Thank You For The Sun, The One That Shines On Everyone…

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This is a continuation of what I wrote about last week, and the story gets that much brighter.  And the sun surely had a hand in that…

Maybe it took some life changes, and a late May day for one of the most beautiful displays of sun and serenity that I can recall.   Until recently, we’ve been lacking in days like this.  Lack is never good.  It implies, well lack and missing something.   The sun is vital to our lives, for many reasons.

Happiness seems to be number one.

The sun makes people more motivated to do things, whether it’s doing nothing or something life changing.  Sometimes those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

A good night’s rest after anything is welcome, and I don’t do it enough.  I imagine the same goes for many of you.  When it becomes 6-7 hours, it just only feels like ‘enough’, but barely.

Maybe it was the anticipation of trying a new tea, taking some new pictures in a different setting than I’m accustomed to, and giving the gift that keeps on giving.

This gift was a souvenir from my dear friends who visited Sunny California months back, and I held on to this tea, because I was waiting for the right moment.

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And what better way to share the Angels in the Mist from Point Loma Tea, then with my friends who brought it to me…

Here’s their catalog (which is available for purchase online), more about them, and their contact information.

You know packaging and presentation goes a long way.  First impressions can be misleading and deceiving, but they’re still first impressions.   And I was impressed.

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We didn’t realize that the packing carried more than one tea.  Which makes this all the more exciting. More for later!   This blend of oranges, apples, hibiscus, and rose just projects all the good things about Spring and Summer.  It’s a simple, yet powerful blend of all the good in the world.

And it tastes good too!

The brewing process was seamless, and since I had some of my favorite animal friends with me, this was the perfect cup for it.

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The vanilla tea cookies were also a gift, and paired just right with our tea.  The dichotomy of the flavors of my sweets versus the other sweets in the tea may throw some off a bit, but I love it.  It’s sunny out, the days are getting longer, and you only live, well you know.  All those sayings…

Just as I take my time writing this, I took my time appreciating, savoring, and photographing this tea.  You can see the photogenic colors from onset of steeping.  I love this tea so much.

And I love when I’m introduced to a new tea company, that I had never known existed.  If it wasn’t for my friends, who knows if I would ever found out about, and be introduced to something so exquisite.  It makes me think how many teas are out there that I have yet to discover, and may never discover.

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That’s what makes this journey so wonderful.  While we have all these major brands, who have earned their reputation and earned their place in grocery and retail aisles, positions of prominence, and on the minds of many; I’m always about something new, something local, and something inspiring.

I’m feeling inspired, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Happy Spring into Summer!

Peace Be With You,

Ideen

 

Missing The Tropics

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Actually I don’t recall the last time I was in the tropics.  So this title is purely for show.

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However, a serendipitous visit to Coffee Nature in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington, DC gave me a little piece of the tropics at home.

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As I’ve stated before on numerous occasions, the atmosphere, the energy, and everything else around you is just as important as the tea you’re drinking.  If someone rubs you the wrong way, say a friend, family member, the staff member of the shoppe/restaurant, or some random person, if can suddenly dilute even the tastiest of food and drink.  The opposite occurred here.

Tea houses are not as ubiquitous as coffee houses, so sometimes that’s where you’re going to find some hidden gems.  It may be their own loose tea, the standard tea bags you can find at your local grocer, or some obscurities that you would only find when you weren’t looking.  I wasn’t looking for anything. I’m guessing the Tropical Hibiscus from Rishi Tea falls somewhere along the latter.

Before I even walked in I got the sense that I was in for something special.  The shop is nestled amongst a neighborhood of charming homes.  It felt like home walking in.  I didn’t even need to do research afterwards to get the sense that this has that community feel that I always hope to find when discovering a new place for food and drink.

Now I don’t know anyone in the neighborhood but I imagine, even for a city like Washington DC, that some friendly bonds and comradery would materialize organically and rather swiftly.  That’s also up to the individual and the universe itself.

I was all set to get a more familiar tea for the day but then I saw smack dab in the middle of all these teas was that Tropical Hibiscus and I’m grateful I did.

I ordered a turkey wrap for no particular reason other than I was in the mood for some turkey.  I figured the avocado was enough to make believe I’m on a tropical island.  An armchair will do.

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To my pleasant surprise was the presentation.  My tea was brought to me with a silicone tea cover.  This also made the tea sipping experience that much better.  It may be a little thing but it’s a big thing.

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The tea has loads of orange and tangerine flavors.  That’s the true stand out here. For a tea of this magnitude it’s going to feel feeler than what you might expect. Lemongrass is always a welcome addition to any cup for me. And I just love the fact that hibiscus and rosehips are ingredients in so many of the teas I’ve come to love. This one in particular I’m intrigued by.

Why am I intrigued?  I can’t find it on the Rishi site itself.   I hope I’m wrong but if you do a search it doesn’t come up.  So I’ve posted third party sites, like this on here, where you can find this tea.

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The staff at Coffee Nature was laid back and welcoming.  Again, for DC I was surprised. Once again, it’s what you choose to see and what you attract.  Not everything in every cosmopolitan town is watered down and pretentious.  There’s a place for everyone. There’s room for everyone.   How funny that I’m the one who unintentionally had to write about one of the more obscure teas.   So I’m the jerk.

To find all of Rishi teas in your area (aside from obscure pick) click here.

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This photo was taken at a local grocer near me, Whole Foods.  Every Rishi tea known to man except the Tropical Hibiscus, oops.

If you’re in DC, check out Coffee Nature.  I hope to be back.  If I lived nearby I’d frequent it at least a few times a week.   And I love Rishi tea.  I hope to get the opportunity to talk about some more soon.

Here is my original post on their teas.

As we approach the chillier months, it’ll be most likely back to hot teas and complementary foods to go with.  If the weather presents itself, or I’m feeling unconventional, there will be a cold or iced tea review that will make a sporadic appearance.

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Thanks so much,

Ideen

Hibiscus Healing

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I’ll get it out of the way.  Don’t let the name trick you into believing something else.  iSiS Organic has been making great products for quite a number of years, 35 plus to be exact.

I’ve enjoyed their teas with my father and with other family members.  It would usually take place after a hearty meal where we needed our stomachs to settle. Sometimes I would prefer enjoying afternoon tea with a pastry.

They’re based out of Egypt and take great pride in being organic, sustainable, and free of GMOs.  That’s a trifecta of brilliance if there ever was one.

My background is Middle Eastern so my family loves anything healthy to come from that vicinity.  In the Washington, DC area there is a strong population of people from the region so Halal and Middle Eastern stores are ubiquitous.   And yes, iSiS’ food is Halal.

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This weekend I was in for a pleasant surprise.  I visited a friend I haven’t seen in quite a while.  A lot longer than it needed to be.  And I got to meet members of the family, while we enjoyed some Hibiscus Tea.   I had the option to go with the Cinnamon as well, but I chose the former.

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I was told that hibiscus is good for lowering blood pressure and that was needed just in the nick of time.  I was feeling a bit fatigued and stressed.  This did the job. How beautiful does this look?  An all organic tea made with the most elegant of flowers, and nothing to undermine it’s purity.

That’s how you make a tea and sip on one.  This was decadent.

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I’ve been feeling under-the-weather recently so this really hit the spot.   The great company always helps this experience ten-fold.   Oh and maybe that chocolate chip cookie too.

If you can find the tea or any of their other products, I highly recommend.  I’ve been grateful to have several flavors when spending time with my dad.  I’ve also had their dates which complement any cup of tea.  It’s the archetype of a sweet treat.

Their site doesn’t list where you can find their great products, but you can contact them here.

I strongly recommend their tea and by virtue all of their products.   When something represents good or intends for good I’m more likely to be drawn to that over anything else.

And it’s getting cold on the eastern coast of the United States.  This tea is aiding in dealing with this drastic change in the weather.

I sincerely hope you’re all staying warm as well.

Best and Best,

Ideen

 

Fall Fun

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I did just type that out.  I always embrace the Summer with open arms.  The autumn months are full of positives too.  And I don’t have to look too hard to find them.  If it’s not a genuine feeling of joy and euphoria than it’s not going to be feel authentic.

This tea I will discuss today is authentic and so much more.  It’s that time of year which means the changing of the leaves, different flavors, scents, foods, and of course pumpkins.

There’s going to be a lot of pumpkin-style and related posts forthcoming and I hope you enjoy!

The Harvest Blend Herbal Tea from our pals at Trader Joe’s is the embodiment of what this season is all about. From the packaging, to the beautiful illustrations of animals, and to the scent and taste of the tea itself, this is perfection.

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First off, when I visited the pumpkin display at my local store, it’s an in-your-face reminder of the time of year we’re in.  But I’ve been seeing it while we were technically still in Summer.  I understand the rush but I really don’t.  I could have written about this a month ago but I want this part to be authentic as well.  Lets all get into the season in a little more sensible fashion.

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I took multiple angles of this package as I only feel it’s right.  And one on of the sides are all the ingredients listed.  And it’s a lot.  But it’s a who’s who of what makes this season great.   After smelling the bag upon opening, the most noticeable scent is cinnamon, one of my favorite things on this Earth.

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After steeping, more aromas start to come alive.  I got a great whiff of apple, chamomile, ginger.  If my nose and taste buds got carried away I may detect everything included and then some.  Nevertheless, this is a winner.   As my tea became ready to sip the cinnamon and apple hit me the post.  This packs a punch suitable for the season.   And since there’s so much involved I think multiple cups can be made from this.

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With all these incredible elements you think something would get lost in the shuffle.  This is not the case. There’s room for everything here.   However, I will say that chicory is not a plant I’ve had much exposure too. I’ll be curious to see if I can trace it in other teas that I come across.  I may have to do some further investigating but I don’t want to lose course here.

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As I ended my first cup, the flavors were so strong, I had to add more boiling water.  And I mean that with highest of praise. This tea cannot go to waste.  I’m ecstatic thinking about it.  This will be a staple in my sipping repertoire for the reason of this season and beyond.   It just tastes and feels so good.   The words soothing and comforting come to mind.  I feel so happy sipping it, thinking about it, and putting it to words.

And with a price tag of only $1.99 how can you go wrong?  This is a bargain for that price and what you’re getting.

I included some wonderful items that reflect the season that has just commenced. I’m enjoying wonderful piece of golden raisin cinnamon bread to complement my cup.

This is just the beginning.  I am thrilled to get fall off on the right foot.

Thanks so much!

Best,

Ideen

It Was Raining

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Two weeks in a row I find myself in Virginia.  And changing up the locations means finding a new spot or two to write about one of my favorite subjects.    Last week was a gem.  So how did this one fare?  Not as good.

Through my local travels,  I found myself in Alexandria, VA.  To say I’m sentimental is an understatement.  It’s the town where I was born, so any time I pass through here or plan a visit I get a warm feeling inside.  I feel like it’s a badge of honor.  It was meant to be.

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And Old Town is in the heart of it all.  It’s got it’s historic and authentic feel with its cobblestone streets, red brick sidewalks, cozy looking row homes, and small businesses.   It’s pure class that is worth visiting.  I prefer neighborhoods like this as opposed to the craziness of major downtown epicenters.

And there’s plenty of tea abound.   Unfortunately my visit here was not one to write home about.   I have visited Teaism in the past and never felt completely satisfied.   There has just been something off with my purchases, the energy of the establishment, or it could be my own goofiness.   But it’s a few visits and I’ve always felt a weird vibe.

It’s in a newer part of town that doesn’t feel historic.  It feels a bit more corporate.  That doesn’t make it a bad thing.  But it’s not necessitating the joy and fun I look for when I want a peaceful cup of tea.

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It was pouring down rain on this particular visit.  And a soothing flavor was just what I had hoped to obtain.  I opted for the Berry Beauty and the Chai.  I’m not here much so I wanted to try a some I don’t often think to order.

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The berry contained hibiscus which I usually enjoy.  This was not good at all.  I didn’t like the flavor whatsoever.  It tasted like the sweet and sour clashed, but then went off in another direction.  It just didn’t come as advertised.  I was disappointed.  I was hoping for something more delightful.

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The chai was ok.  I’ve had them from other places (tea shops, coffee shops, grocery stores) that tasted much better.  It wasn’t bad.  It just didn’t wow me whatsoever.

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The setup of the shop is puzzling to me.  I imagine some people like it.  It’s a restaurant, tea house, and contains a little tea store in the middle.   Additionally, when you order carry-out or in the restaurant, you have to walk to the back to pick it up.  I think it sound more complex in person.  Something about the dynamic doesn’t feel natural.  And the energy felt stuffy once again.

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The shoppe items looked cool but I didn’t have time to stay too long and peruse.

Their menu is interesting and seems all over the map.  I didn’t feel it was approachable either.   The staff was friendly for the most part.  The gentleman who was working the front seemed to be going through the motions.  That’s just my interpretation.

But with all that being said, I would like to come back.   Maybe I’ll bring a friend or two with me and see how they feel.   And there’s so many flavors to try and hopefully I’ll find a nice meal to pair it with.

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I think this place is much better than the experiences that I’ve had so I hope to be back within the next month or two.   They also have three locations in Washington, DC but that’ll come in time.  For now, any excuse to come to one of my favorite towns is good enough for me.

All the best,

Ideen