Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Just wanted to post quickly so no one is worried. I'm in the middle of moving from NYC to Charlotte, NC. It has been a very busy time, so I've been unable to post until today. Soon, I'll resume regular posting. Until then, enjoy your tea!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentines Day Tea

Valentine's Day can be a great way to enjoy tea! Here are a few ways you can combine the two:

Kulov Tea Festival

Ladies-Only Tea to Combat "Man Drought" in Australia

A V-Day flowers and cookies class over afternoon tea

Girls-Only Tea (or Tea & Spa) Events in DC

Sipping Romantic Teas with a Loved One (Feel free to add to my list!)

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Modern Teaism

Last night, I saw a lecture on Modern Teaism at the Japan Society. Fascinating! It was given by Sen So'oku, who Rona Tison (of ITO EN) refers to as a sort of "tea rock star." He is really shaking things up in the tea community of Japan by trying to place the tea ceremony into the context of everyday life while elevating its status so it is special without being extraordinary, rather than the other way around. Great stuff! He was introduced (and joined in tea) with Ellis Avery, the author of The Teahouse Fire. I had the chance to interview Sen So'oku and hope to interview Ellis Avery soon. More on that later!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tea Sales

Here are some tea sales for the week, the month and pre-Valentine's Day:

Rishi Tea -- sale on Organic Wild Rose, Silver Needle Jasmine and White Tea Melange through Valentine's Day
Teance -- $20 off online purchases of $70 or more this week, enter code "VALENTINE" at checkout
Urbana Tea -- 30% off all online teas for the month of February, enter code "URB3510"

Do you know of any other cool tea sales going on right now? If so, please add them in the comments!

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Article: Tea in Austin

Some of you may remember my tea and food (and SXSW) trek to Austin last year (scroll down a bit to get to it). Well, my tea research from then (and from the last few weeks... and the last few years...) is now in print in The Austin Chronicle. Here are a few excerpts from my piece on tea in Austin:

(on popular tea types in Austin)
Iced (and often sweetened) tea

Trend starters: Southerners looking for respite from the summer heat

Who's catching on: Northerners and other non-native Austinites who love the icy, refreshing brew's sugar/caffeine boost

Where to buy it: Most restaurants and grocery stores carry bottled iced teas, such as local brand Sweet Leaf Tea. Spots such as the Steep­ing Room, Halcyon, Galaxy Cafe, and Chado Tea Market offer fresh-brewed, specialty versions of the drink.


(aka red tea or red bush tea) and honeybush (a close relative of rooibos), an antioxidant-rich, caffeine-free tisane from South Africa that's often used in fruity, floral, chocolaty, or otherwise sweet blends

Trend starters: South African expatriates and a new generation of tea blenders

Who's catching on: African-Americans who are interested in their heritage, people seeking an antioxidant boost or who love sweet, flavored blends

Where to buy it: Whole Foods' tea bar, Tea Embassy, Chado Tea Market, the Steeping Room

(on switching from coffee to tea)
The trick, said Amy March, tea sommelier and co-owner of the Steeping Room, is to wean yourself off coffee slowly as you replace it with the right teas for your tastes. She added that the mouthfeel, aromas, and flavors of coffee can be paralleled in tea, but "tea has a mellowing effect from L-theanine. It's never quite the same as coffee, even with the same caffeine level. You're clear and relaxed instead of hyper and jittery." Here are her recommendations for making a successful transition to tea based on your current coffee preferences:

Your coffee craving: Pungency, strong flavor, and full body, but not a lot of complexity

Teas to try: Kenyan black teas or Irish breakfast tea, with or without milk

Your coffee craving: Roasty, mellow flavors, as in South American coffees

Teas to try:
Houjicha roasted green tea

Your coffee craving: Extra flavors (vanilla, chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, fruit, mint, etc.)

Teas to try:
Similarly flavored teas

Your coffee craving: The richness of lattes

Teas to try: Malty Assam black teas or tea lattes

(on tea tasting for wine lovers)
Jeffrey Lorien, tea sommelier and co-owner of East Austin's Zhi Tea Gallery, said developing a tea palate can be easier than developing a wine palate because, "wine still hasn't been totally democratized here, but there's accessibility with tea. It's the people's drink." Here are some tasty suggestions for wine lovers from Lorien.

Your favorite wines: Spritzers or other wine-based drinks

Teas you'll love: Tea-infused cocktails or flavored teas

Your favorite wines:
Assertive, full-bodied reds

Teas you'll love: Lightly oxidized oolongs for mouthfeel or Assam/Sri Lankan (aka Ceylon) teas for flavor

Your favorite wines: Mellow, balanced reds

Teas you'll love:
More oxidized oolongs and high-quality, well-aged pu-erhs

You can read the rest of the article in The Austin Chronicle.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Teas for Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? According to some, teas and tisanes can help. You can read about tisanes for sleep in a previous blog post or read about more tisanes (sleep-inducing and otherwise) in my tisane listing series (scroll down to "tisane"). You can also read about tea for sleep as well as seven other sleeplessness remedies on Health.com. Which bedtime teas help you catch some zzz's?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Today's my birthday. Yay! That's all I have to say. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Black-Owned Tea Businesses Build Community

In honor of Black History Month (and as an indirect nod to our new tea-loving President and other African American leaders) I decided to write about black-owned tea businesses for World Tea News. It was a fascinating article tor research. There are some wonderful tea businesses out there that are owned by African Americans. They run the range from blenders to bottlers to tea rooms, and had some very interesting things to say about tea and African American community/identity. Here's an excerpt from the piece:

Urban Tea Loft (Chandler, Ariz.)

CEO: Glynis Legrand

Years in business: 1 ½

Products: More than 100 loose-leaf teas, foods with and without tea as an ingredient, tea cocktails, tea soaps and lotions

Purpose: To get people to try and enjoy tea in many forms

How she got started: A former Fortune 25 company manager, Legrand started a journey into tea when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. She attended The World Tea Expo to learn more about tea for her own health and decided she belonged in the industry.

Community impact: Legrand said African Americans make up a very small percentage of the local population, but a sizeable percentage of her clients, thanks to word of mouth and events like “Soul Food Saturdays.”

Landmarks: Awards from Phoenix Magazine, participation in the 2008 Super Bowl celebrity-gifting lounge, board membership at The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

Goals: To set up Internet sales and expand to additional locations

Glynis was just one of the five African American tea business owners profiled in this article. Read more on black-owned tea businesses on World Tea News.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tea Writing as a Means to Increase Tea Consumption/Awareness

Last week, I got to pick up a copy of The NY Observer that included my new article on spots for tea in NYC. I strongly believe that getting accurate, informed articles on tea into major publications is a wonderful way to spread tea consumption and awareness here in the U.S., and I hope to continue to write about tea in mainstream (as well as trade) publications for that reason. If you hear about any cool new companies, trends, events, etc., that you think I may not know about, please email them to me at vee (at) veetea (dot) com. I'd love to receive press releases and other newsworthy info!

PS -- Tea is getting viral. NY Magazine also linked my story.