Happy Thanksgiving Week…

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Three is a number.  I did three posts last week,  and I’m compelled to do it again.

As we march towards Thanksgiving, the amount of tea I tried, and want to keep trying got a little overwhelming.  Some brands I will try to revisit after turkey day, if time and the place permits.  I’ll make time.

But for now, I’m recapping three from Republic of Tea.

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The Pumpkin Spice, Caramel AppleCaramel Apple, and Hot Apple Cider teas were all unique and had something to offer for all the same and for different reasons.  I purposely listed the teas in that order as it’s a segue from one holiday season to another.   I know, we got here to fast.

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While three distinct teas, they all carry an aura of familiarity compared to the other.  It could be that drinking so many in a short of time, may dilute the flavors.

It’s also rapid fire time.  I’ll tell you, in the time I’ve been doing this, there will never be enough time, there will never be enough teas, and thank goodness for that.   I also got lost in how many teas came to me without even looking.  There might be a week where I have no idea what I’m doing, and I make a discovery at the final hour.  Sometimes I do better at the last minute.

But when I find blends that add to an already growing list, I find that even more of an adventure.  How much more effort do I put into these teas, while I have time to take pictures, set up displays, and take more careful sips.

In the end it always works out.  But it looks like this will be another week of multiple posts.  And what’s the holidays without a little more excess?  Oh man I’ve been watching too many dopey holiday cinemas already.

So here are the three, in sequential order, with some snacks and displays to go with each.

First, the Pumpkin Spice.

With all the cans, the immediate aromas after opening are all the pumpkin you can handle, and I adore it.  Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all the other joys of autumn.   I was initially worried when I saw the water turn blurry almost immediately after dropping the bag in the cup.  That may be the signs of a defective bag.  But all fears vanished immediately.

Black tea and pumpkin, with all these other magical flavors, is a match made in tea wonderland.  I also just love black tea right now.  It reminds me of growing up, being around good people, around family, friends, and enjoying myself.  At the time I was drinking this, it was just the tea I needed.

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Thankfully these tins are in 50 count bags, so I will be enjoying this after the new year.   That’s exactly right.   As you see, some friends joined the party and helped me indulge in some holiday chocolate treats.

The Caramel Apple is the simplest of the three.  And that doesn’t mean it’s any less in quality.  While I’ve grown to love Rooibos, and love it some more, this wasn’t my favorite.   While I still enjoyed it, nothing about this made me go crazy over this tea.  Personally, caramel doesn’t always work for me in certain situations.  This is a matter of taste and acquired taste.   Less  is more, and while this is a good tea, it wasn’t the best I’ve had.

In a different setting, with different people, or in a different frame of mind I might be giving you another story.   And perhaps in a little while, I may give you another story.

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Was there meant to be a turkey in this setting? Haha oops.

The Hot Apple Cider is created in a way to mirror how cider would taste in its natural form.  Those aren’t my words, they’re in the description. Well maybe I’m overanalyzing.

This one is fun, and in a way that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  That’s how I feel about all three of their teas.  There’s a lot of care put into it without being too pretentious.  And the aura of this company gives one of a a regal nature.

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The flavors of apple, cinnamon, and the many other fruit and fall flavors, make this a joy to drink into the holidays, late into winter, and good for many other situations.  This is a a tea for now and forever.   Wow that was dramatic, but I mean that.

These teas are symbolic of what’s good in the world and what’s good about the holidays.  And you can’t ask for much more than that.   There’s no need to.

I found these teas already at a discounted rate at my local grocery store, so hopefully if you’re in the market for some of these, you can find them.

For more on The Republic of Tea, here is their story, their social responsibility, and contact information.

I wrote about them some time back, and will not wait this long to do so again.

Their teas are available for purchase online.  And while their teas are mainly $10 and up, for a count of 50 and then some, I think you’re getting your monies worth.

Happy Early Thanksgiving to you.  I hope it’s an enjoyable one for you and your loved ones.

Ideen

 

 

 

Warms The Heart…

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I love having too many teas to write about.  I just wish I had more time.   There will never be enough time.  I mentioned yesterday that this will be part of a trilogy.  In a proper sense, I would write about Wegmans loose leaf teas in a spaced out weekly fashion like I’ve done in these three years of post.  Oh my goodness, this blog is three years in.  It’s been long overdue to change up a few things.

But the more things stay the same, I still believe things are meant to evolve organically, naturally, and all in good time my friends.   But with a that being said (and I’m not even sure what I’m saying), it’s time to talk about the next two teas from my new favorite tea shoppe, the Wegmans loose leaf tea department.

The Sweet Cinnamon Tisane looks, smells, and tastes exactly how I envisioned when I first grabbed a whiff at the store.  I mean cinnamon should be a part of everyday life, and I imagine for many of us it is.  I have it with coffee, toast, breakfast, and with many of my teas.   To already have cinnamon, which has so many health benefits, infused into this herbal gem, makes me so happy.  And it’s decaffeinated to boot, so you can drink this at all hours of the day without fear or worry about staying up all night.  But this is a tea worth staying up all night for.   Wait, not sure if that impassioned statement kind of backfired but oh well!

Just that color and all the lovely melange of herbs makes me yearn for this time of year.  But this is an all the time tea and can be paired with anything or nothing at all.  After a sizable meal or eating loads of comfort food at an upcoming party this’ll settle you down.

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You know what else settles me down?  My love for animals.  And as I said yesterday, there will be hints of the holidays to come and a celebration of cups, mugs, artifacts, gems, and what have you of what makes me happy, not just this year, but any year.

Some dear friends of mine gave me this beautiful Labrador Retriever Dog Plate as a birthday gift.  I’m so grateful.

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Throw in a few pumpkin cookies and I’m good to go.  I don’ t think I ate them though haha.

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I love animals so much, including my four legged dog friends, that I felt the need to honor them.  And I want to honor and salute them as much as possible.  They’re even more important to us during the holidays.

Next is the Hearth Warmer Blend, which up until a few minutes ago I thought was the Heart Warmer Blend.  So instead of changing my title, I’m going to own my clumsiness. Hey it’s the holidays, I get a pass don’t I?

I have to laugh at the synopsis of this one.  Lots of vague words like notes, aromas, flavors, and balance.  Oh and something about chocolate.

This tea was fine, but I don’t even remember how it tasted now that I think about it.  And I don’t even mean to say it as a bad thing.  Nothing about it stood out or told me, ‘oh man this is a great tea!’.  It’s one of those teas that I kind of don’t even want to try anytime soon.   I may not be making sense but I rather be an enigma just like the description reads.   I’m just realizing this now as I write this to you.

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Maybe I’m just entertaining myself, or making more of a production than I intended.  But I’m in a festive mood, it’s the holiday season, and having fun with tea or anything is what life is all about.   Still with that being said, I’m not sure what to make of this tea.  Maybe I’ll revisit it down the line, and compare and contrast it to something.   To what I don’t know.

That’s pumpkin spiced cereal I got at Wegmans on clearance.  Yes pumpkin stuff was on clearance starting a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure what the rush was, and I shouldn’t complain. I got plenty of cheap eats and material to last a little while…

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Even better than that, my love of my other favorite four legged pals, my kitten friends.  I love my cat so much, and I feel honored to celebrate her here.

This is the middle of this three part story.  The finale (well for now) comes tomorrow.  Maybe I’m in a funny mood but I think my love of animals on display may have blinded my love for the teas on this go around, especially that Heart(h) Warmer.    I’m still puzzled, and I shouldn’t be.   But that cinnamon is awesome.  If you can find some at your local Wegmans, I’d say go for it.

For more on these teas and their provider, go to ITO EN.

Like I said yesterday, you can grab as little or as much as you want.  Some of my bags were barely over $1.00.  So it’s good to experiment and prepare for what you may or may not love.  It’s a fun process and the journey is just as beautiful as the destination.

I look forward to that journey, and the forthcoming destination continuing tomorrow.

Have a blessed one.

Ideen

 

Matcha Tea Party

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Just when I think Trader Joe’s has done it all.  And just when I think Trader Joe’s has exhausted all of their tea options, or maybe I thought I exhausted all of their options, the gems just keep on coming.   I love it and hope it never ends.  TJ’s has been a big part of this blog, and I hope that trend continues with periodic write-ups for a long time to come.

Here is my ever-growing history of Trader Joe’s stories.

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My regular tea adviser suggested I go back and try out their brand new Matcha Green Tea Packets.  They’re new as in released only a couple of weeks ago.  So I feel thrilled to be one of the early guinea pigs (not not really) and one of the first on my block to try out something new, something special, and a different take on the traditional bags and loose leaf variety.

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Matcha is one of my favorite teas to begin with.  It just has this natural and rough (in a good way) taste, that didn’t take long to grow on me.  If you’ve had it then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s distinct, it’s natural, and it’s authentic.  And the aftertaste lingers for a while.  And that’s what you want with a tea and that’s how a tea becomes memorable.

This was memorable.

The trend of pouring powder into a beverage is way past the point of it being a trend.  It’s just become what it is.   But this might be my first time ever having green tea in powder form.  If my memory serves me correct it may be the first time I’ve had any kind of tea in this form.

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On the day I was to try this concoction, the sun was beaming and the weather was just becoming all out gorgeous.    The universe looked out for me and I decided to have a sample of the Matcha Tea in hot and iced form.  It may have been too sooner for the latter but Spring has shown up much earlier in the Maryland area than usual.  No complaints here.

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In heated form this is terrific.  It has the exact taste you’ve come to expect when drinking Matcha.  I’ve never been to Japan and hope to one day, but this is something I can enjoy on a regular basis there or of course at home.  It just feels out of this world and always feels like an honor to try.    The tannin level felt higher than a tea I’m used to.  But that’s Matcha and this is a tea I want to keep getting used to.

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How about that color?  Just the visual of brewing thing was a treat.  This is real.

And when the sun in shining the way it is, and it’s still just a little a chilly enough to truly appreciated a hot tea, this was one of my favorite experiences.  Actually any great tea sipping can be a a favorite experience.  But this was up there.  And then the only ingredient is Matcha Green Tea Powder, you know you’re getting the real deal.

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The iced version is more of a work in progress for me.  That harsh and natural taste (which I only mean in the nicest way) doesn’t translate as well when it’s chilled.  I let my heated tea kettle cool for a while, put in some iced cubes, poured that cooled water, and then my Matcha powder, and stirred it for a while.  Stirring is necessary or the powder will not dissolve properly.  I had a little leftover after my hot cup.

I first tried my chilled version with no sweeteners added and it tasted a little bitter.  This is one that need a little honey or sugar.   I added just a little bit to the former and now we’re getting going.  But for me, this version is more of an acquired taste.  And even in the instructions, mentions pouring it into a water bottle and shaking it until it’s blended, without mention of adding anything sweet. But of course we can create it the way we want it.  I’m a big believe in less is more but adding a little more will go a long way here.

 

The chocolate from Trader Joe’s as well worked perfectly with both teas.  Actually chocolate just works well with everything.  And at my local store they were placed right next to each other.  I don’t think that was an accident.

At $7 this was well worth it, even if there’s only seven packets per case.

I will be having more of this in the future and would love to write about it again if the circumstance, the situation (oh wait that’s the same thing as circumstance), and opportunity to share it with others in a different setting presents itself.

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I highly recommend this and I continue to be impressed with all the great new products Trader Joe’s continues to deliver.  Well done.

Absolutely well done.

 

Ideen

 

 

 

Won’t You Be My…

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Happy Valentine’s Day.  This is a day with a mixture of emotions for people.  It shouldn’t be, but our manufactured societal pressures have placed more emphasis on this day than there really should be.  It’s one of those holidays that time doesn’t stop for.  The majority of us still go to the workplace and to the classroom like it were any other day. And if we treat this like any other day, than it will be over before you know it.  Actually it’ll be over no matter what.  That’s how days and times work.

Nevertheless, after the previous weeks post, I wanted to see if I had a little more holiday spirit in me.

Well it’s a different holiday than what I’m used to but I should appreciate the fact that my regular scheduled blog falls on this most polarizing of holidays.  I might as well make the most of it.  And chances are, I may not get this opportunity again.

And if you or I focus on love, in not just the romantic sense, but love of all, then it makes this and just about any other day that much better.  And you don’t need a specific day to show that love and embrace for what makes you feel good.

Do you know what makes me feel good? Well it’s not only tea, but it’s the love of all things natural.  I love animals, I love nature, I love plants, flowers, trees being out doors, and most of all our universe. This encompasses so many things, if not everything.  I’m grateful to present to you two more teas from a one of my favorite go-to’s Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.   And even more specifically, Eastern Shore Tea Company.

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The truly one thing about tea shopping is there will always be teas to fit a certain season, mood, place of healing, and love.

For the love of tea I went with two of the most apropos tea for the occasion.  But as you will see, with this tea, just like so many others, these are meant to be sipped all year round, not just in Mid-February.

First is the Chocolate Strawberry.  It’s simple, Black Tea with those two flavors added. What I noticed right away is how quick the effectiveness of the steeping came through. The color transformed into a chocolate brown cup at a higher pace than what I’m expected or what I’m accustomed too.  I would take that as a testament to the quality of the bags. Either that or I’m losing my marbles.  Well the latter is happening anyways, but it was entertaining to see regardless.

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At first I was hoping for more flavor than what I expected.  But I’m drinking this with the understanding that this is a dessert wine.  And if was too heavy on the chocolate and strawberry, would the whole tea be undermined?  Absolutely.  I’ve had teas rich in flavors t that could have benefited from a dialing back.  And then there’s others that weren’t flavorful enough, that could have used just a little more.  I’m leaning towards this wishing this just had a hint more.

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It was good but still I feel like that pop was missing.  But look what you see here.  Yes I really got goofy here and purchased specialty dipped chocolate strawberries.  This was strictly for show but figured one wouldn’t hurt.

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What I also figured is the tea and the chocolate strawberries flavors’ would bounce off one another, as well as intensify the other.  That’s exactly what happened.  One particular bite from the strawberry and a sip took this experience somewhere I didn’t imagine.  For that alone I would try this tea again.  But I wouldn’t rank it close to any of my favorites.

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Next up is the Cupid’s Arrow, after someone we may know.

This surprised the heck out of me, and in a good way.  I didn’t think it was going to be anything out-of-this-world to be quite honest.  The back tea with flavors of cherry, vanilla, and almond have all the recipes of turning into something legendary or a complete bust.  This falls on the former.  I wonder if its my slight trepidation of embracing this ‘holiday’.  That’s possible, but good tea is good tea.  And this wasn’t it. This was actually phenomenal.

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I made myself a second and third helping of this one.  You can taste these flavors a bit more distinctly without aid from from a sweet treat or other type of food.

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As you might be able to tell the color is not as strong or as overpowering as the previous selection.  It’s not like any of that matters.  It’s just an observation.  But this was something fun.  Maybe because those flavors feel more like winter and more like a year round tea than the aforementioned Chocolate Strawberry.

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However, as I said earlier most teas can be had year round.  There’s no rules to this.  It’s tea, it’s supposed to be fun.  Tea Is Fun is not the just the name of a blog but it’s how it’s supposed to be.

Most suppliers give around 20 bags per container for a reason.  We will try them again and again with what makes us feel good and feel inspired.  The Cupid’s Arrow is an inspiring one.  I felt so good after sipping this one in particular.  I felt healed.  And maybe that’s all in my head but this tea had  little more power than it really had any right to be.  Maybe it did.  Who am I to judge?   The cupcakes had nothing to do with any taste enhancing, like it did earlier, by the way.  But they look cool don’t they?

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And who are we to judge how one celebrates a certain day.    I spent more money on myself and this blog than I’ve had in years to commemorate Valentine’s Day.  But it was gift to me, to my audience, and to the universe.  It was my way of celebrating what I love; nature, animals, and of course tea.

These gifts I bought can be used more than once. These two new teas will last be a while, as well as my new drinking mugs, as well as those orchids.  Which are already outside and have been watered.

The sweets won’t last, but not because of me.  Someone else can have those.  But I’m going to hold on to the tea.  And maybe even those  new animal friends.

And those are just some of the things I love.  And I’m glad I can present tea in a spiritual way that combines many other things that make me feel love.  And this is not just one day a year, not a weekly post either, but as much as humanly possible.  And that’s the same love I will feel on this day, the next one,  and so many more.

Like I said last week, if you’re looking for a different kind of gift for a loved one, I think tea is a fantastic alternative.  And at only $5.00 per bags, it’s a fantastic deal.  And they’re ribbon bags too!  Beautiful.

This experience as beautiful.  And if you want to experience these and their massive array of teas click here.

Here’s my written history of the Eastern Shore Tea Company.

More love of tea and all else that is possible, next time.

 

Love,

Ideen

 

 

 

Love of Tea, and Other Fun Things

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I had never done a Valentine’s Day themed post, and it really didn’t cross my mind to do one this year.  But after consulting my mentor, and realizing that next Tuesday is that day, which means there will continue to be tea posts every Tuesday, I figured it’s meant to be.

Now I’m not the biggest fan nor am I really opposed to this man-made holiday.  Well if you read the latter part, you might think I sway towards the negative.  You might be correct.

Love should be spontaneous, celebrated throughout the year, and displayed as much as possible.  What’s even more important is that love doesn’t necessarily mean between you and your significant other, or spouse, but in all forms.

I love my cat.  I love our animal friends.  I love my family.  I love my friends.    And I love my cat.  Oh wait…

I love tea. This is a tea blog.  So yes, I love tea.  And I love tea so much.  It brings me joy that is hard to put into words.  It shouldn’t be put into words.  I let the sipping and the reactions do the talking.

Yes, and I think many of us know we don’t need a special day to do just that.  But in honor of such an occasion, I will make the most of it.

Per my tea guru’s suggestion, I’m changing it up this week in a big way.

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If you’ve been to your local shopping district, then by now you know of Teavana.   They have taken tea, and essentially loose-leaf tea to unprecedented and transcendent levels.

I’ve been here many times before every writing about it, and many times since.  To say the store is still a bit overwhelming after all this time would be correct.  But overwhelming doesn’t necessarily mean bad.  There’s a lot going on and there’s so many new teas and instruments to discover and learn about.    There will never be enough time to learn about everything, and to try and do so would defeat the purpose of this journey.   But…

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I obviously don’t have time to write about it all here.  What I will say is that I’m happy that this is my inaugural post for Teavana, and this will not be the last.

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For this first go around it needed to be done big and done special.  Actually getting teas here is an experience.  So without further adieu, I present by suggestion from my muse, the Strawberry Blush Rose and Peach Tranquility Blend.

Yes, it couldn’t be just one.  And it had to be big for this time of year.     Ingredients and instructions for brewing are listed within the page.  I’ll let you research that on your own, or otherwise this post would go on till tomorrow.

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And it wasn’t even one.  It was actually three.  The staff member got me a festive tin, and along with getting the blend of the two teas, I also got them separate.  So I was already getting ahead of myself assuming the two were kindred spirits that could not be separated. Wait what?  Yes, all the love references are deliberate but are also flowing naturally.

Pictures of the tin standing and taken apart are shown here, as well as up-close shots of the tea.  Quite impressive right?  The process was truly exciting.  I’ll get to more about that shortly.

What I will say is that I’m in love.  This is masterful concoction of flavors that you would think might be impossible.  But no.  There’s heart, there’s soul, and there’s a true spirit behind this tea.

The brewing process was an absolutely joy.  The aromas from the tea were already getting me jazzed up for what I hoped to be a stimulating and inspiring cup.  And how about that tint?  I know I know.   The tea was a win.  The flavors of both worked together perfectly.  I could see why so many folks have regarded this so highly.  The after taste of rose hips was truly a highlight.  There’s also just about every fruit known to man and woman.  If you can discover them all then you’re a rock star.  I’m happy with it nevertheless.  And it paired nicely with some thin lemon cookies.

And if you notice, I show you what makes me happy, brings me joy, and truly brings out the love.   Yes, a miniature rubber ducky!  Ha. well that and my love for animals in all shapes and sizes.  And I obtained a certain special teacup to celebrate even more love.   I would be lying if I said the tea didn’t taste just a little bit better because of the props.  But I digress.  This tea would be awesome under any circumstance.  But hopefully it’s a joyous one.

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I did get a bit carried away.  Maybe I should have tried one of the flavors on its own first.   Well there’s a first and second time for everything.

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Even though I’m working backwards, I’m actually going in the order of the teas that were brewed.   Next up was Strawberry Blush by itself.

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I think I liked this even just a little more.  Maybe because it was the simplicity of it.  It was sipped in its own sans the blend, and even more flavors were able to be discovered on its own.  I would be lying if I said one was truly better than the other.  But for a personal thing, I give this the slightest edge.  And that color is just as beautiful.

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I got another teacup for this one too!

Maybe it was the simplistic aspect of it, or maybe it was the chocolate truffles that paired with this chocolate did the trick.  See I guess I’m a sucker for this holiday after all.  Well.

For me, this was a gift to myself, to the universe, from the universe, and hopefully someone reading will find this as a plausible gift alternative to the standard flowers, candy, and chocolates.  Well chocolates are good.  I just told you I had some!

And when I was done steeping I had a few pieces of strawberry and other random fruits. Yes you can do that.  That’s an added bonus I don’t think you’ll find on the website.

I want to mention that Teavana is on the higher end of teas.  This is significantly higher than your budget friendly teas at your local supermarket or neighborhood store.  But if you feel like splurging and buying a gift for a loved one, this is going to be different and I think it’s going to be a pleasant surprise to many.  And if your loved one is a tea lover, even better.

Because of the price level of these, it’s good to savor teas and brew in small doses and for special occasions.

Prices will vary based on weight, container, and the tea themselves.

I did not purposely leave out the Peach Tranquility Tea.  This is where I will push the pause button and resume at a later date.  I thin this is one I will have for the Spring or Summer.  I will remember this and promise you I will get back to it.  I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t. More importantly, my sense is that this would make an excellent iced tea during the warmer months.

It also gives me something to look forward too.  I also feel that Valentine’s Day is good because for many it’s a day of joy but also another sign that warm weather is right around the corner.  So I feel that the Peach Tranquility is the perfect segue to talk about down the road.

To find a Teavana near you, click here.

I wish you a happy early holiday, and will do another post next week, to celebrate this day for love of all kinds.

Love To Many, Love To All, and Love To You.

 

Love,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Tea To Remember

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How did we get to the end of the year so fast?  Well as of this post it’s a mere five days until Christmas.   Now usually that would lead to feeling sad that the season is fleeting. And I would be lying if I would say otherwise.  But this has also been a time where time has felt like it’s moving at a reasonable place, neither fast nor slow.  It’s just been as is.  And that lends itself to appreciating every moment I can, whenever possible.  Now that may be easier said that one.

As we often do, we’re busier this time of year than any other  And that is on top of our already busy lives.  The things to do just pile up to the point where we’re on the verge of being no longer being able to handle it.  But that’s the funny thing about life.  It gives us just enough of what we can handle.  We reach our threshold and then some.  I also think that the hectic nature is just a part of Christmas.  It’s inevitable.  And either go big or go home, adapt or fall behind.  And I just don’t mean all the shopping.  There’s so much more to Christmas than shopping.  But isn’t it fun to give to the people you love?  I’m starting to ramble like I usually do.   When it comes to the holidays I could ramble on forever.  I’m a softy.

From talking to friends this year there seems to be this added pressure to get everything just right.  Whether it’s meeting up with all the friends and family you see seldom, making your rounds at all the holiday parties, or just catching up on all the usual day-to-day aspects of everyday life, it can drive you bonkers.  For me, at least this year, it’s been about balance.  It’s about keeping it simple.  And that means an added focus on spending the holidays with the people you care about the most and vice-versa.  And to slow it down and make a few hours for those people at a time.  That may be easier said than one but I adapted.  And because of that, I’ve gotten so much more enjoyment out of the holidays.

And with that comes with one of my favorite traditions of the year.  It’s a simple gift exchange with close friends that has been going on for quite a number of years now.  The location has changed but the sentiment remains the same.

Gifts were handed out, snacked were nibbled on, and there were plenty of libations.  But one of the most important aspects, and one of the highlights was the tea.  And what tea did we have this year?  This wonderful tea would be the one and only, Christmas In Paris from the underrated Stash Tea.

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But this tea will be anything but underrated.  This carried an intense and uplifting aroma immediately upon opening. Here is my Stash Christmas Post from two years ago.

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The peppermint and cocoa shells permeated the whole house that the term Christmas Spirit took on a life of its own.  I’ve been waiting to say that all season.  There’s a wine hiding back there, and for more on that fun bottle click here.

And the way that tea brewed was a sight for all eyes.  It’s some of the most beautiful brewing I’ve seen in some time.  That color is something else.

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This all made even better by present company.  I imagine I would enjoy this alone but a tea like this, with the Christmas connotation is meant to be enjoyed with the ones you love. This is one that can be enjoyed all winter for sure.  The chocolate and peppermint vibes well with everything December.

There were plenty of treats that paired with this tea.  And this can go with anything holiday.  But just as important, this is an herbal tea, so the caffeine levels are low, even with the cocoa.  So this is more for soothing, calming, and relaxation.

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And this is what the spiritual and peaceful part of the holidays is truly meant to be.  A quaint, cozy, and harmonious environment is what most of us want.  It’s what we all seek. It’s not that hard too find and can be almost anywhere.  We don’t even have to look that hard for it.  That’s the other fun part of the holidays, and life in general.  As hectic as things are, the simple things, like good friends, good eats, Christmas movies (good and bad), and that incredible cup of tea.

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I don’t need to get into the specifics of the gifts or anything like that.  What’s more important is that this season has an organic energy and vibe, that only comes this time each year.  I’ll miss it.  I’m getting nostalgic already. But hopefully many memories to come.

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To find this and all of the Stash Tea collection at a store near you, click here.

This’ll be a tea and Christmas to remember.

Merry Christmas!

Ideen

Super Everything

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I had heard about Chocolatea in passing by a few friends, but never had the opportunity or gave myself time to make the short drive to the Tuscany/Caterbury neighborhood of Baltimore.  That’s actually the location.   I will always think of it as on the peripheral  to Johns Hopkins University.

Sadly, I only have a few more days to think of it as that.   For after 10 years, they will be closing their doors on November 20th.

I had mentioned to a close friend that it’s important to venture out of our usual comfortable and all-too-familiar places of Baltimore.  It’s great for our spirits, our souls, and our sanity’s to change it up as much as possible.  I’ll give some of the credit to the Supermoon.

But if I hadn’t looked up going here on this day, this experience was never going to happen.  Seriously.  That freaks me out in a way.  Fate and destiny were calling.  This one and only visit was supposed to happen today and no other time.  I love the speculation.

I’m going to project a bit here.  I’ve driven by the storefront so many times that I’ve lost count.  But I never thought anything of the location.  And not in a bad way.  It’s a habit I have.  And I would be willing to say that many of us have a way of overlooking and flying past things, entities, places, etc that are right in front of us.   I took this location for granted and now it’s being taken away before I really got the chance to fully embrace what could have been my favorite tea shop in the city.

Now I could be heaping high praise simply because the place is closing its doors.  That’s possible.  But knowing me and knowing many of my friends it’s the continued sign that times are changing and much more rapidly than I anticipated or wanted to believe.  More on that in a few.  Onto the teas, and more…

My friend and I had no idea what to expect other than it was most likely going to be cozy and feel as authentic as a cafe can be.  We were correct on both counts.

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There’s less items available since they’re in the final days so I was happy and grateful to get the Peppermint Tea in honor of the holidays.   My pal ordered a chocolate peanut butter coffee.  Not tea but I think in honor of everything, exceptions for this blog can be made.

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I ordered a pot and the tea press that was presented to me was a dream.   You could literally see the leaves brewing and steeping in front of your very eyes.   I got a few magical cups from it and could have made many more.  And I mean that.

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This was a tea that never stood a chance.  My only wish is I could have savored it longer. And we were there over an hour but it didn’t feel like enough. Our conversation was off the charts and that only enhanced this experience.

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We did order cookies to complement our cups.   A chocolate chip went with the coffee.  I got an oatmeal raisin for mine.  They were great too.  But it didn’t matter, we could have likely had any food and beverage combination and it would have been a masterpiece.  And since you asked I did get a sip of that coffee.  It was decadent.

But this is one of the many reasons why I love tea :

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It hurts my heart that Chocoaltea is closing.  I can’t pretend to have any history with this place but it felt so familiar.  I felt an energy, a spirit,  connection that felt so familiar.  I don’t know where it was from but it made me sad to know the end was near.  But also there was this feeling of relief and finality that we got to experience this.  One time only is better than no time at all.

I got to meet one of the partners, Janice, as I was leaving and told her about this blog.  She could not have been more friendly.  She told me after a good 10 years it was time for a change.  I hear that.  Change can be good. Our visit to this Baltimore staple was a necessary change.  New experiences and situations is what life is all about.  I’m so thankful to have been a part of this one.

It’s not a complete goodbye.  Even though their doors are closing, you can still find them at Ejji Ramen in the Belvedere Square Market.

If you live in the area and get a chance before the 20th, go check them out.

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I’m hoping this is where I get to talk about them again.  So instead of goodbye, it’s a see ya in the next life, or see ya soon!  Whichever comes first!

More holiday posts soon!

Ideen