Tiki Tuesdee

Spice&TeaTikiDisplay3

As of this posting Memorial Day has passed.  I know I know.  Time just keeps on chugging along and fortunately it’s the unofficial start of Summer.   It’s always about enjoying life, enjoying the things that mean the most to us, and of course the teas that are symbolic of the season.

Spice&TeaTovoloPig

Last week I promised to do another two part celebration of the exclusive summer teas from the Spice & Tea Exchange.

If I sound like I have a bias towards them (in a good way) than you’re probably right. Ever since the first time I was introduced to them by one of my best friends, and I first saw those charming miniature sized packets that they came in, I immediately became a fan.   Just how they are, how they promote tea, and how they promote all of their products is a blueprint that I feel many should follow.

TikiTea

This brings us to their other limited edition selection, the Tiki Punch Herbal Tea.

This one is another winner.  But this also turned into a bit of a challenge.  And I only have myself to either blame or to learn for the future.

Spice&TeaTikiNotes

Spice&TeaTikiBag

When the synopsis says steeping time of seven minutes take that very seriously.  Because when it came to the iced tea version of this, it didn’t even come close to the pictures you see here.

Spice&TeaTikiDisplay2

After multiple attempts with different infusers the best I could get was more of a yellowish to orange tint.  This is more about my challenges than anything about the tea itself.  Maybe it was how I packed it, maybe it was the universe telling me it wasn’t time (I think it was time), or maybe it was just me.

Maybe I got too excited.  Then I got a bit nervous.  I even broke out another infuser.

Just in time for the party I broke out my new piggy friend from Tovolo, which is also available on the Spice & Tea site and all their stores, is now a new trusted ally and confidant when it comes to infusing.

Spie&TeaTiki1

The hot tea was easy.  I took my time steeping it and the reddish hue was easily visible without any thoughts of what was to come.  The flavors of apple, papaya, coconut, blueberries, mango, among all the others may not be detected at once.  But with various sips you’re going to get the feeling of the islands, the tropics, the beach, summer, and all the stuff that will literally warm your heart.

Spice&TeaTikiUpClose

Spice&TeaTikiDisplay3

Herbal tea is a friend to begin with and this specific tea is now one I consider a close friend.

Spice&TeaTikiIced

The iced version is truly the way to go.  Like the warmed up version, you get those beautiful summer flavors but you even get more.

Spice&TeaTikiDisplay4

It’s sweet enough that you may discover more of those enticing fruits that may not be found when steeped and toasted via a kettle.  But it’s not that sweet that you might be put off by.

Spice&TeaTikiDisplay5

I could see teas like this really going off the rails and never having a chance from the get go.  This tea is setting highs marks for these Tiki and tropic themed teas that I’ve been told are becoming quite the trend.  I’m all for trying more of these as the Summer continues.

Spice&TeaTikiPig

But lets slow it down.  It’s time to sip, savor, and appreciate all the good that this season, or any season for that matter brings, and feel grateful for where we are.

I have a great feeling about this Summer.  Not in a forced or disingenuous way, but in one of hope, spirit, and a belief that lots of good is coming on top of the good that has already been presented to us.

Spice&TeaTikiIced

What makes me laugh is during the multiple times I tried to get a beautiful looking iced tea over this holiday weekend, it was always cloudy.  As soon as I walked away and chose to town my situation, it became sunny, beautiful, and gorgeous.   These are the things I laugh at.  That’s the universe telling me that it wasn’t my time just yet.

This is also a reminder in discipline and truly respecting the steeping time.  It’s about enjoying the entire process from start to finish.

I’m all about enjoying Summer from the start.

Get the Tiki Punch while you can. It’s incredible.    And the get the Peach On The Beach I wrote about last week.

Of course everything can be purchased online as well as in their beautiful shoppes.

Thanks to my friends at the Annapolis location for two weeks worth of masterpiece like teas.

I hope your Memorial Day Weekend was a good one and I wish you a happy, safe, and blessed Summer.

Best,

Ideen

 

 

 

Peach on the Beach

Spice&TeaAnnapolisPeachTea5

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.

Spice&TeaAnnapolisFront

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.

Spice&TeaSummerTeas

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.

Spice&TeaAnnapolisPeachBeach

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.

Mr.TeaPeach

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.

PeachTeaIced

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.

Spice&TeaAnnapolisTeas

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.

Spice&TeaAnnapolisTeas4

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.

Spice&TeaAll

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.

Spice&TeaLocations2

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

 

Something Sacred

SacredKitchenMeal2

In the midst of all the tea posts I have pending, many to fall by the wayside.  Others have an expiration date or statue of limitations that would make no sense to see the light of day.  Maybe I’ll explain that another time, or maybe give you an example in the future. But then there’s others that I feel are so personal and so inspiring that either it’s a memory I want to retain just for me and the amazing people I shared it with (and in many instances I was alone), and then there’s growing businesses and the fantastic people behind it that you feel a personal responsibility to share it with as many people as possible.

Back in October I was at one of the many festivals that makes Baltimore so unique and so special.  And at many of these events I keep in the back of my mind about something I could write about in the future.  Little did I know that I would discover one of those incredible food and tea combinations I’ve ever had.  And this pairing is always going to be at the top of my list.

I wanted to give a huge thank you and hello to The Sacred Kitchen.

At many a festival food trucks and the usual food stands are all too commonplace.  The options for something different have become lost in the shuffle. What’s different now is basic meals and what’s become the norm is sometimes businesses being too cute for their own good.

And then there’s The Sacred Kitchen.

On this one day I just couldn’t make up my mind on what to eat.  I wanted something healthy, something that wouldn’t blow me up, and something out of the regular options.

These guys came through without having too try to hard.  And their booth was so much more welcoming and approachable than just about anything I’ve come across in a while.

Their mobile vegan operation is one that I’m fortunate to have discovered in the early stages of this growing venture.

I got the pleasure to meet the owners Harpreet and Kelly, and we were chatting like we had known each other for years.

But wait just a minute.  What does this have to do with tea?  Look at the menu below.

SacredKitchenMenu

It took me a second to figure out what this Blueberry Tulsi Mauby Tea is.  I’ll tell you what and I’ll be honest, I still don’t know.  What I do know is this was so refreshing, so enlightening, and such a healing drink.  I can’t tell you why exactly.  Part of is for me to appreciate but part of it I truly think doesn’t need to be explained.

SacredKitchenMeal4

Meeting the great souls who made this tea and having this for the first time instantaneously is one of those truly remarkable things that I appreciate just for what it is. Nothing more and nothing less.  Well hopefully more.  I’m craving a cup right now.

SacredKitchenMeal3

You might be asking what this visually pleasing plate of food is.  That would be the Armitsari Chole made of garbanzo beans and spices, that yes, do uplift the senses and the soul.    Throw in some Punjabi Puri Bread and this is one of those life-changing meals that will well, change your life.

This entire experience raised my spirits.   Why it took me nearly five months to write about this is something I can’t explain, other than this is the time that it was supposed to happen, and…

SacredKitchenMeal5

Spring is approaching and that means more festivals, more events, more parties, and hopefully more opportunities to try amazing tea and food like this.

I need to get myself to the Kent Island Farmers’ Market on a Thursday at the very least.  If you’re anywhere close by, I would highly recommend you do the same.

If you’re interested in having them cater your event or be a part of your party or festival, you can contact them here or email them at sacredkitchencatering@gmail.com.

When and when the opportunity presents itself I hope I get to share another amazing tea and food experience with these genuine and down-to-earth souls again.

SacredKitchenMeal2

Everything about this was beautiful.

Ideen

Cup of Cheers

tjcinnamon1

Well we caved.  After last weeks post I thought I would slowly work my way to Thanksgiving… Yes, I’m not going to throw myself under the bus alone.  Me and some close friends have fully embraced the holidays much sooner than we’re supposed to.  But what the rationale is a case-by-case thing isn’t it?   And wait just a minute is that at Christmas tree you see above?  Uh…

Just when you think Trader Joe’s can’t top itself, it brings another in its rich tradition of amazing teas to the holiday party.  Wait, who’s having a party?   I love a good holiday shindig.  So this is a review of the first official party of this 2016 Thanksgiving and yes, the Christmas season.  Merry Merry.

tjvanillacinnamontea

The Vanilla & Cinnamon Black Tea is a joy on so many levels.  It’s been around for a few years, but I suppose I was only meant to try it now.  And that means I’m late to another party.  This is one I’m not happy I’m fashionably late for, but better than the alternative.

tjcinnamon5

I’m a sucker for animals.  And look at this happy lemur enjoying life while holding a hot cup of one can only hope is a tea that humans and lemur’s alike can both enjoy.  I’m happy to report that my pals and I enjoyed this so much.  And at $1.99 this is a bargain beyond belief.

tjcinnamon2

And there’s no need to dissect everything included because it’s simply black tea, cinnamon, and vanilla flavoring.   I love the cinnamon and that’s what sticks out the most. The health benefits of cinnamon are widely known and it makes this experience all the more merrier.  Yes. merrier.  I love the feeling of drinking healthy tea with even healthier spices thrown into the mix.  What’s not to love?  Hey, is that another animal friend below? Yay!

 

 

As a bonus, we had some horrific holiday movies already showing on one of those channels.  You know, it’s one of those networks that starts showing them at least two months in advance.  I saw them in passing a week or so ago and didn’t want to get sucked in.  It didn’t happen then but it happen yesterday.  Bad movies are even better (or worse) with good company.

marylanddisplay

The weekend that just preceded and included this party was one for the books.

tjthanksgivingdisplay

I found myself in Annapolis for most of it, surrounded by good people and good circumstances.  The weather was glorious, the people were just the same, and the events we and (sometimes hrmyself in solitude) found ourselves attracting was as organic as it’s going to be.  And that’s what the holidays should be about too.

One of those events was the First Sunday Arts Festival, which had the most beautiful small town setting with vendors, arts, crafts, live music, wine and food tastings, demos, and anything else you could think of.  It was something I wish I could keep internally and not necessarily  share with with the world.  But’s a memory worth embracing with everyone included and something to make me feel warm inside.

And my friend let me use a teacup that’s only fitting for the occasion and for the weekend that was near its conclusion.

This festival may be revisited again when it comes to tea.  So there is a point to all this. There’s always a point to everything.  And it call connects.

I had to purchase something on my way out of the festival to support local business.  And the very last both was this very kind soul at Twinkle Candle Company.  Their aromatically awesome, ‘Autumn Fairy’, candle worked well with everything going on with this set-up. For those in the area, their seasonal selection of candles can be found at Local By Design.

localbydesign

I went on quite the holiday tangent and I suspect it’ll be like this for a while.  Looks like the Annapolis Tea Party will continue next week.

See yas then!

Ideen

A Glorious Day

wightteadisplay1

Leave it to the Fells Point Fun Festival to bring another magical moment and post to my blog. After last year, I didn’t expect to write about anything for 2016.  And not in any negative away, I just didn’t have any expectations or was actively looking for this week or next weeks post.   Several lessons can be taken from this, let it come to to you, and expect the unexpected.  I need to keep reminding myself that.

For us in Baltimore, this event means so much to us.  Many of us don’t know why we love this festival exactly, but its sentiment rings true.  The neighborhood has changed, so has the city, maybe we’ve changed ourselves.  I should speak for myself, maybe I’ve changed too.  Actually I know I’ve changed.  But nearly 15 years of doing it, it seems to have been rejuvenated the past couple of years.  The allowing of drinking in certain part of the streets definitely play a part but I truly believe the heavier emphasis on local vendors and local business is the true backbone and the true revitalization.

And we’re talking upwards of 100,000+ people that attend.  This being the 50th anniversary, you know that’s going to add to it.

Saturday was rainy, the skies were gloomy, but my friends and I weathered the storm and enjoyed ourselves.  That’s what life is about.   We drank, we ate, we shared laughs, we hopped from one place to another.  It doesn’t get any better.

Sunday felt like a rebirth.  The early afternoon looked ominous but the skies cleared and then it still felt like Summer.  I know it’s October but it was akin to a new sense of hope and possibility.  It also led to more casual strolling and a more focused energy on seeing what was outside of the madness.

wightteasign

After that extended monologue (prologue?) I’m grateful to have found within that hectic sea of humanity, the most charming of booths, the Wight Tea Company.

wightteadisplay8

Again I almost just walked by and thought I have enough content to last throughout the year.  There will never be enough content.  And never enough to support local business.

wightteadisplay13

I’m glad I turned backed around.   Izzy who was working the booth was kind of enough to let me try all four samples.   There were four, and if I get them wrong, I hope I’m corrected.

wightteadisplay14

But I’m going to try and recite the orfer by memory. First, I had the Sage Rose White, then the Tropical Green, Evening Tisane (their Chamomile), and finally the Chai.

This sounds like a cop out but I liked them all and likely in that order.   White and Green have always been favorites of mine.  White teas in general have been a regular staple in my sipping repertoire.   Chamomile was once I tea I avoided but as ones palate expands and evolves, new interests develop.  That may be a reflection on me growing as a person too.

By virtue of this blog it has made me try and uncover new teas, new companies, and new start ups.

wightteadisplay10

This is a start up that I’m rooting for.   I had the pleasure of meeting Brittany and Joseph Wight, two siblings who are the brains and brawn behind this operation.  You couldn’t meet two friendlier people.   When good people are taking a leap of faith, and using their own creativity to better humanity and themselves, it’s something you root for.

I live vicariously through such ventures, and it inspires to maybe one day do something myself. We’re all capable of it.  I motivated myself to do this blog.  And this’ll end up being looked back on as one of my most favorite posts.

wightteadisplay11

If you’re interested in purchasing their amazing teas, you can click here.  I was told more teas, strainers, filters, etc.  will be added to the website soon.

For our pals in Maryland, their teas are currently located at Rooster & Hen Store in Ellicott City, and Boutique 44 in Roland Park.

And exciting businesses are about to open by the end of the year, that will be carrying their products.  R.House Baltimore will be opening by the end of the year, and a cup or pot of tea will be available at BLK/Sugar Stall.  This article will shed some more light on this.

Last but not least, their teas will be carried at BWillow in Remington, which is due to open at the end of the year.  Big things are happening!

Here’s a list of future events of where you can try their mesmerizing teas.  And here is their contact information, if you have questions.

Oh cool they have a blog too!  Yes, all the cool people are blogging!

My posts from the festival last year and Fells in general can be found here and here.

This is just the beginning.  I will be purchasing their teas and updates to this post may be happening periodically. And hey, another post may come in time as well.  This is one where I want to word out about these guys.  I had such a good feeling when I was there on Sunday.  I wish them all the best.  The best!

wightteadisplay3

I love local,

Ideen

Missing The Tropics

rishiteacovered3

Actually I don’t recall the last time I was in the tropics.  So this title is purely for show.

coffeenature

However, a serendipitous visit to Coffee Nature in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington, DC gave me a little piece of the tropics at home.

coffeenature2

As I’ve stated before on numerous occasions, the atmosphere, the energy, and everything else around you is just as important as the tea you’re drinking.  If someone rubs you the wrong way, say a friend, family member, the staff member of the shoppe/restaurant, or some random person, if can suddenly dilute even the tastiest of food and drink.  The opposite occurred here.

Tea houses are not as ubiquitous as coffee houses, so sometimes that’s where you’re going to find some hidden gems.  It may be their own loose tea, the standard tea bags you can find at your local grocer, or some obscurities that you would only find when you weren’t looking.  I wasn’t looking for anything. I’m guessing the Tropical Hibiscus from Rishi Tea falls somewhere along the latter.

Before I even walked in I got the sense that I was in for something special.  The shop is nestled amongst a neighborhood of charming homes.  It felt like home walking in.  I didn’t even need to do research afterwards to get the sense that this has that community feel that I always hope to find when discovering a new place for food and drink.

Now I don’t know anyone in the neighborhood but I imagine, even for a city like Washington DC, that some friendly bonds and comradery would materialize organically and rather swiftly.  That’s also up to the individual and the universe itself.

I was all set to get a more familiar tea for the day but then I saw smack dab in the middle of all these teas was that Tropical Hibiscus and I’m grateful I did.

I ordered a turkey wrap for no particular reason other than I was in the mood for some turkey.  I figured the avocado was enough to make believe I’m on a tropical island.  An armchair will do.

rishiteacovered

To my pleasant surprise was the presentation.  My tea was brought to me with a silicone tea cover.  This also made the tea sipping experience that much better.  It may be a little thing but it’s a big thing.

rishiteaopen

The tea has loads of orange and tangerine flavors.  That’s the true stand out here. For a tea of this magnitude it’s going to feel feeler than what you might expect. Lemongrass is always a welcome addition to any cup for me. And I just love the fact that hibiscus and rosehips are ingredients in so many of the teas I’ve come to love. This one in particular I’m intrigued by.

Why am I intrigued?  I can’t find it on the Rishi site itself.   I hope I’m wrong but if you do a search it doesn’t come up.  So I’ve posted third party sites, like this on here, where you can find this tea.

rishiteawithwrap

The staff at Coffee Nature was laid back and welcoming.  Again, for DC I was surprised. Once again, it’s what you choose to see and what you attract.  Not everything in every cosmopolitan town is watered down and pretentious.  There’s a place for everyone. There’s room for everyone.   How funny that I’m the one who unintentionally had to write about one of the more obscure teas.   So I’m the jerk.

To find all of Rishi teas in your area (aside from obscure pick) click here.

rishiteasrishiteas

This photo was taken at a local grocer near me, Whole Foods.  Every Rishi tea known to man except the Tropical Hibiscus, oops.

If you’re in DC, check out Coffee Nature.  I hope to be back.  If I lived nearby I’d frequent it at least a few times a week.   And I love Rishi tea.  I hope to get the opportunity to talk about some more soon.

Here is my original post on their teas.

As we approach the chillier months, it’ll be most likely back to hot teas and complementary foods to go with.  If the weather presents itself, or I’m feeling unconventional, there will be a cold or iced tea review that will make a sporadic appearance.

rishiteaend

Thanks so much,

Ideen