Our run-away-from-hype day yesterday was in the direction of Northwest Arkansas (Wal-Mart headquarters territory; lots of new shopping venues springing up). And in Rogers, to be exact, we discovered a nice tea shop with prepackaged sample sizes as well as tea by the ounce. With great difficulty, I limited myself to just two take-home treats.

…but I’m glad this one made it into my bag. I’ve often mentioned the desire for an unflavored decaf black tea that actually had some personality. This one’s decent. Steeps reddish amber and has some red-fruit undertones to it, even a hint of cola.

It even kicked out a fair second steep with the (fill-it-yourself) filter bag left in the cup.

After that, we hit the backroads. Two-lane Highway 12 snakes miles to the east of Rogers and leads to War Eagle Mill, a working grist mill in the gorgeous middle of nowhere with a gift shop that smells like fresh bread and a lovely view of War Eagle Creek from the top floor of the mill when sharing a serving of pecan cobbler with somebody you’re fond of. I didn’t want to leave.

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Somebody asked me once when I became a tea junkie; I think it dates back to college when I needed caffeine for a 7 a.m. class but chose not to do coffee. My favorite teapot is a medium-sized Brown Betty given to me by my Mema; the painted flowers are chipping off, but the size and feel is perfect. I rejoice when I get a morning to brew a pot of loose tea starting with a kettle; not a bag and a hot pot.

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Southwest Missouri

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