Ten Times The Cozy

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The last time I wrote about a tea sipping experience in Ellicott City, it was one of those transforming events that can’t ever be replicated.  It was almost too good for words. Actually it was and I went ahead and wrote about it anyways.

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You can’t compare one over the other, and it looks like I just did before I even began, but, the Bean Hollow nestled in perfectly in Old Ellicott City has the charm and panache of what makes this neighborhood so great.

I’ve been here several times before but under different circumstances and right before I started doing this Tea thing that I do.  If I had known now what I knew then, this would become a fixture.  And it just might be.

The place is so inviting, so cozy, and will charm even the most grouchy and dopey of patrons.  Well maybe not, but I think so.    There’s nothing that’s going to jump out and scream overly pretentious at you, and this is what most of us want.  We want a local shoppe that makes you feel at home even when you don’t know anybody.

You don’t have to now anybody.  But in this community, at least for this moment, it seemed like friendly folks knew each other or knew of each other.  And in the most positive and warm of ways.  As an outsider, I want to believe that.  There were several random smiles and hellos from people I’ve never seen before (maybe I have hmm..) and it’s still always a pleasant surprise to me.  It should be the rule and not the exception.  I think that made sense.

All I intended to do was to come in here for breakfast and maybe grab a coffee or tea (yes tea!!) to go, and keep on doing whatever I was doing.  I’m not sure what that was, but unless it’s something dire, was there really a rush?

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I was set on what turned out to be a delicious breakfast sandwich and noticed a bunch of teas on the counter from Montana Tea & Spice Trading llc.

Never heard of them.  Not sure how else I would discover them but I’m happy it happened here.

There were packages for sale but I kindly asked the staff if they sell these teas individually for sipping.  And they kindly said yes.  Yay!   I went with the Cherry Almond Green, and honestly it likely tasted better because of the setting.

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What I mean by that is if I drank this at home or on the road it may have just felt like any standard tea.  Not that there would be anything wrong with it, but I’d likely forget about it as soon as it over over.    But because I sat down, had a lovely breakfast, and my tea was presented in quite the charming cup, the results were likely so much different.

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Otherwise it tasted like a standard green tea with some cherry flavoring added to it.

And I took my time too.  By knowing I’m not always here, and not sure when I’ll be back, I took a few photos of my food and tea and then turned the camera off.  This was peace that is (by mainly our own doing) harder to come by.

Many coffee and breakfast shoppes are charming yet they all have similar and sometimes bland characteristics. This one had a little more to it.  I know my love affair with charming towns like this one have much to do with it but regardless this tea likely tasted infinitely times better because of where I was and how I was feeling.

In addition, I would absolutely try more of their teas in the future if the opportunity presents itself.  And I hope and I know that it will be at Bean Hollow, which makes me so happy.  I can’t wait to go back.

Here is more on Montana Tea & Spice along with their contact information if you’d like to know more.

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If you’re in the vicinity I would definitely stop by Bean Hollow and maybe you will find a source of rest and relaxation here as well.

Take good care,

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

 

First Class All The Way

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When I first ever heard about Harrods, I immediately thought it’s one of the stores that I don’t think I would ever be good enough to enter or even allowed to be invited inside. Yes, I’m making more out of this than I have reason to.  I assumed (and you know that whole cliche about assuming anything) that the clientele was VIP only and I would have to pay a steep fee to the bouncer just to get a chance to be allowed inside.

If you read here, my assumptions or presumptions weren’t that far off.

However, this is one of many preconceived notions I’m learning to let go,  I think.

What I feel now is excitement. The store is one of those all in one places that feels like a throwback to when I was a kid.  Why the change of heart?  Because it’s best to focus on the positive.  I’m saying this without actually ever being to the store or being to England, but the thought of getting lost in a store of this size excites me.  It’s good to get lost sometimes.   Wow, that sounded wrong.  I meant that in the most positive ways of possible.

I may never visit Harrods and that’s ok.  Well maybe.  But thankfully some amazing friends were in London recently and brought me back something amazing. Can you guess what?  Well this is a discussion of tea.  I’m thrilled, ecstatic, and all those other classy words to share with you my experience with the Harrods Limited First Blend Tea.

This is a tea that carries a lot of weight on levels that I don’t even know where to begin. I’m going to do my best here.

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First, that tin.  Does that not just scream authentic?  I want more collectors items in my life like this.  And now I have another one.    And already I’m cherishing this item without even having tried what’s inside.

Now onto the inside.

This loose leaf black tea has a scent,  a look, and an aura of something bigger than most teas I’ve ever had.  I think everything I said earlier and researched about has added to the worth of this tea.  And it’s worth everything.

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A tea of this caliber needed a proper treatment.  I am grateful to have the assistance of some close friends to help infuse this gem of a tea.  And in addition, my friends insisted on breaking out the fancy tea cups and tea plates to make this even more special.

I can’t articulate in words how special this was.

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Unless my mind was deceiving me, there’s a lot of caffeine in this than I realized.  But every bit of it was worth it.

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No foods, no snacks, and no pastries of any sort were necessary.  But I can only imagine an amazing scone or sweet treat would complement this iconic tea to a t.

My best good friend who helped me with the tea production told me that the freshness last two months after opening.   I think 250g is a lot that we may go past two months but I’m going to savor any situation where this tea is served, either to me or two friends.

Tea is something special and it’s something to be appreciated with good friends and the best company possible.

From my dear friends who brought me the tea from across Atlantic to my dear friends who helped me prepared the tea over the weekend, is what makes this even all more the more magnificent.

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An imported tea of this importance (ha) is wondrous on its own but I’m grateful that some of the people closest to me had a part in making this experience memorable and unforgettable as the tea itself.

Thankfully this tea is also available to purchase online to the entire world, click here for more information.

Here is their tea and coffee collection for your viewing and purchasing pleasure, in what I think is their entirety.

And here is more on Harrods, which has everything known to everyone.

This was stellar.  Five stars and then some.  Oh my goodness this was tea.     I can’t think of that many better ways to spend a weekend afternoon by drinking an incredible tea of this stature and spending it with some awesome company.  The sun being out always helps any occasion.

There may also be a video of this experience posted soon.   Stay tuned for updates.

How I get back to writing about them will be presented to me in time.  Maybe it’s a trip overseas or maybe it’s a gift from a friend.  Either way I look forward to it and I’m so grateful for this experience.

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Feeling blessed,

Ideen