This Culture Is My Friend

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Of course the culture I’m referring is the probiotics and all the goodness found in the Master Brew Kombucha by Kevita.

What else would I be talking about?

I have a few people to thank for getting me into Kombucha, and it has enhanced and expanded my horizons, and given me some more content for this blog.  And I’m all for new stories (here are my previous write-ups on Kombucha) and experiences

My mind was set on writing about this amazing beverage, but with which brand and with with flavor(s) was to be determined.  Even when I have some semblance of a plan, I rather still keep it fresh and as meaningful as possible.

So in browsing the natural and organic aisles of my local supermarket, I noticed the list of companies making Kombucha is rapidly expanding.  I’ve even met some folks that are in the process of brewing themselves.  That might be a topic for another time but let me not lose focus.

I had seen Kevita in many grocery store refrigerators, and paid it plenty of mind.  It’s been in head to sample a couple of there Master Brew’s to see if they’re in fact masterful.

For this post I decided to make it a two for one and try two of the more summery flavors. We still got a long season to go ladies and gents so I want to make the most of it.

First up is the Pineapple Peach.  Seriously, does it get any better?  It’s quite possible, no. Now many of us have had fruit cocktails or fruit punch drinks that tend to mix one or more fruits too many.  And that’s drinking unnatural and products likely high in sugar, among other nasty additives.  And with all that sometimes these big companies still tend to mess up something so simple.  Not here.

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This was awesome.  And this is one of those kombucha drinks that if you’re not careful, you can finish off rather quickly.  I’m of the belief that these drinks are meant to be savored, not chugged and rushed through.  My body is still getting used to drinking this, so I believe in taking it slow as it gets adjusted to change.  That’s just an opinion and observation I’m making for myself.  You may think and feel different, and that’s what makes this tea and kombucha journey so exciting.

Pineapple and peach were merged together to create something so colorful, so delightful, and so invigorating.  I had about half of my bottle.  The other half I will enjoy soon.  But I want to appreciate the beautiful color and texture of this Master Brew.   Seriously, isn’t this so radiant?

Kombucha can go with anything but sometimes I like to have it with nothing.  This time I had it (again slowly) with a couple of equally fruitful and powerful health bars, perhaps you heard of them.  Yes Larabar is awesome too.

Next up was the Raspberry Lemon.  This tasted more like what you’d expect from a kombucha.  It’s not as easy to drink in my opinion.  And while I still thought it was alright, it’s nowhere near the Pineapple Peach.  Some going are going to love it, but this is one that took a little more time for me.  And in a way that’s a major point of this.  It’s not supposed to be rushed, but something about this flavor combination didn’t hit me like the first one.  And that’s quite ok.

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This was more for display, but you can see the Raspberry Lemon is paired with purple heirloom chips.  The Larabar’s is what I truly feasted on.  They’re so yummy.

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Since the kombucha thing is still so new to me, I want to revisit Kevita much sooner rather than later.  They have a plethora of flavors I want to try, and there’s no time like anytime, or something.

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Kevita is easily accessible in your area and here’s the link to find it near you.

Here’s a little local culture for you, and the live stuff too.

This is all good stuff.  Culture can be your friend, and this is one instance where it absolutely is.  I’d love to go it again.

Come to think of it, there will be likely be more kombucha next week from a different source, and source energy.  And I’m so excited.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Peach on the Beach

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

The Perfect Everything

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I want the posts throughout this Spring and beyond to focus on teas that are enjoyable, accessible, and approachable.  There will be the occasional forays into iced teas, tea ice cream, and who knows what else.  But I looked back at some of my posts and while I do all these articles (or whatever we choose to call them) out of love and joy, I do find myself coming off a little too serious at times.  I just can’t help myself.

This is why I will intend to have the titles, the stories, and everything else to resonate in the most spiritually positive ways as I can.  If a tea is disappointing then I’ll elaborate as to my thoughts on to why, but still focus on the positives where I can.  Some teas and some scenarios are beyond help, but hopefully those will be few and far between.

With that said, I will see how it goes and hope I can stick to what’s most important and celebrate my love of tea.  And what better way to keep this going then by sharing my thoughts on two spring themed and fruit forward teas by my one of my long time staples, Bigelow.

I was all set to discuss with you some of their newer creations, but the universe had other plans for me.  And I hope to get to that next week.  So this looks like a two-parter or back-to-back with one of the most recognizable and available teas in all the land.

Here are previous stories on this great company.  I’m surprised I haven’t written more. Well more is coming.

But without any further buildup I’m thrilled to share my thoughts with you on the Wild Blueberry Acai and the Perfect Peach.  With names like that, you know they take themselves seriously while not taking themselves seriously?  Do you know what I mean? Or maybe I’m reading more into this than I should.  I tend to do that.

I’ve had a couple of their herbal teas before but not these.  And I’m glad it wasn’t until yesterday that I got to try both.

First up is the Perfect Peach.  What I have found out about Bigelow in general is that steeping needs to be short and sweet.  It only takes a couple of minutes to get the all the flavors you’re hoping for.  In addition, the color permeates your cup almost instantaneously.  Sometimes certain brands take a few seconds or a minute or two to get that intended tint.  And even more than a few minutes to get all the flavors.  This is not a question of quality or anything like that.  It’s just what it is and my interpretation.

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The Peach is just fun.  It’s not going to blow you away or win any awards.  It’s just an enjoyable tea that promises as delivered.  I didn’t expect to taste a peach pie, and I’m not sure if I did.  And to tell you the truth it doesn’t matter.  It’s a tea that can be enjoyed heated, and I can only imagine how good this would be iced.  I’m detecting a theme of revisiting like I mentioned last week.   A huge positive to take from this is it doesn’t taste like an artificially sweetened peach pie or tea, or what have you.   I may not detect all the fruits, hibiscus, and flowers mentioned in the ingredients.  But what I do taste is a lightened and heightened peach based tea that evokes feelings of Spring and feeling good.  That’s all that matters.

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I could have stopped right there.  But if you thought the color of the Peach was quick, the Wild Blueberry Acai is a perfect shade of purple.  Oh and it sips well too.  Just like the Peach I expected the Blueberry as opposed to the Acai to be the main attraction in my cap.  I can safely say that I tasted both and the combination is fantastic.  And thankfully it’s light, and as a dear friend said, delicate, just like the Peach that it can appeal to any sensibility and even the most discriminating of tea lovers may like either of these teas.  I lean a little bit towards this one, but would recommend either.  And the benefits of blueberry and acai are your friend.

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I’m grateful some of my cat friends pictured throughout wanted to share in this experience with me.

Both the teas are my friend and can be yours too.  They are available in just about every grocery store and local shoppe where you secure your favorite teas.  And I’ve seen their 20 count boxes at $3 or less.  And sometime even below $2.   You will be getting your money’s worth and then some.  And if you don’t, I think a couple dollars to try some new teas was worth the stretch.

If you can’t find their teas near you, here is their link to purchase online.

I’m hoping to continue this next week with a sampling of Bigelow Benefits.  Now I just need to find them myself.

Blessed,

Ideen

 

I Love This So Much

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I don’t have any clever titles for Easter or any other holiday this week.  What I do know is that the weather is more of a friend than a roadblock at times.  And as the sun shines brighter and the days get longer the tea drinking will slowly transfer over from hot to iced.  Maybe.

The tea I experienced recently is from a company that is near and dear to my heart.  And I’ve written about them once or twice before.  Well more than that.  But Celestial Seasonings will always have a soft spot with me.  They’ve been so good to me and this blog that each time I write about them (here is my history lesson) I want it to be crafted and worded in the best way possible.

With the Country Peach Passion this shouldn’t be difficult.  This is everything that I want in my tea and reminds me of everything that is good about this season and life in general.

And it helps when you’re in the comfort of your friends’ living room relaxing and doing as little as possible.  If this sort of sounds familiar, this is the same spot I was sitting in last fall for another wonderful tea sipping experience.

I think I would love this tea in any setting, with or without friends and family, hot or iced, or even when I’m not feeling so hot.  This is just the cup that’ll rejuvenate and brighten anyone’s day.  I mean how can it not?  That packaging is the gateway to wonders and enjoyment that I knew was coming, but I didn’t know it would be this good. Well yeah I did.

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Celestial Seasonings has always been evolving with their packaging and presentation. Yet it continues to even be more approachable, accessible, and all the while still affordable. We can’t take that for granted.  You can find this tea in many a grocery store shelve that it’s hard to miss.  But that’s the thing, it’s always there that these are the teas I sometimes overlook when searching for something new and something that might be amazing, but sometimes disappoints.  Celestial has rarely disappointed.

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Upon opening I just knew.  I just knew this tea would be great.   One of my dearest friends who I was hanging out with was raving about this tea, and that may have influenced my feelings a bit, but there’s no denying this.  This is a tea I want in my life forever.

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Peaches are symbolic of what’s happening now and what is to come.  It reminds me of sitting outside, relaxing, fun festivals, outdoor events, and the good people that we share these experiences with.  This was a tea I was grateful to share for the first time, with some amazing people.

Oh and my dolphin friend from the fall was back to enjoy the experience one more time.  Not sure my friend had any of this tea but I would be happy to share it.  This is a tea I’ve already purchased since for enjoyment at home and I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to try some peach tea.

This is also another reinforcement of my love for chamomile.  But there’s so much to love and there’s ingredients I love that I can’t pretend to be familiar with or understand.  But I don’t need to and neither do you.   The peaches and orange peel is what really stands out the most, to me at least.  I love hibiscus and not sure if I tasted any but I bet it added something just the same.  Sometimes less is more but sometimes every ingredient just works here.

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I tend to say this a lot but this is now one of my favorite teas.  I imagine the present company and the hours of relaxing and doing nothing definitely added to it.  But it’s an awesome tea all the same.

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After just a few pictures to capture the moment,  I went back to lounging in my comfy chair with an absolutely inspiring cup of tea.

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The sailboat mug and images in the background are just an added touch to a tea that didn’t teach any added touches.   Get this tea.

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You can the Country Peach Passion and any of their other stellar teas either online or at a store likely minutes from you.

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I hope you all had a Happy Holiday weekend, whether that would be Easter, Passover, or any other tradition that you honor.

More fun teas to celebrate and more celebrations (and times to relax and do nothing) to come.

Ideen

A Tea for the Spring & Summer

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I was told that the Peach Turmeric Tea from The Spice & Tea Exchange will only last a few weeks.  And if captain obvious is showing you that along with the tea I reviewed last week, the Wild Berry Spring, these are both in the Limited Time Offer section all to the themselves.

My question would be after this limited time offer ends, where would the extra tea go?  I think I answered my own question. At least for the Peach, it doesn’t have a chance.  And I mean that in a good way.   I would not be surprised if this tea is near the end of supply or getting close.   This is up there with some of the best tea I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a lot of teas but I haven’t had them all.  Nor will I ever.  But at least for this moment, and it might be a temporary or short burst of feeling, this is up there with the classics.

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Where the Wild Berry is fantastic, the Peach is just in class of its own.  I love both but I think I love the Peach just a little bit more.  I can see others loving the Berry more.

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Turmeric is something that has been a a part of my life and my family going back as far as I can remember.  Yesterday, was the first day of Spring which also mean the first day of Iranian New Year.  And Turmeric has been used in traditional Iranian and Middle Eastern dishes for many a lifetime.  No, this wasn’t planned.  But I’m so happy I can incorporate Iranian New Year into this post.

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But this tea has so many joys of not just the spring, but the summer as well.   When I first got my first smell of the tea at the Rehoboth Beach store, I just knew this was going to be special.   Yet with this blog, I knew there would be a little bit of a wait.  And boy it was worth the wait.

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Yet a tea like this needs a beautiful presentation.  Maybe not quite like last week but another cup and infuser was in order.

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Leave it to me to split my purchases with Rehoboth (the teas) and Ocean City (everything else), when I could have done it all in one place, or even online.

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I spotted some fancy cups and thought a lighter blue would be more fitting.  I’ve done so many variations of greens that something else was necessary.  But I need more.  I needed a proper infuser for this occasion.  Leave it to Fred and Friends, and my new friend the ManaTea.  Yes it’s a silicone tea infuser and he looks so friendly.  No, not creepy.  I said friendly! Yes!

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But after looking at him I can understand why one might get freaked out.  It looks like he keeps staring at you, similar to a creepy stuffed animal or some dopey looking person on a billboard.  But enough, how was this tea I keep heaping praise on?

The smells matched how it was after brewing.  I only had to place a little in the infuser since I was steeping it in such a tiny cup.  I placed less than a teaspoon and it worked to perfection.   The peaches, honey, coconut, and Rooibos really shine through to make this the perfect tea for the spring and the summer.   This can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Some sweet spring and holiday themed treats pair wonderfully with the tea itself, the cup and the season.  And that color and shine on that tea is magnificent.

Speaking of  cold, I realized I had a little left after a few hours and naturally got to savor this tea chilled.  It was beautiful.  Everything about this was beautiful.   In hindsight I wish I bought more and I may do just that.

Since I have a relatively small bag of this and the berry, I will appreciating and savoring every moment I can with these teas.  For a limited time really means just that.

And onto the subject of limited time.  That’s what spring (and much of life in general) feels like.  It comes and it goes.  So on this second day of spring my goal once again is to appreciate every moment.  It would safe to assume many of you want to do the same.  We don’t have to document or blog every moment (though that helps for yours truly) but to create and imprint new Spring memories is what life is all about.

Spring is a time of rebirth, a revitalization, a time of hope, joy, peace, love, and everything positive synonym and superlative you can think of.  I said Summer earlier and we do love Summer.  But one day at a time.

Yes this is a tea for both seasons.   If you only could get one of the two teas I’ve written about, I would go with the Peach Turmeric.  But that’s just me.

Here’s the list of Spice and Tea Exchange’s locations and their online store.  I have only had good experiences with them.

I want to thank Yanna at the Rehoboth Beach shoppe for giving me a discount on my teas (which went above and beyond) because of my blog.  And thank you to Tiffany at the Ocean City store for help on my new infuser, glass, and getting me essentially another tea for free.  Which I hope to get to down the line.

A limited time on teas, a limited time on this earth, means an unlimited amount of time to enjoy tea, enjoy each other, and enjoy life.  That’s the point of all this.

If it works out for next week, I will hopefully write about an Iranian tea like I did last year to celebrate New Years.

Nevertheless Happy First Day of Spring, Happy Spring, Happy New Year, and Happy Everything.

Ideen

Love of Tea, and Other Fun Things

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I had never done a Valentine’s Day themed post, and it really didn’t cross my mind to do one this year.  But after consulting my mentor, and realizing that next Tuesday is that day, which means there will continue to be tea posts every Tuesday, I figured it’s meant to be.

Now I’m not the biggest fan nor am I really opposed to this man-made holiday.  Well if you read the latter part, you might think I sway towards the negative.  You might be correct.

Love should be spontaneous, celebrated throughout the year, and displayed as much as possible.  What’s even more important is that love doesn’t necessarily mean between you and your significant other, or spouse, but in all forms.

I love my cat.  I love our animal friends.  I love my family.  I love my friends.    And I love my cat.  Oh wait…

I love tea. This is a tea blog.  So yes, I love tea.  And I love tea so much.  It brings me joy that is hard to put into words.  It shouldn’t be put into words.  I let the sipping and the reactions do the talking.

Yes, and I think many of us know we don’t need a special day to do just that.  But in honor of such an occasion, I will make the most of it.

Per my tea guru’s suggestion, I’m changing it up this week in a big way.

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If you’ve been to your local shopping district, then by now you know of Teavana.   They have taken tea, and essentially loose-leaf tea to unprecedented and transcendent levels.

I’ve been here many times before every writing about it, and many times since.  To say the store is still a bit overwhelming after all this time would be correct.  But overwhelming doesn’t necessarily mean bad.  There’s a lot going on and there’s so many new teas and instruments to discover and learn about.    There will never be enough time to learn about everything, and to try and do so would defeat the purpose of this journey.   But…

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I obviously don’t have time to write about it all here.  What I will say is that I’m happy that this is my inaugural post for Teavana, and this will not be the last.

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For this first go around it needed to be done big and done special.  Actually getting teas here is an experience.  So without further adieu, I present by suggestion from my muse, the Strawberry Blush Rose and Peach Tranquility Blend.

Yes, it couldn’t be just one.  And it had to be big for this time of year.     Ingredients and instructions for brewing are listed within the page.  I’ll let you research that on your own, or otherwise this post would go on till tomorrow.

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And it wasn’t even one.  It was actually three.  The staff member got me a festive tin, and along with getting the blend of the two teas, I also got them separate.  So I was already getting ahead of myself assuming the two were kindred spirits that could not be separated. Wait what?  Yes, all the love references are deliberate but are also flowing naturally.

Pictures of the tin standing and taken apart are shown here, as well as up-close shots of the tea.  Quite impressive right?  The process was truly exciting.  I’ll get to more about that shortly.

What I will say is that I’m in love.  This is masterful concoction of flavors that you would think might be impossible.  But no.  There’s heart, there’s soul, and there’s a true spirit behind this tea.

The brewing process was an absolutely joy.  The aromas from the tea were already getting me jazzed up for what I hoped to be a stimulating and inspiring cup.  And how about that tint?  I know I know.   The tea was a win.  The flavors of both worked together perfectly.  I could see why so many folks have regarded this so highly.  The after taste of rose hips was truly a highlight.  There’s also just about every fruit known to man and woman.  If you can discover them all then you’re a rock star.  I’m happy with it nevertheless.  And it paired nicely with some thin lemon cookies.

And if you notice, I show you what makes me happy, brings me joy, and truly brings out the love.   Yes, a miniature rubber ducky!  Ha. well that and my love for animals in all shapes and sizes.  And I obtained a certain special teacup to celebrate even more love.   I would be lying if I said the tea didn’t taste just a little bit better because of the props.  But I digress.  This tea would be awesome under any circumstance.  But hopefully it’s a joyous one.

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I did get a bit carried away.  Maybe I should have tried one of the flavors on its own first.   Well there’s a first and second time for everything.

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Even though I’m working backwards, I’m actually going in the order of the teas that were brewed.   Next up was Strawberry Blush by itself.

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I think I liked this even just a little more.  Maybe because it was the simplicity of it.  It was sipped in its own sans the blend, and even more flavors were able to be discovered on its own.  I would be lying if I said one was truly better than the other.  But for a personal thing, I give this the slightest edge.  And that color is just as beautiful.

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I got another teacup for this one too!

Maybe it was the simplistic aspect of it, or maybe it was the chocolate truffles that paired with this chocolate did the trick.  See I guess I’m a sucker for this holiday after all.  Well.

For me, this was a gift to myself, to the universe, from the universe, and hopefully someone reading will find this as a plausible gift alternative to the standard flowers, candy, and chocolates.  Well chocolates are good.  I just told you I had some!

And when I was done steeping I had a few pieces of strawberry and other random fruits. Yes you can do that.  That’s an added bonus I don’t think you’ll find on the website.

I want to mention that Teavana is on the higher end of teas.  This is significantly higher than your budget friendly teas at your local supermarket or neighborhood store.  But if you feel like splurging and buying a gift for a loved one, this is going to be different and I think it’s going to be a pleasant surprise to many.  And if your loved one is a tea lover, even better.

Because of the price level of these, it’s good to savor teas and brew in small doses and for special occasions.

Prices will vary based on weight, container, and the tea themselves.

I did not purposely leave out the Peach Tranquility Tea.  This is where I will push the pause button and resume at a later date.  I thin this is one I will have for the Spring or Summer.  I will remember this and promise you I will get back to it.  I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t. More importantly, my sense is that this would make an excellent iced tea during the warmer months.

It also gives me something to look forward too.  I also feel that Valentine’s Day is good because for many it’s a day of joy but also another sign that warm weather is right around the corner.  So I feel that the Peach Tranquility is the perfect segue to talk about down the road.

To find a Teavana near you, click here.

I wish you a happy early holiday, and will do another post next week, to celebrate this day for love of all kinds.

Love To Many, Love To All, and Love To You.

 

Love,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jasmine Pearls

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You sometimes don’t know where the best teas will come from.   I could go on some long winded rant about how the best teas could be loose, or in bags, or from other source.  And I might also say the best of the best may find you.   When you aren’t looking it just comes your way.  I’ve gone on and on about the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of tea drinking.  It’s a subconscious and conscious experience all at the same time.

The team I’m going to write about here is from a company I’ve never heard of, and it was sipped at a place I’ve never been to before, and in a place I would least expect.   Actually it wouldn’t be near the last place I’d expect, but it’s fun to say that for dramatic purposes. But it was at a place where it only seems fitting.

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I’m happy to say that the Haiku White Tea from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Company is one of those teas I’ll be thinking about for a long time.

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What makes this even all the more special is this was after appetizers, after wine, and after a fantastic dinner at Vin 909 in gorgeous Annapolis, MD.  And this location is as cozy, charming, and welcoming as it gets.  But more on this awesome restaurant later in the week.

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But this tea oh my goodness.  Maybe it was the setting, maybe it was the ambiance, the location, the meal, the energy, and the everything.  It doesn’t matter.  Good tea is good tea and great tea is even better.  This was on another level.

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I don’t talk about white tea enough.  I’m grateful I got to write about a expertly crafted one here. The white with natural peach, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean flavors makes this a unique medley of flavors that I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of having altogether before. Throw in orange peel and rose hips (which I couldn’t taste since I was mesmerized by everything else) and this is a tea I strongly recommend, but only wish was available at a store near me.

The good news is you can purchase this tea among so many selections online.

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To me, this tea is a throwback to so many I’ve had in the past.  It felt like a culmination of something.  No, not the culmination, or else that’s even more over-the-top, and I’m just getting warmed up.

The majority of restaurants we go to do have tea. But not like this.  And the tea offerings are usually along the lines of the most standard label, which usually means a black tea, and anything but herbal.  And there’s nothing right or wrong about that.   Higher end (which is what I consider Vin 909 to be) restaurants don’t (and for good reason) consider their after dinner menus as well thought out as I’ve seen Vin 909’s.    And this is part of what I forgot to mention earlier.

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You usually get this presentation at tea shops and cafes, so this gave me that warm and happy feeling.  Anytime I see a teapot with infuser, I’m super excited.  Yet, I try to keep that enthusiasm to myself or I may be asked to leave the premises.

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The tea paired with a heavily rich Chocolate pot de creme.  It was comfort food for a time of comfort.  It’s January, we’re still in a bit of the holiday hangover.  This is the time to be practicing healthy eating and drinking habits.  Apparently this was the last thing on my mind.

For more on the wine pictured below, click here.

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The dessert was an interesting counterbalance to the tea.  I split it with company, and still could barely eat any.  But the joyous tea was one I was thrilled to split 50/50.

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I’m craving a pot all to myself right about now.    But I would be a fool to say that everything else leading up to this was tremendous, that it made the after dinner experience that much better.

Where is this going?  I go to a farm-to-table restaurant/wine bar and all I write about is the tea?   I keep my universes separate, but this will all make sense as the week progresses.

In all honesty, depending on where the next posts go, the tea one might have been the easiest or most difficult to right.  How about that for a bold prediction?

If you are in or around the Annapolis area, I cannot recommend Vin 909 enough.

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Here is their menu, their wines (more on this this later this week), and a little more about them.

I was happy to learn that owner and general manager, Alex Manfredonia is a big supporter of my dear friend’s organization, Anne Arundel County CASA.

It makes me happy to support a great restaurant that supports a greater cause.

This will all be elaborated on later.

For more on the incredible and incomparable Jasmine Pearl Tea Company, click here, more about them, their story, and of course where to buy.

It’s a Vin 909 kind of week.

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To be continued…

Ideen