‘Tis Tea Season

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Oh yes it is, and we’re just riding along this train till I run out of tea to try, which will never happen.    I promised myself, you, and the universe, that I would get to as many teas for autumn and naturally let the blend from season to season.

With this I will reviewing two teas from Stash, which has been a friend to me and this blog (previous posts can be found here,  over here, and one more right…here…) and I don’t write about enough.  I could say that about a whole plethora of companies, and their finest of teas.

The Pumpkin Spice Decaf really got me good.  Without trying too hard I figured out that this was natural pumpkin flavor and not that artificial and synthesized coloring and flavoring that many of these companies add to their teas, to make it sweeter when it’s better off being left alone.

But this was fun.  Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg (oil in this instance which I found intriguing), and cloves really make this a powerfully packed tea that seemed so effortless to produce.  I think black tea and pumpkin is a winning combination if done right.  You could actually apply that to just about anything  If things are blended together properly, with some good soul and feeling behind it, it’s going to be a winner.

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This checks of all the boxes.  How about that beautiful color? Decaf or not, I wouldn’t know the difference, this is a great tea.

The Maple Apple Cider is fine except for the maple flavor.  This is a matter of taste.  Maple doesn’t always work for me.    It’s natural maple flavor and it’s possible that’s where I’ve thrown off.  I’ve had plenty of foods with maple glaze that either taste too good to be true, or just don’t taste good at all.

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Aside from that, this had another melange of great flavors, that is slightly marred my the maple.  But there’s times where I feel the cinnamon, caramel, and apple is lost because of the strong presence of maple.  This is another in the line of rooibos that I’ve been trying, and this is a slight step back.

I will gladly give it another go since I’ve bought a package, but I wasn’t blown away this with this one.

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My snowman friends didn’t seem to mind.   They seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Yes I did just say that…

On their website, both teas are listed as a package deal.  I think that’s a fantastic gift for now, and the Christmas season that is fast approaching.

When it comes to Stash, I’m only just getting started.  They have so many teas for the  holidays, that I’m hopefully going to dedicate some more posts too.   Just from my observation, Stash is one of those companies that doesn’t get the publicity and headlines that it should.

I know some people close to me are huge fans, and make it a part of their daily lives, and morning routine.    I have to many teas to choose from, I’m not sure if there will ever be  a routine.  And neither situation is right or wrong.  It’s all beautiful.  It’s all in the celebration of tea.

We’re still in the heart of November, and there’s so much tea to try and share with you guys.  For some reason, I’m feeling a little more heart warmed today than normal.  Tea makes me so happy and this is some of the happiest times of the year.

More to share soon.

For more on Stash, here is where you can find their teas, their list of fall teas, more about the company, and contact information.

Thank you so much, and I’ll be back tomorrow…

Peace be with you.

Ideen

Springtime Feelings In The Middle Of…

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So this felt quick.  Well when you do three posts in three days, it feels about right and it fells relative.  But I think I’m just getting started.

After the first two posts (you can find them here and here respectively) from one of my favorite places of all time, Wegmans, (click here to find a store near you).

I’m feeling a tad emotional. Why I don’t know.  I just tend to get emotional.  It’s not like the teas and store is going anywhere. If anything this is only beginning.   I feel like we use that term, ‘it’s only the beginning’, or ‘we’ve only just begun’ a lot, but it’s true.   There’s so much tea and so much time to talk about it.

Absolutely.

The Jasmine Globe Tea is exactly that.  It’s shaped like a globe and during steeping it blooms into a flower.  Well that was the intent.

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I just love the look of this tea.  It’s almost too beautiful for it to be brewed.  But then again, I can always save another piece or two to admire.  I mean look at this thing. How this was fused in the way it was is a marvel.  I bet it wasn’t that difficult, but I like to think this was done with such precision to get every herb, flower, spice, and everything else to look like perfection.

It smelled like perfection.  However, during infusing it didn’t quite break up to be like the flower it was meant to be.  I tried with and without the infuser.  Maybe it was me, maybe the water wasn’t hot enough, or maybe it was something else.

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But the smell of jasmine takes me back to my childhood.  I just recall it being in parts of potpourri, air fresheners, and even parts of various foods my parents could cook up.  It’s those scents that remind me of you holidays and celebrations past.  It’s not always the best of memories, but this one reminds me of many other people, not just relatives, going back in time.   I’m sure you have familiar scents and tastes that remind you of something from growing up, or maybe even more recently.  That’s my take on it, and this tends to manifest itself more so this time of year.

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The taste was not at profound as the aroma, but it was just right.  Too much jasmine might not work on the mouth at times.  This was meant to be exactly how it was intended.  I celebrate that spring time feeling with one of my favorite cups and we segue and tease future holiday celebrations with some more of my favorite decor, and some pumpkin spice oatmeal.

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One of my most favorite birthday presents ever, the beautiful black labrador retriever plate, is back for an encore.  It should be part of the main set and every encore!

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Last and certainly not the last (for now), is the Apple Pie Chai Rooibos.  Try saying that a few times without messing that up!

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This was the only tea that listed the ingredients on the bag.   Did every other tea have nothing except what was in the tea itself?   I still enjoy the vague, wine like descriptions of these teas, and will always find unintentional humor in them.

There’s ways to describe tea and then there’s ways to describe tea.

The Apple Pie might have had my favorite tint after completion.  It looks more orange but that’s due in part to orange peel and orange lemongrass.   The inclusion of apple pieces, cinnamon and hibiscus flowers make this the happiest of teas for the season.

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I love this one so much.

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I didn’t have any apple pie but some apple cider and pumpkin pretzels is just as viable as an alternative.   There will be more mentions of apple cider and similar teas as we progress.

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But right now there’s still plenty of time to celebrate autumn, November, Thanksgiving, and all the good that comes with it.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and the celebrations that will ensue makes me warm inside.  It gives me butterflies and makes me thankful for good family, good friends, and good health.

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I hope you enjoyed this trilogy.  This is it for now.   But there’s so much time for me to seek out some more approachable and welcoming holiday teas.  The traditional weekly post will be back, but not just yet.

I got a few more things in mind starting this weekend, into next week, and leading in to the big day.

I wish you good health and a happy holiday season.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Warms The Heart…

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I love having too many teas to write about.  I just wish I had more time.   There will never be enough time.  I mentioned yesterday that this will be part of a trilogy.  In a proper sense, I would write about Wegmans loose leaf teas in a spaced out weekly fashion like I’ve done in these three years of post.  Oh my goodness, this blog is three years in.  It’s been long overdue to change up a few things.

But the more things stay the same, I still believe things are meant to evolve organically, naturally, and all in good time my friends.   But with a that being said (and I’m not even sure what I’m saying), it’s time to talk about the next two teas from my new favorite tea shoppe, the Wegmans loose leaf tea department.

The Sweet Cinnamon Tisane looks, smells, and tastes exactly how I envisioned when I first grabbed a whiff at the store.  I mean cinnamon should be a part of everyday life, and I imagine for many of us it is.  I have it with coffee, toast, breakfast, and with many of my teas.   To already have cinnamon, which has so many health benefits, infused into this herbal gem, makes me so happy.  And it’s decaffeinated to boot, so you can drink this at all hours of the day without fear or worry about staying up all night.  But this is a tea worth staying up all night for.   Wait, not sure if that impassioned statement kind of backfired but oh well!

Just that color and all the lovely melange of herbs makes me yearn for this time of year.  But this is an all the time tea and can be paired with anything or nothing at all.  After a sizable meal or eating loads of comfort food at an upcoming party this’ll settle you down.

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You know what else settles me down?  My love for animals.  And as I said yesterday, there will be hints of the holidays to come and a celebration of cups, mugs, artifacts, gems, and what have you of what makes me happy, not just this year, but any year.

Some dear friends of mine gave me this beautiful Labrador Retriever Dog Plate as a birthday gift.  I’m so grateful.

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Throw in a few pumpkin cookies and I’m good to go.  I don’ t think I ate them though haha.

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I love animals so much, including my four legged dog friends, that I felt the need to honor them.  And I want to honor and salute them as much as possible.  They’re even more important to us during the holidays.

Next is the Hearth Warmer Blend, which up until a few minutes ago I thought was the Heart Warmer Blend.  So instead of changing my title, I’m going to own my clumsiness. Hey it’s the holidays, I get a pass don’t I?

I have to laugh at the synopsis of this one.  Lots of vague words like notes, aromas, flavors, and balance.  Oh and something about chocolate.

This tea was fine, but I don’t even remember how it tasted now that I think about it.  And I don’t even mean to say it as a bad thing.  Nothing about it stood out or told me, ‘oh man this is a great tea!’.  It’s one of those teas that I kind of don’t even want to try anytime soon.   I may not be making sense but I rather be an enigma just like the description reads.   I’m just realizing this now as I write this to you.

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Maybe I’m just entertaining myself, or making more of a production than I intended.  But I’m in a festive mood, it’s the holiday season, and having fun with tea or anything is what life is all about.   Still with that being said, I’m not sure what to make of this tea.  Maybe I’ll revisit it down the line, and compare and contrast it to something.   To what I don’t know.

That’s pumpkin spiced cereal I got at Wegmans on clearance.  Yes pumpkin stuff was on clearance starting a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure what the rush was, and I shouldn’t complain. I got plenty of cheap eats and material to last a little while…

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Even better than that, my love of my other favorite four legged pals, my kitten friends.  I love my cat so much, and I feel honored to celebrate her here.

This is the middle of this three part story.  The finale (well for now) comes tomorrow.  Maybe I’m in a funny mood but I think my love of animals on display may have blinded my love for the teas on this go around, especially that Heart(h) Warmer.    I’m still puzzled, and I shouldn’t be.   But that cinnamon is awesome.  If you can find some at your local Wegmans, I’d say go for it.

For more on these teas and their provider, go to ITO EN.

Like I said yesterday, you can grab as little or as much as you want.  Some of my bags were barely over $1.00.  So it’s good to experiment and prepare for what you may or may not love.  It’s a fun process and the journey is just as beautiful as the destination.

I look forward to that journey, and the forthcoming destination continuing tomorrow.

Have a blessed one.

Ideen

 

Trying To Carry On Tradition…

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Literally right under my nose has been this incredible display of loose teas from Wegmans itself (some under the ITO EN umbrella), and until earlier today, I didn’t pay it any mind.  Shame on me, but also I understand that maybe there was a reason it took so long to get around to trying their loose teas.

The reason might be that I’m dedicated the next three posts, over the next three days to six of their teas total.  So this is where the bonus posts are going to start showing up.  There’s so many holidays and only so much time.

As Christmas displays begin to take over the front display cases and several aisles in not just your local Wegmans but many a store,  I want to live in the moment.  We’re still over a week from Thanksgiving, winter is over a month away, and it’s still November, so let us celebrate that before we look too far ahead.

Over the next three days I will do six total teas.  So two a day.  I wish I could do more, but time and the sake of brevity may not allow that at this time.   Coming up with the right teas for the right time of a year is only challenging if you let it.  Well I let it.  There’s so many teas I want to talk about, that I will do my best to get to them this week and next week.  And then it will be time for the winter, Christmas, and all the other holiday themed teas we look forward to.

Well there I go maybe not living in the moment.   But the moment is now

First, I want to give the proper acknowledgement to Wegmans for allowing its customers to put as little or as much loose tea as we want to put in these respective bags.   Some of my bags cost under $1.00.  That’s service with a smile and at a price we all can agree with.

First up is the Salted Caramel Pumpkin Dream.  Now like all these bags, they all smelled good initially.  The aromas will stay with you even after steeping and boiling.  Yet this tea was my least of the bunch.   Nothing about this translated any further.  It had no body, no structure, and not much to offer.   It felt like an easy sipping tea that doesn’t really inspire.  It’s a tea that serves its purpose but not much else.  To call it a tea that’s just kind of there would be apropos.  And whenever pumpkin is involved, that’s even all the more disappointing.

I didn’t taste much in the way of caramel.  It was more chocolate like to me.  I just felt like there wasn’t much substance to it.

The antithesis of that would be the Creamy Vanilla Pumpkin. Not only did it tasted like it smelled, but it’s a splendid tea that I could have all year round.  And thankfully as these canisters tend to near its end for the season, I saved a bunch in these bags for me.  And this one I will look forward to enjoying even after the season passes.

And in my many ways the season passes before it ever really begins.  It almost seems that were already preparing for pumpkin season next year.  What is the rush in life?  Lets enjoy now.  This is a tea to enjoy now and quite honestly forever.  The same could be said about many teas.

Yes, some people are purists when it comes to pumpkin season.   I might be one of them.  I love the traditions.  The title of this post says so, so it must be true…

But in all seriousness, if you can get your hands on the Creamy Vanilla Pumpkin, I would encourage you to do so.  It’s possible as we get closer to Thanksgiving, you might even be able to get it at a discount rate.  I wish I would elaborate on what the ingredients are, but sometimes things are better left to interpretation.  It’s a fantastic tea and maybe there’s no need for any more than that.

And it went nice with some pumpkin O’s.  Yes any chance to find anything pumpkin I’m all for it.  My pantry is loaded with pumpkin stuff that I may eat into next year, but don’t tell anyone ok?

But I said live in the moment, not tomorrow, not next year, but the here and the now.  And while people tell me to be where I am, I need to remind myself of that fact.

So during these next few posts you will see teases of Christmas but also a celebration of now, Thanksgiving, and various cups, treats, and displays that not only make me happy now but all year round.  It’s a celebration of so many things, which is what the holidays are all about.

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I look forward to this part of the journey and I’m so grateful to change up the posts and shake things up a bit.

To find a Wegmans near you, click here.  And here’s my history of posts from this iconic and landmark grocery store.

Have a blessed one and you’ll be hearing from me tomorrow.

Ideen

Hoping There’s Time

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This week I may be cheating just a little, or I’m just pushing the boundaries oh what exactly constitutes a tea, and every now again I’ll throw in a cup of coffee.

So how fitting is it that I take it back to another familiar face and friend, Baltimore Coffee and Tea.

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This week I take it to the Odenton, MD location, which is a first time for me.  The area is quiet, it’s connected to residencies and is part of one of the many towne centers you see popping up in every town or any location that has enough people that developers see the need to justify a towne center.  While many look the same, this location and it’s surroundings does feel a bit more charming and cozy.  There’s lots of green and trees in the vicinity, which is always a good thing.

The beverages I’ll be reviewing today were based on a simple question, ‘have you tried these?’  Two out of three is pretty good, and before today that number was zero.

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I’ll save the Hot Apple Cider for later in the year, if there’s time.  But the Dirty Pumpkin Chai is something I had to try.   It’s early November, the time is now or never.  More on that in a second.

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I like the chai but it’s not setting the world on fire.  There’s truly no need for any analysis. You know what you’re going to get.  I assume black tea and milk since it’s a chai.  But it could all coffee for all I know.  I’m willing to wager zero dollars that I tasted some cinnamon, nutmeg, and all your other fall essentials.  I enjoyed it with a pumpkin biscotti.   It’s great for now and it’s great until this limited time beverage ends.  But I know there’s better out there.

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The Salted Caramel Mocha was way too rich for me.  I mean it’s coffee with stuff that I don’t usually have.   For the sake of trying something new, I wanted to try something new, but I could barely get any sips in before my stomach and my head began to ache.  There’s a lot more sugar in there than I can handle.  But again, just because I don’t care for it, doesn’t mean you won’t.  And I imagine I would be on the minority on this one.  No biscotti, or any pastry, was going to work with a drink like this.  But my cranberry and pistachi biscotti tasted great on its own.

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But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if these drinks are going to work for you or not.  I’m looking at the cup half full here and knowing that Baltimore Coffee and Tea has been good to me many times over the years, (previous stories can be found here) that a minor hiccup is not going to change that.

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For their coffees click here, their tea list is here, and their growing list of store can be found here.

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I made a comment about time earlier.  Because I feel (and I’m inclined to believe many others such as yourself might too) time is moving rather quickly, and there’s so many teas I want to talk about..  I may make more than just my weekly post as we head towards Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I’ve been introduced to different teas, discovered different teas, drinks, and similar entities that I feel a weekly post may not be enough.  So I hope to take this further if I can make the time.  And that’s something that can be easily done.  Yet I still have to make the time for it.

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And I will…

Have a blessed one.

Ideen

This Makes Me So Happy…

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When anyone gives you a gift, either by delivery or in person, it touches your soul in a way that can never get old.  It’s a wonder why we don’t give gifts to each other more often.  But if we did that, would it lose its shine and not feel as special?   I don’t know.  Gifts of all kinds, whether or not it’s a physical item, never gets tiring.  A simple gesture, a message, a thank you is usually all we need.   But in this instance, this was above and beyond.

I want to thank a dear friend of mine for sending me two of the most wonderful teas I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking.  And it wasn’t just about the tea itself, but it was everything behind it, the meaning, the feeling, and the reasoning.  I’m so blessed.

My pal went to Japan recently and post some photos and videos periodically during his visit.  But what stood out to me the most was his visit to a tea house and he got to see the how Japanese Green Tea is created, brewed, steeped, appreciated, and all those other good things.

To say I was envious is an understatement.  But more so, I was happy for him, and happy he got to be a part of something that not many of us can say we will ever partake in, let alone go to a country not all of us will ever get a chance to visit.  That sounded more dramatic than I intended to be.  But it’s ok to live vicariously through someone.  It gives us hope and a reason to experience something, to travel somewhere unique, but most importantly learn to be still, be at peace, and be one with the universe.

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I have no website or links to share with you.  I did a little research to see if I could find these two bags anywhere.  I looked up images, certain sites, and a few other places with no luck.  Maybe I didn’t try so hard, or maybe it’s not meant to be for now.  I don’t need to know exactly where this tea came from other than it came from a beautiful place with a spirit so big.   If I’m meant to find it, it may just find me.  That could mean a trip to Japan itself or something else.  I’ve always had a love for Japanese culture.  I’ve always had a love for any culture and all the fun traditions that are involved, which of course includes the food, the drink, the customs, and the tea.

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So more about this tea…

The green tea was incredible.   I had to break out the fancy teapot for this one.  And the instructions, which do come in English at the bottom, specifically state don’t brew with the bag too long.  And trust me on this, it’s advice to follow.   I let it steep just long enough in the teapot, and poured me a cup of something so beautiful in so many ways, I don’t know what to say.  That tint of green, the smell, and the taste are what tea is all about.   I can’t compare it to other green teas nor should I.  This was amazing by itself and there isn’t a place for how this fares against other teas.   It’s a tea all it’s own and what a special one at that.  It makes me so happy.  Yes just like the title says.

I imagine if I were at a Japanese tea house, or in Japan, or with a wonderful set of people, this experience would be magnified and heightened beyond belief.   But I settle for my own peace and my own tranquility, and it tasted amazing all the same.

Even more interesting was the Roasted Green Tea, also known as Hōjicha.  If you’re looking for a fall themed tea, this might be it.   I had a sense when steeping this would be more brownish and even more powerful than the green.  I was right on both counts.  And roasted is the perfect word for it.  If you’re thinking chestnuts roasting…. Too soon for that, but it’s along those lines because I sensed there’s more than just the tea.  There’s something else going on here, either nuts or something toasty.  This is one of the most comforting teas I’ve ever had.

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Once again, steep it briefly, because otherwise this is going to hit you.  I actually tried both the teas again with the bag steeping, and yes, these teas are so potent (in the most complimentary way possible) that the bags should be saved for later brewing.  Trust me, I got a few more cups out of this, that it’s well worth holding onto.

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I can’t say which one I loved more.  I loved them for different reasons.  But I think I loved them the most because they came from a dear friend, who knows much I love the tea and the culture.  I’m quite flattered, blessed, and fortunate.   And I’m so appreciative.

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Sweet treats persist in both pictures but truthfully no treats are necessary.  But as we’re in pumpkin season, a pumpkin related snack will never hurt.  But teas like this, to me, are best savored alone.

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And I was also gifted with a new friend who joined me for this tea party.    I honored my friend with a belated National Cat Day celebration, and you see my cat drinking mug return for an encore appearance.

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This was beautiful.  I don’t know what else to tell you.  I wish I could go on forever, but I’m so grateful for this experience.  Either I’m so sentimental that the aftertaste has resurfaced in my mouth or my mind is telling me I need more of this tea.

Yes I need more of this tea.

More autumn celebration teas are coming.  But this is to be celebrated.

Forever grateful.

Ideen