Simple, Tranquil, Peaceful


You know there’s the simple joy of heating up that tea kettle, seeing all that steam, and hearing it whistle.   You pour the hot water into a cup, with a bag, loose tea, or however you do your tea already in place; and then you sip.   That’s simple, it’s joyful, and it’s one of those things I never want to take for granted.


Then there’s the simplicity and happiness in adding a few extra ingredients, to take tea to another level of all those wonderful things I’ve alluded too.  And while winter is winding down, and the temperatures start to rise, there’s still time to appreciate a cozy drink in a pleasant, safe, and just as cozy environment.  Of course I’ve talking about a latte.

This was a suggestion from a dear friend to try, sip, and relax with this latte, over the course of a day of doing nothing, or as some might say, professional chilling.  That’s an official term by the way.

I take no credit for this beverage.  My friend did all the work, even though she suggested we try it together.  I knew I would not be involved in the prepping.  It’s just one of those things.  I’ll leave it to the experts, and I’ll do my best to write about it.

The Chamomile Lavender Latte is immediate peace, immediate harmony, and immediate (fill in the blank).   I’ve mentioned in the past how lavender is such a calming scent, that the affects are immediate, and are more than a placebo.  When it hits your nose, your lips, your tongue, and all other parts, the feelings are transforming.

Life has become too hectic in many instances.  And we allowed this.  But as I say that, we can also allow ourselves all the easy going experiences available to as well.   Life is meant to be enjoyed, to be awesome, and to be extraordinary, not ordinary.

This late is extraordinary.  And while you see the ingredients used, of course you can use your own creativity.


Yes, that’s lavender.  This is what puts the latte over the top, when it’s already pretty great to begin with.


What I didn’t realize at the time is my friend used syrup over honey.  That’s a pleasant change, as I’ve grown accustomed to using honey (if I am to ever use anything) in my tea.  So this makes me even happier.

Non-dairy milk, and in this instance coconut almond was milk, is also a positive attribute, that I think using regular milk may not bring.   You see where the Chamomile tea is from, and I’ve had this tea on its own, and it’s fantastic.  But to see if mixed in with all these simple, and fantastic ingredients is a testament to the tea, and to all the components.

The whole does equal the sum of all parts.


But the lavender flowers are the true highlight.   I mean look how gorgeous that is?  I look at these photos with such a heightened feeling of nostalgia and happiness, that I knew existed.

There’s those moments at the time where you know you will look back with such fondness that it will be forever etched in your mind, and within your spirit.   I felt this at the time, but then I feel it even more as I write this.  I can’t explain why, and some things don’t need that explanation.  It just feels good, it feels abundant, and all feels right.

We took our time sipping this.  And even when there might have been a rush to go to the next thing, is there really a rush?


Those lavender flowers were almost too pretty to take in.  But I took them in, we took them in, and yes there’s multiple meanings to take in.


This was incredible.  I’m grateful this is was my first experience with such a different take on tea, chai, or blend of so many wonders of nature, and the universe.  This was tremendous.


This moment will never be forgotten.

Here’s to many more…



Hoping There’s Time


This week I may be cheating just a little, or I’m just pushing the boundaries oh what exactly constitutes a tea, and every now again I’ll throw in a cup of coffee.

So how fitting is it that I take it back to another familiar face and friend, Baltimore Coffee and Tea.


This week I take it to the Odenton, MD location, which is a first time for me.  The area is quiet, it’s connected to residencies and is part of one of the many towne centers you see popping up in every town or any location that has enough people that developers see the need to justify a towne center.  While many look the same, this location and it’s surroundings does feel a bit more charming and cozy.  There’s lots of green and trees in the vicinity, which is always a good thing.

The beverages I’ll be reviewing today were based on a simple question, ‘have you tried these?’  Two out of three is pretty good, and before today that number was zero.


I’ll save the Hot Apple Cider for later in the year, if there’s time.  But the Dirty Pumpkin Chai is something I had to try.   It’s early November, the time is now or never.  More on that in a second.


I like the chai but it’s not setting the world on fire.  There’s truly no need for any analysis. You know what you’re going to get.  I assume black tea and milk since it’s a chai.  But it could all coffee for all I know.  I’m willing to wager zero dollars that I tasted some cinnamon, nutmeg, and all your other fall essentials.  I enjoyed it with a pumpkin biscotti.   It’s great for now and it’s great until this limited time beverage ends.  But I know there’s better out there.


The Salted Caramel Mocha was way too rich for me.  I mean it’s coffee with stuff that I don’t usually have.   For the sake of trying something new, I wanted to try something new, but I could barely get any sips in before my stomach and my head began to ache.  There’s a lot more sugar in there than I can handle.  But again, just because I don’t care for it, doesn’t mean you won’t.  And I imagine I would be on the minority on this one.  No biscotti, or any pastry, was going to work with a drink like this.  But my cranberry and pistachi biscotti tasted great on its own.


But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if these drinks are going to work for you or not.  I’m looking at the cup half full here and knowing that Baltimore Coffee and Tea has been good to me many times over the years, (previous stories can be found here) that a minor hiccup is not going to change that.


For their coffees click here, their tea list is here, and their growing list of store can be found here.


I made a comment about time earlier.  Because I feel (and I’m inclined to believe many others such as yourself might too) time is moving rather quickly, and there’s so many teas I want to talk about..  I may make more than just my weekly post as we head towards Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I’ve been introduced to different teas, discovered different teas, drinks, and similar entities that I feel a weekly post may not be enough.  So I hope to take this further if I can make the time.  And that’s something that can be easily done.  Yet I still have to make the time for it.


And I will…

Have a blessed one.


London Fogging


I have a muse (or a dear friend rather) who I will turn into when it comes to tea suggestions.  You would think with the season we’re in, that it wouldn’t be that difficult.

And it really isn’t.

But I’m grateful for ideas and suggestions, because that’s what tea and the love of tea is all about it, informing, sharing, educating, and most important of all, sipping.


So when my friend suggested I write about a couple of teas from Starbucks, I was intrigued and surprised.

I’m immediately thinking pumpkin this and pumpkin that.  And while there is a pumpkin pastry included with my two teas, the pumpkin teas will return at a later time.

It’s all about chai and this is quite the chai my friends.

My friend had asked me if I ever tried the Chai Latte or the London Fog Tea Latte, and suggested I write about one or the other.  The answer is right in front of me.  How about both?


I was reminded that I may have had the Chai Latte before, when we used to frequent Starbucks on a regular basis.  I know frequent Starbucks on a regular basis.  I’ve become accustomed to local tea and coffee shops.  It’s where my heart is and it’s the symbolic gesture I feel I need to be doing.   Nevertheless, the Chai Latte is fine.  It’s just what I remember, if this is what I had before.  If you can get what I’m saying, it’s not that memorable.  And I’ve grown to like Chai’s in the past few years, partially because of this blog, and because I’m all about expanding my horizons.  This isn’t anything special.


The pumpkin cream cheese muffin that I had with my chai, either became tainted because of my chai or it wasn’t that great on its own.  I love pumpkin and I didn’t get much pumpkin here.


And I love cinnamon, cloves, and milk.  This screams fall and would hopefully scream success.  I know many love it, and will love it if they haven’t tried it.  To me it’s just a latte you could have anywhere, and not spend as much on it.    It’s not that it’s even that  sweet.  It’s just that I’ve had better.  And the black tea, which is the most important part of it for, seems to be lost in the shuffle with everything else.  And it’s not like there’s too many moving parts.  This would usually come together well in another setting.

And before you think I’m being hard on Starbucks…


Then there’s the London Fog.  Oh my goodness, now we’re talking.  I knew it was great before I even ordered it.  And it’s because my friend told me that it’s not on the menu.  She told me if you mention London Fog, they will know what it is.  Now that’s a friend. And this is a tea.  This is a tea latte.  This is art.


The ingredients are here, and this take on Earl Grey is giving me chills after I write about it.  It was a joy to sip and was so kind to my sense, my taste buds, and my spirit.   I adore the way bergamot smells and tastes, and it’s the highlight for me even with the lavender, vanilla syrup, and milk thrown into the mix. They’re all perfect complements of each other that enhance the Earl Grey.


You can see why I prefer this more.  The integrity of the tea remains intact while everything plays its part perfectly.  This paired perfectly with their Caramelized Apple Pound Cake.  A match made in tea and autumn heaven.


I must mention that the Earl Grey is from Teavana, which I happily wrote about some months back.



I will gladly come back and order the London Fog a couple more times before the season changes.  And this is something you can have through the winter, so there’s plenty of opportunity.    I highly recommend it if you’ve never had this before, and it’s a different take on a classic tea.    Tremendous.

In the past I’ve mentioned that Earl Grey was likely the first tea I ever sipped.  And knowing myself, I appreciated the simplicity of it.  I’m not big on adding anything to my tea.  If a tea is that good it doesn’t necessarily need milk, honey, cinnamon, or anything to overcompensate for a tea, whether it’s good or bad.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t try or embrace teas with those same additions.  I’m all for trying something new.  I’m happy the London Fog worked out.

More to come as I feel rejuvenated and have so much more in the world of teas to talk about.  It just keeps on getting better.

Peace be with you.



Pumpkin Parade

It seems like the only thing I’ve been writing about is pumpkins.  I’m going to enjoy these moments because as nauseating as it may be for some, I’m sentimental to it.  And I know many others that are too.

It’s November, the holidays are approaching, and it’s good to find the positives in this time.  As the weather gets colder, our drinking and eating habits will slowly adapt to those changes.   My tea sipping habits will be going through a transformation as well.  I made this more dramatic than it needed to be.  But I’m having fun here.


This week takes us back to one of my favorite tea companies, The Spice & Tea Exchange.

I was lucky to find myself at the Alexandria location last month and the timing couldn’t have been better.


They had their fall display set-up and loaded with all kinds of fun teas, spices, and other various provisions for the season. When I walked into that I was sold.  But I also want to give a formal thank you to Jerome.  He was very helpful in showing me around the store and recommending season teas along with sugars to purchase.

There will be at least one follow-up post next week, and maybe the week after depending on how the rest of this month goes.  But I want to give credit where credit is due.  This was a fantastic experience.  Jerome and a couple of the other folks working were so friendly and let me feel like a kid in a candy store.

This week, from their Fall FesTEAvities collection, I will be talking about the Pumpkin Chai Latte Tea.

I had fun brewing it, sniffing it, but I didn’t love it.  I don’t know if it was how I brewed it or something in the atmosphere, but something didn’t click.

It smells amazing.  And I’m salivating at the thought of it now.  This has happened before.   The aroma doesn’t always translate to a winning taste.  It might be my tastes have changed.  I’ve had some good chai’s so that isn’t it.  I’ve had some that have let me dismayed too.  I’d put this somewhere in between.

I do have one thought.  Maybe the ingredients are all-natural that it tastes exactly how it should.  There’s no harmful additives or artificial flavors to augment the taste.  That part I love.  The ingredients are listed above. Like I said, it smells great it just doesn’t compute in my eyes.   Maybe it’s too much of a good thing?   I’m not sure about less is more.  I’ve had teas with a dozen plus ingredients that have been a staple in my life for years.

They all can’t be winners and by no means will this discourage me from purchasing teas and other items from here.  This store has been so good to me and my friends.   I can’t wait to come back and look forward to doing more positive write ups in the future.  And one will likely take place next week.

For your viewing pleasure I’ve photographed the brewing and steeping experience.






Can you see the steam in the last few pictures above? Pretty awesome!


The pumpkin pancakes totally complemented the tea and definitely heightened the flavors of my cup but it wasn’t the best I’ve had.   Maybe next time.


And more next week!

Unfortunately these items are sold out online.  If there’s a location near you I’d highly recommend grabbing this and the other seasonal teas.  Just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped doesn’t mean you won’t.

For previous posts on this great company click here, here, and also here!