Tag Archives: DAVIDsTEA

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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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…

I’m on Facebook too! Join An International Tea Moment’s new Facebook Fan Page! http://www.facebook.com/TeaMoment.

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A Who Sencha Tea Moment

My green tea party continues.  Having dipped my tongue into a Refreshing Sencha earlier, I felt the need to experience true sencha. No enabling flavors or fragrances. Just me and Sencha. Mano a mano.

In this corner – Jen. Tea enthusiast. Enjoys black teas, white teas, oolongs, and has been leaning favorably toward greens. Eats sushi on most Saturdays, hates math, and has danced to accordian music in a Siberian forest.

In the other corner – Organic Japanese Sencha. Provided by DAVIDsTEA. Created in 1740 (not this particular batch)  when a tea merchant, Nagatani, perfected a new process of steaming, rolling and heat-drying green tea. Known as Japan’s preferred beverage.

We bow. The tea is steeped for two minutes. The Sencha appears in the cup dressed in a golden yellow. I expect wafts of new-mown grass to slap me in the face, but the greenness just brushes against me. I grasp the cup firmly for the first sip. What other word can be used to describe the encounter but S-M-O-O-T-H. It’s a full-bodied tea, well balanced, and satisfying. While my mind knows it is a green tea, it doesn’t hit me over the head with the notion. Maybe this journey has smoothed the rough preconceptions I’ve had. Maybe my palate is actually developing. (Think of that!)

I’m a sipper, not a fighter. We both laugh at this charade and decide to just hang out instead, this Sencha and me. I like this one. And I think it likes me.

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A Bunco Tea Moment

How does one describe Bunco? I may venture to say it’s the new “Bridge” club for this generation of women. It’s dice rolling, snacking and drinking while catching up on a month’s worth of news with 11 girlfriends. No skill is involved, except perhaps multi-tasking. Can you roll and talk at the same time? Perfect!

This month was my month to host, so I decided to have a California Tea Party, Bunco-Style. Sweet, savory and chocolate-y treats were accompanied by a choice of lemonade, iced Tangier Tea from American Tea Room, iced Strawberry White from DAVIDsTEA and two kinds of Mar-Tea-Ni’s. Who says you can’t have a tea party at night? Not me! Here are my not-at-all secret recipes for Tea-Ni’s:

Mint Tea-Ni

Adapted from Kerry Saretsky of French Revolution.

Boiling water – enough to fill large tea pot
2 mint tea bags (this time, I used Tazo Refresh)
3 Tablespoons loose leaf Ceylon (I used TeaSource’s Ceylon Vithanakanda, FOP)
8 mint leaves, plus 16 mint leaves
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 shots vodka, very cold (I used Ketel One – how could I not? Their headquarters is in my town!!!)

1. Brew a 6-cup pot of tea, with boiling water, 2 mint tea bags, 3 Tbsp Ceylon tea (contained in infuser for easy leaf removal), and 8 fresh mint leaves. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pull out the tea bags and infuser (leave the mint leaves). Allow to cool for several minutes and then refrigerate until very cold.

2. Make the mint syrup by put 16 mint leaves, lightly chopped, into a sauce pot with 1⁄4 cup water and 1⁄2 cup sugar. Heat on medium-high until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is translucent. Set aside to cool, and then drain.

3.  Add the cooled, strained mint syrup and the vodka to the chilled tea pot. Give it all a good stir and pour into martini glass, garnished with fresh mint leaves. If not quite cold enough, shake in martini shaker with ice until chilled.

White Tiger-Tea-Ni

Boiling water – enough to fill large tea pot
% Tablespoons loose leaf White Tiger tea from DAVIDsTEA 
1/3 cup blueberries, plus handful for garnish
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 shots vodka, very cold (Yep –  Ketel One)

1. Brew a 6-cup pot of tea, with boiling water and 5 Tbsp White Tiger Tea. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pull out  infuser. Allow to cool for several minutes and then refrigerate until very cold.

2. Make the blueberry syrup by putting 1/3 cup blueberries into a sauce pot with 1⁄4 cup water and 1⁄2 cup sugar. Heat on medium-high, smash berries and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is a deep purple Set aside to cool, and then drain.

3.  Add the cooled, strained syrup and the vodka to the chilled tea pot. Give it all a good stir and pour into martini glass, garnished with several blueberries skewered on a toothpick. If not quite cold enough, shake in martini shaker with ice until chilled.

Cheers!

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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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