Friday, December 21, 2007

Vacation for VeeTea

I'll be away for a little while for my holiday celebrations. Have a fantastic holiday and a wonderful New Year!


PS--Enjoy some tea by the fire for me. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Citrus May Boost Tea's Benefits

Purdue University recently published a study on the absorption rates of catechins in tea with the addition of various common tea flavorants. Lemon juice was found to be the best, followed by other citrus juices. Soymilk, ricemilk, and cow's milk were also tested. Read the full article here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tea Cocktails

Lately, I've been concocting some tea liqueurs and cocktails. I find that they are great for cold weather, especially at holiday parties. I just posted seven tea cocktail recipes on VeeTea. Here's the recipe for my current favorite:

Earl Green Liqueur

1 pint good quality vodka
3 teaspoons Earl Green Tealeaves (or, if you prefer, Earl Grey)
Simple syrup to taste (about 3/4 cup)*

Steep the tealeaves in the vodka for about 20 hours, but no more than 24. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add simple syrup to taste. Serve chilled or over ice.

*Simple syrup is easy to make and can be used for iced tea, liqueurs, and any other liquid you don't want to heat in order to sweeten. It keeps for about 2-3 weeks sealed and refridgerated.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Bring water to a boil. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in a sealed jar or Tupperware container.

Check out more "mar-tea-nis" on VeeTea!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

London Tourism Ad Campaign... with Urination

As one of the world's leading tourist destinations, you'd think that London wouldn't have to go to sad extremes in its tourism ad campaigns. You'd be wrong. What's really weird (but not weirder than urination in a teacup as a tourist lure... perhaps I mean "also weird") is that the guy is supposed to be a punk, but looks more like a skinhead neo-Nazi. What was the stylist thinking?!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Caffeinated Cities

A recent study investigated caffeine consumption in major US cities (or, as I like to call it, "Caffeination Across the Nation"). Read the full article, or just skip to the tea results, which I've copied below.

Most Tea Consumption (Green tea, iced tea, black tea):
1. Miami
2. Tampa
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Philadelphia
5. Atlanta

Least Tea Consumption (Green tea, iced tea, black tea):
1. Minneapolis/St. Paul
2. Detroit
3. San Francisco/Oakland
4. Seattle/Tacoma
5. Boston

Seattle and Boston were non-shockers for the "Least Tea Consumption" list, for obvious reasons. San Francisco, on the other hand, was completely unexpected. Perhaps it's because of the "(Green tea, iced tea, black tea)" specification. What about other types? Had oolong, white, and pu-erh been included, would SF be off the list for "least tea consumption?" Another arguement for SF's low level of caffeination: "...considering how much it costs to live in San Fran (and New York City, which was also on the list), I'm surprised anybody there can afford caffeine once they get done paying the rent." Two points for Widge at NeedCoffee.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tea Towels

Check out these hipster tea towels from down under. (Click "Tea Towels" under "Top Ten.") Very cool. My favorites are the boy with the teaware behind him and "I (heart) Tea Time with you." Cool.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More FAQs

I get a lot of questions through VeeTea. Every now and then, I compile them for my blog.

What kind of acid does tea have?

The types of acids in tea are naturally-occurring in plants. They include phenols (which tend to be aromatic and flavorful) and tannins (which give black teas a more "tart" taste). Tannins include catechins, which have a variety of health benefits. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate, reputed to aid in weight loss and prevent cancer) is the most common catechin in tea. Though tea does not contain hydrochloric acid, the caffeine in it increases hydrochloric acid production in the stomach of people with caffeine sensitivity. Contrary to popular belief, tea does NOT contain tannic acid.

I'm having an allergic reaction to a tisane I drank. What should I do?

Consult a doctor or an herbalist immediately if your symptoms are strong, get worse, or do not go away. Please note that I am NOT a doctor or an herbalist. Herbs are very potent things, so try to be careful with which ones you make into tisanes. (For example, if you have hayfever, you should stay away from chamomile.) Do a little research on what you're drinking. If it's commonly used, read up on it a bit. If not, consult an herbalist before making into a tisane. That way, you can be sure to have the right variety, right part of the plant, right dosage, and right herb for you. Also remember that your reaction may not be to the herb itself. It could be to pesticides or fertilizers applied to the plant, or to an added flavoring. It could also be the dosage (too high), the pot you made it in (aluminum*), or a reaction with another herb or medication you are taking. Don't let this scare you off tisanes any more than the nutrition label scares you off your favorite junk food--just be aware of what you're taking in.

*Please NEVER prepare your tisanes in an aluminum pot, as aluminum is highly reactive and can make your perfectly good tisane turn toxic.

If you're a tea consultant, then why do you have free information on VeeTea and your blog?

Because I'm a generous and caring person. And because it's very, very good for web optimization. (Also, I'm not just a consultant--I write copy for other sites for the same reason. Strong content pulls in way more traffic than a simple sales site ever could.)

Left wanting more? Read a previous list of VeeTea FAQs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Teas

In recent years, season teas have become more and more popular. One side effect is the explosion of "holiday teas." Some are surprisingly good, some are wretched, some seem to bear to connection to any kind of holiday except in name. If you're looking for holiday teas, complete with holiday-themed packaging, names, AND flavors (plus an unexpected French influence), check out Lupicia Fresh Tea. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Ready to Drink Teas

Bigelow and Arizona are working together to put out a new line of RTD (Ready-to-Drink) hot teas this Winter. Flavors include Mocha Chai Latte and Vanilla Chai Latte. Arizona is also launching its top flavors in teabag form. Two questions spring to mind: Why are so many hot RTDs chais? (Subquestion: Or is that just an excuse for massive amounts of corn syrup?) And did Arizona manage to fit powdered corn syrup into a teabag, or are they opting for stevia/Equal/Sweet-n-Low instead? Seriously, though... if you're going to brew your own tea, why would you want it to taste like a hot version of Arizona's fave three? I find this to be vastly perplexing. Has anyone tried it? Thoughts?

Read the full story here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Global Warming Teacup

OK, so everyone has seen this global warming mug already. But there's a new one out, and it is marketed specifically as a teacup. Interesting...

Read more on global warming and tea in one of my previous blog posts.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tasting Club

There's a new book out called Tasting Club. It is all about how to hold tastings, whether they are for old favorites like wine and chocolate or for newcomers to the US tasting scene like honey, balsamic vinegar, and, of course, tea. A perfect gift for the foodie on your list, or as a little treat for yourself (and, if you hold the tastings, all your friends!).

Have a tasty weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Green Tea Ice Cream

A company called E-Creamery lets you select your own flavors, add-ins, and packaging for pints of ice cream. Not cool enough already? They have green tea as a flavor, and you can pick a gelato, 12% milkfat base (typical for American icecream), or 14% milkfat base (extra rich and creamy). Personally, I want to try the green tea and coconut gelato with pineapple pieces and mint leaves... or maybe cardamom and cinnamon or clove 14% milkfat icecream with candied ginger... yum.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tisanes for Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? Learn more on caffeine and tea on my site, and then look over this list of tisanes for something to lull you to sleep.


Pros--reduces the effects of caffeine
Cons--doesn't help if you haven't had any caffeine


Pros--sweet and floral, readily available
Cons--a common allergen


Pros--often found in sleep blends, a natural antidepressant
Cons--may cause intoxication when drunk in excess, may cause organ damage when taken in excess in supplement form


Pros--aids in the reduction of stress and insomnia, tastes good
Cons--some people are allergic to lavender


Pros--soothing, pleasant in taste
Cons--not usually used specifically for sleep, but perhaps a useful aid nontheless


Pros--spearmint and peppermint both taste good and are caffeine-free
Cons--some find the taste to be invigorating


Pros--tastes good, caffeine-free
Cons--not used specifically for sleep, but a nice alternative to beverages with caffeine


Pros--many find it to be relaxing
Cons--not used specifically for sleep


Cons--You guessed it--not used specifically for sleep


Pros--high in antioxidants, particularly antiaging antioxidants
Cons--may cause nightmares in some rare cases


Pros--one variety acts as a sedative
Cons--there are over 300 varieties


Pros--reduces stress and alleviates insomnia
Cons--may interact with some medications


Pros--soothing, similar in taste to chamomile, (unlike chamomile) not an allergen
Cons--harder to find than chamomile (unless you're in France, where it is very common)


Pros--said to be very effective in treating insomnia
Cons--not so popular on the flavor front

For more information on these and other tisanes, read my Tisane Listing articles or consult an herbalist. Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Watched Pot...

Apparently a watched pot (or kettle, as the case may be) DOES boil... at least when it's a digital simulation intended for entertainment and increased sales. Wait a few seconds and enjoy the show.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tea with Friends

I am so elated. I have finally convinced all of my friends that they a) LIKE TEA (the problem for most was that they had only tried bad tea before) and b) are perfectly fine with meeting me for tea instead of alcohol.

My sister (who NEVER drinks alcohol) would be proud. But the whole tea world from estate managers to tearoom owners should be rejoicing! Tea is getting more and more mainstream in the US every day and it's experiencing a revival in many other countries, too.

In the US, tea drinking basically disappeared after the Boston Tea Party (save for the surge in iced tea's popularity, which began at the beginning of the last century and lingers today), but in a lot of other places it simply became old fashioned. Many people thought of tea as fussy, overly formal, or absurdly frilly. Thanks to a bit of a makeover, tea is recognized for its incredible array of flavors and health benefits, and is becoming popular among Baby Boomers and young hipsters alike. And that, my friends, is why tea is hot.