Feeling A Little…

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When it’s this cold here in the Baltimore and DC area, it can be a challenge looking at the glass half full.   It can be a time of hibernation, which is good or bad depending on how you look at things.  I’m all for peace at any time of year.  I’m all for a good cup of tea and some good conversation any time of year.  I’m all for anything that’s genuine, any time, any place, and anywhere.

But sometimes you appreciate a little solitude and with our busy schedules it may be few and far between.   However, with anything in life, if you want to make time for the ones you care about you will.  And that includes the one you need to look out for the most, yourself.  That’s not a selfish statement whatsoever.  It’s one of where if you can take of yourself, then you take care of others and look out for the ones you care for the most.  That’s anything but selfish.  It’s the most selfless thing there is.

This is why, back in November, I took some time much needed and in the place I was in, some desperately needed time for myself.  Exploring charming towns, seeing new sights, and appreciating the universe around you is what makes this life so glorious, even if it’s a short drive away.

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Caffe Amouri of Vienna, VA fits the bill of something different and a place where it seems like community is a way of life.  It’s in the historic part of town where upon inspection seems to be a lot smaller than it once was.  I could be completely wrong but it’s an observation based on other small towns I’ve encountered in my journey, not just for my love of tea but for everything.

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The decor with musicians past and present is a great touch.

Leave it to me to always want to drink tea in a coffee shop. A few close friends tease me for that, but all in good fun.  I love a good coffee, but that story can be reserved for another time and maybe another blog.  Maybe.

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For all the vibe of the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC area being a bit stuffy, I didn’t get that here.  It’s all our perception and how we tend to view things, but I saw something beautiful.  And I can’t put my finger on it nor do I need to exactly.  Maybe as I keep writing it’ll come, but it doesn’t have to.

If I remember correctly, I actually had my sights set on a cup of coffee, but when I saw their collection of tea, I had to go in that direction.  How often am I here, and when would I actually be back?  So it’s funny that the tea that caught my eye was the Bourbon Street Vanilla.

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Where it came from I have no idea, but maybe this link or this one will help, if you would like to purchase some yourself.

You see, I went to New Orleans in the summer of 2015 and that vacation still has a profound effect on me to this day.  It was life altering that I’m still trying to come to terms with.  And by me writing this out, I still haven’t and maybe I’m not meant to, or maybe I’m afraid to.  Nevertheless, it was amazing.  But it’s not as if Bourbon Street itself was the highlight of the trip.  It actually wasn’t even near the top.  But when I find a tea that reminds me of something beautiful, because of the name or a picture, drawing, or something else symbolic, I have to try it for myself.

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The tea itself is fantastic.  I’ve said over the course of this blog that Rooibos teas have been such a joy to me, and if it wasn’t for these stories who knows if I would be such a fan.  It’s the discoveries I’ve made and the new things I’m learning about myself and my surroundings that have helped me grow, even if it’s been a slow process.

The almond pieces and vanilla flavor really made this tea a pre holiday treat.  And it’s perfect for these cold weather months and times ahead.  So there’s the half full part.  I was also in a place of peace and tranquility where I was able to relax, without a worry or care in the world.  Now that last part is temporary.  I do worry and I do care, maybe too much.  But at least for these few minutes, I was in an unfamiliar place, yet it felt like home.

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Home is wherever you want it to be.   Now I have some things to thing about…

For more on Caffe Amouri, here is their selection of coffees and teas (including the aforementioned Bourbon Street Vanilla) to purchase online, and contact information.

Have a blessed one.

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

Happy National Pumpkin Day!

I know this pumpkin thing has seemed over-the-top too many.  I love it.   I am not big on the consumerism aspect of it but I am in love with this festive time of year. It’s a teaser for the month of November and all the fun that comes with it.

Unfortunately, I started seeing pumpkin stuff as early as mid-to-late August.  I understand companies want to get a jump on it but that’s where this becomes just business and less about the spiritual aspect of this time.

Now I love all the amazing foods and drinks that can come from this.  But we’re seeing it added to everything; bread, chips, coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages and everything in between.  I used to just think it was in a pie on Thanksgiving and that was it.

A friend of mine recently sent me a photo of pumpkin spiced cat litter.  Seems a bit extreme?  But if it makes my cat happier I’d be tempted to buy it.  So the consumer bug has gotten to me too.   Speaking of which…

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Need I say more?   The visual is beautiful and you can’t help but be mesmerized by the choices.  It could be a pumpkin-themed display or something on the opposite end of the spectrum and we’d still be enthralled.

I take it back to Trader Joe’s for this week’s tea assessment.  It’s the Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea and it’s an interesting one.

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I like rooibos and the health benefits have been presented to you in these two respective links.  But if I wanted a regular rooibos I’d have purchased one.   I purchased this expecting more pumpkin and the autumn themed flavors.  I got none of that.  The flavor is fine if they didn’t mention the spice.  So this is not as advertised.

Maybe it’s my taste buds but I don’t think so.  I really gave this a shot.  I steeped this for the suggested amount of time and I didn’t get much.

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However, the smell from the sachet was absolutely terrific.  But that scent did not translate when brewed. The aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg definitely hit me when I opened up the tin.   Why did it not permeate after steeping?  Could it be that it’s artificial?  That’s just my speculation.

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The reddish-pumpkin color after steeping is also stunning which ordinarily correspond with a masterful tasting cup.

I really wanted to love this tea but it didn’t happen.  It’s ok otherwise but the promotion that this is a pumpkin spice tea I feel is misleading.

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In the spirit of this day I did enjoy a bowl of pumpkin-themed pecan oatmeal that was really good but also not as powerful as maybe implied.

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I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from trying this.   Many may prefer this tea exactly as it.  Hopefully you’ll be able to detect the flavors that I couldn’t.  I wasn’t even trying too hard which usually leads to positive results.   But they can’t all be masterpieces.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this gem from Trader Joe’s that captures what this season is all about.  I hope to end the TJ’s posts on a high note, so I envision this is not the last time I write about them this year.

Happy Holidays!

Best,

Ideen