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

I Love Trader Joe’s

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A couple of things.  If I try too hard to come up with a creative title, it’ll likely end up feeling forced, inauthentic, and insincere.  And that has happened.  So I kept it simple. Because I love Trader Joe’s.  It has my heart and its had it for years.

So when I look back at my past posts and realize I’ve gone over six months (so nothing in the Spring up to now) without writing about them, it’s been long overdue.

What’s also been going on is like you, like me, like everyone, we get busy.   The places we love to go to, the things we want to do, and the people we want to see become a bit more challenging because life happens, it goes on, and new interests, new places, new things, and new friends emerge.

But a friend like Trader Joe’s you never want to take for granted.  It’s been there for me in the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, and all the good stuff in between and peripherally.

I’ve been back several times recently to do some shopping of course, seek inspiration for future posts, and to soak in all the good vibes.  Because it’s always been about the good vibrations.

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You know what always draws people in?  Free samples.  And TJ’s is always so generous with a charming sample of foods, coffee, tea, and a tea lemonade.   This is what introduced me to their Organic Tea & Lemonade.  And with its ever-so-charming golf inspired label, how can you not be drawn to it?

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The reasons for the golf design are fairly obvious.  But even if you or I wasn’t aware, the art is still mesmerizing.  And you got some nifty golf terms on the back to impress some people with.  It’s all new to me!

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And how was the drink?  I mean it’s not going to set the world on fire.  But that’s just a personal opinion.  It’s a refreshing, filling, yet light summertime and anytime beverage.  I wanted to go this in town while its still Summer because it only makes sense.  But as long as you’re going golfing, or just enjoying life in general, this is as good as beverage as any.

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This is premature, and a bit sad in a way, but it may have been too soon for the Five Seed Almond Bars to be paired with this beverage, or any.  If you read the ingredients this will make sense.  I know to some that’s exciting, but to me its bittersweet in a way.  I love Summer, and wish it could go on forever.

As a bonus, I also discovered the Organic Green Tea Lemonade, not on any special display, but hidden in plain sight with a whole bunch of other tea and tea inspired beverages, that I hope to get to periodically.   I keep thinking that I”ll run out of idea and things to talk about when it comes to this store, but I should never doubt.

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I think I liked the Green Tea Lemonade even better.  Simply for the fact that it’s more my speed.  It’s not as sweet as the aforementioned Tea/Lemonade, and it had that genuine green tea taste that we’ve all grown to love.  Mix that in with a lighter (at least to me) tasting lemonade, you’ve got a winning combination.  No, not the most creative of labels, but this is why you should never judge anything by its over…

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…well unless you judge the Honey Butter Potato Chips, because they look even and taste even better than its portrayal on the bag.  What a perfect complement to a beverage that I think is even more custom made for all seasons versus the Tea Lemonade.

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Nevertheless, both drinks are only $3.00 for these 64 oz. bottles, so you’re not risking much for such a great reward.  The chips were only $2, and the almond bars were about $5-6.

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Ah this is so exciting. Oh how I’ve missed you and missed writing about you Trader Joe’s.

To find a store near you, click here.

Drinks like this, posts like this, and visits to one of my favorite grocery stores is always a treat and can be invigorating.   More is always coming and who knows what the future holds.   Who knows what next week holds, who knows what tomorrow holds.

More to come.

Thanks so much.

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

 

Peach on the Beach

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We are days from Memorial Day and the holiday weekend here in the US of A.  How did we get here so quickly?  Well that’s life.  We’re busy and encompassed with so many things that while we may wish for holidays, we’re also so occupied with life and activities and everything else that days and events just creep up on you.

Here we go.  It’s the end of May and it’s time to celebrate.  It’s always time to celebrate. The party continues.  And of course that means the tea drinking party continues.

What better way to get this week and upcoming weekend going than a fateful stop to one of the great towns in Maryland and all of the United States, Annapolis, MD.

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The state capital has been so good to me and so good to this blog (here is a refresher), and so has The Spice & Tea Exchange.

Here is my cherished history of stories about this amazing company.

So I’m so fortunate to have ended up in Annapolis this week.  I always believe that nothing is by chance, and just as I was all set to have something else written up for this week, I find myself (or they found me) at their beautiful location on Main Street, which is centrally located to everything exciting in downtown Naptown.

I want to thank Gaby, the manager, for helping me find the correct teas for the season, the time of year, and for the story I’m telling.

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I will never try all their teas.  It just won’t happen.  Actually who knows, but their collection is so colossal that it’s just meant to be that there will always be a journey with this group, and not a conclusion.  I love that so much.

What makes them so sun is they always break out a few season and limited edition items at various times throughout the year.  Some I’ve presented to you over the past couple of years.

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This week I present to you the first of two of their limited time teas, the Peach on the Beach.  And it’s a grower for many reasons.  It smells absolutely incredible.

I think I’m going to like this even more as the weather heats up.  As of the day I brewed this, the skies were grey, the weather was lukewarm, and it wasn’t conducive to fully appreciating all that this tea has to offer.

 

Everyone’s palates and taste buds are different but I didn’t get all the peach and mango I was hoping for.  But after analyzing and preparing this tea hot and cold (yes both!), I understand.  It’s a black tea first and foremost, and I genuinely love that fact.  Black tea is what made me first get into tea before anything else.   This reminds me of teas I had growing up, sharing with my dad, members of my family, and now often with dear friends.

I fully think this is going to taste even better when shared with friends, shared with good times, shared with appropriate snacks (which isn’t necessary), and I fully think shared with sunny skies and glorious conditions.

Mine was sipped in solitude under murky skies and not the most ideal of spring or summer weather.

However, tell to that to my newest friend and newest tea infuser, Mr. Tea.  Yes, Mr. Tea from Fred & Friends, is also available through the Spice & Tea website or at all of their stores.

Mr. Tea is more than ready for the Summer, so he (I think?) might be making another appearance or two in the coming months if it feels right.  Which I know it will.

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So I said I also made it iced.   And not to be outdone by our beach bud Mr. Tea is another infuser and friend I made a couple of months back, ManaTEA.

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The ManaTEA is the perfect complement to any tea and infusing party, that I’m so grateful he decided to join us for this pre Memorial Day celebration.

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I want to add I used filtered water for both cups/glasses, and used plenty of ice for the iced tea.  Well yeah that would make sense.

Once again, I think under better days from the universe this is going to be incredible.  It was really good here but the atmosphere and the sky was not my friend on this day. Actually I shouldn’t say that.  This was how it was supposed to be.  It creates a different perspective for now and once the skies are perpetually picturesque, it’s going to make drinking this tea again all the more satisfying.

So what I did was add a little dash of Rose Sugar.  I don’t see it listed in their iconic list of sugars on the website, so maybe it’s exclusive to in store. Yes, for purchasing three tea packets you get a free bag of sugar.  I saw the Rose and didn’t look anywhere else.  Actually I did but the Rose stood out.  Just the color of the Rose petals and sugar looks like the most beautiful sand on the beach.

I love that this happened.  None of this was planned but it seemed pre-destined or pre-ordained.

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A little bit, and then a little more was added and it did add something to the tea.  I think the teas are perfect on their own but this was the perfect sweet kick to put this tea on another level of joy and inspiration.

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Speaking of inspiration, this company has been so great to me.  I’m a huge supporter of them and they have been supporters of this blog.  All I can hope is that I’m giving these teas their proper due.  Next week will continue with the Tiki Punch Herbal Tea.  Yes you read that right.  It smells amazing, I can only imagine what else it has to offer.

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Here is a list of the Spice & Tea’s Exchange locations, their link to shop online, and their contact information.

I wish you all a Happy Memorial Day Weekend.  Be safe, have fun, drink lots of tea, and then drink some more, tea that is.

Blessed,

Ideen

 

May Is Beautiful

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We got here quick didn’t we?  It’s gonna be Summer soon.  And for man the month of May signifies this.   I’m good with that.  But I’m also good with appreciating each day and time of year for what it is.   I love this month so much.  The outdoor events have already been making their triumphant returns but this is the month where it becomes a weekly, and sometimes daily thing.  I also hope that means plenty of outdoor tea drinking, hot and cold.

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The one I’m going to discuss today, can be drank either way.   I’m assuming as such.

There are many teas I try that I never get a chance to write about.  Either that, or they are stored in my memory bank, with a new note taken, for future use.   The Pink Lemonade Herbal Tea from Eastern Shore Tea Company, which can be found at Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company (hope that doesn’t confuse you), is a gem to drink, a joy to watch steep, and a tea I thin even the non-tea drinkers would appreciate.

And the funny thing is this particular experience took place late last fall, but I wanted to wait for this time, this moment, and this part of the season to share it with you.

The setting was their Annapolis location.  I’ve mentioned in the past how much I love our state capital,  And even though their location is away from the heart of Downtown Annapolis, it still has its own aura and charm that always feel good and omnipresent when I visit.

And even though it was months ago I still think about this tea.  Yeah it was that good.  No, it’s nowhere near the best tea I, or most tea drinks, will ever have.  But there’s something about it.  It has a universal appeal.  If you’re not a tea drinker,  you may find this enjoyable anyways, especially in the warmer months.  This will be perfect for any outdoor party, cookout, birthday, or any other event of celebration.  And there will be much to celebrate.

I wish I had the opportunity to try this iced, but in a tea shoppe, they gave me some hot water (which I assume I asked for) and I just steeped a bag.  And even that color will remind you of that perfect seasonal drink.  It radiates.

Lemongrass and hibiscus flowers are the ingredients.  You probably wouldn’t know it unless you looked at the label.  It’s a naturally created pink lemonade that’s better than your fountain soda, or your artificially enhanced flavored drink on your grocers shelf.

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When I look back at the picture above I’m reminded of the fact that I almost didn’t sip this tea.  I almost didn’t sip a lot of teas.  This also means that there’s still teas in this display and others that have seen been created, that I must and will get to sample.

That’s the charm of their stores.  You may have a tea in mind off the bat but another one is just waiting for you to try.  And that’s how I got to try the Pink Lemonade for the first, and what is still my only time.  It was beautiful in so many ways.   And the atmosphere is throwing down a gauntlet.  Which one should I try next?

I forgot I had a sandwich with my tea.  I do recall these beautiful flowers though.  So while this was all taking place in autumn, it was a charming preview of where we are now.    Time is accelerating my friends so whenever there is a chance to stop and appreciate the beauty of nature and life around us, we should do just that.   I would say this tea is in that conversation.  It’s been months but I’m salivating for another cup right now.

Here are some links if you’re interested in purchasing this or any of their teas.  You can order online or stop by one of their stores if you’re in or visiting Maryland sometime soon.   They do list a phone number as well.  Yes some places still take phone orders!

And here’s a few of my past posts related to Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

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Say the opportunity presents itself, and I do pour myself a glass of this (yes we’re talking iced) and it works out, I will do a follow-up to this post.   But for now, I will feel nostalgic over a moment that may have been trivial at the time, but is now charming and endearing memory to me.  Even if it is just tea, it’s those little things that make me happy.

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I promise you this tea will make you happy.

Happy May to you!

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