Friday, June 29, 2007

Investing In Tea

I'm not much into the notion of tea as an investment strategy. I just like to drink it. But there have been several reports lately about tea - particularly pu-erh tea - that's as much commodity as it is beverage.

Reporter David Eimer discusses pu-erh as commodity in a report that was picked up by a couple of Australian papers. As it notes, some of the priciest pu-erh costs many times as much as gold. Read the article here or here.

Reuters tackles the same topic (coincidence?) in this report.

Of course, a big price tag is not necessarily exclusive to pu-erh. Here's a Fortune magazine report about the Sri Lankan tea producer Dilmah, which is trying to cultivate a place in the market for its single-estate Ceylon teas and for the tea-drinking establishments it calls T-Bars.

As is so often the case when a foodstuff is rare and expensive there will be those who attempt to take advantage of the situation. Puerh Cha's article, Detecting Bad Pu-erh Tea, might be a good resource if you're looking to not get ripped off.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Living On Tea & Tea Radio

And you thought you liked tea. We're all rank amateurs when it comes to our tea-drinking pursuits, if a recent story in the Calcutta Telegraph is to be believed.

It concerns two men in India - who apparently don't know each other. Both claim to survive on nothing more than 20-plus cups of tea a day. One of the men says he's been doing so since 1985, when his wife committed the apparently grave error of serving his lunch late.

Now I have to say that I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, so I'm not sure what to make of all this. But it makes for interesting reading all the same. Here's the article.

The Food Progamme is a British radio show that recently focused their attentions on Chinese teas. More here (depending on when you're reading this, you may need to look in their program archive). Thanks to David in the UK for passing this one along.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stash Introduces Powdered Green Teas

Stash Tea Introduces Powdered Green Teas for Summertime Sipping
(from a press release)

Stash Tea introduces green tea powders made for mixing with cold water and enjoying as healthy on-the-go drinks. The refreshing flavors are Green, Mint, Blueberry, and Lightly Sweetened Green, all 100% natural. The suggested retail price is $3.49 per box.

Iced Green Tea Powder from Stash Tea can also be added to cold bottled water, shaken, and enjoyed as an even more convenient beverage. Each box contains 12 foil-wrapped packets and makes 12 servings, 8 oz. each. (Lightly Sweetened contains 8 foil-wrapped packets and makes 8 servings, 8 oz. each.)

Stash Tea products are available in grocery stores and specialty retailers; online, and through the company's mail order catalog.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Tea Review 86 - Revolution Variety Pack I

Variety Pack I
Revolution Tea

Revolution Tea's niche seems mostly to be flavored teas and tisanes. They've made it to a few store shelves in my part of the world, but I'd never gotten around to tasting any. Recently the company was kind enough to send a few sample packs. Here, briefly stated, are some thoughts on one of them.

Tropical Green - A real mix of flavors, including orange peel, peppermint, jasmine, lemon verbena, marigold, blue malva and pineapple. I prefer my green tea straight up, but this one's not bad.

Sweet Ginger Peach - I didn't taste much ginger here, but I've always liked the mix of peach with black tea. This one reminded me of a smoother version of Good Earth's China Black.

Earl Grey Lavender - Earl Grey has always ranked low on my list of preferred teas. The lavender in this one actually made it tolerable, though I might not choose it for everyday drinking.

English Breakfast - A good Assam tea is one of the finer things in life. I wish I was so fond of Ceylon, but I'm not. If you don't share my anti-Ceylon bias, you'll probably like this one just fine.

Golden Flowers Herbal - I've always found chamomile kind of bland. Revolution remedies that with a good dose of peppermint - and some marigold flowers. A nice blend.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

World Tea Expo Revisited

The World Tea Expo was held in Atlanta about a week ago. The event is a large trade show, held annually, that's devoted to - you guessed it. If you're curious to know what you missed, for info on some of the exhibitors or for the results of the Fourth Annual Iced Tea Shake-Off Competition, check out these post-show roundups.

Array of products shows tea making quite a splash

(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Suppliers shake it at World Tea Expo
(Gourmet News)

2007 World Tea Expo Recap

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Tea News & Profiles

Here's a roundup of some tea-related articles that have appeared in various newspapers recently.

Cooper Tea Co. makes Bazza Tea, a no-calorie, high-energy tea that comes in Raspberry and Green Tea flavors. They're featured in an article in the Rocky Mountain News along with a local company called The Tea Spot.

If a sparkling green tea drink made with kombucha is up your alley, or if you'd just like to know what kombucha is, try this article about Kombucha Kvass.

Yes, the French do tea. Here's an article from the Australian press about Mariage Freres, who are based in Paris.

A little closer to home, there's Republic of Tea, who recently celebrated their fifteenth anniversary. More in this article from the Marin Independent Journal.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tefal Quick Cup & Eco Kettle

All tea drinkers must surely have lingered around the stove at some point, drumming their fingers and waiting for the water to boil. It just one of those things we have to deal with. Or do we?

According to the makers of the Tefal Quick Cup Kettle, your tea water can be ready in as little as three seconds. No, that's not a typo. That's three seconds - not minutes.

If quick isn't enough of a selling point for you, then keep in mind that the Quick Cup also filters your water and may save up to 65% in energy costs over a standard kettle. For more info, read this article in the Daily Mail or check out the Quick Cup Web site.

If eco-friendly kettles are up your alley, be sure to keep the Eco Kettle in mind. Like the Quick Cup, it's also made in the U.K. To see what Business Week had to say about the Eco Kettle, look here. The manufacturer's Web site is here.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tea Council Awards $20,000 Scholarship

(from a press release)

Tea Council Awards 'Calm-A-Sutra of Tea(TM)' $20,000 Scholarship to Maryland Student

The Tea Council of the USA, Inc. recently announced that 29-year old Tara Taylor of Rockville, Maryland is the lucky $20K scholarship recipient and winner of the Calm-A-Sutra of Tea(TM), a nationwide scholarship competition meant to further educate America's young people on the health-related benefits of drinking tea.

The Calm-A-Sutra of Tea was a national call for the most unique and creative way to drink tea, specifically black, green, white and oolong tea, all from the Camellia sinensis plant, explained in a one-to-two minute homemade Internet video that incorporates some aspect of tea's many health-related benefits.

The Tea Council of the USA, Inc. partnered with recording artist and American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini as the official Calm-A-Sutra of Tea spokesperson to help spread the word to young people. All entries were required to be original Internet videos created by the entrant and had to contain at least one valid message regarding Tea's health- related benefits, specifically black, green, white and oolong tea. The Tea Council received nearly 70 creative and unique video submissions.

All video submissions were judged by a panel of Tea Council representatives. The winner, who submitted the most creative yet health focused video, was awarded a check in the amount of $20,000 paid directly to the school or educational institution on the their behalf and an all-expense paid trip to New York City, which includes round-trip airfare and two-night hotel accommodations for the winner and a guest, in the first week of June.

For more information or to view the gallery of all the submissions, click here.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tea Towns & Pu'er

(Update 2)
An earthquake Sunday, in the newly renamed town of Pu'er, killed 3 people and injured nearly 300. For more information, check out this Reuters report.

(Update 1)
Reuters weighed in not long ago with an update on the Chinese town formerly known as Simao or Shimao. It's now called Pu'er, in honor of the region's best known product. Read the article here.

(Original Post)
China View reported recently that the city of Simao, in Yunnan province, will take the name Pu'er, in honor of the popular type of tea produced in the region. The change takes effect in April, at the Pu'er Tea Culture Festival. According to the article, "half of the city's population [is] engaged in Pu'er tea production."

Click here for the full story and an interesting photo.

Here's a primer on Pu-er that recently appeared in another Chinese publication.

Of course, given the subject matter, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Tea, South Dakota. Read more about it here.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

World Tea Expo In Atlanta

(from a press release)

In less than one week, the World Tea Expo - the world’s largest trade show dedicated to tea and tea-related products - will open its doors. It’s not too late to register and join over 300 exhibitors and 5,000+ buyers as they gather in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, June 9-11, for three days packed with new trends, educational workshops, and invaluable networking opportunities.

Over 31,000 Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space
A complete range of tea and tea-related products from all over the world 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.

New Products Showcase
For the first time ever, the World Tea Expo will feature a New Products Showcase, where innovation and convenience will sit alongside tradition and quality. Be among the first to glimpse over 200 new tea products hitting the market this year, including chocolates, brownies, energy bars, and bath and body products all made with tea; invigorating new Ready to Drink iced teas, cutting edge iced tea pitchers, teas from all over the world, and lots more.

Over 50 Workshops and Seminars
The nation’s premier tea experts will head up the most expansive program the World Tea Expo has ever offered, with several defined tracks so attendees can get the most out of the conference and find exactly what suits their interests.

Cooking with Tea Demonstrations
Georgia’s best chefs will be cooking with tea at the World Tea Expo. On the demonstration schedule are Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten restaurant (Food & Wine Best New Chef 2002), Virginia Willis, author of Bon Appétit, Y'all: Three Generations of Southern Cooking, and Joël Antunes of Restaurant Joël (James Beard Award winner: Best Chef, Southeast, 2004).

Image: World Tea Expo

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

A Nose For Tea

It's a development that's sure to turn the phrase "follow your nose" on its ear. Or something like that.

Researchers in India claim to have come up with an artificial nose, of sorts. According to the Hindustan Times, scientists at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing devised the gadget as a way to detect complex odors and thereby improve the quality of tea being processed. For more information about the "E-Nose," click here.

For more on the tea/nose connection, be sure to check out this video at YouTube. Don't try this at home, kids. Or at least make sure the tea has cooled down before you do.

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