Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tea anyone?

# 185 - go to the Coffee & Tea Expo......DONE 2/26/12

Where do I even start to share the adventures of this blog mission??

It's taken me three lunch hours at work, several nights at home to get my information in order, my thoughts collected & these words organized.  It will take more time to write, re-write & edit these words than the time it will take to actually post this blog entry.

Oh the life of a crazy blogger!!

So thank you Raul for finding out about this wonderous event & for ordering the tickets.  Big thanks for not losing the tickets!  Seriously....will we ever get over your losing that movie ticket from a hundred years ago???
Maybe....
Someday....

The first 1500 people at this party will receive a free goodie bag.  Luckily Raul & I are among the first 1500 people.  The goodie bags are pretty simple.  It's an orange bag from ING.  The bags are filled with various goodies.  Mine had a few teabags & some flyers & a tea magazine.  The bag will come in handy for all the shopping I plan to do.

Oh yes..there will be plenty of shopping today.  I will gladly stimulate the economy with my tea buying obsession.  And I will try some scrumptious teas & meet people passionate about their teas.

First stop on the buying tour - Tea Tangent
Raul found this company & had share their link with me....which I now get to do here....
www.teatangent.com

They make these gorgeous hardwood tea accessories from hardwoods.  But fear not, they help in replanting more trees!

So after talking with the sweet lady from this stand, I decided to treat myself to a tea scoop spoon.  I thought it would be cool to have one around for a 'conversation piece' as my friend Awilda calls it..  I also picked up a honey stick after noticing it's cute honeycomb pattern.  I will end up using it Tuesday night when Awilda will come over for a spot of tea.  She is right...these things do start the conversations going!

Total cost at Tea Tangent = $30



Next stop - Runa
www.runa.org

So this day I will learn a new word in the tea world....guayusa; pronounced gwhy-you-sa.  Can I just say OMG!!!!!  SOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!

The young lady who greeted us was very polite & offered us tea.....but was kind enough to explain the tea first.  I liked how she was informed about the tea & shared her knowledge.  She answered all of our questions & we had a few.  Plus she was willing to share this amazing tea with us.

So guayusa tea is grown in the Amazon rainforest.  It is high in antioxidants & has more caffeine than any other tea.  This caffeine however is a natural caffeine which makes it a more easier high, not that crash & burn you get from other caffeines.

I love that. 

I need that.

I'm going to get that!

We were offered a cup of their Ginger Citrus Guayusa which is a wonderful mix of ginger & citrus.  I loved the flavors tempting my palette.  And then I sampled a cup of Guayusa Spice.  Such a heavenly mix of cinnamon & lemongrass.  I loved these flavors playing together. 

I had to get them both.

And then the sad news....this vendor wasn't taking credit cards & yet again, this writer forgot to hit the ATM!  Luckily my bud Raul will help me & spot the $8 for the two boxes I must own. 
Thanks Raul!

Total cost at Runa = $8 with help from Raul



Next stop - Tavalon
www.tavalon.com

A smiling woman greeted us with an offer for some iced tea.  It turned out to be a wonderfully fruity flavor that made me smile!

Tavalon Summer Fruits is a green tea mixed with apricots & sunflower blossoms.  It was a good change since we'd been sampling hot teas.  So iced it is.  And iced is wonderful!  I could see myself drinking this on a hot NY summer day & feeling refreshed.  The taste was sweet & fruity & just plain old delicious.  Very much a must own.

I also picked up a tea travel mug.  They call is a Travel Infuser Tea Cup.  I call it perfect!  It's got a little strainer that you fill with your loose leaf tea, you add hot water to the mug, & once the cap is screwed on, you drop this lever which drops the strainer into the water.  When you are done steeping, you raise the lever up & the strainer goes up.  This is perfect for me to take to work & have my loose leaf tea.

Quick note - used the travel mug for my favorite Puerh tea & it works perfectly!  Hope it continues to satisfy my tea needs during the work day.

Total cost at Tavalon = $30



A favorite stop - Best International Tea
www.bestinternationaltea.com

These people were wonderful!  Upon greeting us, we are offered a cup of a simple black tea.  Now let me explain, when I say simple, I don't mean boring.  I mean easy going, every day, & even perfect.  Raul really enjoyed this tea.  I thought it was good, but nothing that I had to own. 

I enjoyed a conversation with the son of the owners....who was also good looking....hey, I'm single!  So during our chat, I asked about some green teas they had.  I ended up buying a China Green tea with Strawberry & Vanilla. 

Total cost at Best International Tea = $12...plus some free cookies!!  Yippee!!



And now we come to the BEST purchase on the day - Taking Tea In Style
www.takingtea-instyle.com

I cannot RAVE loud enough about these two wonderful ladies from Taking Tea In Style.  First off, they just looked like they were truly enjoying themselves.  These ladies were just so over the top glamorous & elegant & down to Earth & friendly & positive & inviting & wonderful.  I'm gushing...I know...but I really enjoyed meeting these ladies.

They tempted me with an offer of Coconut Vanilla Chai tea.  Before even getting the sample cup into my hands, there has been a promise made here.  A promise of something amazing.

Coconut
Vanilla
Chai

I love these flavors on their own, so together they offer me a taste of something wonderful.  Something tropical.  Something magical.  Something just shy of total perfection....or so I would expect.

I breath in a scent from the cup & I am anticipating that wonderful taste.  I get that spicy chai taste, but it's not overbearing at all like some chai's can be.  Oh no.  This is delicate.  And then there is that vanilla & coconut flavor right behind it.  Together these three flavors will offer me a wonderful sense of calm.

And then these ladies will tempt my palette to a new level.  They offered me a taste of Ice Wine Delight.

Excuse me a moment....I have to wipe the drool from my mouth.

Ice
Wine
Delight

Hands down, no lie, no exaggeration, no joke...this is without a doubt the BEST tea I will try today.  This is truly the one tea that I cannot leave behind.  I MUST take it home or face being miserable forever. 

I know....dramatic, but ask Raul....this is all true!

Ice Wine Delight or as I like to call it Hot Sex in Your Cup is this sexy blend of black tea, freeze dried grapes, Ontario Ice Wine & white tea.  A sultry bodacious blend that will make your palette beg for more!

'Try it will a little pinch of brown sugar' is the advice these ladies whisper to me.  Oh my new BFF's....yes, I will take your advice.  A little pinch of brown sugar & another sip...oh yes, this is truly amazing. 

Oh yes folks, I have a new favorite flavor of tea & it's called Ice Wine Delight.  And it is coming home with me tonight!

Total cost at Taking Tea in Style = $17....truly the best money spent on the day!!!



So now let me share with you what I didn't buy, but sampled...

Harney & Sons
www.harney.com
Hot Cinnamon Sunset - a delicious black tea, blended with three types of cinnamons, orange peel & sweet cloves.  We are told there is no sugar added, but the cinnamons will make you feel like there is in fact sugar added.  It was a nice touch.  Now I love cinnamon.  I love when it burns the back of your throat to the point you feel like your mouth is on fire.  This tea achieves that level of burn for me.  But it's not overbearingly annoying.  Instead, it's a lovely little tingle.  The three cinnamons were ever so polite about that tingle & yet they left a wonderful flavor in my mouth.

So why didn't I buy it?
I'm not really sure.  I guess I figured I could go to the store on Broome Street at some point to do a tasting.  I'll have to go there....Raul, book it. 


Fang Gourmet Tea
www.fangtea.com
Located in Flushing, Fang Gourmet Tea not only served up some wonderful teas, but they offered a tea tasting ceremony right there.  While I tried the teas, I passed on the tasting ceremony as I want to do it in a quiet setting.  I want to take my time to really enjoy it & be in a more private setting.  So Raul & I agreed to plan to go there...again, Raul, book it!

For the record, we tried the Golden Lily Oolong flavor.  It was a beautifully flavored oolong.  I'm really starting to appreciate the oolong teas more. 

So why didn't I buy it?
I figured I'd save this purchase for after going to the tea tasting ceremony.


KIND Healthy Snacks
www.kindsnacks.com
Delicious & healthy granola mixes.  The rep for KIND was kind enough (yes, I made a pun) to share some yummy granola with us.  I tried the Cinnamon Oat Clusters with flax seeds.  I loved it!  Very delicious snack.

So why didn't I buy it?
Sadly the guy wasn't selling them.  They were only freebies.  Oddly enough there was a coupon on the table, but I forgot to take one.  Duh!  And then of course I will end up in Fairway on the way home & yup, I bought a bag!


Shapna Tea & Coffee
www.theshapnaproject.com
Friendly people greeted us & offered us a cup of tea or coffee.  We picked tea.  I don't know what it was, other than a black tea.  It was okay.  Nothing to rave about like that Ice Wine Delight....but it was okay.

So why didn't I buy it?
Eh....it didn't impress me.


New York Gourmet Coffee
If there is a crowd around & everyone is buying it up like the end of the world is near, it must be good right?

WRONG!
I tried a cup of this decaf Vanilla Almond coffee as the other flavors being offered didn't interest me.  Maybe it's me, but if you're going to offer out coffee or tea, please make it right.  It tasted burnt & bad.  And I just didn't care for it.  I took one sip & had to throw out the rest.

So why didn't I buy it?
Because I can get better coffee at Fairway....or even Starbucks...oh yes my friends, I said....Starbucks is better & for the record, everyone who knows me well, knows I detest Starbucks! 


Wild Tea Qi
I liked the guy at this table a lot.  He looked like a hippie mad scientist & I say that with love.  He was definitely one of the more passionate people we spoke to all day.  He offered us a sample of this Puerh tea he had.  I don't know if he said it was a first steep or a second, but in my humble tea drinking opinion, the color was rather faint.  When I brew my Puerh it's dark.  Maybe I'm making it wrong, but I love it dark.

So why didn't I buy it?
My Puerh from Teavivre (www.teavivre.com) is amazing & I am addicted to it.


Capital Teas
www.capitalteas.com
We were greeted by a lady who looked a bit overwhelmed.  I doubt many people were thanking her for the tea offered.  I did.  She offered us two teas to try.  I forgot what the first one was & I graciously accepted the Cream Earl Grey.  I have taken quite a liking to Earl Grey teas.  This flavor was okay, but nothing to rave about & nothing to make me rush to own it.

So why didn't I buy it?
My Vanilla Creme Earl Grey from California Tea House (www.californiateahouse.com) is the best by far!



Thanks Raul.  This was as Stephanie would say, 'The best day ever!'. 

I felt like a kid in the candy store while walking around here.  I didn't know where to look first, but I wanted it all!  I would have bought more, but I was truly overwhelmed.  I think next year I'm going to have to map out a plan of attack!

And this is an open invitation to all my friends....we have to do this as a group next year.  I think a few of you would have enjoyed this.  So be ready for it.  I'm going to ask you to come out & get high on tea with me!!

Seriously though, Ice Wine Delight.  OMG!  Best tea ever!!!

Okay, enough....here are the pictures....

First off, this party was in this building across the street from the Empire State Building...


And here I am in the elevator going to the party...

The goodie bag....

The honey stick from Tea Tangent...

And the tea scoop spoon...

And the Runa teas....


China Green Tea with Strawberry & Vanilla from Best International Tea....

The Summer Fruits tea from Tavalon....



And my new favorite tea....Taking Tea In Style's Ice Wine Delight...


Raul ended up having a very lengthy conversation with this lady Theresa from Teesa's Garden.  She is an herbalist.  She offered us a taste of her own farm fresh grown stevia.  It was good.  Rather sweet.  I can kick myself now for not getting any! 

Check her out at www.teas4u.com .

I snapped this sign at her booth....


So this makes # 17 on my list of 40 things to do.  I've got 23 more fun things to do to celebrate turning 40 & I'm looking forward to whatever happens next.......

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