Hearts Racing for Coconut Tea – Coconut Chocolate, Mango & Chai Latte in Tea Forte’s Coconut Tea Set!

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Have you ever found something in a shop or seen something online and loved it so much it made you instantly go, “OHMYGOD!  IWANTITIWANTITIWANTIT!”  That was me when I went perusing through Tea Forte’s website and discovered their fabulous and uber awesome COCONUT tea set!  I was beside myself.  I had to use every ounce of willpower not to impulsively click “BUY”.  It didn’t even matter that I hadn’t registered for an account or read through their shipping and payment terms; all logic just flew out the window because I wanted that coconut tea set!  If I had to choose a favourite type of tea, it would have to be coconut tea, hands down.  I love my different dessert teas, but my all-time favourites are coconut flavoured ones: Coconut Almond from Steeped & Infused (they haven’t opened their new location yet, so in the meantime, visit their WEBSITE to order) and Coconut Blossom from Tealish on Queen West.

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I know I go on and on about how much I love lemon desserts and lemon-flavoured things but when it comes to tea, coconut tea of ANY kind wins my heart!  Coconut is just so versatile – kind of like potatoes and eggs.  And let it be known that I have never met a spud or egg dish that I didn’t love and the same goes for coconut tea.  You can pair it with fruits, nuts, vanilla, chocolate and any other dessert combination and this is one of the reasons why I love it so much; the flavour is fresh, fruity, nutty, and sweet all in one.

Tea Forte and I met for the first time during the Christmas holidays in December.  My best friend had bought me their popular Dolce Vita dessert tea tin set which came with 6 silken tea infusers in 6 different dessert flavours and combos, my favourite being the Belgian Mint.  From that point on, I knew I had to integrate and keep Tea Forte products in my ever-growing rotating collection!

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tea at Indigo bookstore

Tea at Indigo!

I was a little worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to find many Tea Forte teas around town but Indigo has really expanded their Tea Forte selection over the last several months and that’s actually where I saw the Tea Forte Coconut collection in person for the first time.  I was so happy when I found the different Coconut sets at Indigo!  They had the Coconut tea set in a tin, in a box, ones with 6, 10, and 20, and even a gift set with several of the coconut teas with a gorgeous mug!  I thought for sure I was out of luck on the buying-in-store front and was prepared to buy it off their website if I really needed to.

Luckily for me though both Indigo and Blue Banana in Kensington Market carry Tea Forte teas and accessories!  YES, Blue Banana in Kensington Market, one of my favourite shops in the whole city!  Their tea selection is to-die-for.  They have Tea Forte, Kusmi Tea, Mighty Leaf, Harney & Sons and so much more.  It would make any tea lover hot under the collar.

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I bought my Coconut tea set from Blue Banana ($14.95).  This set comes with 10 silken tea infusers in 3 coconut flavours: Coconut Chocolate Truffle, Coconut Mango Colada, and Coconut Chai Latte.  The infusers come in a beautiful portable box and all the infusers are individually wrapped in little cardboard pyramids.  What I love about their teas is that the infusers don’t get soggy in your tea cup or mug; they hold their shape incredibly well.  And look at the adorable little green leaf up at the top!  It’s incredibly cute as it bobs up and down while you drink.

The Coconut Chocolate Truffle smells soooo good and the taste isn’t cloying or overpowering.  I’d even say that it leans more towards the earthy kind of chocolate taste with the sweetness of coconut.  This is a perfect warm and comforting kind of tea.  It has a lot of depth in flavour and to truly get the full experience, you need to hold it up close when it’s warm the soak in the aroma and drink it really slow, letting those first notes linger in your mouth when you first take a sip.  You’re not going to taste it fully if you gulp it down quickly.  It totally makes sense to sip citrus flavours a little faster in my opinion (letting it linger just makes it taste bitter), but not this one.  Aroma to contact is what you want to get the full yumminess affect!

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I’m hoping to try the Coconut Chai Latte and Coconut Mango Colada this week so I can choose my favourite out of the three.  And then I’ll keep daydreaming about adding more Tea Forte to my ever-growing tea collection.  For tea lovers, there’s no such thing as too much tea.

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Blue Banana is located at 250 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market, just south of College Street, west of Spadina.  To check out Tea Forte’s huuuuge colleciton of tea sets, accessories, loose leaf tins and more, visit their website at http://www.teaforte.com/

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Thick, Sweet Frosting & Fudgy Chocolate: Vegan Cupcakes at Blue Banana

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Oh how I’ve missed blogging about cupcakes.  I know it hasn’t been that long, but it’s felt like an eternity because I’ve been so impatient to share more cupcake adventures with you guys!  I was really excited to finally get these pictures developed for this layout and I worked my tooshie off to get this 4-pager all nice and pretty for today 😀  Although I don’t scrapbook a lot of cupcake pictures (sometimes I just like keeping photos in albums; I don’t feel the urge to scrap absolutely everything, ha!), it’s SO much fun when I do because cupcakes themselves are fun and colourful and whimsical, and what I have for you all today are deliciously chocolatey vegan cupcakes from the Blue Banana Market coffee shop in Kensington Market.

I know I toot my horn a lot about this neighbourhood.  Heck, I think I have 2 posts from this past week alone dedicated to it (yesterday’s holiday cookie photos and King’s Café from Christmas eve), but I can’t help it because I simply love it so much.  And Blue Banana is one of my FAVOURITE places to shop in the city.  Located at 250 Augusta Ave. (nearest major intersection is College St. and Spadina Ave., west of Spadina), it’s this giant gift shop with everything from offbeat clothing and jewelry on the 2nd floor, to stationery, candy, kitchen accessories, books, lotion, and toys on the ground floor.  And by the front entrance is the cutesy coffee shop with delightful desserts like cookies, Turkish delight, chocolate covered pretzels, brownies, and carrot cake among other things.

Now, I can’t comment on the java as I’ve never had a cuppa joe there (remember how I mentioned I didn’t like coffee?  I know, go ahead and chuck things at me), but I can tell you how good the cupcakes are.  They are different and in the best way possible.  They are chocolatey moist and denser in texture than your average non-vegan cupcake.  You can taste the richness of the chocolate cake batter and it’s a very well-rounded flavour.  You’re not left with a dry aftertaste and the frosting on these sweet things are just amazing. 

Cupcake frosting is done differently all across the board and  The Cupcake Shoppe by Yonge and Eglinton does theirs buttercream style.  These vegan cupcakes on the other hand are topped with a frosting of a thicker, sugary cream consistency that tastes like spun sugar.  When you take a bite of the cake and frosting together, it is heaven in your mouth.  It’s thick and sweet and SO delicious when you have a mouthful of the frosting with the fudgy cake.  For those are who interested in knowing the ingredients that go into making these cupcakes vegan, I am working on getting this information, so I’ll be sure to let y’all know when I have it!

Now here’s an interesting tidbit to keep in mind: Blue Banana is simply a retailer that sells these cupcakes in their shop on behalf of another cupcakery in the city, OMG Baked Goodness (located at 1561 Dundas St. West) who delivers these sweet treats to Blue Banana every day, so there’s more than one location you can snag these vegan cupcakes!  And yes, you can bet your sweet butt I’ll be paying a visit to OMG Baked Goodness when I get the chance 😀  If you’re curious, thus far I’ve had the cupcake with orange frosting and edible pearl, orange frosting and crystal sprinkles, chocolate frosting with pink crystal sprinkles, and the carrot cake (not pictured or scrapbooked).  My favourites?  The ones with the crystal sprinkles. 

Cupcakes are $2.65 each (before taxes) and you can eat them in the coffee shop or take them to go…like me, in a cup with a fork, haha.  Seriously, if you don’t take it to go in something, you are going to wind up with frosting all over your nose, face, and mouth.  It was cute having my boyfriend Richard lick kiss the frosting off me, but you know…you don’t always have assistance with you *laughs*

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Scrapbooking materials used: Neon green, indigo violet, periwinkle, bubble gum pink, and white cardstock (Recollections); “I ❤ Cupcakes” stickers (Sticko); adhesive gems; alphabet stickers (K & Company); circle paper punch; curly whirl paper punch; medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success)

A thank you to my friend Maria who sent me the curly whirl paper punch, and my dear Mindy who sent me the sheet of “I ❤ Cupcakes” stickers.  I ❤ you!