Welcome to Cat’s Tea House


This whole adventure came to be because I realized that I have enough tea stashed away in my kitchen to run a tea house…but I could not honestly say that I had all of the tea I own recently, or even at all.

That’s when I decided that I needed to change this. I also decided that I would make it into an ongoing journal project, to get me writing again and to motivate me to actually do a tea every day. It is far too easy for me to just skip the things that take a little extra time in favor of something quick and technically easier; keeping a tea journal would force me to make space in my busy day to slow down.

And then it occurred to me that I may not be the only one who feels this way, feels that life is just moving on way too fast. So I will endeavor to post my Tea Of The Day, plus whatever thoughts I may have about life and such as well.

I do not intend to include pictures of the teas, I am going to rely on my descriptive powers to convey what the tea looks, smells and tastes like

Welcome to Cat’s Tea House. May your perfect cup find you when you least expect it.

“As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There’s a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother’s pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, ‘In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes’.” 

Aprilynne Pike, Illusions


Informative Post!


Hello my lovely fellow tea enthusiasts!

It occurred to me that you all might want to know where I get my information about the teas I drink and how I know how to make the teas (since different teas require different temperatures and steep times)

The descriptions I write generally come directly from the company that made the tea, usually word for word, although I do paraphrase if I find the wording to be awkward.

For information about the tea, such as how long to steep it, how it is made, or where the name comes from, I have used the following sources:

The Tea Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide by Jane Pettigrew

drink.seriouseats.com (and just search out the particular type of tea in question)

http://www.artoftea.com (it’s a store’s website but there is a lot of good information here)

http://www.teavivre.com  (same as previous)



Some definitions:

Camellia sinensis: the tea plant. All teas come from the same plant; it is how it is processed that creates the six main types of tea

Liquor: the technical name for the liquid that is the result of steeping tea leaves.

Tisane: any infusion of dried herbs that does not contain any product of the Camellia sinensis

White tea: the new buds of the tea plant are plucked before they are opened, withered, and then dried

Green tea: the leaves are allowed to grow as normal, allowed to dry, and then heat treated to stop any fermentation

Oolong: referred to as “semi-fermented”. Processed immediately after plucking. First withered in direct sunlight, then shaken in bamboo baskets to bruise the leaves, then alternately shaken and spread out until the edges of the leaves yellow. After about 2 hours of this, the leaves are heat treated to stop the fermentation process

black tea: picked and then withered until the leaves can be rolled without splitting the surface of the individual leaves; then the leaves are rolled. The rolled lumps of tea are then broken up and spread out in a cool humid atmosphere for 3.5 to 4.5 hours then fired to stop the fermentation process

As I find more interesting resources I’ll add it to this list!

Happy tea time!

Sangria Punch


Tea of the Day: Sangria Punch by Teavanna

Description: Colorful as a drive along the Mediterranean coast, this flavored black tea is deep, complex and full of personality.Rich red grapes, tangy orange slices, juicy peach and crisp apple spring to life with a hint of sweet cinnamon, creating a magical elixir.

Dry tea smells dark and just slightly fruity with a little bit of a tang to it.

Steeped tea smells a little brighter than the dry and tastes smooth and slightly tart and overall very pleasant. It’s really a shame that I discovered this tea after they shut down their website and closed the only brick and mortar store they had in my state. Alas, such is life. Still, it’s worth a try if you can get it!

Liquor is a chestnut brown in the cup

Tea Rating: 4/5

Earworm of the day: Bloom by The Paper Kites.

I am away from home for work training and I’m finding the experience…strange.

On the one hand I appreciate that the company I work for is taking the time to train me and putting me up while I am away. Also, I get to see my family over the weekend, which is good because otherwise I would likely not see them until July, when they come up for the wedding.

On the other hand, I have a lot of time to myself. I’ve realized that even when I am the only human in the house, my dog and sometimes the cats come give me affection, or demand it. I miss my other half, and my best friend, and my fur babies.

But…I’m also not finding that I suddenly hate myself just because I’m alone with only my thoughts and my books to keep me company.

I’ll be glad to go home when it’s time, but so far the experience isn’t too terrible.





Notting Hill


Tea of the day:  Notting Hill by the American Tea Room

Description: classic, English style Breakfast black tea blend of leaves and buds from Assam and Yunnan. The deep copper-garnet brew have bold scents of malt, tannins and honey. Expect the astringency you find in any great English Breakfast, but also note the complexity our Notting Hill has to offer. The full, rich aftertaste cements Notting Hill’s reputation as an imminently drinkable English Breakfast worthy of countless food pairings and able to stand on its own or handle milk and sugar.

Dry tea smells sweet, like it already has sugar or perhaps vanilla in it

Liquor is a dark chestnut brown in the cup

Steeped tea has a smokier scent than the dry, which is apparent in the flavor as well. Adding sugar brings out the vanilla flavor I smelled earlier. Adding a dash of milk highlights the richness of the tea

Tea rating: 4/5

My consciousness is like a small boat floating on a vast sea.

The boat is part of me.

So are the wind, the water, and the sky.

My state of mind determines the weather, and the condition of my boat.  Also too, how deep the water really is.

Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep the boat afloat.

Sometimes I ignore a leak because I don’t know how or don’t want to face something.

Sometimes I swim.

Sometimes I find rest in the journey, an island or another boat, another person traveling or resting or sometimes both.

Right now I find myself traveling with a little fleet. We help each other, work better together than we did apart.

I am both blessed and a blessing; as I accept help with repairs and improvements I in turn am able to offer the same help, and the journey goes on.

Selkie Tea


Tea of the Day: Selkie Tea by Dryad Tea

Description: “Oh sister selkie, come to the sea again. Your mortal husband will not set you free, your children skip waves on the rocky seashore. Shall you die on the barren lee? And forget about your sister Selkie?” A wonderful green tea laced with ginger and lemongrass to create a tea that many a selkie would enjoy.

Dry tea smells lightly sweet and savory with a hint of ginger bite.

Steeped tea has a stronger ginger scent.

Liquor is a dark golden yellow in the cup.

The tea is at first very subtle. The first few sips are just a little sweet and a touch grassy, but as you drink, the ginger flavor comes out more and more. Adding sugar makes the ginger more prevalent, and the tea itself a touch more astringent.

Tea Rating: 3.5/5

As you may have noticed, it’s been a while since I posted.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing.

On the contrary, I write something almost every day, usually in the evening before I go to sleep.

But, it’s been very…focused. Basically my mind is in one of two places: my job search and associated feelings, or on the planned events for the upcoming Samhain.

At a certain point, I become a broken record and further repetitions get me no where.

And I want my posts to be, on some level, something that can help others who might be having a bad day, or be useful for gaining perspective on a particularly sticky issue.

I honestly don’t feel like my thoughts lately do either of those things.

But, maybe I’m wrong (it’s a pretty common occurrence for me).


I was terminated from my job earlier this month. It wasn’t something that particularly surprised me; in fact, I had been trying to move one because I had been under pressure for a while.

But the actual event was a bit of a shock, of course.

And so I felt a whole mess of things.

Tired and defeated, because I had really been trying to improve on what I was told needed improvement so I could leave on my own terms, or maybe even not at all since I did like the people I work with (for the most part.)

Relieved, because the pressure from the job was gone. It’s an opportunity to find a better fit.

And on the heels of that, doubt. So much doubt.

Feeling like I’m failing at the adult thing, and that I’m going to be a burden to my significant other and my best friend because no income = can’t pull my weight. Plus, I know how stuck I can get emotionally when shit hits the fan and I desperately don’t want to be a burden on anyone…

…as the weeks have gone on, this has changed a bit. I’m less worried about money for the moment because my last check came in and I know I’m covered on bills until about the middle of November.

What it is replaced with is this weird combination of lonely and bored and feeling guilty about both, with a dash of excitement for an unknown future.

I’ve done all the apps I can do at this moment that are not retail, and have set a deadline for myself to apply for retail jobs so at least I am working again. I’m keeping the house reasonably neat and making dinner when there aren’t leftovers to eat, so you know, not sitting on my rear end there.

I have things to look forward to, it’s just the waiting that’s killing me.

The icing on the cake is that I feel like I’m being a shit friend for being so in my own head. I have been attempting to reach out to people that I know have also had struggles recently and check in, and spent time with people who have asked for it. I just keep feeling like there’s something else I could do, or should do. The side effect of this being, annoyingly, that I suddenly want to be by myself because if I’m not around anyone I’m also not hurting anyone, right?

What I’m left with is reminding myself of the things that I have to look forward to (initiation, a wedding, D&D night), and just taking the rest as it comes.

The waves will pass and I’ll still be in my little boat bobbing along in the end

Ginseng Oolong


Tea of the Day: Ginseng Oolong by Sipping Streams Tea Company

Description: Stimulating and subtly sweet, this oolong tea has a taste resembling ti kwan yin, but with the sweet and refreshing aroma of ginseng. Our ginseng oolong is produced using tightly rolled, superior oolong tea mixed with ginseng root, resulting in a healthy drink that nourishes the body and enriches the soul.

Dry tea smells slightly sweet and fresh.

Steeped tea smells a little sweeter than the dry does

Liquor is a light golden yellow color in the cup on the first steeping, and gets darker on subsequent steepings.

The tea itself is sweet and light.  It is a pleasing and soothing cup that feels calming with every sip. I didn’t feel it needed any sugar, but from the way it tastes it would take sugar well. All in all, will definitely drink again.

Tea Rating: 5/5

There’s a storm outside.

Not literally, it’s actually shaping out to be quite the nice day as far as the weather goes.

The storm I’m referring to is rather more personal than that.

Between the actual hurricanes, the concerns over health care, and the recent deadly shooting, it seems to me that there is more hot air and anger than anything else.

There is what seems like a storm of division across the United States, and in some cases this is bleeding over to world politics as well.

And I just find it sad.

This is not to say that I think people should stop being upset. In many cases, being upset is the right response.

What I feel sad about is what I see being done with that upset.

There is so much fighting, name calling and vitriol that some moments I’m surprised that we aren’t already fighting Civil War II.

I’ve said this before, but you can’t fight hate with hate. If you say something hateful to me, or about my family, and I respond the same way, nothing has changed. You feel like you were justified in your ire, and I feel righteous about mine.

Meanwhile, people who need help from both of us are dying.

Most politicians are in that top tier of people who don’t live (and have probably never lived) paycheck to paycheck. They have no concept of the day to day struggles that their actions or lack of action causes.

But, we do.

No matter where you stand on the issues that plague our country and our world, being hateful to each other only makes all of our problems worse.

So, please, before you post a thing, think about it for a second. Would you be hurt, or angry, or scared if that thing was directed at you? If the answer is yes, don’t post it. And if you already have, don’t keep that thread going.

We all need to find out compassion, before it’s too late.




Peach Lemon


Tea of the day: Peach Lemon Herbal Tea by Kroger Select

Description: Private Selection Peach Lemon Herbal Tea is a premium blend of real fruit pieces and herbs, with notes of hibiscus and lemongrass.  Delicate peach flavor and a hint of sweetness.

Dry tea smells just like the name, like peach lemonade

Liquor is a light, slightly murky, golden brown in the cup

The steeped tea smells pretty much the same as the dry, just a little more lemon.

The tea is surprisingly bitter at first sip, but as I kept drinking that bitterness went away, leaving a pleasant drink. The tea stays peachy throughout and because of the lemon, it is not overly sweet. The tea really needs no sugar at all (at least not to me.)

Tea Rating: 4/5 (but only because of that bitter shock right at the beginning).

A couple days ago I was up in my office space straightening up, which I hadn’t done in a bit because I’m in the habit of picking up after myself as I go, so if I’m the main person using a given space it doesn’t get cluttered very fast.

It was night and I had my little table lamp on rather than the overhead light, so the room was lit with a warm glow.

I sat down in my desk chair and just took a moment to look around, and it was then that I realized something.

That room is filled with art. Actually, our whole house is filled with art. Video game posters, photographs I’ve done or done by people I know, art prints from local artists, paintings, coloring book pages, wall hangings, puzzles glue together, a cross stitch piece, a small quilt…art.

There are a lot of differnt things, and not all of it really “goes together,” but the end result is that our home is welcoming. It’s relaxing and comfortable, and reflection of the people who live in the house.

It is a mish-mash, but one that is full of life and personality, and something I would never trade for magazine clean and unified.



Earl Grey Sterling


Tea of the Day: Earl Grey Sterling by American Tea Room

Description: a blend of fine Sri Lankan and Chinese black teas with classic oil of bergamont, sprinkled with a rare Silver Needles creates a smoky, elegant Earl Grey

Dry tea smells rich and sharp with a touch of citrus 

Liquor is a dark, almost chocolate brown in the cup 

Steeped tea is basically a perfect Earl Grey. Rich and full-bodied with a bit of bite, with a lovely citrus finish. Sugar just highlights the silver needle and bergamont. I could drink this tea all day.

Tea Rating: 5/5

Three years ago Friday (September 8) I shared this picture on my Facebook page:


This huge stack of paper was the hiring paperwork I had to do before I could start my first non-retail job that I had since my last job as a student worker at the university.

I remember being very excited and proud of myself and very much looking forward to it.

I had no idea that less than 6 months later I would be out of a job and feeling like I was failing as an adult.

Or that by one year after that I would be in a long-term relationship with my now fiancé.

That year was certainly a wild ride.

It’s something I think about a lot, particularly when I’m unsure about my path or worried that I’m doing the wrong thing. It’s a kind of comfort to remind myself of how little I knew I had no way of knowing then how things would turn out and even my imaginings fell short of what actually happened. The reality of where my life went was both harder and better than what I had dreamed of

It’s a kind of comfort to remind myself of how little I knew at the time. I had no way of knowing then how things would turn out and even my imaginings fell short of what actually happened. The reality of where my life went was both harder and better than what I had dreamed of.

Whatever happens now is the groundwork for the future I can’t conceive of

Vanilla Comoro


Tea of the Day: Vanilla Comoro by Harney and Sons

Description:  A natural sweetness and rich flavor makes Vanilla Black tea an irresistible delight. Its aroma awakens memories of baking sugar cookies with your grandmother. The Comoro version is decaffeinated, so you can enjoy our favorite vanilla dessert tea and still get a good night’s sleep

Dry tea smells like, well, vanilla.

Liquor is chestnut brown in the cup

Steeped tea smells of vanilla too, of course, but also has a richness to it. It does indeed smell like sugar cookies, sweet and buttery and warm.

The tea tastes very like it smells and only needs a touch of sweetener. Sugar makes it lighter in flavor, honey adds a little more depth. Add a touch of milk and you get a very soothing tea that tastes good all the way to the bottom of the cup, or even cold if you leave it to sit for a while.

Tea Rating: 5/5

Today marks a small, yet significant, milestone.

I have now delivered (or had delivered on my behalf) the photographs from my third commissioned photo shoot.

It’s an interesting feeling.

On the one hand, I feel accomplished and proud of the work I’ve done.

On the other, I realize that I still have plenty I can learn and room to grow and get better, so I feel humbled and maybe a little intimidated.

I can look back and what I did when I started this photography thing, and what I did most recently, and clearly see things I’d like to do better.

But I also see improvement.

So, I’m feeling motivated, if a little nervous.

I’ve made some improvements to my photography page, paid a small amount for Facebook to boost one of my posts, and set up and linked an Instagram account to my business page.

This weekend, I want to work on creating a logo for my business, because to me that’s the next logical step.

I don’t know how long my motivation will last, so best to take advantage of it while I can.

So, if all of the above was a little boring to you, there is something I think anyone can take from this.

There is no reason not to spend time doing something you enjoy, even if you’re not great at it. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money on it; even now some of my favorite raw shots were done with a point-and-shoot camera that was a gift.

The point is to do it anyway. There is a lot of joy to be found in the making or the doing of something that you’re not being actively paid to do

I’m thinking, in particular, about artsy stuff like photography or drawing or writing or wood carving and so on, but enjoyment is not limited to that.

If you enjoy reading, or running, or making goofy faces at dogs or anything else that you could do but you don’t do, what’s stopping you?

If the thing is not something that actively hurts you or someone else, take the time.

You’re allowed. It’s ok to have fun.

Besides, who knows? You might be able to find a way to turn doing what you love into something that also makes you money (so you can do more of that thing you love).