I Felt Transformed, Transported…

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Some time ago, I had stumbled upon SPORTea at one of my favorite places, Baltimore Cofee and Tea Company, and it was on a display table along with many other teas to select for your brewing and steeping enjoyment.

It just didn’t feel right at the time.  Sometimes it just doesn’t.  It didn’t stand out to me.  I drank it hot.  It literally felt like a tea that was just there to me.  I ordered it, I drank it, and then I left.  Maybe it felt forced.  If it sounds like I’m talking badly about it, I don’t mean to.  There’s a reason I never felt compelled to write about it.  I have so many teas like this on backlog, and these stories will sadly (or not) never see the light of day.

But then something magical happened…

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A couple of weeks back I stopped in at Baltimore Coffee and Tea’s newest location, at the Annapolis Towne Centre, I already knew I was going to walk into something special.

I could tell from the outside looking in that this has that place to be kind of vibe.  And I don’t mean in a pretentious sense.  I mean in a place to feel like you’re in your world world, or your own universe, but still feel same to be near your home or loved ones.

In typical fashion, I stopped in alone and already felt at peace about things.  It’s all your perception, and I could have felt like I was just there or in a funk, like I was in a previous visit I alluded to, but I felt good.  The gentleman at the counter literally read my mind.  I asked for an iced tea recommendation and without any hesitation, he said SPORTea.

There was a blast from the past and a flashback but right away.  I had heard that name from somewhere, but it didn’t register right away.

All you need to know about SPORTea can be found here & here.  I’ve done my job and now I’ll just tell you how great this tea is.  The dichotomy is like night and day.  This is meant to drank iced.

 

I don’t think words can describe how healing and uplifting this drink is.  It hit the spot on so many levels, and I don’t have the words for that either.   Being in a good mood and in a good place helps.

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I started off admiring the inside, but a drink like this and a place like this screams sitting in the courtyard that faces the Towne Centre and the rest of the world.  But inside I felt safe, I felt protected, and I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  I’ve often said this in previous stories, but it’s true.

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The skies and the sun were looking picturesque, and it was a perfect day for doing nothing or anything you want.  That can apply to just about any day if you think about it, or better of not.  This felt like a go with your own flow kind of day, and I’m grateful I ended up here.

Baltimore Coffee & Tea has always displayed the best, brightest, and most inspiring stories to me, for not just tea, but life life in general (previous visits from all around the area can be found here) and for this to be in Annapolis (My past Annapolis memories for your viewing pleasure are right here) makes it that much sweeter.

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Speaking of sweet, I can’t help myself but include a sweet treat with my teas, but SPORTea can be enjoyed alone or with anything you want.

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I’ve yet to see SPORTea outside of Baltimore Coffee & Tea but this link to shop online seems like a good start.

I hope you have a great one and as always, peace be with you…

Love,

Ideen

 

Same As It Ever Was…

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Rockville, MD has seen so many changes in recent years.  These changes in these once historic towns are inevitable, necessary, and at times heartbreaking.  We can take comfort in the way things used to be, but also embrace what’s arrived, and that more is coming.

As many things do change, one of the constants (which has evolved to something special, but I haven’t attended in years…) is Rockville Hometown Holidays which celebrates Memorial Day with live music, food, street vendors, a farmers market, the parade, and all the other stuff that makes any festival, community, and party magnificent.

I have such fond memories of going with my family, to at least the parade part.  It was something to look forward to on the calendar every year.  It was the simplicity of just being at the parade, and appreciating the marching bands, the floats, the people, and the community groups of this fare city.

Yes, it’s more of a city now, then a town.  And so much has changed.  People grew up, got older, moved away, and moved on.  Yet there’s still a soul and spirit that remains.  The historic parts and older looking neighborhoods are still the majority and not there in spite of anything.  There’s still lots of character, all the while all these new places have shown themselves.

My family embraced that change.  They’ve been here in some form or another for nearly forty years.  So instead of fighting it (there’s nothing to fight really…), I welcome the change, because much of it is great.

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This includes the ever so charming Lavande Patisserie that opened several years ago, in one of the newer parts of Rockville, that is involved in this evolution.

LavandeMenu

The outside is just as welcoming as what’s going on indoors.  The pastry list is a joy, tremendous and I’ve shared many with my dad on the most random of days.  One  thing that has always stood out is their tea list.  If you aren’t paying attention you won’t see it.  They’re known for their coffee, which I will try down the line, but for the sake of this discussion, and the season, I went with something beautiful.

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The Matcha Lemonade is an absolute joy.  It was per the suggestion of the staff, and it was more so along the lines of what I wanted.  And while the teases of Spring and Summer are here, so are the change in teas.  This was wonderful.

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One thing I forgot to do was stir.  The matcha is on the top and the lemonade is on the bottom.  I adore that.  I didn’t have my straw all the way down, so the first thought was why am I drinking this iced matcha.   This is why one (meaning me) should take their time and not rush things. So I take the straw a little further down, like a normal person would, and got that sweet lemonade taste.   I could have finished this in one sip, but this is not the point.  It should never be the point.  This is one to be savored, appreciated, and cherished.

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I love this tea so much.   The lavender shortbread cookie that I was drawn to (or was drawn to me) was meant to be.  I almost didn’t want to eat it, it looked so pretty.  Those lavender pieces are a sight for all eyes.  What a joy this was.

The benefits of lavender in times of uncertainty are something else.  This place, this matcha, and this lavender, it all just found me.

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I noticed looking across the street something so familiar.  There was a family connection, that only hit me as I started writing this story.  It’s the street where the parade I mentioned about earlier still takes place, after all this time. I get a laugh out of that, and then a feeling of sadness as well.

Life goes on, and as there’s much to be embraced, there will be much to miss.

Tell the people you love, that you love them.  As much as you can.  That you love them so much.  And when they pass, you will miss them so much.

Yet, you’ll always love them so much.

I love you so much.

I love you…

Love,

Ideen

The Clock On The Wall Is…

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At Baltimore Coffee and Tea (here’s their tea collection and list of locations) there never seems to be a clock.  Not that I’m looking for it.  It’s more than when I’m here, I feel an  ease and calm I don’t get everywhere.

The visits are always by happenstance (or are they?), where I don’t think about going, unless I think about going.  The latter part is due to circumstances beyond my control?  Maybe.   If I’m in the vicinity of one then theme music might be going off in my head, and I hope to see the light…

The many visits before (stories can be found here) might tell of cozy and community feeling experiences.  That’s exactly right.

They might also tell of enjoyment in solitude.  That would be the case as well.

There’s happiness where it’s the simplest.  What goes on here is also a separation from the commotion of the outside world.  I’m not in the city, there’s little to no traffic,  the noise is practically non existent, and all the cares and worries seem to disappear.

It’s like I’m the only person on Earth.  Feelings like that come more times than we realize.  Being selfish in that way is ok.  We’ve all had those feelings where the world revolve around us and no one else, but not in that narcissistic sense so much.  Just a feeling of we deserve and have earned a place to just be, and nothing else.

Forgetting when I was here at my favorite and original location in Timonium, while it always seems busy, it never seems crowded. There’s room for everybody.  They say that without having to say that.   Again, it’s just being.

Thanks again to Eastern Shore Tea Company for providing the tea this week, the Blueberry Lemon for my enjoyment, and hopefully yours.

The seasonal tastes of blueberries and lemons, is just right.  There’s not much else to it, and on a day where you don’t want too much, don’t ask for too much, and in many cases just want to be alone or left alone, this is perfection.

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My breakfast sandwich was just as yummy, and while that is for display, it also did go well with my tea.  Not so much for pairings sake, but for my sake.

While the friendly patrons seem to know one another, and it would be nice to be in the know, it’s ok to be anonymous.  In a world where we’re more and more connected, and everyone seems to know you or about you, it’s nice to remain hidden, even if it’s plain sight.  It’s easier said and easier done.   As small as the world it, it’s also so big.  Just like our spirits.

I wish I could make every experience and story this simple.  When I go back and look, they all tend to be.  The teas may change, the locations may be different, the arrangements might be altered, but the story remains constant.  I love tea, it’s a timeless joy that I enjoy partaking in and sharing with you.

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I can’t wait to see what happens next…

Take good care…

Ideen

Add To Wishlist

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With all the writing that I do, it’s hard to not sound repetitive.  I’ve only recently started looking back at stories from the last year, and I’m proud that many of them have a different slant on teas, similar teas, and just life in general.  While I do see similarities, every story is different, and every story feels significant and feels real.

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Harney & Sons continues to be one of the standard bearers for tea, and it’s highly sought after by many of my friends and peers, that it’s the one tea they prefer, and some they only sip exclusively.

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They’re doing something right.  That’s an understatement by the way.  All their teas are available for purchase here, and here is my Harney history lesson.

Speaking of exclusive, I first had the sense that Harney & Sons teas had this stigma of being unapproachable and only available to the elite and high society types.   My presumptions were false.  However, over 10 years ago I worked in a typical corporate environment where their teas were served at parties, luncheons, and other events, where I thought this tea was out of my league.

Don’t ever thing something is out of your league.

But I would grab the leftover bags, and of course the free food when everyone left, (hey free food is free food), and when I would have their teas, I thought I had struck gold.  It’s gold alright.

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And free tea is free tea, but this is worth paying a little extra for.  While most teas are $2-$4, to only have to pay $6 for the Green Tea Coconut tin 20 pack of sachet’s, is a bargain.  That is more than welcoming, more than inviting, and feels like home.

This tea takes us back to February, where the weather was different, and the teas are all going to be hot.  They’re still going to be hot, here and there, as the weather gets nicer.

Everything about this is great.  I was on a mini vacation, and while I was isolated, I really wasn’t. I had the company of some amazing dogs, beautiful nature, and a selection of teas where you throw in that kid in a candy store analogy.  Just a little healthier of course.

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Green tea, coconut, vanilla, ginger, and lemongrass is a memorable melange, where my words are not going to be enough.  When I opened up the tin, the immediate sensation and feeling of all the goodness hit me.  I knew the steeping and brewing process was going to be just as special.

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Perhaps it’s because I was away from home, yet I was in a home where I felt comfortable and at ease, that this might be more romantic then if this were somewhere else.  A tea like this deserves all the romanticizing in the world, yet doesn’t need me or anyone else to do so.  This is a masterpiece.

I’m glad I had this, where I did.  The three dogs I shared this time with (no I didn’t give them any tea), made this all the more memorable and my heart feels so big right now.  The pups did it, this tea did it, and something just made my spirit so big.

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This was 3 months ago and I remember it like it was well, I don’t know.   It’s beautiful.

I’m glad I decided to write this today.  It’s Be Kind To Animals Week, and I’m so happy and grateful that some caricatures of animals are on display with this incredible tea.

Where do we go from here?  I almost want time to stand still or I would love to go back to this story.  I’m glad I have this written out, and I have this memory that will last with me forever.

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This is a tea for now, and for….

Blessings to you..

Ideen

1, 2, What You Doing?

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I had something else planned for today, but my heart wasn’t feeling it.   That story will have to be told another day.  And like always, it’ll sort itself out and be better in the long run.

Wilmington, DE has a charm and aura about it that is bestowed upon many a small, yet growing and flourishing towns.  Not far from Philadelphia, and just a little north of Baltimore, it finds itself in its own world, a separate entity from anything else.  At least that’s how I look at it.

My last visit uncovered one gem (story can be found here), but this one tells a story that’s a little more relaxed, and one where I hope has at least a part two.

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First things first, Brew Haha!, aside from having a clever name, has such a warm and inviting energy, that you can’t help but find yourself inside.   Whenever I’m anywhere, if I think to, I will research a place nearby for tea.  I had heard and seen of Brew Haha! as it’s a growing coffee shop chain in our first state (locations can be found here), here is and I see them continuing their skyrocketing success.  Their story says it all.

The not-so-challenging aspect of a coffee shop, for tea lovers like you and me, are whether they have a tea list to begin with.  Then, is that list on your standard side, or a is that list a bit for expansive?   Here’s their menu.

Then when the manager mentions they have a couple of loose teas, my eyes light up and I’m reminded and bless of why I write about and love tea so much.

I love tea so much.

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The recommendation was the Cosmic Rose from Brandywine Coffee Roasters, which is beautiful on all sorts of levels.  It’s a local business, so local supporting local, and being supported by patrons and visitors like me is what makes this world so wonderful.

Here is Brandywine Coffee Roasters tea list available for purchase online.and their contact information.

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This tea is wonderful.  Just the visual alone in seeing the bag steep in an original Brew Haha! mug made me happy.

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Aside from the color there’s much to love about this; organic hibiscus, organic rosehips, organic rooibos, orange peel, rose petals, organic everything and everything that’s good in the universe.

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I enjoyed this with a vegan ginger scone, that if you weren’t told it was vegan, you may not know the difference.  It tasted lighter, healthier, and the ginger was the perfect complement to my tea.  A tea that would be perfect iced by the way.

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As always, I took a few pictures and then I relaxed for a good 45 minutes.  It might have been longer, but when I’m on a mini vacation or anywhere far away from home, time tends to operate on a different frequency.  And while I’m alone, and don’t know anyone, there’s a comfort in that alone time.   There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely.

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In regards to that, I felt like a part of a community right away.  And Lydia, the ever-so friendly manager, made me feel like I was at home.  That’s immediately going to make my tea and food taste even that much better.  I noticed she knew many of the patrons by name, and how would that not make you feel good?  It’s always nice to be made to feel special and that you have meaning to someone’s life.  It’s a big thing, that we call the a little thing, but it’s all of the above.

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They had two of their teas available for serving, and for purchase.  I went with the in house suggestion, but ended up buying the Cosmic Rose and one for later, the Dreamers Sympathy, which has so many metaphorical and metaphysical implications to my life, and maybe yours, that I hope to get to this soon.   I’ll know when…

But for now I want to thank Lydia at Brew Haha! for making me feel like a regular on my initial visit.  I’ll be back and if you’re in the area I highly recommend you do the same.  There’s just something right about the neighborhood too.

Every story means something, and some are meant to be revisited sooner rather than later.  Some are meant to be a one time thing.  Only time will tell what this one will dictate.  In my heart I know how this will go.

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To be continued…

Peace Be With You,

Ideen

The Far Side of the…

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When I go back in my history of writing, I’m surprised to see that I’ve only made two posts ever about Harney & Sons.   The two posts I’m alluding to can be found here.

Dear friends of mine, whose opinion I value when it comes to tea, always rave about Harney & Sons.   And they don’t really talk about many other brands.

Someone close to me told me that they exclusively only order tea online from them, and they always throw in free samples.  No, not just the baby sized free samples.  We’re talking above and beyond, and in sometimes half dozen quantities.

Here’s more about them and more about the Harney Family themselves.

A company that carries so much prestige and has such an aura about it, doesn’t need to do anything.  Their teas sell themselves.   To go the extra mile, when the tea is already incredible, is not only smart business, but a goodwill gesture where one isn’t necessary.

The act of love and kindness for no reason, is the best reason of all.

With that I bring us to their Paris Tea, and it’s incredible.  This has to be done sooner versus otherwise, as we’re moving into sunnier skies, warmer climates, and that will segue into a different tea drinking experience in the coming months.

However, first things first.   This goes back to February when the days were short, layers were worn, and many a nights turned early, and one would find comfort in the simple things at home.  Well that can happen at any time of year, but the winter may bring hibernation and a time to reflect and prepare for rejuvenation.

I had myself a little getaway.  I got to be in a different part of the state.  I spent time with some dogs I’ve known a long time (and a new friend too), and I got to be one with the universe.  Which means a lot of alone time, which is good in certain doses, in small doses, and not be done too much, or it could become a part of the norm.

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When it comes to tea drinking, I would love to share it with friends  I’ve made many a mention about how good company can make any tea taste that much better.   With the Paris Tea it was as if I was with my friends who lived at the house (even though they were away) were with me and of course my animal friends always liven up the day with their cute, cuddly, and sometimes boisterous ways.

You may have noticed that I’ve barely mentioned how the tea actually tastes, and how marvelous it goes down.  I’m painting a picture, of what I’m not entirely sure.  But that’s my story.  It took little time for that strong black tea color to shine through.  The tea combined with oolong, vanilla, caramel, lemon, and bergamot is out of this world.

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I went to Paris once, but was too young to remember much.  I’m sure I had some tea, but not like this.  This is something out of a picturesque scene with beautiful people sitting around enjoying one another, eating yummy pastry, and having a cup of tea that would be part of their daily routine and feel like home.

Here back home, it feels more like a special occasion which I would like to partake in as much as possible, if not everyday.   Yet it my lose it’s shine or not feel as special.  Maybe, but who cares.  Great tea is great tea, where this goes way past the levels of great, and belongs in its own category.

Word of mouth is an easy thing to fall into.   The consensus is how good Harney & Sons tea is.  The Paris Tea is a reminder of their greatness.   I highly recommend getting some wherever you can, and who knows what amazing samples will come from that.

Which is going to lead to more from this incredible company much sooner than later.  How this is only my third post is beyond me but all that’s about to change.

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Have a good one, and peace be with you….

Ideen

 

 

There’s Room For Everyone

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As promised (in a different universe, or the same one depending on how you look at it), I wanted to dedicate my last of the two posts to Syriana Cafe & Gallery, to not just a off-the-charts tea, but also a wonderful experience that only gets better with time.

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Since this writing, their official grand opening has taken place.  I wish I was able to attend, but the timing of things and life prevented me from doing so.  But I’m grateful to have made the serendipitous visit last Thursday.  And it’s truly an honor to come up with two stories based on what is hopefully he the first of many stops to this majestic place.

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I’ll admit I’ve fallen into patterns like so many of us do.  I find myself in routines, going to the same places, ordering the same things, and wondering what’s wrong with me.  Literally I go through this mantra in my head from time-to-time.  And there’s nothing wrong with me, or you, or anyone.  We like what we like.   But I don’t like a lot of routine.

Even if it’s the same cup of coffee, I rather get it from a different place, just to keep a level of sanity.   But you know what the say about insanity.  Well somebody somewhere said something.

A place like Syriana Cafe is the complete opposite of the norm.  It’s a an art gallery, cafe, and a place of rest.  It’s so much more on top of all that.   It’s the type of experience that I’d want to be a part of on a regular basis, that would never be the same and never get old.

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That comes from the breakfast pizza I ordered, along with this stellar Hibiscus, Citrus, and Mint tea from Hooyo’s Tea, based out of Baltimore, MD.

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For more on Hooyo’s Tea, here is their story, teas available for purchase online, where you can find their teas, and contact information.

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I was informed that Syriana Cafe has an agreement with the tea company, which is a win win for everyone.  Local supporting local is what life is all about.   And I’m all about it…

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But this tea is the perfect preview of sunnier and happier days ahead.  And I know they’re coming.  In my heart and mind they’re here and they’ve always been here.  A tea with this soul, this spirit, and not to mention the color, flavor, and aftertaste brings all the feelings and emotions of all that is good in the universe.

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The synopsis is here so I don’t need to go into that detail.  I can only envision how great this would be iced.  Yum.

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When enjoyed in a setting such as this, with so many beautiful visual cues, a powerful and vibrational energy, and a picturesque town such as Ellicott City, it’s the stuff you read or see about, but also know it exists.

I want to thank the owner, Majd, for chatting with me for a few minutes, and giving me a bit of history in how this cafe came to be.

By looks of the grand opening, there’s nothing but a warm embrace and support from not only the neighborhood, but the town, and Howard County.   As I said in the title, there’s room for everybody.  One successful local business can only benefit the other ones surrounding it.   I know success, prosperity, and all around great things are to come for this place.

From one event such as the grand opening leads into another….

SpringFest 2018 is this Saturday, which is in conjunction with Earth Day, is a celebration of the town, celebration of Spring, and a celebration of all that is good.   Admission is free, and it’s one where I hopefully will be able to attend.   All the information you need can be found here.

This was tremendous.   I don’t know where to go from here.  Actually yes I do.  If time is allowed, I may do another post this week (and when I post outside of Tea Tuesday, you know it means something) on this beautiful town and in celebration of the upcoming festival.

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Have a blessed one.

Ideen