Saturday Afternoon Tea Party

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This is not quite the go home post for summer and my (and perhaps yours) summer vacation.   We’re not seeing displays for autumn and the teas, snacks, and everything else that fits that mold.   But one thing at a time, and I’ve still got some sunshine and those happy things to talk about.

This is part two of what looks like another trilogy, that will either be completed next week or right before.

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When I fall in love with a place, I tend to overstay my welcome.  At least in my head I think so.  I’m sure any business appreciates repeats business, and the Infused Tea Company can have take all my money and all my patronage it wants.  And especially if it keeps the amazing teas and just as important, the amazing energy going.

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Last week I wrote about the night time scene in St. Pete, and how Infused Tea sits right in the heart of all the action, and all the atmosphere on Beach Drive.   Beach Drive and the charming streets nearby are just that, so charming.

Now my Saturday morning visit was self fulfilling and intentional.  I went for a run and I knew would stop over here, along with a few other places.  In what matter, in what route, or any other details would be presented to me as I drew closer.   Needless to say, I did get to visit some other shoppes, but I found a cozy, scenic, and spectacular view of Beach Drive.

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Even though the city is growing, there’s still plenty of parks, trees, green, and all the other good stuff that makes this planet great.  I felt so happy and felt as content as I’ve been in some time.

I said all this without actually talking about the tea, and pastry.  Yes, pastry!

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I’m going solely on memory and romanticism.  The Strawberry Pear which can be found in the Fruit Blends category, is an all year tea, heated or iced.  The strawberry and pear is a beautiful blend of summer fruits.  I love pear and don’t have enough of it in general. The apple makes it perfect for the fall.  But in St. Pete, in Florida, this is fortunately a tea you can have year round, hot or iced.   As someone who can appreciate the changing of the seasons here in Maryland, I can also appreciate having a consistently warm temperature that allows you to eat and drink the same (or different) meals without having to adapt to much to the change in temperature.   But to each is own!

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This was another awesome tea.  And being in a place of peace and harmony only made this that much better.   There were lots of people walking, running, and cycling in the area.  And many stopped over to enjoy some tea and hang out with their friends.  It doesn’t get any better than that.    The cyclists in particular had quite a large crew, and made me think about wanting to join a club like this.   Ah this is so fun.

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I’m recalling so many cool things, details, and experiences within this hour plus span, that I nearly forgot if I hadn’t written this out.  And surely more things will come to mind, but some things are best to remain with me, with you, and within this thing called life that we can recall later and hopefully smile.

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This was one of those uniquely positive experiences that words are not going to do justice.  This was a different Saturday morning for me than I’m used to.  Well of course, its vacation.  I’m sure that magnified the intensity of what I was thinking and feeling, but I always want to think something bigger and magical is going on here.

I like that.

For my running history of this most inspirational of tea scenes in Florida and St. Pete, they’re all here.

As always, for more on Infused Tea, here is their story, their location if you’re local and/or visiting, and a link to purchase to purchase all their awesome teas online.

One more story in this trilogy is coming.   This will either be next week, or maybe even sooner.

Take good care.

Ideen

Friday Night Tea Party

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I think I said last week (and throughout the past few months) that my admiration for the tea scene on the Gulf Coast of Florida (my growing fondness can be found here and here) can not be expressed enough in words, in thoughts, and in anything else.  It’s a time of my life I will always remember, and will find it hard to forget.  I will always appreciate this five days of my life that has brought on a lifetime of memories, and a lifetime of joy.

And yes, it all revolves around tea.

Friday Night means different things to a lot of people.  For some it’s a night of rest before getting ready for a fun weekend of doing fun things, for some it’s happy hour. a night out, and in this instance it was one of the great tea drinking experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

It was my first time going with my friend to Downtown St. Petersburg.   Now St. Pete has a lot of charming places to check out, away from the small but growing downtown area. And after a couple of days me and my friend made the short and scenically awesome trek to Beach Drive.

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The intent was to check out a nice bar or two, or three, if you catch what I’m saying. Maybe a glass of wine, or a nice dinner.  I think my indecisive, restless, and adventurous spirit was thinking something else more organic on this night.

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After doing a lap or two, my eyes were wide open and my excitement hit a whole different level when we discovered the Infused Tea Company.  This place made me so happy.

If I recall correctly, we made it with minutes to spare.  At this point I’m thinking it’s nearly 9 pm.  But I had enough time to take pictures, smell some loose teas, and appreciate all the teas, pots, kettles, infusers, pastries, and everything else I could absorb and revel in these few moments.

I want to thank our teaologist, Ang, for being so kind of patient with us.   I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for in terms of a tea.   In mid-June I was actually contemplating something warm.  What on Earth was I thinking?  It wouldn’t have been the worst thing. I would just have to have saved this post for later in the year.   But time is of the essence, as it was on this night.

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Ang, per his suggestion mixed the Mango Tango and the Tahitian Dream for me, to make the most exquisite, refreshing, and enlightening blend of flavors, inspiration, and soul in this gem of an iced tea.   My friend agreed, the universe agreed, as did I.  Two thumbs up, five stars, and all the other superlatives you can throw at it.  Honestly, the tea could have been mediocre and probably would have tasted much better simply because of the service, the decor, the positive energy, and simply being a harmonious place I hadn’t experienced before.

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The Mango Tango with its pineapple, mango, and orange pieces are perfect not just for the Summer but I believe any time of year.  And in Florida, all the time is an understatement.  The Tahitian Dream adds not only more pineapple, but passion fruit, and strawberry as well.  Does it get any better?  Maybe, but not on this night.

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This is why I made two more visits to this amazing place during the course of my holiday. And if time allows, I will get to them in the following two weeks, or in a rare instance I may break tradition and post them on different days.  I’m preparing for the changing of the seasons while still wanting to honor how amazing all three experience were.  I’m so happy just thinking and writing about it.

This was at night, the day experiences are a surreal enjoyment all its own.

And I look forward to sharing those fun times with you soon.  But I can’t stress this enough, this was amazing, and I’m grateful I got to share with a close friend.  And I fondly remember my friend was happy for me as well.

For more on Infused Tea Company, here is their story. and their location for those close to the area, or will be visiting.

The good news is you can order their fantastic teas and accessories online.  Many of those accessories are displayed in this post.

I could go on all day, or I could just go on to the next post.   How about both?

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To be continued…

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Peace Be With You,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

Tea, Art, Happiness…

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I think my visit to St. Petersburg, FL came at the most perfect time.

The amount of items I could write about is going to be endless.   And I will be spacing them out.  Last week it was Tampa, this week and for the foreseeable future it’s going to be St. Pete and all St. Pete.  No not every week but sporadically through the summer I’m going to expound upon how incredible the tea culture is here.  And incredible might be an understatement.

I found tea places, I stumbled upon tea places, tea shoppes found me, and my reaction to a few were that of a kid in a candy store.  Yes it’s these little things (that are the big things) that give me natural and spiritual highs that words may not always do justice. I’ve made that proclamation before but I stand by that.  Sometimes words an pictures aren’t enough.  Memories are for us and all we can do is our best to share them in our own harmonious and sentimental way.

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With that one of my first stops in St. Pete was Pom Pom’s Teahouse.

I know, how awesome is that name?

And just as awesome is the place.  Everything about is, was, or whatever you want to call it a constant reminder of why this town is beautiful.  And why it now has my heart.

When I first arrived in town my friend guided me through St. Pete and I noticed so many amazing looking shops, restaurants, businesses, and everything else in between that makes this place (that’s on the rise) already look like it’s there (in a good way) and I wouldn’t want anything about it to change.  I probably put this paragraph in the wrong part of the post.  It’s as if I put the finish or the crescendo here, before I’ve even gotten into the tea and this incredible salad that I ordered.

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So let me get to that and see if I can come up with another finish with some big words that will enhance this experience that doesn’t need any more enhancing but deserves all the praise in the world.

Ok…

So I was there on a weekday afternoon, presumably on the tail end of the lunch rush.  If there is a lunch rush here it doesn’t mirror other major cities, and I found that so refreshing.  It was a mix of students, police officers, office workers, tourists, and overall a lot of people that seemed genuinely happy to be there.

I was happy to be there.

There was so much art adorning the walls, which is a point that Pom Pom’s wants to promote.  They’re all about local art, and creating and promoting art is one of the greatest things in this world and in this universe.

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After taking so many pictures of the inside, I requested to my friendly server, Brett, if I could sit outdoors.   He kindly obliged.  I was surprised that I was the only one out there. But how could I complain?  I was the only person on Earth for about an hour, or at least in that moment.

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I made a new friend outside, as you can see.  I felt as if he could read my mind.  And maybe he could.  I think he was saying everything is great, everything is going to be fine, and you’re on vacation, enjoy yourself.

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And I did…

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My meal comprised of a Kiwi Pear Iced Tea and their Seasonal Berry Salad, which may have been one of the best things I’ve eaten, not only on my holiday, but in a long while.  It almost looked too pretty to eat.   But those berries were heavenly.    I almost forgot there were almonds and peanuts in the salad.  It was that great.  The goat cheese and onions made for a simple yet artistic looking salad.  This really was a masterpiece.

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Those berries were something out of a smoothie or freshly made ice cream.  And on a gorgeous day in Florida, what could be better.

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The tea was the understated, yet still elegant part of my meal.  It was light and on this day this was a welcome treat versus something a little too sweet, since the berries were sweet enough.   I did wish I could taste a little more kiwi and pear, but really no complaints from me whatsoever.

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Brett, who like many of my friends I got to visit, is a transplant from Maryland.  I can see the appeal.  I can see why so many people like the mellow vibe and harmonious ways of being in beautiful St. Petersburg.

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More posts are coming and if they can match this experience than I’ve already succeeded.  My time at Pom Pom’s was one of joy, of peace, and of art.  Yes I did take many pictures but then I just sat, relaxed, and started off into the distance.

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I might have been there an hour, two hours, or somewhere that time can’t measure.  But this one hit my heart in a different way than many other tea and dining experiences. And I want to believe it was more than just being away from home, being somewhere else, and being one with the universe.  Well the latter part is great.  But I hope you know what I mean.

This was beautiful.

If you’re in the vicinity, or are a local and have never visited, I can’t recommend this place enough.

Here is more about them, their menu, the art, the buzz, directions, and their contact information.

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When I’m back in the area, and I will be back, how do I follow-up?  It may not be the identical experience, but I sense it will be spectacular, and will tell a different story of what makes Pom Pom’s and this town special to me and special to so many.

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Thank you so much.

Ideen

 

A Tea for the Spring & Summer

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I was told that the Peach Turmeric Tea from The Spice & Tea Exchange will only last a few weeks.  And if captain obvious is showing you that along with the tea I reviewed last week, the Wild Berry Spring, these are both in the Limited Time Offer section all to the themselves.

My question would be after this limited time offer ends, where would the extra tea go?  I think I answered my own question. At least for the Peach, it doesn’t have a chance.  And I mean that in a good way.   I would not be surprised if this tea is near the end of supply or getting close.   This is up there with some of the best tea I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a lot of teas but I haven’t had them all.  Nor will I ever.  But at least for this moment, and it might be a temporary or short burst of feeling, this is up there with the classics.

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Where the Wild Berry is fantastic, the Peach is just in class of its own.  I love both but I think I love the Peach just a little bit more.  I can see others loving the Berry more.

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Turmeric is something that has been a a part of my life and my family going back as far as I can remember.  Yesterday, was the first day of Spring which also mean the first day of Iranian New Year.  And Turmeric has been used in traditional Iranian and Middle Eastern dishes for many a lifetime.  No, this wasn’t planned.  But I’m so happy I can incorporate Iranian New Year into this post.

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But this tea has so many joys of not just the spring, but the summer as well.   When I first got my first smell of the tea at the Rehoboth Beach store, I just knew this was going to be special.   Yet with this blog, I knew there would be a little bit of a wait.  And boy it was worth the wait.

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Yet a tea like this needs a beautiful presentation.  Maybe not quite like last week but another cup and infuser was in order.

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Leave it to me to split my purchases with Rehoboth (the teas) and Ocean City (everything else), when I could have done it all in one place, or even online.

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I spotted some fancy cups and thought a lighter blue would be more fitting.  I’ve done so many variations of greens that something else was necessary.  But I need more.  I needed a proper infuser for this occasion.  Leave it to Fred and Friends, and my new friend the ManaTea.  Yes it’s a silicone tea infuser and he looks so friendly.  No, not creepy.  I said friendly! Yes!

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But after looking at him I can understand why one might get freaked out.  It looks like he keeps staring at you, similar to a creepy stuffed animal or some dopey looking person on a billboard.  But enough, how was this tea I keep heaping praise on?

The smells matched how it was after brewing.  I only had to place a little in the infuser since I was steeping it in such a tiny cup.  I placed less than a teaspoon and it worked to perfection.   The peaches, honey, coconut, and Rooibos really shine through to make this the perfect tea for the spring and the summer.   This can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Some sweet spring and holiday themed treats pair wonderfully with the tea itself, the cup and the season.  And that color and shine on that tea is magnificent.

Speaking of  cold, I realized I had a little left after a few hours and naturally got to savor this tea chilled.  It was beautiful.  Everything about this was beautiful.   In hindsight I wish I bought more and I may do just that.

Since I have a relatively small bag of this and the berry, I will appreciating and savoring every moment I can with these teas.  For a limited time really means just that.

And onto the subject of limited time.  That’s what spring (and much of life in general) feels like.  It comes and it goes.  So on this second day of spring my goal once again is to appreciate every moment.  It would safe to assume many of you want to do the same.  We don’t have to document or blog every moment (though that helps for yours truly) but to create and imprint new Spring memories is what life is all about.

Spring is a time of rebirth, a revitalization, a time of hope, joy, peace, love, and everything positive synonym and superlative you can think of.  I said Summer earlier and we do love Summer.  But one day at a time.

Yes this is a tea for both seasons.   If you only could get one of the two teas I’ve written about, I would go with the Peach Turmeric.  But that’s just me.

Here’s the list of Spice and Tea Exchange’s locations and their online store.  I have only had good experiences with them.

I want to thank Yanna at the Rehoboth Beach shoppe for giving me a discount on my teas (which went above and beyond) because of my blog.  And thank you to Tiffany at the Ocean City store for help on my new infuser, glass, and getting me essentially another tea for free.  Which I hope to get to down the line.

A limited time on teas, a limited time on this earth, means an unlimited amount of time to enjoy tea, enjoy each other, and enjoy life.  That’s the point of all this.

If it works out for next week, I will hopefully write about an Iranian tea like I did last year to celebrate New Years.

Nevertheless Happy First Day of Spring, Happy Spring, Happy New Year, and Happy Everything.

Ideen

The Stuff That Lifts You Up

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When you find a tea that makes you feel good, or for the season we’re in, makes you feel better, it’s one of the great joys of this life.

Tea will be a lifelong learning process for me, so I won’t know everything right away.  Nor would I want to.  But my disappointment does come from never hearing about Traditional Medicinals until just a little over a year ago.

The Seasonal Sampler photographed above, was a Christmas present during the holidays in 2013.   What became a discovery has now become one of my favorite brands of teas.    The charming label certainly helps.

The sample package consists of Gypsy Cold Care, Echinacea Plus, Throat Coat, and Breathe Easy.  Now the names are pretty self explanatory and the intended results are obvious.  Echinacea enhances the entire system, so it’s basically a combination of what all the other teas intended, and then some. At least that’s my interpretation.

All four teas I have enjoyed immensely.    And I am glad that my indoctrination process came from the sample package.

As I go along, in future posts,  I will hopefully review all the teas in the Sample Package.  Perhaps I will do a couple at a time.

Tonight I enjoyed the Breathe Easy.   The licorice root and eucalyptus is detected right off the bat, and gives it a distinct bitter type of taste.  And I love it.  I actually went against my habit of adding nothing to my beverages, but per the package suggestion, I added a little honey.  It’s the perfect contrast to the taste of the tea itself.   I see that fennel is listed as an ingredient.  Either I don’t taste it or I have no idea what fennel tastes life.   I concede it’s more of the latter.

How good does this look?

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I have had issues with breathing and my respiratory system for a while, and the cold weather only enhances that.  It’s a combination of stress, poor eating habits (especially during the holidays), my environment, and other things I do to myself. This herbal tea, and others like it, have brought upon major improvements to my health.   Of course a lot of this comes from within. You could call it a placebo, but I feel so much better after just one cup.    And I feel great writing about it.

I was happy to read that this company just celebrated their 40th birthday.  I am just perplexed it took me this so long to find out about them.  Oh well, all the more important to play catch up.   Of course this journey of loving tea is a marathon and not a race.    And how about their awesome mission statement?

Traditional Medicinals is a brand I am happy to support and will be excited to learn more about. And share my thoughts of their teas and their message in future posts.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen