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

 

May Is Beautiful

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We got here quick didn’t we?  It’s gonna be Summer soon.  And for man the month of May signifies this.   I’m good with that.  But I’m also good with appreciating each day and time of year for what it is.   I love this month so much.  The outdoor events have already been making their triumphant returns but this is the month where it becomes a weekly, and sometimes daily thing.  I also hope that means plenty of outdoor tea drinking, hot and cold.

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The one I’m going to discuss today, can be drank either way.   I’m assuming as such.

There are many teas I try that I never get a chance to write about.  Either that, or they are stored in my memory bank, with a new note taken, for future use.   The Pink Lemonade Herbal Tea from Eastern Shore Tea Company, which can be found at Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company (hope that doesn’t confuse you), is a gem to drink, a joy to watch steep, and a tea I thin even the non-tea drinkers would appreciate.

And the funny thing is this particular experience took place late last fall, but I wanted to wait for this time, this moment, and this part of the season to share it with you.

The setting was their Annapolis location.  I’ve mentioned in the past how much I love our state capital,  And even though their location is away from the heart of Downtown Annapolis, it still has its own aura and charm that always feel good and omnipresent when I visit.

And even though it was months ago I still think about this tea.  Yeah it was that good.  No, it’s nowhere near the best tea I, or most tea drinks, will ever have.  But there’s something about it.  It has a universal appeal.  If you’re not a tea drinker,  you may find this enjoyable anyways, especially in the warmer months.  This will be perfect for any outdoor party, cookout, birthday, or any other event of celebration.  And there will be much to celebrate.

I wish I had the opportunity to try this iced, but in a tea shoppe, they gave me some hot water (which I assume I asked for) and I just steeped a bag.  And even that color will remind you of that perfect seasonal drink.  It radiates.

Lemongrass and hibiscus flowers are the ingredients.  You probably wouldn’t know it unless you looked at the label.  It’s a naturally created pink lemonade that’s better than your fountain soda, or your artificially enhanced flavored drink on your grocers shelf.

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When I look back at the picture above I’m reminded of the fact that I almost didn’t sip this tea.  I almost didn’t sip a lot of teas.  This also means that there’s still teas in this display and others that have seen been created, that I must and will get to sample.

That’s the charm of their stores.  You may have a tea in mind off the bat but another one is just waiting for you to try.  And that’s how I got to try the Pink Lemonade for the first, and what is still my only time.  It was beautiful in so many ways.   And the atmosphere is throwing down a gauntlet.  Which one should I try next?

I forgot I had a sandwich with my tea.  I do recall these beautiful flowers though.  So while this was all taking place in autumn, it was a charming preview of where we are now.    Time is accelerating my friends so whenever there is a chance to stop and appreciate the beauty of nature and life around us, we should do just that.   I would say this tea is in that conversation.  It’s been months but I’m salivating for another cup right now.

Here are some links if you’re interested in purchasing this or any of their teas.  You can order online or stop by one of their stores if you’re in or visiting Maryland sometime soon.   They do list a phone number as well.  Yes some places still take phone orders!

And here’s a few of my past posts related to Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

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Say the opportunity presents itself, and I do pour myself a glass of this (yes we’re talking iced) and it works out, I will do a follow-up to this post.   But for now, I will feel nostalgic over a moment that may have been trivial at the time, but is now charming and endearing memory to me.  Even if it is just tea, it’s those little things that make me happy.

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I promise you this tea will make you happy.

Happy May to you!

Ideen

 

Always Go With Your…

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I hadn’t even thought to do a post related to Earth Day.  This may or may not be it.  But I’m going to go with it.  There’s so much good to write about HEX Ferments that I didn’t know where to begin.  But I did go with my gut (hmm…) in more ways than one and the results were glorious, beauteous, and illustrious.

Whenever I have the opportunity to talk about a local business, it’s a blessing, it’s a joy, and it’s a one of the main reasons I do what I do.  I love local and to me it’s the soul, the conscience, and backbone of society.  It’s truly of the most authentic things we have in a world that may be running out of that authenticity.

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So another couple of visits to Belvedere Square Market, where HEX is located, left me never any doubt I was going to try their Kombucha and try I did.

I ask myself this question after having something so amazing.  Why did it take me so long?  Well there’s no answers.  There’s so many uncovered gems in the world of tea, and the world of anything for that matter, that I haven’t tried them all.  But that’s the joy of the journey.

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No I didn’t try all their Kombucha’s, but I did get to have two.  Yes, the two pictured above.  And these two are something I’m going to savor for a long time.  And even for the short time as they’re both still sitting in the refrigerator staying fresh because that’s how Kombucha works.

Fortunately, I had a friend for the first visit to help with suggestions on what to try.  We had different ideas which led me to wanting to have what they had the second time.  And that’s exactly what happened.

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First, the Basil Jasmine.  This was a seasonal item that is no longer well, in season.  But I still have some.  And even though it’s a little bit past best by drinking date, it’s still magnificent.  And it’s the one that’s easier to savor and drink slower.  Because of that, I gave this the wine treatment.  Yes that’s right.   The bottles by the way are $15, yet $5 of that is refundable if you bring it back.  And yes that goes towards another Kombucha. This is beautiful stuff I know.  And that’s the stuff of Earth Day lore and living that I love so much.  And speaking of beautiful, yes this Basil Jasmine is giving me goose bumps as I write about it.

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That golden honey color is mesmerizing.

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I can’t put into words how amazing this is.  I said ‘is’ because I want hold on to this as long as I can.  I don’t know when it’s coming back.  Well yeah I did, most likely next Spring.  This is no sipping tea.  It’s something to take your time with.  Is it the honey, the basil, the Kombucha Culture, or the cane sugar.  I just reeled off everything.  It might be all of the above.  But all of the above is absolutely awesome.   I just wish it was still available for you to try.

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Now comes the Butterfly Lime, which is always available.    This one, which is easier drink quickly, is wonderful as well.  For simply savoring reasons I’d give the edge to the Basil Jasmine, but this no knock on the Butterfly Lime.  I mean look at the purple?  This looks picturesque in any setting.  How did they make this look so good?  This is art, and it’s art to drink.   The butterfly pea flower tea and lime juice combination makes the perfect sense, yet I don’t know how it does.  And maybe I don’t need to know.  This one is always available yet I still have mine to savor and drink over time.  Honestly, I’m craving both right now.  They’re so close yet so far.   My mouth is watering.

One detail I must mention with both of these bottles is when you first unseal them, there is a fog or a steam that emanates upon first opening.  To me, this is even more exciting than popping open a bottle of champagne.  And I tried my best to capture a picture of this.  Maybe it’s the kombucha culture?  Maybe it’s the all natural ingredients opening up in celebratory fashion?  Yay nevertheless.

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If you live in and around Baltimore, I highly suggest coming to Belvedere Square Market (here is another post I made from this heralded market) to find HEX Ferments easily visible in the right in the middle of the market, nestled in the back.  It’s worth what may seem like a hefty cost.  But it’s really not.   And you can get a class of any of their goods for $6.  Oh and they have other goods!

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If you’re interested in finding them elsewhere, this link might be a friend to you.

For anyone with digestive issues these beverages are also a friend.

And here’s there list of Frequently Asked Questions you might have.   And finally here is their contact information.

This is only the beginning.  I need to come back here and soon.  HEX deserves all the praise in the world you can heap or anyone or anything.  I sincerely mean that.

Let’s do it again soon.  It’s Spring, so soon is highly possible.

Best,

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

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

Another New Years Special

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Well actually this takes us back to August and a family party I’ve written about before.  However, sometimes it’s always good to save some for the most appropriate of times, seasons, and situations.

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Like I was saying last week sharing a joyous experience that revolves around your favorite people, favorite sites, foods, and for this so go around, tea, is what this life is all about.  It can’t always be articulated or quantified in words.   Nor should it always be. Those amazing memories are sometimes meant to be retained internally and with the people you love.  You know what though, sometimes internal is enough.   I hope that makes sense.

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Taking photographs is so important to these memories too.  I had to go back into the archives to restore these pictures, and then ask my cousin how this amazing tea was concocted.    The tea was an Earl Grey masterpiece from Sadaf.

No photos were taken of the pre steeping or the packaging in general.  This is all information I needed to dig back in the archives of my brain and through asking extra questions.  And come to think of it, I’ve been enjoying this beautiful tea pre or post-dinner on many occasions.  It’s not something I take for granted.

And I think the pictures of the tea themselves can do the talking.

This isn’t just Earl Grey tea.  Real jasmine was added to give that extra kick that made an already delightful tea all the more delightful.

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I miss this tea.  I miss how it was created and I miss the company that partook in the tea drinking.  For some it’s a tea with close friends and family.  For me it’s something so meaningful and sentimental to me.

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And how can you not like a little sweet pastry to go with that tea.  My family is always going above and beyond with the sharing of food and drink.  And everyone brings something to share which only makes this experience of community and family all the more spiritually magnificent.

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What this has also done is inspired me to try to add some unique flavors to a black or Earl Grey tea if the inspiration comes to me.  I’ve always been so simple when it comes to that.  I like my tea with nothing to little added as possible.  And it’s usually the former.

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I appreciate how the entire time I’ve been drinking this tea it included the added jasmine and I had no idea.   That’s a credit to the tea, my cousin, and also shows that we don’t get every flavor and scent right away.  And that’s definitely ok.

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As I write this it’s making me miss these fun times.   I know we all can be so busy with our lives, and sometimes that includes meeting all kinds of (hopefully) wonderful people. What I’ve found out is I’m meeting lots of great people that wanting to spread that mutual love can become difficult.  It’s a good problem to have.  And you can never have enough great family and friends in your life.

I need to tell myself to spend more time with family and close friends, because it honestly it can never be enough.   If you’re sharing an amazing cup of tea and a delicious treat to go with it, everything becomes that much more indelible.

So if you have a tea you like and are thinking of adding jasmine or something else you might be inspired to include, I say go for it.   I will be hoping to do the same.

And I will be hoping for more amazing times with amazing people soon.

For more on Sadaf and to purchase online, click here.  Otherwise there’s a reasonable chance you might be able to find it at your local Iranian or Middle Eastern Market.  Here is their contact information.

This will not be the last time I write about them.

SadafTea1

Love,

Ideen