Chamomile Lemongrass

August 28, 2008

I know, it isn’t “tea” proper but it is what’s in my cup and I’ve been enjoying it. After an hour-and-a-half commute home last night and over two hours in this morning due to a wreck backing up traffic I went for the calming, soothing option. I’ve had this little packet of loose chamomile flowers and lemongrass bits for a month or two now and just forgot about it. So I tossed some in the gaiwan and brewed it up. The smell was instantly intoxicating for me especially since seperately both components are some of my favorites.

Both ingredients are in balance and it is slightly sweet from the chamomile with just a very tiny hint of the lemongrass on the back end but neither overly strong. Unfortunately I have no info on the origins as it is in a nondescript plain white foil/paper pouch and was purchased from Nicholas Coffee co. here in Pittsburgh, PA. It’s a slightly chilly, dreary, rainy day (my absolute favorite kind!) so it is a great fit.

Kava Kava

August 20, 2008

Sadly my time in paradise (Kauai, Hawaii) has come to an end and I had to leave the magical island behind for the drudgery of normal life in Pittsburgh, PA. I have never found such a natural, harmonious, lush, laid back and happy place so far in life. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. The food was fairly uninspiring but there were some standouts. I discovered Spam Musubi and Saimin which were great. I was also looking forward to trying Kava especially after reading about it in Maarten Troost’s books and seeing it in a few tribal shows on TV. It was harder to find than I thought as most places were sold out, but I was triumphant finally and bought it in a “powdered” form and the whole root. Kava Kava can be read about here: so I won’t try to reinvent the wheel by describing it.

The “powder” is more like very small wood chips or pencil shavings and is certainly not going to dissolve simply by adding it to a liquid. Not having access to a blender, I could only add it to some water in a bottle and shake vigorously. It was exactly like drinking very small wood chips suspended in water unsurprisingly. It does create a numbing sensation in the mouth fairly quickly and has a woody and slightly peppery/gingery and small bit bitter taste. It offers a nice, pleasant, calm feeling quickly and vision becomes a little more focused and narrowed. The root seems to be much more agreeable and fast-acting, but I could see how some find the taste and numbing off-putting… me, I love it.

I hear that the powder is much better blended and even mixed with milk or other flavorings but I haven’t tried it yet. I can also attest to the fact that the effects become stronger after a few times and can be very close to the feeling of inebriation. It, like Kauai, is something worth trying out before punching the clock for the final time. The same kava I had can be bought online at I have no connection or affiliation I just figured I’d share the source in case anyone was interested and not able to take a trip to Hawaii, Fiji or other islands that have it. I hear it can be had in health stores too, but I can’t say for sure. Aloha.