Spill the Tea: There & Back Again Cafe

Last month was my birthday and unfortunately both my sister and best friend were unable to celebrate with me. We then decided to meet up a few weeks ago and have a girl’s weekend.

We went to Sacramento and were looking for a tea place to go to for lunch, really searching for a High Tea but willing to go to whatever tea place we could find. A quick google search and I found the There and Back Again Cafe a Lord of the Rings themed gamer cafe. Now we all love Lord of the Rings so it seemed the perfect place to go and celebrate.

The There & Back Again Cafe opened at the beginning of this year. It serves teas, coffees, hand pies, avocado toast, and “shire-cuterie” boards. They have 15 tables for gaming and a collection of board games, card games, and cooperative/group games. If you come and purchase food or drinks, having a gaming table is free (otherwise there is a $5 cover charge.)

All games are first come first serve, and patrons can also bring their own games if they wish.

They are open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 7:30 am – 3 pm; Fridays 10 am – 5 pm, and Saturdays they are open 8-3 for any customers, closing and then reopening 5-10:30 by registration only. They also hold special events that have a cover charge and are by reservation only.

Or dinner

Due to family commitments, traffic, lack of parking, meter issues, and the current construction in Sacramento we didn’t get to the cafe until after one and had only a couple hours before the shop closed.

The first thing we enjoyed was the ambience and the decorations in the cafe. Everything was exactly what a geek would love. They had such a variety of games, that we did not need to play any of the ones we had brought. We really enjoyed being in the cafe and playing a couple rounds of a new game, in fact I think we might have startled some of our more quiet neighbors with our joviality.

Then we went about ordering our drinks. The menu has a variety of regular coffees and teas for you to choose from; but is also home to geekier ones.

  • GROGU REFRESHER: A delicious twist on our favorite little green guy’s preferred snack. (lemon lime soda with a blueberry twist)
  • HALFLING GREEN APPLE TEA: Halflings agree, it’s a wonderful hot delight. (Sweetened with caramel, topped with steamed almond milk and cinnamon)
  • LIGHTBRINGER LAVENDER LEMONADE: In this dread hour, a warrior shall draw from the fire a delicious lemonade! Sweetened with Lavender syrup, truly refreshing.
  • POLYJUICE POTION: Magic juice. But not the kind that’ll leave you trippin’… we think… Peach Lemonade with a color-changing potion. Choose a potion from the magic spells box.
  • SYLVAN STRAWBERRY MATCHA: You can’t outrun destiny just because you’re terrified of it. (Iced matcha latte with strawberry puree & white chocolate drizzle)
  • MEILOORUN JUICE: Citrusy and tart yet sweet melon drink favoured by General Hera Syndulla and her comrades on the Ghost. (pineapple soda with fruit syrup)
  • X-WING Red Leader sure knows how to get into the air with this one! (energy drink with two shots of syrup of your choice) pwew pwew

I being a lover of Matcha, and it being a sweating Saturday, I of course had to try their Sylvan Strawberry Matcha. I thought the drink was very good extremely delicious, and I would definitely order it again.

So while I enjoyed the ambience and the drinks, the biggest issue I had with this cafe came to the food. Since I have been there the menu had changed, but when I went there on May 28th, they had only a few food options: Ham & Brie hand pies (which were unfortunately all sold out when we arrived), shirecuteries, avocado toast, and a vegan Avocado, Tomato & Basil Sandwich. As the three of us were all very hungry, and wanted something more substantial than a charcuterie board; we all decided to instead each order the Avocado, Tomato & Basil Sandwich with a caprese salad for $8.25 (although one of us had the for gluten-free one which was $11.25). However, instead of a sandwich we received a piece of toast with vegan mayonnaise, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and sprouts. At least the other ladies did, as my order was just avocado and tomatoes on toast; I was not given any of the greens. We all were disappointed as we were expecting an actual “sandwich”, not toast, and an actual salad-not just sprouts on top. If it had been described as toast or an open faced sandwich we would have been expecting to see only one slice of bread, but as it was labeled sandwich we all expected a full sandwich.

My sister’s “sandwich”

My thoughts regarding the menu is that I strongly suggest the There and Back Again Cafe to add pictures to their ever fluctuating menu so that customers can have an idea of what to expect when ordering. As they have a fluid menu they wouldn’t have to include photos of every item, but I believe a few shots would be helpful.

As far as staff goes, the two that were working that day were helpful and very pleasant. Both were attentive and answered any questions we had regarding the drink menu. They did forgot to make my sandwich, but when they realized that, they apologized and brought me one as soon as they could. In a time where every business is struggling to find and keep good employees, this cafe has some great ones.

I definitely recommend going to the There and Back Again Cafe and enjoying their drinks with a game or two (I know I plan to go back for a game night/day with some friends). When it comes to their food, definitely give glance over the menu before heading to the cafe, to decide if the items described there are enough for you, or if you need to eat before.

For more tea cafe reviews, go to Spill the Tea: Caroline’s Coffee Roaster

For more tea posts, go to Teapot Card with Teabag

Teapot Card with Teabag

I’m always doing crafts at work or with my nieces, and after sharing a couple of crafts last year, I though it would be cute to share this one as well.

Do you love tea and have friends who love tea? I do and sending them a cute little tea card is a lot of fun, and something adults or kids can enjoy making too.

Supplies:

  • Colorful Paper (Scrapbook Paper works best)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • A Teabag
  • Pen or markers (optional)

Directions:

  1. Print out the template.
  2. Cut it out and decorate it, or use the template to cut the teapot out of a piece of scrapbook paper.
  3. Glue the pocket on to the teapot, but only on the bottom and side edges. Leave the top edge alone as you want to be able to place the teabag in the pocket.
  4. Write your note on the back.
  5. Place teabag in pocket.
  6. Give away to your tea-riffic friend or family member.

Hope you enjoy!

For more crafts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

Spill the Tea: Caroline’s Coffee Roaster

Last year I took my niece to Reno to celebrate her birthday, and of course I had to stop at a tea place (or two). I choose the Laughing C. A. T. Cafe, as I love Cats, but unfortunately I did not have a fun experience there

The following day we went to the Bubble Tea Station in Midtown and had a much better experience.

When we left Reno, we decided to stop in Grass Valley, CA for dinner. It was hard trying to find a place as California in 2021, almost everything was takeaway and after driving we all just wanted some time to not be in the car. Quite a few places had spaces outside but contrary to most people’s beliefs California is not warm year round, as in Northern CA it is freezing in February. So after driving around to a few different places we decided to try downtown. Downtown we ran into even more issues as we had all forgotten it was Super Bowl Sunday and lots of restaurants that did offer dine-in were packed with sports fans.

As we searched for a place to eat that we could be seated immediately, I spotted Caroline’s Coffee Roasters and had to have us stop there.

I recognized the name of the the place as the year before I was gifted some tea from Caroline’s Coffee Roasters. I had looked the website up and it seemed like a cute little place to go to.

Caroline’s Coffee Roasters began as a health food store and beekeeping supply shop back in the 1980s. Caroline Fike bought the shop and changed the name to Caroline’s Honey Spice and Everything Nice. A couple years later her husband and son decided to incorporate the coffee roasting and the name was changed to Carolines Coffee Roasters. It still remains a family owned business today.

We arrived at Caroline’s Coffee Roster at 5:15 and the shop closes at 5:30. We asked if it was still okay for us to shop, as I understand what it is like when you need to close and you have last minute people there, but they said it was fine for us to be there and spend the remaining 15 minutes shopping.

The shop was absolutely adorable and cute! It had a variety of tea and coffee that you could purchase (and are available online); along with little gifts such as mugs, travel cups, stickers, gift baskets, etc.

They also had a cute little tree in the window for people to leave a note about what they were most thankful for in world amidst all the craziness of 2020 and 2021.

I of course had to add that I was thankful for tea.

In the end I ordered Ruby Lemon Mint tea and a cute hiking stamp for a friend’s birthday. The tea was fantastic (I tried a bit to taste test it, of course-you can’t give your friend untested tea). It was delicious and the staff was super friendly and sweet. They provided great assistance as I tried to choose the tea my friend would enjoy the most. I would not only go there again, but I know any time I go to Grass Valley I will be stopping by here.

For Valentine’s Day, a friend of mine gifted me some of their Princess Grey Tea and it was absolutely delicious.

Again I recommend the tea and the shop if you are ever in Grass Valley.

For more tea house reviews, go to Spill the Tea: Bubble Tea Station

For more tea posts, go to How to Make Royal Milk Tea

How to Make Royal Milk Tea

My niece and I were watching the Chinese drama Love O2O and the girls in the series would be drinking or talk about how much they love to drink milk tea. After completing the series, I decided to try and make some as I love tea, and it looked delicious.

I looked around on Pinterest and found a tea recipe from Plum Deluxe that seemed easy to follow and similar to the one they had in the series.

Assam and Darjeeling were recommended, but I have also made this tea with Earl Grey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Darjeeling tea leaves or 1/2 teaspoon Assam tea leaves or 2 teaspoons black tea of choice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Honey or sugar, to taste
  • tea infuser

Directions:

  1. Add the tea into a small bowl.
  2. Boil some water and add a small amount to just coat the leaves in the bowl.
  3. In the meantime, heat the milk and water in a small pot.
  4. Just before the milk and water start to boil, add the moistened leaves and turn off the heat. Stir them with a spoon to mix them in.
  5. Cover the pot and let sit for 4 minutes.
  6. Give it another stir and then remove the bags and pour the milk tea into a teapot or mug of choice.
  7. Sweeten with either honey or sugar if you’d like.

I loved it and it was super simple to make, it reminded me of how I make my Matcha Lattes. I do recommend using a throwaway bag to infuse the milk with the tea, as it is much easier to put the bags in the milk than trying to pour the milk through an infuser as sometimes heated milk has trouble trickling through. If all you have is tea bags, you can also substitute two tea bags for the teaspoons of loose leaf.

I also used my milk frother to froth it up, you don’t have to but I thought it added a little special something to it. Plus I love using my milk frother.

I highly recommend this recipe and have made it multiple times since (I don’t blog as fast as I drink tea).

For more tea posts, go to Spinach Puffs

For more Recipes, go to Wardrobe Green Bean, Potato Casserole

For more from Plum Deluxe, go to Blueberry Yogurt Oat Scones

Spill the Tea: Bubble Tea Station

Last year I took my niece to Reno to celebrate her birthday, and of course I had to stop at a tea place (or two). I choose the Laughing C. A. T. Cafe, as I love Cats, but unfortunately I did not have a fun experience there.

The following day I wanted to try another place, but my niece is not a fan of tea (I’m trying to convince her otherwise). However, she does like Boba and doesn’t consider it as “gross” as “my tea” so it is fair game to try. I enjoy Boba so I was happy to try out a place.

I wasn’t sure where to go and Reno has a LOT of Boba places to choose from. I searched through the options, tried to find the highest rated and settled on Bubble Tea Station in Midtown.

Bubble Tea Station had really high reviews and when we arrived there, the line was super long. You know that something has to be good if the line to get it is enormous.

They had so many options to choose from, which was really nice, as many places had changed to a small menu with COVID-19.

Bubble Tea Station (BTS) did make one change to their menu, they no longer offered a choice of size, but due to costs only serve large Bobas (24 ounces).

We each decided on different ones: my sister ordered passionfruit (no boba as she hates tapioca), I ordered Matcha (no boba as I too hate tapioca), and my niece ordered the original.

My sister and I loved our drinks (I guzzled mine down) while my niece didn’t care for the original. She ended up trading with my sister and enjoyed the passionfruit better.

The staff were very kind and friendly and gave wonderful suggestions to those uncertain as what to drink.

If you love Boba I highly recommend it and would definitely revisit when I return to Reno.

Also as a bonus, there is an amazing shop across the street, Junkee. Don’t miss out on that store as it has so many awesome things!

For more tea house reviews, go to Spill the Tea: The Laughing C.A.T. (Coffee Roasting and Tea)

For more tea posts, go to Sausage, Green Bean, Potato Casserole