paying discounted prices for a regularly priced item.

You can also purchase these teas along with all their other teas online if you’re getting excited.  I have a feeling some of you might be.

There’s four more teas (at least) from their Benefits collection that I have yet to try and when the time is right I will.  But I feel like those (without even trying them), maybe unfairly, have a lot to live up to versus these awesome choice I made.

I highly recommend the Balance and Radiate Beauty for all aspects, and the Sleep for exactly that, good sleep.

More is coming and I look forward to talking about Bigelow in some way, shape, or form again in the coming weeks or months.

Stay beautiful,

Ideen

Family First

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ideen

Feeling Blue

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Best,

Ideen

It Was Raining

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Two weeks in a row I find myself in Virginia.  And changing up the locations means finding a new spot or two to write about one of my favorite subjects.    Last week was a gem.  So how did this one fare?  Not as good.

Through my local travels,  I found myself in Alexandria, VA.  To say I’m sentimental is an understatement.  It’s the town where I was born, so any time I pass through here or plan a visit I get a warm feeling inside.  I feel like it’s a badge of honor.  It was meant to be.

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And Old Town is in the heart of it all.  It’s got it’s historic and authentic feel with its cobblestone streets, red brick sidewalks, cozy looking row homes, and small businesses.   It’s pure class that is worth visiting.  I prefer neighborhoods like this as opposed to the craziness of major downtown epicenters.

And there’s plenty of tea abound.   Unfortunately my visit here was not one to write home about.   I have visited Teaism in the past and never felt completely satisfied.   There has just been something off with my purchases, the energy of the establishment, or it could be my own goofiness.   But it’s a few visits and I’ve always felt a weird vibe.

It’s in a newer part of town that doesn’t feel historic.  It feels a bit more corporate.  That doesn’t make it a bad thing.  But it’s not necessitating the joy and fun I look for when I want a peaceful cup of tea.

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It was pouring down rain on this particular visit.  And a soothing flavor was just what I had hoped to obtain.  I opted for the Berry Beauty and the Chai.  I’m not here much so I wanted to try a some I don’t often think to order.

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The berry contained hibiscus which I usually enjoy.  This was not good at all.  I didn’t like the flavor whatsoever.  It tasted like the sweet and sour clashed, but then went off in another direction.  It just didn’t come as advertised.  I was disappointed.  I was hoping for something more delightful.

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The chai was ok.  I’ve had them from other places (tea shops, coffee shops, grocery stores) that tasted much better.  It wasn’t bad.  It just didn’t wow me whatsoever.

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The setup of the shop is puzzling to me.  I imagine some people like it.  It’s a restaurant, tea house, and contains a little tea store in the middle.   Additionally, when you order carry-out or in the restaurant, you have to walk to the back to pick it up.  I think it sound more complex in person.  Something about the dynamic doesn’t feel natural.  And the energy felt stuffy once again.

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The shoppe items looked cool but I didn’t have time to stay too long and peruse.

Their menu is interesting and seems all over the map.  I didn’t feel it was approachable either.   The staff was friendly for the most part.  The gentleman who was working the front seemed to be going through the motions.  That’s just my interpretation.

But with all that being said, I would like to come back.   Maybe I’ll bring a friend or two with me and see how they feel.   And there’s so many flavors to try and hopefully I’ll find a nice meal to pair it with.

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I think this place is much better than the experiences that I’ve had so I hope to be back within the next month or two.   They also have three locations in Washington, DC but that’ll come in time.  For now, any excuse to come to one of my favorite towns is good enough for me.

All the best,

Ideen

You Know My Steaz

I went on another adventure or scavenger hunt in search of another tea, cold or hot, to write about.   And in keeping with this warm weather, I happily went with the former.

Steaz

I had never heard of Steaz until earlier this week.  And shame on me.  But at the same time, this is what this blog and learning new things is all about.  If it wasn’t for writing about one my favorite things, I may not have crossed paths with their products for a while. I probably saw them on grocery store shelves but were just a part of anything else in my view.

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I am really digging these organic iced teas that these companies are concocting.

In traditional fashion I grabbed two cans that I wanted to try.  And I did a taste test in the comfort of my home.   I went with some different flavors for this incarnation.

I went with the Super Fruit and Blueberry Pomegranate.  The links associated with both flavors are the same, but this website is so user-friendly, you should have no trouble finding your way.

And speaking of the same, they both taste very similar.  If you gave me a blind taste test, I would say they were both fruit punch of a medley of some sort.  I wouldn’t be able to get all the correct fruits for two respectively but I’d give it a shot.

With that being said, I liked both very much.   After a couple sips each, I wasn’t in love with either right away.  But with time they both grew on me.  It might have been my palate or taste buds at the time.  But I think the bigger picture is I am unfortunately used to drinking sweeter and artificial beverages in the Summer that I may not have been fully appreciating a natural and organic treat. That’s my educated guess on this.

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In looking at the ingredients of both teas, I saw to a degree, that they are very similar.  Had I been had? Ha, I don’t think that to be the case. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to pour each can into a glass with ice to get a better feel for what I was working with.

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At first blush both drinks look very similar. But as you look closer the Blueberry Pomegranate does have a darker tint to it. And yes it does have a little more power than the Super Fruit, which I did not expect at all.  I expected the Super Fruit to hit me like that comic book hero you may have heard about. All kidding aside, I enjoyed both very much. And I would love to try more of there selections in the future.  They have plenty of them.

And best of all, they are a Fair Trade ingredients so I know I am drinking something that represents good.  And hopefully I am bringing my good energy from this purchase back into the world.   And my other favorite part of researching these organizations is their role in helping the community or communitea if you will!

And information on where to buy their products can be found here.

I felt good drinking their stand-out iced teas and look forward to more in the future.   I felt so good trying them out that it made this post that much more easy to write.

More to come!

Best,

Ideen

Blueberry Black Birthday Tea!

Tovolo

Well I just can’t help myself with the alliteration, can I?

I celebrated a birthday recently, and some dear friends got me some wonderful tea based gifts!  It made me so happy!

I’ve yet to visit the Spice & Tea Exchange.  It always seems to allude me.  I’m at nearby locations, either before it opens or past dark, including Alexandria, Annapolis, and Williamsburg.  It just hasn’t been meant to be.

So the store has come to me via my awesome friends!   Namely, the Ocean City, MD location, which has just opened recently!   Contact information pictured below.

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The blog needed some spicing up (no pun intended) and some new tea implements, instruments, and gadgets will be making their way onto here!

So what’s that cool thing pictured at the top?  It’s a tea infuser from Tovolo!  This was also part of the gift package!  How beautiful is that!

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And what about the tea that was used?  The Blueberry Black Tea really made my day.  It gave me chills.  And I don’t meant the tea was cold.  It literally gave me goose bumps.  This stuff was magnificent.  I’m getting a happy feeling just writing about it here.   I got a great picture of the leaves up close, as can be seen pictured above!  This was placed in the ball of the infuser before I closed it up  to be steeped.

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What you see pictured above and below is the joyful process of using my new favorite item!  It definitely prevents a mess and dripping, as other infusers might do!   I’m in love with this thing and I’m in love with the tea!

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After steeping for just a few minutes, the color really shines and radiates!

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It smells like a wonderful blueberry pie.   While I had no pie to complement the tea.  There were some delicious walnuts that I enjoyed with my cup!

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Going forward, many more loose teas will be featured from this wonderful store and with my cool new toy!

I love going through the Spice & Tea Exchange’s website. There’s much to discover and learn.   I see they’ve been around for just 10 years.  But they really have some fun teas and related items available. I can’t wait to visit myself.

This is how we get the Summer going in style.  I feel great about what’s to come.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Here’s To Full Bloom

Bencheley

Despite the fact that we’re a few weeks away from peak bloom of the Cherry Blossoms, it has fortunately given me enough time to talk about another related tea.   For my recap of the Cherry Blossom Rose, click here.

The Cherry Almond from Bencheley is an absolute joy.   I am glad we grabbed that out of the stash.  It had been sitting there for a while.  But it still has legs.  And it still tastes good.   Now Bencheley is not a brand that many folks are familiar with.   They don’t have a website, Facebook, or Twitter page that I can find.   The good news is their teas can be purchased here.   I originally purchased this at my local Kitchen & Company.  Which is a very charming shoppe!

With the elements of cherry, almond, and black tea merging together, you can imagine how great this is.  And it’s decaf to boot.  So you can enjoy this at anytime without worry of staying up too late!   The flavors are easily detected, which isn’t always the case with more complex selections.   The almond taste lingers for a while and is a joy to my senses.   I can’t put into words how well it resonates.   The aftertaste is to die for.  And as I got to the bottom of the tea,  both flavors hit me with such potency.   I feel joy writing about it now.  What a perfect beverage for the season.

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In honor of the festivities, the pink mug has made it’s debut to the blog.  How pretty is that?  It makes me want to brew one right now.

I enjoyed my cup, with a piece of lemon cake and blueberries.    It’s all about the scents and flavors of Spring!   Below are some inspiring photos of my tea with dessert.

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I wish you a Happy Spring and look forward to enjoying the Cherry Blossoms with everyone!

Best,

Ideen