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

Matcha Tea Party

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Just when I think Trader Joe’s has done it all.  And just when I think Trader Joe’s has exhausted all of their tea options, or maybe I thought I exhausted all of their options, the gems just keep on coming.   I love it and hope it never ends.  TJ’s has been a big part of this blog, and I hope that trend continues with periodic write-ups for a long time to come.

Here is my ever-growing history of Trader Joe’s stories.

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My regular tea adviser suggested I go back and try out their brand new Matcha Green Tea Packets.  They’re new as in released only a couple of weeks ago.  So I feel thrilled to be one of the early guinea pigs (not not really) and one of the first on my block to try out something new, something special, and a different take on the traditional bags and loose leaf variety.

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Matcha is one of my favorite teas to begin with.  It just has this natural and rough (in a good way) taste, that didn’t take long to grow on me.  If you’ve had it then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s distinct, it’s natural, and it’s authentic.  And the aftertaste lingers for a while.  And that’s what you want with a tea and that’s how a tea becomes memorable.

This was memorable.

The trend of pouring powder into a beverage is way past the point of it being a trend.  It’s just become what it is.   But this might be my first time ever having green tea in powder form.  If my memory serves me correct it may be the first time I’ve had any kind of tea in this form.

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On the day I was to try this concoction, the sun was beaming and the weather was just becoming all out gorgeous.    The universe looked out for me and I decided to have a sample of the Matcha Tea in hot and iced form.  It may have been too sooner for the latter but Spring has shown up much earlier in the Maryland area than usual.  No complaints here.

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In heated form this is terrific.  It has the exact taste you’ve come to expect when drinking Matcha.  I’ve never been to Japan and hope to one day, but this is something I can enjoy on a regular basis there or of course at home.  It just feels out of this world and always feels like an honor to try.    The tannin level felt higher than a tea I’m used to.  But that’s Matcha and this is a tea I want to keep getting used to.

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How about that color?  Just the visual of brewing thing was a treat.  This is real.

And when the sun in shining the way it is, and it’s still just a little a chilly enough to truly appreciated a hot tea, this was one of my favorite experiences.  Actually any great tea sipping can be a a favorite experience.  But this was up there.  And then the only ingredient is Matcha Green Tea Powder, you know you’re getting the real deal.

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The iced version is more of a work in progress for me.  That harsh and natural taste (which I only mean in the nicest way) doesn’t translate as well when it’s chilled.  I let my heated tea kettle cool for a while, put in some iced cubes, poured that cooled water, and then my Matcha powder, and stirred it for a while.  Stirring is necessary or the powder will not dissolve properly.  I had a little leftover after my hot cup.

I first tried my chilled version with no sweeteners added and it tasted a little bitter.  This is one that need a little honey or sugar.   I added just a little bit to the former and now we’re getting going.  But for me, this version is more of an acquired taste.  And even in the instructions, mentions pouring it into a water bottle and shaking it until it’s blended, without mention of adding anything sweet. But of course we can create it the way we want it.  I’m a big believe in less is more but adding a little more will go a long way here.

 

The chocolate from Trader Joe’s as well worked perfectly with both teas.  Actually chocolate just works well with everything.  And at my local store they were placed right next to each other.  I don’t think that was an accident.

At $7 this was well worth it, even if there’s only seven packets per case.

I will be having more of this in the future and would love to write about it again if the circumstance, the situation (oh wait that’s the same thing as circumstance), and opportunity to share it with others in a different setting presents itself.

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I highly recommend this and I continue to be impressed with all the great new products Trader Joe’s continues to deliver.  Well done.

Absolutely well done.

 

Ideen

 

 

 

This Was A Good One

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But they all can be and should be.  However, this was more about the experience than anything else.   Otherwise I don’t know how good the Chamomile Tea from Stash truly is or isn’t.

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I can’t believe it’s September already.  Well yes I can as well.  Time just keeps on going. Yet for this post I’m going to take this back to June, when it wasn’t even officially Summer on the calendar year yet, but as you can tell by these pictures, the Sun was on our side.

This is one of those stories that might be too good to share, but also too good not to. I’m glad I waited this long to talk about it.  It’s gotten better with time.

The tentative plan was to grab some lunch nearby in Baltimore before I took a dear friend to the airport, in the Washington, DC area.   We gave ourselves ample time. However, there were signs all over that we should just drive closer to the final destination  and see where the wind takes us.

I had been to historic Herndon, VA a year prior on another random encounter, and saw nothing but happy and folksy people.  Like most historic locales you have your farmers market, museums, mom and pop shops, community centers, and independent restaurants. It was real and I soaked it all in.  It was with the understanding that right outside this epicenter is nothing but big buildings and gigantic companies that have infiltrated major cities.

One year later as we’re driving, that light bulb went off in my head.  I had investigated happy places to grab a bit to eat, in a cozy area beforehand, but realized that happy town was minutes away.

We found a great place to eat with outdoor dining, and took our time.  The town called for it.  It felt like we were the only people on Earth.  I don’t mean to overstate how amazing the Sun was on this day. Actually the heck with it, the Sun is our friend. The more I expound on this special trip, I realize how perfect everything was.

No rush, no running around, no beating the clock.  It was as close to Zen as you can get.

After a little walking around, a little tea and coffee seemed necessary.  Green Lizard Cycling, (yes a cycling place) came through in the clutch.  Yes I wrote that on purpose. Maybe it was one of those moments where I felt random, but after a hearty meal a hot tea was a must.  And my inspired thought was that Chamomile.

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Looking back at these pictures I realize how much that tea matches the color of the sun. The signs and the positive energy are all around us.  It just freaks me out, in a good way, how good this day was.  And all the intricacies and details that I overlooked have been presented to me months later.  This is what we call endearing.

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But like I said, on another day, I’m not sure how great this tea would be.  Chamomile has not always been my favorite flavor, but this might be a change of heart.

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Circumstances allowed this to be a lot better than I think tea might be.   But Stash has been one of those brands that I feel is overlooked versus some of the more household brands you see at the store.  This is not a dig but more of an observation.

I need to review more Stash teas.  They’ve always been good to me.  Here is the one time I did a recap of one of my favorite and inspiring teas by them.  Talk about a dichotomy. Again,  nothing but signs and serendipitous situations.

The specifics of this day are not necessary and sometimes your best memories should be kept from within, and I’ll leave some details out.  But I did add a couple of pictures of the town and outside the cycling shop to give you a feel for how peaceful and inspiring this day was.  I might be overstating how tremendous all this was but I don’t care.  This was awesome and yet all so simple.

The future is looking bright and full of hope.  A good cup of tea always brings hope. And joy!

Here’s to many more unplanned and inspiring events to come!

Kindest,

Ideen

It’s The Holiday Season

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I make myself laugh sometimes.  Which holiday?  It’s almost becoming comical the signs I see all around me.   You might see  them too.   On the date of this post will be a full moon. You can’t write this stuff folks.  Well actually I’m gonna write anyways.  More on this in a few paragraphs.

Additionally, maybe you’re away on vacation or as some pals call it, holiday.  It’s the Summer, enjoy.  We should enjoy all year round even if the occasion doesn’t match the weather or the time frame.  This leads us to my second annual Christmas In July post.  I can’t just reference an anniversary without leading you to last years inaugural post.

Yes I couldn’t resist.  When I was younger I thought it was a nice way to remind us to be good to each other, not just during the holidays, but all the time.  And what better time then when the sun is shining brighter than ever.  Why am I bringing up Christmas? Once again, keep reading…

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A little while back, I found myself driving through beautiful Hagerstown, MD.  And when I’m far away from home, I must avoid the chains and find some local flavor.  This brings me to Rooster Moon.  Yes I said moon. Does that get any better?

First let me say that the staff was so down-to-earth.  In a peaceful town like this, I wouldn’t expect anything less.   It seems like the perfect meet-up place for friends to catch up where they otherwise may not.  I was happy being an outsider and absorbing the positive energy.

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Numi Tea has always exuded that aura for me, and that’s just from the labels and packaging itself.  But there’s just something about it.  It looks like art.  When I’m at my local supermarket I’m hesitant to buy any.  Well part of that is because my tea cabinet is over capacity.   And even more so, they to be pricier than comparable brands.

My visit to this shop was in June and at the start of this lovely of seasons.   Of course I went with the Amber Sun.  Of course I did.   This tickles me.

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With this aura of invincibility I placed on this brand, I expected to be mesmerized.  This was likely my first foray into Turmeric Tea, and this is just the beginning.  I didn’t taste much.  I honestly thought it was a stronger rooibos.  The part I was right now.  We got a little bit of that.  I didn’t taste any honey, cinnamon, or apple.  But that could be in part because I had a splendid cinnamon and brown sugar scone.  It hit the spot.  It may have detracted from the tea.  I can’t say for sure.

I sense I will be sampling more of their teas and expecting to be blown away.   With nothing to compare the Amber Sun too, I’m not sure what the water mark is.  I wasn’t wowed by this tea but Numi has such a reputation, it could be just my taste or it’s only going to get better from here.  And I welcome the adventure.

Either the holidays are starting early or these guys forgot to take their trees down.  The proof is in the amber, or the scones.    Trust me, I’m not complaining.  The view was great inside and out.  This was a charming day all around.  And I dug being on the outside looking in of this strong community.

Whether you celebrate the sun, the moon, or the holidays prematurely, hopefully it will be with some resonating tea and loving company.

We’re just getting started.

Best,

Ideen