Friday, September 28, 2007

Another Shout Out

I'd like to give another thank you to my readers. I've enjoyed hearing from some of you, and I'm glad to see how quickly your numbers are growing. Here's a bit about who you are now and who you were a few months ago:

Top Countries By Total Visits

1. US
2. UK
3. Canada
4. Australia (New to the list)
5. Finland (though India is close behind)

1. US
2. Finland
3. UK
4. Canada
5. Sweden

Top States By Total Visits

1. New York (Of course)
2. California (Still in the "two slot")
3. North Carolina (Still at number three)
4. Florida (A newbie on the list)
5. Illinois (Hello, Chicago!)

1. New York
2. California
3. North Carolina
4. Texas (Austin represent!)
5. Massachusetts (though Jersey is close behind)

Top Countries By Average Time on the Site

1. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
2. Portugal
3. Singapore
4. United Arab Emirates
5. Denmark

1. Israel
2. Bhutan
3. Trinidad/Tobago
4. Singapore
5. Thailand (though New Zealand is close behind)

Top States By Average Time on the Site

1. Hawaii
2. Louisiana
3. Arkansas
4. Oregon (Still at number four)
5. Maine

1. Utah
2. Kentucky
3. Missouri
4. Oregon
5. A tie! Massachusetts and New Jersey

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend, and drink lots of tea for me!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Variable Temperature Tea Kettle

Now that I'm getting settled into my new apartment, I had time to sort through my some papers and find a note about a product from Adagio. It's a variable temperature electric tea kettle. It's the first of its kind, it can go all the way from white to pu-erh and tisanes, and it has received excellent reviews.

Zarafina also has a similar variable-temperature product. It brews the tea (with variable time, for mild to strong for each type of tea) AND pours it into a pot (like a coffee-maker). I got word from a client who has tried it that it's "pretty good," but not something she'd want to sell in her tearoom. Interesting product, nonetheless.

If you (like me) prefer to do things the "old fashioned way" and you need some guidance, read my article on water temperatures for brewing tea.

Randomness: I love having a farmers' market near my place. The other night I made squash blossom soup (with farmers' market squash blossoms) for the first time. (Squash blossoms need to be stored carefully and used as soon as possible. That's why you rarely, if ever, see them in grocery stores.) I served it with an Oolong with dried apricot and grapefruit notes. Yum!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Some time ago, I posted a link to a link to a tiny tea cozy for Friday the 13th, but I think this find is just right for a Wednesday. It's a cozy for a mug and a French press.

(Yes, you can use a French press for tea! Read more on tea infusion methods in the articles section.)

Happy Wednesday. Use it to get your tea on AND your knit on.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited

No sooner did I get back from my trip to Darjeeling, I started seeing ads for Wes Anderson's new movie "The Darjeeling Limited." Wes Anderson is my favorite filmmaker, so (needless to say) I am very excited about this film. Tonight at 9PM, Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman (who stars in "Darjeeling"), and Natalie Portman (who has a bit part in "Darjeeling") will appear at the 5th Ave NYC Apple Store for a screening of a prequel/short called "Hotel Chevalier." More info from The Wall Street Journal.

From the Apple site:

Join Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, and Natalie Portman for a special screening of Anderson’s new short film, Hotel Chevalier, starring Schwartzman and Portman. This 12-minute short, set entirely in a Paris hotel room, is a prequel to Anderson’s new film, The Darjeeling Limited. After the screening, Wes, Jason, and Natalie will take questions from the audience. Download The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, and Fresh Air interviews with Wes from the iTunes Store.

Now my question is... how much tea is there in "Darjeeling?"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hot Teaware

Welcome to the working week. To make things a little more exciting for you... Fitzsu Society presents: really hot teaware. With Eva Solo's neoprene-clad teapot and the Seiger by Furstenberg Emperor's Garden Covered Sugar Bowl, they run the style gamut from modern with an S&M twist to ironic-hipster bird-and-flower-adorned cuteness. And still, there's more. I just wish they had the real Teastick instead of this German imposter. (I love Blomus, except when they reinvent something that was done better the first time.)

Part MoMA gift shop, part Charles and Marie. Overall, a fun site with some very unusual finds. (One-of-a-kind Mark Mothersbaugh toy car, anyone?)

Friday, September 21, 2007


NPR tackles the topic of green politics and purchases. How Green is Green? Check it out, and have a great weekend!

PS--I've been filling in the missing blog entries from August. Since the internet connection in India is spotty at best, I kept a journal while I was there. The journal entries are being rewritten as blog posts and added to VeeTea. Start with my trip to London or my arrival in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) or my journey up to Darjeeling or my visit to Makaibari Tea Estate (or where ever else you want to start) and see where it takes you!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


As the weather cools, I find that I start to drink even more tea than I do during the summer. Whole Foods recently published an article on delicious and healthy Autumn foods. Excerpt:

In contrast to the light and cooling foods of summer that help to counterbalance the season of highest heat, autumn begins to initiate that transition into cold weather that makes us eager for a bowl of hot soup or steeped tea.

My response: Why not both?

In totally unrelated news, I adore my new apartment. It makes me so happy, I wish I could give it a big hug.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Caffeine and... Not Tea

A while back, I was doing some research on caffeine and tea. I happened upon a blog about caffeine obsession called Energy Fiend. It had a particularly funny entry on the lack of information on the caffeine contents of various energy drinks. It made me wonder (once again) when more tea companies will start providing (accurate) information on their teas caffeine contents. (Few do at present.) I've heard horror stories of tearoom and tea shop employees telling customers that white tea and yerba mate have no caffeine and that black tea has "a whole lot" of caffeine. On a less extreme level, I've also heard people say that black tea always has more caffeine than green (not true), that tea always has less caffeine than coffee (also untrue), and that no tisanes have caffeine (yerba mate and tisanes with cocoa content both do). It's things like this that make me glad I'm a tea educator. Perhaps someday people can go to tearooms without fear of getting the wrong story altogether! Ah, what a nice dream...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tea Songs

I heard Led Zeppelin's "Tea for One" over the weekend and was inspired to compile a (completely not comprehensive) list of songs with lyrics about or titles including the word tea. Here's what I have so far. (A lot of British groups on here...) Comments with additions to the list are welcome!

"All Nighter" by Elastica ("Got to get some fags and make some tea")
"All Too Much" by the Beatles ("Show me that I'm everywhere/ And get me home for tea")
"Bitter Tea" by The Fiery Furnaces ("Aren't you curious?/ A little curious/ About what the osmanthus blossoms taste like?")
"Englishman in New York" by Sting ("I don't drink coffee/ I take tea, my dear")
"Getting to Know You" by Rodgers & Hammerstein (from "The King & I;" "You are Precisely/ My Cup of Tea")
"I'm a Little Teapot" by Harold Ketchum
"Let It Bleed" by the Rolling Stones ("I was dreaming of a steel guitar engagement/ When you drunk my health in scented jasmine tea")
"Live with Me" by the Rolling Stones ("I got nasty habits/ I take tea at three")
"Pennyroyal Tea" by Nirvana (technically a tisane, but we'll forgive Kurt)
"Polly Put the Kettle On" (children's rhyme)
"(That's Why They Call Her) Sugar" by ... someone whose name I'm forgetting and can't find online... an early 20th century singer... If you know the name, please post it here! (There's a line about Oolong.)
"Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen and covered by Nina Simone, Peter Gabriel, and others
"Tea for One" by Led Zeppelin
"Tea for the Tillerman" by Cat Stevens
"Tea for Two" by Vincent Youmans (for the musical "No No Nanette"), covered by Ella Fitzgerald, Fatz Waller, and others
"Tea in the Sahara" by The Police
"They Can't Take That Away from Me" by George & Ira Gershwin and covered by many("The way you sip your tea... No, they can't take that away from me")
"Waking Up" by Elastica ("Make a cup of tea/ And put a record on")
"When I Take My Sugar to Tea" by Frank Sinatra and others

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happiness is a hot tea?

In her blog "The Happiness Project," happiness-guru Gretchen Rubin wrote:

Pay more for healthy food. It’s a sad fact that fruits, vegetables, and healthy food are more expensive than fast food, but eating healthfully will pay off in the long run, in terms of your good health and energy.

I couldn't agree more. Paying a little extra for foods that improve your mood, health, and productivity is extremely rewarding. Also, as you develop your palate and (potentially) your chef skills, you can find a lot of joy in cooking and eating your slightly-more-expensive culinary creations. With tea, this could mean making the leap from bags to loose leaf, shelling out the cash for the first flush, buying organic instead of conventional, or getting into matcha. (I just realized that the matcha thing sounds like a drug reference. Then again, matcha is delicious and rejuvenating to the point of being addictive, so it makes sense.) Back to the point! Good tea is worth the money. Go ahead, make your day: buy yourself some quality tea.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Caffeine + Exercise = Cancerous Cell Death?

According to this study (of hairless mice), maybe. Of course, tea and excerise are both good for you, so I'm sure you're already partaking of both... right?

On a side note, I took up yoga recently. I've been doing it every day for at least 30 minutes and, oh, how worth every second it is. I feel happier, more centered, calmer, and more energetic. In the past, I tried doing it a few times a week, but doing it daily makes ALL the difference. Waking up to tea feels great, but waking up to tea and yoga feels divine.*

*L-theophyline, a compound in tea, increases the production of alpha-waves in the brain. So do meditation, yoga, and massage. Alpha-waves induce a feeling up euphoria and well-being. So I'm not making it up! It really does feel amazing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Toxic Waste

A little teatime humor today. Really, though, we've all heard that rumor about how preservatives are making it harder for forensic pathologists to accurately predict the time of death of a corpse. Anyone know of that's actually true? It's not exactly polite conversation, but I'm quite curious to know.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

11:11 Tearoom

You may remember that I visited 11:11 Tearoom a while back when I was in Atlanta for last year's World Tea Expo. Christine Rillo of TeaMuse just published her own take on the place, from the very same visit. Check it out!

In totally unrelated news, I got the apartment I wanted! Yay! Very exciting. I'll begin my move on Friday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vee on "teh World-Wide Interweb"

I was browsing through the World Tea Expo site today and saw that I'm on it. My picture ended up in the 2007 photo collection. I'm the one in the bright red on the right, looking very focused. It's at a tea tasting (the Sri Lankan one, perhaps?).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tea in NYC

So, I'm doing the apartment search thing. In case you don't already know, that process is INSANE in NYC. However, I think I may be in luck. I found a great place that (unlike the places in my current neighborhood and a neighborhood I was very seriously considering) has good tea nearby! Yay! My current neighborhood has (as far as I can tell) nothing but bad coffee (diners), OK coffee (Duncan Doughnuts, which I HEAR is good), almost OK bottled tea (bodegas), and great tea (at my place, not commercially available). The neighborhood I'm considering has readily-available good tea. Oh, and my new roommate used to work as a tea somellier, too. So, yes, there will be excellent tea at our place as well. Exciting! Wish me luck.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Did you know that tea will grow outside of the warm climates we typically associate with its growth?

The BBC recently published this article about Taylors of Harrogate hiring Assamese tea experts to teach them to grow tea in Yorkshire. While I was in India, I talked with a friend of the Assamese experts. He said the project is coming along quite nicely.

For those of you who are interested in growing your own tea at home, check out this article to learn how. After all, if you REALLY want to consume locally-grown foods... :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Oolong, the rabbit

I'm doing research on Oolong tea for a new article. I happened upon Oolong, the rabbit. He just had to be the topic of my next internet oddity post.

Apparently, Oolong was very famous; he was even in the New York Times. He was a domestic rabbit in Hokkaido, Japan and was known for balancing things on his head. Most of the things he is shown balancing on his owner's site are foods, but I found this image of him balancing a teacup. And, if you don't mind scrolling a bit, look for "Oolong's Postcards series 2" on this page and check out the Yi Xing teapot in "pear skin" (deep purple-brown) on Oolong's head.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Soda Linked to Heart Disease

According to a new study, as little as one soda a day may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and, in turn, heart disease. I say it's yet another reason to drink freshly-brewed, unsweetened tea. :) If you're making the change from soda to tea, start with flavored teas (preferably naturally-flavored). Popular flavors include jasmine, rose, fruit, and masala chai/spice. You could also drink tea with a squeeze of lemon (adding a slice to your cup may decrease your chances of skin cancer) or (though less conventional) a splash of orange juice. (OJ is great for beginner matcha drinkers, especially if the matcha is a lower grade.) Something I sometimes add to more elaborate tea-based drinks is a ginger decoction I make by boiling sliced, peeled ginger root in a small amount of water for 10 minutes. It works very well with stronger black teas.

If you don't want to brew the tea yourself, there are some decent bottled teas on the market. Indicators of a good bottled tea are low-to-no sugar content and something on the packaging about how it's made. You want tea that is made with leaves, not from dust and certainly not from concentrate. See my previous post on the World Tea Expo's top bottled tea picks for a few good choices from what's out there.

If you're just starting to drink tea, you might also find my article on tea basics helpful. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back in NYC!

I've been getting some "Are you alive?" emails lately, so I decided to get into gear and start posting again. I'm back in NYC. India was absolutely phenomenal and I have a lot so say about that very soon. Between getting readjusted to the city, plannning a move for later this month (still in NYC, just in a different borough), and catching up on all my business stuff (I'm holding classes, tea tastings, and a video lecture for various people in the very near future, and writing copy for a client's website), things have been a little crazy. However, I will be filling in the missing posts from my trip over the next few weeks and I should be adding articles within the month. So check back soon!