Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tea For The iPhone & PG Tips Game


From software developer Konstantin Gonikman and the good people at In Pursuit of Tea, comes Aromatic. It's an iPhone app whose features include a brewing guide, tea timer, Twitter support, quick search, favorites, full-screen pictures of teas and origins, and tasting notes and full descriptions.

More on Aromatic, here.
Find it at the iTunes store, here.

If it's frivolous time-wasting type stuff you seek, try out A Game of Two Continents. It's brought to you by PG Tips and the Rainforest Alliance.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blooming Tea Video

Perhaps it's not the most riveting YouTube video, but it beats watching paint dry and it has managed to rack up 90,000 hits.



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Monday, July 27, 2009

A Cuple of Tea

This entry in the 2009 Calm-a-Sutra of Tea Scholarship contest is a frightfully clever piece of work, if I do say so myself. Well worth the two minutes you'll invest in watching it.



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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Narien Teas Offers Hawaii-Grown Tea


Narien Teas Brings Hawaii-Grown Tea To Mainland
(from a press release)

On June 15th, Narien Teas will become the first U.S. mainland tea retailer to offer Hawaii-grown tea. Interest in terroir (the French concept of the innate flavor of wine and other culinary products which originates in its growing region) has sparked the importation of teas from unusual origins such as Guatemala, Georgia and Nepal, but Hawaii-grown tea has yet to reach the American mainland.

Florida-based Narien Teas is introducing Kilinoe (“misty rain”) Green Tea from one of Hawaii’s pioneer tea producers, Big Island Tea. Hawaii’s fertile volcanic soil, wafting mists and unique island weather patterns make it an ideal spot for tea farming. Big Island Tea is a small estate that grows teas organically with a system called “eco-farming.” They irrigate tea plants with a 100,000-gallon pond filled with Asian catfish and koi. The tea plants are grown under a canopy of endemic plant species at 3000-foot elevation. (Shade-grown, high-elevation tea is considered to be far sweeter and more nutrient-rich
than other teas.)

Tealeaves are hand-harvested, then hand-rolled and hand-fired (pan-roasted) in a traditional Chinese fashion for a nuanced, complex flavor profile. Big Island’s owner, Eliah Halpenny, has been growing and processing tea for seven years to yield her first harvest this spring. Spring harvest teas are generally the most premium and desirable; this particular tea is limited to five to ten pounds of annual production.

Narien Teas will offer a limited quantity of spring-harvest Kilinoe Tea starting at $9 for five grams (about 25¢ per cup) through their website. For most American tea aficionados, Narien Teas’ introduction of Kilinoe Green will be the first opportunity to taste Hawaii-grown tea.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Start a Beverage Company

So exactly how do you start a beverage company? Beats the hell out of me. One suspects that the secrets to this arcane process can't be conveyed in a mere page or two. This recent article from Inc. Magazine - with the ambitious title of How to Start a Beverage Company - is an interesting look, nonetheless, at bottled beverage makers Sweet Leaf Tea. Informative, to be sure, but I'm not feeling adequately prepared to get out there and do it myself just yet.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tea In Strange Places - Australia



Australia. It's another one of those countries that doesn't exactly spring to mind when you think of great tea-growing regions. But they do produce tea there. For more about Australia's Madura Tea Company, refer to this brief article from teadog.com. If it piques your interest, teadog.com will even sell you some.

Or just sit back and enjoy this classic Lipton commercial that first aired in Australia in 1979.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fowler Exhibition Tells Story of Tea through Art


Fowler Exhibition Tells Story of Tea through Art from Asia, Europe and America
Steeped in History: The Art of Tea on display Aug 16–Nov 29, 2009
(from a press release)

Hot or iced, bagged or loose, black or green—whatever form it takes, enjoying a cup of tea is an act performed at least three billion times a day the world over. Indeed, more people drink tea than any other beverage except water. Steeped in History: The Art of Tea—on display at the Fowler Museum at UCLA from Aug 16–Nov 29, 2009—is a wide-ranging survey that brings together art from three continents and many centuries to delve into the history and culture of tea.

Traveling from Asia to the West, tea has played a variety of profound roles on the world scene—as an ancient health remedy, an element of cultural practice, and source of spiritual insight. Historically it was also a catalyst for international conflicts and horrific labor conditions in various countries.

Throughout its history tea has been a prevalent theme in the visual arts—scenes of tea embellish ceramics and textiles and are the subject of paintings and drawings, and all manner of vessels have been fashioned for the preparation and presentation of tea. Steeped in History brings together rare Chinese ceramics and paintings, 18th- and 19th-century Japanese ceramics and prints, extraordinary English and Colonial American paintings, vintage photographs and historical documents, tea-serving paraphernalia and furniture from many countries, and much more —to tell the fascinating history of tea.

more

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Tea: A Storm Is Brewing

Here's one of the more offbeat tea-related videos I've seen for a while. Apparently it all has something to do with a humorous SF novel called Space Captain Smith.



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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Green Tea Cheesecake & Tea-Pops


If tea stuff with a sweet twist is what you're craving, check out these delights. From the Los Angeles Times, a recipe for
Layered Green Tea and Black Sesame Cheesecake. By way of Tavalon's The Voice of Tea, here's a recipe for Blueberry Tea Cream Pops.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Tour Charleston Tea Plantation With Cindi Bigelow

Tour Charleston Tea Plantation With Cindi Bigelow
(from a press release)



A little Southern hospitality goes a long way in South Carolina's Wadmalaw Island, home of America's only tea garden, the Charleston Tea Plantation. Cindi Bigelow, President of Bigelow Tea, gives a fun and informative video tour of the idyllic plantation, purchased by the Bigelow family in 2003.

The plantation receives over 30,000 visitors each year, many of whom are curious to see a real, unique tea garden -- in all its 127-acre splendor -- and perhaps want to plan their weddings/special events on the grounds or to explore the rich history of Charleston or to simply just enjoy a lovely a cup of the plantation's signature American Classic Tea. Visitors from near and far are fascinated by the knowledge imparted by plantation founder and passionate tea aficionado Bill Hall, who now partners with Bigelow Tea in running the Charleston Tea Plantation.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Tea Review 101 - Jing Tea Chinese Greens


Pre Rain Organic Dragon Well Supreme Green Tea
Pre Rain Organic Anji Bai Cha Green Tea
Jing Tea

Now this is more like it. I've had the good fortune to sample some nice Chinese greens lately, but nothing that really made me leap from my seat and click my heels. Until now.

Jing Tea refer to their Pre Rain Organic Dragon Well Supreme Green Tea as "our highest grade Dragon Well green tea" and I certainly wont quibble with that. It's a classic Dragonwell sensation - and if you've ever sampled a good one you'll know what that means - with a nice smooth feel and a much fuller flavor than most of the varieties I've tried.

Jing's Pre Rain Organic Anji Bai Cha Green Tea also compares rather favorably to some of the other Chinese greens I've tasted. In their words, "vivacious and exuberant flavours combine spring blossom scents with sweet sappiness, lush textures and beautiful floral top notes." Here here.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Drink Real Tea


The good people at teapigs are on a mission. Though the UK has been closely identified with tea for hundreds of years, the truth is that much of what's being consumed there is not very good. The teapigs crew refer to it as "shameful brown slop" and are "calling on people to demand better quality tea from cafes, restaurants, and hotels across the country."

For more info and to sign the mission petition, go here.

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