Spill the Tea: eleven tlc

Last April my sister needed some help with my nieces as it was spring break, her husband was out of town due to family illness, and she was working. I had promised my niece I would visit them in Albany, Georgia before they moved and found this to be the perfect opportunity as my work had finally lifted their stops on all vacation. I still had to quarantine when I returned, but that was okay. I had a lot of things I planned to take care for my Jane Austen birthday as I quarantined (such as baking, piñata making, etc).

The plan was for me to fly into Atlanta and then we would spend some time in a couple of different shops with my sister and my older niece as the younger niece was going to be watched by a babysitter. I had looked at a couple of places and suggested going to a tea house as I of course try to visit a tea place every time I go somewhere. I was excited as CA was under so many COVID19 restriction and in April of 2021 there weren’t any teahouses open.

While on the plane and using Delta’s free Wi-Fi, I checked my messages and something had happened so we not going to be able visit the tea house after all, instead my sister planned to take us to Ponce City Market only, and afterwards we would be heading to Albany.

I was disappointed, but in a lifestyle center that big I knew there had to be at least one place that served tea. After some searching I came upon eleven tlc. Ponce City Market described it as “Delicious organic, functional teas & lattes that make you feel good from the inside out.”

I sent my sister the link, and we prepared to go there.

I’m not sure how long eleven tlc has been a company or a part of PCM, as there was very little about them on their site, but they strive to have items that promote wellness for your body and for the earth.

I was tempted to get a matcha latte as I usually do, but was intrigued by their lavender latte. It sounded absolutely delicious and as I hate almond milk I had mine made with oat milk instead. The lavender latte I had there was the best lavender latte I have ever had. And as I was in need of tea I felt much better after drinking it.

My sister got a latte with bee pollen in it that is supposed to help wiht allergies. She really enjoyed hers as well.

I definitely recommend this place if you are ever in Atlanta or Ponce City Market. It was an all around win!

For more tea cafe reviews, go to Spill the Tea: There & Back Again Cafe

For more tea posts, go to Teapot Card with Teabag

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

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

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

Spill the Tea: The Laughing C.A.T. (Coffee Roasting and Tea)

Last year for my niece’s 16th Birthday my sister and I took her to Reno, Nevada. While we were there we did whatever she wanted to do…along with a couple things I wanted to do such as visit a tea shop!

I did a quick search and receive several options, one of which I spotted was The Laughing C.A.T

If you know me, you might have realized I LOVE cats. So when I saw a tea place that had to do with cats, I was like let’s go there.

Thats me

When we arrived we went up to the door and it was locked, even though online it said open.

Of course while “Reno” was open in February 2021, not every place was and I figured maybe he forgot to update his hours online? But the store sign said open. Confused we decided to call and see. When I called on the phone, it took a long time ringing and while I was waiting for a response, a man came up to the door, unlocked it and then said sorry the phone is ringing. Before I could tell him it was me, he locked the door and ran inside, I trying to tell him it was me, I was on the phone.

Already I’m thinking this is not off to a good start. We then had to wait quite a while until he returned, letting us know that whoever it was had hung up. I again tried to tell him it was me, but he didn’t understand me.

He asked us what we wanted and I told him that we wanted tea. He told us he doesn’t sell drinks, only tea and coffee.

We all looked at each other quizzically and felt like that meme with the lady and the math equations. I could tell we all had the same thought “but tea and coffee are drinks”.

What??

We said okay, we wanted to buy tea and asked him what he had, or if he could just give us a menu. He told us no one could come into the store because of COVID but to instead just tell him what we wanted. I was starting to get annoyed by this and asked him again if he had an online menu where we could see choices and he told me no, just to tell him what we like.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like when people do that. Let me know what you have and what to choose from. Otherwise I’m just spouting off things I don’t know if you have or not and we stay here longer than we should while I try to puzzle out what the “right answers” are.

From Laura (1944)

My sister told him we like black teas and then he asked if we liked milk in our tea. I said that I did and he told me I shouldn’t drink milk in my tea. I told him that’s how I like it, but he ignored me and went on a long discussion about how milk ruins tea. I was starting to get more annoyed at this as I really didn’t like his dismissive attitude or how he was trying to tell me how to drink my tea.

He then recommended his Earl Grey which doesn’t have any bergamot in it. I said I like Earl Grey with bergamot and this prompted a long discussion about how bergamot ruins Earl Grey and you shouldn’t drink those types of tea. He also recommended his Irish Breakfast tea, and when I said I have yet to find an Irish Breakfast tea I like, this prompted another discussion about how it’s probably the “wrong” tea I’ve been drinking. He said his Irish Breakfast was so good, it should be had without milk and sugar. I started to tune him out as I really didn’t want to be lectured but I wanted to purchase some tea.

Not hate, just dislike.

To be honest I was ready to just abandon this shop and head to one of the thousand of Starbucks in the area, but I had made us drive out here so I was prepared to just buy something, anything, to be gone. I agreed to buy the Irish Breakfast and my sister purchased the Earl Grey.

The owner took our cards and returned with the loose leaf tea (I don’t sell drinks only tea or coffee now makes sense) and the door shut and locked in our faces.

This whole exchange felt really odd to me, it felt like he didn’t want us open and to just leave. I would not recommend going her as none of us enjoyed our shopping excursion there

Online the shop had a lot a lot of good reviews about how knowledgeable the owner is and what a great experience they had but we felt that he treated us as if we were beneath him, some newbies to tea who weren’t worth his attention just his lectures.

That evening at the hotel we tried the tea and I was not impressed with the Irish Breakfast. I did not think it was that good and ended up giving it to a friend of mine later. My sister liked her Earl Grey as a base for other tea, but on its own with no milk or bergamot; she felt it was underwhelming.

I like the label on the tea, but I did not have a good experience here and when I return to Reno I will not be returning to this tea place ever, but instead plan to be checking out The Spice and Tea Shoppe instead.

For more tea house reviews, go to Spill the Tea: Tea Bar and Fusion Café Review

For more tea posts, go to I Won the Tea and Me Blog & Harts of America Giveaway