This Culture Is My Friend

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Of course the culture I’m referring is the probiotics and all the goodness found in the Master Brew Kombucha by Kevita.

What else would I be talking about?

I have a few people to thank for getting me into Kombucha, and it has enhanced and expanded my horizons, and given me some more content for this blog.  And I’m all for new stories (here are my previous write-ups on Kombucha) and experiences

My mind was set on writing about this amazing beverage, but with which brand and with with flavor(s) was to be determined.  Even when I have some semblance of a plan, I rather still keep it fresh and as meaningful as possible.

So in browsing the natural and organic aisles of my local supermarket, I noticed the list of companies making Kombucha is rapidly expanding.  I’ve even met some folks that are in the process of brewing themselves.  That might be a topic for another time but let me not lose focus.

I had seen Kevita in many grocery store refrigerators, and paid it plenty of mind.  It’s been in head to sample a couple of there Master Brew’s to see if they’re in fact masterful.

For this post I decided to make it a two for one and try two of the more summery flavors. We still got a long season to go ladies and gents so I want to make the most of it.

First up is the Pineapple Peach.  Seriously, does it get any better?  It’s quite possible, no. Now many of us have had fruit cocktails or fruit punch drinks that tend to mix one or more fruits too many.  And that’s drinking unnatural and products likely high in sugar, among other nasty additives.  And with all that sometimes these big companies still tend to mess up something so simple.  Not here.

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This was awesome.  And this is one of those kombucha drinks that if you’re not careful, you can finish off rather quickly.  I’m of the belief that these drinks are meant to be savored, not chugged and rushed through.  My body is still getting used to drinking this, so I believe in taking it slow as it gets adjusted to change.  That’s just an opinion and observation I’m making for myself.  You may think and feel different, and that’s what makes this tea and kombucha journey so exciting.

Pineapple and peach were merged together to create something so colorful, so delightful, and so invigorating.  I had about half of my bottle.  The other half I will enjoy soon.  But I want to appreciate the beautiful color and texture of this Master Brew.   Seriously, isn’t this so radiant?

Kombucha can go with anything but sometimes I like to have it with nothing.  This time I had it (again slowly) with a couple of equally fruitful and powerful health bars, perhaps you heard of them.  Yes Larabar is awesome too.

Next up was the Raspberry Lemon.  This tasted more like what you’d expect from a kombucha.  It’s not as easy to drink in my opinion.  And while I still thought it was alright, it’s nowhere near the Pineapple Peach.  Some going are going to love it, but this is one that took a little more time for me.  And in a way that’s a major point of this.  It’s not supposed to be rushed, but something about this flavor combination didn’t hit me like the first one.  And that’s quite ok.

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This was more for display, but you can see the Raspberry Lemon is paired with purple heirloom chips.  The Larabar’s is what I truly feasted on.  They’re so yummy.

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Since the kombucha thing is still so new to me, I want to revisit Kevita much sooner rather than later.  They have a plethora of flavors I want to try, and there’s no time like anytime, or something.

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Kevita is easily accessible in your area and here’s the link to find it near you.

Here’s a little local culture for you, and the live stuff too.

This is all good stuff.  Culture can be your friend, and this is one instance where it absolutely is.  I’d love to go it again.

Come to think of it, there will be likely be more kombucha next week from a different source, and source energy.  And I’m so excited.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Have A Holly & A Jolly

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I know I know, Christmas is officially over.  It’s 2017.  It’s time to move forward. But what better way to move forward then talking about a new that could be beneficial to all the folks who enjoyed themselves a little too much over the holidays.  I would fall into that category as well.

The Holly Jolly Ginger Aid Tea from Traditional Medicinals might have been what you were looking for.  Unfortunately it may be hard to find right now.  As I was lucky to find this as a clearance item at my local Wegmans.

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You might be able to tell by the photo that I literally snagged the last one.  I thought that it might have been waiting for me to be sampled and reviewed.  In hindsight, I wish I got around to this within the last couple of weeks.

But I remember the first time I tried it that it didn’t stick out to me in any way. The flavors of lemon, ginger, and blackberry really didn’t wow me whatsoever. This is part of why I waited a bit to right about it.

It had a nice aroma of lemon and ginger.  It didn’t overpower me which didn’t feel like a red flag on first sniff but made sense a few minutes later when I began sipping.

As like all teas, I really wanted to like this product.  Just look at that adorable packaging. And look at how pretty at the design of the bags before being opened.

Sadly, the tea was just kind of there.  And I’m a huge fan of Traditional Medicinals so I consider this an aberration more than anything. It has the tint and shine of another solid tea but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it again.  But I do have a near full package so I will do my best to enjoy it over time.

On a personal note I’ve pretty much had a full stomach and lethargic way about me going back a while.  This goes back way before Thanksgiving.   Without getting into too many details, this tea hasn’t been as beneficial in that regard as I hoped. Maybe it worked differently for you if you did get some yourself.

I can’t speak for you or anyone else, but I can only imagine that over the last month or so, eating healthy and seeking out health with digestion was not at the top of everyone’s list. That’s completely understandable.

We have this short time on earth and want to enjoy ourselves not only during the holidays but with all the celebrations we attend.  In that way we should feel blessed that we get the opportunity to be invited to such gatherings.  I’m grateful to have been a part of a few myself this holiday season.  I hope you got to enjoy yourself as well.

But as with New Years and all the resolutions that come with it means a bit of a reality check.  Many of us try to eat healthy, exercise, and practice healthy lifestyle choices.  The decisions we make on a daily basis can lead us to that happy and healthy place.  I’m saying this to you as much as I’m saying this to myself.  And not as a sermon but as a friendly blogger who happens to love good tea.

I truly wish I could say this tea was awesome.  I can’t though.  But I can suggest plenty of other great teas from their vast collection.  It’s been a while since I wrote about them, but here are my previous reviews of their fun and beneficial teas.

I’ve been having this tea myself to much more positive results.  I will get to this one in time as I have a lot of positive things to say about it.

For where you can find their teas click here.  And you can order online as well.

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It’s been a great holiday and my decorations are still up  When I will take them down is when I’m ready to let go and move on to the next thing.  But this is likely the end of the Christmas-themed posts unless I magically come across something inspiring in the next few days.

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There’s still this day by the way.

I hope you all had a stellar holiday and look forward to sharing more great tea experiences in 2017.

Stay healthy,

Ideen

 

 

Have A Happy Holiday

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Does that title sound familiar?   Funny lines and song lyrics like that have been embedded in my brain since childhood.  They resurface at this time of year, and it feels good to dig into the archives of my brain, and recite lines like these?

Where is this going?  It’s the third annual tree decorating party with a group of people I’m proud to call my friends.   So the heartwarming, dopey, emotional, cheesy, and most importantly traditional Christmas Music will be playing, sometimes two or three times over.  And that (along with so many other things) is the fun and funny part.

When it comes to any holiday party, decorating party, or dare I say any party, comes plenty of food and drink.  And there was plenty of that.  Everyone contributed something to the cause.  Because that’s what the holidays and gathering are all about, everyone sharing and giving.   And what may you ask, did I contribute?

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Per a suggestion from a friend, I was told to review the Mulling Spices Tea from the R.W. Knudsen Family brand of products.  And it’s just a small part of what I brought to this Christmas Community.

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If the name rings a bell it may be because you’ve had their juices and other various beverages.

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I had no idea that this tea existed.  And from doing research, it looks like it has been around for a few years.   Why it took me this long to attract it into my life is one of those holiday mysteries.  But now I consider it a miracle.

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I adore this tea.  The hostess of the party had a cup herself and she concurred.   It’s good to disagree respectively but isn’t even more rewarding to enjoy the same cup with people you truly care for?  It adds to the spirit of the season.  And I can always use some more.  I would assume many would feel the same.

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And in this group setting the tea was necessary as a way to relax from all the commotion of decorating, eating, and the overall excitement of decorating a tree.   Oh and there was some champagne and mimosas earlier on (actually throughout) the day as well.  So the tea truly was a friend in settling the stomach and bringing me back down to Earth.

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What makes this tea so special is that the Mulling Spices is meant as a way to make hot spiced cider, blended with their Organic Apple Juice, of course.

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I will do that soon but as I’m into holiday traditions, I’m also very traditional when it comes to my tea.  I prefer adding nothing to my teas.  I think the true test of a tea is how it stands alone, with noting but hot water and the bag or leaf itself.

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This tea can be enjoyed in that form, and that’s an understatement.  I love this tea.  It went down smooth and I felt so balanced and at peace with each sip.  Again, I reiterate the importance of quality people around that makes the tea even that much better.   I got a few cups out of each bag, and the beauty of the brewing process only enhances that fact.

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The aromas of lemon peel, orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves upon opening hit a festive nerve that emit the joy and peace of the season.   The smells remind me of holiday parties past with friends and family.  The way the tea brewed, the colors changing, and the steam rising made me all warm and fuzzy.  That tint is gorgeous.  It made me so happy for that moment in time, yesterday, to appreciate the present.  I appreciate my friends, I appreciate the holidays, and I appreciate being able to share this with you.

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Everything about this day was right.  But it felt like it moved so fast.  That’s because it did.  Time flies when enjoying life.  And enjoying life with good people makes that time feel even more fleeting.   I’m grateful to have been a part of this day and look forward to doing this for many years to come.  And on top of that, I welcome any new traditions that unexpectedly present themselves.

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Some of the photos of the awesome food spread may look like they were taken from a blimp. That’s just my camera phone.  But I did feel like a blimp after eating all this yummy Christmas food.  And over-indulging on treats is another tradition that will be timeless.

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Speaking of time, these are moments in time I’m grateful to have captured and presented to you.  This party will be remembered for many things, and this tea will be near the top of this list.

Get this tea.  To find out where you can find all their fun products, click here.

To read more about all the good that R.W. Knudsen does, this link and this one should be of great assistance.

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At my local Wegman’s, the price was over $5 so that may be a bit steep for buying tea, but I think it’s well worth it.

To read about the 2nd Anniversary party, click here.

I love this and I’m glad there’s so much more of the holidays to celebrate.  I hope you’ve been doing the same with the ones you love, and that love you too.

This is such a wonderful time of the year and I look forward what the holidays bring next.

Have  A Happy Holiday,

Ideen

 

 

 

Feels Like Home

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Silver Spring, MD has changed so much in the past 15 years, it’ll seem unrecognizable to many, if you’ve been gone from the area long.  Or perhaps locals to the Washington, DC area haven’t paid a visit back.   It’s close enough to DC that many transplants and I’d assume folks who grew up in the area will consider it home.

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It’s a little to new and full of chains in some parts for my taste.  But if you don’t look so hard, the local businesses are flourishing and proving they belong.  And I hope they belong for some time to come.  I had the pleasure of visiting one of these establishments recently. Zed’s Cafe right on the outskirts of Downtown Silver Spring has that neighborhood and homey vibe I always look for in a place.  And I just don’t mean for tea.  I mean for food, for various places I shop, for my own self serving interests, and I’ll repeat, tea.

As they state, it’s one big living room.  I’m not sure whose spacious living room but I got cozy and comfortable real quick.  And I had yet to order anything.  I was sure I was setting myself up for a disappointment and free fall.

And I also should be careful to assume that all these gems of places have a tea list.  That’s a risky presumption depending on where you go.  Just about anywhere will have an expansive coffee list, yet the teas could be a standard national brand in a box, or thankfully in this instance, their had their own loose teas in house.  Whenever I come across the latter I’m so grateful.  It really adds a dimension to a shoppe that otherwise they wouldn’t have.

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Speaking of dimensions, they literally had a 3-d display of their loose teas.  You don’t see that everyday.  Actually I’m not sure the last time I saw something similar.  I’m glad I got a picture.

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Per their recommendation, I went with their house special, their lemongrass ginger tea. And we knew it was coming, but pumpkin season has arrived.  Actually, if you noticed, it started somewhere back in mid-August.  So I capitulated under the pressure of seasonal forces, and went with the pumpkin spice.  Don’t get me wrong I love pumpkin but we should appreciate every season for what it is.

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I’ll first state that the presentation of my tea was masterful.  What a beautiful mug and plate.  Next, they had real pieces of ginger emanating from the tea.  Oh my and ginger!  I couldn’t resist, I picked a few pieces and ate them separate from my cup.

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The tea was everything I hoped it be.  I love lemongrass, I love ginger, and I loved everything about this cup.  That atmosphere helped.   The muffin was fine but a bit rich for my taste.  That’s more of a reflection of my taste than anything else.

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As you’ll see below, that tea was done but not as fast as I usually sip these things.  I really did feel like I was in mine or someone else’s living room.  It felt like old times.  But it also felt like new times.  I love relaxing at a pals’ house with a good cup of tea and some tasty snacks to complement our cup.  It makes the tea, the food, and most importantly, the whole experience better.

I’m also sentimental because my family has ties to this area.  My family used to run a business in this area, way before any of these new, and even longer-standing businesses had arrived.  So I always get this feeling when I’m here.  Depending on what part, it’s not always the best energy, but at Zed’s, it was all good and then some.

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If you’re in the vicinity or passing by, I would strongly suggest a visit.  It’s a home away from home.  And there’s no place like…

Stay ginger,

Ideen

 

 

 

Tuesday Jam Session

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The sweet tooth bug has really hit me these past couple of weeks.  I have no explanation why.  Maybe it’s the sunny weather (or lack thereof), or maybe it’s some inexplicable and something that doesn’t need to be made sense of.  There I go getting all deep on you again.

I believe the choice of tea for this week is only fitting.   Oh and there’s cake too.

Random circumstances brought me back to the Timonium/Towson area and the stars aligned for me to return to a now familiar stomping grounds, Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

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With past posts I’ve been critical of their stalwart tea, Eastern Shore Tea.

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One of the many pleasurable aspects of this thing is that I get to be random.  If I see a tea that catches my eye or even one that looks ominous, I’ll give it a whirl.  As I referenced earlier, my knack for something sweet has been permeating.  So with that resonating in my subconscious, I went with the Berry Jamboree Tea.

I’ve mentioned this before.  There is something missing with these teas. There’s been some quality ones don’t get me wrong.  But the oomph and the pizzazz is lacking.

For sure, I thought one bag would be enough.  The jammy elements of strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry should have made this black tea magnificent.  I wanted to feel cozy.  And with this horrific rain we’ve had all month, it would only be so fitting.  The irony was that it wasn’t and it was sunny.  Go figure.  Even two bags didn’t multiply the fruit.  If anything this cup plateaued.

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Regardless, this tea was good enough to drink but it needs a thing or two to put it over-the-top.  The touch of hibiscus was unbeknownst to me until I read the synopsis.

There may be something to be said about location.   Towson has a feel but not the shame charm I remember.  The store nestled in an office park should scream anonymity and a sense of a tight-knit community.  That might be there but I don’t see it like I used to. Maybe my energy level was not at its best on this day or in previous incarnation, but there’s something more.

The first visit or first experience is always the most unpredictable.  You have no expectations and no preconceived notions.  Well there’s exceptions but I think you know what I mean.  My original visit to the Timonium location was special.  But honestly I have no memory of when this was, what I ordered, or whether I was with anyone.   But it was special.  Some memories stay so private and internal, even with the person who created them.

Annapolis, on the other hand, has my heart.  And there’s that small town and community feel I yearn for and that I love.  Oh and there tea variety is a bit more expansive.   I just have to go back and report from there again.

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I love local and love supporting this company.  Even though this tea was only good, but not a masterpiece, will not deter me from trying some more.  Something tells me this will be revisited this summer.

For more on their teas or to purchase, click here.

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To sunnier days ahead,

Ideen

P.S. That lemon cake was delicioso!

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Lemon Aid

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There is a bit of planning that goes into these reviews but that doesn’t mean they remain in place.   I had several ideas about what to get into for today but those can wait.  None of them made sense for a myriad of reasons.  The season has yet to fully break and certain teas and tea-related contraptions don’t feel right to be recapped, at least not yet.  Their time is coming but not now.

With that being said, I didn’t panic or freak out.  I knew a place would find me. I say place because it just felt right to venture out of the comfort of my abode and seek out something inspiring.   And this brings me to Sidamo Coffee and Tea.

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A chance visit to to our nation’s capital and even more specifically, the revitalized H Street, brought me to this cozy and charming shoppe.

I just knew I was in for something special.

Now the place also says coffee so that’s their bread and butter.  Oh wait.  The venue only had about a half-dozen tables which is right up my alley. There was a gentleman grinding coffee beans on sight and what a sight to behold.   It felt as authentic as DC can get.  And if you know Washington, you understand why I say that.

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Behind the counter is a magnificent array of loose-leaf teas and since I’ve been on such a lemon kick lately I decided to go with King Tut Lemonade.  I had no idea what I signed up for and that’s what I love about this thing.

The lady behind the counter was on her own and demand was starting to accumulate. However, she still made my tea at a fastidious pace.  I had requested a large cup but had not realized I got the most amazing teapot and cup display.

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You see it posted at the top but this deserves multiples pictorials.   And she brought it to me.  I didn’t expect that.  It’s always the little things.  Notice how I’ve even yet to describe the tea.

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This tea really hit me where I needed it most.   The benefits of lemon have been documented greatly and a nice brewing pot of tea opens up other nooks and crannies of this spiritually healing fruit.

You’ll likely know it right away.  The main ingredient is lemon peel.   For sure I’ve had a plethora of cups that contained lemon peel integrated with other herbs and gems, but not like this.  The lemonade means something else entirely different and I’m grateful for that.

My stomach has had issues for a while and this is just what the doctor ordered.  It rejuvenated me from the onset.  If I could get more than four 4 cups from this, I would have taken double.  Can you have too much of a good thing?  In this scenario I’m not so sure.   I took my time savoring what I could.   And 30 minutes later I felt revitalized.

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That infuser teapot is a work of art, don’t you think?

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I really didn’t need anything to snack on but a fruit and nut bar was a proper sweet treat to counter the bitterness of this tea.  And I mean bitterness in the best way possible.  I loved it more than these words can articulate.

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I love figuring out the ingredient before reading up on it.  And I’m blessed to be from an Iranian heritage where lemon peels have been used in some dishes.   That is the main reason I knew it was the peel.  Even as distinct as a flavor is, a sentimental memory from the past makes the discovery all the more joyous.

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Life is something grand.   I had a sense that this place had a familiarity about it.  It wasn’t until I looked the place up that I recall visiting their second location in Fulton, MD.  That experience was left so much to be desired.  The barista or team-member could not be a more polar opposite than the DC location.  I’m not big on being too negative so I honestly never thought to write about that experience until now.  And I may get into full details another time but for now I give major love and thank you to Sidamo, and I look forward to doing it again.

To purchase King Tut Lemonade Tea, I have posted a couple of links here and here!

Stay healthy,

Ideen

 

 

Sweet Lemon

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Bigelow Tea really came through in a big way when they didn’t have to.

Two weeks ago I gave a negative review of their Lemon Lift Black Tea and they responded immediately to my post.

A fruitful and spirited discussion with Kathy, the Consumer Service Supervisor, ensued.   I was grateful that my post was read and responded to in kind.   The conversation was fantastic.  And they promised to send me a couple of teas and I just knew I had to review one of them.

Lemon Lift was sent to me, maybe for another review.  I will get to that again. But they went above and beyond to send me the I Love Lemon.  This is going to be the dichotomy of two weeks ago.  It’s a complete reversal of fortunes if you will.

The benefits of lemon are unlimited.  And this tea is an all encompassing melange of all that and then some.  I’ve had some minor health issues recently and tea has always been my vice, in this situation, or previously.  It could be the change in season, my sometimes questionable eating habits, or a lack of rest.  But a comforting tea, herbal or caffeinated, at least has been a temporary relief.

How about the clearness in my cup.  No residue or foam to be found.  This is intriguing per my previous post.

I Love Lemon is more than just a temporary relief.  It won me over instantly.   I’ll be honest here.  I’ve had this tea on more than one occasion.  Sadly I think it’s just been a cup in my repertoire like any other.  The more tea you have.  The more you might forget about some of the brands that hit a nerve.  Maybe I’ve just taken some of these for granted.

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Lemongrass and other lemon-like flavors merge together harmoniously.  And that lingering finish is permeating.  It’s on my tongue now and doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.   I don’t want it to.

The tannin level for me is high.  Just as the feeling may persist after a glass of wine, it resonates here.  This is fantastic.

Is it because Bigelow sent me a package that I’m fawning over this?  That’s a possibility. But good tea is good tea.  It’s one of the better ones I’ve had and reminds me why they’re such a great company.    My respect for them has grown exponentially.

Since their is a bitter taste to the tea, a more fruity and sweet treat is meant to join my cup.  So how about a raspberry danish?   This was the polarity and contrast I was looking for.  Maybe I wasn’t looking for it.  But it’s a winner.

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The positive energy that exuded from the letter and complimentary teas speaks volumes. I’m grateful for the opportunity.  I’m also grateful that they thought this much of me to send me a care package.    The letter I received is too good to share.  It’s one of those things I rather keep to myself and within the universe.

Bigelow Tea, until we chat again, thank you.

Love,

Ideen