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

 

 

Your “I Love You”

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So we got to February rather quickly.  Actually in a way it feels like time has always been moving at the rate, or at a faster or slower place, depending on your situation or how you’re feeling.   All I know is this month means a lot of things to a lot of people.  I know there’s some holidays that depending on your beliefs and situation’ you either embrace, don’t care about, or don’t even think about.   Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above, or none of this at all.

This past Sunday I was at one of my local grocery stores’, without realizing that it’s one of the busier, and more hectic days to be at such a place.  I was oblivious to that fact until I walked in.   Instead of feeling despondent and disheartened (which I initially felt at first), I embraced it.  Everyone is there for the same and different reasons.  People want to get there stuff and get the heck out of there.  For others it’s a highlight to their weekend.  So who am I to question that?

Little did I know that I would make a wonderful discovery.   This is one of those weeks where I didn’t actually know what tea or what tea related story I would write about.  I didn’t sweat it, I didn’t force the issue, and I just let it come to me.  In this case, it found me.  And I’m so grateful it did.

We’re only about a week away from Valentine’s Day.  For some it’s a something to celebrate and embrace.  For others it’s not to take seriously.  It’s just another day.  And to another segment it may breed contempt and dissatisfaction.   I tend to fall into all of those categories, or have been over the years.

But love comes in many forms.  It’s not just a love for a person, romantically.  It’s a love for your friends, family, your pets, the universe; but most of all, yourself.  When you love yourself its easier to love others.   And I do think its easier to love others over ones self many a time.  I might be guilty.

But with all this talk of love, leads to one of the better teas you’re going to find.   How I’m just getting to writing about Pukka and one of their fine teas is one of those things I just can’t explain.  Maybe I’ve had a cup and not realized.  Maybe it was worth before I start writing.  Whatever the case, it has led me here and has led me to the exquisite Love Tea.  I love that it’s called Love.  There’s no pun there, I promise you.

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But this is just as beautiful as the name implies.  The flavors of chamomile, lavender, and elderflower are as lovely as a blend as you’re going to find.  Oh my goodness.  This is meant to be drank hot and I think I heated this just a little more than I intended, and I think it came out that much better.

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That color illuminates and it paired perfectly with some sweet treats.  But you could easily have it withing nothing at all.  I prefer most of cups of tea to be savored in all their glory by itself, but a little cookie or pastry never hurt anybody.

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So in my own way, I celebrated this forthcoming holiday with a display of things that might make you happy, and some that make me happy.

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I’ve always had a love for our animal friends, and any depiction or illustration makes me happy and feel good as well.  It’s the timeless images that will last with us forever.  And to me that’s love.  It’s not meant to be reserved for a single day or a single event.

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There’s more than enough good, more than enough love, and more than enough love to go around.

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This tea brought me so much joy and I felt love, and I’m not sure from exactly where.  I don’t need to know nor do I have to know.  I just know it was there.

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And after reading this story, it’s beautiful to know that there’s a story of true love that inspired this tea.

To find out more about Pukka Herbs, here is a list of all their teas (including Love which is in the Relax grouping of teas), their mission,  a section on our well being, and  something inspirational.

To get in touch you can find them here. And I’ve seen their teas in many grocery stores and retailers so it should be easy to find.

I took way to long to write about Pukka.  I’m just getting started, I’m just getting warmed up, and I’m feeling even more love in the air as I keep writing this out to you.   That’s love.

I loved this tea and everything it symbolizes.  It resonates in me something beautiful.

I wish you a most wonderful day of love, not just on the 14th, but all days possible.  If I’m in a harmonious place, I will continue this love of love next week, and beyond.

Let’s do it again sometime.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Friday Night Tea Party

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I think I said last week (and throughout the past few months) that my admiration for the tea scene on the Gulf Coast of Florida (my growing fondness can be found here and here) can not be expressed enough in words, in thoughts, and in anything else.  It’s a time of my life I will always remember, and will find it hard to forget.  I will always appreciate this five days of my life that has brought on a lifetime of memories, and a lifetime of joy.

And yes, it all revolves around tea.

Friday Night means different things to a lot of people.  For some it’s a night of rest before getting ready for a fun weekend of doing fun things, for some it’s happy hour. a night out, and in this instance it was one of the great tea drinking experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

It was my first time going with my friend to Downtown St. Petersburg.   Now St. Pete has a lot of charming places to check out, away from the small but growing downtown area. And after a couple of days me and my friend made the short and scenically awesome trek to Beach Drive.

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The intent was to check out a nice bar or two, or three, if you catch what I’m saying. Maybe a glass of wine, or a nice dinner.  I think my indecisive, restless, and adventurous spirit was thinking something else more organic on this night.

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After doing a lap or two, my eyes were wide open and my excitement hit a whole different level when we discovered the Infused Tea Company.  This place made me so happy.

If I recall correctly, we made it with minutes to spare.  At this point I’m thinking it’s nearly 9 pm.  But I had enough time to take pictures, smell some loose teas, and appreciate all the teas, pots, kettles, infusers, pastries, and everything else I could absorb and revel in these few moments.

I want to thank our teaologist, Ang, for being so kind of patient with us.   I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for in terms of a tea.   In mid-June I was actually contemplating something warm.  What on Earth was I thinking?  It wouldn’t have been the worst thing. I would just have to have saved this post for later in the year.   But time is of the essence, as it was on this night.

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Ang, per his suggestion mixed the Mango Tango and the Tahitian Dream for me, to make the most exquisite, refreshing, and enlightening blend of flavors, inspiration, and soul in this gem of an iced tea.   My friend agreed, the universe agreed, as did I.  Two thumbs up, five stars, and all the other superlatives you can throw at it.  Honestly, the tea could have been mediocre and probably would have tasted much better simply because of the service, the decor, the positive energy, and simply being a harmonious place I hadn’t experienced before.

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The Mango Tango with its pineapple, mango, and orange pieces are perfect not just for the Summer but I believe any time of year.  And in Florida, all the time is an understatement.  The Tahitian Dream adds not only more pineapple, but passion fruit, and strawberry as well.  Does it get any better?  Maybe, but not on this night.

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This is why I made two more visits to this amazing place during the course of my holiday. And if time allows, I will get to them in the following two weeks, or in a rare instance I may break tradition and post them on different days.  I’m preparing for the changing of the seasons while still wanting to honor how amazing all three experience were.  I’m so happy just thinking and writing about it.

This was at night, the day experiences are a surreal enjoyment all its own.

And I look forward to sharing those fun times with you soon.  But I can’t stress this enough, this was amazing, and I’m grateful I got to share with a close friend.  And I fondly remember my friend was happy for me as well.

For more on Infused Tea Company, here is their story. and their location for those close to the area, or will be visiting.

The good news is you can order their fantastic teas and accessories online.  Many of those accessories are displayed in this post.

I could go on all day, or I could just go on to the next post.   How about both?

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To be continued…

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Peace Be With You,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

Peach on the Beach

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We are days from Memorial Day and the holiday weekend here in the US of A.  How did we get here so quickly?  Well that’s life.  We’re busy and encompassed with so many things that while we may wish for holidays, we’re also so occupied with life and activities and everything else that days and events just creep up on you.

Here we go.  It’s the end of May and it’s time to celebrate.  It’s always time to celebrate. The party continues.  And of course that means the tea drinking party continues.

What better way to get this week and upcoming weekend going than a fateful stop to one of the great towns in Maryland and all of the United States, Annapolis, MD.

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The state capital has been so good to me and so good to this blog (here is a refresher), and so has The Spice & Tea Exchange.

Here is my cherished history of stories about this amazing company.

So I’m so fortunate to have ended up in Annapolis this week.  I always believe that nothing is by chance, and just as I was all set to have something else written up for this week, I find myself (or they found me) at their beautiful location on Main Street, which is centrally located to everything exciting in downtown Naptown.

I want to thank Gaby, the manager, for helping me find the correct teas for the season, the time of year, and for the story I’m telling.

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I will never try all their teas.  It just won’t happen.  Actually who knows, but their collection is so colossal that it’s just meant to be that there will always be a journey with this group, and not a conclusion.  I love that so much.

What makes them so sun is they always break out a few season and limited edition items at various times throughout the year.  Some I’ve presented to you over the past couple of years.

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This week I present to you the first of two of their limited time teas, the Peach on the Beach.  And it’s a grower for many reasons.  It smells absolutely incredible.

I think I’m going to like this even more as the weather heats up.  As of the day I brewed this, the skies were grey, the weather was lukewarm, and it wasn’t conducive to fully appreciating all that this tea has to offer.

 

Everyone’s palates and taste buds are different but I didn’t get all the peach and mango I was hoping for.  But after analyzing and preparing this tea hot and cold (yes both!), I understand.  It’s a black tea first and foremost, and I genuinely love that fact.  Black tea is what made me first get into tea before anything else.   This reminds me of teas I had growing up, sharing with my dad, members of my family, and now often with dear friends.

I fully think this is going to taste even better when shared with friends, shared with good times, shared with appropriate snacks (which isn’t necessary), and I fully think shared with sunny skies and glorious conditions.

Mine was sipped in solitude under murky skies and not the most ideal of spring or summer weather.

However, tell to that to my newest friend and newest tea infuser, Mr. Tea.  Yes, Mr. Tea from Fred & Friends, is also available through the Spice & Tea website or at all of their stores.

Mr. Tea is more than ready for the Summer, so he (I think?) might be making another appearance or two in the coming months if it feels right.  Which I know it will.

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So I said I also made it iced.   And not to be outdone by our beach bud Mr. Tea is another infuser and friend I made a couple of months back, ManaTEA.

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The ManaTEA is the perfect complement to any tea and infusing party, that I’m so grateful he decided to join us for this pre Memorial Day celebration.

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I want to add I used filtered water for both cups/glasses, and used plenty of ice for the iced tea.  Well yeah that would make sense.

Once again, I think under better days from the universe this is going to be incredible.  It was really good here but the atmosphere and the sky was not my friend on this day. Actually I shouldn’t say that.  This was how it was supposed to be.  It creates a different perspective for now and once the skies are perpetually picturesque, it’s going to make drinking this tea again all the more satisfying.

So what I did was add a little dash of Rose Sugar.  I don’t see it listed in their iconic list of sugars on the website, so maybe it’s exclusive to in store. Yes, for purchasing three tea packets you get a free bag of sugar.  I saw the Rose and didn’t look anywhere else.  Actually I did but the Rose stood out.  Just the color of the Rose petals and sugar looks like the most beautiful sand on the beach.

I love that this happened.  None of this was planned but it seemed pre-destined or pre-ordained.

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A little bit, and then a little more was added and it did add something to the tea.  I think the teas are perfect on their own but this was the perfect sweet kick to put this tea on another level of joy and inspiration.

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Speaking of inspiration, this company has been so great to me.  I’m a huge supporter of them and they have been supporters of this blog.  All I can hope is that I’m giving these teas their proper due.  Next week will continue with the Tiki Punch Herbal Tea.  Yes you read that right.  It smells amazing, I can only imagine what else it has to offer.

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Here is a list of the Spice & Tea’s Exchange locations, their link to shop online, and their contact information.

I wish you all a Happy Memorial Day Weekend.  Be safe, have fun, drink lots of tea, and then drink some more, tea that is.

Blessed,

Ideen

 

Happy National Pumpkin Day!

I know this pumpkin thing has seemed over-the-top too many.  I love it.   I am not big on the consumerism aspect of it but I am in love with this festive time of year. It’s a teaser for the month of November and all the fun that comes with it.

Unfortunately, I started seeing pumpkin stuff as early as mid-to-late August.  I understand companies want to get a jump on it but that’s where this becomes just business and less about the spiritual aspect of this time.

Now I love all the amazing foods and drinks that can come from this.  But we’re seeing it added to everything; bread, chips, coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages and everything in between.  I used to just think it was in a pie on Thanksgiving and that was it.

A friend of mine recently sent me a photo of pumpkin spiced cat litter.  Seems a bit extreme?  But if it makes my cat happier I’d be tempted to buy it.  So the consumer bug has gotten to me too.   Speaking of which…

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Need I say more?   The visual is beautiful and you can’t help but be mesmerized by the choices.  It could be a pumpkin-themed display or something on the opposite end of the spectrum and we’d still be enthralled.

I take it back to Trader Joe’s for this week’s tea assessment.  It’s the Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea and it’s an interesting one.

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I like rooibos and the health benefits have been presented to you in these two respective links.  But if I wanted a regular rooibos I’d have purchased one.   I purchased this expecting more pumpkin and the autumn themed flavors.  I got none of that.  The flavor is fine if they didn’t mention the spice.  So this is not as advertised.

Maybe it’s my taste buds but I don’t think so.  I really gave this a shot.  I steeped this for the suggested amount of time and I didn’t get much.

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However, the smell from the sachet was absolutely terrific.  But that scent did not translate when brewed. The aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg definitely hit me when I opened up the tin.   Why did it not permeate after steeping?  Could it be that it’s artificial?  That’s just my speculation.

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The reddish-pumpkin color after steeping is also stunning which ordinarily correspond with a masterful tasting cup.

I really wanted to love this tea but it didn’t happen.  It’s ok otherwise but the promotion that this is a pumpkin spice tea I feel is misleading.

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In the spirit of this day I did enjoy a bowl of pumpkin-themed pecan oatmeal that was really good but also not as powerful as maybe implied.

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I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from trying this.   Many may prefer this tea exactly as it.  Hopefully you’ll be able to detect the flavors that I couldn’t.  I wasn’t even trying too hard which usually leads to positive results.   But they can’t all be masterpieces.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this gem from Trader Joe’s that captures what this season is all about.  I hope to end the TJ’s posts on a high note, so I envision this is not the last time I write about them this year.

Happy Holidays!

Best,

Ideen