Tea for Two and Things You Never Knew About Tea

Dear Kid,

It’s Tea for Two Tuesday. Seriously, it is.

There are lots of different kinds of tea to enjoy—I learned about more than coffee at Coffee Fest!

It’s Tea for Two Tuesday. Seriously, it is. DearKidLoveMom.comPu-erh tea is fermented tea, which is to say the leaves are fully oxidized and fermented, and, um, often moldy (in a good way). Think wine or cheese. I’ve never had it, but I’ve been assured it is an acquired taste. Until 1995, it was illegal to import pu-erh teas into the US.

The most common type of tea in the US is black tea. Black tea leaves are fully oxidized which basically means the tea leaves absorb oxygen after they’re picked (think rust on a car). The oxidation turns the leaves dark brown and black and impacts the taste of the brewed tea. They have the highest caffeine level of the teas (but not as much as coffee).

Oolong teas are semi-oxidized. Which make them the middle child of teas.

Green teas are not oxidized which is to say they’re dried without being allowed to absorb much oxygen which in turn is why they stay green. Green teas are subtle both in terms of flavor and caffeination.

White tea is pretty rare. It’s a delicate tea made from little tiny baby tea leaves picked at an exact time. It’s considered the healthiest of teas—but you’ll pay for all that healthiness.

None of this matters if you don’t like tea. Or if you only drink herbal tea which it turns out isn’t tea at all. Tune in tomorrow (or some other day) for more on the whole herbal tea thing.

Love, Mom

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What’s New In Coffee

Dear Kid,

Were you busy thinking there are no interesting innovations in the world of coffee? Silly you.

We met Taylor from Coffee Blenders yesterday. And brought home one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. Coffee Blenders is (and I quote) “the pioneer in functional coffee”. I don’t think they have covered wagons, but I haven’t done enough research to be sure.

What I do know is they’ve got some seriously cool stuff and a great cup of coffee.

It will not surprise you to learn that what caught my eye was a pouch labeled Lean Cup. Taylor and I had a lovely discussion in which she fed my already saturated brain all sorts of information about their different coffees.

This morning, I put the pouch to the test.

Step 0: Wake up after having stayed up late chatting with the GirlChild and friends. This is not an easy step. The Puppy made it easier by suggesting that it was time for him to be walked, thank you very much.

Step 1: After walking and feeding the Puppy, get a cup for coffee. Not a problem as I am well-practiced in the Art of Getting Coffee Cups.

Step 1: Get a coffee cup.

Step 2: Open the packet. Easier said than done. Once I found the little tear place it wasn’t hard. Finding the place where they started the tear without coffee in my system…

Step 3 Open the pouch.

Step 3: Place the little filter pouch in the coffee cup. Adorable yes? Yes. Realize you have to tear open the adorable little filter pouch. Panic for a moment envisioning difficulties and coffee going everywhere. Relax immensely when it turns out to be the easiest part of the entire process.

Step 3 Forget to open the filter.

I spent a minute trying to decide whether to congratulate the inventors for making such a wonderful process or myself for flawless execution. Decided we could share the glory.

Step 3 Revised: Open the filter

Step 4: Pour hot water in the little filter pouch (yep, I did that flawlessly too). Let the coffee bloom for 20 seconds (yeah, right, like I was going to time it) then add more water.

Step 4: Pour in hot water.

Step 5: Enjoy.

Now here is the really, incredibly amazing part. (I hope you’re sitting down.)

It was dang good coffee. I mean, really, really good.

We all know that there are lots of coffees I don’t like and that pretty much no one is going to claim I have the most sophisticated palate in the world. I can live with this. I’m not a Master Coffee Expert Taster with certifications and whatnot. I’m just me. And I love this coffee. No, they haven’t paid me to say that (although they’re certainly welcome to).

The only problem is that I don’t have another pouch to have a second cup.

Life is hard sometimes.

Love, Mom

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Heading to Nashville | Crazy Day Trip

Heading to Nashville | Crazy Day Trip

Dear Kid,

We’re off to see the wizard!

Not really. We’re heading down to Nashville for the day. Which is ridiculous because who drives 5 hours in order to turn around and drive 5 hours back? Daddy and I do.

We’re headed down for Coffee Fest Nashville. Which makes sense because heading to Nashville for Coffee Fest Chicago would be ridiculous.

Join meet for a great cup of coffee.

It’s just a day trip so we won’t actually get to see much of anything. One of these days I hope we’ll get to Nashville for a long weekend.

It’s been a long week. I’m not entirely sure why—nothing particularly stressful or difficult happened. But I’m dragging.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll sleep in….

Love, Mom

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Weekend Coffee is Different Than Weekday Coffee

Weekend Coffee is Different Than Weekday Coffee

Dear Kid,

Happy weekend!

Have you ever noticed that there is something different about a weekend cup of coffee?

Probably not because you’re not a coffee drinker.

But I think that weekday coffee is entirely different than weekend coffee.

Weekend Coffee is Different Than Weekday CoffeeWeekday coffee (the first cup) comes on the heels of a vicious alarm clock. It has a time limit (got to get out the door!). For me, it is part of a multi-tasking Olympic event of cramming 4 hours’ worth of activity into 45 minutes of clock time. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is medicinal (yeah, ok, I would).

Weekend coffee (the first cup) is—in some ways—more critical because it generally arrives later in the morning. On the other hand, it is more leisurely. Each sip gulp can be enjoyed, savored, without the pressure of putting on eyeliner. I can make a second cup at any time—now or a little later, it doesn’t really matter because I’m not in (much) of a rush.

The best thing about weekend coffee is not the weekend-ness or the coffee; it’s taking time to relax and enjoy something. Taking the time to appreciate something we so often rush through. Taking time to breath in the aroma and sip the flavors.

Whatever your “weekend coffee” is—enjoy.

Love, Mom

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Hamentashen with a New Twist

Dear Kid,

Guess what I did last night?

So this year, I made hamentashen with regular dough and some with cinnamon dough. And I made some with apricot filling, some with a raisin-brandy filling, and some with buckeye filling. DearKidLoveMom.comIf you guessed “made hamentashen” you’d be correct.

If you guessed “made hamentashen the same way as always” you’d be partially correct.

Because I decided we should have traditional yumminess and innovative yumminess.

So this year, I made hamentashen with regular dough and some with cinnamon dough.

And I made some with apricot filling, some with a raisin-bourbon filling, and some with buckeye filling.

If you are a most wonderful child, we’ll send you some.


Love, Mom

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You Will Not Believe What We Ate In Bloomington Indiana (Go Hoosiers)

Dear Kid,

Continuing my attempt to eat enough calories to feed a small country in a single meal. Yesterday, Pi and I had lunch with one of her friends at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant.

It was absolutely delicious. But vegan does not mean low calorie. Nothing that starts with a mountain of sweet potato fries (with two dipping sauces) is low calorie. Even if it’s for the table to share (because tables don’t eat very much – ha).

Then, because why not, we went to a little coffee café for dessert.

Saying “dessert” in this case is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is a puddle.

We had a sundae that started with two kinds of ice cream (we chose honey and a chocolate loaded with all kinds of stuff), then added chocolate syrup, salted caramel, and whipped cream. And because there is no way that could be considered excessive, it was topped with a piece of to-die-for cheesecake, more whipped topping, more syrup and caramel and nuts. And two spoons.

Saying “dessert” in this case is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is a puddle.

Again, stopping there seemed too conventional. So we added a piece of cinnamon pecan bread pudding with brandy sauce. And coffee. What’s dessert without French press brewed coffee? Black because A) that’s how I like coffee and B) I’m watching my calories. Watching them go right to my hips, anyway.

So we added a piece of cinnamon pecan bread pudding with brandy sauce. And coffee. What’s dessert without French press brewed coffee? Black because A) that’s how I like coffee and B) I’m watching my calories. Watching them go right to my hips, anyway.

Since we were still full from lunch we took our time deciding about dinner, and eventually decided to try a Tibetan restaurant. I’d never had Tibetan food before. We thought we’d have light a light meal. Except not so much.

Dinner came with soup (excellent even though we had no idea what it was) and salad.

Then we had an order of momo (Tibetan dumplings) filled with mashed potato and different kinds of onions, served with soy sauce and hot sauce (the hot sauce wasn’t), and Kham Amdo Thugpa “a hearty stew made with handmade Tibetan noodles, daikon radish, onion, tomato, green onions, and cilantro.” Your choice of chicken, beef, or tofu (we chose chicken) and spice level 1-5 (we chose 2).

It was awesome. The spice level (2) would have killed Dad, but Pi and I thought it was perfect. Spicy goodness, set off perfectly by the not so spicy momos.

Then we rolled home. Can’t wait to see what we’re doing for brunch today…

Love, Mom

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