You’re Beautiful, It’s True

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

All the information you need is right here.

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

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

BigelowBenefitsTeas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay beautiful,

Ideen

May Is Beautiful

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We got here quick didn’t we?  It’s gonna be Summer soon.  And for man the month of May signifies this.   I’m good with that.  But I’m also good with appreciating each day and time of year for what it is.   I love this month so much.  The outdoor events have already been making their triumphant returns but this is the month where it becomes a weekly, and sometimes daily thing.  I also hope that means plenty of outdoor tea drinking, hot and cold.

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The one I’m going to discuss today, can be drank either way.   I’m assuming as such.

There are many teas I try that I never get a chance to write about.  Either that, or they are stored in my memory bank, with a new note taken, for future use.   The Pink Lemonade Herbal Tea from Eastern Shore Tea Company, which can be found at Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company (hope that doesn’t confuse you), is a gem to drink, a joy to watch steep, and a tea I thin even the non-tea drinkers would appreciate.

And the funny thing is this particular experience took place late last fall, but I wanted to wait for this time, this moment, and this part of the season to share it with you.

The setting was their Annapolis location.  I’ve mentioned in the past how much I love our state capital,  And even though their location is away from the heart of Downtown Annapolis, it still has its own aura and charm that always feel good and omnipresent when I visit.

And even though it was months ago I still think about this tea.  Yeah it was that good.  No, it’s nowhere near the best tea I, or most tea drinks, will ever have.  But there’s something about it.  It has a universal appeal.  If you’re not a tea drinker,  you may find this enjoyable anyways, especially in the warmer months.  This will be perfect for any outdoor party, cookout, birthday, or any other event of celebration.  And there will be much to celebrate.

I wish I had the opportunity to try this iced, but in a tea shoppe, they gave me some hot water (which I assume I asked for) and I just steeped a bag.  And even that color will remind you of that perfect seasonal drink.  It radiates.

Lemongrass and hibiscus flowers are the ingredients.  You probably wouldn’t know it unless you looked at the label.  It’s a naturally created pink lemonade that’s better than your fountain soda, or your artificially enhanced flavored drink on your grocers shelf.

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When I look back at the picture above I’m reminded of the fact that I almost didn’t sip this tea.  I almost didn’t sip a lot of teas.  This also means that there’s still teas in this display and others that have seen been created, that I must and will get to sample.

That’s the charm of their stores.  You may have a tea in mind off the bat but another one is just waiting for you to try.  And that’s how I got to try the Pink Lemonade for the first, and what is still my only time.  It was beautiful in so many ways.   And the atmosphere is throwing down a gauntlet.  Which one should I try next?

I forgot I had a sandwich with my tea.  I do recall these beautiful flowers though.  So while this was all taking place in autumn, it was a charming preview of where we are now.    Time is accelerating my friends so whenever there is a chance to stop and appreciate the beauty of nature and life around us, we should do just that.   I would say this tea is in that conversation.  It’s been months but I’m salivating for another cup right now.

Here are some links if you’re interested in purchasing this or any of their teas.  You can order online or stop by one of their stores if you’re in or visiting Maryland sometime soon.   They do list a phone number as well.  Yes some places still take phone orders!

And here’s a few of my past posts related to Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

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Say the opportunity presents itself, and I do pour myself a glass of this (yes we’re talking iced) and it works out, I will do a follow-up to this post.   But for now, I will feel nostalgic over a moment that may have been trivial at the time, but is now charming and endearing memory to me.  Even if it is just tea, it’s those little things that make me happy.

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I promise you this tea will make you happy.

Happy May to you!

Ideen

 

Always Go With Your…

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I hadn’t even thought to do a post related to Earth Day.  This may or may not be it.  But I’m going to go with it.  There’s so much good to write about HEX Ferments that I didn’t know where to begin.  But I did go with my gut (hmm…) in more ways than one and the results were glorious, beauteous, and illustrious.

Whenever I have the opportunity to talk about a local business, it’s a blessing, it’s a joy, and it’s a one of the main reasons I do what I do.  I love local and to me it’s the soul, the conscience, and backbone of society.  It’s truly of the most authentic things we have in a world that may be running out of that authenticity.

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So another couple of visits to Belvedere Square Market, where HEX is located, left me never any doubt I was going to try their Kombucha and try I did.

I ask myself this question after having something so amazing.  Why did it take me so long?  Well there’s no answers.  There’s so many uncovered gems in the world of tea, and the world of anything for that matter, that I haven’t tried them all.  But that’s the joy of the journey.

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No I didn’t try all their Kombucha’s, but I did get to have two.  Yes, the two pictured above.  And these two are something I’m going to savor for a long time.  And even for the short time as they’re both still sitting in the refrigerator staying fresh because that’s how Kombucha works.

Fortunately, I had a friend for the first visit to help with suggestions on what to try.  We had different ideas which led me to wanting to have what they had the second time.  And that’s exactly what happened.

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First, the Basil Jasmine.  This was a seasonal item that is no longer well, in season.  But I still have some.  And even though it’s a little bit past best by drinking date, it’s still magnificent.  And it’s the one that’s easier to savor and drink slower.  Because of that, I gave this the wine treatment.  Yes that’s right.   The bottles by the way are $15, yet $5 of that is refundable if you bring it back.  And yes that goes towards another Kombucha. This is beautiful stuff I know.  And that’s the stuff of Earth Day lore and living that I love so much.  And speaking of beautiful, yes this Basil Jasmine is giving me goose bumps as I write about it.

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That golden honey color is mesmerizing.

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I can’t put into words how amazing this is.  I said ‘is’ because I want hold on to this as long as I can.  I don’t know when it’s coming back.  Well yeah I did, most likely next Spring.  This is no sipping tea.  It’s something to take your time with.  Is it the honey, the basil, the Kombucha Culture, or the cane sugar.  I just reeled off everything.  It might be all of the above.  But all of the above is absolutely awesome.   I just wish it was still available for you to try.

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Now comes the Butterfly Lime, which is always available.    This one, which is easier drink quickly, is wonderful as well.  For simply savoring reasons I’d give the edge to the Basil Jasmine, but this no knock on the Butterfly Lime.  I mean look at the purple?  This looks picturesque in any setting.  How did they make this look so good?  This is art, and it’s art to drink.   The butterfly pea flower tea and lime juice combination makes the perfect sense, yet I don’t know how it does.  And maybe I don’t need to know.  This one is always available yet I still have mine to savor and drink over time.  Honestly, I’m craving both right now.  They’re so close yet so far.   My mouth is watering.

One detail I must mention with both of these bottles is when you first unseal them, there is a fog or a steam that emanates upon first opening.  To me, this is even more exciting than popping open a bottle of champagne.  And I tried my best to capture a picture of this.  Maybe it’s the kombucha culture?  Maybe it’s the all natural ingredients opening up in celebratory fashion?  Yay nevertheless.

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If you live in and around Baltimore, I highly suggest coming to Belvedere Square Market (here is another post I made from this heralded market) to find HEX Ferments easily visible in the right in the middle of the market, nestled in the back.  It’s worth what may seem like a hefty cost.  But it’s really not.   And you can get a class of any of their goods for $6.  Oh and they have other goods!

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If you’re interested in finding them elsewhere, this link might be a friend to you.

For anyone with digestive issues these beverages are also a friend.

And here’s there list of Frequently Asked Questions you might have.   And finally here is their contact information.

This is only the beginning.  I need to come back here and soon.  HEX deserves all the praise in the world you can heap or anyone or anything.  I sincerely mean that.

Let’s do it again soon.  It’s Spring, so soon is highly possible.

Best,

Ideen

First Class All The Way

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When I first ever heard about Harrods, I immediately thought it’s one of the stores that I don’t think I would ever be good enough to enter or even allowed to be invited inside. Yes, I’m making more out of this than I have reason to.  I assumed (and you know that whole cliche about assuming anything) that the clientele was VIP only and I would have to pay a steep fee to the bouncer just to get a chance to be allowed inside.

If you read here, my assumptions or presumptions weren’t that far off.

However, this is one of many preconceived notions I’m learning to let go,  I think.

What I feel now is excitement. The store is one of those all in one places that feels like a throwback to when I was a kid.  Why the change of heart?  Because it’s best to focus on the positive.  I’m saying this without actually ever being to the store or being to England, but the thought of getting lost in a store of this size excites me.  It’s good to get lost sometimes.   Wow, that sounded wrong.  I meant that in the most positive ways of possible.

I may never visit Harrods and that’s ok.  Well maybe.  But thankfully some amazing friends were in London recently and brought me back something amazing. Can you guess what?  Well this is a discussion of tea.  I’m thrilled, ecstatic, and all those other classy words to share with you my experience with the Harrods Limited First Blend Tea.

This is a tea that carries a lot of weight on levels that I don’t even know where to begin. I’m going to do my best here.

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First, that tin.  Does that not just scream authentic?  I want more collectors items in my life like this.  And now I have another one.    And already I’m cherishing this item without even having tried what’s inside.

Now onto the inside.

This loose leaf black tea has a scent,  a look, and an aura of something bigger than most teas I’ve ever had.  I think everything I said earlier and researched about has added to the worth of this tea.  And it’s worth everything.

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A tea of this caliber needed a proper treatment.  I am grateful to have the assistance of some close friends to help infuse this gem of a tea.  And in addition, my friends insisted on breaking out the fancy tea cups and tea plates to make this even more special.

I can’t articulate in words how special this was.

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Unless my mind was deceiving me, there’s a lot of caffeine in this than I realized.  But every bit of it was worth it.

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No foods, no snacks, and no pastries of any sort were necessary.  But I can only imagine an amazing scone or sweet treat would complement this iconic tea to a t.

My best good friend who helped me with the tea production told me that the freshness last two months after opening.   I think 250g is a lot that we may go past two months but I’m going to savor any situation where this tea is served, either to me or two friends.

Tea is something special and it’s something to be appreciated with good friends and the best company possible.

From my dear friends who brought me the tea from across Atlantic to my dear friends who helped me prepared the tea over the weekend, is what makes this even all more the more magnificent.

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An imported tea of this importance (ha) is wondrous on its own but I’m grateful that some of the people closest to me had a part in making this experience memorable and unforgettable as the tea itself.

Thankfully this tea is also available to purchase online to the entire world, click here for more information.

Here is their tea and coffee collection for your viewing and purchasing pleasure, in what I think is their entirety.

And here is more on Harrods, which has everything known to everyone.

This was stellar.  Five stars and then some.  Oh my goodness this was tea.     I can’t think of that many better ways to spend a weekend afternoon by drinking an incredible tea of this stature and spending it with some awesome company.  The sun being out always helps any occasion.

There may also be a video of this experience posted soon.   Stay tuned for updates.

How I get back to writing about them will be presented to me in time.  Maybe it’s a trip overseas or maybe it’s a gift from a friend.  Either way I look forward to it and I’m so grateful for this experience.

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Feeling blessed,

Ideen

The Joys of Spring

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I love Spring.  We’re so close to the official day, which will be less than one week from when this thing gets posted.

There’s plenty of things I love.  One thing I know for sure has been my love affair with The Spice and Tea Exchange (for past posts click here), and with every new shoppe of there’s I visit, there’s another reminder of why I enjoy visiting their stores and sampling their incredible array of teas.

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As I just stated, I love checking off the list of locations I’ve been to.  At my count I’ve been to their Annapolis, MD; Alexandria, VA; and New Orleans, LA locations.  For only visiting three I feel like I’ve built a genuine connection with these wonderful company, and it all felt so effortless.

Williamsburg, VA should be on that list but I don’t think I can count that (more on that maybe down the line, as I don’t recall if I actually visited their store) and another friend was thoughtful enough to bring me a tea from their Forth Worth, TX store.  Good to know my friends know me so well.  And I think that’s what this tea experience is all about, enjoying tea and enjoying the company you have that tea with.

Now this is not going to turn into a national tour of visiting all their stores, even though that would be so wonderful, this is more about two fabulous and similar, yet so different experiences this past weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE and Ocean City, MD.  Yes, two more off the list.   And yes, I went to the beach a little early this year.  But it’s never too early or too late for tea.

I think I shall break this down into two parts.

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My first ever visit to Rehoboth was a couple of days ago and was one of those experiences that continues the tradition of why I love this place so much.   And what a cozy and charming area Rehoboth Beach in general is.  It has a great small town feeling.

Yanna,  who was working at the time was enthusiastic to help and answer any questions. Whenever I visit, my main intent is to check out their seasonal teas, because they come and go in rapid-fire fashion.   They’re turnover with the new season of teas is sometimes less than a month.

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With that, before time runs out, I am proud to bring you the first of two Spring teas, their Wild Berry Spring Tea.

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I got to experience many free smells of their teas, but this was my first.  And it really got me excited for Spring.  The aromas of berries, vanilla, mint, and tulsi make for a lighthearted yet at the same time powerful bouquet of flavors that I could not wait to try.

The anticipation and build-up was worth it.

At the Ocean City Store that same day I bought a beautiful, new infuser mug that fits the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.  You know because of well, yeah.

I want to thank Tiffany at the OC location for also being so kind and so helpful in my search for new tea gadgets. There will be more on this next week.

I’ve really set high expectations with this tea, and I still had a near three hour drive home before I got a chance to brew it.

I have good and breaking news.  This tea tastes just as good as it smells.  And just as good as advertised, if not more.

It once again has a powerful initial taste, which might be the cream.  But it’s light and for a Spring tea that’s what you want.  As the weather improves and the temperatures rises, we might be looking for more of those light bodied and lighter flavored teas that will be gentle on the stomach and in turn we’ll feel grateful and spiritually rejuvenated to have such a wonderful and majestic tea.

I put the suggested amount and that really made the difference.  I think adding too much may undermine the intent of what this tea is all about.   A few good minutes of steeping paid enormous dividends in the end.

The pictures of the tea leaves before and after are a thing of beauty.  How they expand after boiling, steeping, and infusing in water is absolute art.  Not all leaves, and for all intents and purposes, flowers bloom in this fashion.   What a treat and a what a blessing this was to witness.

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The green mug did not fully to the color of the this tea justice that I enlisted a new friend to help me show you how it looks in a clearer cup.    There it is!

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Beautiful right?  And my new holiday themed buddy enjoyed its (his?) (her?) tiny cup.  I almost think my friend savored theirs just a little bit more than I did.  This was an easy one to drink.  And if you’re at a nearby store, I would strongly suggest getting this tea while supplies last.  I’ve been told these teas will be around for 3-4 weeks.

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You can have nothing or everything with this tea.  These holiday themed sugar cookies were more for decoration than anything else.  I did have a little myself but a healthy tea likes this deserves a great complementary snack to go with it.  And that can be anything ou want.  In that sense the cookies worked perfectly.

I didn’t give all the details of both visits. I’ll save that for next week.  But I have posted some pictures from the Rehoboth store throughout this post for your viewing enjoyment. This is one where another post is more than necessary.

And any chance to write about Spice & Tea is good enough for me.   And hopefully some of you will get some enjoyment and seek out their teas, and maybe their which are also available for purchase online.

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This tea was fantastic, and with that I am so looking forward to trying the Peach Tumeric tea.  If the weather permits I will present it hot and cold.  I’m confident in that and confident the weather will cooperate on all levels.  It is Spring after all.

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And Spring mean a new year, new hopes, new opportunities, and new teas to try and share with the people we love, or in solitude.

As the days grow longer and the sun looks stronger, I now the tea experience will continue to get better.    And man I’m excited to get to part two next week.

See ya then and Happy Spring Forward, St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Spring itself!

The best is here and the best is coming,

Ideen