Teatime Tuesday #5: Red Berries Herbal Tea

The state of tea in my area is rather abysmal. There are no looseleaf shops in my town (one opened up but closed within a year, and I only heard about this sad story after I got really into tea-drinking to the point of collecting tea leaves like a catlady collects strays), making the nearest a two-hour drive away to Idaho’s capital city, Boise… and frankly, I just don’t get up there very often (hense why I do most of my tea-shopping online). But, thankfully, there is at least one coffee shop in town that does cater to the tea-enthusiast, and they even happen to be quite close to the library where I work. Needless to say, I happen to go there quite often!

It is called Twin Beans Coffee Company, and in addition to having great tea varieties from TeaSource, they also make amazing Nutella Mochas, crepes that are to die for, are home to a really great board game night once a month, and have some of the most friendly staff around. It’s one of my favorite places to stop for brunch, lunch, or a quick afternoon tea-and-read break! Don’t be surprised to see teas from their lovely establishment pop up again in the future!

On this particular trip I decided to try out an herbal I’d never tried before, TeaSource’s Red Berries. I ordered a small pot, which, if my memory is correct, is only around $2.95. I usually end up getting about two and half to three cups of tea from their smallest pot, and it is the idealest size for me if I’m by myself and on a short one hour lunch break. They also have medium and large teapot sizes (and I have ordered both on different occassions!) I’ve found the larger sizes are great for sharing with a friend, or if you have more time to spend in the shop, for sipping slowly while relaxing and reading or coloring. I’ll be sure to feature them sometime!

This is everything you get with their small teapot service (with the sweetener provided according to request; I like sugar, but they can provide honey, cream, or no sweetener if that is how you take your tea!)

The steeping timer provided is a nice touch, though sometimes I’ll flip it over and give it just a bit more time. Usually they provide the leaves in removable teabags which can be taken out of the pot after your steeping timer is finished, and this has been the case for every pot of tea I have ordered there, but on this one occassion they allowed the leaves to steep freely in the pot; I’m not sure if it was because they were out of teabags or if it was simply because I happened to drop in that afternoon an hour before closing, so it was going to be a quick teatime for me anyway. In any event, I usually always get the small pot when I’m having an hour pop in and drink the pot quite quickly, and have never encountered any issues with oversteeping.

Just look at all those rich berries! According to TeaSource’s website, this tea contains apple, elderberries, currants, rosehip peels, blackberries, raspberries, hibiscus, sour cherry pieces, and flavoring. It smelled divine, and steeped into a deep, steaming, ruby red tea!

Amazing! If you like fruit teas, I would highly recommend this one! It had a fabulous berry flavor; it was sweet, while still having that pleasant tart zing that makes fruits like raspberries and sour cherry so wonderful. The TeaSource website says this tea is one of their most popular iced, and I can imagine it would make a quite sweet iced drink, and would like to try that sometime, but I can definitely attest it warmed me right up on a cold, snowy, winter afternoon!

And you know how I mentioned this place makes the best crepes around? Here is one of their more simple ones, a cinnamin sugar crepe, as I had just stopped in for an afternoon snack. I quite often dine on their savory crepes for meals, and they have some really amazing dessert crepes as well (one called the TARDIS made with lemon curd and blueberries is a personal favorite!) and I’ll have to showcase those as well, because what is a cuppa without a little dessert on the side, hmm?

And that, my friends, is a little bit of heaven on a plate. (Confession, how many of you are hungry now?)

I have to admit, I’ve always been a lover of books, I love the smell of paper and the feel of turning pages in my hand, but I am simply not coordinated enough to hold a book when I’m eating out, and so this birthday gift from my dad a few years ago has really been a lifesaver for my coffeehouse excursions:

It’s just so easy to lay a Kindle flat on the table, and flip the pages with a finger when my hands are busy with forks and teacups! Because I just can’t stand to sit and stare in silence eating, I must be doing something, and reading is such a great way to fill that time!

I’ve been a reader since I was a little girl. My grandma says I used to pick up my picture books, look at the images, and tell her the story before I was able to read. By the time I was in second grade, I was reading ahead of my class, and put into a gifted student program as a result. I remember the elementary school I was in back in my hometown in Oregon actually had specific shelves in the school library designated per grade, and the second-grader shelf was all picture books, and I needed chapter books… there was one chapter book that had been mis-cataloged on it, and I would just check it out, over and over again. What a terrible library, restricting readers like that! I remember after my family moved to Idaho and I changed schools, my utter shock when I was told I could check out anything I wanted by the librarian in the new school’s library. I was like a kid in a candy store.

I really loved dragon books, and that is one of the few things that I read as a kid that I still read today! Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher and Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede are two early dragon books I remember really enjoying. Then, of course, I really got into the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, which I wrote an homage short story about, The Summer I Fell in Love. Anne McCaffrey was a “gateway drug” author for me, because the Pern books are very much this odd blend of fantasy and science-fiction, so I really got into both genres as a result. I started reading McCaffrey’s other works which are heavily sci-fi and then started reading other sci-fi, like Herbert’s Dune, Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (yes, all five of them! Ah, he was such a character!), Card’s Ender’s Game, and Carl Sagan’s Contact (easily one of my favorite books, and nothing like the terrible movie adaptation!).

I’d say I probably read far more fantasy than sci-fi, though. I know I read and quite enjoyed the first three of the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony, and I read quite far into Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. Currently on my Kindle is Song in the Silence by Elizabeth Kerner (no spoilers!) I am a huge fan of author Anne Bishop, and have read all her Black Jewels series and all of her still-being-published The Others series, and am excitedly awaiting the arrival of the fifth book in that series; they always publish in March, my birthday month, which is a nice little present for me! I actually got to meet Anne Bishop at a sci-fi/fantasy convention in San Francisco last October, and was on cloud nine! It was great getting to hear her speak at panels, and I even got to go to a live reading by her and get to hear a snippet of the next Others book! (So I’m one of the rare people that has heard parts of it well before it’s release… mwahahaha!) It was a wonderful experience and she was quite sweet, and I have a few signed books now as well! ^_^

I also have a soft spot for supernatural stories, and when I think back on it, I read a lot of ghost stories as a kid in elementary school! I read a lot of the books by Betty Ren Wright (author of The Dollhouse Murders) and Mary Downing Hahn (author of Wait Till Helen Comes). I don’t read horror stories now, but I do like, say, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I’m also really into survival horror video games… I don’t play them, but I love watching them, seeing the stories, unraveling the puzzles and mysteries… I’ve been a huge fan of the Silent Hill franchise for some time, and am quite involved in the Silent Hill community on twitch.tv. So maybe that comes from that odd fascination I had with those types of stories as a kid! (And, of course, my current Sim story that is on hiatus, The Yandere Diaries, is a horror story… oh dear!)

A few of my other favorite books? The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and my favorite book of all-time is The Giver by Lois Lowry, which I have two copies of on my bookshelf… just in case I’m loaning one out and want to read it again! I’ve re-read it so many times I couldn’t even begin to guess… I feel like I get something new out of it every single time.

And, speaking of stories… I have one about Mr. Tea! So the good news is, the Epica teapot has not died after a week, unlike some teapots which shall not be named (*cough cough side-glance*) and not only that… the Epica truly is Epic. And Mr. Tea really is a hero.

Yup, that guy, right there.

Because, you see, southern Idaho is pretty much having the worst winter it has had in thirty years this year. And last week, my car doors were frozen so solid that no amount of my puny might were going to get them open and get me to work.

…Mr. Tea to the rescue!

Yes, indeed, a full pot of boiling 212 F degree tea water poured over the door seam was just enough to wear the ice down enough for my puny might to crack the ice. Bless you, Mr. Tea.

Mr. Tea says… “I pity da foo that freezes car doors shut!”

And after gushing about tea, and crepes, and books, and having a storytime of my own like a proper librarian, I shall close out my first month of Teatime Tuesday! I’m really shocked this little segment has had so many readers, I honestly thought when I started this I’d have maybe… two, at most, hahaha! So thank you guys so much for your continued support! I’m thinking that perhaps for February I’ll feature dessert teas, and then for March I’ll feature Green and/or Irish teas! So stay tuned!

#4 | #6

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About Mastress Alita

I'm a fulltime librarian, a chronic migraineur, a tea addict, and an avid Simmer that writes SimLit and maintains the Stories and Legacies Index, a link directory of SimLit on Wordpress. Though I obviously love cats, I actually don't own one! (Blame my apartment lease for that!) I do have a charming old cockatiel, Kali, that has been my companion for the last seventeen years!
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13 Responses to Teatime Tuesday #5: Red Berries Herbal Tea

  1. cathytea says:

    I love this so much ! You made me all nostalgic for my years in the Inland Northwest . .. I miss the coffee shops up that way . Board game night sounds awesome and the tea looks amazing ! It’s fun to read about your reading adventures , too !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. raerei says:

    Hahaha! My sister was a manager at Tea Source for 5 years and it’s my local tea shop. I love their Blueberry Fields as an ice tea. I know Red Berries, but I don’t usually drink it, too sour without sugar, too sweet with it when I make it. But it is really popular. My baby cousins love it, although they’re not so baby any more.

    I think you listed every one of my favorite books in this post. And those you listed that I don’t know, I’m going to have to check out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, nice to hear from you Raerei, been a long time! That’s awesome! My local coffee shop only carries a very limited stock of teas from TeaSource, and I know that Blueberry Fields isn’t one of them, sadly. Twin Beans did say they were going to be refreshing their stock and getting some new ones soon, though (how many new ones, I have no idea). But if you have any favorites, or your sister has some recommendations, feel free to let me know and I may make an order of samplers from their website in the near future.

      Also, and correct me if I’m wrong, does she live in Portland (or was it just that you had family in that area?) Anyway, I’m going there on vacation with Todd for my birthday this year, so if you know of any good teashops there, feel free to let me know, as tea-shopping is definitely on our agenda. ^_~ (What else would I want for my birthday, really?)

      Hahaha, our book tastes have always been so in sync! You can give me book recommendations any time, because I know I’m going to love them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • raerei says:

        I’ll have to ask her! I know she thought that often shops picks blends that didn’t make as much sense so she probably has an opinion still. I’ll ask.

        I don’t drink many tisanes so most of my recommendations are dark flavorful teas – like Roasted Chestnut and Fireside Spice which are my favorite winter blends. I’ll take a look through my stock and see what recommendations I have for samples.

        Yup, they’re all out in Portland now. I was just there over the holidays, but we hit up breweries rather than tea shops – but I know there is at least one that we visited at an earlier date. I’ll poke them about that too!

        Ditto on the book recommends! Recently I’ve been on a fluff paranormal romance streak with a side of steampunk. But it’s been so long – this Sunday I reread The Ship Who Searched – my FAVORITE Anne McCaffery book – and judging by the fact I’m tattooing 9 fire lizards onto my skin means a lot. Dad bought me a 2nd edition hardcover for Christmas. I think this year is going to have a lot of rereads. :)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know I’ve read “The Ship Who Sang” but I’m not sure if I read the sequels… I’ll have to look into that! I have definitely read the Harper-Hall Trilogy a few times… Now I feel like reading them again!

        Just for you, here are some fire-lizards cc for TS3: Sil Fantasy’s Dragons

        Liked by 1 person

      • raerei says:

        Awwww Dragons. (There’s a reason I plunked down money for Dragon Valley back in the day).

        I read Searched first, so while I know I read Sang, I’m not sure I could remember the plot properly. I’ve read a few other Ship Who books, but I know I haven’t read them all. Woot for 2017 – Year of Book Memories!

        Liked by 1 person

    • It turns out Roasted Chestnut was one of the new teas that Twin Beans picked up and I tried it the other day when we were having a bad snowstorm and I couldn’t make it home for lunch (Twin Beans is waaaaaay closer to the library). It was indeed fantastic!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lisabeesims says:

    I am dying here. You know that I am down to bagged tea because of inclement weather sniff

    Liked by 1 person

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