Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2009 Calm-A-Sutra of Tea Winners Announced



Tea Council Awards 2009 Calm-A-Sutra of Tea $15,000 Scholarship to Film and Engineering Students
(from a press release)

The Tea Council of the USA, Inc. announced today that two college freshmen are the winners of the 2009 Calm-A-Sutra of Tea, an annual national scholarship of $15,000 given for the most creative video showing the health benefits of drinking tea. The Tea Council received more than 1,100 entries this year, up 57% from the 700 received for the 2008 competition, which is attributed to the down economy and the increased need for financial aid for college.

Students could feature black, green, white and oolong tea, which contain flavonoids, believed to be health-protective antioxidants that help boost the body’s defenses, and make it part of a healthy lifestyle. The winning submission, “A Cuple of Tea” was produced by aspiring actor Edan Freiberger and engineering student Nicholas Chen, residents of Foster City, CA who attend Stanford and UCLA, respectively. The video is a clever take on a marital drama, with White Tea depicting a proud housewife who must face the harsh realities of the infidelity of her husband, Earl Grey (Black Tea). To view the grand prize winning video and the 2009 Honorable Mentions, look here.

All entries were required to be original one-to-two minute Internet videos and had to contain at least one valid message regarding Tea’s health-related benefits, specifically black, green, white and oolong tea. All video submissions were judged by a panel of Tea Council representatives. Judging was based on the following criteria: health-related message, creativity, and popularity.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tea, Nightmares & Mudslides


Can a cup of tea chase nightmares away? Apparently so, according to a Japanese study mentioned in this Daily Mail article. One or more cups of tea a day may reduce the likelihood of having a nightmare by 50 per cent.

Can tea cause mudslides? Well, sort of. As Bloomberg.com reported recently, oolong tea plantings that replaced trees in certain areas of Taiwan may have contributed to the increased likelihood of mudslides during typhoon rains this August. More here.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Puer Thieves Nabbed In Tucson


It's almost like a Starsky and Hutch episode - with tea. Not so long ago, some unsavory characters - who apparently knew a thing or two about tea - made a rather impolite entrance in the wee hours of the morning into Seven Cups teahouse, located in Tucson, Arizona (not far from TGS world headquarters). A pair of concerned neighbors caught wind of all of this, a chase ensued and...well, read more about it at the links below.

The Great Puer Tea Heist

Teahouse Neighbors Help Police Arrest 2 in Break-in, Theft


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tracing Tea The Preview, Episode 3



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Teacarina, Tea Ringtones & Screensavers



If you can't decide whether to play a tune on your teacup or drink tea from it, you must have a Teacarina, an odd little cup designed by the St. Louis Ocarina Store. Read more about it at the World Tea News.

For a tea-inspired ringtone, head over to the Tetley site and download away. Or check out this ringtone, from the makers of Mateveza, a yerba mate-flavored ale. Here's a Lyons Tea ringtone, courtesy of the good people at teadog.com. Rather a peppy number, I daresay, though the people around you when your phone rings in public may be less than impressed.

Also by way of the teadog.com blog, a screensaver from Ireland's Punjana Tea.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guayakí Delivers Yerba Mate Beverage Innovations


Guayakí Delivers Powerful Rainforest Experience With Newest Yerba Mate Beverage Innovations
(from a press release)

Guayakí, a pioneer and leader in the yerba mate beverage category, is driving yerba mate into the mainstream in new packages and formats. Today, Guayakí introduced two new products that are sure to tantalize the taste buds—ready-to-drink Lemon Elation Yerba Mate and the Lime Tangerine Organic Energy Shot. Delivering a rejuvenating rainforest experience, both products provide tremendous invigoration, focus and nourishment.

Fueled by yerba mate’s naturally uplifting and nourishing properties, the new Lime Tangerine Organic Energy Shot is the first-ever all organic offering in the fast-growing energy shot market. An all-natural alternative to artificial energy drinks and shots, the Organic Energy Shot provides a convenient and long-lasting boost of clean energy without the crash or jitters. Powered with whole plant extracts, including yerba mate, acerola cherry and goji berry, the Organic Energy Shot is also available in Chocolate-Raspberry and Lemon.

Now available nationally at natural and organic grocers and retailers, the new Lime Tangerine Organic Energy Shots cost $3.99 per two ounce bottle. The Lemon Elation Yerba Mate cans, available in October at grocers and retailers throughout the West Coast, cost $1.99 per 16 ounce can. Guayakí’s full line up of yerba mate products is also available online at

link

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Second Annual Northwest Tea Festival Announced


Second Annual Northwest Tea Festival Set For October 3-4, 2009
(from a press release)

The Puget Sound Tea Association is proud to announce the second annual Northwest Tea Festival. One of the premiere tea festivals in the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Tea Festival will be taking place on October 3rd and 4th, 2009 in the Seattle Center. Featuring classes, lectures, tastings, and shopping, it will delight tea lovers of all ages.

The first Northwest Tea Festival attracted over a thousand attendees, and this year the festival promises to be an even greater experience. Celebrated tea experts Norwood Pratt and John Harney will be sharing their experiences with lectures, and novices and aficionados alike will be delighted by the wide selection of classes and workshops. Ranging from region-specific primers to more in-depth guides to traditions and practices around tea, the classes will be led by experts from across the country and are a unique opportunity for tea lovers. Tea tastings are also on the agenda, with attendees able to sample a whole spectrum of teas from the world’s most celebrated regions.

more

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Photoshopped Or Not?

Here's one I ran across at the Mellow Monk blog. Is it for real or the product of clever manipulation? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Hosted by imgur.com

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Book on The Meaning of Tea


New Book on The Meaning of Tea Showcases Wisdom of Tea Lovers from Around the World
(from a press release)

An illuminating new book reveals timeless insights into the health and lifestyle benefits of the 5,000 year-old tea drinking tradition through interviews with tea lovers, growers, tasters, scholars and experts from eight countries. An exploration of the history, health benefits, rituals, spirituality and simple pure enjoyment of tea, The Meaning of Tea: A Tea Inspired Journey, by Scott Chamberlin Hoyt, edited and with commentary by noted author Phil Cousineau, offers unprecedented lifestyle wisdom ideally suited for our modern culture facing the stress of economic uncertainty.

Culled from more than 50 conversations with tea pickers and plantation owners, street sellers, traders, teapot makers and eloquent tea scholars from many places where tea is revered--from India to Ireland and Taiwan to Tea, South Dakota--readers learn about how tea has brought peace, calm, health, friendship and often wisdom into their lives. The Meaning of Tea makes clear, that although tea is more popular than ever--the wholesale value of the U.S. tea industry has increased more than 400% since 1990*--it is still an underutilized source of health, solace, and friendship for the modern world.

more

The Meaning of Tea

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is Puer China's Next Hot Commodity?


When it comes to press it seems that green tea (and white, to an extent) garners all the attention for its multitude of alleged health benefits. Puer, on the other hand, most often seems to get noticed because it tends to be a pricier variety favored by collectors, investors and whatnot.

Case in point, the latest and greatest report from Time, with the attention-grabbing headline, "Puer Tea: China's Next Hot Commodity?" Hmmm...that seemed to be the case several years ago, but is it still?

For a somewhat less sensational look at the topic, check out what Adam had to say at The Sip Tip recently regarding the notion that puer is "the whiskey of the tea world."

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Tea In China, 1854


The New York Times,
August 19, 1854, p.6:

Tea in China.
From the Boston Traveller of Monday.

HONG KONG, Tuesday, May 23, 1854.
My Dear Brother: It is pretty difficult to find out anything by the Chinese about the culture or manufacture of tea.

They seem to think that it is against their interest to allow foreigners to know anything of their arts; therefore they use all means to prevent them from obtaining any information.

Read more.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Novelty Tea Bags & Tea Bag Collectors


From the good folks at Donkey Products, comes a series of novelty tea bags. There's the politically-themed, or DemocraTea, the RoyalTea series, which probably needs no explanation, and the slightly racy StripTea. If you need something to drink it from why not try the Miss Piggy mug?

If collecting tea bags is your thing (yes, there are apparently people who collect tea bags), try out the collectibles site, Colnect, who recently rolled out "the world's first Tea Bags catalog for collectors." Tea bags from Latvia, anyone?

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Monday, September 07, 2009

First Independent Tea Tasting A Success


First Independent Tea Tasting A Huge Success
(from a press release)

Similar to a fine wine tasting, Tea Extravaganza 2009, the first independent tea tasting of its kind, was successfully completed at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on August 10th and 11th. The two-day event was unanimously hailed by registrants as extraordinary after tasting 14 of the finest, rarest, and most exquisite loose-leaf teas the world over. Tea Extravaganza 2009 attracted connoisseurs from all over the U.S. and Canada, including several certified tea masters. The event was co-sponsored by the Drake Hotel and the American Tea Masters Association.

What made Tea Extravaganza 2009 so unique was its independent structure. Neither of its co-sponsors, the Drake Hotel or the American Tea Masters Association, were promoting or selling any of the teas. The event was purely an experiential gathering for sampling three steepings of each of the 14 high-end, exquisite teas.

Of the 14 teas on the menu, Tenbu (Keiko), Oriental Beauty (Cloudwalker), Melon Slice (PeLi), Jun Shan Yin Zhen Silver Needle (PeLi), and the 1996 Collector’s Pu-erh Super Grade (PeLi) received the greatest praise from registrants.

As for the future, the American Tea Masters Association is giving serious consideration to launching Tea Extravaganza 2010 in four major North American cities next year, including one in Canada. For more information on the 2010 schedule, send an email to ChasKroll@TeaMasters.org or call (619) 330-9017.

Image: ATMA

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

How to Make Bedouin Tea

Ran across this one at the Voice of Tea blog recently. It's not the Ritz-Carlton, but if you've gotta have your tea then it'll do.



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Friday, September 04, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tea Review 103 - Canton Tea Co. (x5)


Anxi Rou Gui
Pouchong
Keemun Gongfu
Bai Ling Gong Fu
Jiu Qu Hong Mei
Canton Tea Co

Thanks to the good people at Canton Tea Co, who were kind enough to send along samples of five of their teas. Here's the lowdown.

Anxi Rou Gui
I'm not enamored of the more robust oolongs, so this one was right up my alley. It has that light almost fruity taste that seems so typical of many of the lighter oolong varieties.

Pouchong
Another light and flavorful oolong, one that Canton Tea classifies with their greens, even though it's actually a Taiwanese oolong.

Keemun Gongfu
Of all of the better-known black tea varieties, I probably have the least experience with keemun, a Chinese black. While I wasn't sure what to expect with this one I was quite pleasantly surprised. A nice smooth aroma and rich flavor with just a hint of smokiness. The latter is something that usually puts me off but the smokiness was subtle enough that it didn't bother me. Probably my favorite out of this bunch. As the seller's blurb notes, this is "the highest grade of keemun red teas."

Bai Ling Gong Fu
I don't think I've ever tasted this variety before. I liked it quite a bit but couldn't really think of any other black teas to compare it to. Truly unique, with a smooth and light flavor that's perhaps a bit reminiscent of a somewhat more robust Darjeeling.

Jiu Qu Hong Mei
There's something to be said for writing your reviews as you're tasting the teas. Since I've forgotten what this variety tasted like I'll revert to the seller's description, "A rare red tea, first developed in the 1980’s. The leaves are long and thin and the taste sweet with a hint of dried fruits. This tea produces a bright liquor and has a wonderful fruity flavour and refreshing mouth-feel."

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tea Review 102 - Teas Etc Black Tea (x3)


Golden Monkey
Ceylon OP1
Assam Reserve
Teas Etc

(Update)
When I originally wrote this review, I made the observation that the Assam tasted like a Ceylon and vice versa and speculated that maybe the samples had been mislabeled. Teas Etc responded by sending more samples of each.

I can say for sure now that the Assam I reviewed was actually an Assam and a rather good one at that. As for the Ceylon, I've finally found that most elusive of creatures, a Ceylon variety that I'd rank as truly outstanding. This one gets my highest recommendation.


(Original Post)
I'm fond of all types of tea but I have to confess to a particular weakness for outstanding black varieties. So I wasted no time tearing into the black tea samples Teas Etc recently passed along. Two of these get the thumbs up and one ranked a couple of notches above that.

Golden Monkey
I don't have a lot of experience with this Chinese black variety, but those few I've tasted have never disappointed. This one is no exception. The leaves and the steeped tea are both quite light and the flavor the same, with a very nice mouthfeel and a great finish.

Assam Reserve
If I had to pick one favorite type of tea, it would be Assam, hands down. Like most teas they run the gamut from bilge water suitable only for exterminating cockroaches to elixir of the gods. This one was very nice, though it didn't quite make to the elixir category.

Ceylon OP1
This was the real surprise. Ceylon is another category I don't have much experience with and one that's never left me very impressed. This one definitely falls into the elixir of the gods category, with a great aroma, rich flavor, and extremely smooth mouthfeel.

One thing I did find odd was that the Ceylon reminded me of a really great Assam, while the Assam mentioned above tasted more like a good Ceylon. Which makes me wonder if perhaps the samples were mislabeled. In any event, one of the these two teas comes very highly recommended. I should also note that the Assam and Ceylon are both 2009 World Tea Championship winners.

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