Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My New Year's resolution? Drink more tea! A lot of people seem to agree, as evidenced by a recent tea article on Reader's Digest that made the top ten list on digg.

Side notes:

"Bag it." I wonder if, when they say tea from bags had the highest antioxidant content in Consumer Reports' testing, they meant compared to bottled and instant. I think that must be the case, as full-leaf tea is higher. What do you think?

"Dunk the bag." Yes, or the brew basket. But don't squeeze the bag! It only makes your tea bitter (ah, tannins).

"Brew a batch." Did you know that antioxidants are lost as tea sits out? Brewing it means it's much fresher than, say, bottled tea, but letting it sit in your fridge kind of defeats the purpose if you're trying for antioxidants, especially if it's not in a sealed container (like bottled tea is).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year in Review

It has been a great year for tea! Despite the economic downturn, tea is holding strong, and there have been many advances in terms of health studies, new tea business openings and new levels of exposure and acceptance for tea across the U.S. Conveniently, these are the topics addressed in World Tea News' tea Year in Review. Here's an excerpt from my contribution to the article:

Teas are popping up in boutiques across the nation, and with the dollar down and international tourism to the U.S. up, American department stores are following the leads of international equivalents (such as Harrods and Takashimaya) by offering tea. Select Bloomingdale’s locations paired up with Tavalon for café and retail offerings, and custom Tay Tea blends appeared at several Henri Bendels. Both plan to expand to additional locations during 2009, and more retailers are likely to make similar moves in the near future.

The trend of tea and spa, previously thought to have peaked, has kept growing this year. Boston’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel opened a tea lounge in conjunction with its spa, Qua opened a scaled-down version of its Vegas tea experience in Atlantic City, Urbàna Cityspa & Teabar put its tea collection online and announced plans for a second location, and a number of other spas released blends as both beverages and treatments. Meanwhile, home spa treatments are holding strong: OPI added two tea-based treatments to its manicure-pedicure line, Allure Magazine gave Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask their Editor’s Choice Award and Pekoe Sip House partnered with Origins for a “wellness spa” offering tea and home-spa products.

Read more on the year of tea on World Tea News!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tea as Disease-Fighter

Can tea help fight the flu? Dr. Weil investigates. He also addresses green tea's potential in fighting tooth disease when used to replace sodas and citrus drinks. (I just wish he weren't always so focused on green tea specifically, as most true teas provide similar benefits.)

Also, here's an interesting debate about tea, disease and urbanization. The initial proposal (the idea that tea-drinking lead to urbanization in England) is somewhat intriguing (though probably wrong), but the follow-up comments are what make this page really worth reading.

What do you think about these issues?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Vee Tea Article (SF Roundtable Part 2)

Two weeks ago, part one of an SF roundtable on tea I lead went up on World Tea News. Today, part two is going up. It gets more into depth about the national and international economy and tea with top tea professionals in the Bay area, and even touches on the idea of growing artisanal tea near SF. Excerpt:

WTN: How have national and international sales changed since the economic downturn began?

Portman: We were growing strong through February and March. Our clients (for the ML premium tea line) are restaurants, cruise ships and hotels throughout the world, so we’re seeing reduced volume in our current clients, but we’re picking up more clients. Our retail growth has been very strong nationally and internationally because people are looking for sensory ways to enjoy themselves at home instead of going out. We are striving for strong two-digit growth this year. Tea is going to continue to have higher demand to counter all this tremendous fear and stress over the next year, plus as a result of what’s around us.

Zheng: I don’t feel a major impact. Some customers have reduced orders somewhat compared to last year, not because they’re selling less, but because they are reducing their inventory to have more cash on hand. I think the tea industry will only see moderate downturn.

Fong: My order numbers are up, but the order sizes are smaller. Things aren’t so bad that people are ready to go back to lower grades of tea. We have this very exceptional Dragonwell once a year. We sold 14 pounds at $600 a pound. We still sold out in three weeks and have a waiting list. If you do your job right, people will look for the easy comfort of tea.

You can read more on tea in the Bay area on World Tea News. I'll be off until after Christmas. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season and enjoy your tea!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lipton Event Photos, Part Two

A continuation of last week's photos... More from the Lipton Tea event!

The "Mind" Room coming to life -- This is where we learned about tea and the brain

The "Body" Room -- The Wii Fit, pilates balls, yoga mats and tea helped with physical fitness

The Teabar in the "Spirits" Room -- This is where I held tea tastings and pairings

Displays in the "Spirits" Room

Lounge Area in the "Spirits" Room (before guests arrived, obviously)

Dr. Tea introducing me and Peter Goggi to one of the groups

Me Lecturing on tea tasting

A group tasting tea

Time for the pairing!

The tea-chocolate truffles were amazing! (You can read more about pairing tea and sweets on World Tea News.)

A group taking notes on tea pairings

Another group tasting paired teas and foods. There were five lectures through the day, with three different sets of pairings depending on the time.

Tea cocktails were served at the end of the day. (You can read more about tea cocktails on World Tea News.)

You can contact me for tea events at vee at veetea dot com, or read more on Vee Tea.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lipton Event Photos

Some of you may remember that I did an event with Lipton a few months back. It was a media immersion event that provided tea education to the press with regard to tea and brain activity, tea and health and tea tasting/pairing. I lead a tea tasting and pairing that matched Lipton's newish pyramid bags (which are much more sophisticated blends than their flat bags) and PureLeaf RTDs with tea-based and regular foods. Editors and writers were lead by "Dr. Tea" through four different rooms, each with a different feel -- a Lipton "store" where they could fill bags with Lipton merchandise, a "classroom" where they learned about tea and the brain, a "gym" where they played on a Wii Fit and learned about tea and weight management and a "lounge" where they learned to develop their palates and taste different teas. It was put on with a lovely, creative group of people from Ogilvy, the international PR company. Needless to say, this was a fun event to be a part of. Here are a few photos from the day. I'll be posting more from the event next week.

The "Store" Window

Cool Fruit and Spice Display

The "Store" Interior

Peter Goggi, who is Lipton's buyer, a professionally-trained tea taster and a writer for Tea, A Magazine, at the tasting bar in the "Store"

The Lipton Tea Bar

More next week!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mighty Leaf's Chocolate Mint Truffle

I just tried Mighty Leaf's new blend, Chocolate Mint Truffle. It's pretty good and I'm glad to see that they've added it to their line. Right now, it's only available at World Market and online at, but I hope that they will add it to their food service offerings, as so many restaurants only do bagged teas and Mighty Leaf's silken pouches are amongst the best.

However, I've noticed that chocolate-mint rooibos has become quite a popular blend lately, and I think it has been done better before. For example, Tay Tea's Better Than Sex blend made waves as the 2007 and 2008 NYC Coffee & Tea Festivals, and not just because of its name. It has Belgian dark chocolate bits, peppermint, vanilla and marigold petals, plus a fantastic aroma. Yum! I recently sampled a chocolate-mint rooibos Urbana Teas and Tonics is about to add to its offerings that was pretty impressive, too.

I never thought I would say this about a flavored tisane, but I think that Mighty Leaf's new rooibos is not flavored enough. Wait, wait... Hear me out. Hot cocoa (when done well) is rich, satisfying and (some may say) divine. (It was literally considered to be divine by ancient Aztecs.) So why flavor a tea or tisane with chocolate unless you can compete with such a decadent beverage? Lightly flavoring rooibos with chocolate and mint won't cut it for cocoa lovers, especially when you put "Truffle" in the name. You need depth and complexity. It doesn't have to come from the chocolate itself -- it could be from mint, floral elements (like Tay's marigold petals), vanilla or other flavors -- but it needs to be in there for the beverage to be as satisfying as a cup of cocoa.

For all you future chocolate-rooibos blenders out there -- Need inspiration? Check out Vosges' Drinking Chocolates, MarieBelle's Spicy Hot Chocolate or Jaques Torres' Wicked Hot Chocolate for starters. There are lots of flavors that go well with chocolate... I promise.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fortnum & Mason Sale

Fortnum & Mason is having a 10% off and free shipping sale for all Daily Candy readers through January 31st. Be sure to check out their tea collection and tea accompaniments, like biscuits and jams in their Food Hall section. Yum!

Daily Candy is also offering a 30% off sale for "previously featured" items on the Target "Red Hot" shop, which includes a cute star-shaped mug. Rad.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wintertime Chai

One of my favorite types of tea for Winter is masala chai. It's so warming and rich, perfect for a cold day or an evening by the fireplace I wish I could afford in NYC. :) A while back, I wrote two articles on it. Here's some info on the history, culture and ingredients behind masala chai and here are some masala chai recipes. Do you have a great masala chai recipe to share? Feel free to post it as a comment! We'd love to try it out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I finally got around to adding photos to my SF trip posts. You can see them here, here and here. I wish I had taken more to share! Maybe next time...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Sale

Oi Ocha Dark, a new, darker version of Ito En's best-selling Japanese green tea, is on sale. It's $30 per case (24 bottles, usually $36) through Jan. 31st. Have you tried it yet? What do you think? Also, if you hear about any good sales, please send me an email at vee at veetea dot com. I'd love to include them for the rest of readers. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tea is Growing Despite the Economy's Shrinkage

Apparently, tea is growing despite the economy's shrinkage. Tearooms, tea retailers and other, similar businesses reported sales growth over last year with third quarter monthly averages topping out at 15% in July and September. Awesome! Go, tea industry! Read more on World Tea News.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Urbana Teas and Tonics is having a 15% off sale for first-time online buyers. Just enter the promo code "URB6853" during checkout for the discount.

Those of you who know me or have been reading my blog for a while probably know that I used to be the teabar manager there, and that a large part of my passion for tea grew out of drinking it regularly at their South Charlotte location. My favorites? Darjeeling 2nd Flush Muscatel from Makaibari (where I had the pleasure of visiting last year), Vanilla Cream (I rarely like flavored teas, but this one is fantastic!), Strawberry-Pepper/Unity (complex, piquant tisanes), Kukicha (a very creamy one...) and Spicy Ginger Yerba Mate (with emphasis on the spicy!). If you try them, let me know what you think!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Vee Tea Article

World Tea News put a new a new article I "wrote" out yesterday. I use quotations because, well, I used quotations. It's an edited collection of interviews with SF Bay area tea professionals, so I asked questions, transcribed and edited a lot, but didn't really write anything outside of what my sources said. Here's an excerpt:

WTN: What are your thoughts on the current state of tea in the Bay Area?

Yu: We call this city “the hotbed of the tea renaissance.” Tea houses showcase teas through fusion and bridge the gap between ethnic shops that offer teas and more accessible, modernized and mainstream, but authentic, formats.

Jacobs: I believe the Bay Area is the epicenter for tea culture in North America, due in part to the weather, which works for hot and iced tea, and because there are many different cultures in a small area. Also, San Francisco is very progressive. It’s a hotbed of new ideas. I can’t think of another area in the world that has all those three things together. It has allowed tea culture to take off. Sure, people drink Moroccan mint tea in Morocco as daily life, but they definitely don’t drink Japanese gyokuro or tea from a samovar. There’s nowhere else with a more international tea culture.

Zheng: San Francisco is pretty provincial and small compared to New York. There’s less distraction. If you have five or six tea stores in the city, everybody knows. The level of competition is very high in terms of getting high quality teas. People in Berkeley and Palo Alto are also very into tea. I live in Marin County, and they include tea tastings in county fairs along with the art, crafts and local foods.

The people I interviewed had some very interesting things to say about tea, SF, America, the economy and the world. You can read the rest of the SF roundtable tea talk on World Tea News.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Tea Sweets

Here are some tea sweets I recently enjoyed. I made the tea-poached pears myself; here's a variation on the recipe, complete with tapioca pearls, but it's really very simple to make my basic version. Just poach peeled, cored pears in spices and enough sugar to form a simple syrup, add black tea for about 5 minutes while simmering and strain with a slotted spoon. You can add some butter early on if you want a richer taste. All the credit for the ginger-green tea cake goes to Ambrosia Bakery at my local CSA. They often use coffee and tea as ingredients in the baked goods, with fantastic results! (Or so I hear... I'm allergic to coffee, so I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the same love for the espresso brownies as everyone else.) What are your favorite tea sweets for the holidays?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tea Eggs

Tea eggs are a beautiful, traditional Chinese dish made with tea, eggs and spices. They're fun and easy to make, and the flavors are perfect for cold weather. I recently made some with a variation on this tea egg recipe. (I substituted loose leaf Assam black tea for the bagged tea and changed up the spices just a bit.) Yum! I just wish the crackling turned out a bit better. Have you made them before? How did they turn out? Do you have a good recipe to share?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Art of Tea Sale

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I did, and the masala chai was a big hit, as was my friend Matt's pomme puree. Yum! What was your favorite food this Thanksgiving?

Art of Tea, who won a number of awards at last year's World Tea Expo, is having a 24-hour online sale for 24% off your order. Enter code 24GIFT. Ends tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Teas

Thanksgiving can be an ideal time to share delicious teas with friends and family. Aside from flavored teas, there are a number of rich, warming and even digestion-aiding teas, tisanes and tea cocktails/mocktails you can make for Thanksgiving. This year, I'm making home-blended masala chai, fresh ginger tisane, Superior Pu-erh from Imperial Tea Court and Ti Kwan Yin from Teance. I'm also making homemade rum-spiked apple cider, which I'll also be spiking with black tea. Yum! What are you brewing this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mega-Sale on Tea Books

Elmwood Inn is having a mega-sale on their "Tea in the City" books. It's only $3 for all three books, each of which focus on tea in a different city (London, Paris, New York). They are old enough that a fair amount of info is out-of-date here in NYC, where the business turnover rate is very high, but I can't speak for the other two cities. Still, it's an amazing sale ($54 off retail prices), and it only lasts until the 30th at midnight!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Haiku Teacups

Love haiku? What about tea poems? And... teacups? Check this out. They're made by the writer of my tea cups blog. Cool!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leaving SF...

So sad to be leaving San Francisco today... I can't wait to come back! It's on my short list of cities to live in once I tire of NYC, so we'll see -- maybe I'll end up there soon! :) In the meantime, I have a few goodies to take back with me -- amazing oolongs and an "eight treasures" herbal tea from Teance. (Next time I go to Imperial Tea Court, I'll have to be sure to save time for selecting pu-erhs, instead of just interviewing the owner (at the Ferry Building location) and enjoying the incredible hand-pulled noodle soup with friends (at the Berkeley location). Still, I'm very glad to have the teas I managed to pick up!) What's your favorite tea from a vacation/business trip?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last Day in SF

Sadly, today was my last day in SF. I spent most of it at The Academy of Sciences, which was fantastic. Unfortunately, I was not able to meet with James Norwood Pratt as planned, but I hope to see him the next time I visit. Tonight, I'm checking out the bar scene at The Alembic Bar -- I hear they have a fantastic whiskey selection, and I saw on their website that they make an intriguing tea cocktail.

Delicious hand-pulled noodles at the Berkeley Imperial Tea Court last night

Jellyfish at The Academy of Sciences

Me and my friends Natalia and Pat at The Academy of Sciences

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More from SF

Yesterday, I interviewed tea professionals at Imperial Tea Court and The Urasenke Foundation (wonderful!), and checked out Chinatown (way less crowded than the ones in NYC) and Leland's Tea Lounge (not bad). Today, I'm visiting Google and interviewing people from Mighty Leaf and Red & Green. Tomorrow is my last day. I wish I could stay longer!

Roy Fong at Imperial Tea Court in Ferry Market

Ten Ren in Chinatown

Tea bowls on display at Urasenke

Masala chai and scones at Leland's

Monday, November 17, 2008


I flew into SF after stopping off in Chicago on Friday night. It has been a busy trip so far: a tea tasting at Teance, interviews with tea professionals at Teance and Samovar, time with old friends and amazing food and tea. As always, I am very impressed with the approach to food here, and am glad to see many aspects of that approach (appreciative, contemplative, responsible) reflected in tea. Also, the weather has been fantastic. It was over 80 degrees this weekend! More soon...

Golden Gate Park

Winnie Yu at Teance in Berkeley

An amazing spread of sweets at Samovar (where I also had a phenomenal gyokuro and a great honey-aged phoenix oolong)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Off to SF

Tomorrow, I'm flying out to San Francisco for about a week. It is, arguably, the best place for tea in the U.S., so I'll be doing lots of research while I'm there! I'll post as much as I can during the trip, and then add extras later. If you have anywhere to suggest I go for tea, vegetarian food, art or anything else you think I'd like, please drop me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another New VeeTea Article

There's another new VeeTea article up. It's in The TeaRoom News and it's on tea terminology from antioxidants and astringency to terroir and yerba mate. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New VeeTea Article

There's a new VeeTea article out on World Tea News. It's on the trend of tea cocktails, and how they can benefit your tea business during the holiday season. Excerpt:

"Trend-setting bars, hotels and tea rooms are going beyond the classic hot toddy with innovative tea cocktails. Meanwhile, alcohol-free tea 'mocktails' are gaining ground as festive alternatives to cocktails. World Tea News investigates to get you ahead of the curve on this trend, just in time for the holidays.

Money Matters

It’s no wonder customers pick tea cocktails and mocktails with names like Black Market Manhattan and Silk Road for a sense of adventure and a hint of the exotic. While their enticing names and descriptions, as well as unusual ingredients and combinations, make them exciting menu additions for regular customers, it’s their profit margins and ability to draw new customers that make them increasingly popular amongst tea room owners.

Dawn Cameron, owner of NYC’s Sanctuary T, said tea cocktails make up about 20 percent of her overall sales (including food), and 60 percent of cocktails sold are tea-based. She said sales of tea cocktails, priced at $12 each, have doubled since Sanctuary T opened in August 2007. Master mixologist Benoit Cornet said the company’s profit margin for tea cocktails is on par with hot teas, which retail at $4-6 per cup."

You can read the rest on World Tea News. You can also find tea cocktail recipes on VeeTea.

All In This Tea

All In This Tea will kick off a Les Blank film festival at Film Forum in NYC on Thursday November 14th. What a great way to begin! It will show at 1, 4 and 7 PM, and Les Blank and co-director Gina Leibrecht will be present for the 7 PM showing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

2008 NYC Chocolate Show

The 2008 NYC Chocolate Show opens tomorrow at Pier 94. Exciting! The line-up includes Charles Chocolate (they make amazing tea truffles with teas from Teance), NYC's own Jaques Torres, Serendipitea tea company, Valharona and more. Any of you readers going? Let me know if you spy any great tea chocolates or tea and chocolate pairings!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Celebration Teas

Sometimes, you just need to celebrate! Most people break out the alcohol, some break out the tea and others break out both. I love high-quality oolongs, pu-erhs or greens, flowering teas or masala chai for non-alcoholic options. Tea cocktails are also delicious and fun if alcohol is part of the plan. Which teas and tea recipes to you use to celebrate?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Happy Election Day! I hope you're all getting out there to vote (if you are eligible to do so, that is). I'm off to line up in a few minutes.

By the way, did you know that Obama loves tea? He used to drink organic green, but now he prefers tisanes. Cool!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Nice Cuppa

Between Halloween, the time change and the election, this is quite the eventful time of year. It's also the beginning off cold season -- yet another reason to relax over a nice cuppa tea. Enjoy you tea, and don't forget to vote tomorrow!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chamomile Pudding

I recently saw this tasty recipe for chamomile pudding. (Puddings are so hot in the NYC dessert world right now. Cocktails and desserts alike are headed to the creamy, comforting side of the spectrum -- lots of milk and eggs, with classic flavors like vanilla.) If it didn't have gelatin in it, I'd be sure to make it! If any of you try it, please let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Teas for Colds

Like many of you out there, I have a cold right now. I'm drinking fresh ginger tisane and my Witches' Brew (recipe below) to combat it. What do you drink to fight off a cold?

Vee’s Witches’ Brew

1 cup water
1 teaspoon green tea leaves
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 lemon (the juice and some of the grated rind)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Optional (if you care more about feeling better than drinking something that tastes good):
1 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Salt to taste
Black pepper, cayenne, paprika, and/or hot sauce (as much as you can stand)
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 shot whiskey (I prefer Jameson, personally)

Brew the tea as you normally do. (Optional: Brew garlic with the tea leaves and strain it out. It was done for hundreds of years in ancient China, so it’s not THAT weird.) Return the drink to your heat source and stir in everything else (except the whiskey-- that goes in at the last second) until it's hot. Pour into an oversized mug, breathe the vapors, and sip slowly. Feel better soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cha An

I recently visited Cha An with a classmate from Urasenke Chanoyu (where I'm learning the Japanese tea ceremony). Here are some photos of their fantastic tea and desserts.

Sake sorbet with black sesame crisp and sencha tea

Wild berry sorbet with sesame crisp

Assorted desserts

As you can probably tell, I adore Cha An's desserts. It was the first time my new friend had been there, and she enjoyed them, too. We had two kinds of sencha, both of which were delicious and paired very well with the lighter-tasting sweets. Yum! What are some of your favorite spot for tea and sweets?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tea Plants

A quick update on the tea plants: They're growing very nicely. Three have sprouted, with a fourth on the way and two more in limbo. The largest of them is getting really big! I'll need a new pot for it soon. Tey're enjoying the company of heirloom tomato sprouts, a gift from Nini of Tay Tea. Exciting!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tea Sales

More tea sales! If you have any to add, please let me know.

ITO EN Oolong Shot
Regular Price $45/case of 30 cans, Introductory Price $36/case
Through Dec. 15th
(Anybody tried this yet? What do you think?)

Elmwood's Tea Lovers' Gift Set
$10 off
"Fall Sale"

Elmwood's Bodum Cast Iron Teapots
25% off (scroll down to the bottom)
"Fall Sale"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Vee Tea Article

Due to a recent dearth of internet access in my life, I somehow managed to not tell you that I have a new article out until, well, it's over a week old. Whoops! Here it is. Better late than never, right?

Who's the Right Tea Vendor for You? is, as the title indicates, a guide to finding the best tea vendors for your business. It was fascinating to research, as each vendor has completely different offerings and practices. The article covers areas as diverse as quality, customer education, stability during growth, custom blends/private labeling and green business practices. Read more on World Tea News.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tea & Stress

While eustress (the "good stress" that motivates us) can be invigorating, distress can be very draining. WebMD recently posted methods for reducing stress through diet, and for keeping your energy levels steady in times of stress. One of their top suggestions: drinking tea! From their article:

"A recent report found that pairing caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine, both present in tea, decreased mental fatigue and improved alertness, reaction time, and memory. What's more, black varieties can help you recover from stress, according to researchers at University College London. In their study, adults who drank tea four times a day for 6 weeks had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after a tense moment, compared with those who drank a tealike placebo."

I'm not sure how a "tealike" placebo could ever compare (I'm reminded of The Hitchhiker's Guide), but I do feel that tea is excellent at moderating and reducing stress. If I am remembering my biochemistry properly, high cortisol levels can encourage weight gain/retention and cortisol levels are raised when sleep levels are too low. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), they are highest in the morning. No wonder a cup of tea makes us feel prepared to go out and face the day!

You can read more on stress reduction through diet on WebMD.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm off on a long weekend at a cabin upstate. I'll be back tomorrow. How do you take your tea on the road? Pyramid bags, flat bags, tea socks, The Teastick, RTDs, travel infusers, or ... ?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mighty Leaf Review

I recently received two new teas to sample from Mighty Leaf. They're coming to a Whole Foods year you soon, so look out!

The first is "Organic Detox Infusion," a blend described on the package as "basil and mint." The thing is, if that's all you know about it, you can only HOPE it's as detoxifying as it tastes, not only as detoxifying as it sounds. It actually contains other traditional detox herbs like burdock, but you wouldn't know that from a glance at the packaging. It tastes very good for detox tea, but if you're expecting a pleasing basil-mint tisane with no medicinal value, skip it. It seems like Might Leaf is trying to tap into the Traditional Medicinals market a bit. I say the more the merrier!

The second tea was " Organic Green Dragon," a basic everyday Dragonwell. It's the kind of thing I would definitely drink without complaint if I were out and wanted tea, but didn't have loose tea and an infuser on me. It's not my new favorite, but it's not bad at all. Drinkable, basic, enjoyable.

I'm very pleased to see that both of these new offerings are organic. It's wonderful to see so many tea companies responding to customers' desires for more sustainable products.

Have a great weekend!!! Who out there is doing something fun? I'm going to a cabin upstate with some friends, so I'll be away on Monday. What are you up to?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tea Sales

Here are some more tea sales for you lovely readers...

October 11-17: All teas are 20% off
October 18-24: Purchases over $75 are 20% off
October 25-31: Purchases over $100 are 25% off

Urbana Teas & Tonics:
half off all rooibos through Oct. 31st

Imperial Tea Court:
Huoshan Huang Ya Yellow Tea 15% off
Gunpowder Green 30% off
Mao Jian 30% off

Know of any others? Post a link, or send me a message!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tea for Longevity

Prevention recently listed 14 surprising reasons you'll live a long life. Number two on the list? You're a tea lover. More:

Both green and black teas contain a concentrated dose of catechins, substances that help blood vessels relax and protect your heart. In a study of more than 40,500 Japanese men and women, those who drank 5 or more cups of green tea every day had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Other studies involving black tea showed similar results.

You really need only 1 or 2 cups of tea daily to start doing your heart some good—just make sure it’s a fresh brew. Ready-to-drink teas (the kind you find in the supermarket beverage section) don’t offer the same health benefits. "Once water is added to tea leaves, their catechins degrade within a few days," says Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University. Also, some studies show that adding milk may eliminate tea’s protective effects on the cardiovascular system, so stick to just lemon or honey.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tea A Magazine Goes Digital

Exciting news for you internet addicts and eco-conscious readers out there. Tea A Magazine went digital! Those who prefer print can still get their paper issues through their website. Otherwise, let's welcome Tea a Magazine to the digital world!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tay Home Visit

My man and I recently had the pleasure of visiting Nini Ordoubadi and her fabulous tearoom, Tay Home, upstate. As much as we love NYC, it's wonderful to get away every now and then, especially if it happens to be somewhere both beautiful and tranquil. (Bonus points for lots of tea and changing leaves!) Here are some photos of our trip:

The leaves. Stunning! It was strange to see them go back from red, orange and brown to green on the return trip. Who would have thought that going to NYC would make one feel as though traveling back in time!

The view of changing leaves and pumpkins from Nini's charming (and gorgeously decorated) farmhouse.

Amazing heirloom tomatoes from Nini's garden. They are sweet, with no acidity.

Nini, the woman behind the beauty of Tay. She's drinking Better Than Sex, one of their most popular blends. Note the joss paper on the wall -- beautiful!

Checking out the single-note teas at Tay. (Those of you who know me but haven't seen me lately will notice that my hair has changed drastically. I'm going back to my natural hair color. It's more sustainable!)

More of Tay. Can you tell Nini's background is in interior design? She has a great eye, and has collected a wonderful array of items in her shop from beautiful handmade candles (some cast after a statue of Buddha) and soaps (I picked up the white jasmine soap) to vintage teapots to soapnuts (natural alternatives to laundry detergent) to handcrafted jewelry.

My man and I checking out Tay's line of blends. They specialize in rooibos, but also blend other botanicals, as well as black, green and oolong. On the right, you can see their cool sampler boxes. The tea tins are also very well designed.

Tasting teas with Nini. Yum! On the right are a few soon-to-be-introduced teas. More on them later!

Persian Rose, my personal favorite from Tay -- sweet and complex, with a phenomenal aroma.

Me just enjoying Tay and good company.