Friday, May 29, 2009

Tweens Tea Essay Contest

A new press release from Teas, Etc. and The Tea Shop Girls:

Teas Etc and The Teashop Girls author Laura Schaefer are pleased to announce an essay contest for young writing enthusiasts. The contest was created in an effort to encourage imagination, writing and summer reading and to introduce the next generation of tea drinkers to premium quality loose leaf tea as a healthy beverage alternative.

To inspire each participant Teas Etc will send out free tea samples at the time of registration, which begins June 1st. "We want young people to use their imagination and not be intimidated by the topic of tea which is why we are sending out the inspiration samples." said Laura "While tea needs to be a central theme, the story can be a fairy tale, science fiction or whatever the writer creates. It’s all about self expression and creativity." Register at and receive your free tea inspiration sample.

Entrants will be judged in one of two age groups 7-10 and 11-14. The essay must include tea as a part of the story, be 400 words and be submitted no later than June 30th, 2009, 12 midnight EST. Stories will be judged on creativity, writing style, voice and grammar appropriate to the age group. Submit essays at

Winners will be announced on July 18th. Prizes will be awarded to the top essay in each age category. Each winner will receive a free copy of Tea Shop Girls, signed by author Laura Schaefer and a Flowering Tea Gift Set with Ceremony Side Handle Teapot which includes a beautiful ceremony style glass teapot and 8 handcrafted flowering teas that bloom as they brew.

In addition to the prizes awarded, winners and their essays will be featured in World Tea News ( a weekly online publication that brings the latest tea news and hot new trends, to readers across the globe. "World Tea News is pleased to participate" says George Jage, President of SFG Group owner/operator of World Tea News, "as a tea news publication how could we say no to the next generation of tea drinking writers?"

Winners will also be highlighted on both sponsor’s websites – and

Tea Shop Girls

Laura Schaefer loves to write almost as much as she enjoys drinking tea. As a regular contributor for the Princeton Review she is the author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor (Thunder’s Mount Press, 2005). Her first novel for young readers The Teashop Girls (Simon & Schuster/Wiseman), released December 30, 2008, has been well received and can be found at The book hosts an official website that includes tea party photos and the latest in Tea Shop Girl happenings. Laura resides in Madison Wisconsin and is currently working on her second young adult novel, entitled The Hollywood Scoop. Tea Shop Girls is online at

Teas Etc, Inc

Teas Etc, Inc., an importer/exporter of specialty teas and related items, has been providing retail and wholesale customers with quality products for over a decade. Dedicated to maintaining the highest level of quality, the Company is USDA Certified Organic, with green facilities in West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition, it maintains a satellite office in China and a showroom at AmericasMart in Atlanta. Teas Etc is online at

Media Contacts:

Tea Shop Girls
Laura Schaefer

Teas Etc, Inc.
Newman Johnston

VeeTea comments:

Cool! I read The Tea Shop Girls. It was cute -- the kind of thing I think a tween would really enjoy. I'm glad to see this contest encouraging young women to write and to drink tea!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tea Cocktail Fail

Have you ever had a tea cocktail that made you go "Eww..." instead of "Ooh..."? As you can see, I did. Apparently, "jasmine tea cocktail" means a teabag dropped into what tasted like sour mix, sour mix and more sour mix. Why must generally good restaurants keep giving tea cocktails such a bad name?! Less rhetorically speaking, what's the worst tea cocktail you've ever had? What's the best?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teance Spring Harvest Parties

Teance is quickly selling out of seats for their Spring Harvest Parties. I went to a Fall Harvest Party there last year and HIGHLY recommend it. Details from Teance:

May 29th 7pm
Spring Harvest Tea Party I

Celebrate the Spring Harvest with us at Teance. Our tea buyer will share stories from this year's tea trip during a slide show and a tasting of rare teas. She will speak extensively about farm conditions, the tea market in China, and of course entertaining anecdotes of the lives of the tea producers she meets along the way will be included. Each trip is full of surprises!

Rare Phoenix Oolongs
Maojian Green
Taiwan Oolongs

Space is limited. PLEASE RSVP. $18 per person

The Art of Tea reaches its zenith in the form of these rare teas, produced each year in extremely small quantities by only a few remaining qualified artisans. They are usually commissioned by the Central Government of China for gift-giving, and never available for sale. Even the most die-hard tea aficionados may never get a chance to taste such rarities.

Anxi White Tea
Keemun Spring Bud
Nanjing Yu Hua Rain Flower

Space is limited. PLEASE RSVP. $25 per person.

Make a reservation here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kevin Rose Tea Interview

At the World Tea Expo, I had the pleasure of interviewing a number of tea celebs. The interviews will be popping up on World Tea News over the following weeks. Here's the first of the interviews I conducted: talking tea with Kevin Rose of More soon!

Teas, Etc. Sale

Teas, Etc. is having a Memorial Day Sale through Monday. It's 20% off all teas, teaware and accessories. I'd suggest their Bai Hao Silver Needle and their award-winning Assam Reserve, but there are lots of great tea (and more) to choose from.

What are you up to this long weekend?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tea in LA

For me, tea and travel go hand in hand. I love checking out the unique tea culture in each place I visit. This July, I'm heading out to LA. To prepare, I'm looking for tea recommendations from my fellow tea lovers. So far, I have:

The Tea Garden & Tea Emporium
Leaforever in Pasadena
Bamboo Tea House in Pasadena
Palace of Tea in Beverly Hills
Tranquil Tea Lounge in Fullerton

(Thank you for your suggestions, fellow Twitterers!!!) Do you have any suggestions to add? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More on Tea & Health

I recently interviewed prominent tea researcher Dr. Iman Hakim on tea & health. Excerpt:

Goodwin: What are your findings on tea and heart health?

Hakim: Tea is shown to improve the fluidity of the blood, which makes circulation easier, so it can lower your blood pressure and lower incidence of stroke. We have also seen a very beneficial effect on lipids in general. One study was on patients in the Middle East who drank two to three cups of tea a day. It showed a decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol) and an increase in HDL (good cholesterol) that was particularly strong amongst women who smoke.

Goodwin: Does tea impact diabetes?

Hakim: As long as it doesn’t have any sugar in it, of course, tea can control blood sugar. It can also prevent complications, like the cardiovascular effects that accompany Type 2 diabetes. The research was first done on black tea, but now they are studying green tea. Both black and green come from the same plant, so if it works with one, more than likely, it works with the other.

You can read the full article on tea & health on World Tea News.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Random Fun Links, Part Two

Here are a few more random, fun and vaguely tea-related links. Enjoy!

Hot Tea/"Hottie" T-Shirt (Fans of Arrested Development may remember Lucille making the same pun about, ahem, Buster's Dad. *Queue music*)

Broken English Tea Packaging... Winning.

Top Tea Cocktail on LA Weekly

Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea (This stuff got me into trouble when I got a round of it -- and won a t-shirt and hat -- at my local music trivia night last week. It's dangerous! Here are some Vee Tea tea cocktails, in case you want to make your own dangerous tea-based beverages.)

This tea steeps in your mouth. I'm kind of horrified.

Of Montreal's Id Engager has a teapot (among many other things. Can you find it?

Join the Tea-V Set. Join the Vee Tea Set!

Pots de Creme with Matcha Stars Yum!

Have a link to add? Post it below or email it to me at VEE _at_ VEETEA _dot_ COM.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tea & Sweets

Dessert Magazine has a new issue about tea desserts and pairings that looks seriously yummy. My favorites? The Matcha Panna Cotta with Elderflower Syrup, the Masala Chai Creme Brulee and the Green Tea & Jasmine Delice (from The French Laundry). What caught your eye?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cool Tea Gadgets

I love cool new teaware (more here and here). This post is dedicated to techie teaware and other tea-related gadgetry.

Williams-Sonoma variable temperature kettle -- OK, so the "a temp for b class of tea, c temp for d class of tea" thing is a gross generalization, but selecting specific temperatures for your water is incredibly useful for making tea if you know what temperature you should actually use

Yanko Design's Turtle Tea Kettle -- Best for blacks and tisanes, as it reaches a full boil

Three award-winning tea kettle designs -- Very cool concepts! I wish the first one could indicate more than one temperature, but it is undeniably awesome anyway. I love the magnetic trivet idea! The second one seems a bit dangerous (how do you avoid spilling boiling water when you release the switch?), but is a novel idea. The third is cute, but I wish it had a built-in strainer for us loose-leaf tea drinkers. Which is your favorite?

"Sonic Boiler" -- Quite possibly fraudulent, but interesting nonetheless.

Tea Forte's "Tea Over Ice" Pitcher -- Cool, but not as cool as Hario's "Ice Brew Teapot," which I saw for the first time at Sungarden's booth at the World Tea Expo. Ice slowly melts in the top compartment, filters past tealeaves and then collects in the bottom compartment. It's a similar concept to their "coffee water dripper". Sadly, I couldn't find an image on their site...

A mug that cools tea sip-by-sip -- Very clever...

Handpresso for handmade espresso -- I suppose you could also use it for "Redpresso" or rooibos that's ground espresso-style, and maybe even for other partially-ground teas and tisanes. What do you think?

Cute, Unbreakable French press mugs and tea infusers -- There are lots of options like these on the market these days.

Collapsable travel strainer for tea -- I like that the strainer can also store tealeaves for reinfusions.

What are some of your favorite tea gadgets?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bramah Museum of Tea & Coffee

According to this article on London tourist spots, The Bramah Museum of Coffee & Tea is set to reopen this year. The tea museum's website says they're set to open early this year... but May isn't exactly early, is it? Have any of you heard anything? Is it open? If not, do you know when it will open?

Monday, May 11, 2009

World Tea Expo

This post is dedicated to the World Tea Expo. It was, as usual, fantastic. Here are a few highlights from my week in Vegas, from the Expo and otherwise:

Seeing so many tea people -- I love learning about what everyone is up to, talking tea and connecting with people and ideas in the industry. Connections took the forms of chatting between classes, touring the show floor, interviewing like mad, holding a TweetUp, sending the obligatory "where are you now" texts to find fellow attendees... I only wish I'd had more time to spend with everyone!

Trying new teas -- ITO EN's new shincha (sold out already), Hawaii-grown teas from Sherri Miller, oolongs from Teas, Etc. and much more... Along with the people, this is one of my favorite things about the Expo each year!

Interviews -- I held about two dozen interviews over the course of the Expo. Some were informal talks, some were sit-down-with-a-recorder interviews and some were video interviews. The videos were with notables like James Norwood Pratt, Jane Pettigrew, Bruce Richardson, Kevin Rose and Steve Schwartz. They'll start showing up on World Tea News soon.

Classes -- My favorite class was Rona Tison's Japanese green tea cupping course. Tasty! A few of my other favorites were with Charles Cain (TeaGschwendner USA), Michale Cramer (Adagio) and Elisabeth Knottingham (The Teacup in Seattle, WA), who held a fantastic class on hiring and keeping great employees.

Leaving the Strip -- Sometimes Vegas is just so... Vegas-y. This year, I got off the strip on a few occasions. Downtown Vegas' First Friday with my husband, my World Tea News boss and her husband (and his beautiful flower shop, set to open soon) was fantastic. Red Rock Canyon was gorgeous! And tapas with the Gamila Teastick crew was was tastier (and cheaper) than most of the strip fare.

What was your favorite part of the Expo? What are you looking forward to about next year?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tea Chocolates

Did you get your mom something tea-related for Mother's Day? I did! Check out these yummy tea chocolates from Charles Chocolates and Teance. Other mom-friendly tea gifts include:

Flowering teas
Flower-based tisanes
Chocolate teas
Cool teapots
Afternoon tea for two (or more)

What did you get for your tea-loving mother?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Web Two Point What? (Part Two)

The Expo was awesome! More on that later...

You may remember that I wrote about using the Internet as a marketing tool for your tea business a while back. Well, here's tea & the Internet, part two. It talks about social networking, photo, video and other means of using the internet to market your tea company, and has a few notes on web culture. Here's an excerpt on sources' web marketing ideas that were not covered in detail:

*Imbed Web 2.0 tools like Digg and StumbleUpon into your site.

*Offer RSS feeds on specific topics, such as green tea.

*Include real-time reviews on your site.

*Respond to reviews on sites like Yelp and Citysearch. (Jacobs politely responds to every Yelp reviewer with a coupon, which he said increases loyalty and causes 80 percent of the negative reviewers reverse their reviews.)

*Launch specific, targeted, unique Google Adwords campaigns. (Lawrence went from all organic traffic to 75 percent search engine traffic after doing this.)

*Encourage viral marketing.

*Post on community message boards, related informational sites and blogs to increase backlinks.

Most of the rest of the article goes into much more detail. It's been getting some retweets, so I'm guessing that means it's useful. :) Check it out on World Tea News.

I'll post about the Expo next week, when I'm a little more caught up on things. In the meantime, I'll just say that it was fantastic connecting with so many tea people!!!