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HarneyGreenTeaCoconutDisplayWithDog

With all the writing that I do, it’s hard to not sound repetitive.  I’ve only recently started looking back at stories from the last year, and I’m proud that many of them have a different slant on teas, similar teas, and just life in general.  While I do see similarities, every story is different, and every story feels significant and feels real.

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Harney & Sons continues to be one of the standard bearers for tea, and it’s highly sought after by many of my friends and peers, that it’s the one tea they prefer, and some they only sip exclusively.

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They’re doing something right.  That’s an understatement by the way.  All their teas are available for purchase here, and here is my Harney history lesson.

Speaking of exclusive, I first had the sense that Harney & Sons teas had this stigma of being unapproachable and only available to the elite and high society types.   My presumptions were false.  However, over 10 years ago I worked in a typical corporate environment where their teas were served at parties, luncheons, and other events, where I thought this tea was out of my league.

Don’t ever thing something is out of your league.

But I would grab the leftover bags, and of course the free food when everyone left, (hey free food is free food), and when I would have their teas, I thought I had struck gold.  It’s gold alright.

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And free tea is free tea, but this is worth paying a little extra for.  While most teas are $2-$4, to only have to pay $6 for the Green Tea Coconut tin 20 pack of sachet’s, is a bargain.  That is more than welcoming, more than inviting, and feels like home.

This tea takes us back to February, where the weather was different, and the teas are all going to be hot.  They’re still going to be hot, here and there, as the weather gets nicer.

Everything about this is great.  I was on a mini vacation, and while I was isolated, I really wasn’t. I had the company of some amazing dogs, beautiful nature, and a selection of teas where you throw in that kid in a candy store analogy.  Just a little healthier of course.

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Green tea, coconut, vanilla, ginger, and lemongrass is a memorable melange, where my words are not going to be enough.  When I opened up the tin, the immediate sensation and feeling of all the goodness hit me.  I knew the steeping and brewing process was going to be just as special.

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Perhaps it’s because I was away from home, yet I was in a home where I felt comfortable and at ease, that this might be more romantic then if this were somewhere else.  A tea like this deserves all the romanticizing in the world, yet doesn’t need me or anyone else to do so.  This is a masterpiece.

I’m glad I had this, where I did.  The three dogs I shared this time with (no I didn’t give them any tea), made this all the more memorable and my heart feels so big right now.  The pups did it, this tea did it, and something just made my spirit so big.

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This was 3 months ago and I remember it like it was well, I don’t know.   It’s beautiful.

I’m glad I decided to write this today.  It’s Be Kind To Animals Week, and I’m so happy and grateful that some caricatures of animals are on display with this incredible tea.

Where do we go from here?  I almost want time to stand still or I would love to go back to this story.  I’m glad I have this written out, and I have this memory that will last with me forever.

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This is a tea for now, and for….

Blessings to you..

Ideen

1, 2, What You Doing?

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I had something else planned for today, but my heart wasn’t feeling it.   That story will have to be told another day.  And like always, it’ll sort itself out and be better in the long run.

Wilmington, DE has a charm and aura about it that is bestowed upon many a small, yet growing and flourishing towns.  Not far from Philadelphia, and just a little north of Baltimore, it finds itself in its own world, a separate entity from anything else.  At least that’s how I look at it.

My last visit uncovered one gem (story can be found here), but this one tells a story that’s a little more relaxed, and one where I hope has at least a part two.

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First things first, Brew Haha!, aside from having a clever name, has such a warm and inviting energy, that you can’t help but find yourself inside.   Whenever I’m anywhere, if I think to, I will research a place nearby for tea.  I had heard and seen of Brew Haha! as it’s a growing coffee shop chain in our first state (locations can be found here), here is and I see them continuing their skyrocketing success.  Their story says it all.

The not-so-challenging aspect of a coffee shop, for tea lovers like you and me, are whether they have a tea list to begin with.  Then, is that list on your standard side, or a is that list a bit for expansive?   Here’s their menu.

Then when the manager mentions they have a couple of loose teas, my eyes light up and I’m reminded and bless of why I write about and love tea so much.

I love tea so much.

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The recommendation was the Cosmic Rose from Brandywine Coffee Roasters, which is beautiful on all sorts of levels.  It’s a local business, so local supporting local, and being supported by patrons and visitors like me is what makes this world so wonderful.

Here is Brandywine Coffee Roasters tea list available for purchase online.and their contact information.

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This tea is wonderful.  Just the visual alone in seeing the bag steep in an original Brew Haha! mug made me happy.

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Aside from the color there’s much to love about this; organic hibiscus, organic rosehips, organic rooibos, orange peel, rose petals, organic everything and everything that’s good in the universe.

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I enjoyed this with a vegan ginger scone, that if you weren’t told it was vegan, you may not know the difference.  It tasted lighter, healthier, and the ginger was the perfect complement to my tea.  A tea that would be perfect iced by the way.

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As always, I took a few pictures and then I relaxed for a good 45 minutes.  It might have been longer, but when I’m on a mini vacation or anywhere far away from home, time tends to operate on a different frequency.  And while I’m alone, and don’t know anyone, there’s a comfort in that alone time.   There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely.

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In regards to that, I felt like a part of a community right away.  And Lydia, the ever-so friendly manager, made me feel like I was at home.  That’s immediately going to make my tea and food taste even that much better.  I noticed she knew many of the patrons by name, and how would that not make you feel good?  It’s always nice to be made to feel special and that you have meaning to someone’s life.  It’s a big thing, that we call the a little thing, but it’s all of the above.

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They had two of their teas available for serving, and for purchase.  I went with the in house suggestion, but ended up buying the Cosmic Rose and one for later, the Dreamers Sympathy, which has so many metaphorical and metaphysical implications to my life, and maybe yours, that I hope to get to this soon.   I’ll know when…

But for now I want to thank Lydia at Brew Haha! for making me feel like a regular on my initial visit.  I’ll be back and if you’re in the area I highly recommend you do the same.  There’s just something right about the neighborhood too.

Every story means something, and some are meant to be revisited sooner rather than later.  Some are meant to be a one time thing.  Only time will tell what this one will dictate.  In my heart I know how this will go.

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To be continued…

Peace Be With You,

Ideen

Lives Up To Its Name…

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Here we go again.  Another holiday and another phenomenal tea from our friends at Trader Joe’s.

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The Red Refresh Herbal Tea has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, aside from the color that shares a connotation with said day.   It’s a tea for all year round, and was actually released to the universe in August of 2017.    Well I base that on the date of their own details of this charming tea were posted.

After last week,  (here is my history for this holiday) I wanted to keep some kind of theme going for this week, and this spoke to me, came to me, and literally found me.  And without sounding too dramatic, I just went to the tea aisle and bough me a couple of boxes.  Yes it’s really that simple, but making it seem larger than life and bigger than it really is, is fun too.

But this tea doesn’t need any monumental or life changing build up.  This is damn good and is loaded with ingredients, yet they all add value and mean something to this tea.

Hibiscus, rosehips, peppermint, lemongrass, and orange peel are all easily detected if you don’t look so hard, or maybe even if you do, that’s alright too!

I just a had sense this was going to be pleasing, refreshing, and that ever so ‘charming’ word I tend to throw around from time to time.  But it really is all those things and more.  It’s an endearing tea that I think non tea lovers will appreciate.   The floral traits mixed with herbs, fruits, and cherry bark make such an impact, that’s not in your face or overbearing.

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Yes I did just say cherry bark.  With everything I mentioned there’s a literally something in this for all four seasons, and all the major holidays you can think of.  Well maybe not every holiday, but you get what I’m saying.

What this also means is this tea would be just as awesome, if not better, iced.   It has the themes and feelings of the cold weather months but can just as easily be appreciated cold, chilled, and served to and with perfection.

I’m savoring another cup as we speak.  Yes I did just put the kettle on boil.

It’s not even close to the best tea I’ve ever had, part of that is because I’ve been spoiled with sampling and trying all these types over the course of this blog and my life.  But also not every needs to be.  It just needs to make you feel something and touch you in a way that not everything does nor has to.  But if this or any kind of food, drink, or entity moves in to the point of an out-of-body and existential experience than you and that object of your affection has done its job.

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This is why love is not meant to be given on just one specific day.   Many of us are aware of this, so this is not meant to be a preacher sermon. Yet, love should be spontaneous, authentic, unconditional, and if you’re fortunate enough, reciprocal.  It shouldn’t be forced or artificial.  But again, most of us are aware of this fact.

And this is not just love of a person.  I know many people that find the love of their friends, their pets, and themselves to be just as important as the love for their (insert similar term here) romantic loved one.

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Right now, I’m celebrating the love of this tea.  And there’s so much to love.  I’m grateful to a dear friend for all of the pictures you see here, and a couple of videos as well.  I hope to take advantage of this feature much more as we move forward.

And as I continue to celebrate all things love, the love of this blog, it’ll progress in an organic, spontaneous, and hopefully uplifting sense.   Just like this tea did.

I’m in love alright.

Peace Be With You,

Ideen

 

 

Brew Good, Do Good

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That’s the motto of what is a coffee shop institution in the Tampa, Florida area, Buddy Brew.

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This was my first, and hopefully one of many, visits to this side of the sunshine state.  I literally got to town and my dear friend had a few places we thought we should go.  And Buddy Brew was on the list.  But which location?

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I honestly don’t remember which of the shoppes we were exactly but I believe this was the third Buddy Brew that we came to and decided this would work.    I honestly was just grateful and happy to be a part of something new and hopefully something special.

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When you go away, you want to get as much in as possible.  But at the same time you don’t want to go too crazy that you don’t fully appreciate what is going on.

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This was my first tea related experience on my trip, and will be nowhere close to the last. I have so much to write about but I had told myself and my friend that this would be the first and it would be going up today.

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Of  course leave it to me for another coffee shop (which does carry their own selections of tea, more on that in a bit) to be my first of many tea experiences, that will hopefully be conveyed properly.  Some are going to be loaded with enthusiasm.  Actually many of them will.

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So will this one but maybe not at the heightened level it deserves.  I just got here, I have no idea what I’m doing.  But in honor of National Iced Tea Day which was on June 10th, I decided to do one of many belated celebrations here by ordering myself a glass (or plastic to go cup) of Iced Sweet Mango Tea.   Should that all be capitalized?  Well I did it anyways.

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The tea was sweet, but not overly sweet that it you might think wouldn’t be genuine.   But honestly, I was sweating, I was thirsty, and just about anything within reason would be refreshing.  I also sampled coffee and pastries at a couple of places prior (there’s the part about not doing too much already rearing it’s something head) so maybe my taste buds and mind were all over the place.

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But in all seriousness I enjoyed this tea.  I tasted enough mango mixed in with black tea that I appreciated this greatly.  It’s hard to truly appreciate and review iced tea though. It’s a different beast then drinking teas hot and fully immersing yourself in all the flavors, the leaves, the dried fruits, and all the scents it has to offer, versus an iced tea which leaves it open to interpretation even more so.

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Or maybe we shouldn’t take it too seriously and enjoy the chilled tea, enjoy the spring, the summer, and the warm weather.

I make it a point on my trips to live in the moment, appreciate life and the surroundings all around me without sharing too much with the rest of the world.  I took pictures yes but then I turned my camera off, and put the phone down to just feel good about where I was.  I had great company, a great iced tea, and was already on a roll and I had just landed.

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The pastry is a gluten free vegan brownie that tasted exactly as advertised.  And in this inviting and welcoming weather, it paired perfectly with my tea.

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This is only the beginning though.   My early fandom of Buddy Brew is only just beginning.  I mean look at their logo.  How can you not love that?  Happy looking dogs, cats, and just about any other animal will always win me and many others over.

I didn’t get an additional coffee, but my friend did, and it didn’t stick out with me as anything out of this world.   But I will gladly try another cup again.  This is a tea blog so that isn’t too much of a concern.

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But what I must do, because I didn’t give myself a chance on this go around, is to sample their own teas, either by ordering online, or by making a return to one of their locations, which I’ll hopefully remember next time.

And of course here is their coffee selection.

I’m just getting warmed up.  I’ve got to come back here and talk about other things.  I’m just excited to recant bits and pieces of my getaway.   I want to profess my love for Buddy Brew because I know there’s so much to love.

But like with any trip, no need to do (or in this case say) everything.  Oh man but I love where this is going.

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I will be back again…

Ideen

I’m Late To The Party

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Where do I begin?  How had I not heard of Hoop Tea until this past Saturday.

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I was supposed to go on a brewery bike tour with friends over the weekend, but the universe had other plans for me.  I enjoy the bike riding, the company that’s involved, but beer on the other hand is not my forte.  How tea and beer merge is something I’d never prepare for.

This blog is all things tea.  And that means anything tea.  So when I found out after the fact that friends of mine tasted some malt tea (and bought some to go) at Peabody Heights Brewery, I was floored.  I was excited but also dismayed at myself that I missed this opportunity.

I’ve been on previous bikes and brew tours with this same group and the tasting room is available several days a week, so my opportunity would be coming.   Thankfully it came even sooner, July 4th to be exact.

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Fortunately, at the holiday party I attended, (hosted by the same folks who host the bike tour), the White Mango tea was in plain view for sampling and sharing.  And  this was something else.  It was so easy to drink.  With a 4.0% alcohol content it was deceptively light.  A few quick glasses of this could really do some damage.  So I limited myself to two. And I drank them very slowly.

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Upon research, the sweetness comes from the organic cane sugar, maybe more so than the mango.  But nevertheless this was incredible.  To be fair, I have nothing to compare it too so I would love to try some more flavors in the future.  And my intent is to do so and soon.

We’ve got plenty of summer left.  This is the quintessential seasonal beverage.  The fact that it’s local and even more specifically from Ocean City, MD adds to the charm.

Even before I knew more about this tea (can I still call it tea), I had the sense that there was a powerful spirit behind this operation.  To say that would be an understatement. Their story is an inspiring one.  One that I hope to be able to tell in a similar fashion, in whatever facet of life I tackle.  I won’t spoil it, but click here to read more.

I’m on the bandwagon.  This company is growing and I sense an inspired thought is going to grow exponentially and in short time.   How can it not?  Why did I not think of something like this?  There’s an unlimited amount ideas out there that are there for the taking.   This is one of the most amazing things to be a part of.  And to be in our backyard makes it all the more special.

From what I understand, Peabody Heights is the only distributor in Baltimore City proper. They’re looking to expand into more parts of downtown.  I don’t see that being a problem. I’d be happy to help and this link gives you an option to request Hoop Tea in your area.  For our pals in Maryland, you can check to see if there’s a distributor near you at the same link.

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I wish I could have written a recap from Peabody itself.  That just means this is only the beginning.  This was only going to be the beginning anyways.  This is worthy of revisiting regularly.  In the mean time I’ll leave you with photos from the aforementioned party with a hearty meal and then with dessert.  I never got to try the dessert actually.  But gosh darnit doesn’t that look pretty?  Here’s more from this shindig.

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Finally, here is a way to contact them.

Happy Holidays,

Ideen