Tag Archives: Tangier

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.




Filed under Tea, Tea Recipes

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!


Filed under Drawings, Tea

A Reconnecting Moment

Life has a funny way of bringing you closer to friends in unexpected ways. In this case, a friend I met during a college exchange program in France and who lives in the mid-west is now seeing someone who lives less than 10 miles away from me!  This friend also vowed never to come to California due to earthquakes, potential gang riots, etc. (Joke is on him!)

On a recent visit, the happy couple stopped by on the way to dinner. G was curious to experience my tea ‘thing’ firsthand, and of course, how could I refuse?

Choosing the tea was surprisingly simple. I wanted a black tea blend – not too overpowering in any way – and an oolong, since I’m in quite the honeymoon phase with this recent discovery. A pot of Tangier (American Tea Room) and a pot of Strawberry Oolong (Naivetea).

As we sat and they told us about the events of this current visit and educated us on the Armenian population in L.A. (they were headed to an Armenian restaurant that night), we drank tea together.

G surprised me by choosing the Strawberry Oolong as his preference, while A chose Tangier. One of many things, they joked, on which they disagree.  As the visit came to a close, I did introduce them to my Tea-Rum-Pa-Pum-Pum, though I went extremely light on the addition of the Cap’n. Everyone agreed that this tea concoction was a good thing.

Old friends, new friends, good conversation, great reconnection.

Add your comment to any of my blog entries & Win Gift Package of 2009 Award Winning Tea from An International Tea Moment! See details at http://wp.me/pv8CX-3x


Filed under Tea

A Tangier Tea Moment

An international safe house. The heavy and intoxicating scent of spices in the air. A pirate’s hideout. The center of World War I espionage. Ah, the romance and excitement of Tangier…  All in one perfect cup.


A painting by Louis Comfort Tiffany depicting a market outside of the walls of Tangier.

It’s a Wednesday. Typically, this is my day at home with Edie. No work, no commitments. Just me and Edie. However, October begins tomorrow, and with it comes a circus of events, presentations, travel and adventures.  Today is my day to prepare. For the past week, I’ve felt like a deer in headlights – not knowing whether to step forward or turn and run for the hills. And now, it’s time to get it together and make a plan. And what better way to get one’s thoughts together than over a fresh cup of tea.

Enter my friends at American Tea Room. Yesterday, I was thrilled to receive my order of new teas. I had asked them for recommendations, and they answered my call admirably. Not only did my order come with their 2 suggested black tea blends and 1 re-order, they also sent samples based on my prior interests. Have I told you lately that I love the Royal Family at American Tea Room?

And so, I began my day with an exotic trip to Tangier. Upon opening this new tea, eyes closed, I was swept away to a land of intrigue and destiny. The heady aroma of apricot drenched in an evening mist surrounded and enveloped me.  Opening my eyes, I was met with a visual feast – the black, whole leaves of Sri Lankan tea spiked with the fiery red and orange apricot and saffron petals. The anticipation of the first sip was nearly unbearable.  A watched pot may never boil, but a monitored steeping  can seem interminable!

Tangier, take me away...

Tangier, take me away…

A clear, medium amber liquid with nearly no sediment, a light apricot fragrance with the subtlest hint of something foreign and floral – I can only guess that is the saffron petals – and then the first sip.  Ah… Light, yet substantial. Mind-clearing and refreshing.  The passion, strategy, cunning and romance of this city’s history is now running through me, and I’m ready to walk confidently into October.

It may be true that I have not physically visited this magical and mythical city of Tangier, but I have experienced it all the same.


Filed under Tea, Travel