The Joys of Spring

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I love Spring.  We’re so close to the official day, which will be less than one week from when this thing gets posted.

There’s plenty of things I love.  One thing I know for sure has been my love affair with The Spice and Tea Exchange (for past posts click here), and with every new shoppe of there’s I visit, there’s another reminder of why I enjoy visiting their stores and sampling their incredible array of teas.

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As I just stated, I love checking off the list of locations I’ve been to.  At my count I’ve been to their Annapolis, MD; Alexandria, VA; and New Orleans, LA locations.  For only visiting three I feel like I’ve built a genuine connection with these wonderful company, and it all felt so effortless.

Williamsburg, VA should be on that list but I don’t think I can count that (more on that maybe down the line, as I don’t recall if I actually visited their store) and another friend was thoughtful enough to bring me a tea from their Forth Worth, TX store.  Good to know my friends know me so well.  And I think that’s what this tea experience is all about, enjoying tea and enjoying the company you have that tea with.

Now this is not going to turn into a national tour of visiting all their stores, even though that would be so wonderful, this is more about two fabulous and similar, yet so different experiences this past weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE and Ocean City, MD.  Yes, two more off the list.   And yes, I went to the beach a little early this year.  But it’s never too early or too late for tea.

I think I shall break this down into two parts.

Spice&TeaRehoboth

My first ever visit to Rehoboth was a couple of days ago and was one of those experiences that continues the tradition of why I love this place so much.   And what a cozy and charming area Rehoboth Beach in general is.  It has a great small town feeling.

Yanna,  who was working at the time was enthusiastic to help and answer any questions. Whenever I visit, my main intent is to check out their seasonal teas, because they come and go in rapid-fire fashion.   They’re turnover with the new season of teas is sometimes less than a month.

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With that, before time runs out, I am proud to bring you the first of two Spring teas, their Wild Berry Spring Tea.

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I got to experience many free smells of their teas, but this was my first.  And it really got me excited for Spring.  The aromas of berries, vanilla, mint, and tulsi make for a lighthearted yet at the same time powerful bouquet of flavors that I could not wait to try.

The anticipation and build-up was worth it.

At the Ocean City Store that same day I bought a beautiful, new infuser mug that fits the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.  You know because of well, yeah.

I want to thank Tiffany at the OC location for also being so kind and so helpful in my search for new tea gadgets. There will be more on this next week.

I’ve really set high expectations with this tea, and I still had a near three hour drive home before I got a chance to brew it.

I have good and breaking news.  This tea tastes just as good as it smells.  And just as good as advertised, if not more.

It once again has a powerful initial taste, which might be the cream.  But it’s light and for a Spring tea that’s what you want.  As the weather improves and the temperatures rises, we might be looking for more of those light bodied and lighter flavored teas that will be gentle on the stomach and in turn we’ll feel grateful and spiritually rejuvenated to have such a wonderful and majestic tea.

I put the suggested amount and that really made the difference.  I think adding too much may undermine the intent of what this tea is all about.   A few good minutes of steeping paid enormous dividends in the end.

The pictures of the tea leaves before and after are a thing of beauty.  How they expand after boiling, steeping, and infusing in water is absolute art.  Not all leaves, and for all intents and purposes, flowers bloom in this fashion.   What a treat and a what a blessing this was to witness.

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The green mug did not fully to the color of the this tea justice that I enlisted a new friend to help me show you how it looks in a clearer cup.    There it is!

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Beautiful right?  And my new holiday themed buddy enjoyed its (his?) (her?) tiny cup.  I almost think my friend savored theirs just a little bit more than I did.  This was an easy one to drink.  And if you’re at a nearby store, I would strongly suggest getting this tea while supplies last.  I’ve been told these teas will be around for 3-4 weeks.

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You can have nothing or everything with this tea.  These holiday themed sugar cookies were more for decoration than anything else.  I did have a little myself but a healthy tea likes this deserves a great complementary snack to go with it.  And that can be anything ou want.  In that sense the cookies worked perfectly.

I didn’t give all the details of both visits. I’ll save that for next week.  But I have posted some pictures from the Rehoboth store throughout this post for your viewing enjoyment. This is one where another post is more than necessary.

And any chance to write about Spice & Tea is good enough for me.   And hopefully some of you will get some enjoyment and seek out their teas, and maybe their which are also available for purchase online.

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This tea was fantastic, and with that I am so looking forward to trying the Peach Tumeric tea.  If the weather permits I will present it hot and cold.  I’m confident in that and confident the weather will cooperate on all levels.  It is Spring after all.

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And Spring mean a new year, new hopes, new opportunities, and new teas to try and share with the people we love, or in solitude.

As the days grow longer and the sun looks stronger, I now the tea experience will continue to get better.    And man I’m excited to get to part two next week.

See ya then and Happy Spring Forward, St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Spring itself!

The best is here and the best is coming,

Ideen

 

 

 

Saint Patrick’s Situations

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Isn’t it funny how I spelled out Saint?  I was going to use the typical shortened version, but I wanted to have a little fun.  That’s where the fun ends. Unfortunately, the two teas I’ll be recapping leave much to be desired. I pride myself on focusing on the positive and it’s easy to find the good in most situations. I’ll attempt to do the same here.

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Quite honestly, Bewley’s is a tea I’ve never heard of.   It’s possible I’ve come across their brand in passing at various restaurants and cafes.  But if I had tried a cup, I don’t remember.  That isn’t a knock on them or anyone else by the way. Perhaps until now. There’s a myriad of choices out there.   How can we keep up with them all?   Well that’s part of why my blog was created.    I may not end up having every tea and flavor ever invented.   However, I’m going to enjoy the ride and enjoy as many as I can.

I wish i could say I enjoyed both.   Over the course of two visits to McShane’s in Bel Air, MD, I had the Dublin Morning and Irish Breakfast respectively.   Neither did anything for me.  They both felt flat and uninspired.

With names like that, how can you go wrong?   Well, something did.  I wanted inspirational and uplifting.   I got mediocre and disappointing.

The Dublin Morning packaging evokes thoughts of waking up, ready to make moves, and take the world by storm.  I wish I could say that was the case.  You don’t judge a tea by its name. It just tasted like any ordinary tea you find at a convenient store.  That’s what it felt like.  I did enjoy my blueberry muffin that accompanied my tea.   My pastry was delectable. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to mask the deficiencies of my cup.

Approximately a week later I went back and went with the Irish Breakfast.  Yes, I had a well laid out plan.   I did read some suggestions and milk was recommended.  I prefer my tea with nothing but I went with the next best thing.   The Irish Oatmeal was mesmerizing. I’m salivating at the thought of it now.   I requested walnuts and cranberries to add some flavor that tea was not offering.   This did the job.  But a tea with power and stellar flavor wouldn’t need outside forces to make it drinkable.   The site mentions a blend of Assam and Darjeeling teas.  I got nothing of the sort.  I really wanted more and I’m genuinely dejected.

I might be sounding dramatic, but I take joy in finding great teas.  These two helpings were paint-by-numbers and nothing else.   However, I’ve now been encouraged to try other Irish-themed teas.  And I don’t mean just for today, the holidays, or any specific day.  I look forward to trying out some new brands of teas from companies I’ve never heard of. This has opened my eyes and opened some doors.

If you’re interested in buying their teas, go to this link.  I may try some more myself.  A couple of bad ones will not dissuade me from rejecting the whole lot. Hopefully you will find some gems.

For last year’s post, for the happy holidays, you can go here.

Have a safe and blessed St. (see what I did) Patrick’s Day.  Many of us will be drinking a cold one or two.  Maybe a warm one will do wonders as well.

Take good care,

Ideen

Going Green

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It’s a St. Patrick’s Day Special.  And I know I wrote about Capital Teas last week, but the flavor I wanted to write about for this post falls in line with the holiday theme.  And it’s so good.   For more on this great company, you can check out last weeks discussion right here.

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The Irish Rum Cream is the stuff of legend.   This comes to us via the Gentleman’s Tea Sampler, that I also purchased when I visited their Micro Tea Bar at the Towson Town Center.  And yes it tastes as incredible as it looks.

Aside from it being Irish and festive, what’s so good about it?    Well for one, there’s coconut.  And we’ve been hearing about all the positive benefits of coconut for some time now.   The positive here is that it adds to the smell and the taste.  The strawberry leaves and safflower complement each other well, making this black tea a highly caffeinated concoction.  I am wired as I write this.  I may not be going to sleep anytime soon!

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To my pleasure and maybe to my disservice, I did have two cups.  One is plenty.  But I couldn’t help myself.  This brought so much joy to my taste buds.   The whole brewing process, that you can see pictured above, was a pleasure as well.   The boiling water brought about such wonderful smells.    It’s the first time I’ve had coconut in my tea, and it will not be the last.   Why didn’t I have this sooner?

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Maybe it’s appropriate and meant to be that my first exposure to this tea and these flavors takes place St. Patrick’s Day Week.   My lucky green mug, which I’ve used before, is a necessity for this week.   And as a special treat, I enjoyed my tea with some holiday themed sugar cookies!

The aforementioned caffeine along with the sugar rush has really got me going.   I hope I get some sleep!  If not, I could write I about this tea for hours.   Have I painted a pretty enough picture for you?

No matter what you do for the holiday, be safe and look out for one another.  And maybe enjoy this or another wonderful tea!

Take good care.

Best,

Ideen