Ten Times The Cozy


The last time I wrote about a tea sipping experience in Ellicott City, it was one of those transforming events that can’t ever be replicated.  It was almost too good for words. Actually it was and I went ahead and wrote about it anyways.


You can’t compare one over the other, and it looks like I just did before I even began, but, the Bean Hollow nestled in perfectly in Old Ellicott City has the charm and panache of what makes this neighborhood so great.

I’ve been here several times before but under different circumstances and right before I started doing this Tea thing that I do.  If I had known now what I knew then, this would become a fixture.  And it just might be.

The place is so inviting, so cozy, and will charm even the most grouchy and dopey of patrons.  Well maybe not, but I think so.    There’s nothing that’s going to jump out and scream overly pretentious at you, and this is what most of us want.  We want a local shoppe that makes you feel at home even when you don’t know anybody.

You don’t have to now anybody.  But in this community, at least for this moment, it seemed like friendly folks knew each other or knew of each other.  And in the most positive and warm of ways.  As an outsider, I want to believe that.  There were several random smiles and hellos from people I’ve never seen before (maybe I have hmm..) and it’s still always a pleasant surprise to me.  It should be the rule and not the exception.  I think that made sense.

All I intended to do was to come in here for breakfast and maybe grab a coffee or tea (yes tea!!) to go, and keep on doing whatever I was doing.  I’m not sure what that was, but unless it’s something dire, was there really a rush?


I was set on what turned out to be a delicious breakfast sandwich and noticed a bunch of teas on the counter from Montana Tea & Spice Trading llc.

Never heard of them.  Not sure how else I would discover them but I’m happy it happened here.

There were packages for sale but I kindly asked the staff if they sell these teas individually for sipping.  And they kindly said yes.  Yay!   I went with the Cherry Almond Green, and honestly it likely tasted better because of the setting.


What I mean by that is if I drank this at home or on the road it may have just felt like any standard tea.  Not that there would be anything wrong with it, but I’d likely forget about it as soon as it over over.    But because I sat down, had a lovely breakfast, and my tea was presented in quite the charming cup, the results were likely so much different.


Otherwise it tasted like a standard green tea with some cherry flavoring added to it.

And I took my time too.  By knowing I’m not always here, and not sure when I’ll be back, I took a few photos of my food and tea and then turned the camera off.  This was peace that is (by mainly our own doing) harder to come by.

Many coffee and breakfast shoppes are charming yet they all have similar and sometimes bland characteristics. This one had a little more to it.  I know my love affair with charming towns like this one have much to do with it but regardless this tea likely tasted infinitely times better because of where I was and how I was feeling.

In addition, I would absolutely try more of their teas in the future if the opportunity presents itself.  And I hope and I know that it will be at Bean Hollow, which makes me so happy.  I can’t wait to go back.

Here is more on Montana Tea & Spice along with their contact information if you’d like to know more.


If you’re in the vicinity I would definitely stop by Bean Hollow and maybe you will find a source of rest and relaxation here as well.

Take good care,




A Tea for the Spring & Summer


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I’m Late To The Party


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Finally, here is a way to contact them.

Happy Holidays,


Segue Into Summer


I’m not sure how this all transpired but once again I found myself in beautiful Annapolis, MD this past week.   And as we’re rapidly approaching Summer it’s only right I find myself on the waterfront.  More on that shortly.

I was all set to sample a specific tea and write a review of said tea, but once again plans have been altered and this could not have worked out more perfectly.

Of course I go into a coffee shop looking more tea.  Make sense right?  Well actually it’s nowhere near as close to perplexing as that sounds.  I just have to go and be different again don’t I?


City Dock Coffee is a place I’ve largely taken for granted and I have no explanation for it. I’ve walked or driven by the beautiful storefront a multitude of times and maybe set foot in there once or twice.  Maybe I grabbed a cup of coffee, I don’t remember for sure.

When I walked in I inquired about their teas.  A lot of staples you see in many shops were available.  Yet, one of the gentleman behind the counter pointed me to the last remnants of a familiar friend, Capital Teas.   I was told they stopped carrying their teas.  No explanation was given as to why.  Honestly, I was just so excited to see their teas in a somewhat neutral location (that’s a bit of a reach) that I didn’t care to ask anymore questions.


With what was left I went with the oh-so-appropriately titled On The Waterfront Tea. As I was steeping inside I fell victim to my own obliviousness to the outside world.  It was gorgeous out and I planted myself at one of the outdoor tables, soaking in the sun that has been missing in this area for quite some time.  It was hot, humid, and heavenly.  Yes I did that on purpose.

I had no idea what was in the tea nor did I care.  It was a comforting and soothing Rooibos gem.  As I was sipping I did detect spearmint and something nutty.  That would be almond and you can never have enough almond.


All the other ingredients belonged and bounced off each other perfectly.  Luckily, this tea was caffeine free or I’d be doing the same thing.  I loved it.  And this organic masterpiece if what I come to expect from this great company.


There’s a funny irony to all this.  Capital Teas has set up shop at a prime location, literally across the street (kind of across the water but I can’t embellish) and I’ve been meaning to write about my experiences with the shop.  This is just the segue I needed.   This will be revisited later in the Summer.


But for now I will add some pictures of all the pageantry and beauty of Annapolis.

I hope you all had an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend.