Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Starbucks Empire

If you're an avid tea drinker, you might tend to view Starbucks with a measure of antipathy. Then again, you might tend to view Starbucks with a measure of antipathy even if you're not an avid tea drinker. Yes, I know Starbucks owns Tazo Tea and serves it in their cafes. But let's face it, they were never known for their tea, are not now and probably never will be.

If you need another reason to mutter about the evil Starbucks empire - on which the sun probably never sets - take a look at this ABC News report on how they're infiltrating that great tea-drinking empire across the Atlantic. Yeah, that one. As the article's sub-title says, "Tea Is Still No. 1 in the UK, but American-Style Coffee Houses Are Gaining Ground."

According to the report, there are now "2,700 American-style coffee bars in the United Kingdom." Starbucks leads this pack, as you might have guessed, with 530 outlets.
If you're hoping this is just a fluke, consider this article, from India's Telegraph. It seems that nowadays the phrase "all the tea in China" doesn't have quite the resonance it once did. Which is a roundabout way of say that coffee is gaining a foothold there.

As of May 2006, when this article appeared, they were looking for 10,000 trained coffee makers and servers in Beijing and Shanghai alone.

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Snapple At Super Bowl XLI

You may or may not agree that Snapple is the "Best Stuff On Earth," but it's a fact that the company's products will be hawked at the Super Bowl this year.

This is Snapple's first venture into Super Bowl advertising. Their 30-second ad "follows a tea-loving pilgrim on his quest for metabolic enlightenment, and highlights EGCG, the natural antioxidant in Snapple Green Tea which has been proven to help boost metabolism." Watch for it during Q4 - that assuming that you'll be watching the Super Bowl at all.

, , , , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tea Bag Map, Pricey Pu-er & More

Today's clever use for tea bags comes from artist Susan Stockwell. It's a tea bag map of India, made from a bunch of tea bags stitched together. See it here.

China Daily reports on a paltry amount of 60-year-old pu'er tea - 100 grams - that sold recently for $38,400.

Here's an article about an interesting exhibit of tea stuff at Colonial Williamsburg's DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

If you're looking for information on single serve tea pods, the gang over at Single Serve Coffee.com have a few brief articles posted here.

Does tea reduce stress? My vote is no - but your mileage may vary. The New York Times weighs in on the issue here. The verdict - well, maybe it sorta does.

I hadn't heard of the problem of Einstein's tea leaves until just recently. If you like to know what it's all about, click here and scroll about halfway down the page.

, , , , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Earl Grey Cookies

I have to admit that I'm not really keen on Earl Grey tea.

If you are and you'd like to take a shot at making some Earl Grey Tea Cookies, check out this recipe from Martha Stewart Living. It uses finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves and orange zest, among other things, and appears to be a pretty simple one to make.

, , , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Thursday, January 18, 2007

For The Love Of Tea

From time to time various media outlets "discover" the fact that a whole lot of people around the world drink tea and that Americans are finally starting to get into catch-up mode.

For example, there's the Chicago Tribune, who recently marveled at tea's "surge in sales" in this, our coffee-centric society. These articles tend to be similar in focus but, of course, this one has a Chicago slant. Read it here.

For some thoughts on where to go for a sip in the Houston area, check out this recent article - Tea: The Other Hot Beverage - from the Houstonist.

For a more in-depth look at the "social significance" of tea, try Andy Isaacson's quite interesting Steeped in Tea, which appeared recently in Utne Reader.

, , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Friday, January 12, 2007

Life-Saving Latte, No Milk & More

No, this is not the Weekly World News and yes, there really is a life-saving latte, at least according to a report from one of the Portland, Oregon TV stations. A quick-thinking local woman used an Oregon Chai Tea Latte to put out a fire in her car. More here.

Speaking of lattes, milk, tea and whatnot, there's a recent report first published in the European Heart Journal that warns that milk in your tea may cancel out many of the health-giving benefits of the latter. Not that I needed to be convinced that it was a bad idea. This one has been mentioned in countless publications, but you can read what Science Daily had to say here.

Did it ever occur to you that nutrition research on beverages that's funded by the beverage industry might not be all that impartial? No, duh. Here's a report from Beverage Daily that says such studies are "four to eight times more likely to report favourable conclusions for the sponsors than studies with no industry funding."

Speaking of health claims, here's an interesting quote about rooibos from the Myrtle Beach Sun News, "to judge by what's said about rooibos on the Internet, it probably cures every known illness and makes your feet smell like gardenias." Looks like
I might not be the only one growing weary of all the ridiculously inflated claims about health benefits for assorted foods and beverages. Read the article here.

, , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

If you've read my blather before, you might recall that I don't do caffeine real well. Which is kind of a pain in the butt for a tea fancier, but that's life.

So while the rather caffeinated items in this entry are not necessarily too enticing to me, they might be to some of you.

For example, there's Bazza High-Energy Tea, which appears to be another entry in the green tea energy drink category. More here.

Speaking of green tea energy drinks, the gang at Steaz, who are best known for their green tea sodas, have come out with an energy drink. They call it Steaz Energy Organic Fuel. It contains green tea, yerba mate and acai. Find out more at the Steaz site, here.

I've heard of acai, but until recently I hadn't heard of chá de bugre, which is apparently some sort of Brazilian herb. It's also a component, along with yerba mate and acai, in something called Brazilian Body Diet and Energy Shot. You can check out their site, here.

Last up is a product whose name some might consider to be in poor taste. That would be Meth Coffee, which is said to be a "super caffeinated brew." No, we're not broadening our focus to cover coffee here at TGS. I only bring this one up because it contains yerba mate.

Image: Steaz

, , , , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Monday, January 08, 2007

Some Of The Tea In China

After coming off a recent binge, of sorts, on Yunnan and Golden Monkey teas, I'm pretty well sold on the merits of Chinese tea. Not that I wasn't already.

Here are a pair of interesting articles on tea in China.

The first comes to us from Malaysia's The Star Online. It details how the country is finding it "difficult to gain a position in the world’s high-end tea market" and discusses tea firm Zhuyeqing, who are trying to do just that. Prices of their specialty teas range from $1,282 to $2,564 for 500 grams, which ain't exactly something to sneeze about.

I still have not made much of a dent in the world of pu-er tea. You know how it is - so much tea and so little time. Here's a brief piece - also from The Star Online - about pu-er tea in China and Malaysia.

While we're on the subject of pu-er, here's a link to a video demonstrating "how to clean and carefully break apart a pressed cake of Pu-erh tea."

, , , , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Red Tea, Redbush, Rooibos

Call it whatever you will, but rooibos, the South African herbal "tea" is gaining more adherents all the time. Newsweek recently favored it with a brief article, which you can read here.

The Atlanta paper recently profiled the businessman who's behind a brand of rooibos tea called 10 Degrees South. Read that article here.

While we're on the subject, read this brief bit from the Detroit Free Press on Snapple's move into the red tea arena. Check the goods out at Snapple's page, here.

Image: Snapple

, , , , , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tea Bag Art & Collections

Geert Vinck is a Belgian collector who claims to have gathered more than 10,000 teabags. He recently posted to a tea mailing list that he's on the lookout for more. If you're able to help, contact him at geertvinck@skynet.be. You can check out the tea bags and whatnot at his Web site.

Speaking of tea bags, did you know that they could be used as a canvas for (very small) paintings? Neither did I. An article from the Fredericksburg, VA paper tells of a local woman who's collecting tea bags to be used for art projects in South Africa. It's for a good cause and you can read more about it here.

, , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas

Monday, January 01, 2007

National Hot Tea Month

National Hot Tea Month is here again. I'll wait while you throw up your hands and rejoice. The observance starts today so be sure to celebrate at every possible opportunity.

As we mentioned last year around this time, January is also the month to celebrate some other foods. It's National Oatmeal Month, National Soup Month, and National Prune Breakfast Month (insert your own joke here).

, , ,

Shop For Gourmet Teas