Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rishi Tea Adds Two Legendary Green Teas

Rishi Tea Adds Two Legendary Green Teas to its Organic Green Tea Line
(from a press release)

One sip of green tea can reveal a world of information, from the origin in which the tea was harvested to the way in which it was made. Each origin possesses its own signature flavor, aroma and mouthfeel based on its terroir ana unique processing technique. Rishi Tea is proud to introduce the newest additions to its Organic Green Tea line: Organic Dragon Well and Organic Houjicha.

Dragon Well (traditionally referred to as Long Jing) is one of the most famous Chinese green teas named after the Dragon's Well landmark in the West Lake area of Zhejiang province, where this tea was originally cultivated. Today many of the best grades of Dragon Well come from tea-growing areas outside of Zhejiang. Rishi Tea partners with an artisan grower in Anhui, China, to produce an exquisite traditional Long Jing tea unlike any other.

In this area of pristine, high mountain tea fields, artisan masters pan-fire small amounts of fresh leaf tea in large heated woks one batch at a time. The leaves are stirred and pressed by hand in the woks until they become dry and evenly shaped, resembling flat, emerald green spear heads. Dragon Well is prized for its remarkably fresh, balanced flavor, with a roasted chestnut aroma and a slightly floral, bittersweet finish.

Houjicha is a classic roasted Japanese green tea harvested in Kagoshima Prefecture, located on the mountainous Kyushu Island. Tealeaves and stems from the autumn and winter harvests are roasted in microbatches, giving the tea a smooth, sweet and toasted aroma with hints of buckwheat and cacao. Its beautiful amber infusion and subtle yet pleasing flavor make it a popular beverage at gourmet Japanese restaurants. During the hot summer months, many Japanese families welcome guests into their homes with a cold-brewed cup of Houjicha.

Rishi Tea's Organic Green Tea line also includes award-winning Jasmine Pearl and Sencha, Spring Green, Jade Cloud, Jasmine Tea, Orange Blossom and Green Tea Mint.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MaryAnna's Tea Interview (II)

(Part 2 of a 2-part interview)

What does it take to bring a bottled tea to market? Beats me. So I thought I'd ask someone who's done it - the founder and head honcho of the New Jersey-based MaryAnna's Tea. Thanks to Mary Ann Rollano for taking the time to provide such in-depth answers to my questions.

4. Given the benefit of hindsight what would you do differently?
Overcome my fear of selling. I am admittedly not a salesperson, but I have been learning and surprising myself with every sale. The key is to get the prospective buyer to taste my tea. I have never lost a sale once they taste my tea. I really believed in my product so I just put my blinders on and went ahead. I might have taken some workshops on the art of selling and closing the deal. I have the product but promoting, positioning and pricing are still a challenge and I am always learning.

5. What was the greatest obstacle?
I had two major obstacles to overcome. The first was convincing Rutgers that I did not want to use tea extracts or concentrates and citric acid as they recommended. Rutgers told me that is what is commonly used. Whole tea leaves and pure lemon juice can be a little tricky to work with in the bottling process. However, if I used the products commonly used my tea would taste like everyone else's and that would have defeated the purpose.

My second greatest obstacle was finding a processing plant after Rutgers that would actually brew tea. One bottling plant told me he would only work with "kits". I asked what a "kit" was, he told me to take my iced tea over to a flavor house, they will replicate my tea as a flavoring, and I could just then bring the flavor kit over to him to mix with water, heat and bottle. I imagined it to be a kind of boxed cake mix type process - just add water and bake. I did not want to bake a cake from a box; I wanted to bake a cake from scratch. We all know how good the cake from scratch tastes. After much research, I finally found someone willing to "experiment" brewing and bottling real tea with me.

6. What was the biggest surprise?
Venturing into the world of food processing has been a true awakening for me. Given my background in health care, my main concern was to produce a healthy, wholesome product. I soon learned that the world of food processing is full of adulterated foods processed with cheaper substances that can be dangerous to health. I had no idea of the pervasiveness of imitation and genetically modified foods. This prompted me to formulate my value statement to “produce a tea beverage from natural, whole and unadulterated ingredients with the health of the consumer foremost. We will not make money adulterating foods at the expense of a society's health. We will make money by producing a healthy, wholesome quality tea beverage, providing the true health benefits of tea in its brewed state."

7. What do you foresee for the future of MaryAnna's - near and long-range?
MaryAnna's Tea is currently in about twenty local stores in its first year. It is also available on our website. I plan to expand to larger natural food stores, looking towards Whole Foods (we are in one of their stores to date), Wegmans, Trader Joes and similar type stores that share our same philosophy. Of course, we will expand our distribution network from local to regional and eventually the entire East Coast. The ten-year plan is to have national distribution. Throughout this process, I have several other flavors and types of teas in the experiment and planning phase.

8. What were your startup costs? (optional)
I started out initially with $10,000 from my savings. I have since added to that as we have increased production.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MaryAnna's Tea Interview (I)

(Part 1 of a 2-part interview)

What does it take to bring a bottled tea to market? Beats me. So I thought I'd ask someone who's done it - the founder and head honcho of the New Jersey-based MaryAnna's Tea. Thanks to Mary Ann Rollano for taking the time to provide such in-depth answers to my questions.

1. Why tea?

I have always wanted to start a business and could not as a Registered Nurse due to the restrictions of an RN's license. Nurses cannot just hang out a shingle like doctors can. Therefore, I was forever looking elsewhere. I love tea and had been making my mother’s sweetened iced tea for my entire adult life. Always receiving compliments on it, I knew I made a good brew.

My husband is a big fan of my tea and I have been making it every day for him to enjoy. He drinks more of the tea than I do, as I will switch to hot tea in the colder months, but he stays with the iced tea. I had toyed with the idea of a teashop of some sort for a long time; it was just something that lingered in the back of my mind.

2. Why bottled tea?

If I didn't make my home brewed tea I'd have a back up supply of some type or other popular brand of ready to drink tea, but we never found any we really liked. In the summer of 2007, I had an impulse of an idea to figure out how to brew my own tea and bottle it for our own back up supply. I thought there must be a way to take the exact brew that I make on my stove and pour it into a bottle without using preservatives or any other ingredients other than the ingredients I use at home, that being filtered water, black tea leaves, pure cane sugar and 100% lemon juice. I did not want to alter it one bit. A simple recipe actually. What could be so hard?

3. How long ago did you conceive of this idea and how long was the planning phase?

I started experimenting and researching that very summer. Once I acted on that impulse, I did not stop. I spent a year researching and experimenting before my first bottle of tea was on a store shelf. I came out with my final product in the summer of 2008.

Iced tea is a summer drink for most people, which is why I called it Summer Sweet Tea. I might add that during my research phase I came across the Rutgers Food Innovation Center here in NJ. They have a wonderful program that offers workshops and a food processing facility that allows people like me to learn how to take a treasured kitchen recipe out of the kitchen and into the marketplace. That program and the internet helped speed up the process tremendously. Rutgers made my first 1000-bottle test run with my exact recipe and it turned out to be quite a success.

Some of the specialty and natural food stores in my hometown agreed sell my iced tea and it very quickly sold out. I had to go back to Rutgers and ask them to make another 1000 bottle run, as I had not yet found a commercial bottler. Seeing my product sell so well along with such, positive feedback gave me the incentive to keep moving forward.

The impetus for the beach scene on the label came from the desire to depict a wholesome, natural product that came from the Jersey Shore. I knew that label would be my only form of advertising so I had to make it eye catching. It had to be something that would prompt you to pick it from the shelf.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Teavana Announces Contest Winners

Teavana Announces "Tea Master's Challenge" Contest Winners
(from a press release)

Innovative tea retailer Teavana® is pleased to announce the winners of the "Tea Master's Challenge". This tea blending contest challenged customers to use creativity and their love of tea to make a new taste sensation using up to 4 Teavana teas, sugar and/or honey. Running from June 29 to August 16, 2009, over 2,300 blends were submitted with flavors ranging from fruity to spicy and everything in between. Teavana's tea experts tirelessly tasted the creative blends to narrow down to the final five.

Pearls Gone Wild won the Teavana Tea Master's Challenge!
The Grand prize winner is - Pearls Gone Wild by Meredith Cordray, who will receive a $500 gift card. In addition, her tea will be added to Teavana's new tea lineup in October, being available for purchase as a tea blend online at or as separate teas in Teavana stores. Pearls Gone Wild combines together three hand-rolled pearl teas as their base: Teavana's Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls, Frutto Bianco Pearls, and Black Dragon Pearls. The blend of green, white and black pearl teas is highly antioxidizing, good for digestion and studies have shown can help lower cholesterol, inhibit certain forms of cancer growth, and combat the signs of aging. The fresh taste of jasmine, kiwi, lemongrass and pineapple along with the chocolaty black tea undertones can't be beat, is great anytime of the day, and is delicious hot or iced.


Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Herbal Tea Harnesses Japanese Health Practices

New Herbal Tea Harnesses 1,000 Years of Japanese Health Practices Healthier Tea with Herbal Detox
(from a press release)

It's a common mistake to believe the Japanese people have a life expectancy of 82, the highest in the world, solely because they drink green tea. In fact green teas contain caffeine and tannins that may be harmful to digestion. Instead the new Ten-Chi Cha tea from Eco Vita brings to the United States a blend of 12 herbs representing the best of herbal remedies grown in Japan for a thousand years. With 55 Billion gallons of tea consumed each year in the United States alone, the tea market is booming. The introduction of the "green movement" has only inspired a stronger drive for natural herbal teas.


Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Green Tea Dog Biscuits

From the Ludicrous But True file (by way of the A Quiet Tea Spot blog), comes word of the ultimate in green tea gimmickry and hype. It's Green Tea & Honey Dog Biscuits, friends. Will the madness ever cease?

In a slightly less silly vein, here's one about the 109-year-old puerh tea that's going up for grabs at Hong Kong's first international tea fair. Ten grams of this junk are expected to go for about a thousand bucks. Sounds reasonable to me.

Speaking of Hong Kong, here's a piece from that asserts that "Hong Kong, which became the world’s third-biggest trading hub for wine a year after ending duties, said it plans to replicate that success with tea." Ho hum.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mona Lisa Tea Attack & Health Claims

This almost seems like one of those Onion-styled fake news pieces, except that it's turned up in various respectable news sources - and it's not really funny.

As the article relates, the Mona Lisa (you now the one) was recently "attacked" by an apparently disturbed woman wielding a cup of hot tea (Earl Grey, if you must know). The painting was not damaged. This is said to be yet another manifestation of "a mental disorder known as Stendhal syndrome - confusion and irrational behaviour caused by being exposed to fine art." Really.

From our Balanced News and Truth In Marketing bureau, here's an article about Lipton tea and the makers of various other products who are getting their knuckles rapped for making lofty claims about alleged health benefits. Along the same lines is this piece that asserts that there's no firm evidence that green tea protects against cancer.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WSJ Magazine Does Tea

Tea's a mighty high-falutin' beverage, the best of it ranked in the same category as the fanciest fine wines. It's a notion that's been put forth before, to be sure, but perhaps in not such a high-profile outlet as WSJ, the Wall Street Journal's upscale magazine.

The primary focus in this brief piece (by a wine writer, no less) is on Gilt, a restaurant in New York’s Palace Hotel with a tea menu that numbers 64 varieties. None of them Lipton, one might safely presume.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Monday, August 10, 2009

Red Mango Introduces Probiotic Iced Tea

Red Mango Introduces the First Probiotic Iced Tea July 27
(from a press release)

Red Mango, the fastest-growing retailer of authentic nonfat frozen yogurt, today announced it will become the first retailer to offer made-to-order iced teas fortified with probiotics. Three proprietary flavors, all incorporating GanedenBC30, a patented strain of probiotic shown to help support the immune system and regulate the digestive system, are available in participating Red Mango stores beginning July 27. Additionally, Red Mango's Original, Pomegranate by POM Wonderful and Tangomonium authentic frozen yogurt sold throughout New York will now include GanedenBC30 through an exclusive agreement. By September, all other Red Mango stores will have frozen yogurt with GanedenBC30.

Lemonocity (Lemonade Green Tea), Mysteaque (Vanilla Black Tea) and Fanteasia (Wildberry Hibiscus Tea) iced teas are each uniquely delicious, low-calorie, sweetened with natural cane sugar and contain a significant amount of probiotics, or good bacteria. Since its inception, Red Mango has focused on educating its customers about the advantages of authentic frozen yogurt and the probiotics Red Mango contains.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Celestial Seasonings Green Tea Cracks Bitterness Code

Celestial Seasonings New Green Tea Cracks the Bitterness Code, Sleepytime Gets a New Flavor
(from a press release)

Celestial Seasonings has developed a line of delicious green teas that eliminate the bitterness sometimes associated with green tea, and has introduced new Sleepytime(R) Vanilla, the bestselling herbal tea's first new flavor addition in more than 20 years. Coinciding with the tea maker's 40th anniversary, these new products continue the longstanding tradition of innovation from Celestial Seasonings, which includes virtually inventing the herbal tea category in North America and first introducing green tea to mainstream consumption.

The mature tea leaves with which regular green teas are made naturally contain high levels of tannins, which can sometimes cause bitterness. Celestial Seasonings created its smoother green teas by adding Bai Mu Dan white tea, whose delicate, silky flavor profile comes from selecting only the tender buds and low-tannin young leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. The white tea infusion creates a balanced and satisfying taste with the healthful antioxidants for which green and white tea are both known. New Celestial Seasonings Green Tea is available on store shelves in nine varieties, including Authentic, Honey Lemon Ginseng and Goji Berry Pomegranate.

Also available on store shelves now is Sleepytime Vanilla, the first new flavor addition to the Sleepytime product family in more than two decades. The new variety adds rich and creamy vanilla, a favorite flavor among specialty tea drinkers, to original Sleepytime's soothing blend of chamomile, spearmint and lemongrass. Since its introduction in 1972, more than 2 billion tea bags of the original Sleepytime have been sold, making it the all-time bestselling specialty tea in North America.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Friday, August 07, 2009

Yorkshire Tea/John Shuttleworth Outtakes

I gather that John Shuttleworth is a British musician, probably of some repute. He's also the spokesmen for a series of Yorkshire Tea commercials. Here's the blooper reel for some of them.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Following Tea Guy Speaks & RSS Feeds

If you'd like to keep up with what's going on at Tea Guy Speaks there are a couple of easy ways to do it. Since this site is hosted on the Blogger platform you can make use of the Followers feature. Here's more information from Blogger.

If you'd like to become a Follower of TGS, click the "Follow this Blog" link located beneath the advertisements on the right side of the page.

The other option (or you can use both, if you like) is to subscribe via our RSS feed. Rather than go into an explanation of how RSS and feeds work, I'll refer you to this Wikipedia entry.

To subscribe to TGS, click the "Subscribe to TGS" link located beneath the advertisements on the right side of the page. You can also click here or click the RSS logo in your address bar.

The Collectible Teapot & Tea Calendar 2009 (Wall Calendars)
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bigelow Tea for the Troops

Bigelow Tea for the Troops – A Token of Our Thanks
(from a press release)

They put their lives on the line each and every day – to protect and to serve. “They” are our American troops who are fighting to protect our freedom far away from home, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bigelow family, committed to bringing a little bit of “home” to these courageous men and women, collaborated with their wonderfully supportive employees and friends to produce a special run of American Classic Tea – just for our American soldiers.

The selection of tea chosen for this thank you gift was none other than Bigelow’s American Classic Tea which was 100% grown on American soil. Nurtured in the country’s largest tea garden, the idyllic Charleston Tea Plantation purchased by the Bigelow family in 2003, the American Classic tea was lovingly packaged in a beautiful custom-made box designed by Bigelow family friend, Duke Saltus. Helping to facilitate the shipment of 100,000 boxes of tea to troops overseas was another Bigelow family friend, the USO Regional Vice President (US) Jeff Hill. The Bigelow family, friends and employees are all so excited to send this heartfelt token of thanks to the brave men and women of the American Armed Forces.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

Monday, August 03, 2009

Napa Valley of Tea & Phoenix

Is there such a thing as a Napa Valley for tea? A recent article from the San Jose Mercury suggests that this is the case and that this magical place is located in the general vicinity of Taiwan. Napa knockoff or not, it makes for interesting reading even so.

While you're not likely to find any tea growing there, Phoenix has something of a tea scene, or so sez this recent report in the World Tea News. No, Arizona Iced Tea didn't get its start there (or anywhere in the state), but tea makers China Mist and Revolution Tea are based in Phoenix. Also featured, the lowdown on several places to get a decent cup of tea.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite