London Fogging

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I have a muse (or a dear friend rather) who I will turn into when it comes to tea suggestions.  You would think with the season we’re in, that it wouldn’t be that difficult.

And it really isn’t.

But I’m grateful for ideas and suggestions, because that’s what tea and the love of tea is all about it, informing, sharing, educating, and most important of all, sipping.

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So when my friend suggested I write about a couple of teas from Starbucks, I was intrigued and surprised.

I’m immediately thinking pumpkin this and pumpkin that.  And while there is a pumpkin pastry included with my two teas, the pumpkin teas will return at a later time.

It’s all about chai and this is quite the chai my friends.

My friend had asked me if I ever tried the Chai Latte or the London Fog Tea Latte, and suggested I write about one or the other.  The answer is right in front of me.  How about both?

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I was reminded that I may have had the Chai Latte before, when we used to frequent Starbucks on a regular basis.  I know frequent Starbucks on a regular basis.  I’ve become accustomed to local tea and coffee shops.  It’s where my heart is and it’s the symbolic gesture I feel I need to be doing.   Nevertheless, the Chai Latte is fine.  It’s just what I remember, if this is what I had before.  If you can get what I’m saying, it’s not that memorable.  And I’ve grown to like Chai’s in the past few years, partially because of this blog, and because I’m all about expanding my horizons.  This isn’t anything special.

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The pumpkin cream cheese muffin that I had with my chai, either became tainted because of my chai or it wasn’t that great on its own.  I love pumpkin and I didn’t get much pumpkin here.

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And I love cinnamon, cloves, and milk.  This screams fall and would hopefully scream success.  I know many love it, and will love it if they haven’t tried it.  To me it’s just a latte you could have anywhere, and not spend as much on it.    It’s not that it’s even that  sweet.  It’s just that I’ve had better.  And the black tea, which is the most important part of it for, seems to be lost in the shuffle with everything else.  And it’s not like there’s too many moving parts.  This would usually come together well in another setting.

And before you think I’m being hard on Starbucks…

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Then there’s the London Fog.  Oh my goodness, now we’re talking.  I knew it was great before I even ordered it.  And it’s because my friend told me that it’s not on the menu.  She told me if you mention London Fog, they will know what it is.  Now that’s a friend. And this is a tea.  This is a tea latte.  This is art.

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The ingredients are here, and this take on Earl Grey is giving me chills after I write about it.  It was a joy to sip and was so kind to my sense, my taste buds, and my spirit.   I adore the way bergamot smells and tastes, and it’s the highlight for me even with the lavender, vanilla syrup, and milk thrown into the mix. They’re all perfect complements of each other that enhance the Earl Grey.

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You can see why I prefer this more.  The integrity of the tea remains intact while everything plays its part perfectly.  This paired perfectly with their Caramelized Apple Pound Cake.  A match made in tea and autumn heaven.

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I must mention that the Earl Grey is from Teavana, which I happily wrote about some months back.

 

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I will gladly come back and order the London Fog a couple more times before the season changes.  And this is something you can have through the winter, so there’s plenty of opportunity.    I highly recommend it if you’ve never had this before, and it’s a different take on a classic tea.    Tremendous.

In the past I’ve mentioned that Earl Grey was likely the first tea I ever sipped.  And knowing myself, I appreciated the simplicity of it.  I’m not big on adding anything to my tea.  If a tea is that good it doesn’t necessarily need milk, honey, cinnamon, or anything to overcompensate for a tea, whether it’s good or bad.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t try or embrace teas with those same additions.  I’m all for trying something new.  I’m happy the London Fog worked out.

More to come as I feel rejuvenated and have so much more in the world of teas to talk about.  It just keeps on getting better.

Peace be with you.

Ideen

 

Feels Like Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay ginger,

Ideen