Friday, October 30, 2009

Bacon Tea

Yes, friends. It has come to this.

I've been a vegetarian for a while but that wasn't always the case. So there was a time when I wasn't exactly immune to the charms of bacon. Even with that in mind, I can't help but find myself a bit baffled at the relatively recent and dramatic upsurge in the popularity of this particular pig product.

For some examples of bacon tea, check out the custom blends (here and here) concocted as part of the Adagio Signature Blend's series. Don't be alarmed, though. No porkers were harmed in the making of these teas, both of which include Lapsang Souchong as a prominent ingredient.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adagio Chai Sampler

A while back the good people at Adagio Teas offered to send samples of some of their newer chai blends. Even though I don't like chai that much, I accepted, figuring I could be objective enough to allow me to taste these blends and review them.

I've decided that I'm not the right guy to be reviewing chai after all. We all like what we like and there's just something about chai that really puts me off. Ditto for flavored teas like Lapsang Souchong, Earl Grey and certain others.

In any event, in lieu of a proper review, I'll just say that if you do go for chai, you're probably likely to find that at least one of these six blends is to your liking. More here.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tea Lowers Cancer Risk...Or Not

Hang around here long enough and you'll find that every now and then I go off on a mild rant about tea's alleged health benefits. If you're new here, I'll reiterate my position (like you care). I don't doubt that tea actually has some health benefits, of which I'm glad to be a beneficiary. I also don't doubt that there are a lot of dubious claims about these benefits being floated in the interests of selling more tea. Whatever.

Something caught my attention recently as I opened my latest round of emailed news alerts regarding the search term tea. One link led a story in the British press with the headline, "Five cups of green tea a day lowers cancer risk." The very next link led to a story in the British press with the headline, "New study casts doubt on green tea's anti-cancer properties." Whatever.

As I've suggested before, it might not be doing our health much good to be spending so much time worrying about our health.

Here's the link to article one, which appeared in the Telegraph. Article two appeared in the Tea News.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Location, Location & More

A perfect cup of tea is an elusive sort of beast. Not only are there a host of variables involved in producing the stuff, but then you've got to take that dried leaf and add water, a process that opens another can of worms.

One of the variables you might not have given much thought to is slope direction, or to be more specific, the direction in which tea plants face while they're sprouting those little tea leaves. Imen at Tea Obsession briefly discoursed upon this very topic a little while back.

And then, of course, tea ain't much without water. Or at the very least it's kind of tough to get down. T Ching recently published some of James Norwood Pratt's thoughts on the importance of selecting the right water, not to mention this brief piece in which he mused upon the topic of water temperature.

On a similar note, here are some thoughts from Imperial Tea Court's Roy Fong on the ever critical question of how long tea should be steeped. One of the most important points he brings up, "tea is not an exact science and shouldn't be treated as such." Indeed.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tea Gadgets & Gizmos

If you've ever found yourself longing for "the simplest internet tea timer EVER" you're in luck. Check out what has to offer.

There are no shortage of nifty gizmos these days for tea drinkers on the move. Here's one with a rather pleasing design.

If the name Steven Smith sounds familiar it might be thanks to his connection with Tazo Tea. The company he started some time back was later assimilated into the Starbucks empire and Smith is in the tea biz again, with the aptly named Smith Tea. Now, if you really want to know exactly where the tea that went into your Smith Tea came from, simply go to their Web site, enter the batch number from the package and click. How's that for a gimmick?

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tavalon’s Golden Tea Ticket

Tea Company Gives An Extra Benefit For Drinking Tea
(from a press release)

One lucky tea drinker will be extra happy this holiday season when they open their package of Tavalon Tea and find a Golden Tea Ticket inside the box - worth $1,500. You too can be a winner, just by referring your readers.

By placing an order on the Tavalon website, consumers are automatically entered to win the Golden Tea Ticket. All purchases must be made before October 28, 2009.

In addition, if the winning contestant is referred to Tavalon’s site by a blogger or other website, that blogger also receives $1,500. To be eligible, the blogger has to provide a link to the contest’s web address and/or add the contest’s banner to their web page directing their readers to Tavalon.

Winners will be chosen by Tavalon and announced during the first week of December. Visit Tavalon for more information on Tavalon’s Golden Tea Ticket contest.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Adagio Roots Campaign

Tea - it doesn't grow on trees, you know. Oh wait. Actually tea does grow on trees and as is the case with any agricultural product, it requires that there are people involved in every step of its production from planting until the point when we the consumers are clutching the finished product in our sweaty little paws.

In recognition of this fact, Adagio Teas recently launched their Roots Campaign. It will allow their customers to meet the individual farmers who produce their teas and to gain an insight on the process of growing and making tea. The project is slated to run for 12 months and will feature 12 farmers from different tea-growing regions around the world. The first two farmers featured are a grower from China's Fu Jian province and a rooibos farmer from South Africa. More here.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Great Tea Decaffeination Debate

Itching to stir up a ruckus in the tea community? Here's how to do it. Publish (presumably with good intentions) an oft-repeated but somewhat dubious bit of information about how to decaffeinate your tea with a brief rinse. Then step back and watch the fur fly.

Which is exactly what happened a little while back at the T Ching blog. Though the debate raged for a while and brought forth some interesting data on the topic, thankfully it appears that it never reached the point where dueling pistols had to be broken out of their cases. Read the original article and the lively comments thread here.

Here's Caffeine and Tea: Myth and Reality, the article by Nigel Melican that's referenced in that comments thread.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tea Weathers Economic Storm

Are people buying less premium tea as a result of the tough economic times of late? Not at all, at least not according to a recent article in the New York Times - Gourmet Tea Sales Stay Strong in Economic Storm. As the article notes, "Specialty and gourmet tea is a fast-growing segment within the tea industry. In the United States, it is estimated to account for 8.5 percent of the $2.1 billion in sales in 2009."

Image: Dragon Pearl Tea (White Tea Drying Room)

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Teakettles & Teapots

Looking to trade in your old teakettle for a new model? Can you even do that? If you live in Omaha, Nebraska you can. Grab your old kettle and head on over to The Tea Smith for a discount on a new one. More here.

From the gadget freaks at Gizmodo, a brief report on a decidedly space-age kettle from the good people at Bugatti. Not bad, but a little rich for my blood.

Finally, if it's weird teapots you crave, check out Tea Finely Brewed's roundup of 19 Weird and Wacky Teapots.

Image: Yanko Design

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