Tag Archives: tea moment

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!

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An Animal Crackers Moment

Who said a tea moment has to be so serious?

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An Unsettling ‘Fider’ Moment

Southern California fall days mean it’s time to be on the look out for large spider webs, and of course their architects. One strand of these spider webs can almost feel like sticky fishing line – it’s that strong.

I came home from an errand yesterday to find my whole family in the back yard looking up.

“Mom!” Edie yelled, jumping up and down. “Look! A big fider! A HUGE fider!”

A huge spider indeed. Big and fat and black with red bands around its legs.

“Ewwwwww! Yucky yuck!” Edie yelled, hopping around underneath the giant web that was nearly as tall as she is.

The web has been constructed between the patio cover and a fence post, about 5 1/2 feet in the air, with enough clearance underneath for a dog or a two year old to pass under without incident.

I had hoped that with the deluge of rain we heard last night, it would, “wash the spider out!” as the song says. But alas. Since this is no “Itsy, bitsy spider,” the web and its occupant steadfastly remain. The raindrops cling most beautifully to the silken strands, but no damage has been done. Drat.

What to do? It must go. But how will it be dispensed with? What a squish it would make. Gags me even to think about it. Does anyone have a BB gun?

However, it is still not as bad as the early Halloween visitor that visited my cousin’s home recently in the Northern end of this state. At least this spider does not have fur!

In any case, time for some tea. Indoors. Edie and I will have to content ourselves with yelling from our back door, “Go ‘way, Fider!”

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A One-Two Chai Chai Chai Moment

It’s little known fact, but my husband courted me over tea. We’d sit at his mom’s kitchen table covered in a red and white checked table cloth and brew tea and talk until all hours of the night. He with his Cincinnati Bengals mug and I with a white Corelle mug with blue trim. The tea? Your standard Lipton original. It didn’t matter. As with all tea moments, it’s more about who you’re with, not what you’re sipping.

So, I’m always a little sentimental when we have a quiet, spontaneous tea moment at our own kitchen table these days. On a rare occasion, Edie is dropped off at daycare, and we have 20 or 30 minutes before our respective work days begin. On this particular occasion, I told him I was going to try a sample of Chai that had been sent to me. He has always liked Chai, so he said he’d join me in the taste test.

The Chai in question was Tipu’s Authentic Indian Chai. Specifically, their new Instant Black Chai. I have to admit, I don’t have much experience with Chai. If offered a choice, I always fall back on a black breakfast tea blend rather than chai. For me, this was a fun change of pace. I used hot milk, as the directions recommended, and stirred in a teaspoon of the instant chai. I was tempted to use the Cincinnati Bengals mug (which made the journey to California with us).  The Chai is unsweetened, so I added some sweetener to each mug.

The first sip is always my favorite. Spicy and creamy, the Chai was perfect for an overcast, slightly misty October morning. Gene was an instant fan. As it turned out, he had just run out of coffee and decided that this could become a welcome replacement because it felt substantial and filling, the way coffee can be.  High praise, indeed.  Our only challenge was the idea of heating milk, if we were to indulge every day. We don’t have a milk steamer or an espresso machine, so it’s either boiling it in a pan on the stove or warming it in our mugs in the microwave.

Our solution came with our experiment the following morning. I put the kettle on and made the Chai using boiling water, leaving plenty of room for milk. I poured a generous glug of milk into each mug and stirred in the chai. The results was very satisfying in every way. Perhaps the brew was not as creamy as using pure milk, but it had enough. And the ritual of the tea kettle can be retained. Win-win.

I think we may have found our bridge between my morning tea and his morning coffee. Morning Chai.  Thank you Tipu’s!

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An Airplane Tea Service Moment

It has been my experience on most airlines that when it comes to tea, the typical service involves hottish water and a Lipton tea bag, or one of its near cousins.  So, imagine my surprise when on my maiden flight on Virgin America Airlines, when I asked for hot tea, I had the option of Teance Breakfast blend at no charge, or a green or white tea option for a small charge. Hallelujah! An airline who takes its tea a bit seriously. Although, being founded by Sir Richard Branson, an Englishman who surely values a proper cup of tea, this should come as no surprise.

 I had heard of Teance, but had not yet experienced them, so I greatly enjoyed this unexpected introduction to their artisanal teas. The Breakfast Blend was full bodied and clean, and it was so far away from the standard airline tea that I have to confess I had 3 cups. In addition to their fantastic tea, they also had some great snacks and meals for purchase. I opted for the Tapas plate that included a variety of cheeses, veggies, crackers and hummus. If you haven’t flown Virgin America before, I have to say I am inclined to bump them up above both Southwest and Jet Blue based on my round trip to Ft. Lauderdale.

They had the on time arrivals and departures that I love about Southwest, and they have the in-seat entertainment including satellite tv, games, and movies that I love about Jet Blue, but with the addition of a music feature that allows you to create your own playlist from an astonishing library of artists. But the best, and frankly the most efficient, feature was the ability to place your food or beverage order through your tv screen. So, after the beverage cart went through one time shortly after take off, the aisle was never blocked again as a result of ‘service.’ Instead, you could place any other orders through your screen, swipe your credit card there and then (if needed), and within 2 minutes, your order would be served to you at your seat with minimal disruption to you or the passengers around you. Brilliant!

My season of manic travel comes to a close in two weeks, and I am very happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Growing up, I always dreamed of a career that would take me on the road so I could see the country and the world. I’ve had that opportunity in spades within the past 4 months, and I can now say with much heartfelt enthusiasm that there is indeed no place like home!

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A Letting Go Moment

If only...

That show, Hoarders, scares me just a little. The story about the poor woman in Las Vegas who disappeared for 4 months only to be discovered under a pile of her own mementos scares me a lot. I keep thinking, if not but for the grace of God go I.  Okay, maybe that is overstating things a bit. But I understand that need to hang on to things. That sense of utter offense when a loved one lightly tosses what I consider “precious” into the garbage without a second thought. My parents’ attic is testament to my sentimentality. (I’m going to clean it all out! I promise!)  

In the past few years, I’ve been working to purge myself and my life of this “personal detritus” as I saw one web site describe it. Though you wouldn’t have noticed my little stashes of “treasures,” little by little I’ve tossed literally hundreds of pounds of stuff away and hauled hundreds of more pounds of things to Goodwill.  

The final push was this weekend. However, productivity doesn’t stand a chance without reinforcements. That’s where Marrakesh comes into play. A Chinese green tea with a bolt of refreshing spearmint from American Tea Room. The spearmint combined with what is known as ‘gunpowder’ green tea is just the driving force I need. This would be my sustenance to reach my personal goal: To get down to one large Rubbermaid bin of mementos, reminders of my personal history and the people who influenced it. Just one. And it had to be light enough so that if for any reason it fell on me, I would not be crushed by the weight of my own junk!  

  

Why is it so difficult to let go of these things? I’ve searched the internet for tips on how to let go of personal mementos. The advice seems to be geared toward items that have been given as gifts. I have no problem with that. My problem is photos…  

  

And letters…  

  

And an embarrassing number of notebooks with the beginnings of several dozen great American novels. These make up my personal history. This is my legacy. And maybe that has been the obstacle. By throwing these meaningless things away, I am throwing my life and who I am… away. I always admired the stories of Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder who documented their lives and live on in books and the imaginations of children around the world. But let’s get real. I’m no Anne Frank or Half-Pint. I’ve never suffered through war or great oppression. I have not pioneered my way across an unforgiving land.  

However, my outlook is a bit different now. I have a daughter. She is my legacy, or at least a part of it. And isn’t the more important legacy about how we make people feel each time they encounter us, not the stories and personal effects we leave behind? (To be dealt with by someone else, for which I’m sure they are truly grateful.)  

I am taking to heart more and more what St. Teresa of Avila once said:  

 Christ has no body on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out upon the world, ours are the feet with which he goes about doing good, ours are the hands with which he blesses his people.  

That puts things into perspective. The good and kind and meaningful things that happen each day are a result of our choosing to do them. Today, I choose to take out the trash and then make dinner for my husband and daughter. Today, that is enough.  

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An Iron Goddess of Mercy Moment

Mu Zha Tie Guan Yin

 

Morning tea is what I do every day. At home or on the road, this is pretty much the start of my day. At home, it is accompanied by toast with real butter. Maybe some honey. This is probably not the most well-rounded breakfast, but it works for me.  

It’s a special treat when new tea arrives on my doorstep. Today, it was Mu Zha Guan Yin from Naivetea. This tea is also known as the Iron Goddess or Mercy, which brings to mind a Taiwanese Mary Poppins of sorts. (Now, there’s an idea!) A firm hand but with loving forgiveness for those daily blunders.  

As I brewed this tea, I was greeted by the scent of roasted rice or nuts rather than the gentle perfume I have come to associate with many Oolongs. This would make sense, as I learned that this Oolong is processed according to the traditional method of repeat roasting.  

The first sip… a woodsy, roasted rice flavor. I keep wanting to compare it to a GenMaicha, but without the grassy finish. It’s a hearty tea, perfect to give me a little shove into the morning tasks at hand. I find this tea pleasantly leaning toward a black tea weight and  feel, rather than green. And in the end, there’s the subtlest sweet aftertaste.  Each taste brings out more complexities. At times I detect ripe oranges.  

This really is an Iron Goddess of Mercy – allowing me to indulge in the comfort zone of black tea familiarity while firmly challenging me with the complex citrus, woodsy, roasted flavors. It’s warmth and earthiness make it feel just right as my guide into autumn.  

Let the day begin!  

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