Walking In A Winter Wake Up Tea

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I honestly thought I went through so many of the teas at Trader Joe’s, that I thought it would be a while till I got around to talking about one of my favorite stores in any capacity.   My fear is that this would go past the holidays and they would be left out in the cold.

Not a chance.  And there’s no need to worry.  Everything is going to be alright.  After all it’s the holidays.  This is where magic, hope, joy, peace, prosperity, and a universal feeling of love means the best of what’s around.  Yes I did just quote someone.

Here’s my Trader Joe’s history lesson.

Maybe a break was needed.  There’s so many teas from so many companies I’ve yet to get around to.  I may never get around too.  I have my favorites, I have my sentiments, and I have a soft spot for traditions and celebrations around this time of year.  Sometimes I share tea with the ones I love.  For this one, I went at it alone.   Well there were plenty of props and snacks too.

These two debuting teas are the Apple Cranberry and the Winter Wake Up.

But with the holidays that also means loads of sweet treats, unhealthy eats, and hopefully no feelings of guilt.

You will see some of the sweet treats I purchased pictured below.  Not all of them were used with these teas, and they may be used at a later time.  I just wanted to share with a little sampling of how creative and charming the flavors of the season can truly be.

In honor of the full moon that was this past weekend, I will be working backwards, but not really, as it only makes sense.   I think (no I know) the full moon had me going a little cuckoo as well.

First is the Apple Cranberry.  What stands out is that this is not actually tea.  The description even says so.  Yet it’s all natural and full of such life.  It tastes like hot autumn, but I think this would work chilled, and if you felt the need to add a little libation to it, that would work too.  But I didn’t tell you to do that.

No tea leaves are used, so there is no caffeine.  It’s the perfect drink to relax with and maybe even ease you into a lovely nap or deep sleep.  I feel quite comfortable as I write about this now.  Not quite tired but peaceful just the same.    The combinations of apples and cranberry stand out to make this a winner.  Throw in a little cinnamon and this screams autumn, the holidays, and all is right with the world.

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Well at least in the world of tea, this is the best non tea I’ve ever had.  It might be the only non-tea, tea, I’ve ever had but that’s besides the point.  As of this past weekend I saw this at my local Trader Joe’s, but it seems to headed towards clearance if not already.  So get on it if you have a chance.

The chocolate stars are a perfect complement to your home, and for any gathering.  Mine were simply for display.  Well maybe I had one or two, oops.

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And yes this display you might as well call Christmas Commotion!

The Winter Wake Up tastes and feels like breakfast, but could be had any time.  I’d be lying if I said I had it in the morning.  But it tasted good just the same.  Yes this is more in line of your traditional black teas with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange peel, and licorice.

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This is a great tea, but I’ve had so many recently, that I don’t know where to rank this.  It’s not fair to rank it.  What I’m saying this, if I had this in a different context, I may think this is up there with all the awesome teas I’ve had this year, and especially this season.  I may be over analyzing a bit, but I think I’ve been spoiled.   Nevertheless, I’ll be drinking this a lot this year.

And as soon as I say all this, the flavors that came out from this cup when shared with these Speculoos Cookies made this an incredible combination.  So in a way everything I said in the previous paragraph becomes augmented to a significant extent.  These cookies are incredible, and I need to revisit these again while paired with another Trader Joe’s tea or some kind of holiday themed beverage.

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We go from Christmas Commotion to a more relaxed affair.  But both teas helped relaxed me, but I found myself settled a bit with this display.  Hence the full moon and working backwards stuff I was referring to.

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So if you can get your hands on either of these teas, and I’d say grab a few.  At $2.50 it’s not going to hurt you too much. Hopefully there is a Trader Joe’s near YOU.

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With that being said, I’m hopeful and in all likelihood going to explore a couple more tasty delights from this store I love so much.   There’s a lot of time and a lot of holiday themed teas and drinks to explore, from Trader Joe’s and many other magical places. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you.

I hope you’re having a great holiday season up to this point, and wish you many great days ahead.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

‘Tis Tea Season

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Oh yes it is, and we’re just riding along this train till I run out of tea to try, which will never happen.    I promised myself, you, and the universe, that I would get to as many teas for autumn and naturally let the blend from season to season.

With this I will reviewing two teas from Stash, which has been a friend to me and this blog (previous posts can be found here,  over here, and one more right…here…) and I don’t write about enough.  I could say that about a whole plethora of companies, and their finest of teas.

The Pumpkin Spice Decaf really got me good.  Without trying too hard I figured out that this was natural pumpkin flavor and not that artificial and synthesized coloring and flavoring that many of these companies add to their teas, to make it sweeter when it’s better off being left alone.

But this was fun.  Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg (oil in this instance which I found intriguing), and cloves really make this a powerfully packed tea that seemed so effortless to produce.  I think black tea and pumpkin is a winning combination if done right.  You could actually apply that to just about anything  If things are blended together properly, with some good soul and feeling behind it, it’s going to be a winner.

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This checks of all the boxes.  How about that beautiful color? Decaf or not, I wouldn’t know the difference, this is a great tea.

The Maple Apple Cider is fine except for the maple flavor.  This is a matter of taste.  Maple doesn’t always work for me.    It’s natural maple flavor and it’s possible that’s where I’ve thrown off.  I’ve had plenty of foods with maple glaze that either taste too good to be true, or just don’t taste good at all.

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Aside from that, this had another melange of great flavors, that is slightly marred my the maple.  But there’s times where I feel the cinnamon, caramel, and apple is lost because of the strong presence of maple.  This is another in the line of rooibos that I’ve been trying, and this is a slight step back.

I will gladly give it another go since I’ve bought a package, but I wasn’t blown away this with this one.

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My snowman friends didn’t seem to mind.   They seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Yes I did just say that…

On their website, both teas are listed as a package deal.  I think that’s a fantastic gift for now, and the Christmas season that is fast approaching.

When it comes to Stash, I’m only just getting started.  They have so many teas for the  holidays, that I’m hopefully going to dedicate some more posts too.   Just from my observation, Stash is one of those companies that doesn’t get the publicity and headlines that it should.

I know some people close to me are huge fans, and make it a part of their daily lives, and morning routine.    I have to many teas to choose from, I’m not sure if there will ever be  a routine.  And neither situation is right or wrong.  It’s all beautiful.  It’s all in the celebration of tea.

We’re still in the heart of November, and there’s so much tea to try and share with you guys.  For some reason, I’m feeling a little more heart warmed today than normal.  Tea makes me so happy and this is some of the happiest times of the year.

More to share soon.

For more on Stash, here is where you can find their teas, their list of fall teas, more about the company, and contact information.

Thank you so much, and I’ll be back tomorrow…

Peace be with you.

Ideen

This IS Living Tea.

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I didn’t know when or how I would write about Mother Kombucha, but it needed to happen now and the universe told me that today was the day.  Actually I had intended this after my kombucha post last week. So you can call this a segue or a continuation but I just call this a celebration of some of the best beverages Mother Nature has ever provided.  That wording was intentional by the way.

Nearly two months after visiting the great city of St. Petersburg, FL. I recall fondly how gorgeous, spacious, and welcoming Central Avenue was.  While visiting a friend who lived on that street, and meeting with friends throughout the week, I still had plenty of time to myself and to do my own thing.

There were hardly any plans (here is my tea history in the sunshine state thus far), other than knowing that I would love to try some tea, try something new, and try something fun, and then try some more tea.  I love going in blind and going in open-minded and seeing where life takes me.

I can’t say it enough, the tea culture and lifestyle on the Gulf Coast give me goose bumps.  It’s something truly special that I only hope to experience either back in Florida or somewhere just as breathtaking.

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Well what would you know, that this amazing coffee shop (which does have great coffee by the way) Intermezzo, which is footsteps away from where one of my closest friends now resides, would be where I discovered the Mother of all kombuchas.  Yes I could do this all day…

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I walked in on a gorgeous and supremely sunny day to this cozy and charming space not knowing what to expect.  When I walk into a coffee shop my curious mind always wonders about the tea list.  Now many also have their own loose leaf tea, or might carry a few standard label tea bags (which are perfectly fine by the way), maybe some more lavish brands of tea, or in this case the Lavender Mojito, which to say is incredible is a severe understatement.

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Before I could even let my the friendly server behind the counter finish her suggestions, like a boisterous child ordered the Lavender Mojito without any hesitation.

Thanks to my new friend (I humbly apologize for not remembering her name) she allowed me to take pictures of the inside, and enjoy my this iconic beverage outside on a peaceful day. While many others are working, I’m on vacation, so it was an early afternoon, it was a tad lonely, but in the same way it was needed peace and time to reflect.  If it weren’t for this blog I would hardly share this with anyone.

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There were no check-ins, no pictures, and no hints at the time that I was here.  And that’s just the way I wanted it.   I took my few pictures (or so I thought), and then I stopped. Because sipping something like this, being in your own universe, being around the sun, around random people saying hello, and enjoying my own company lies a feeling that everything is going to be ok.  It’s not just one of those things you have to believe, it’s one of those things you should believe.

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The thoughts going through my head were different than what I would feel at home.  I can’t explain it, I can hardly remember even what I was thinking about.  I did recall my tea was unbelievable.  It’s one of the easier ones I’ve ever had, and I would be saying this even if I had this on a regular basis at home.  But I rather make this larger-than-life, because it was.

The ingredients and information are presented to you below but all I can say is that if you live in a place nearby that sells this, do yourself a favor and grab yourself as much as you can.  That flavor, that color, that bottle, that label, oh my god.  What else needs to be said?  It’s ecstasy in a bottle.

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And the funny thing about being in your own ecstasy, I was the only one outside so for a while it felt like I was the only person on Earth.  After a while I noticed while taking photos a group of people drawing closer and closer to my location.   Then I noticed they all wore the same attire.  I don’t even remember who they were with or what they were about.  I hope someone can remind me.   But as they came near, if this were a bad movie or tv show the first thought would be to run.  However, this group was about spreading love, kindness, and hugs all around.  I got a bunch of hugs from people I’ve never met in my life and who knows if I will ever see again.  But it didn’t matter.  I was alone but I wasn’t, then I was alone again.  But I wasn’t lonely.  I felt good.   I took enough pictures that it may look like a flip-book or slide show for your enjoyment.

To say this made my Lavender Mojto Kombucha that much better would be one of those fabled understatements.

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After a little while I felt like it was the right time to go.  I’m grateful to Intermezzo for everything, and for letting me keep the bottle.

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I’m grateful for this experience, which will never happen this organically again.  It’ll have to be something else.  And that’s what makes this so beautiful.  This will continue next week, as this was not my only encounter with the Mother.

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Where I was staying was minutes from their headquarters, but they’re not open to the public for tours, as far as I know.  But I did get a picture anyways.  This is how I play tourist.

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But what I’ll get into next week is how a day after this awe-inspiring experience, was one at the Saturday Morning Market in Williams Park that I’ll only say is comparable in stature but how it comes out in my words will convey if it was just as awesome, or magical for other reasons.  I can’t wait to reminisce.  I had another dynamic flavor that I’ll leave as a teaser for you below.

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For more on Mother Kombucha, here is their story, where you can find their product, and their contact information.

This was beautiful.  More next week.  Thank you so much.

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