Monday, July 31, 2006

The Art Of Tea

Here's an interesting article from Newsday about Jean Pettine, the artist who does the distinctive designs for Arizona Tea's bottles and cans. She's done more than 60 designs so far and is still going strong.

From a page sponsored by the Taiwanese government, here's an informative article called The Art of Tea. It's an interesting look into the tea culture of Taiwan, which is probably best known for producing high quality oolong varieties.

From Tea Time World Wide, here's the first chapter of The Art of Tea, by James Norwood Pratt.

If that's not enough Art of Tea for you, you might want to head to your local (or online) bookseller and have a crack at Art of Tea, by Osho.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

$300 Pot Of Pu-Erh

We've written about expensive tea here, here and here, but this is one that might just take the cake - or maybe not.

According to a recent press release, Hollywood's Tea Garden & Herbal Emporium recently unveiled a "$300 Pot of Tea to LA’s Mover's and Shakers".

If the release is to be believed, the beautiful people are poised to descend upon this humble tea shop to partake in "a rare 1952 Guang Yun Gon Bin tea from China" The tea, which is described as being "of the Pu-Erh (“poo-air”) variety, has been carefully stored and aged under very strict conditions for over 53 years."

If you don't have the time or inclination to enjoy your $300 pot of tea at the shop, you can part with $490 and take home an ounce of this stuff.

If all that's a little rich for your blood, maybe Coke's new Gold Peak premium tea is more your speed. We wrote about it just the other day, but here's more information from Coke's hometown paper.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Vodka & Yerba Mate

We've written about several combinations of tea and vodka thus far. Here's a link to one of those pieces.

Now here comes Zygo Vodka, which combines vodka with yerba mate, among other things, to make a spirit that's supposed to energize you at the same time it's making you tipsy. Now what do you make of that?

Anyway, here's a piece on Zygo from the Boston Globe and here's the link to the company's flashy Web site with mucho bells and whistles. Which is all well and good unless you're actually trying to find some info.

Image: Zygo

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Coca-Cola's Gold Peak Premium Iced Tea

The big guns are moving into the premium iced tea business. Or at least one of the big guns is. If you noticed the headline of this piece, then you probably deduced that the big gun in question is Coca-Cola.

Of course, bottled iced tea is nothing new for the soda giant, who have been selling their Nestea brand for quite some time. But their move into the premium end of things, with a brand called Gold Peak, is unexplored territory for the company.

Coke's press release claims that Gold Peak - which is available in sweetened, unsweetened, lemon, diet and green tea varieties - "revives the timeless flavor of classic, authentic iced tea." Whatever that means.

The product will be "offered nationwide in stylish 16.9-ounce single-serve glass bottles." Brandweek magazine reports that Gold Peak is targeted to "every day gourmets." Once again, I say - whatever that means.

For more about Gold Peak, check out the busy and slightly confusing Web site.

Image: Coca-Cola North America

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tea Blog Roundup 6

Tea News From Darjeeling Area is back after a several month hiatus. A good source for anyone looking for news and info from this particular tea-producing region.

Matcha is getting it's share of press these days. Lara, over at A Nice Cuppa, continues the trend by posting a bunch of recipes that use it as an ingredient.

From Cha Dao, here's a rather lengthy post that covers the finer points of tea storage, containers and whatnot.

Gongfu Girl is heading to Nevada this year and will be serving tea at Burning Man, as noted in this post.

Danny, at Dandateemann, reports on a strange experience he had while tasting a Shuangjiang Mengku Mushu Pu'er recently.

And, from Teapots, Teapots, Teapots, here's a picture of a silly teapot.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Decaffeinated Tea & The DeCaf Company

Looking for a really great decaffeinated tea? Don't bother. That's my recommendation, though you can certainly take it for what it's worth.

As one of those types who don't really react so well to caffeine, I'd be downright ecstatic if someone could devise a way of decaffeinating tea that wouldn't strip the leaves of their flavor.

The standard advice for someone who wants to decaffeinate their tea is to "wash" or "rinse" the leaves by doing a brief infusion - perhaps 30 seconds to a minute. Then throw out the water and brew your cup of tea.

Tea people tend to go on about this, debating the effectiveness of the process. Some swear by it, while others claim it's a load of nonsense and produce various facts and figures to back up their arguments.

My own experiments with the process have been encouraging, but I'm also willing to consider that it's a "mind over matter" situation or a placebo effect and that maybe it really doesn't work.

What I'm leading up to here is a press release I ran across today, from a new firm called The DeCaf Company, LLC. They describe themselves as "an advanced polymers research and prototype company that has invented and patented high-tech polymers."

The release trumpets "a scientific breakthrough that will allow coffee or tea drinkers to reduce and control the amount of caffeine within their beverages - all within a matter of seconds - and without compromising the taste and quality of the drink."

Here's how it works, or so saith the company, "The stirrer or cup is coated with harmless molecular polymer beads that specifically attract caffeine molecules. As the consumer stirs the beverage, the caffeine molecules bind to the MIPs-imprinted stirring sticks or MIPs coated sides of the cup, rapidly reducing the levels of caffeine within the drink itself. The longer the consumer leaves the stirrer in the cup, the more caffeine is removed. With just a few swirls, caffeine can be reduced to up to 70 percent in most drinks."

Well, we'll see about that, won't we? As much as I'd like to believe that the "taste and quality of the drink" won't be affected, let's just say that I'm cautiously skeptical.

Though I'd certainly jump for joy if they'd actually come up with a way to decaffeinate tea that wouldn't make it taste like it had been filtered through a musty old sock.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Blue Tea

Here's a new addition to your palette of tea varieties - blue tea. Who knew?

Now, if the truth be told, blue tea is really just another name for good old-fashioned oolong tea. Or at least so say New Leaf, who make a bottled beverage called Blue Tea in raspberry and lemon flavors.

As New Leaf's press release would have us believe, "According to the Ancient Chinese Tea Masters, teas are classified in six different tea families, each categorized by a different color. Due to the bluish reflections of the Oolong Tea leaf in its dried form, Oolong Tea is classified as 'blue tea.'"

This was news to me, but then again I never claimed to be the last word when it comes to tea knowledge.

Blue Tea is not mentioned at New Leaf's Web site yet, at least not that I could see, but if you want to check out the site anyway, it's here.

New Leaf's other flavors - in case you were wondering - include White Tea Strawberry, White Tea Tangerine, White Tea Honey and Ginseng, White Tea Honeydew Melon, White Tea Grapefruit, Green Tea Plum and Green Tea Ginseng.

For some additional info on blue/oolong tea, here's an interesting piece from Tea Masters.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Ceramic Tea Mugs with Pouch

Never quite sure what to do with that tea bag? This could be the solution. Cherry Creek Cottage offers an interesting item called a Pouch Mug. Click here to have a better look or to order one.

If you want to check out the patent for this gimmick (or one very much like it), check out this page at Free Patents Online. Patents are fun.

Image: Cherry Creek Cottage

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Friday, July 21, 2006

All About Ginseng

It's not about tea, at least not in the strictest sense of the word. But here's a link to the Boston Globe's review of Ginseng, the Divine Root: The Curious History of the Plant That Captivated the World, by David A. Taylor.

Since we're going with kind of an herbal theme today, here's a link to an article from People's Daily Online, a Chinese news source. It tells the tale of a traditional Chinese herbal beverage which is expected to outsell American sugar water (aka Coca-Cola) this year.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tea Blog Roundup 5

I've been trying to get these out on Monday, but we'll shoot for Wednesday now.

From A Nice Cuppa, here's a recipe for Mango Lychee Bubble Tea and a report on some very unique disposable spoons. Though perhaps "disposable" is not quite the right word.

This time around Phyll Sheng, at Adventures in Tea Cups & Wine Glasses, does a brief review of Bamboo Green Tea of Mount Emei and a more substantial one of Phoenix Mountain Lone Bush Tea.

If you're not quite convinced of the merits of sugar water drinks masquerading as tea, see what Arthur at CafeList Blog has to say.

The gang at Jaya Tea are happy to note that they are featured in the July issue of Tea and Coffee Trade Journal. More info here.

At the Samovar Tea Lounge they're apparently engaged in debate about whether to serve (gasp!) coffee. Say it ain't so. Read about it here.

Here's the weekly link to a silly teapot photo.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Teakettle Whistles & Egg Advertising

Here's one for you Mr. Wizard types who have spent many sleepless nights wondering about the mechanics of teakettles. Yesterday's edition of Newsday provided us with a rather detailed description of just what happens to your teakettle as the water boils.

This one doesn't really have anything to do with tea, but it's just to goofy not to pass along. America's advertising industry, apparently not content to shovel ads down our throat from ever conceivable direction, has now come up with a way to sell ad space on eggs. Really. Read all about it in this New York Times article.

I'm casting about, trying to figure out how the manic with greed advertising industry could exploit tea in a similar fashion and I'm coming up dry. Though it would seem that advertisers aren't really taking full advantage of those tags on tea bags...

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Tea Shirts

Ready for some tea fashions? Here are a few sources to get you started. I'm sure there are more, so if you know of any, please tell.

If you've always felt that "it's okay to be loose" then this shirt from Artisan's Cup might appeal to you. Their Tea Teazers, advertised on the same page, look good for the portable tea fancier.

For some fine Rishi gear, including shirts and a fleece jacket, look here.

Or head over to The Original Tea Shirt Co. and have a look at their selection of t-shirts, hats and tank tops.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Tea with Mandela

The BBC News reports that a chance to drink tea with Nelson Mandela will be auctioned later this year on eBay. Proceeds will go to charity. Obviously there's no way to know what the high bid would be, but as the article notes, a round of golf with Tiger Woods went for $1.3 million.

If tea with the Queen is more your style, check out this article from Bridlington Today about the Queen's Garden Party. With about 2,000 tea sippers in attendance, it's not exactly what you'd call intimate. But I guess it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharpened teaspoon.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

World's Largest Teapot

Earlier this week we passed along information about some unusually large teapots and kettles. But we missed one. Here's a gargantuan construction that's said to be the World's Largest Teapot. It's located in Chester, West Virginia, in the event that you'd like to plan a pilgrimage.

If you do get around to that part of the world you might as well drop down to Trenton, Tennessee and pay a visit. The council chambers of city hall there are host to a teapot collection - 525 in all - that's supposed to be the world's largest. Of course, the Sparta Teapot Museum also lays claim to that title. Trenton also holds a Teapot Festival every year. We made mention of it here.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Impeachment Tea

There are two topics Tea Guy generally prefers not to discuss - religion and politics. Thus, I will present today's topic with a minimum of editorial comment.

The AlterNet blog recently noted the existence of something called Impeachment Tea. This is apparently a peach-mint blend (get it? - peach mint, impeachment) that's presented as "a remedy for government-induced dyspepsia".

You can read all about it at the Impeachment Tea Web site here. The prices look to be a little high, but I guess this one is like Golf Tea, in that it is more about the gimmick than the tea.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Tea Blog Roundup 4

Here's the latest roundup.

First up comes a notice of a tea blog that's shutting down. That would be Tea Posur, but I'll leave them on the tea blog list as long as the site remains online.

If Earl Grey Whole Roasted Cabbage gets your taste buds dancing (not me), check out the recipe at A Nice Cuppa.

Phyll, over at Adventures in Tea Cups & Wine Glasses, has been busy lately, tasting a 2005 Spring Great Red Robe Wuyi Oolong, a 2006 Gopaldhara Estate Spring 1st Flush Darjeeling and a 2006 Singbulli Estate 1st Flush, Darjeeling.

At the Culinary Teas site, Candie has put together a brief article on Tea and Food Pairings. Read it here.

If you'd like to take part in a tea swap, head to MaD PoTs, where Madame Potts has posted information on The Summertime Tea Swap 2006.

And, from Teapots Teapots Teapots, here's a picture of a rather silly teapot hat.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Perfect Cup Of Tea

I guess we all have our own ideas about what the perfect cup of tea would be like. Michael Ktob, manager of the Palm Court at the Ritz (in London) shared his thoughts in a recent article in the Guardian.

Michael and I parted ways as soon as the "m" word (milk) came up, but I'm not going to go off on that rant again.

Also included in the article are some thoughts on the perfect cucumber sandwich, the perfect cake and the perfect fruit scone.


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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

World Cup Boosts Chinese Tea Sales

From China Daily comes this rather in-depth report on the popularity of herbal tea in the Pearl River Delta region and the notion that World Cup is somehow increasing consumption of same.

The beverage was named a national treasure in May and "a total of 18 brands from 21 herbal tea companies, and 54 secret recipes, are now under the protection of the World Cultural Heritage Protection Convention and China's own laws."

The article goes on to note, "It is estimated that there are about 1,000 herbal tea brands in Guangdong, of which about 500 are based in Guangzhou, the provincial capital. Herbal tea production is expected to reach 60 million tons by 2010."

The one key piece of information I didn't glean from the article was exactly what type of herbal "tea" is being referred to. If anyone has any ideas, please share.

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Snapple's High Tea

As noted previously in these pages, Snapple has moved into the white tea business in a pretty big way, even going so far as to roll out a TV advertising campaign for the product. Another one of their initiatives - the National Snapple White Tea High Tea Tour - took place recently at Bryant Park in New York City.

Among the events that tied in with this promotion of the "lightest teas on Earth" was the chance to be dragged above the city in a Snapple helium balloon. The New York Times provided coverage here. For a look at the Snapple balloons about to go into action, check out this link at the Adrants site.

While we're on the subject of iced tea, I might as well pass along a few more recipes I turned up recently. Here are four recipes from Lipton, by way of Dairy Field magazine ("America's premier dairy processing magazine" - which implies that there's more than one such publication).

If you're looking for something with a higher octane rating, try this recipe for Michelle's Fuzzy Peach Iced Tea, from BellaOnline.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Tea Blog Roundup 3

Time for another roundup. As always, don't forget to check out our lengthy list of tea blogs.

Here at TGS, we've covered a lot of iced tea variations lately, but I don't think we've done Pu-erh Iced Tea. Linda, at Tea Talk, has put together a piece that fills this void.

If you like to drink tea away from home, but you've met with repeated disappointments, you'll probably be able to identify with Why I Travel With A Teapot. Read it at the Tea Views site here.

A Nice Cuppa does coffee and tea, but here are two pieces on the latter. The first, complete with recipe, is about mint tea, Moroccan style. The other is yet another recipe for iced tea.

The people at Culinary Teas started a blog recently. One of their posts is called Wu-long, Wulong or Oolong? If you've wondered about those advertisements for Wulong Fat-Burning Tea or whatever it's called, be sure to give this one a look.

If that's not enough about tea and dubious weight loss claims, see what Mellow Monk has to say on the topic.

The Mandarin's Tea posts tasting notes for two teas - Dadugand Yiwu and Mang Shi Melon, both from 1999 - and comes the conclusion that he/she would not buy either one.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Herbal Tea & Golf Tea

About ten days ago I took another crack at growing tea plants from seed. There's really nothing to report yet, but hope springs eternal. While I was at it, I thought I'd try to grow mint in another pot on the porch. Mint having such a reputation as a wild grower, I figured there was no way I could miss.

Still nothing to report on the mint front, but if you're interested in growing herbs to make your own tisanes and infusions, or for whatever use, check out this informative article in the Scotsman.

On a totally unrelated note and just because I felt like tossing it in, here's some information on Golf Tea. It's a flavored tea-based drink that comes in four flavors. I must admit that I can't quite figure out what specifically would make it attractive to golfers. Here's an article (press release?) from BevNET that gives the full lowdown.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Chai Ice Cream & More

If the green tea ice cream recipe we passed along in early June doesn't grab you, how about some chai ice cream? From the Food Network's Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee comes this recipe for Chai Ice Cream in Caramel Cups.

Earlier this month the Contra Costa Times featured a recipe for Masala Chai Ice Cream, which originally appeared in 125 Best Ice Cream Recipes, by Marilyn and Tanya Linton.

Over at Son of Soy they suggest using genmaicha (green tea with toasted brown rice) as a topping for ice cream. Which sounds like a really flaky idea, but I guess I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it(though it might be a while).

While we're on the subject of offbeat tea concoctions, here's some information, from Eating Asia, on something called teh telur. This is a Sumatran specialty made by mixing tea with a whisked mix of egg and sugar.

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