Friday, December 29, 2006

Top Teas Of 2006

So many little time. I've had the chance to taste a few teas this year and, of course, there were more than a few winners in the bunch. Here's the list of those that truly stood out.

Hattialli Estate GFBOP SPL (Assam) - Upton Tea Imports

Black, Honorable Mention:
Nahorhabi Estate FTGFOP1 SPL CL (Assam) - Upton Tea Imports

First-Flush Shizuoka Sencha "Hatsumi" -

Green, Honorable Mention:
Matcha-iri Teabags -

Snow Buds (Xue Ya) Organic White Tea - Rishi Tea

Blueberry Rooibos - Rishi Tea

RTD (Ready To Drink):
Anteadote Pure White Tea - Adagio Teas

RTD, Honorable Mention:
Honeysuckle White Tea - Inko's

Image: Rishi Tea

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Product News Roundup

Wendy "The Snapple Lady" recently appeared at the "Snapple Holiday Rejuvenation Location" in New York City to give away samples of Snapple's Green, White and Red Teas. Snapple also used the event to preview a new blueberry flavor.

Ito En is pushing their Sencha Shot as a "green tea energy boost that banishes winter doldrums, excess weight, cancerous cells and cavities, among other ailments." We'll assume that's intended to be a tongue in cheek summation of the product's merits.

Here's what else Ito En has to say about Sencha Shot:
"Each 6.4 fl oz can of Sencha Shot contains 152 mg of the cancer-fighting catechin EGCG. That's 5 times more than the average ready-to-drink green tea, according to the USDA. Sencha Shot contains simply purified water, green tea, and vitamin C. No extracts, no supplements."

You may have heard of a company called Coca-Cola. We most recently mentioned them in connection with their "calorie-burning" tea, Enviga. Coke is in more hot water over a beverage they're marketing abroad with the odd name of Ipsei. Another beverage company with a somewhat similar name is not happy about that one. Read all about the legal battle that ensued in this article from Marketing Week.

Image: Ito En

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

World Tea Expo Moving To Atlanta

World Tea Expo isn't happening until June this year, but it's never too soon to start planning. Here's some info from the Expo gang:

The World Tea Expo, the nation’s premier marketplace for the tea industry, is moving to Atlanta for 2007. The event will take place June 9, 10, & 11 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The tea industry in the U.S. continues to skyrocket: U.S. wholesale tea sales grew from $1.84 billion in 1990 to $6.16 billion in 20051, and are expected to reach $10 billion by 20102. Keeping pace with the growth of the industry, the 2006 World Tea Expo last March in Las Vegas grew in attendance by nearly 60% and was named by TradeshowWeek as one of the “Fastest 50” growing trade shows in the US and Canada. At the 2007 Expo, 300 world-class companies from around the globe will exhibit, and will be joined by an expected 5,000 buyers.

A complete range of tea and tea-related products can be found at the event, including tea wholesalers and packers; bulk, bagged, and ready-to-drink tea; tea bagging equipment and packaging suppliers; as well as gourmet foods, giftware, tea jewelry, chocolate, and other confectionary items.

With 50 seminars and workshops, the conference program is the largest in the world on the business of tea. It continues to evolve with defined tracks for tea knowledge, sales and marketing, foodservice solutions, tea and health, and business development. In addition to workshops, special events are held throughout the day, ranging from the Tea Ceremonies from different cultures to Cooking with Tea demonstrations by leading regional chefs.

More information on the World Tea Expo, including the floor plan, an interactive directory of exhibitors, and a full listing of events and seminars, can be found on the website.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Around The World With Tea

Here's a selection of interesting tea-related bits from abroad.

From New Zealand's Scoop, comes news of what's said to be the world's first floating tea bar. Details are a bit sketchy as to what that actually means, but you can read the brief article here.

We mentioned a while back that a Malaysian astronaut was going to attempt the not quite death-defying, but difficult, feat of making teh tarik in space. Apparently those plans have fallen through. Find out what teh tarik is and read all about it here or here.

The New York Times paints a rosy picture of leisurely travel through India's tea gardens in this recent article.

Of course, the world's never quite that simple a place, as this little bit about the ongoing turmoil in the Assam region serves to remind us.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Where To Go For Tea

Here's a roundup of some recent newspaper articles about tea houses and whatnot.

One of the San Diego area entertainment guides puts forth four recommendations on where to go for tea. Read it here.

The Portland (Oregon) Mercury profiles the TeaZone, whose lounge serves cocktails made with tea, among other things.

If you're in the Milwaukee area, this roundup of the local tea scene, from Greater Milwaukee Today, might be of interest.

Last up, from one of the CBS affiliates, is a report on some coffee and teapots at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Tea Quotation - M.F.K. Fisher

Here's a tea quotation that somehow didn't make it into my two recent lists:

My grandmother died before tea bags. I am grateful. My mother never admitted their existence. (M.F.K. Fisher)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bombilla Gourd & CoffeeSlender

Ready for another bottled yerba mate beverage? How about Bombilla Gourd Mate Tea? It's available in five flavors - blueberry, pomegranate, lemon, peach, and mint and honey. Check out their Web site here. BevNet has reviews of three of the five flavors here.

Perhaps taking a page from the Coca-Cola marketing primer, the makers of a new beverage called CoffeeSlender seem to be positioning their new beverage as a weight loss aid. Lift your feet, I say. Of course, coffee is far from being our preferred subject matter around these parts, but this one caught my eye since Coke is making somewhat similar claims for Enviga, their new green tea beverage.

Read about CoffeeSlender here. And remember, dubious weight loss schemes are always a far better weight loss solution than eating right and exercising.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Boston Tea Stuff, Tea'd Up & More

Time for a roundup of some miscellaneous bits that have accumulated lately.

The anniversary of the Boston Tea Party (12/16/1773) is almost upon us. If you're in the vicinity of Boston tomorrow you might want to check out the 233rd Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party Reenactment at the Old South Meeting House. More here.

Boston Tea Campaign doesn't have anything to do with the Boston Tea Party, as far as I can tell. They do specialize in selling Darjeeling tea - and nothing else - at an affordable price. Until now, BTC has only sold their tea in loose form. They recently began offering it in tea bags.

Tempest Tea has a new product called Tea'd UP. Billed as an Energy Power Shot, Tempest describes is thusly, "a hot new product packed with powerful green tea antioxidants, ginseng, B vitamins and OVER 20% more CAFFEINE per serving than energy drinks."

Enviga has been raising some hackles, thanks to the creative claims Coca-Cola/Nestle is making for the product. Popgadget gives it a more or less positive review here.

Last up, here's a recipe for Green Tea Panna Cotta.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Triple Tea Timer

From CHEFS Catalog, comes a nifty-looking device called a Triple Tea Timer. You can decide for yourself whether it is, as billed, the "perfect tea timer." However, it is only $14.99 and it is the gift-giving season...

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

CSPI Calls Enviga A Fraud

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has been known to rouse a little rabble now and again. These days they've turned their crosshairs on Coca-Cola/Nestle's new green tea-based, miracle weight loss wonder drink, Enviga. You know the one.

If you found yourself skeptical about the claims (burns calories and whatnot) put forth for this product, you're not alone. CSPI suggests calling the drink "Fleece" and plans to sue Coke and Nestle "if they continue to market the drink with fraudulent calorie-burning and weight loss claims." The product is being test marketed now and is expected to hit store shelves - barring any unforeseen complications - in early 2007.

More from CSPI here.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

For All The Tea In England

Here's some information from documentary filmmaker Kerry McLeod about a project he's working on:

"For All the Tea in England" is a short documentary film that looks at the link between tea and Englishness, and visits several tea drinkers to show that the two are still very much interlinked - just not in the way you might expect.

In so many ways, the image of tea as something quintessentially English is synonymous with a sepia-toned image of our nation. Yet with nearly every nation on the planet now represented in London alone, how true does that image remain?

We are producing a short documentary about tea and the many ways it's drunk in England today. We're looking for people from different cultures to take part. If you have a strong association with tea for whatever reason and are interested, then please email Kerry McLeod on

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