Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Snapple Lawsuit

The Marin Independent Journal reports that a California woman is suing tea giant Snapple over a stomach ailment she allegedly acquired after drinking their product.

The woman, who apparently loves Snapple's Diet Lime Green Tea so much that she buys as many as seven cases at a time, grew ill after drinking a bottle of it some time back. After examining the remaining bottles, she discovered what she called "a disgusting foreign substance" in several of them. There were also signs that some of the caps had been tampered with.

Snapple declined to comment on the pending litigation.

For more information about potential hazards of drinking iced tea, check out this post from last week.


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Yerba Mate Basics

Wondering what all the fuss is about yerba mate? Feeling intimidated by all the talk of mates, bombillas and whatnot? Well, here are a few resources that will help you unravel the basics of yerba mate. offers a pretty extensive selection of yerba mate and related stuff. To help you sort it all out they also have a Yerba Mate Buying Guide, which simplifies the process of Choosing a Gourd, Choosing a Bombilla and Selecting Yerba Mate.

For additional tips, refer to this post on How To Drink Yerba Mate.


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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tea Plantation & The New Coffee

Is tea the new coffee? Damned if I know, but that's a question that people seem to be fond of posing over and again. A recent example pops up in the Business Edge, an Ontario publication that took a look at Canadian coffee drinkers and their increasing interest in tea.

We've written about the Charleston Tea Plantation - America's only such creature - several times over the last month or so. It's been featured in several major newspapers lately, with the Chicago Tribune the latest to take a crack at writing about it. Also appearing in this Sunday's papers was an article on the plantation that originally ran in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Iced Tea Recipes

After spending a bunch of years in the West I'm having a tough time readjusting to this humidity thing they've got going on here in the East. One thing that helps to ease the discomfort a bit is iced tea.

Lately I've been doing various combinations of mango, passion fruit and pineapple, using teas from Hawaii Tea Factory. I also did a mango/osmanthus, using osmanthus from Adagio. I wasn't completely blown away by this one as a hot tea, but mixing it with something else and chilling it seems to work well.

Courtesy of Emeril Live and the Food Network, here's a recipe for Cranberry Vodka Iced Tea. We've written about a bunch of tea-flavored vodkas here at TGS, most recently here.

From the Northwest Herald, comes a recipe for Passion Lemon Iced Tea.

Also in the chilled category are some bottled yerba mate drinks from Guayaki - EmpowerMint, Raspberry Revolution, and Traditional.

Image: Guayaki

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Tea In The Trenches

From, a photo of New Zealanders having tea in the trenches in WWI.

From the CBC Archives, a video clip from WWII of Canadian soldiers and their "tea of questionable origin".

From the Japan Studies Association Journal, an article called Stress Management and Conflict Resolution via the Way of Tea?

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.
Robert E. Lee (1807 - 1870)

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Milk In Tea

Elsewhere in these pages I've made my feelings about milk in tea abundantly clear. In a word - yuk. Of course, I'm not nearly so naive as to believe that most tea drinkers share my antipathy toward this practice.

As a matter of fact, the people over at recently did a survey which found that 69% of tea drinkers (219 were surveyed) drink tea with milk in it. Obviously, as they note, "the high percentage preferring milk reflects the British influence on tea and on US tea drinkers."

Speaking of milk and tea, here's a brief article from a Kashmiri publication about the troubles that arose for tea drinkers when a security crackdown inhibited the flow of milk into the city of Srinagar.


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Oldest Tea Lady & PG Tips Chimps

Yesterday we featured pieces on 40 pound tea bags and million dollar cocktails, including one that contains Rooibos "tea".

In a similar vein, here's a recent piece from the Salford Advertiser on the "oldest tea lady in town". That town would presumably be Salford. That's in Britain, by the way. At age 96, it might be safe to say that Betty Lowe is the oldest tea lady anywhere.

For a verified world record related to tea, check out this bit from Guinness World Records on the Most Enduring Commercial Stars. As Guinness would have us believe, they are a gang of chimps who appeared in PG Tips commercials from 1956-1994.

If you'd like to get a glimpse of some of the chimp ads, as well as many other PG Tips ad campaigns, check out the Timeline page at their Web site.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

40 Pound Tea Bag

As nearly as I can tell Guinness has never weighed in on the matter of the world's largest tea bag. If they had I'd be willing to bet that Le*Nature Beverages would be in the running.

According to the company's Web site "pure linen cloth is used to make huge tea bags filled with 40 pounds of hand-selected tea leaves. The aromatic tea bags are placed in a vat where they steep for hours in order to produce liquid imbued with the essential tea flavor."

The result of this mighty steep is the company's bottled tea, which comes in Natural, Lemon, Raspberry, and Peach flavors.

This may be nothing new in the bottled tea industry. Maybe it's just the way things are done across the board. But it was news to me.


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Million Dollar Cocktails

From the Some People Have More Money Than Common Sense department, here at TGS, comes a cocktail featured at Harry Denton's Starlight Room.

It's located at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco, where you can obtain a number of decidedly upscale mixed drinks, including Million Dollar Cocktails created by Jacques Bezuindenhout.

Among these are the Elegancia, which is a steal at only $90. It's made with Herradura Seleccion Suprema (tequila), Chateau Dy Quem Sauternes, Rooibos Tea and Orange Bitters served on the stem.


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Friday, May 26, 2006

Green Tea & HIV

There certainly is no shortage of news regarding the health benefits of tea - and of green tea in particular. Yesterday Fox News reported some attention grabbing findings in an article called "Green Tea Blocks HIV in Test Tubes".

As the article reports, researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine have found that "an antioxidant in green tea may block HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from attaching to an important molecule on immune system cells".


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Tempest In Brits' Teapots

A spot of controversy recently arose on the other side of the pond. As the story - reported in Ananova and elsewhere - goes, the tea lady at the East Herts Council's offices in Bishop's Stortford was sacked (as they say over there).

Injuries have apparently escalated due to employees having to walk around carrying their own hot tea. Then, to add insult to injury, the powers-that-be hired consultants at the rate of £200-a-day to advise on how to make tea-drinking in the office a safer activity.

Or something like that. I think I've got it straight, but I'm not completely sure. Anyway, it all sounds like quite a tempest in a teapot to me, but if you want to peruse the Ananova report for yourself, it's right here.

While we're on the subject of Britain, here's an article about a county that's been awarded Fairtrade status, partly due to it's policies regarding tea. For more on exactly what the Fairtrade movement is all about, look here.

Last, but not least, is this report from icWales that alleges that "the great British cuppa is making a comeback".

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bottled Tea & Energy Drinks

Here's a roundup of some interesting bottled teas I've run across lately. Also, energy drinks that make use of some variety of tea as an ingredient.

Hansen Beverage Company recently launched a Green Tea Soda. This is not exactly a new concept. We've reviewed various flavors here at TGS from the Steaz line of green tea sodas and I'm sure there must be some others that have slipped my mind.

Tempest Tea offers Green U, which they describe as a " Sparkling Green Tea Beverage from Tempest Tea that gives you a natural boost with the power of Green Tea Extract. It has a light and refreshing Lemon-Lime flavor while providing you with 100% of your daily Vitamin C intake."

Cha Dao makes a line of bottled teas that look interesting. There's Oolong, Sencha, Chrysanthemum and a Jasmine Tea With Lemon that recently picked up second place at the World Tea Expo.

I don't think this one's particularly new, but it's worth a mention all the same. Action star Steven Seagal has an energy drink called Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt. This is, of course, "an energy drink as unique as the man who created it" and is relevant to us tea people because it contains both green tea and yerba mate.

Then there's Socko, an energy drink "that provides the energy you want while eliminating unwanted carbs". This one contains yerba mate extract, among other things. For a profile of the two Arizonans who brought Socko to the marketplace, look here.

Image: Cha Dao Tea Company

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Tainted Iced Tea

There's just something about the words "fecal coliform bacteria" that makes me feel a bit queasy. Your results may vary.

Speaking of fecal coliform bacteria, a Dallas TV station recently ran around town, taking samples of iced tea from a bunch of restaurants. Of the ten restaurants sampled, fecal coliform bacteria turned up in iced tea from five.

So what's the deal? Should you give up iced tea when you're eating out? The article notes, "city officials speculate it could be from restaurants not properly dismantling, cleaning and sanitizing the beverage mechanisms", but goes on to point out "we don't know if any of the coliform bacteria is from the ice, the water, the cup, or the tea."


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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Newsweek Does Tea

In early May, we mentioned that Time magazine had featured a brief article on tea.

A recent article in the other weekly newsmag - Newsweek - currently posted at, explores the growing world of tea connoisseurship in Asia. The article is called The Art of Tea and features a sort of snotty come-on line, "Move over, latte fans. Tea drinkers can be just as pretentious. But $50 for a single cup?"

The $50 cup, by the way, is "a small cup of 60-year-old Pu-Erh, a black tea from Yunnan province," which "can add $50 to the bill at Moon Garden". Also mentioned is "The East Is Red" tea, a black tea produced by a particular 700-year-old tree in Guangdong province that once supplied tea for Chairman Mao. It goes for about $500 per 35 grams.


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Virtual Tea Tours

The last virtual tea tour we recommended was located at the Rishi Web site. If you still haven't scraped together enough pennies to take a proper tea tour, then here are a few more online alternatives to hold you over.

If you head over to the Tea'n'Teas Web site, you can Tour A Tea Estate or you can check out this great run-through of the process of Tea Manufacture, complete with visual aids. The company also sells tea, but it looks like their wares are geared only toward the wholesale market.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Iced Yerba Mate

Iced tea season has arrived, at least for most of us, though the temperatures in this neck of the woods (Pennsylvania) plunged close to the freezing mark last night.

While you're trotting out your assorted variations on iced tea, why not give iced yerba mate a whirl? According to an article at the Web site, this is called "Terere" and it can be prepared in a variety of ways.

For a little more information, try this brief Wikipedia article.

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Tea Perfume

Tea perfume, indeed. Who would have guessed? Not that high-quality tea doesn't haven't a great fragrance, but I don't know if I'd like to smear it all over myself. Apparently there are those who want to do just that.

From Now Smell This (A Blog About Perfume), comes a recent article about several fragrances that incorporate tea. There's Thé Brun, featuring "notes of bergamot, fruity notes, green leaves, lavender, violet, spices, cumin, jasmine, orange blossom, lapsang tea, palisander wood, powdery notes and musk". Also Comme des Garçons Leaves Series: Tea, Comptoir Sud Pacifique’s Ecume de Thé and L’Occitane Green Tea and Jasmine.

A visit to L'Occitane's Web site also turns up Green Tea - Eau de Toilette and Green Tea with Mint Eau de Toilette, among other things.

I suspect this may be just the tip of a small iceberg, but it's all pretty much out of Tea Guy's league. If you want to know more, start with the link listed below.


Image: L'Occitane

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Tea-Smoked Trout Recipe

Add one more to the flurry of recipes we've passed along here lately. London's Independent recently offered up a recipe for Tea-smoked Wild Trout with Crème Fraîche and Chilli Sauce.

If Tea-Smoked Duck is more your style, then hearken back to this recipe we mentioned last week.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Thousand Year Tea

Ah yes, 1006 was a particularly good year for Korean greens, as I recall.

From Donga, a Korean publication, comes a report of a batch of tea that recently sold at auction, tea harvested from a one thousand year old tree. The occasion was the Hadong Wild Tea Culture Festival in Gyeongnam Province - I'm assuming that's in South Korea.

About the tree:
"The tea leaves were picked from a green tea tree owned by the head of the Dosimdawon (green tea farmhouse), Oh Si-young (55). The tree was designated as the 264th South Gyeongsang Province monument. It is 4.2 meters high and 57 centimeters in circumference, and is presumed to be 1,000 years old."

The tree can produce about 200 grams of tea annually, but is not generally harvested for fear of damaging it. The batch - as nearly as I can tell - was 100 grams and sold for 13 million won. According to The Universal Currency Converter, that's $13,666.85, which would be quite a respectable sum even for a pound of the stuff.


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Koots Green Tea Cafe

Not so long ago we remarked on the appearance on these shores of the green tea cafe, already a popular concept in Japan. The first Koots Green Tea has opened in the Seattle area and the Seattle Times marked the event with an article on the concept and a profile of head honcho Kouta Matsuda.

The article poses the question "Is America ready for real green tea?" I can't speak for roughly 300 million other Americans, but I'd have to answer in the affirmative for myself.

The reporter quotes the Tea Association of the USA, pointing out that tea rooms in the United States have jumped from 200 to 2,000 locations in the last decade. So apparently I'm not the only one that would be inclined to answer "yes" to that question.


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Sunday, May 21, 2006

England's Icons - Tea

"Have a nice sit-down with a cuppa, maybe a chocolate digestive too. What could be more quintessentially English?" Indeed.

So says the Icons Web site, the online presence for a project that aimed to create a portrait of England through those objects that are "uniquely important to life in England and the people who live here". Among the many other English icons - Alice in Wonderland, Big Ben, cricket and Stonehenge.

The Icons section for tea is well worth taking a look at, with it's wealth of articles and other information about tea. Prepare to spend some time once you get there. Why, I daresay, you might even want to settle in with a cup of tea.

For more background and information on tea, though presented in a decidedly more flashy mega-corporate style, check out Lipton's Tea Zone. It takes an illustrated look at all things tea, from history to growing and brewing techniques to health information.

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African Tea

Nowadays Africa, and South Africa in particular, is probably best known for it's Rooibos and honeybush "teas", herbal varieties which, to my taste, are quite similar.

But let's not forget that "real" tea is also grown in several African countries, including Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The latter country also generates some especially fine Afropop, but I digress.

For a good one-stop source for information and shopping for African teas and whatnot you might want to check out the AfricanTea Company. They offer products from all of Africa's tea-growing regions, with shipping rates that appear to be fairly reasonable. According to their Web site Africa is an area that accounts for 25% of the world's total production of tea.

Image: AfricanTea Company

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Really High Tea

Not long ago I mentioned an iced tea called C-Ice Swiss Cannabis Ice Tea. Which gives a whole new dimension to the words "high tea".

While I was doing some skimming around the other day I came across some other "teas" of a similar bent. Here's an article that addresses the question of whether marijuana leaves can be boiled to make tea.

Here's an AP article about coca tea, which, not surprisingly, is quite common in Peru. Don't get too worked up, though. According to the article, the tea only contains trace amounts of the "active" ingredient.

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Drink Away Pounds

Oh, please. Okay, I didn't dream up that goofy headline myself. It's actually a takeoff on the title of an article - Drink Away 10 Pounds - that recently ran in Men's Health.

If you were to guess that the average American male drinks 200 gallons of liquid a year then, at least according to this article, you'd be right. Among the beverages that make up this 200 gallons - about 34 gallons of beer, 53 gallons of soda, 24 gallons of milk and more.

So the trick here - which isn't really too tricky - is simply to alter your beverage consumption patterns so that you're taking in less calories.

There's a brief section on green tea which, as nearly as I can tell, speculates that you could save about 1,200 calories a week by substituting Honest Tea's less sweetened bottled teas for other more sugary ones.


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Green Tea, Batteries & Cancer

Is there a link between green tea, batteries and cancer? According to a recent article in the Milford Daily News (MA), there certainly is.

The piece concerns one Ferdinand Bruno, a chemist for Natick Labs. While researching a process whereby he could use the catechins in green tea to replace parts of disposable batteries, Bruno found a new type of cancer treatment.

Needless to say, that's a vast oversimplification of things. If you want it spelled out in a little more detail, check out the article.


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Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Vinci Tea

In case you haven't heard, a certain rather high-profile movie is opening today, though I can't imagine how anyone would have missed it. That would be the Da Vinci Code - featuring a character named Teabing - and you can come out from under your rock now.

What better time to mention Da Vinci's Tea, a custom herbal blend from Scent By Spirit? It's made up of apple, mango pieces, rose hips, hibiscus and natural flavors and is dedicated "to the Leonardo in all of us!"

I don't know that I have any Leonardo in me, but I've heard that there's a relatively painless procedure to take care of that nowadays.

More info here.

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Save Twinings Earl Grey

We've all heard of those campaigns to convince networks to bring back certain TV shows. Then there was that Classic Coke thing a few decades back. But how about a campaign to get Twinings Tea to restore the taste of their Earl Grey to what it once was?

If you didn't even realize that the taste of Twinings Earl Grey is no longer what it once was, then check out Save Twinings, a Web site formed to "Bring back the original Earl Grey!".

It remains to be seen if anything will come of this campaign. Tea Guy has never had any problems resisting the charms of Earl Grey tea of any sort, but I wish the Save Twinings gang the best of luck even so.

As always, whenever the subject of Earl Grey comes up, I present the link - as does Save Twinings - to this very comprehensive Earl Grey site. It's called Tending Toward Tea. If you are an Earl Grey fancier it's certainly worth a look.

Image: Twinings

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Emeril, Tea & More Duck

If you're looking for duck recipes that incorporate tea, make haste to the Food Network's Web site. Just yesterday we posted a recipe for tea smoked duck, as presented on an episode of BBQ with Bobby Flay. Here's one for Seared Duck Breasts with a Citrus-Tea Sauce, that first appeared on a 2001 episode of The Essence of Emeril.

Also featured in this episode - which aired again yesterday (oops) - were recipes for Green Tea Ice Cream and a concoction called Emeril's Feel-Good Tea. It's made with tea, lemon, ginger, honey and brandy or cognac. Doesn't sound like something that would float my boat, but your mileage may vary.

Image: Food Network

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chinese Tea Trade Photos

Courtesy of the Harvard Business School's Web site, here is an interesting series of photos - complete with text and sources - of the Chinese tea trade, circa 1885.

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Tea Smoked Duck Recipe

From the Food Network, and more specifically, from BBQ with Bobby Flay, here's a recipe for Tea Smoked Duck. If you don't like duck, then - as the great Basil Fawlty once said - you're rather stuck.

Continuing on the fowl theme, here's an entry from The Grocery List Collection that includes Nest tea, among other things. The Grocery List Collection is "the world's largest online collection of found grocery lists". The Internet, for those of you who may not have noticed, is a really peculiar place.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tea, Self Defense & Heroes

Tea, being a beverage that is frequently consumed hot, is occasionally called upon to do dual duty as a weapon. South Africa's News 24 reported on such an incident recently, in which an 81-year-old woman doused an intruder with a boiling hot pot of brewing tea.

From the Tea Drinker As Hero department, here's the story of a Scottish bus driver on his tea break whose quick thinking saved a nearby laundromat from possible destruction by fire.

For more on tea-drinking heroes refer back to this piece, posted here about a week ago.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cannabis Ice Tea

Now here's an iced tea with quite a twist. It's C-Ice Swiss Cannabis Ice Tea. The ingredients for this one are "water, hemp bloom syrup (5 %), sugar, lemon juice, black tea extract (0.14 %) antioxidant, ascorbic acid, flavour, hemp bloom extract (0.0015 %)".

I'm not sure what else to say about this brew. I guess this is my cue to wax witty, but I seem to be coming up dry at the moment.

Anyway, according to the Strange Products Web site, where I first ran across this product, C-Ice is not available in the United States. No surprise there, I guess.


Image: Swiss Cannabis Ice Tea

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Yerba Mate Soda

Behold Sol Maté, which bills itself as "the world’s first organic sparkling mate energy beverage". Sounds like a pretty intriguing concept to me, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Actually, I have no idea what that saying means, but then I'm not William Safire here and besides, I digress.

Anyway, Sol Mate is made with organic aqueous Mate extract - whatever that is - organic cane sugar and assorted other ingredients. It's available in an Original flavor and Lemon Lime.

As for availability, don't expect to find it on your local store shelves just yet, but the manufacturer's Web site say it will be stocked at "your favorite natural products retailer this summer". We'll be waiting.


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Monday, May 15, 2006

Green Tea Fingernail Treatment

Is there any end to the creative and peculiar uses that one can dream up for green tea? I doubt it. In these very same pages we've reported on green tea chewing gum, green tea toothpaste and - one of my favorites - hot pepper green tea nasal spray.

Then there's Green Tea Growth Treatment, which comes to us courtesy of a company called NutraNail. Check out the link below if you're absolutely dying to know about the assorted and sundry benefits of this one.

Thanks to Brian at The Tea Smith for passing this one along.


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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dear Abby On Tea Etiquette

Tea Lover In New York recently wrote to Dear Abby with a slightly perplexing issue.

"I often order a cup of herbal tea with dinner at restaurants. I use quite a bit of sugar, and end up with four to five empty packets after I've sweetened my tea. What should I do with them? I've tried hiding them under the saucer, but they never seem to fit."

Abby responded that TLINY could "sneak the packets into your purse (or even your brassiere)" and proceeded to advise cutting down on sugar consumption.

Abby doesn't offer any advice on what to do if you're a guy who finds yourself in this predicament, so you'll just have to improvise. And that's all I'm gonna say about that. You figure it out.


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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ben Gordon's Energy Drink

I don't follow sports anymore and even when I did I wasn't too keen on basketball. Which is the roundabout way of saying I didn't know who Ben Gordon was until just recently. Of course, if you're a Chicago Bulls fan you know exactly who he is.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that Gordon is coming out with his own energy drink. As the story goes, he wasn't satisfied with the fifteen zillion varieties currently on the market so he got in touch with beverage makers H3E Enterprises and yet another energy drink was born.

The lemon lime-flavored beverage - dubbed BG7 - will be made with "pure organic Chinese white tea". The article breathlessly informs us that white tea contains "five times the antioxidants and health benefits of green tea". This means that it's really, really, super-extra good for you - or something like that.

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Another Tea Game

Here at TGS we've reported on several tea-themed online games, gizmos and assorted and sundry other ways to kill time. The latest comes to us from English tea merchant PG Tips.

Head on over to their Web site and give their online game, Super Virtual Mug Shot, a go. It's basic stuff - trying to sink a tea bag into a mug - but it's good for at least a little bit of time-wasting. Or you can download one of six games to play offline. Looks like it all has a soccer theme or, as they say over in that part of the world - football.

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