Kombucha Koolness

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Never underestimate the art of alliteration.   And boy does it apply here.

For our friends in the Baltimore area, you might have heard of Wild Kombucha from the fine folks at Mobtown Fermentation.

First here is some information on what Kombucha exactly is, or you can scroll up and down their website for a primer.

The festivals, parties, and other excuses to hang out accelerates as we’re deep into fall, and we’re approaching the happy holidays.   Leave it to a Pumpkin Party (there goes that alliteration again) to get the ball rolling this season.   And this party took place at Rooftop Hot in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore, which is one of one my favorites and most down-to-earth parts of the city.

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There was food, live music, outdoor chilling, and all the other stuff that goes along with a festival.  You know, the usual.   And that’s more than enough but when you add free samples of their kombucha, now you know it’s a party.  But if you hadn’t look closely, you would think they were handing out free samples of beer.  The bottles would make you think so.  Never judge a bottle by it’s cover (make sure to look first) and make sure you know what’s being served.  That didn’t mean to come off as dopey as it sounded.

So yes they had samples of all four of their delightful beverages.  Yes I’ve already given away my thoughts on this.  The pumpkin display with their drinks on ice was a great presentation.  It really made it seem like this is a beer tasting.   My peers thought so.  I initially thought so.  I don’t care for beer so this was a relief.

Let’s talk about the drinks.  They had all four of their creations available for sampling.  Yes I loved them all.

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The website doesn’t list it, but their Apple Spice was my favorite.  It tasted great and tastes like fall.  So a full appreciation of this was taking place.   Joey, who was doing the tasting, was kind enough to give us multiple pours of all the flavors.  But this was one I’d want to drink on a regular basis for sure.  That tint is gorgeous too.

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The Elderberry was rocking too.  You’re going to see a theme here.  This may have been my second favorite.  This just fits what they’re doing.  I’m not sure if that makes sense, but Elderberry is the perfect flavor for their fermented tea.  And that color just luminates and radiates.  And it tastes good too.  That’s the most important aspect of all of these.

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Next, the Mango Peach.  It was energizing but I would fully appreciate this more in the warmer months.  But this is another winner.  These guys know what they’re doing.

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Finally, the Ginger-Grapefruit tastes the most like tea.  Ginger has always been one of my favorite components of a tea.  The pairing with Green Tea, lemon, and honey and other flavors has always been a go-to for me.  This’ll now be another go-to as well.  I just love Ginger.  And I loved this one too.

It’s hard to compare these four.  They all are special and blessed in their own way.  I may alternate which of these drinks will be my favorites based on the day and the season.

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This was a stellar experience.  Once again, a huge thanks to Joey for being so accommodating, and giving me more pours than I had any business having.  I hope  I don’t get you in trouble.

At the bottom of their page, is where you can find their divine drinks, their story, and contact information.   They make it look so easy. 

Hopefully, more awesome fall posts to come.  Actually,  that’s a yes.

Yes!

Ideen

I Love Naptown

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Annapolis has been so good to me this Summer.  More importantly than that, Naptown has been good to so many of us.  For me, this will go down as the Summer of Annapolis. But I don’t want Summer to end.  I don’t want my sentimental experiences and discoveries in Annapolis to end.  I won’t allow it.  I hope in the coming months, I will have uncovered plenty of other amazing finds in our state capital.

The amount of driving and walking, in the area, I’ve done recently has skyrocketed.  I’m drawn to this town.  We’re like magnets to each other.  One part that is still foreign to me is the Village of West Annapolis.  More times than not I would pass through and never stop. Why wouldn’t I stop? There’s no rush.  And speaking of rush…Ah I’m corny.  But one day recently I decided to park and take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. It’s a happy town within a happy town.  It’s another universe.

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After a few minutes walking around this heavenly setting, I knew a cafe of some sort had to be around.  No I did not do any research ahead of time.  I wanted to go in without any knowledge of  what was around.  Playing lost tourist is a preference.

Bean Rush Cafe had my heart from the get go.  It’s somewhere I’d frequent regularly if I lived in the area.   And seriously, I would be here everyday.  It had the most welcoming signage, pictures, and outdoor setting I can remember.  I’vet yet to even walk in or even talk about a tea, and I’m raving about it.  Yes tea was purchased.

There’s a lot going on inside.  They sell tea, tea instruments, loose tea, and of course coffee.  I did order a coffee to go but that’s for another blog, if ever.

The staff was incredibly friendly to the point it was scary.   There’s an abundance of great people in the world, but this was on another level.  Their story explains so much.

I wanted a chilled tea since the weather called for it, so they suggested their Peach Green Tea, that is their most popular.  So I decided to follow the crowd, and I’m glad I did.

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The floral arrangements hit my nose immediately.  This wasn’t as sweet to me as the team member said it would be.  And I’m good with that.  A little sweetness goes a long way. As time went on the sweetness began to permeate.  The cup had time to settle and open up, and it got better by the minute.  This was fantastic to say the least.

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I was able to snag a chair outside, and the views made my tea that much better. Great ambiance is always important, but this was out-of-this-world.  And as I mentioned earlier this was another world.  I knew i was in Annapolis, but I felt insulated and I felt safe.

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A multitude of pictures were taken but after that, the cameras were off and I stayed here for a while.  And when I mean a while, I mean at least an hour.   This an experience to be savored.  In so many ways, I felt it was too good for me to even write about.  But this needed to be shared.

If you get a chance, definitely swing by.  I don’t know if what I’m saying does this place justice.   I will be back and I’m hoping that return is soon.

You may notice I had a sweet treat to go with my tea.  Recognize the chocolate pieces?  This is a tribute to the Olympics that have since concluded, and one of the great commercials of all time.

Here’s their Annapolis menu, their contact information, and yes they have a mobile cafe! That’s so cool!  And they also have a location in nearby Crownsville.

My previous Annapolis based posts can be found here.

What else can I say?  It feels great, it feels inspiring, it feels like home.    I love being home.

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Kindest,

Ideen

Tropical Tuesday

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The weather has been breaking and the teas that are coming into my life could not be more appropriate.

For this one we go back to a company that has provided some creative and inspiring flavors, The Spice & Tea Exchange.   And it’s going to be a good one.

I’m grateful that this blog has reached my friends, including ones who don’t find tea to be the most fascinating of subjects.   I had some pals recently travel to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and they thought to get me a specialty tea.  And how about it, they found themselves at their Forth Worth location.   It’s funny how life works out.

To my pleasant surprise, I was presented with their White Tropical Tea.  This is something to behold.  A lot of pictures are in this post and it may not be enough to capture this brilliance of this flavor.  Oh my goodness I’m in love.

TropicalTeaOpenPineapples, peaches, and passion fruit.  Ah you can’t make that alliteration up ladies and gentlemen.  I’m in heaven.  As soon as I saw the packet I knew I was in for something special.  Upon opening I was spot on.  

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The aromas of the aforementioned fruits blindsided me, and in the best way possible.   I hope you can see the pineapple and peach pieces within the white tea. This is the equivalent of art.    I would love to see the process of how this comes together.  I’m getting goose bumps thinking about it as I write this.

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You know when it looks this good, and smells this good, it’s almost a recipe for disappointment.  Thankfully, the tea tasted and moved me in all areas.

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As customary with all brewing parties from the Spice & Tea Exchange, the Tovolo Tea Infuser is the backbone.

Never was there any doubt I was going to love this.  The brewing and steeping process always builds anticipation and excitement, maybe even for teas I’ve had on a regular basis. There’s just something about the journey.

Four minutes was the suggested steeping time and it’s as if the infuser knew that, because it plopped down in my cup as soon as the timer stopped.  Yes I have a countdown clock. It’s just as exciting as it sounds.

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In all seriousness, the color and the flavor matched if not exceeded what I hope to get and what I saw pre-brew. This was perfection. I can’t find any flaws and why should I?  This is a tea that has so many strengths.  I think it would be perfect heated or chilled, especially as we approach the warmer months.

Speaking of which, I had a little fun and paired my cup with some coconut chips and strips. I did no research to find a potential marriage of the food and beverage, but figure and island and summer theme would suffice.

I received a card with my sample pack.  The owners wanted a mention and they’re going to get one.  Thanks so much Mr. Jerry McBrayer and Mrs. Nancy McBrayer for being the long distance new friend to this blog.  If i ever get the opportunity to visit, I’ll come by and say hello.

I find the location above these sample packs so charming.  I’ve been to a few myself but mainly locally.  And adding on to that, I see this chain is expanding rapidly.  I don’t remember this many locations even a year ago.  It’s good to see. This store is going to grow at an unstoppable and exponential rate. There is no ceiling.

For more on The Spice & Tea Exchange, to contact them, or to purchase their products, you can click here.

Here is a link to find my previous reviews of their teas.

I can’t wait to try another from this wonderful company.  As the weather gets exciting and the skies are beauteous, I believe that will be happening.

Stay awesome,

Ideen

One Love

I’ve wanted to find any reason to incorporate the things I love into my posts.   And fortunately, the iconic and legendary Bob Marley is near the top of that list.

I found out about Marley’s Beverage Company only a few months ago and was looking for the perfect time to write about it. Well the Summer is the right time to talk about anything cool.   I didn’t want to wait all the way to February on his birthday to write about it.

I could only hope that a grocery store or the like would carry a product with such a monumental and historic name attached to it.

I am grateful to say that was the case.   Even though there were only two flavors available, luckily they were both the bottled teas. And did they taste fun and yes, I’m feeling mellow.

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Of course there would be a bias and I was hoping they would taste at least satisfying.  It was all that and so much more.  I felt great after sampling both.  It became more than sampling.  I decimated both.   Thankfully they were decaffeinated or I’d be bouncing off the walls.

As I’m writing this and feeling so calm, I realize that on the products site, they list the 100% Natural Calming Botanicals and this feels more than a placebo.  I feel so at peace.

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First up is the Black Tea with Peach, Raspberry, and Passion Fruit.  That is quite the trio of fruit.   And the trio comes together for a masterpiece of flavors.  I felt so good drinking this.

Most important, the tea does not get lost in the shuffle even though these powerful fruit flavors are included.   I can tell a lot of soul and a lot of passion (pun not intended) is behind this beverage.

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And then we have the Green Tea with Honey. The tea and honey combo is terrific.  There’s an even balance that both complement the other so well.  I’m relaxing and enjoying life sipping on this one as well.

This is also a tea that should be savored and drank naturally. Neither of these feel like the usual chugging iced teas or cold beverages that other may seem designed to do.

In what is now becoming a tradition with my recent recaps, I opened up the bottled and poured them in glasses so you can get the beautiful tints and shades of both.

How gorgeous do they both look?

To see if their beverages are sold near you, click here. And to read more about this great company, click here and here.

I had so much fun trying these teas and talking up how great they were, that I hope I get the opportunity to do so again.

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One love.

Kindest,

Ideen

Peach Pals

This one is going to be fun.  There’s also going to be a record number of pictures.  We’re looking at around 25.

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Over the weekend I attended the Peach Festival at Weber’s Cider Mill Farm in Parkville, MD.  This was my first time attending the festival but not my first time visiting the farm.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my first exposure to the farm was around the holidays last year.  It was only by virtue of driving nearby and seeing signs for it that I stumbled upon this happy place.  And it’s a happy place.  It feels like Christmas even when it isn’t. And in a way, I’m grateful my first visit around one of the more positive times of the year.

So by default, this was my first Peach Festival.

The event and the farm itself is geared more towards a family friendly vibe.  The store inside acts as a regular market but it’s all farm fresh and local, which is wonderful!  Within the store there is a bakery and ice cream shop as well.   It has all the stuff that makes you feel good.

The festival itself got crowded very early and rather abruptly.  The sights and sounds will try to be conveyed via pictures.

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Of course I got a few peaches.  I’m not overstating this when I say they were incredible.  We are in the heart of the peach season.  And this is one of the best fruit indulging experiences I’ve had in a long while. Which leads us to the all-important question. What tea goes with a peach?

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Fortunately, after doing a bit of research, I recall the Maryland Tea Sampler from Eastern Shore Tea.

My previous post on the sampler can be found here.

If you check out this list, there’s some obvious choices of tea with peach as the focal ingredient, but my feeling wasn’t to do a peach with the same flavored tea.  I’m glad I went with my gut.

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Included in the sampler is the Baltimore Clipper Tea, which is simply a mix of Black and Green Tea.  How can you go wrong with that?   It was something to behold.  This was truly a tea sipping experience.   I could honestly say I was having cup of two amazing flavors.  And I could taste both.

The joy of brewing this tea was just as exciting as when I drank it.

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I hope that you can see the evolution of the brewing process here. Can you see the steam in the last picture from the right? Breathtaking.  I can literally see the color go from green to a more greenish to black combination.  I was mesmerized.   I hadn’t seen anything quite like it.

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My peach tasted even more amazing because the tea opened up some new flavors, via eating and the sipping itself.  And the tea had some new flavors shine through. What those flavors were I cannot begin to describe. Maybe it’s one of those things that needs to be kept mysterious and leave me intrigued.

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And speaking of intrigue, I will leave you with some photos from this charming event.  The ones with the animals are always my favorite.

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I will be making frequent visits to Weber’s, so hopefully more posts to come.

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Cider season is later but I’m still enjoying the Summer!

If you live anywhere close to this happy place, I strongly recommend a visit.  I feel good every time I drive up and even more joyous when I leave.  I know I have supported a local establishment that radiates a positive energy to everyone.

For more on Weber’s you can click here.

And for more on the Eastern Shore Tea you can click here via the Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Thankful for this Turkey

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I’m thankful for a lot of things.  And I should be thankful for more.   A little early for Thanksgiving I know.  And this is not a play on words or any puns intended.

And I am thankful and grateful for finding things to talk about each week.

I was at my local supermarket headed towards the tea aisle, but before I could make it, I spotted the featured items display by the registers.    They had a few cold teas in the fridge, but the one that stood out the most was from Turkey Hill.

Their ice creams and juices were always a staple in our house growing up but with time and experiences we move onto other food and beverage interests.

Well it’s nice to be reunited!

I had no idea they made Organic Iced Tea, let along so many other awesome looking products.

I picked up two and I’ll get it out-of-the-way, I loved them both very much!  If I drank these blindly I wouldn’t have thought they were organic.  I would just think they tasted great.

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First up is the Organic Green Tea with a touch of honey.  And a touch of honey is spot on.  It’s not overpowering that you forget this is a green tea.  They got this just right. This was a pleasure to sip and would be enjoyable on a hot Summer’s day or any time of year.   And with just a few ingredients, you know you’re getting something pure.

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And then we have the Peach Organic Black Tea.  It’s hard to pick a favorite.  I honestly loved them both so much.  There’s a lot more peach here than there’s honey in the aforementioned green, but it’s wonderful.   Peach is one of my favorite fruits and to combine it with one of my favorite beverages is majestic.

Another point of note, I had no idea they were so close to home. Turkey Hill’s main headquarters are an hour or so north of us in the Baltimore area, in Lancaster County, PA.   Anyone up for a road trip?

If you can’t find their products in your nearby store, you can order from them here.

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And just like wine, they have food pairing suggestions for their iced teas, which are done in a very user-friendly and approachable way.

I am sold!  I can’t wait to try and embrace more of their products.   I feel good perusing their site and supporting a company near me.

In addition to a couple of other organic selections I haven’t had the opportunity to try, they have an extensive iced tea collection.  And I hope to review those as well in the future.

I will be thankful to do so.

Best,

Ideen

Honest Tea Is The…

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Did you get the play on words?   I wasn’t aware of the double meaning until today.  And it’s always been in plain sight. I’ve been drinking Honest Tea, here and there for a number of years. A fun fact is that it’s based not far away from where I grew up, in Bethesda, MD.

As the weather shifts to hotter and more humid, the posts will also shift to cooler options, which will include bottled and iced teas.   Without hesitation I wanted to write about this Maryland based company as my first foray away from the stove, hot water, pots, kettles, and all the fun instruments I’ve been using recently.

It was a sunny day, very hot and hazy, and aside from drinking lots of ice cold water, I had a yearning for some naturally flavored goodness.   So I got the inspiration to write about a cold tea when I made it to my grocers aisle.

I missed National Iced Tea Day last week, so I’m making up for it as much as I can today.

As you can see, the amount of bottles is endless.  So I grabbed a couple in hopes they would turn out great.  I chilled them in the refrigerator after purchase, so I could fully appreciate their hopefully refreshing tastes.

So how’d it go?  Well fun is one way of looking at it!

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First up is the Peach Oo-La-Long Tea.  The name is entertaining and really resonates with me.  It’ll be on my mind for a while.  That’s a great way to sell you brand.   The tea itself for me was solid.   Oolong is not a tea I’ve had often nor have I ever been a major fan.  This will take some growing.  My taste and experience for it has been seldom.  After drinking this that could change.  It wasn’t my favorite chilled tea but we all have our particular tastes.

The peach puree and agave flavors are dynamite.  I really like agave.  And it’s an interesting alternative to honey, which I love almost more than anything on his planet.  So I was happy to try something different.

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Next is the Mango White.   This I could drink endless bottles of.  The flavors come alive here.  I adore white tea and I adore mango.   And throw in the agave syrup once again and we have a winner.  Perfection.  Having this chilled on a hot Summers day is a visual I’d like to repeat.  What a joy this is.

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And the profound quotes, proverbs and messages under every lid is a wonderful touch.

There’s a lot going on with this company.  And their website is loaded with information.  It’s a lot to take in but I included links where I could.  More on their products can be found here.

My favorite parts of all revolve around helping the community and there’s plenty to read about.  I love this stuff!  It makes me want to do more.

Being Fair Trade Certified and USDA Organic is always something I look for in a product and if the intent is good then I feel good about what I’m supporting.  It’s my symbolic gesture of saying thank you and it’s me saying I’d like to do my part as well in helping others.

I know I only glossed over Honest Tea’s items, but I could go on.  Instead, I will revisit them later this Summer and hopefully talk more of their amazing teas, flavors, and messages of good.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen