Matcha The Year

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Everything has a reason, has its place, and has its well something.  I think I’ve said this before and said it in these exact words in this universe or another.  I can’t say for sure.  But what I do know is it feels good to be noticed, and it feels good to be acknowledged, and then it feels good to noticed.  I know I just said that.

I had my eyes set on writing about iced tea today, and this may go on for a while.  I make no promises or guarantee, but that’s what my heart is telling me.  So there may be more than just the weekly post at some points.  I can only hope.

But today just felt right and felt so good.. At my local supermarket the choices are endless, the possibilities might make you freeze a little (if you let it), and overthinking may lead to the wrong, or sometimes the best decision of you life.

Yes that was meant to be as dramatic as it sounded.

Someone noticed how intense I was with my bottled tea search. I mean I could not make up my mind.  This is where the multiple posts may come in.  I love what I ended up with.

And it was this suggestion that made the answer easier for me.  I’m all for ideas.  Sometimes they come to me, sometimes I do flip a coin, and sometimes it’s the outside world that say just go with it.  Here we go…

So this person, who requests they remain anonymous, was intrigued by the bottled teas from ITO EN (which I did write about in a different place and time nearly three years ago, but the article seems to have lost something, literally).

I love how things work out like how they should.  I have a love for many things Japan, I love Matcha, I love this brand, and per everything that’s been going on the past few weeks, I hope someone gets the not-so-obscure reference of my title.  If you’re curious, don’t hesitate to ask.  No, I mean you can really ask me! 🙂

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The two drinks I’ll discuss are the Matcha Love Japanese Matcha & Ginger,  and then the Ice-Steeped Cold Brew Slightly Sweet Lemon Matcha & Green Tea.

All the ingredients and information has been presented to you in the links above and in pictures.

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I do think that if you aren’t a fan of matcha and ginger, you aren’t going to love the former.  This is best served iced, and served cold.  I’m overstating the obvious but it can only help if you are looking to try something else.  I enjoy it but understand this is an acquired taste, and if you can’t drink it then I wouldn’t force the issues.

I don’t know what else to compare it too. I like it, but that’s because I love matcha and all the properties and benefits that come with it.  That harsh taste comes with so much goodness on the other side.  And I’ve grown to adore it.  No sugars necessary. The best ingredients in the world (purified water, organic green tea, organic matcha, and ginger root) will do anyone a world of favors.  So if you want to try, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.

Yet at $2.50 it may be steep for some, but it’s worth a little extra investment.

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Same can be said for the slightly sweet. The cane sugar and organic lemon make this perfect for the spring, summer, and yes right now.  I say that a lot, but it’s true.  This is for the moment.  The sugar content is low enough, yet just sweet enough that this will make any sweet tooth happy.

Both these drink are to be savored, appreciated, and should be consumed in a way that makes you feel good, otherwise there’s no point.

There’s a soul and magic to this that I want to explore further.  And as you can see, there’s no shortage of products from this charming company.

To find them at another store near you, click here. 

Additionally, you can order everything online.

Beautiful. All of this is beautiful.  Five stars and above.  This is a matcha and would be a main eventer at any party or gathering in the world.

Take good care.

Love,

Ideen

 

 

Mochi Ice Cream Party! Yay!

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I’m glad I discovered this now.  But what took me so long to notice or even try Mochi ice cream.

To be late to the party is ok, I did show up.  I have friends that raved about this decadent dessert for a number of years (or so they told me), and it either never registered, or it just didn’t register.

It didn’t resonate.   And I’m all about trying new foods, new beverages, and new anything.  This is what life is all about.   A always joyful and welcome drive to Trader Joe’s (I may have written about them once or twice…) means sampling some new food and drink (the free sample area used to be called the Tasting Oasis, yay free samples!), and of course purchasing so many of their great items, usually brand exclusive to them.

Then there’s the Buono Group, which I had also never heard of until a few days ago.   I thought for sure they were exclusive to TJ’s (find one near you), but if you do a search (couldn’t find on their site), there in more stores than just the one.   It’ll always be at where I found it to me, along with this incredible aftertaste that’s still with me after a few hours later.

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Strawberry and Matcha Green Tea were the flavors available and I was happy to grab both…

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All the info is presented to you in the pictures above, so there’s no need to me to go on an elaborate diatribe about the texture and depth of Mochi Ice.  I love so much about this.  What a great dessert idea, and in a world of unlimited ideas and creations, this is well done on so many levels.

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Both are Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free.  Vegan, no trans fats, and made with coconut milk.  If I ate both of these without knowing that, I wouldn’t notice the difference, aside from a lighter and healthier feeling, so maybe.

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But I loved these both so much.  The strawberry tastes exactly how you would want it to, and it’s lower on calories and all the bad stuff that there’s no guilt and only pleasure in eating this.  Not that you should ever feel bad about eating something that makes you feel good, as long as it’s done in a fashion that makes you feel good.

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The matcha as always is an acquired taste.  There’s a sweeter element to this that takes that (to some) rough green tea taste and makes it all the more merrier.

Speaking of merrier, the packaging and pictures will charm anyone.  I find these images adorable.  Everything about this is fun, and it’s the big and little things that always make a an experience that much more memorable.  It separates the meals from the out of this world experiences.  This one leans towards the latter for me.   There’s a first time for everything and I’m grateful this was my first encounter with Mochi Ice Cream.

Of course while we’re in the summer, this is something for now.  Yet it’s something for any time.  This is it to be enjoyed, be entertained by, and appreciated.

It’s all in the same of good food, good times, and feeling good.

This was fun.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Same As It Ever Was…

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Rockville, MD has seen so many changes in recent years.  These changes in these once historic towns are inevitable, necessary, and at times heartbreaking.  We can take comfort in the way things used to be, but also embrace what’s arrived, and that more is coming.

As many things do change, one of the constants (which has evolved to something special, but I haven’t attended in years…) is Rockville Hometown Holidays which celebrates Memorial Day with live music, food, street vendors, a farmers market, the parade, and all the other stuff that makes any festival, community, and party magnificent.

I have such fond memories of going with my family, to at least the parade part.  It was something to look forward to on the calendar every year.  It was the simplicity of just being at the parade, and appreciating the marching bands, the floats, the people, and the community groups of this fare city.

Yes, it’s more of a city now, then a town.  And so much has changed.  People grew up, got older, moved away, and moved on.  Yet there’s still a soul and spirit that remains.  The historic parts and older looking neighborhoods are still the majority and not there in spite of anything.  There’s still lots of character, all the while all these new places have shown themselves.

My family embraced that change.  They’ve been here in some form or another for nearly forty years.  So instead of fighting it (there’s nothing to fight really…), I welcome the change, because much of it is great.

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This includes the ever so charming Lavande Patisserie that opened several years ago, in one of the newer parts of Rockville, that is involved in this evolution.

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The outside is just as welcoming as what’s going on indoors.  The pastry list is a joy, tremendous and I’ve shared many with my dad on the most random of days.  One  thing that has always stood out is their tea list.  If you aren’t paying attention you won’t see it.  They’re known for their coffee, which I will try down the line, but for the sake of this discussion, and the season, I went with something beautiful.

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The Matcha Lemonade is an absolute joy.  It was per the suggestion of the staff, and it was more so along the lines of what I wanted.  And while the teases of Spring and Summer are here, so are the change in teas.  This was wonderful.

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One thing I forgot to do was stir.  The matcha is on the top and the lemonade is on the bottom.  I adore that.  I didn’t have my straw all the way down, so the first thought was why am I drinking this iced matcha.   This is why one (meaning me) should take their time and not rush things. So I take the straw a little further down, like a normal person would, and got that sweet lemonade taste.   I could have finished this in one sip, but this is not the point.  It should never be the point.  This is one to be savored, appreciated, and cherished.

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I love this tea so much.   The lavender shortbread cookie that I was drawn to (or was drawn to me) was meant to be.  I almost didn’t want to eat it, it looked so pretty.  Those lavender pieces are a sight for all eyes.  What a joy this was.

The benefits of lavender in times of uncertainty are something else.  This place, this matcha, and this lavender, it all just found me.

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I noticed looking across the street something so familiar.  There was a family connection, that only hit me as I started writing this story.  It’s the street where the parade I mentioned about earlier still takes place, after all this time. I get a laugh out of that, and then a feeling of sadness as well.

Life goes on, and as there’s much to be embraced, there will be much to miss.

Tell the people you love, that you love them.  As much as you can.  That you love them so much.  And when they pass, you will miss them so much.

Yet, you’ll always love them so much.

I love you so much.

I love you…

Love,

Ideen

Feeling Grateful – Part II

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This life is fun and funny at times.  What started out as any other day (and I don’t like days just being ordinary or like ‘any other day’), turned into one that was full of happiness, joy, hope, and many things to look forward to in the present, as well as the future.

But it’s always important to live in the present tense.

As one door opens, so does another, and a return to one of my favorite places in Historic Old Ellicott City, the wonderful Matcha Time Cafe.  I absolutely adore this place.

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I find it so wonderful, that a bonus post, outside of my usual Tuesday style, was absolutely necessary.  Actually none of this is necessary, but to me, it’s important enough to expound upon, especially as the Ellicott City Spring Festival takes place this coming Saturday.

It’s not like business will be slow, or this or any other business needs any more publicity or promotion leading into this weekend.  But that’s not the point.  The point is to promote positivity, support a local business, and support someone who I now consider a friend.

When I made the most incredible and memorable of discoveries back in November of 2016 (story can be found here), of this gift from the universe, I thought that if there is something bigger than us and bigger than this life, this is one way the other side would look like.

I hadn’t introduced myself to the manager, Hatsumi, at the time.  Actually maybe I did after I sat outside in the what was an unseasonably warm yet picturesque day, that gave me one of the best stories, on not just about tea, but about anything.  I got some awesome pictures too. And I say that with confidence, because I haven’t read it since.  I rarely read what I write.  Maybe I’ll go back and see how well that story, among others, has aged.  I bet it’s timeless.  I know it is.

So nearly a year-and-a-half later, my return visit tells a different story, yet it’s all relative, and all means so much.

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I had given a heads up that I was on my way and was greeted with open arms.  That made me feel so good.  On a day where everything felt unique and uncomfortably fantastic at times, it was good to see a familiar face.

After a several minute chat, that became much longer, I got to sample some of the new teas for the season.  I also see that they make dumplings in house, along with so many other amazing foods.  I forgot it’s more than just a cafe.  There’s a delicious and nutritious element to their menu, that must be revisited again.  And no it won’t be another 18 months till the next time.  That’s a guarantee.

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After a few moments of deliberation, I was presented the Masala Chai Latte, and as an added bonus, a gluten free chocolate cake.  Yes it’s as rich as it gets ladies and gentlemen.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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The latte is as gorgeous and splendid as it looks.  It’s a bit heavy and rich, like I said, so sip carefully, slowly, and in peace.  It’s going to wake you up.  And on a day or string of days where I’ve been perpetually exhausted, this was as welcome a beverage as any.

 

ChocolateCakeAnd that cake.  I didn’t know it was gluten free until I was basically full from my tea.  I first thought there’s no way I can have all this.  When I found out it was GF,  there was this open sigh of relief. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

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I enjoyed my cake later, and once again, as beautiful as it looks, it would be a shame not to eat.  It was beautiful.

Everything about this visit was beautiful.

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I’m glad I arrived when I did, right before lunch, as business started to pick up, and the time for conversation was beginning to wane.  But a good hour or so was just enough.  And like I said, I’ll be back much sooner than later.

I see this being more than a trilogy.  I see this being a recurring story, with no timetable, no expectations, just a good time with good people, and some more amazing teas and tasteful bites.

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The way I write this might feel like a transition. And maybe it is.  Maybe I’m projecting, but my intent is to project the good I’m feeling based on not just this visit, but the first one, and so many other invaluable experiences, all for the love of tea.

For more on Matcha Time Cafe click here.

I can’t wait to see where this goes next.

Have a good one, and peace be with you…

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

It Is Only With The Heart…

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I write this on the verge of Spring, the verge of Iranian New Year (which coincides with the first day of spring, and depending on where you are, has already happened), and the verge of well I don’t know.   I am of Iranian heritage by the way, yet was born here, but I just digressed.  And I’ll stop now.

This has been some winter,  some year already, and a whole lot of other things.   Many I can’t describe, many that seem invisible and hard to comprehend, and some that need no explanation.  Some things are just bigger than us.

As we approach Spring, we know this can be a time of rebirth, spiritual healing, rejuvenation, and all those other words that mean the same thing, but mean so much.

It’s a time that can mean so much…

As the days go longer, and our spirits are heightened, it’s a reminder how quick and fleeting this life is.  I’m over three years into this blog, wondering but appreciating where all this time went.  It’s a good thing.  I’m fortunate to continue to do this, and hope that this will grow, flourish, and become something bigger than I can imagine.  Just like the season.  I know it’s coming.

I know things are good, they’ll only get better, and I believe it for myself and for those closest to me.

So it only makes sense that the tea this week is the Supreme Matcha Green from Pukka.

If they’re sounding familiar, it’s because I’ve written about them twice before since February, and I see them becoming a regular staple of this journey.   Pukka has my heart, and I feel it understands me.

I would like to say I understand them, but I don’t necessarily need to.  But I do know I love their teas.  And seriously, I love their teas.

The Supreme Matcha Green was actually not what I was going to write about.  A dear friend suggested I write about the Clean Matcha Green, but I looked far and wide (no not really haha), and while there was no luck, the signs were all their to write about something Supreme.

And supreme it is.  It’s masterful.

The synopsis is great, and it shows sense of humor and seriousness all at once.

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Sometimes our superhero or are normal (whatever that means, it’s all relative) powers do run low and we need a reboot.   This is the tea that’ll do it.  And there’s nothing glamorous about it, which makes it fantastic to me.  That’s just the way I want it.

It’s the combination of green teas from the great regions of the world, and the matcha powder that even though seems understated after each sip, you know it’s there.  I couldn’t tell you what stands out in this tea, because in this instance, it doesn’t have to.

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It’s a green tea that is just a cut above many green teas you’re going to have.  I take it that the energy and soul behind this tea has a lot do with it.   Pukka has a lot to be proud of as they have created something incredible, joyous, and it’s the quintessential tea for not just this season, but anytime you want.

But this is the kind of tea that can kickstart a season, your life, and your anything.

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There’s just something so grandiose in the simplicity of this tea.  Even if you’re not a fan of Matcha or how it tastes, I think this tea is going to change people’s minds and win hearts and spirits all over the place.

You may notice a sweet treat within this holiday display, and that’s merely for decoration.  Well I did sneak a snack or two, but this tea doesn’t need anything.   A lot can be paired with something, but teas like this are best sipped slowly and sipped on its own.  This is one to savor my friends.

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Pukka continues to amaze and inspire.  I feel like my superhero powers will be running high after a cup of the Supreme Matcha Green.

It’s heart, and sometimes it is only with the heart…

And if you needed another reason to love their teas, look here.  Hi Pukka, you’re amazing.

Here is their story, a focus on our well being, their contact information, and where to buy their inspirational teas.

Happy Spring and Happy New Year to you! It’s going to be a good one!

Love,

Ideen

There Will Be A Next Time

 

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Over the Summer, I made a trek to the Gulf Coast of Florida, and was mesmerized by the love for tea people have, and all the tea shoppes, markets, and displays all over the place.

St. Petersburg in particular was so good to me.  All my posts can be found from those captivating experiences can be found here.

One thing I neglected to mention over the course of January, is that it’s National Hot Tea Month.

While that shouldn’t change my posts for any particular reason, it should give me a reason to change up something.  I think you know what I’m trying to say here.

There’s so many stories that unfortunately are past the expiration date, or it’s the time of year where it doesn’t make sense or feel right to write about a certain time, place, or experience.  Those will either have to keep waiting, or it’s not meant to see the light of day, just yet.

I knew I had the amazing tea and experience from Haraki-Gordon,whom had a booth from the Saturday Morning Market sitting in my back pocket, just waiting for the perfect time.

Now is as a good as time as any.   It was a whirlwind of a day trying all the teas on a display.  And considering that this was June, of course I mainly sipped on iced teas, kombucha, and got a sweeter sensation.

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But when all is said and one, my heart will always be with the hot teas, the most natural of teas, and made of the most purest ingredients.  Haraki-Gordon had the most unassuming of stands, off to the side, and if you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t have given it a second thought, or paid it any mind.

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The couple who was there, were the actual makers of the tea, so it made for a more genuine conversation versus someone who would be at a stand because they had to be, or may not be so passionate for what they’re talking about.

They were so nice, and regardless of how warm is what, they made me want to sip on their green and red teas.  Yes I said red tea!

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They cultivate their teas mainly in Matcha form, which is as pure as it gets.  All items are available for purchase here.

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The Green Tea Powder, for this day, was a palate cleanser for one, but it was a spiritual one as well.  The samples were merely in tiny cups but it was enough to purify me in a way that I didn’t know until now, was even more important than I realized.

The Red Tea Powder, while more brownish in tint has a stronger taste that isn’t going to work well with everyone.  It’s higher in tannins but it will rejuvenate you in ways that you didn’t know possible.  I’m serious about this.  This was incredible.  Both teas are incredible.

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It helps where I was.  It was the summer, and the energy at the market was incredible.  Everyone seemed so friendly, so kind, so inviting, and so welcome.   What’s funny is you see that I took these teas to a nearby fruit stand, and soon as I took these pictures, it started to rain.

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It would stop raining and it would rain again.  It would be sunny and it would rain, and for a while it was just sunny and raining.  There’s symbolism in all this.  It was the only day I experienced this weather masterpiece.  And while I’m sitting huddled under a tent with people I’ve never met, may never see again, holding my tiny cups of tea; it all felt so real.  I was alone but I wasn’t.  I was with all these people but I was ok being alone.  I knew this is something that doesn’t happen often so I’m grateful to have experienced an atmosphere and energy I don’t always get at home.

And at some point, walking in the rain felt fine to me….

That’s the point of going away for a while.  I think it’s time to go away for a while again.

Everything about this was beautiful.

There will be a next time.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Sunday In The Summer Tea Party

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The calendar still reads September.  My love affair with Infused Tea Company concludes (for now) with what have been my favorite of the three.  Actually I can’t say that for sure. Each visit over the weekend told a different story, yet it also told something similar.

After knowing what to expect, my third visit was anything but ordinary and predictable. I just love not knowing what I’m going to order ahead of time.  A large menu with so many options helps.  It helps with expanding my palate, my horizons, and ultimately making this another endearing and perhaps out-of-body experience.

Saying I love tea is an understatement.   It’s been a part of my life since the beginning.  It will always be a part of me.  Whoever invented tea and the whole experience has created a way of life, that is way past the point of cultural.  It’s just a part of so many of us.  It’s become commonplace that I’m hoping the majority of us appreciate how beautiful the ritual is.  Because tea with friends, with family, with snacks, or with nothing at all is something so genuine that words will not always paint a picture of this joyous thing.

What also brings me joy is Matcha.   And over the past couple of years, via this blog, and other wonderful situations, it’s also become a staple of my life.

And this leads me to the conclusion of what has been a Summer to remember.  This was back in June, but the Infused Tea Company of my other adopted city St. Petersburg, FL.

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I didn’t even need to look at the menu this time.  On display for everyone to see (well it was kind of understated all the same) was a sign for Matcha Lemonade. I may have seen it the day before and kept it in on file, or this was a spontaneous and welcome surprise.

What a surprise this was.

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You might think that the dichotomy of flavors with how the powdery green the matcha tastes against the sweetness of the lemonade would be a disaster.  Not even close.  This blend worked perfectly.  And it worked that at least for me, it’s not something you’re going to drink quickly.  I took enough sips and enjoyed my time outside, that it felt like time stood still, I could do this all day, and I think I did do this all day.  Timeless..

I got another pastry to for display, and to complement my enchanting beverage. Seriously, how photogenic does this all look?

And once again the views and the weather could not have been better.  We’re in the 80’s to 90’s on this June day, which ironically wasn’t technically in the Summer.  Not that big of a detail but now that we’re in Autumn, the temperatures are basically the same, and will be like this for a while.  So while here in Maryland, lemonade and iced tea may begin to phase out, in beautiful Florida, you can have everything.  And everything is everything.

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But this Matcha Lemonade was one of those spiritually healing and invigorating kinds of drinks.  Again, I don’t know the exact words to give it, but this was special.  I can imagine having this at home, or somewhere local, still finding it special but maybe not having the same memorable experience.  Not everything is nor should it be.

This was my last day of vacation.  It was bittersweet (and I don’t mean the lemonade) but also a feeling of calmness came over me.  It was time to go home.  I saw some great friends, did some great things, ate some yummy food, and have some of the best tea experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

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The bikers I mentioned from last week were back and the crew looked bigger.  That’s a great life and that’s how I’m told the Gulf Coast does.  It’s all about outdoor activities and living a healthy lifestyle.  I was living vicariously through them, but in a way I was living vicariously through myself.   Oh man… I miss this city so much.

That’s it for now.  If there’s time I’ll throw in another post from this amazing place.  I love St. Petersburg so much.  I love Infused Tea Company so much.  I’m so glad I was invited to visit, and so grateful I got to experience such an amazing tea scene.

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I’ll be back and can only hope the experiences I’ve had thus far (my Florida experiences can be found here and here), can come close or maybe even exceed what I’ve seen thus far.

Here is the link to purchase their awesome teas, their accesories, and their location for those local or visiting.

Thank you so much Infused Tea Company, St. Petersburg, and Tampa.   It’s been a glorious time.

Fall and pumpkin themed teas as we head towards October, begin next week.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen