Thursday, August 28, 2008

Giving Back

There was a recent article on World Tea News that I thought you all might enjoy. (No, it's not mine! Sorry I've been posting my own writing so much... It's been on the brain lately.) It's about giving back through fair trade and philanthropy and it includes an interview with one of my favorite tea professionals, Anupa Mueller. in semi-related news, here's an article about a government initiative for organic tea estates in India. Cool.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Green Tea Girlie

So, I was doing some research for the series I've been working on for World Tea News about tea and sugar, and I happened upon the strangest thing. There's this YouTube weirdness from a woman calling herself Green Tea Girlie. Have you heard of it? Very weird... She does silly dances, tells rambling stories and tries to sell green tea/fruit powder. Most of them appear to be dances, but here's an especially weird video: The Going Green Song.
She's also referenced on a rather amusing (but very long) cooking show parody about baking green tea cookies in a trailer park (which is the first time I heard of her and just HAD to look her up). Ah, YouTube.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tea Sweeteners Article on World Tea News

Part Two of my series on tea and sugar is up on World Tea News. Part One was about sweet tea in the U.S. and worldwide. Part Two is about tea sweeteners. Excerpt:

Let’s face it: America has gone foodie. In the past, customers added sweeteners to tea with no thought to the impact on flavor. Today, they are demanding a more sophisticated sweet tea.

Tea blenders say striking a balance between sweetness and tea taste is key. Rona Tison, ITO EN’s senior vice president of corporate relations, said the goal is to “keep the sugar level down” while “bringing out a profile that enhances the tea flavor.” Most sources advocated considering the unique flavors of both sweeteners and teas when pairing.

This is a very controversial topic, so it was very interesting for me to research. Everyone has a strong opinion on the matter, and very few of them seem to agree on much. Read more on tea sweeteners.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Can you read Japanese?

If so, check out this new blog by my tea friend in Japan! We send teas to each other that are easily found in one place, but harder to find in the other. She also sent me the tea seeds I sent to some of you. Even if you don't read Japanese, it's worth taking a look -- she has some good photos up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When I Take My Sugar to Tea

Do you know the song, "When I Take My Sugar to Tea?" It's quite interesting -- it presents tearooms as an escape from daily life and a place where anything can happen. There are a few tearooms around the U.S. that have fantastic environments (usually more like high-end lounges and bars than traditional tearooms or coffee shops), and I wonder if tearooms will ever return to their former status of "happening place" again. I certainly hope so!

Here's a video of When I Take My Sugar to Tea. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Vee Tea Article

So, it's about that time again... There's a new Vee Tea series on World Tea News! Part one is about sweet tea. Excerpt:

The tea industry often compares itself to the coffee industry, using Starbucks as a barometer for America’s consumption habits. Countless businesses vie to become the “Starbucks of Tea,” while many ignore the elephant in the room: sugar.

Starbucks introduced the nation to coffee with sugary blends such as its Frappuccino. According to, 16-ounce Frappuccino Blended Coffees contain 31 to 60 grams (or 7.4 to 14.2 teaspoons) of sugar each.

Should the tea industry follow Starbucks’ sugary lead? It’s controversial, but traditional sweet teas are gaining momentum, and new variations are introducing more Americans to tea each day. Devan Shah, owner of International Tea Importers, put it simply: “America loves sweetness.”

You can read more on sweet tea in the U.S. and around the world on World Tea News. Part two of the series will cover sweetening trends and part three will discuss tea sweets. Yum!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympics Tea

A recent visit to one of my favorite tearooms gave me the chance to see a 2008 Olympics pu-erh cake for the first time. Pu-erh cakes can be used to commemorate all kind of occasions, from the Olympics to royal weddings to births to trade agreements. As pu-erh becomes more collectible worldwide, these kinds o commemorative cakes are likely to gain popularity. For this year's Olympics, even Coca Cola got in on the commemorative action. Crazy!

Seven Cups Tearoom, makers of the fantastic Seven Cups video podcast series, thought of a different way to celebrate the Olympics and tea in their Denver location: a competitive tea taste-a-thon. Winners receive Gold Medal Honey Orchid ea, Silver Needle or Iron Arhat Rock Oolong. Cool!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tea Chest Bass

Did you know that there is a bluegrass tradition of making basses out of old tea chests? Yup. Here's a tea chest bass demo. Cool!

Bonus -- A tea chest bass cover of Daydream Believer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cool Teaware Sighting

I was walking through Williamsburg the other day and saw this:

Awesome! I am continually surprised by the new and innovative teaware designs that are increasingly available. (OK, you could use this for coffee if you wanted. Still.) You can see more teaware posts by searching for "teaware" or "design" on the Vee Tea blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Did anyone make it to the Michael Pollan lecture at P.S.1 over the weekend? I didn't get to go, but I DID make it over to P.S.1 on Saturday for Warm Up (their weekly Summer music event) to (finally) see their green "farm" installation. It was very cool! Plus, they had ITO EN's Pure Green Tea outside and more tea selections in the cafe. (I am thrilled to see more museums choosing quality teas for their menus.) Images from Warm Up:

Solar energy plans

Green design plan

Planting pattern

Planter structure

My friend Laura enjoying the greenery

Warm Up runs every Saturday through September 6th. You can check out the P.S.1 calendar online.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tea Plant

You may remember that I planted some tea seeds a while back. I'm glad to announce that the first of them has sprouted! It's a wonderfully rich, shiny green. I'll drink a cup of tea to salute it soon. How about those of you who received tea seeds from me? Have any of them popped up yet?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Limited Edition Green Tea Ice Cream

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of trying Haagen Dazs Limited Edition Green Tea Ice Cream. It's a delicious pairing of matcha and sweet cream. Their site says it's only available from January to August, so it seems there isn't much time left if you want to buy it. Use the "flavor finder" at the bottom of their page to find green tea ice cream in your area, or make your own matcha ice cream, vegan or otherwise.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Michael Pollan Lecture (The Omnivore's Dilemma) in NYC this Friday

P.S.1 (Long Island City's coolest attraction) and The Horticultural Society of NY are hosting a lecture by Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma) that takes the plant's point of view in solving environmental problems. Fascinating! It's on Friday from 7-9PM in their green courtyard (which I've blogged about before) and there's a $5 suggested donation. If any of you readers make it out there, let me know. Oh, and while you're there, be sure to sip on the cafe's tea selections. :) Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Caffeine Myths

Yesterday, the New York Times published a very interesting article on caffeine myths. Although the primary focus is on coffee, it also addresses general issues with caffeine such as hydration, alertness/sleep, hypertension and weight loss. I wish it focused a bit more on tea in some sections, such as Heart Health. (It debunks the myth that caffeine is bad for your heart, but fails to mention the strong link between tea and good heart health.) Still, it was an informative read and it's worth checking out! More on caffeine, coffee and tea.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Iced TeaZers

Ben and Jerry's recently launched in-store iced teas called Iced TeaZers. It's a blend of white tea, hibiscus and ginger. This fits into the larger trend of regional and national chains like McDonalds, Starbucks and Schlotzsky's releasing house-brewed sweet teas, and of heavily-flavored white teas going mainstream.

On July 29th, Ben and Jerry's sold their new Iced TeaZers for only 99¢ each. QSR Magazine said, "'It's a tea party for your tastebuds,' says Ben & Jerry's TeaZer Guru, Alison Gilbert. 'We're so excited that we're having an official Try Day so people can test drive an Iced TeaZer for only 99¢! This little "brew-haha" is just our way of sharing the love.'"

Has anyone tried them yet? What do you think of them?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Food Trends Include Tea

According to a new industry report, tea as a culinary ingredient is a hot trend right now. It says, "Among the trends that made the most progress are superfoods like green tea, edamame and acai." I've mentioned tea in various foods (frozen treats, cocktails, sweets, chocolates and more chocolates) and linked recipes for cooking with tea before, but it's always good to me (and the rest of the tea industry!) to see this echoed in cross-industry reports. This is true not only because it increases tea sales, but it gets people to look at tea in a fresh way and introduces people to tea who would have been unlikely to try it otherwise. What are your favorite dishes with tea as an ingredient?