Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Honest Tea Commits to Fair Trade

Honest Tea Commits to Fair Trade Certified Tea for All Bottled Teas
(from a press release)

Honest Tea, the nation's top-selling organic bottled tea company, announced today that it will be expanding its Fair Trade Certified offerings to include the entire tea portfolio. In conjunction with this announcement, the company is also publishing its first annual mission report.

In 2003, Honest Tea launched the world’s first Fair Trade Certified bottled tea in the U.S. with its introduction of Peach Oo-la-long. Since then, the company has continued to expand its Fair Trade offerings. Over the past three years, Honest Tea expanded its Fair Trade offerings from seven to 19 varieties and with this new initiative, all 28 of its teas will become Fair Trade Certified starting in December 2010. The company expects the transition to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Fair Trade offers tea workers fair wages, community investment funds called Fair Trade premiums, and the business skills training necessary to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace. Fair Trade certification also requires tea gardens to comply with workplace standards set by Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International and Fair Trade USA to ensure safety, equality and fairness. A joint body of workers decides democratically how to invest Fair Trade premiums earned from the tea to support community development projects.


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stash Tea Introduces Guayusa

Stash Tea Introduces Guayusa - Energy from Ecuador
(from a press release)

Stash Tea, one of the largest specialty tea companies in the USA, announces the release of eight great tasting new loose leaf teas made with a rare, naturally caffeinated herbal tea known as Guayusa. Available exclusively online and at our Portland, Oregon area store.

Guayusa is a stimulating herb native to the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador where it has been part of the Amazonian culture and cultivation for over 2000 years. Traditionally enjoyed by the indigenous families of Ecuador and treasured for its unique balance of caffeine, antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids.

The purchase of Guayusa supports small farmers in Ecuador and it helps the Amazon Rainforest thrive, as Guayusa is shade grown. Guayusa is naturally caffeinated and has an energizing effect similar to coffee or Yerba Mate, but unlike coffee or Yerba Mate, but unlike coffee or Yerba Mate, Guayusa provides a slow release of caffeine for alertness and energy, without the jitters or sudden caffeine crash.

Guayusa is delicious. It has a naturally smooth taste, is never bitter, and has a rich and earthy aroma and slightly sweet finish. Stash offers a Pure Guayusa loose leaf tea as well as seven signature blends.

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Rishi Tea Expands With 5 Chai Teas

Rishi Tea Expands Retail Line With 5 Chai Teas
(from a press release)

Rishi Tea introduces five decadent loose leaf chai blends into their expanding Retail Tin Line. Each chai is an organic, Fair Trade Certified™ blend of fresh spices and herbs from all over the world, expertly hand blended with either bold tea or antioxidant-rich rooibos. The Chai Retail Tins feature a new label design and format, available in October 2010.

Chai, or “tea” in Hindi, has become familiar to many consumers in the U.S. over the last few years. Masala Chai, synonymous with “chai” in North America, is believed to have originated in India. This blend of spiced black tea, simmered in water, milk and sugar, is warming and comforting—perfect for fall and winter. In addition to Masala Chai, Rishi Tea has taken chai in several new and exciting directions.

Rishi’s Chai teas are available in five varieties:

Masala Chai is an award-winning blend based on the traditional Indian tea, using robust, shade-grown black tea from Rishi’s Ancient Tree Tea, Organic Fair Trade project in the Yunnan province of China.

Chocolate Chai is a sophisticated take on hot cocoa, combining energizing pu-erh tea, shade-grown yerba maté, cacao, creamy vanilla and coconut.

Green Tea Chai blends uplifting, pan-fired green tea with spicy undertones of ginger and a sweet citrus finish of lemongrass for a refreshing, innovative tea.

Vanilla Mint Chai is a creamy, pu-erh-based chai unlike any other, with a perfect balance of creamy vanilla bean, soothing peppermint and sweet cinnamon.

Caffeine-free West Cape Chai combines healthful rooibos, roasted ramón nut, South Asian star anise and a blend of spices for an aromatic and enlivening anytime chai.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

New Website Helps Take Tea Lovers to the Gardens

New two leaves and a bud Website Helps Take Tea Lovers to the Gardens
(from a press relase)

Two leaves and a bud tea co. has launched a new website aimed at helping tea drinkers experience the company’s travels to tea gardens around the world.

The tea company wanted to bring its journeys abroad back to tea fans on its website, using real photographs taken during trips to tea gardens. “We go to the tea gardens, and we realized that our site was the primary vehicle for our customers to go there with us,” says Phil Edelstein, marketing director for two leaves and a bud. “The background photo of the site rotates randomly with each new visit, so the site feels like a fresh journey to the gardens each time.”

Other new site features include a reward points program for frequent cuppers, along with a referral program, integration with Facebook’s “like” button, and a running feed for Twitter, Facebook, tea reviews and the company’s blog.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Tea Review 112: Wiseman Tea Company

My apologies to the gang at Wiseman Tea Company for not getting around to this sooner. I've fallen behind on my reviewing lately but I'm making an effort to get caught up.

First things first. Wiseman sent samples of an Earl Grey and Genmaicha, but since these are both varieties that I've never cared much for I wont say much about them. Ditto for the Puerh. I will say that all of these seemed of a decent quality or better, if you're into this sort of thing.

Some of the Wiseman teas that I did like included a very good Rooibos. It might be tempting to think - as I used to - that all Rooibos is created equal, but this is definitely not the case. What set this one apart was simply that it was smoother and more flavorful than many Rooibos varieties I've tried.

Wiseman also provided a very nice Dragonwell. As far as reliability goes, Dragonwell might be among the tops of all tea varieties. I've been trying to think if I've ever run across one I didn't like and I'm coming up dry.

Among the surprises in this bunch were some of the flavored teas, which I typically don't get too excited about. Both the Shalimar Oolong (oolong, aronia berries, mango cubes, rose petals) and the Pearl of Fruits (green Tea, black tea, orange peels, rose petals, safflowers, and marigold petals) were interesting. But I think it was the South Sea Magic (black tea, rose blossoms, sunflower blossoms, cornflower blossoms) that stood out the most from this bunch. Not a bad combo as far as this sort of thing goes.

And how about that slogan?

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Songs About Tea

PopCandy recently did a brief piece on five songs about tea, including ditties by the Police, Sting, Doris Day, Sinatra and Kevin Gilbert. More here. One might also mention Have A Cuppa Tea, by the Kinks and English Tea, by Paul McCartney. Can you think of any others?

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