A Moving Moment

A New Year. A fresh start. A new home. And… a new home!

Not only am I moving to a new house in just one week, I’m also moving to a new blog host. Thank you to WordPress for introducing me to the world of blogs.

I hope that you, dear readers, will all continue to share your tea moments with me at my new location:

http://internationalteamoment.blogspot.com/

See you soon!

Jen

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A “Thank You Green Tea Lovers” Moment

Dear Green Tea Lovers,

I’m always so happy to receive packages of tea in my mail box, and the receipt of your package was met with excited enthusiasm. For various reasons, I wasn’t able to indulge as quickly as I’d like. I had a couple of weeks that were devoted to herbal infusions, and we’ve been in the midst of real estate chaos, so it was easier to fall back on old favorites than to put the effort toward new introductions. And then, this Sunday, I felt ready for a new green tea. And considering all the stress I’ve been feeling and the waves of nostalgia I’ve been battling through as I pack up our first home - the home where my baby was brought home from the hospital, learned to crawl to walk… Well, let’s just say I was drawn to the description of your tea that said, “Shincha has a higher content of L-Theanine… considered a natural anti-depressant and stress reliever.”

I brewed myself a Sunday morning cup of your tea and actually sat down (after weeks of feeling like I was in constant motion), and had that first sip.

Thank you for introducing me to such a lovely and subtle green tea! It’s color and flavor are spring itself. Golden yellow, refreshing, smooth yet full. The grassy flavor I have come to associate with Japanese green teas is very delicate in this brew, not at all overpowering. One cup was not enough, so I made an entire pot. And Monday I made another pot. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. I literally can’t get enough! As you may remember, I was formerly an avoider of green teas and have worked hard to learn more about them, experience them and, now, enjoy them. Yours is one I would recommend to first-timers and old hat aficionados alike. 

I’m looking forward to trying the other tea you are introducing to my palate, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to try it until I get my fill of Shincha Shizuoka. And there’s no telling how long that may be.

Happy New Year to you!

Sincerely,

A Fellow Green Tea Lover

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An Herbal Infused Moment

The Portfolio

There are few go-to herbal infusions I would consider as staples in my tea cupboard. Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepytime Tea, MyTeaShelf.com’s Andes Breeze, and my own personal blend I’ve dubbed Calm-o-mile. So when Teekanne approached me about sampling their herbal line, I was willing (of course!), but ambivalent. It was a heavenly surprise, then, when these herbals arrived on my doorstep. Twelve herbal infusions divided into three categories of Energizing, Relaxing, and Soothing. All in the most gorgeous portfolio – though here all you see is the aftermath of my indulgence… 

The Purge

Let me preface all of this by saying that we have been in the process of selling and buying a home over the past several weeks – factor in the holidays, and let’s just say life has been anything but serene. I decided to do as Teekanne suggested and allow their blends to help me live a healthy lifestyle. I devoted the majority of my daily tea consumption to their infusions alone. These accompanied me through the shredding of 10 trash bags of outdated and unnecessary documents, the scheduling of myriad repairmen, inspectors, realtors and escrow officers, freakouts over last minute wire transfers, and they even took the place of an evening’s glass of wine. The result? Well, we are moving the last week of January into a new home, and I still have a shred of sanity left!

My chief complaint with herbal infusions is that if there is fruit involved, there is a sickeningly sweet aftertaste, or if there is no fruit involved, there can be a dusty, weedy residue left in my mouth. Teekanne presented an entirely different experience. Yes, these are bagged infusions, but it didn’t matter. Good is good. Each of the flavors had a mild sweetness that stayed just that – mild. The only exception was Rosehip and Hibiscus, which veered into my personal icky sweet danger zone. Other than that, I found a pleasant boost in the Energizing blends, and I may be convinced that my new wind-down beverage of choice is a Soothing or Relaxing blend.

There were a few stand outs:

When it came to the Energizing blends, I expected Lemon Twist to be my fave, but surprisingly I have to give the top spot to Cinnamon Apple Spice.  If you are a fan of Bigelow’s Constant Comment, you may enjoy some similar notes in this blend.  In the Relaxing blends, Mandarin Breeze pleasantly surprised me. The orange essence was subtle but lovely. I expected to love the Honey Vanilla Bliss, but shockingly, this was the one infusion I actually could not finish. I don’t know how two such perfect flavors can contradict each other so harshly, but this was a case where two rights made a wrong. To be fair, I have yet to come across a vanilla blend of any kind that worked for me, so perhaps I’m not the best judge in this case. But it was the Relaxing blends – both Purely Peppermint and Triple Mint Tranquility that really sent me over the moon. Or rather, brought me gently back to earth and calmed the chaos that seems to reign from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. each day.

My new evening companion

Verdict – Me likey. The misses were far outweighed by the hits. And I guess I should not be surprised since Teekanne (which I just learned is German for “teapot”) has been a big player in the tea industry since 1882.

One more bonus? They have launched a promotion entitled “My Teekanne Moment” with a grand prize of a $5,000 American Express gift card. I like their style.

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A Toddler Tea Moment

One of the things that makes it especially hard to live so far away from family is that Edie doesn’t get the constant interaction with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Factor in that there are 3 cousins in Boise that are within 12 months of her age, and 2 additional pre-teen cousins who enjoy entertaining the little ones – and you can see how we wish Edie could participate in the family melee more often.

Typically, we travel to Boise to celebrate Christmas. However, for the first time in nearly 10 years, we chose to make an early December trip to Boise and stay home for the holidays. Though there are pros and cons to either choice of trip, one huge pro was being able to be in town when my Great-Aunt M and her daughter, C, were also visiting.  This led to a unique opportunity to have a family tea party, and most notably, a toddler tea party.

Aunt S went above and beyond in creating the perfect environment for the kids. Her background as a preschool teacher and now working in children’s speech therapy, in addition to her incredibly creative mind and artistic skill… well you just can’t beat her.

A kid’s sized table was covered in colorful beach towels to create an absorbent and bright table cloth. A plate stacked with tiny triangular peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sat next to a platter full of pear halves topped with maraschino cherries. But the piece de resistance was the small white tea pot and tea cup at each place. The tea pot was filled halfway with apple juice.

Yes, it was a lovely lunch for the tots, but they were much more interested in pouring the juice from the tea pot into the cup, then lifting the lid off the pot and pouring the juice back in – just as my Aunt knew they would. Back and forth, they poured and poured. A few sips were taken here and there. R, at one point, decided the tea pot spout was a fun way to take a drink, and that delighted the other kids to no end!

Watching the kids have their fun and enjoy the eating and the playing was a great way to wrap up a year of precious tea moments. It also reminded me that tea with friends or family doesn’t have to be extravagant, formal or lacy. It can be simple and fun and still be absolutely beautiful.

Here’s how you can create your own Toddler Tea Party:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut on the diagonal, creating 4 triangles (Make one full sandwich per toddler)
1 can of pear halves in lite syrup. Drain the pear halves, set on a plate and place 1 maraschino cherry in the hollow of each pear half.
Or, to make things even easier, substitute a can of fruit cocktail, drain completely and serve in decorative bowl. The small pieces are just the right size for little hands.

Provide small teapots and cups for the toddlers. I found small white teapots on Amazon.com for around $6 each. Use apple juice (dilute apple juice by using 2 parts apple juice and 1 part water), instead of tea.

While a plastic table cloth is great for protecting your table, using large beach towels over the plastic cloth is a bright and easy way to reduce spill issues.

It’s a New Year!  May 2011 bring you many precious tea moment with those you love the most!

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A State of Emergency Moment

My home county has been declared a state of emergency, along with several other Southern California counties. We are on Day 5 of the heaviest rain I’ve experienced in our 11 years of living here. Gene braved the weather to go to his L.A. office on Monday, but after a 2.5 hour commute home that evening, he’s working from home, and I am fully supporting that decision!

The view out my home office window is grey and soggy. Our hulking 100-pound dog refuses to go outside to respond to the call of nature unless accompanied by one of us and a large umbrella. We don’t want to find out what happens if we refuse to accommodate this wimpiness, so out we go, giant umbrella at the ready. *Sigh*

Rain, rain go away

Christmas is mere days away, and here we sit, huddled up in our homes, hoping and praying the roof holds true. It does certainly put things in perspective however. It is in this moment I really, tangibly understand what it is to be thankful for a roof over my family’s head.

With all this introspection and mild anxiety, it is with such pleasure and delight that I received unexpected gifts from some very special individuals who have shared their personal tea moments with me over the past 2 years. One arrived from Germany and brought me to tears with its thoughtfulness. The other from one of my dear tea mentors and his wife. I look forward to sharing these moments in more detail in the future, but I wanted to take time today to acknowledge these kindnesses that impacted me so much.

For those of you who are blessed with shelter, food, family, friends and good weather, I ask you to think of those who are experiencing a state of emergency not just today, but this month and this year. For me, I am especially touched by those who are new or expectant mothers that have personally found “no room at the inn.” Casa Teresa provides temporary housing and ongoing support for pregnant women who are alone. I encourage you to consider offering a gift to them or one of the states of emergency that is close to your own heart.

And now, I will sit back with a cup of Toasted Walnut from DAVIDsTEA, and know that no storm is forever. There is a rainbow coming.

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A Winning Moment

‘Tis the season to be jolly! To keep the joy and mirth a-flowing, I’m so happy to announce our Facebook Fan Page Drawing Winners!

Winner of the American Tea Room Flight to Japan Tea Moment Care Package: Shari Engelbrecht

Winner of the Naivetea High Altitude Tea Moment Care Package: Ed Bromley

Winner of the DAVIDsTEA Winter Collection Kit Tea Moment Care Package: Cathy Furr Robertson

Thank you to the dozens and dozens of new fans and friends. I hope you and your family and friends will enjoy many special Moments during this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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An Oolong in Germany Moment

It’s always so lovely to hear of other tea lovers discovering new teas or wanting to share their own tea moment. So, of course, I was delighted to hear from Abadia in Germany and her experience with one of my favorite Oolongs, Rose Violet Calendula Oolong from Naivetea:

Hi Jen!

This tea was really nice!
I was sceptical, because I don’t really like teas with flowery flavours.
But I was surprised!
I loved it!
I think these three flowers complement each other in a very harmonious way.  And the Oolong basis emphasizes this composition perfectly.

Greetings from the very cold Northern Germany!

Abadía

Thanks Abadia – I love this one too! But I guess that is no surprise, as it won An International Tea Moment’s Best of 2009 award for Oolongs. 

Keep sharing your tea exploration and tea moments with me! I love to hear all about them!

An International Tea Moment is having a holiday drawing! Learn the details here.

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