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5 Ridiculously Tasty Summer Sips

Here in Seattle, we just hit full-on summer. June-uary is over and we are facing days hovering around 80°F for the next few months. Seattlites are renowned whiners when it comes to weather over 70° (Don't make that face, Lauren. You know it's true.), so we've got you covered with some fantastic summer bevvie ideas.

#1: Shaken Iced Tea
Really want to elevate your iced tea game? It's as simple as playing Cocktail and shaking that sucker up. Brew a strong pot of your favorite white, green or black tea (or tisane, if caffeine isn't your game) and throw a hefty pour into a cocktail shaker with a handful of those yummy berries you scored at the farmer's market and a handful of ice. Shake it up for a solid 30 seconds, then pour into your favorite iced tea glass. A whole new level to the simple classic iced tea.

#2: Tea-Infused Sangria
My personal favorite part of hot weather season: an excuse to drink sangria! Next time you make a batch at home, try infusing your simple…

What exactly IS caffeine?

We love our caffeine. In the US alone, we consume upward of 970 tons of caffeine annually. Caffeine is just a fact in our day-to-day. Sodas, coffee, tea, even caffeinated soap is now a thing. Ok, so we love the stuff. But what exactly is it?

In layman's terms, caffeine is a psychoactive drug, classified as a stimulant which effects the central nervous system. When ingested, it reduces fatigue and boosts mental acuity. Caffeine delays muscle exhaustion and increases metabolic rate. Sounds great, yeah? Let's not forget the other side of this. You know the caffeine crash? The headache, crankiness and exhaustion? That's withdrawal. It's the body catching up with being tired and sore all at once. Unpleasant. Caffeine is also super addictive and it doesn't take long to build up a tolerance. Make a daily habit of three cups of coffee and you'll find that after a while you're dragging and want a fourth. We've discussed the side effects of too much caffeine in a…

BTB: Bioluminescence

On today's episode of Behind the Blend, I'm going to take you through the synesthetic taste experience of one of our prettiest blends: Bioluminescence.

Those of you that are familiar with my blending process already know, but for the folks just joining us, let me tell you a little bit about my work. I have a rare neurological oddity known as Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia. Now, synesthesia itself is actually relatively common. The brain cross-wires sensory input and the results cause folks to see music as colors, experience sound as tactile sensation (I have this one too. Sometimes fun, sometimes not so much), associate personalities with colors/words/sounds or, like me, literally taste language and concepts as complex flavor profiles. For me, thinking about a character, a personality or a word is no different from eating a tasty (or nasty) snack. So let me introduce you to one of my favorites: Bioluminescence!

My friend Jill commissioned two blends from me for a writer's w…

Some Categories of Medicinal Herbs

Medicinal Herb Exploration
Herbal remedies are categorized by application. Here are a few of the most common categories and some examples of herbs that fit them!



Anti-Inflammatory This group is comprised of plants that release soothing compounds into the body to reduce inflammation. Examples include circumen (found in turmeric), zingerone (ginger), flavonoids (tea, chili peppers), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), eugenol (clove) and so on. While some compounds reduce inflammation by breaking down free radicals (which cause tiny-scale inflammation in the body that can accumulate to a big problem), others inhibit enzymes that cause inflammatory response in the body. More examples of anti-inflammatory plants are peppercorn, sage, rosemary, and spirulina.
Expectorant Expectorants loosen congestion and cause all that gnarly mucus to work its way out of the body. We most frequently see expectorant properties in roots and resins, though many seeds also help with congestion! Some examples of expectora…

Guest Post: Chamomile Lemon Shortbread

Today's guest post comes to us from Ben, who we hope will share more of his fabulous recipes in future! -Friday


I’m a bit of a tea obsessive. What started as an (unhealthy) addiction to coffee, has now seen me
change lanes to tea. And with this change, I’ve always tried to get creative with my tea use. From 
putting together therapeutic cups of turmeric tea, to using tea bags as a way to battle my shoe odors, 
I’ve found a plethora of ways to adapt it for everyday use.

Enter these chamomile tea and lemon shortbread biscuits.




Using tea for baking isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when I think of interesting ways to  incorporate it, but these shortbread biscuits are too good not to try.
Chamomile is the perfect ingredient for these shortbread biscuits. Its delicate flavors and relaxing  properties match beautifully with the lemon zest, bringing together a subtle taste to an already  comforting food in the form of shortbread. Also unsurprisingly they pair wonderfully with a cup …

How much caffeine is too much?

Espresso, matcha, yerba mate, hot cocoa...even some soaps and lotions contain caffeine! We encounter the stuff every day, and as a society, we love it. But how much caffeine is too much?
For starters, why do we even need to moderate caffeine? What's the big deal?
Caffeine is a highly addictive substance, like sugar or cocaine, according to studies by many institutions. It doesn't take a lot to develop a dependence. How many folks do you know who "can't function" without their morning cup of coffee? The science behind the hook is simple. Caffeine can disguise itself as adenosine, the molecule in our bodies that makes us feel tires, and take its place. This not only delays our feeling of tiredness, but also spikes our adrenaline and dopamine production, making us feel rad and happy and ready for action. When the caffeine wears off, our exhaustion catches up with us hard. We get cranky, tired, sore and headachey. Know what the easiest fix for this bad feeling is? That…

Cold Brew Season!

It's that time of year, friends! All the coffee shops here in Seattle are bragging about their cold brews again, and we refuse to sit out on the fun. Did you know you can cold brew your tea for the same smooth, delicious, lightly sweet results that have people obsessing over their summer coffees? Totally true and totally easy.

Cold brewing is fab. Just throw 2-3 tablespoons of loose leaf (or a few teabags) and cool water into a pitcher/teapot/fancy carafe/whatever, and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, strain the liquid off the spent leaves (or just remove your teabags) and enjoy your tea.

There's a super cool trend circulating the tea industry the last year or two that takes cold brewing to a whole new level. Have you heard of ice steeping? This is my new obsession for Japanese green teas in particular. Sencha, Genmaicha, even the delicate and beautiful Gyokuro can turn on you and develop bitter edges in a snap if you don't brew them just so. Personally, fin…

Our new tea tasting series!

Hello!

This month we are pleased to announce our first educational tasting series here at the tea room. Join us Thursday evenings at 5:30pm for a guided journey through the world of tea! I will personally be serving teas from various categories and regions and leading a discussion on the science, history and culture behind different teas. These are free events, though of course we encourage you to pick up some loose leaf to take home while you're here!

Our first educational tasting session is scheduled for Thursday, May 17th at 5:30pm and will focus on green teas. We'll experience toasted and steamed, high and low altitude green teas, side-by-side for an enriching look into what it means to be green.

Mark your calendars,
Friday


Mental Health Awareness Month

Hello, friends.

I'd like to take a moment to remind you that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We generally keep things pretty light and fun here at Friday Afternoon Tea, but today I'd like to chat on a more serious note. Just about everyone I know struggles with their mental health to some degree. I've lost my best friend to suicide and seen others I love battle Bipolar Disorder, depression, dysmorphias galore and stress burnout. I personally have struggled with eating disorders, PTSD and OCD my entire adult life. This is everyday stuff. It's not glamorous, it's not fun, it's just the reality of being a Person in this world.

I don't have anything particularly profound to say on the subject, so maybe even posting this is silly. I just wanted you to know that you are Seen and Cared For and that it is OK to be your lovely, struggling, patchwork self. If you need to take a breather from it all and gift yourself a break from carrying this around with you, I…

Top Ten Uses For Your French Press

Oh french press, how we love thee. These handy dandy suckers are great for more than just brewing up yummy loose leaf tea and coffee! Read our top ten ways to get the most out of your french press around the house.

10. Squeeze excess water out of veggies. Thawing out frozen spinach for a lasagna recipe? Just put it in your french press and let the plunger wring out all that extra water! All you have to do is press down and pour out.

9. Rehydrate dried foods. Whether it's plumping raisins for a cake or making that instant soup, simply put the dried goodies into the press and cover with water. When your food is rehydrated to the desired level, pour off the extra water and you're good to go!

8. Juice berries. Berries are the easiest fruits to juice with the most intense flavor packed into them. The only problem is those tiny dang seeds! Try throwing a handful of berries into your press and the fine mesh of the plunger will hold all the seeds back while letting the super tasty jui…

BTB: Raise the Dead

Today's episode of Behind the Blend may feel a bit out of season, but it's a particularly chill and blustery April morning and I've been thinking a lot about death and seasonal shifts lately. So, for today's foray into synesthetic perception, I would like to introduce you to an old Friday Afternoon fave: Raise the Dead. 



The inspiration: This blend was originally commissioned by our lovely friend Tara (aka The Geeky Hostess) to celebrate the release of the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Tara wrote me before the movie launched, asking if I'd like to collaborate on a collection themed around the movie. We had way too much fun with the project! I used my Synesthetic Superpowers to taste up three blends: Darcy's Delight, Mrs. Bennet's Nerve Tonic, and Raise the Dead. Tara paired each tea with her super fun naturally-colored sprinkles (sadly no longer available) and the teas got picked up by Espionage Cosmetics as part of a subscription box for their fans…

April showers bring new teas!

That's how that saying goes, right? Right...

Yes, my friends, we have exciting new products in stock! Now available online and in-store for your gifting and personal consumption:

The General's Jasmine
Keemun Mao Feng
Kenyan Purple Tea
Single-Estate Matcha
Four Seasons Taiwanese Oolong
Green Earl Grey

We also have some new geeky blends in development. They're a secret for now, but look forward to a shinier, more geek-proud site full of thrilling collections soon!

Love,
Friday

April is exciting!

First, a quick reminder that the tea room will be CLOSED next Wednesday-Friday, April 11-13 as it's time for our annual trip back home to California wine country. 😄 We'll be open again Saturday the 14th at 9am and will resume business as usual from there.

There is just SO much happening this month at the tea shop! We've got coming your way...

New Products
This weekend we'll be getting in stock:
Kenyan Purple TeaKeemun Mao FengGreen Earl GreyFour Seasons Taiwanese Oolong (light roast)Matcha (single-garden) Keep your eyes on our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for product listings as they become available online!

Rad Events
Art walk (Zan Edson) - 4/6, 6-8pmLive music (Harpsona) - 4/7, 7-8pm Game night - Every Friday, 6-8pmCraft & Chat - Every Sunday, 1-4pmCLOSED - 4/11 through 4/13D&D mini painting & swap - 4/14, 1-4pmSpace-themed open mic - 4/14, 6-8pmRPG night (The Tribunal) - 4/20, 6-9pmFrench practice Meetup - 4/21, 2-4pm Latinx Nerd Meetup - 4/21, …

What we're about: a guide for new & old friends

In the wake of the recent Adagio Teas scandal, we've received hundreds of new followers and customers over the last two days. Our email is blowing up and I can barely keep up with social media conversations! This is a great problem to have, though I do hope you'll all bear with me if order processing and email response are a hair slower than usual.

This seems like an ideal time for an introduction to our new friends and a reintroduction to our longtime friends. So hi, nice to meet you!

I'm Friday, and this is my tea shop. I launched Friday Afternoon in October of 2010 after half a decade of obsessive and passionate tea and business studies. I was raised by huge nerds and hippies (hence the combination of medicinal ingredients and geek themes). When I first started developing blends, I realized pretty quickly that there was high demand for fun themed tea blends, and that tabletop gamers were beginning an exciting transition from unhealthy energy drinks and sodas to high qua…

Retiring Blends

To make room for more unusual single-origin leaf and popular blend collections, we'll be retiring a few of our teas at the end of March. Let's call it Spring Cleaning!

Teas being retired as of March 31st:

Supernatural
Love Me Some PieTeddy Bear DoctorBaby's BlendKiss Kiss Bang Bang
Sega/Nintendo
Knuckle SandwichSupersonicPeachy Dream The Red Plumber
Battlestar Galactica
Kaboom!Setting Things on Fire 
Stock up now before they're gone!

Guest Post - Harrison of Milk and Leaf Co.

Hello!

My name is Harrison and I'm an avid ice cream maker who a bit ago began focusing on making specifically tea infused ice cream. I live in the East Fremont/Wallingford neighborhood and recently was asking some questions about tea while at the shop. After a very helpful exchange, and a returned sample of the results, Friday suggested I make a guest blog post to share my story and give a recipe so people can make tea infused ice cream at home!

Before we get into the recipe, I thought I'd share a little bit on what ice cream and tea means to me. I started making ice cream actually as a way to slow myself down. See, I've always eaten a lot of ice cream. Like, a lot. Growing up, my family always had ice cream around the house. We liked to sit and talk while eating a large bowl full. That tradition only expanded as I got older and it became common for dinner plans to end with "so, ice cream?" Ice cream has always been an institution in my life, but at a certain poin…