7 Swans a Swimming

Day Seven of the 12 Days of Christmas tea exchange

White Coconut Dulce White Tea by TeBella Tea, in Florida

Rachel used her local tea shop for her day - yay for supporting local businesses! She explained that she picked a white tea because of the white swan feathers, then continued the white theme by selecting coconut as the flavor.

This tea is fabulous. I'm not normally a white tea fan, but this may change my mind. There is a terrific coconut taste without coconut shavings (at least there weren't any in my cuppa). This would be great if you are allergic to coconut but love the flavor. (I am allergic to milk chocolate and ice cream myself, and I like both so I know what I'm missing. A tea with either of those flavors but not the actual ingredient would satisfy my craving, but not cause me pain. Anyway...)

This is one of the best coconut teas I've ever had. It's creamy and sweet - but not too much of either. The paper she included with the ingredients and description smell like the coconut tea - I just sniffed it, my coworkers must think I'm a weirdo.

Delish! Thanks Rachel! :)

3 French Hens


Day Three of 12 Days of Christmas tea exchange

LiberTEAS included three teas in a cute purple egg. I tried the first two, but haven't gotten to the third one yet.

1) Cafe Vanilla by Della Terra Teas
The aroma is sweet, like vanilla bean ice cream. It's not an artificial vanilla flavor at all. Della Terra Teas are always so flavorful and this is no exception.
The taste is crisp with a hint of extra sweetness on the edge of the sip. It makes me want to lick my lips! The flavor balances well with the black tea taste. The black tea isn't astringent. It's as if a vanilla candy or chip is melting in my mouth.
I expect nothing less from Della Terra Teas! This has to be one of the best vanilla teas I've ever had.

2) French Canadian Maple Tea from Tealicious Tea Co
The dry leaves have a hint of maple, which I love. (I love maple fudge and maple candies, potentially because I am from upstate New York!) This reminds me vaguely of how Pancake Breakfast's aroma is. Once it's brewed, I lose a lot of its maple-y goodness. Almost as if the maple flavor was rushed or pressed out. It lingers but isn't a solid taste.

3) French Blend (green and black teas) New Mexico Tea Co
Not much to say on this one yet. Dry leaves just smell like tea. Will try soon and update. :)

Loved the card she included - and the purple egg!

6 Geese A Layin'

Part of Day Six of the 12 Days of Christmas tea exchange

I mixed these two following the suggestion of the Day 6 teaist tattooed_tea. This was a great idea!

I've only ever tried Adagio's genmaicha tea and didn't really care too much for it. So pairing it with something else was right up my alley. I love anything strawberry so naturally these pairing would be perfect for me.

The Wild Strawberry tisane has a hint of hibiscus (hiss) but the genmaicha cuts it down considerably. Likewise, the tisane masks some of the burned popcorn taste I associate with genmaicha.

This tea smells and tastes like a bowl of Special K strawberry - YUM! :)

She also included Pancake Breakfast and Maple Bacon from 52 Teas, as well as Cranberry Orange Spice. Breakfast of champions!

Look at the cute box she wrapped the teas in. Adorable! She also included a honey drop. I'm saving it for later. :)

5 Golden Rings

Day Five of the 12 Days of Christmas exchange

I think this blend is Glitter & Gold from David's Tea - but I'm not 100%. DauisyChubb selected this one as a tea for Day Five of the 12 Days of Christmas Tea Exchange.

Check out the amazing artwork on the package! She's very talented! :) I actually want to frame it and hang it in my office - I love snowmen. Or snowpeople, to be PC.

On to the tea...
I can't get over how YUMMY this tea smells dry! I can tell this will be an instant fave... or I hope so.

While steeping the aroma is that same spicy and vanilla smell. It reminds me of Christmas in a cup. I love the gorgeous gold balls too.

The taste is a real treat for my tastebuds! Spicy vanilla with a hint of sweetness. Within one sip this has become a fave spicy tea.


4 Colly Birds

Day Four of 12 Teas of Christmas exchange

Thanks to a three-day long migraine I am very behind on the Christmas teas exchange (plus I missed my office’s xmas luncheon, boo). I’m sampling this one before tackling Day 5 and Day 6.

I really enjoy the black tea base on this tea because it doesn’t eclipse the black currant taste. I bet this would be amazing iced. Other than that, I can’t say too much about it. It’s decent, but there isn’t much flavor…so I’m not sure if this would be a purchase of mine. I keep feeling like it needs more oomph, like adding mint or strawberry or something…

I believe BoxerMama chose this tea because colly birds are black, and black birds makes one think of blackberry.

Many of us in the exchange thought it was "calling birds" - I still swear some versions of the song have the singer sing "calling birds" too, so we're not alone!

I'm looking forward to the next tea which is Glitter and 5 Golden Rings! It smells spicy!


New Etsy shop: Keen Tea Thyme

Announcing the opening of my new Etsy shop: 

Keen Tea Thyme!

Purchase my tea blends, teawares and handmade tea journals! Visit my shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/KeenTeaThyme.

Grand opening just in time for last minute holiday shoppers! Get 10% off with code GRANDNEW2012 at checkout now through 1/9/13.

Happy Holidays!


2 Turtle Doves

Azzrian's exclusive Red Leaf Tea matcha - Strawberry Champagne; photo by Keen Tea Thyme
This is the second day of the Steepster 12 Days of Tea Christmas exchange and we're treated to an exclusive, new matcha blend by Azzrian (Steepster name). She enclosed a little wooden teaspoon and several specialty Dove chocolates - of course Dove chocolate for her day, Two Turtle Doves.

This was my first ever cuppa matcha. And we really had a rare treat. The matcha was Strawberry Champagne! :)

The second I opened the bag, the gorgeous scent took my breath away. So delish! I couldn't wait to brew it up!

I carefully followed directions, although I don't have a whisk (not even a baking one), so I spooned a little over 1/2 a teaspoon into one of my older infusers and "whisked" that around the 180 degree water, until it seemed to be blended enough. There were no chunks, and I got out a lot of the air bubbles (not that they would bother me).

As I was whipping the matcha up, that wonderful Strawberry and Champagne fragrance was so calming and delish. I couldn't want to get my tastebuds on the beverage!

Closeup on Azzrian's blend; photo by Keen Tea Thyme

Now I've never had matcha before. Let me be very clear in this disclaimer. NOT EVER have I had matcha. Try to lasso your surprise that a teaist like me was a match virgin! But from all the reviews - and praise! - on Steepster I knew Red Leaf Tea was one of, if not the, best in quality, flavoring and price.

I enjoyed this cuppa, but I'm not sure if I'm a matcha convert yet. I found I couldn't just gulp it down, like I could the first day's tea and basically any other tea I've had. Maybe this is a "side effect" of matcha? But the flavor was very unique and absolutely delicious, as I guessed from its intoxicating aroma.

Azzrian explained that she originally hunted down a Turtle (like the treat, not the animal!) tea to no avail. In doing research she discovered that turtle doves mate for life (isn't that sweet?!) so she got to thinking about romance...and hence, created the sensual Strawberries and Champagne blend by mixing both of the matchas together. I believe you can purchase this exclusive blend from Red Leaf Tea as well.

I kept smelling the bag randomly today; the scent is SO yummy! And I swear it helped ease my headache - something a chronic, almost daily migraine sufferer appreciates.

Thanks for a sexy and delish blend, Azzrian! (And I loved the description on the card plus the seal! I felt like I was in Game of Thrones or something! See photo.)

Azzrian's envelope seal - how cool is that?! Photo by Keen Tea Thyme

Now for Day Three I'm behind, as I was too sick to enjoy any tea today. So I will tackle Day Three and Day Four tomorrow at work. Stay tuned for those reviews soon...


1 "Partridge in a Pear Tree" Tea

Eight Treasures Yabao Winter Blend by Autumn Hearth; photo by Keen Tea Thyme

Eight Treasures Yabao Winter Blend by Autumn Hearth (Steepster username)
This is the first blend from the 12 Days of Christmas tea,  1 "Partridge in a Pear Tree" tea. I admit I ripped into this one greedily, with wild abandon. But I didn't try it until today, promise!

(The 12 Days of Christmas exchange randomly paired one of 11 fellow Steepsterites with one of the 12 Days of Christmas song. We had to either blend or match a tea to "our" day and explain why we picked or blended a particular tea.)

I did smell the dry leaves and immediately was intrigued. It's spicy and earthy at the same time, a rare feat. After brewed, it tastes very similar to how it smells - which I love. (That's why I can't stand most coffees. They never taste as nice as they smell!)

Autumn Hearth explains she wanted not a "pear tea" but a "pear tree tea" and kudos to her for thinking outside the box and not saddling us with a pear tea - not that that would be bad or anything. I just applaud her creativity.

This blend includes tropical touches - papaya and pineapple pieces, along with citrus slices - and an amazing assortment of herbal ingredients including holy basil, organic juniper, organic burdock root and elderberry, plus a touch of vanilla. The base tea is a blend of yabao and jasmine green teas. Additional flavors include passion fruit, lemon balm and natural flavoring.

This is such a fragrant cuppa! I've really taken my time with this one, as every sip seems like a brand new cuppa. If she sold this (HINT HINT) it would be a pantry staple. Actually I believe the base tea is available from Verdant Tea, and she added the pear touches. Still I couldn't imagine this without the sweet fruit to cut the earthy tones.

This is a great way to kick off our tea exchange. Thanks Autumn Hearth for a fab blend! :)

Eight Treasures Yabao Winter Blend by Autumn Hearth; lid and tin; photo by Keen Tea Thyme


12 Days of Christmas Exchange

Some Steepster friends and I decided to create a 12 Days of Christmas exchange. Each of us were randomly selected for one of the days of the 12 Days of Christmas song, and had to create or assign an already created tea to "our" day. I had 10 Lords A'Leapin, which is how my Christmas blend Lil' Leapin' Lordy Lou was created.

Tomorrow, Dec. 14, is the first day of our exchange, with a new tea every day leading up to Christmas.

I will be reviewing these teas here, as well as on Steepster. I don't normally review teas here, but since this was such a cool idea I decided to make an exception.

What's Steepster? A great online tea community - you should join! It's free. :) Follow me on Steepster and I'll follow you back: steepster.com/tea-slinger Tea Slinger was my original name; I'm under Keen Tea Thyme now.

Happy Holidays!


Keen Tea Thyme Holiday Guide

Got a teaist on your holiday list? You could get them tea, of course, but there are lots of other items for tea enthusiasts out there!

Black Bear Laboratory specializes in lip balm based on popular tea flavors, and offers a selection of wax tarts too. Her lip balms are vegan-friendly with mouth watering flavors: Candy Cane, Pumpkin Chai, Blueberry Cotton Candy. How can you resist?! Perfect to complete a gift basket or treat yourself to supple lips during this high-stress season.

i Heart Teas offers a wide variety of tea products - tea blends plus teawares (her Steep n' Go for steeping tea in water bottles is a popular product), plus tea-infused items. Check out her line of soaps such as Tea & Rose Body Soap. She even has a selection of mouth-watering perfumes such as Caramel & Honey Cake, Fresh Watermelon Rooibos, and Cotton Candy. Get a couple items for a gift basket

But what about tea? If that's what your holiday recipients have as their wishes, you have to oblige! Tea can get expensive quickly, but avoid super-hyped Teavana for smaller businesses and you'll feel better helping out a growing company.

Della Terra Teas are favorites among Steepsterites. First, Steepster is an online tea community, one I highly recommend teasists join. (I'm Keen Tea Thyme there, look me up!) Second, Della Terra Teas offer some of the finest quality leaves and terrific selection of teas for any palate. They offer samples of their tea - purchase one for about $10 to find your new favorite tea, or build a custom pack to try potential new faves.

Culinary Teas offers anything from their own blended mulling spices to "plain" black tea - and everything in between. Each week they offer a different tea for 20% off, and there's often an accompanying coupon for 10-15% off your total purchase. Teas to try? Long Island Strawberry Green Sencha is awesome hot or cold. The Maple Tea is delicious around the holidays, and the mulling spices goes great in hot apple cider - or a glass of wine! Stop by the sales section for some clearance deals too.

If your gift recipient loves matcha (tea granulated to powder form), Red Leaf Tea sells a variety of flavored matcha tea. Buttered Rum, English Toffee, Cotton Candy, Black Currant are just a few of the varieTEA they offer. If he or she is a matcha purist, the best kind out there is by DoMatcha - at least according to Steepsterites. Add a matching matcha bowl and whisk for a complete gift set and you're done!

52Teas - which offers a limited edition, unique tea every week - is selling a 12 Days of Christmas tea sampler for $29.99, and free shipping to US customers. (An additional $4.49 for Canadian customers and $7.99 for overseas)  This is a selection of 12 of the best teas 52Teas offered in 2012. Each sample contains enough for about six cups (six teaspoons or 1/8 cup of tea). This is a great way to try 52Teas, or gift to a teaist - or treat yourself!

Samovar is offering a great deal - over half off their Limited Edition Holiday Tea Starter Kit.  This kit includes a tea soundtrack, glass teapot and 10 boxes of tea. Stop by the sale section for deep discounts. Free shipping through Nov. 26 with code 4HCTEA.

Make your own custom blend at UniqTeas. This is a great gift idea for any teaist, beginner or expert, or to give to a teaist couple. There's a huge selection of flavors for any palate.

Speaking of custom blends, another awesome gift idea is to have Madam Potts make a blend based on your PersonaliTEA. Answer questions about yourself, or your gift recipient, and have your own custom blend created for just $25. Loose or bagged varieties are available. My "I Love NY" blend is one of my favorite teas - it's a blend of apple and mint and so delicious.

This is a shameless plug but my shop offers exclusive holiday blends too - Keen Tea Thyme. My new 2012 holiday blend, Lil Leapin' Lordy Lou, is available for sale.

Before you buy, especially if shopping during Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday weekend, don't forget to check out the deals & steals. Visit my blog's Tea Scores & More tab and check out my post on Black Friday. More money in your wallet means less stress and more money for tea!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! :)

Merry Christmas Snowmen


Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday Deals

Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday deals & steals

Updated 11/23/12

It's officially Black Friday! Here's a list of must-stop-and-shop places to please the teaists on your shopping lists - and to help please your wallet too! Don't forget to treat yourself; you deserve it! :)

KaiMatcha - home of premium matcha tea and loads of recipes on how to brew up this healthy beverage - is offering 20% off all purchases today. Use code BLACKFRIDAY for the discount and free shipping! Ends Friday at midnight, so don't delay.

Teajo is offering a slew of amazing deals for Black Friday. Check them out:
  1. Free shipping at $25 or more
  2. 45% off New Winter Teas
  3. 40% off Black Teas
  4. 35% off Green and Rooibos Teas
  5. 30% off Smart Tea Makers (both 10 oz. and 16 oz.)
  6. Double rewards for purchases made during this time (customers who have accounts)
  7. 12 Tea Sampler for $25, each sample packs 10 cuppas
I have sampled their Juicy Peach black tea and it's delicious! I haven't ordered from them yet but I think I may make a purchase during this fabulous sale. :)

Butiki Teas, home of my favorite Strawberry Oolong, will be offering some sales, but no word yet... Stay tuned.

Della Terra Teas has lots of awesome deals all day on Black Friday (11/23/12) (times listed are Eastern Standard):

  1. 40% off all teas from midnight to 10 p.m. 
  2. Select teas will be 60% off during certain times: 6-8 a.m., 3-4 p.m., 9-10 p.m.
  3. The Chocolate Yule Box, which generally runs $61, is only $37.95
  4. The Tea for Two set, priced $50, is almost half off, $32.95
  5. The Holiday Tea box is on sale for $17.95, down from $29
  6. Holiday "Try Me" Packs, Steepster faves, are buy three (3) and get the fourth (4) free
  7. Country Tea Jar is five bucks off, only $15
  8. Coffee for One Set is $17.95, on sale from its $20 regular price
  9. 6 Ounces of Joy is only $20, on sale from $29
Check back for Cyber Monday deals! Visit their Facebook page and "like" them to be in the know first. 

Verdant Teas is offering $10 and $25 tea vouchers during the Black Friday weekend. Spend $50 and get a $10 off voucher for your next purchase; spend $100 and earn a $25 voucher.

Shop at The Persimmon Tree and score 35% off all purchases today. I don't see a coupon code, so it should apply in the cart. Let me know if you have issues.

Savvy Herbs and Teas is joining in the fun. Use code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout and earn 15% off your order today and tomorrow (through Nov. 24).

Praise Tea has the following sales slated for the Black Friday weekend:
  • Black Friday: score $5 off $35, coupon code: season5; or save $10 off $60 + FREE sample, coupon code: save10. 
  • Small Business Saturday: 10% off entire cart, coupon code: lovetea
  • Cyber Monday: $4.95 shipping on all orders (no code needed)
Gift a tea subscription from Tealet now through Nov. 26 and score a free tasting of 15 grams (or 30 cups). This is a new tea company, and will be featured in a company profile here in 2013.

Peony Tea is offering 15% off teas this week (through Nov. 23).

Adagio Teas is offering free shipping on any order now through Nov. 26. They usually offer free shipping at $50 so this is a nice gesture.

Samovar is offering a special deal for Black Friday over $130 off their Tea Starter Kit. Score their Limited Edition Holiday Kit for $129. The kit includes 10 boxes of tea, a glass teapot and a tea music soundtrack. Stop by the sale section for deep discounts! Get free shipping on any order with code 4HCTEA, through Mon., Nov. 26.

 Teavana is offering a free 3 ounce tin with every online order through Mon., Nov. 26. Orders still include a free sample, and there's free shipping over $50. Check out the sales section; there are lots of new deals there including the Caramel Almond Amaretti herbal tea blend, and several teaware and accessories.

Zhena's Gypsy Tea, home of my fave Coconut Chai, is offering 25% off all orders from now through Tuesday, Nov. 27. Use code FROMZHENAS at checkout.

Culinary Teas is offering their Buckingham Palace Tea for 20% off - less than $9! Better yet, save 15% off your order with code NOV2112 now through 11/28/12. Earn free shipping on your 5th order (don't forget to register for an account) and orders over $75 get free shipping regardless. Use code TROOPS to earn free shipping for packages heading to our awesome troops.

At Keen Tea Thyme I'm clearing out my tea stash - and gearing up for new holiday blends. Score 30% off all items in my shop until everything is gone! Use code CLEARANCE at Keen Tea Thyme's tea shop.

SCENTSational Soaps is offering a special one-day only sale - 20% off everything! Use code blackfriday at checkout. This site is run by a mother-and-son team and they produce several tea-infused soaps and skincare solutions such as Chai Tea soap. See my story from August 2011 which features this wonderful company.

Mahamosa Tea Bar is offering 30% off all purchases of $30 or more. Use code MAHA30STEEP at checkout, now through Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). I haven't tried this place yet but this is a good time to check them out! They recommend Pumpkin Creme Rooibos and Cranberry Acai. Free shipping at $75 or more, so you may want to split an order with a fellow tea fiend.

Score 50% off the ticket price of the Coffee and Tea Festival next year! Use code BLACKFRIDAY12 at checkout. The event is held in March 2013. Sale prices run through Sun., Nov. 25, 2012, so don't delay! This would be a great gift for the teaist on your list.

Mighty Tea Leaf has some specials for Black Friday happening now through the end of the week. Don't forget to sign up for their email and score 15% off your first purchase.

ESP Emporium has their loose tea on sale for up for 35% off - stock up now! Remember, free shipping at $45 or more. Use code BLACK35 at checkout.

Got any to add? Email me: keenteathyme@gmail.com


Welcome Marketers!

If you're visiting my blog for the first time, and/or you are a patron from the Fort Detrick Farmer's Market held on Tues., Nov. 20, 2012 - WELCOME to Keen Tea Thyme! Please take a look around. There's lots of stuff happening here - and much more in 2013.

If you purchased any of my blends from the Farmer's Market, thank you for your purchase! To save paper, I decided to post here how to brew each of the blends for sale. These blends are also available in my Keen Tea Thyme shop on Tea Trade.

The Christmas/Holiday Season teas premiering this year are Lil' Leapin' Lordy Lou and Let It Snow.

Lil' Leapin' Lordy Lou is a blend of naturally energizing guayusa, cinnamon bark, and peppermint and spearmint, with little sugar snowflakes and metallic gold sugar sprinkles. This blend contains caffeine. Brew one heaping teaspoon at almost boiling water for 4-5 minutes. The leaves can be reinfused at least once. (I am usually able to get two additional cuppas from each serving.) If you use a filter bag, especially once you purchased from me at the Market, these are biodegradable and can be composted - or just toss them in the trash.

Let It Snow is a blend of cinnamon black tea, peppermint and a hint of spearmint, with sugar snowflakes. This also contains caffeine. Brew one teaspoon at almost (205 degrees) boiling water. These leaves can be infused once, or you can leave the filter bag to brew for the length of the cuppa. (That's what I do with this blend as I enjoy a flavorful, spicy cup.)

My other blends for sale were Pink Pearls, San Diego Sunshine and Candy Cane Spice.

Pink Pearls is a blend of green rooibos and jasmine dragon pearl tea, with shimmery pink sugar pearls. This blend has caffeine, but not as much as the new Christmas blends. Brew one teaspoon at about 195 degrees (the oolong setting), and steep for at least 5 minutes. Because of the rooibos base you can steep this for longer and not worry about a bitter flavor.

San Diego Sunshine is caffeine-free - a green rooibos, citrusy blend. Brew one teaspoon for at least 5 minutes at almost boiling. Green rooibos is naturally sweet and naturally caffeine-free, a great alternative for those on a caffeine-free diet. I tend to let this one steep for the length of the cuppa, and even if you do that you can still get another cup from the leaves. This is also fantastic iced!

Candy Cane Spice is a blend of spicy black tea and a mint medley, with tiny candy-cane sprinkles - which also are peppermint-flavored. Brew one teaspoon at almost boiling water. Generally you can brew this blend for an additional infusion.

I also had several of my Adagio blends for sale:

These are my custom-blend creations from Adagio Teas. Click on the links above to see the blend online. Another top seller from Adagio (and one of the few teas my husband will drink) is Toasted Marshmallow. I blend all these creations before posting on Adagio.

On tap for 2013 are more CelebriTEA interviews - features of fellow tea bloggers - company profiles, surveys, contests, giveaways, coupons/deals and much more.

Got any questions? Do you blog about tea and wanna be featured? Email me!

Thanks again for stopping by Keen Tea Thyme!


Holiday Guide Launching Nov. 23, 2012

 That's right! The Keen Tea Thyme Holiday Guide will be posted here on Nov. 23rd. The guide will include all kinds of gifts for every teaist on your list - beginners to pros. Check it out before you go shopping this holiday season!

Want to include your favorite local shop? Are you a teaist and crafter who wants your wares included? Email me: keenteathyme@gmail.com.

Happy Holidays! :)


Black Bear Laboratory hosts grand opening

Black Bear Laboratory offers natural, vegan-friendly lip balms
copyright by Amanda Diegel/used with permission

Name/Owner: Amanda Diegel
Twitter: @practicemakesP1 (private, but will follow any fellow teaists – email for more info)
Special deals/code: 25 cents off each tube (which runs about $2.50 each as of 10/11/12)

With a name like Black Bear Laboratory, you can assume two things: that the owner enjoys creating natural products and that she loves black bears.

Or maybe there’s a black bear, donning a lab coat, hard at work crafting natural products. Amanda Diegel, of Atlanta, GA, calls him Bruno. He’s her “pet” – and OK, stuffed – black bear. Amanda’s brand-new natural products company needed a name, and Bruno helped.

“When I was trying to come up with a name, I looked at him and thought it would be hilarious to see a black bear in a lab coat,” Amanda, owner of Black Bear Laboratory, explained. “They’re obviously one of my favorite animals and since I’m going for the natural theme, the name stuck.”

What do Amanda and Bruno create? High-quality, handmade lip balms in four flavors: Pumpkin Chai, Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast, Chocolate Marshmallow and Lemon-Mango Lassi Cheesecake. 

Is your mouth watering yet? …and how about those chapped lips? Put down the Chapstick and opt for one of these hand-crafted lip balms instead. These are made with all-natural, vegan-friendly products. There are no added preservative and no colorants. “Each tube is filled and sealed entirely by hands,” Amanda said. “My lip balms feel better than anything you’re going to find on shelves and smell amazing too.”

Black Bear Laboratory, hosted by Etsy, is “bearly” (couldn’t help) a month old, and plans are underway for holiday scents and products, such as solid perfume or wax candle melts.

Amanda, a fellow Teaist, and a Steepsterite (Momo), was inspired by 52Teas’ cheesecake tea blends and the unique collection of teas from Butiki Teas to craft the lip balms flavors. “All of my flavors are different from anything else offered on Etsy,” Amanda added.

Amanda decided to sell the lip balms in her free time to “feel more accomplished,” the full-time student explained. “I love the process of perfecting the lip balm base. It really is like being in a test lab.” That means Black Bear Laboratory lip balms aren’t too waxy, nor too oily. “Once it has the perfect consistency and slides like butter on my fingers, it’s ready to go. Of course, the next step, the scents, is the best part. There aren’t too many flavor oils out there, but matching is fun nonetheless!”

Score 25 cents off each tube (which runs about $2.50 as of 10/11/12) to celebrate the grand opening of Black Bear Laboratory.

For more information, including purchasing, visit her Etsy store at http://etsy.com/shop/blackbearlaboratory. Email questions or comments to blackbearlab@gmail.com.


Cold/Flu season


You know winter is around the corner when cold/flu season starts and 2012 is no different. I'm still battling one that has seriously kicked my butt. As a result, blog posts and features have been pushed back.

I will post a CelebriTEA and an InternationaliTEA in the coming weeks, and stay tuned for the Keen Tea Thyme holiday guide.

Questions? Want to be featured? Email me - keenteathyme@gmail.com


Polls are back - vote today!

Polls are back at Keen Tea Thyme

Polls are back! These change monthly and give me an idea about what you'd like to see featured - and what's in your cuppa.

Check out the monthly poll by visiting my homepage: keenteathyme.blogspot.com and vote! :)

Got a burning question for fellow readers or a future poll idea? Email me!

Happy Brewing!

A Tea Site to avoid - TEA Group

I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but this has to be said...

I'll never understand why companies, organizations, non-profits, and Facebook pages can get so nasty over free publicity. Wait? It's never really happened, that's right, until I stumbled onto the TEA Group, a Facebook page for folks who like tea.

I joined and posted a message that I would like to feature them on my blog. And there ends up being a nasty response that they don't do things like that with other businesses, a removal of my post, and ignoring my private message to them. Their, no, Gail Gastelu's nasty response to me:Gail Gastelu

SEPTEMBER BUSINESS POST: If you have a website related to tea, you are welcome to COMMENT on this post regarding your business website. No other promotional posts will be allowed outside of this area. Place your comment here.

As most of my readers know, I'm not paid to run this blog in any way - I don't even receive advertising money. I might get free samples of tea, but so do lots of other reviewers and teaists online. Maybe these Gail Gastelu person doesn't want healthy competition or something? You know, I'm starting to lose faith in people. Lately it seems people would rather be nasty than nice. So I'll respond in kind here.

Free publicity is just that. FREE. By the way, Tea House Times needs a layout update and unbiased articles. You are passing yourself off as a journalist, so you should at least try to the play the part.

My response to her poorly timed facebook blast on the facebook page?"OK, I was trying to help promote your page and asked to do a feature on my blog - which is something I am not paid to do, I receive no money from, and just want to help promote your site - and you delete my post and ignore my request? Classy and professional. Noted."


Della Terra Teas - weekend deal

Looking for something to do this weekend? Want to try a new tea company? You're a teaist so of course you do! Check out Della Terra Teas this weekend and score free shipping AND a free 2 oz. size tea on all orders of at least $30.

You get to pick the 2 oz freebie. Just peruse their site and enter your selection in the "comments" field during checkout.

Steepsterites are huge fans of this site. I haven't tried them yet, but I love that you can build your own custom tea sampler packs for $10.

Hurry - sale runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday only!

Tea Scores & More - plenty of autumn deals

I've posted a lot of new codes and special deals in the tea world in my Tea Scores & More section. Check it out - and tell them Keen Tea Thyme sent you!


Celestial Seasonings' Store Gets a Facelift - and you can score 15% off

 Use code CSNEWSTORE at Celestial Seasonings' online shop here: http://shop.celestialseasonings.com/?utm_source=newsletterCEL20120912_15&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CEL_20120912_15 and score 15% off now through Sept. 30, 2012. Make sure to apply the code at checkout.


Lots of inexpensive tea for sale at Keen Tea Thyme!

The Doctors have spoken. I've got to cut back on my caffeine and tea intake. So I've cleared out my tea cabinets at work and home, and have lots of tea for sale at great prices at Keen Tea Thyme. I'd love to offer it for free, but with my increased medical costs, I've got to charge something. I promise the prices are great!


I used to offer free shipping but with increased costs I can no longer do that. Shipping is $5.95 but is priority, so you'll get your item(s) quicker. I will always combine shipping, just let me know which ones you want and I'll create an invoice through Paypal for you.

Got any questions? Email me at keenteathyme@gmail.com

Thanks for your support! :)

Keen Tea Thyme Online Shop


Hello Readers!

Hi Readers!
No, not dead - but I have been very sick these past few months. I am scheduled to visit two migraine clinics later this month. (Keep your fingers crossed that they don't require me to give up tea cold turkey!)

Got lots of plans for the blog in the coming weeks. First on tap is a feature about ways to use tea outside the kitchen. This summer will feature the first InternationaliTEA profile (and special thanks to reader Xavier for his patience with that). CelebriTEAs will return - so if you blog about tea and want to be featured, email me!

I will also be launching three new teas on my Tea Trade shop. Stay tuned - each tea will offer you a chance to win free tea and use some coupons/discount at my shop!

Happy Spring!


December Poll Results

Not (too) surprisingly, readers and teaists alike expecting drinking and receiving tea - and did! Guess we teaists are easy to shop for, eh?

What are you expecting this holiday season?
1)      family comedy: 25%
2)      family drama: 25%
3)      coal and lumps of it: 0%
4)      tea: 75%
5)      everything I want: 50%
6)      nothing I want: 0%
7)      other – email me 0%

Be sure to stop by the homepage to vote in this month's poll: New Year's Resolutions.

Happy 2012!


What happens when you threaten me...

As a former journalist, I can't say the most recent threat against me was my first time. It wasn't. That honor goes to someone in Carroll County, MD, who is most likely serving time. But that's a story for another post.

The recent threatening involved a not-so-professional Tea Show and former tea company.

I had stumbled upon a scandal and, as the journalist I am, started investigating it. But no one really wanted to talk, except for one person. That one person is actually the owner of a tea company and I didn't really want to get him involved if I didn't have to. Why not? Because he simply didn't do anything wrong.

One great thing about the Internet is that it's really hard to delete posts and pics. So I followed the cyber trail, as recommended by one of my favorite readers, and discovered he was right.

How did this all get started? One of my readers told me he would stop reading my blog if I celebrated the type of trash that I had in a previous post. That's not the threat I'm talking about. I can't say I know all that much about this reader, but I do find him to be trustworthy and relatively low-key. That something had gotten him to the point of saying that he would stop reading my blog intrigued me.

So I started digging. (I wasn't an investigative journalist for nothing!)

I contacted the person my Reader had accused. He responded with a pity card. Which is what I am calling it now. At first I thought he was honest - or since I find everything suspicious, I thought he was at least trying to move beyond the incident.

I emailed a few friends to find out what they thought. These are people I trust - and they've earned it. Most of them didn't want to dredge up the past, as this was something that happened months prior. But they gave me their honest opinion about what was going on.

OK, now you may be confused. So let me fill you in on what my Reader brought to my attention.

There was a popular blog called The Tea Show, which featured video tea reviews. These were hosted by a Brian and Lisa, last name withheld because I don't need libel charges against me. (Which is something they have threatened a  friend of mine.)

They also started a little tea company - Magic Carpet Tea. This is something I found out about after the fact.

I had contacted them to be a CelebriTEA on my blog. (I feature fellow tea friends and fiends who also write about tea.) I provide a questionnaire to the CelebriTEAs and they are asked to respond to whichever questions they'd like, and add whatever they want. I'd much rather do this over the phone or in person but since this isn't my full-time job - not yet! - I have time constraints, as I'm sure my CelebriTEAs do as well.

I wrote up a nice feature on them and they were the CelebriTEAs for a month or two in the fall. Once the month(s) ends I delete the post as a tab and run it as a regular post, that way it's in the archives for good. This blog is connected with Tea Trade, as I sell tea there, so what was a feature on my other blog for a couple months was a post within a day or so. This is how my Reader found it.

I researched all I could about this and was stunned by the following:
1) Brian, of Brian and Lisa (as he seems to be the biggest offender), attempted to bully people into giving positive reviews of their solo tea, Magic Carpet Tea (MC Tea). When people pointed out flaws - such as the fact they used date sugar but claimed their product was sugar-free - MC Tea would threaten them by claiming they were being libelous (not true, but more on that later). They would throw around legal terms like confetti and bully people into being positive.

2) Brian never mentioned in our "interviews" that he was in fact associated with Magic Carpet Tea. And I never asked him. I can only report on what is made aware to me. This was never mentioned until after the fact, and only after I asked him. Wouldn't you think a company just starting out would love free publicity? Two CelebriTEAs I featured (at different times) were each starting her own tea company so I gave them both the chance to talk about it.

3) There were inappropriate photos taken and tweeted to their followers re: anyone who gave negative or less than raving reviews. You might think these photos can be deleted, but there's always a trail.  I found them on my own and was disgusted. They were sexually graphic photos that made me sick. Anyone who would take that kind of photo and use it to bully someone into positive feedback made me absolutely livid.

4) When I presented this information to Brian, he threatened to block me from his email list and remove me as a friend. It's this point here that really put the nail in his coffin. I knew right then and there he had something to hide. If he really wanted to clear his name, why not help me do just that?

I took a great deal of time to figure out how to respond. For one thing, Brian seems whole-heartedly misled about how Internet law works. This is something I learned very early as I had a Web site in high school. Someone stole my writings and lawyers got involved. I also had someone threaten me - a high school journalism student! He did so in writing, not very smart.

When you allow people to review your product, you are allowing them to be honest - as you'd hope they would be. I sell my own tea myself, so if someone complained that there was in fact sugar in my product that could ultimately hurt a diabetic or someone else who cannot have sugar, I would want to know - so I could remedy it. I certainly wouldn't harass said person and threaten them with libel. It's not libel nor even slander, because the reviewer can prove it. Case closed.

I doubt most people enjoy being threatened, but for me it's always sparked a fire in me. I know behind most threats are either a psychopath like Ted Bundy or something people want to hide. For The Tea Show, it was the latter.

I also have a responsibility to my readers. Brian, if you're reading this, you should know: like a good journalist I am responsible to my readers. This means I have to be honest and credible, but also responsible. I would much rather lose Brian's so-called friendship with conditions than a reader who, in this case, has always been honest and fair, not to mention very non-threatening himself.

So I am removing the post involving the Tea Show and deeply apologize to my readers for that entire experience. I won't stop doing CelebriTEAs, as this has been the only bad apple in the bunch. And it's a feature I really enjoy.

What I do ask is for readers to be like my Reader here. If you find out something about anything I post or am involved with, please tell me about it. I will never reveal where I got the information, but I will do a thorough investigation.

When I was a journalist I would get calls from angry readers - everyone in our newsroom would get bad reviews each week. Even if I did the best I could - and I did and do - there was bound to be fallout. But I would tell the unhappy readers that I can only report on information as it's given to me. I can't know everything and would never claim too. Feel free to bring any information to me, as my one brave Reader did.  I had confidential sources as a journalist and have them now, so you will be safe.

Thanks for reading my blog and keeping it a success story, even through this muddy affair. Bottom line: I've worked hard on my blog; we hit 10,000 hits long before Keen Tea Thyme was a year old. And I am grateful to each and every reader who makes my blog a success story.

Thank you for your continued support.


Happy New Year!

With the new year comes resolutions. I've made a promise to update this blog more often...and expand my tea horizons by trying out new companies.

Got any tea resolutions to share? These are the resolutions we can keep! :)

I'm also trying to exercise more often. Considering I rarely do, even some more movement will help.

I also resolve to either find a cure for my chronic migraines or get more help!

I'd also love to get my book series published...

And I hope the end of the world isn't really coming...

Happy 2012!