Category Archives: Review

Love ‘n Faith Community Café

The title of this post is just the name of a cafe that I went to. Normally, I would say that’s boring and change it, but this particular cafe has such a cute name that I wanted to borrow it. Normally, I wouldn’t review this place for a tea blog, because, hey, it’s an ice cream cafe, not a tea shop. They’ve got me breaking all my own rules in this post.

And what would bring me to this? Well, their tea, of course. I had the pleasure of going to Love ‘n Faith Community Café for the first time this past weekend, and I had no idea what to expect. I wandered in on a whim to get coffee with a friend, and found myself in an atmosphere that was simultaneously bright, cozy, modern, and friendly.

Love 'n Faith Community Cafe
Look! There it is again! I must really love this name.

When we stepped up to the counter, the first thing I noticed was the lone tea beverage at the bottom of their menu, almost hidden under the usual list of espresso bar favorites. It read, “Persian Tea.”

I had never heard of this before, so I asked what it was, and was informed that it was black tea. Good enough! I ordered one, and my friend and I took a seat at the end of the bar closest to the window, right next to the espresso machines.

Our drinks arrived quickly, and the tea was delicious. It tasted like Earl Grey, and although the flavor was strong, it wasn’t bitter. It also came in a tall glass with a spoon, so it won extra points for aesthetics.

Finally, as we sat chatting and enjoying our tea, fog began to crawl over our table. I mean, it was almost Halloween, so that’s totally appropriate, right? Wrong! They were cleaning their machines with a combination of ice and fire that made theirs the most entertaining and visually appealing maintenance routine that I have ever seen.

I’m going to have to go back and try their ice cream.

If you’re interested, you can find more information alllll over the internet!

Website (under construction as of 10/31/2014):
http://lovenfaithcafe.com/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/lovenfaithcafe

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/lovenfaithcafe

Foursquare:
https://foursquare.com/v/love-n-faith-community-cafe/5393ad83498ed68cdc6971ca

Yelp:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/love-n-faith-community-cafe-washington-2

Google Plus:
https://plus.google.com/114285348440183520605/

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Keep Calm and Drink Lavender Tea

I have no idea whether The Little Book of Calm contains as much lavender as rumor would suggest, however, I will say that lavender tea is one of my favorite things. Regardless of any calming properties that lavender might possess, I was nothing short of ecstatic when I discovered the lavender sencha in the tea section at Wegman’s.

Wegman's lavender sencha tea
It smells just as delicious as it looks.

Lavender tea is delicious. Lavender combined with sencha’s grassy green tea flavor and a mild caffeine kick is pure heaven. If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it!

Alternatively, you can try picking up some sencha and mixing your own lavender tea. I don’t think I’m qualified to prescribe the best ratio of lavender to green tea, but I can say that I’ve seen dried lavender (and other flowers) on sale at Ten Ren’s Tea Time and other tea shops for those of you who want to try making your own floral blends.

Tea Shop Review: Matcha Time Cafe, Ellicott City, MD

It’s matcha time! Not really. I drank all my matcha and haven’t had a chance to get more. (So sad!) But if you’re craving a blissful hour of matcha time, you can make your way down to Matcha Time Cafe, a Japanese tea room and gift shop, in the heart of historic Ellicott City, MD.

Cafe Location
The cafe is an easy walk from the parking lot. If you’re coming from Main Street, you can find the parking lot by walking behind the visitor center or La Palapa Bar & Grill.

The shop is tucked away in the back of the large visitor parking lot (with free parking!) about halfway down Main Street. After finding the cafe on a map, I tried to walk up to the building on Merryman Street, which is where the street address directs you, but the shop is actually on the back side of the building, away from the street. Luckily, there was a path between the buildings (and when I say “path,” I mean gravel-lined alley full of large air conditioning units) that leads you right through to the brick walkway on the front porch of the Matcha Time Cafe. Take it from me: It’s easier to just walk up the stairs from the parking lot.

Once we had wandered up Merryman Street and through the alley, we discovered the large signs over the door only a few hundred feet from where we parked, and we made our way inside. When I first heard of Matcha Time Cafe, I was expecting something like a small restaurant with Japanese-themed decor. I was not expecting the adorable Japanese sushi bar/pastry shop/gift shop/tea room that we found. It was bigger than I expected, with three seating areas: a couple of tables on the porch outside, a few tables by the windows in front of the register, and a couple more tables by the windows in front of the main “shop” area. The shop is a room unto itself, full of colorful and cute Japanese decor, tea accessories, and other items. The variety of merchandise available was a nice surprise, and it was fun exploring the selection of novelty goods on display after placing our order.

Gift Shop
The gift shop was full of interesting things.

We went in the middle of the afternoon, and there weren’t many people around, so we had time to wander without interrupting anyone’s tea or sushi. The shop was manned by an older woman and a young man, both of whom were very friendly and helpful, and the items on the menu seemed very reasonably priced compared to many cafes and tea shops that I’ve been to in the past.

Hallway
A short hallway divides the gift shop and secondary seating from the main seating area, register, and kitchen.

Unfortunately, we were just stopping in for drinks, so I have no idea what the pastries or sushi are like, although I was excited about the options on the menu, and I will definitely be going back to try them. We decided to stay and enjoy our drinks in the cafe instead of ordering to go, and we shared a pot of Houjicha, a delicious green tea with a pleasant earthy-smoky flavor. The tea was served in colorful ceramic teapots with china cups, and when we ran out, the server refilled our pot with fresh hot water so that we could enjoy a second brew.

Our Tea!
Delicious tea!

One of us also ordered a mango smoothie, which tasted, to me, like a cold mango injected with cream. We were given the option of soy or regular milk, and we chose regular, although I would be interested in finding out what type of soy they use.

Although I didn’t have a chance to sample many of the items from their menu, I had a great experience, and I would definitely go back. If you’re looking for a cute, friendly place to sit down and have some tea or snacks, I highly recommend checking out Matcha Time Cafe.

Comestibles: 10/10
Service: 10/10
Ambience: 10/10

You can check out their Facebook page for pictures and more information:
https://www.facebook.com/MatchaTimeCafe

And, finally, let me apologize for my mobile photography. Apparently I was having an off-kilter kind of day, and my fingers wanted to grab their chance at internet fame. The photos on Matcha Time’s Facebook page are better quality than what I’ve provided here, and also show different perspectives of the cafe and goods.

Holiday Tea Review: Cinnamon Plum Tea

I hope you’re all having a great holiday season and getting geared up for new adventures in 2014! I’ve always loved hot drinks in winter, and lately I’ve found myself drinking an awful lot of Rishi Tea’s Cinnamon Plum Caffeine-Free Herbal Blend.

CinnamonPlum_L02

Before I had tried it, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the combination of cinnamon and plum, especially since I don’t usually go for fruit teas, but the flavors blend surprisingly well. The cinnamon provides a strong base flavor, preventing the type of “watered-down” taste that makes me dislike many fruit teas. The cinnamon and plum both provide sweetness, while the fruity plum overtones prevent the cinnamon from being overwhelming.

I love how strong and sweet this tea is. Since I don’t usually like adding sweetener to my teas, it’s nice to have a tea that provides a bold, sweet flavor without overwhelming my taste buds. My one complaint about this tea would be that it’s not great for multiple brews. The first brew is usually significantly darker in color and stronger in flavor than following brews, although if you prefer the mellower flavor of the second brew, or if you like to save your herbal teas for the late evening to avoid having caffeine right before bed, then this might be a perfect choice for you.

In either case, this delicious blend of warm flavors is a perfect remedy for winter cold.

I hope you all have a fantastic New Year!

I chose to do this review after my mom commented on how much cinnamon plum tea I have been drinking, and suggested that I should review it for this blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor have I been in contact with any representative(s) of Rishi Tea.