Category Archives: Drawings

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 These accompanied me through the shredding of 10 trash bags of outdated and unnecessary documents, the scheduling of myriad repairmen, inspectors, realtors and escrow officers, freakouts over last minute wire transfers, and they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 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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A Decision Making Moment

We all have those moments in our lives with our significant others where decisions must be made wholly together. They are typically the bigger decisions: should we buy a house, should we sell our house, should we start a family, should you or I pursue the new employment opportunity, should you or I go back to school, should we add to our existing family, should we do two or more of the above simultaneously, etc.

For us (and maybe it’s for me more than for him), sitting down and discussing the issues over tea can get us out of our usual discussion routine where one will drop comments on the other out of the blue, with no context or warning. And then off he or I will go – chasing Edie or starting a load of laundry. These drive-by thought grenades are not intentionally unsettling. They just tend to happen in the course of busy lives.

Today, we sat down over a gift from Obubu Tea, to ponder, to discuss. And while the tea itself became the majority of the conversation, it did what was intended. It put us on the same page, and that is exactly where we needed to be.

It was rather fun dissecting the two Senchas: The first, Sencha of the Earth, the other, Sencha of the Spring Sun. Even inhaling the fragrance of the dry leaves gave a clear understanding of how very different Senchas can be.

Sencha of the Earth produced a dark yellow liquid with a fragrance reminding me of wet leaves in a New England forest. The first sip for me brought the earthy greenness I had always associated with green teas. Gene referred to it as the slightest bit of fishiness, and I had to agree. That was the element I could never quite put my finger on. Having journeyed through many green teas now, however, this doesn’t deter me any longer. I have a new appreciation for greens. What we found most interesting about this one was wherever this tea hit your palate first is where the aftertaste would remain.

Sencha of the Spring Sun produced a light copper liquid with a fragrance more reminiscent of wet grass, rather than wet leaves. This first sip was brighter and more substantial than the other. Gene was reminded more of a black tea than a green tea, which is perhaps why we slightly preferred this one. Or maybe it had more to do with the fact that this chilly weather made the thought of Spring Sun more appealing. What we found interesting about this brew was that even after steeping, this Sencha seemed to continue to deepen and develop.

One variation we look forward to trying with these Senchas is adding Obubu’s roasted brown rice in order to produce a Genmaicha. In this world of artisan products, what better way to provide a one-of-a-kind experience than giving you the roasted brown rice to blend to your individual taste? Brilliant!

The result of this moment? We’ve agreed on the initial path we would like to pursue. We have a plan. Where it will take us is a complete mystery to us today, but at least we’re not allowing ourselves to hang in limbo.

One decision down! How many more to go? Who knows. Life, as they say, is a journey – not a destination. And as today is also the first Sunday in Advent, we are reminded that life is also about new beginnings. Each day, each month, each year is a new beginning. It’s not a bad thing, but it is a good reminder to take a Moment and be thoughtful about how we want to approach these new and renewing beginnings.

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

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An ITM Facebook Drawing Moment

‘Tis the season of gratitude and gift-giving. And in this spirit, I announce An International Tea Moment’s Holiday Drawing. Three lucky winners will receive a Tea Moment Care Package with everything they will need to have their very own personal Tea Moment – whether in peaceful solitude or with a loved one!

There are two ways to enter and be eligible:

1. Go to the Facebook page of  An International Tea Moment and “Like” it

2. If you already “Like” An International Tea Moment’s Facebook page, simply “Like” one or more of the posts.

It’s that simple. Good luck, and may this Holiday Season bring about many Happy Moments for you and yours!

http://www.facebook.com/TeaMoment

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A Drawing Moment

As promised, I randomly selected a winner from all of you who posted comments by January 22nd. Only, I didn’t just draw one name, I drew three! I was so excited about the six award winning teas, that I just HAD to have more than one winner. I notified the three winners on Monday, and they are:

A.H. from Germany (originally from Venezuela)

Jennifer S. from Washington

Tarcy from California

I heard back almost immediately from A. H., who was very excited about getting the opportunity to try these six teas. What a lovely surprise to also receive a picture that her youngest daughter drew just for me:

Té para Jen

I hope that one day I will be able to re-create this “moment” in real life with A. H. and her daughters!

Another winner, Jennifer, wrote, “And I must tell you, I have definitely been drinking more tea lately because of your blog. Mission accomplished.” She, too, responded with a picture. This one of a tea pot she painted and fired on her own at a pottery shop some years ago with a friend.(Is it just me, or does the tea pot in the drawing above look strikingly similar to the photo below???)

Jennifer's Tea Pot

I’m looking forward to hearing back from Tarcy so I can ship her the gift box of award-winning tea samples!

I’m also looking forward to hearing from more of you about your own tea moments. If you have one to share, please write a comment for this post and I’ll contact you for your story.

Congratulations again to all my drawing winners, and I look forward to your reviews of these teas that I love so very much!

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An Event-ful Moment

Thank You, Sponsors!

Neither rain nor sleet nor flooded roadways could keep these women away from my first tea event of the New Year (thank goodness!), An International Tea Moment’s Best of 2009 Tea Event.  Torrential rains have hit Southern California with a vengeance not seen since 1995, so while tea may seem the perfect antidote to gloomy weather, I was a little concerned that hurricane-force gusts of wind may deter my guests. Luck was on my side, though, and the rain stopped just long enough for the guests to arrive.

Some were new to the different varieties of tea, some had some old stand-by’s in their cupboards, and all of them were more than happy to have an excuse to step away from their places of work and enjoy a tea party of any kind. Here, they would be introduced to my favorite discoveries of 2009, including:

Best of 2009 Black Tea: Mokalbari Estates, by American Tea Room

Best of 2009 Black Tea Blend: Tangier, by American Tea Room

Best of 2009 White Tea Blend: White Tiger, by DAVIDsTEA

Best of 2009 Oolong: Rose Violet Calendula, by Naivetea

Best of 2009 Green Tea Blend: Jaded Julip, by Lavender Lounge Tea Company/Pangea Tea Company

Best of 2009 Herbal Infusion: Andes Breeze, by MyTeaShelf.com

Upon arrival, guests were met with score cards and asked to step into the tasting room. Each of the 6 award winning teas was laid out with small tasting cups. Everyone made their way through each station, jotting notes and asking questions about the differences between teas: white, oolong, green and black, and why an herbal tea was usually not really considered “tea.” (There are no actual tea leaves in most of what we refer to as “herbal teas.”) Cards were collected – during lunch, guests would be served the tea they chose as their favorite.

The rain fell during lunch, and then came the hail! Everyone commented they were glad to be inside with a hot cup of tea rather than dealing with the weather outside. Conversations ranged from the effects of tea on teeth, to birthday makeovers, to academics, to teapots, tea cups, collections and my lovely experiences with each of the event’s wonderful sponsors and award winners. The lunch menu included roasted red pepper and tomato soup with basil; four sandwiches: cucumber, tuna salad, egg salad, and pear and brie;  a savory ham and cheese-filled puff pastry, an orange and cranberry scone to be topped with fruit preserves and Devonshire cream, strawberries and blueberries, and assorted chocolates.

Before the end of our time together, we tallied the cards and identified the “Fan Favorite” of all the award winners.  Now, you all know my bent toward black teas and tea blends. So when it comes to tea parties that involve finger sandwiches, the obvious accompanying tea is always a black one, right?  To my surprise, there was not one Fan Favorite, but two. And neither were black teas!

Congratulations to Naivetea for Fan Favorite #1, Rose Violet Calendula Oolong, and to DAVIDsTEA for Fan Favorite #2, White Tiger!

Fabulous prizes!

And then, the icing on the cake, each guest got to take the tea party home with them! Due to the generosity of the award winners, everyone left with a sample of each of the six award winning teas, a tea cup with infuser, a discount code for MyTeaShelf.com for 10% off (Enter code TEAMOMENT at checkout), and an assortment of tea samples from DAVIDsTEA to further explore some exciting and creative tea blends.

As I wrapped up this event, I reflected on what this moment was all about. Yes, I have been introduced to a plethora of amazing, exciting, unique and nuanced teas, each with their own distinct personality. But even better, I got to share a select few with a collection of amazing, exciting, unique and nuanced women who have become treasured friends over the last 10 years since Gene and I moved here. For me, that is what made this moment most successful.

Are you an existing fan of any of these award-winning teas? If so, you are invited to submit your own ‘tea moments’ through photos, videos or written note!

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An International Tea Moment Presents the Best of 2009

After nearly a year of sipping old favorites, exploring new avenues, achieving many breakthroughs and receiving random packages of amazing teas with a request for review, I have managed to identify my favorite teas of the year. It is my distinct pleasure to announce An International Tea Moment’s picks for The Best Tea of 2009!

Best Black Tea: Mokalbari Estates

Best Black Tea Blend: Tangier

Best White Tea Blend: White Tiger

Best Oolong: Rose Violet Calendula

Best Green Tea Blend: Jaded Julip

Best Herbal Infusion: Andes Breeze

Today, I hosted an intimate event that included tea tastings of all the award-winning teas, a light luncheon, and tea schwag bags for all attendees. Stay tuned for the details on the event, including who was voted Fan Favorite at the event! Sneak peek:

Congratulations to all the Award Winners for 2009.  And thank you to all my readers who have provided an overwhelming response to the drawing! I’ll be announcing the drawing winner tomorrow!

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