I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Thursday, February 24, 2011

TeaWithRae: Breakfast Tea For Everyone!

I am sort of set in my ways when it comes to my tea routine. I almost never drink anything in the morning other than English Breakfast tea. And on the days when I'm super tired I will reach for the strong flavor of Irish Breakfast tea. For a person who does not like coffee, I don't even like the taste of coffee, breakfast teas are the jump start I need in the morning.

Traditional Hardy English Breakfast
That's why I always say that I must have been British in another lifetime. Not only do I love tea, I love English Breakfast Tea. My only diversion is no milk. Brit's are famous for a dash of milk and sugar in their tea. But I go for just a dash of sugar.

Anyway, on this tea journey I have learned that while it's true that the British typically reach for a hearty black tea to match their hearty English breakfast in the morning, English Breakfast tea, might not have originated in England, thus shattering my hopes that maybe I was a Brit #ForReal.
It was long believed that Breakfast Tea originated in Edinburgh, Scotland by Brodie Drysdale in 1867. And it's popularity lead British tea shops to add "English" to their black tea blends. But for sure, in 1843, New York tea merchant Richard Davies, an English immigrant, created a blend of black tea with Keemun Congou, Pekoe and Pouchong that he called "English Breakfast Tea."  He sold the tea for 50 cents and it's success led to other brands and the overall success of "English Breakfast Tea."

So while the origins of English Breakfast Teas are in dispute, the variations of breakfast tea blends remained undisputed. Almost always, breakfast blends are made with teas from Assam for a warm malty smoothness, Sri Lanka for it's brisk golden quality, and Kenya for it's strength and depth of flavor and color. And many American companies, like with Davies, use China Keemun in their blend.
The breakfast tea connoisseur that I am, I love to try different breakfast blends, but when I received this Better Morning Blend from Two Leaves and a Bud, I was in doubt. Morning tea is suppose to be BLACK! I asked myself, "What have I gotten into on this tea journey?" I just have not been ready to step out of my box. So each morning I would turn on the tea kettle, determine my breakfast blend and sit to enjoy my morning tea that is BLACK! But honestly, I've had this blend for about a month now and I knew that I had to bite the bullet and sample the darn tea.
This tea blend of lemongrass and peppermint, combined with citrus, rose hip, and stinging nettle notes was indeed an eye opener. It's fresh! And it does give that morning push that we are often seeking. This herbal blend is a great alternative to a heavily caffeinated traditional morning blend. And the health benefits are screaming at us. I already blogged about peppermint, but this stinging nettle plant is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. And rose hip is rich in vitamin C and also contains some vitamin A and B, essential fatty acids and antioxidant flavonoids. Both have claims to work against arthritis. Hello, give your grandparents a cup of this tea! 

So did it pass my test? Yes, but I still love black tea as my first cup in the morning. Honestly, I will probably reach for their Original Breakfast Tea blend for my first cup and drink the Better Morning Blend as my second cup. Sometimes I still want the bang that I get from a black tea, but not the caffeine. The two together work perfectly for me. But those who want no caffeine, the Better Morning Blend is perfect! And for me, it's the perfect second cup!

Two Leaves and a Bud Original Breakfast Tea is made with organic Assam leaves, from Assam India. It's everything I look for in a black breakfast tea. Strong, smooth, malty and coppery, just the way I like it.

I've been trying Two Leaves and a Bud tea in their sachet tea bags, but most of their blends are also sold as loose teas. The bags give you the opportunity to have the whole leaf unfold and maintain it's flavor. The pyramid shape allows the tea to brew and expand in an organic way. The sachet bags are environmentally safe corn based tea bag, not giving you the chemical and dyes in some tea bags. This tea company is another winner. I will be making my way through some of their other tea blends and report back.

I am also going to join the associates program with Two Leaves and a Bud real soon. That will give you discounts and promotions and also give me a percentage of the purchase. That will give you a way to sow into my work. I will give you all the details on Tuesday. In the meantime, check out Two Leaves and a Bud.

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