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 Quiet Mother Daughter Moment

Edie has been dealing with her first cold of the season, and while she stayed home from daycare we got to spend some quality snuggle time together. And for the first time, when I asked her what she wanted to drink, she said, “Tea, please!” I let her have some of my slightly cooled Immortal Green from American Tea Room, and she sat happily on the couch with me, watching Special Agent Oso. We sat, we sipped.

My baby girl is growing up. And already my tea moments with her are beginning.

An International Tea Moment now has a Facebook Page! http://www.facebook.com/TeaMoment Share your tea moments with me there!

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A Sussex Tea Pot Tea Room Moment

There’s so much to be said for old faithful friends. After living in Orange County for nearly 11 years now, I feel so blessed to have made some deep and rich friendships. My longest standing California friend is someone I worked with for several years, and now she and I find ourselves on opposite ends of Orange County in completely different roles than where we first started. We each have families now, with increasingly complicated schedules as kids get older, husbands’ work gets more demanding (and more precious), and then we have our own selves to manage!

So, when S suggested connecting through a two-person book club, I was delighted at the thought! This would be a way for us to do something together, though separately, and also give us a great excuse to escape our families for an hour or two to discuss our thoughts on the book.  Brilliant!

We chose ‘Eat. Pray. Love.’ mostly because of the timing of the movie release. We ambitiously thought we might be able to plan a girls’ movie night to tie in with our reading. And while that didn’t quite turn out as planned, we did manage to meet for lunch. Or, at her suggestion, for afternoon tea. She knows me oh-too-well.

Imagine my surprise when she suggested a tea room that I had not yet discovered! The Sussex Tea Pot Tea Room and Thistle British/Irish Grocery and Gift Shop. (Say that five times fast!)

Located in a business park of sorts, this little slice of Britain is as authentic as it gets! I’ve been to a handful of tea rooms in England over the years, and this transported me to those moments – right down to the two grandmotherly, no-nonsense ladies who oversee the premises. 
While S and I caught up on all the latest and discussed snippets of the book, we also thoroughly enjoyed the traditional fare of an English Tea Time.

It started with a salad dressed with a sauce that I have only ever tasted in Europe. Almost a mayonnaisse -y vinaigrette. (They carry it in the connecting grocery store!) Then a plate of 4 sandwiches and chips. I chose cream cheese and cucumber and egg salad. Delicious! Then came the scones with jam and cream. I had forgotten that in England, the scones arrive at the end, not at the beginning as I’ve found so often in the states. The pot of tea was a strong English Breakfast. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

And of course, while the setting and the food warmed the cockles of my heart, it was the company that made the moment so special. I took for granted all the weeks, months and years that I could grab S for lunch when we worked in the same office. Now, lunch together is a rare treat that can take weeks or months of planning!  And that’s why there is so much to be said for old faithful friends. Regardless of the amount of time that can pass between visits, phone calls or emails, whenever we’re back together it’s as if no time has passed at all.  Those are moments that I treasure.

The Sussex Tea Pot Tea Room
12752 Valley View Street, Suites P&Q 
Bridgecreek Business Park 
Garden Grove
714-897-9442

http://sussexteapot.com/aboutus.htm

Tea Room Hours
Wed through Sun – 11a-4p
Mon & Tues – Closed

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A Neighborhood Cup Moment

The town where I live is a very small town in the sprawling landscape that is Orange County, California. Some might describe it as a bedroom community. It’s a new town, and as such, there hasn’t been much opportunity for quaint spots to be carved out of history. This is where The Neighborhood Cup comes in. It’s a little neighborhood cafe that is connected to our modest – but – modern library. One half of the floor space is taken up by homey, wooden tables, the other half by squishy couches and comfy chairs. It’s also the lifeblood of the local artistic community, providing live concerts, embroidery bees, yoga classes and family karaoke evenings. 

It serves light fare in addition to its menu of fun coffee drinks, smoothies and a wide variety of loose leaf tea, courtesy of Lindsay’s Teas. It is such a rare occurrence that a neighborhood cafe has loose leaf tea, that I love them particularly for the fact of it.

On the rare occasion that I have a free hour, I will cruise over, check out a book at the library, order a cup of tea, sink into the corner of the man-eating couch, and then not think about how I am going to get up again until the hour is over.

For this veg session on an unusually warm November day, I chose Summer Melon Oolong. I don’t often go for fruity teas because of the sickeningly sweet aftertaste so many of them have. Lindsay’s Teas do it right, however. A lightly perfumed oolong with the bright sweetness of melon. The fruit flavor doesn’t stay, it fades into a scent. Perfect. Just the thing for a quiet moment.

The Neighborhood Cup
1 Journey
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

949.716.5100

An International Tea Moment now has a Facebook Page! http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/An-International-Tea-Moment/160567147290939. Share your tea moments with me there!

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A Green Tea Wrap Party Moment

With elections completed (thank heavens), and tea partiers having made their statement – whatever it is (frankly I haven’t paid attention) – I thought I’d wind down my own Green Tea Party movement with a fond remembrance of all I’ve learned and experienced.

For those of you who wonder who won, well, Green Tea did.

I began my Green Tea Party with the objective of exploring green teas and trying to develop any kind of appreciation for them at all. What I discovered was an incredibly vast spectrum of flavors, colors, and intensities that surprised and delighted.  I have been won over.  Here’s a walk down memory lane:

I started with my Green Tea Exploration Moment. Part of my motivation was the feeling that my family had been sick too much for too long. Began my journey with Wen Shan Bao Zhong from Naivetea and Genmaicha from American Tea Room.

Next  was A Long Jing (Dragonwell) Moment. David from American Tea Room recommended I begin with Chinese green teas to ease my way into the greens. Along the way I discovered fun legends involving dragons and village wells. (Thus the name…)

Ceylon Vithanakanda, FOPA House Green Moment happened next. A visit to Bill Waddington’s TeaSource in Minnesota provided a fascinating insight into another person’s tea obsession, with the bonus of acquiring some exquisite teas.

An Empress Jasmine Moment was next, with my introduction to a green tea blend from Lindsay’s Teas. My love for Chinese green teas was growing. I was beginning to see what all the buzz was about!

A Summer Morning Moment led me to explore a “greener” Chinese green tea from Two Leaves and a Bud, called Tamayokucha. The deeper you dive into this world of tea, the more fascinating facts you uncover, such as this particular style of tea is covered for the last few weeks before harvest to bring out a specific flavor!

My first tentative steps into Japanese greens was facilitated by MyTeaShelf in A Refreshing Sencha Moment. This introduction transformed my view of Japanese teas from scary Samurai to engaging Geisha.

In An Ashland, Oregon Tea Moment, I got to do what I most enjoy – share my tea discoveries with some of my favorite people. One of these teas was Immortal Green, a Japanese sencha with peach and passion fruit from American Tea Room.

Feeling braver, I decided to go right for the unadulterated stuff in A Who Sencha Moment. DAVIDsTEA provided some lovely Organic Japanese Sencha, and my newfound love of green tea took strong root.

In A Letting Go Moment, American Tea Room’s Marrakesh (a Chinese green with spearmint!) helped drive me to find clarity in what was truly important in my life and what needed to be tossed aside.

There have been other green tea moments, of course. The green tea samples I brought to a routine doctor appointment because I remembered she had said most green teas don’t agree with her and I thought she might like to try just one more (Marrakesh). The Harney and Sons Pan Asia tea bags I carry with me on all business trips because they are easy – though apparently they look like baggies of weed, which may explain why my carry on bag has been hand searched more than once. The Green Peony tea from Peet’s Tea given to me as a gift from a friend – the tea is hand crafted so that you place it in your tea cup, pour hot water over it and it looks like a blooming peony in your cup. Beautiful! 

It’s been a transforming journey, this Green Tea Party. I have fallen in love with something that less than a year ago would “gag me with a spoon.”  Thanks to all my tea friends and gurus who helped me see the light on this one!

As we approach the holidays, some of you may be dreaming of a White Christmas. Well, I’ll be dreaming of White Teas. I feel a new obsession coming on…

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An Animal Crackers Moment

Who said a tea moment has to be so serious?

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