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.

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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.

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