Monday, December 10, 2007

Soda does NOT burn calories, stupid

The Coca-Cola Company teamed up with Nestle last year to release Enviga, the third canned green tea to be featured on this blog. What's the big deal? First, it has sparkles. Second, in their very own study, healthy 18-to-35-year-olds who drank three cans a day showed an increase in calorie burn (on average) by 106 calories a day. Enviga was 'the only ready-to-drink green tea' proven to do this.

Whoa, that sounds like an easy way to drink off the pounds! Until you realize that two classic Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are 260 calories alone. (Imagine that 400ml Mint Chip Mocha you had this morning--or, GASP, THANKSGIVING!) It's true that green tea boosts your metabolism, but honestly, claiming that the 5 calories in Enviga are "effectively cancelled out" by green tea's calorie-burning powers (in effect, you're drinking 'negative calories') reminds me of those old Subway commercials that implied you could get away with God knows what because you had Subway today. (Not to mention the people involved in the study had healthy lifestyles anyhow, and didn't seem to be in any urgent need to shed pounds in the first place.)

If you don't like calories, drink something that doesn't have them--plain, ordinary tea. This looks like just another good chance for all of us to NOT give Coke our money.


ps. This actually wasn't the reason I decided to write this post, though I'd wanted to write about Enviga for a while. No, I was researching hockey for a few scenes in a story of mine, and came across this buried in Wikipedia's 'hat trick', the term used when a player scores three goals in a game. It apparently came from magicians who pulled three rabbits out of a hat, one after the other, but that's not the funny part. Here is an actual quote from the article:

If a member of the home team in ice hockey scores a hat-trick, fans acknowledge it by throwing their own hats from the stands onto the ice, often causing a delay in play. This custom was started in Guelph, Ontario with the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters, sponsored by Biltmore Hats. Mr. Biltmore would throw his tophat onto the ice for the player that scored 3 goals. Fans soon followed his lead and offered their hats to the player as well. In 1996, the Florida Panthers fans celebrated goals (not just hat-tricks) by throwing plastic rats onto the ice, which were then cleaned up by men dressed in Orkin exterminator outfits. The history of this goes back to an incident in December 1995, when Scott Mellanby scored what teammate John Vanbiesbrouck dubbed a "rat trick" after ridding the Panthers' locker room at Miami Arena of an unwanted rat with his stick on the same night he scored a pair of goals. When Mellanby scored a hat trick in a later game some fans threw plastic rats on the ice, mimicking the octopus thrown by Detroit Red Wings fans, and the practice soon became universal for Panthers home goals. The NHL later responded by banning the throwing of objects onto the ice by fans at the cost of a penalty for the home team, but specifically allowed the traditional throwing of hats to continue. There appears to be some leeway with regards to what can be thrown onto the ice following a hat trick, as witnessed after the Nashville Predators' Paul Kariya scored a hat trick on April 18, 2006 when two catfish were thrown on the ice and no penalty was given.

They let someone into a sporting event with a pair of catfish, and when I was a kid I couldn't take fresh fruit into the movie theater with me? It probably has half the calories of popcorn, or something.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Webcomics + Tea = OMG teh INTERNETS is magic!!!11!!1

I like webcomics. I like tea. But I never dreamed they would go together. Enter Tea Club by Phuong-Mai Bui-Quang; a story of a--catgirl--college freshman who joins a club devoted to GT's favorite drink. Did I mention that the president of said club is a bear?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Milk isn´t just for English Breakfast - Tokidoki`s Moofia Blind Box series

Honestly, all of us should know better than to buy a three-inch-tall plastic milk carton for $7. Apparently, I don`t. Each of Tokidoki`s milk-themed Moofia toys comes in a cute milk-carton ´Blind Box´ the point being that you don`t even know if that hard-earned cash is going for something that´s already in your collection. I bought one thinking I would get Soya, which is after all my perferred milk, but I had to settle for whatever the kanji on THIS LITTLE GUY says. I know I should be ashamed of myself, but I like Milk-kun for some reason. I actually feel like wasting even more money on these silly things when I get back to the States.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What is Chai?

Chai is a cool word. I love saying it, because it reminds me of something really sweet. Before I tell you what, though, you should take a look at what Chai actually means:
1. It´s the Russian word for any type of tea.
2. It`s the name of a very specific and unusual type of drink from India. describes said drink as "the perfect blend of freshly ground spices (chai masala) like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and pepper, added to a boiling pot of loose leaf tea and milk to make a delicious, satisfying and healthy beverage."

Now, down to why I just love that darn word. A bit ago I was traveling with my mother into the States. The fun thing about this trip was that we kept getting these delays. First off, the day we set out to the big city with an airport, the plane turned out to be full, so we went all the way back with our own private chauffuer and didn´t bother unpacking. (Have I mentioned this was my first time having a chauffuer?) Next day, bright and early another car picked us up from the gate, and we had an air-conditioned ride to the airport, came to Philly, trucked our 5 or so suitcases through the metal detectors, and at the gate were promptly told Burlington Airport was having a storm and we`d have to go tomorrow. (Awesome!) Well, my mother made a fair reek about how the airline already delayed us one day, and next thing we knew we were packed in an SUV with our pockets full of vouchers for a hotel in New Jersey. Gloucester, to be exact.
It had a fine Indian restaurant, a bar with a real pool table, and that roadside-America charm, not to mention a hair dryer and tub in the bathroom (neither of those things I have at home). The weather that afternoon, as we came fresh from looking at the smoky industrialness of the place, was my favorite, and when we came down for dinner it had started to rain. I think I had a spicy soup with either corn or coconut--and my mom ordered a curry that she didn´t like--but what I really remember is checking out the drinks at the back of the menu and thinking, heck, this is free?
"Hey, I`ll have one of these."
By now there was a storm out the covered window by our table, and the waiter brought a low cup that steamed of spices. Beside it was a small metal pitcher of warm milk. I added the milk to the chai slowly and finally it was just hot enough to not burn yourself drinking, but I shouldn`t have waited; the peppery, gingery heat was just as strong as boiling water.
Chai is an unusual tea, and the good kind reminds me of spicy coffee because you add milk. It`s a very adventurous one too, at least for me--if I was going to climb Everest, the first thing I`d throw in my bag would be chai masala because it warms you right up. Then, of course, a hot plate and soymilk.
The point is, that night was a perfect example of what makes tea superior to coffee, Red Bull, whatever your elixir is currently--the smell, the taste, the warmth brings you back to something you like, whether it`s a day the thermometer let you off school, or that first love story you finished at a WiFi cafe. Everything else just gives you a jolt forward, which isn´t all bad, but there are times when you`re better off looking over your shoulder, smiling, and thinking something happy for about ten minutes. Those times are made for tea.

For 2 cups of chai:

1. In a pot, heat 1 cup water & 1 cup milk.

2. Add 1/5 teaspoon Chai Masala

3. Add 2 teaspoons Tea Leaves. (Darjeeling are good, any black tea is cool too)

4. Stir occasionally & bring to a boil.

5. Strain & add sugar or honey to sweeten and enjoy!

Prepared chai will have a golden brown hue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Flavor Trip - Four O´ Clock Organics

Owies! Tea is expensive now that I`m back home. Since I recently worked from 5PM to 4AM Photoshopping some of my artwork for a contest deadline the next day, however, I decided to splurge on $6 worth of Fair Trade Pomegranate Echinacea from the Four O´Clock series by Trans-herbe. It was a deliciously unusual blend, and I think I´m going to stick with Four O´Clock no matter the cost, because Ginkgo Ginger and Licorice Spice are also some pretty badass-sounding herb teas. Something about drinking something both Fair Trade, Organic, and yummy makes you feel awesome.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Completely Off-Topic - Parkour and Free Running

Yes, this is a complete lapse in topic consistency. Forgive me. But tea is a thing in a world of things, and two of those things are so awesome I have to give them some space alongside the hot mug that usually graces this blog. Those things are Parkour and Free Running.

Some people use the terms interchangeably; both, after all, can be found on Youtube as clips of incredibly brave individuals doing gymnastics in an urban environment. However, closer inspection shows a difference in style; Free Running is when they leap from roof to second-story-balcony-across-the-street, do triple wall-breakdance flips, and generally look scarily amazing. Parkour comes from the French term for 'obstacle course' and can be defined best as a training method to move efficiently and naturally and overcome obstacles; rolls, vaults, and rhythm are key points in the discipline. Both stemmed from what these two guys named Sabastien Foucan and David Belle did in Paris a while ago for fun with a couple of friends. However, I've been watching about a million videos, and then did some reading, and then watched some more videos, but tutorials this time--and I WANT TO DO THIS.

I'm a wimp though, so I'm just building up my stamina and reflexes for now, and practicing rolling on the soccer pitch because it's the most harmless move you can learn. I guess I caught the bug--or just poured another new cup of tea. We now return to your previously scheduled topic.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tonic Tea - Organic India

Is it any surprise that India--birthplace of yoga and, in a sense, vegetarianism--takes health benefits into consideration with its most popular drink? Today I got two freebies from Organic India at the local Co-Op; Red Mango and Sweet Rose, both caffeine free and containing Tulsi, a medicinal herb revered as "The Holy Basil" by the Hindus. (Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb, proven to support the body's immune system and relieve the negative effects of stress.) Sweet Rose had a strong sense of chamomile, but was just a tad sweeter. However,what really got me was the smell of the tea--a pleasant aroma of roses that lingered after I was done with tea for the night.
I'm really looking forward to Red Mango now!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For the Tea-Time Zone - Traveler's Tins

The Republic of Tea might package their yummy blends in cans, but don't fret; they're just an efficient way to package circular bags. But they also make Traveler's Tins--sleek six-packs of tea bags just right for a jean jacket pocket and only about $4 a pop. As for blends, they're all great, but I recommend the soothing Dancing Leaves green tea.

Since there's room, I'd like to share a travel-related tea anecdote. Once I was sitting next to my brother on a coast-to-coast flight, and I'd swiped some Orange Pekoe from last night's hotel or something. I asked the flight attendant for hot water, all right, and I took the tea out of the wrapper. Then--get this--my brother took the teensy weensy Orange Pekoe wrapper, and folded it into an origami crane. AWESOME. I still have it in my wallet somewhere.

Monday, September 24, 2007

After-Dinner Awesome - Green Tea Mints

Imagine a perfect world -- Bush impeached, root beer flavored Pez, and green tea Altoids. Fortunately, at least one out of the three isn't hopeless; Sencha Naturals put out these cute leaf-shaped lozenges infused with jasmine, and apparently just three of them give you the benefits of a steaming cup. But come on people, he's our president after all...we're responsible for this...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pocket Healthy - The Sencha Shot

Say you're going for a ride. A bus ride. a no-legroom, snoring-Homer-Simpson-double-next-to-you, dead-iPod-battery ride. How about packing a shot--a Sencha Shot? Packed with 152 mgs of catechin antioxidants, this thing seriously fits in your iPod case. It's tiny. And I don't know how they do it, but I could even detect hints of toasted rice.

Pop-culture Cupcakes - Just Don't Eat 'em

Taking a breather from our 3-beverage brawl, we explore a topic only marginally related to a tea-suited dessert. Enter Johnny Cupcakes, a chic clothing store on Boston's hot Newbury Street, and its sweet gear. In witty illustrations plastered over everything from sleek belts to bling to reversible hoodies, cupcakes are given a street-smart edge. Even Johnny's whimsical website, where clothing sizes are listed as 'Nutrition Information', is designed to appeal to the Ipodist urbane.I just wish they still had the skateboard deck in stock.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Great Beverage Melee, Round 01

Not everyone drinks tea. Hey, that’s cool—more for us, right? As for me, I haven’t had Coke since I was 10 or something, but I do like coffee now and then. They say ‘you’re going through a phase’, but I love walking into Starbucks just because of the smell. I don’t even hate them for ripping me off, because Haagen-Dazs is coincidentally right across the street and puts things in perspective.
That got me thinking, though. What if tea, coffee, and Coke were all drunk, Irish, and at a splintery little pub with no glass in the windows? Who would win? That’s why this week we’re having a very special 3-part drink fight on this here blog. Now accepting bets!


OK, let’s get this straight. Water is the only thing you actually have to drink in life; everything else has the consequences of either a chemical buzz or a chemical slump, the latter more commonly called a ‘hangover’. If you use this logic, fruit juice is useless and soda a short-term measure that ultimately just wastes your money (Root Beer, being awesome, is an exception). Plus, everyone at the meeting will think you’re a hippie-ass yoga moron if you walk in there with a chaya-pineapple smoothie, and yes, they’ll still laugh if you can prove your doctor told you so.

Espresso coffee, brewed, 8 fluid ounces: 502 mg
Coffee, brewed, 8 fluid ounces: 85 mg
Coffee, instant, 8 fluid ounces: 62 mg
Coffee, brewed, decaffeinated, 8 fluid ounces: 3 mg
Coffee, instant, decaffeinated, 8 fluid ounces: 2 mg

COKE (per can):
Coca-Cola Classic: 23 mg
Coca-Cola Blak: 46 mg
(All other varieties are between 15 mg and 31 mg)

Black Tea: 40 mg
Flavored Tea 40 mg
Oolong Tea 30 mg
Green Tea 20 mg
White Tea 15 mg
Decaf Tea 5-10 mg
Herbal Tea 0 mg

WINNER: COFFEE, hands down (see below). Which isn’t always a good thing.

Tune in for Round 02: Health Benefits sometime next week!

SOURCES: nutrition fact sheet

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tea Gear - well, it's your money

Tea accessories? Look at all of the stuff you WON'T be buying this summer if, like me, you plan to devote your cash to art supplies, a tennis racket, and learning to ollie properly.

Crafted in Kyoto, Japan, it can be yours for $45 from
If that's not enough for you, get some Chawans!
I remember Chawans from the video game Shenmue II, when Ryo has to secretly communicate with other martial artists in Hong Kong by arranging teacups in restaurants.

On the creepy side of things, there's a place on the net where you can buy a tea set, for $175, that seems to feature realistic human faces. Uh, OK. No, I'm fine...thanks.

The New York Botanical Garden made these lovely espresso spoons--but of course you can cheat and use them for tea. That goes double for their petal-saucer cups.

But above all, there is the Teashirt. It's actually a tea brewer by designer Eva Solo for people want the choice whether or not to have their tea with tannin. I don't get it, but it looks awesome! But does it remind anyone else of Kingdom Hearts?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

AriZona Canned Tea - Now I've Seen Everything

It was the Japanese who launched canned tea in 1981, and I still don't get the concept. Arizona Beverages' green tea was my gym partner today, and though it was too sweet compared to Tazo or Honest (the glass-bottled tea drinks I'm used to)it gives you lots of energy when cold, and can you beat the size of this thing? It's like a foot worth of tea for a buck. Awesome, except don't fool yourself; this might be closer to tea than Gatorade but it's still not tea. Yeah, and read more than the label because they sneak in HFCS every now and then.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jamaica – the berry of flowers

Jamaica is a drink made from the dried calyces of a flower native to Central America (Hibiscus sabdariffa). The bright red flower, with its frilly petals and protruding pink and gold stigma, may put you in mind of someone who just loves catching attention; jamaica ('ha-my-ka') with its crimson color when brewed, is no different. The cranberry-like flavor is best when chilled, and those who find it strong should add honey. Hot, it's a wonderful sick-day pairing with ginger because of its high vitamin C content, but watch out for the stains!

Iced Mint Jamaica

3 dried flowers per teacup (about 9 per pitcher)


Fresh mint

Peeled, thinly sliced fresh ginger

Brew flowers with a couple of slices of ginger like any other tea, steeping covered for a few minutes. When tea is bright red fish out and discard flowers; add honey by teaspoons and stir in. Leave the ginger to chew on (aphrodisiac, good for digestion and the immune system) and chill or let cool for about an hour. Do not add ice cubes. Serve in clear glass with mint leaves.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

No Time For Tea!

I know I haven`t updated this blog since last month--shameful! But you see I just moved and have no internet at home (I have yet to unpack my laptop. Moving sucks >:( ). But I am working on a wholesome, informative article on tea, just need some facts and figures and that`s done. You know what else? It`s hot here--Al-Gore`s-I-told-you-so hot, happiness-is-a-frappuchino hot. And we don`t have our own car OR air conditioning. I hope I can get back to tea soon.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Celestial Seasonings - feel-good tea with artwork to match!

I grew up drinking Celestial Seasonings. It was 'all natural' and yummy, but the boxes also featured darling illustrations of koalas, puppies, and the trademark bear cozying up at home with tea. What's not to love? I remember Sleepytime's chamomile and spearmint flavors, and lively Raspberry Zinger (it was cold in New England, to make it not seem weird that kids are into tea) but since I've been out of the States the company has managed to explore various blends from Honey Lemon Ginseng to Imperial Peach to Morrocan Pomegranate Red. The illustrations and taste are as sweet as ever, though.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pairing tea with occaisions

Connoisseurs take pride in having found the perfect pairings of alcohol with chow, but doesn’t the beauty of tea lie in its I-felt-like-it whenever-ness? That said, some occasions suit certain flavors better than others.

Air Travel – green

Ask any business-class skyhopper or Disneyland-bound mother of four what the perfect flight would be, and both answers will likely include words like ‘peace’, ‘tranquility’, and ‘empty row’ or ‘good movie’. Green tea, the elixir of Zen monks, will get you as close as possible to the first two with bonus antioxidants. Unfortunately, due to recent policy changes those departing from American terminals are no longer allowed the home-brewed hot thermos. If you don’t mind it cold, fetch a glass-bottled Tazo or Honest Tea while they load in the first-classers; otherwise, stow a teabag or two with your MP3 player and ask the flight attendant for hot water after liftoff (as with all above-room-temperature beverages consumed above 55,000 feet, mind the turbulence warnings). Preferably, buy organic Matcha bags either in Chinatown or at Whole Foods Market, but when running late don’t hesitate at theft from hotel lobbies. Skip the 4 AM-taxi-traffic-jam Starbucks; jet lag renders excessive caffeine superfluous.

Tea tip: Green tea isn’t picky about its partners. If it’s too bitter on its own, brew it with mild fruity flavors like tangerine or raspberry, or herbal essences like mint. To stop the second teabag from overpowering the flavor of the first, take it out of the cup sooner.

The Cyber Café – fruity combos

For a couple hours of heated IM debates (“j00 r34dy n00b?” “just tel me hwo long 2 bake teh gadamn pie xO!11!!1!”), illegal acquisition of music, and addictive Flash cartoons, café is really a misnomer—no roast or frappe will pair as satisfyingly as a lively tea. A good WiFi parlor has a brand-name selection of both cold and hot teas, and a bad one dishes you the overpriced NesTea with high fructose corn syrup. Branch out from Twining’s Orange Spice; lemon and ginger is a classic, peach is infallible, and berries match green and black teas nicely. Your cyber café should be more about the ambience and drinks than the broadband; for a treat, find one that boasts of ‘free internet’ with purchase of a beverage, or else burn your tongue watching the per-minute meter rise.

Tea tip: Anything that tastes good hot won’t fail you with ice cubes, except for Earl Grey, which takes on the flavor of February’s dishwater. Remember; the tangerine slice floats in hot tea, but garnishes the rim when served with cold.

The Movies – mint, ginseng, ginger

Popcorn? Passé. A tall, steamy cup of tea in the dark (between fight scenes) won’t grease your fingertips and does not require sharing when with a group. If you like it iced, bring a jean jacket; the only thing more annoying during “I’ve always loved you” moments than a bawling baby or cell phone is the perpetual sneezer who denies the existence of air-conditioning. Make sure the cup has a heat-proof sleeve or bring a travel mug from home; you’ll be cool as long as your choice fits in the beverage holder. Hitting the screening with a runny nose is risky, but if protocol dictates, brew fresh sliced ginger with lime juice and spin in a spoon of honey just before heading out.

Studying – black

Even when writing a thesis, don’t confuse your metabolism with Coke or coffee. Earl Grey is dark for a reason—it works all night long, like hospitals and Cartoon Network. If the brew is too strong, spread it among two or more teacups and top off with hot water. Any fresh juice of the citrus can be added for taste, but I discourage sugar. At dawn, press the cool teabag on each eye for a few minutes while performing the savasana, or corpse pose, and do some stretches to preserve daytime posture. Expect queries on how your hangover is treating you.

These are suggestions only, of course. Sports, drawing, and lunch are among the events when personal taste is the only guideline. This is why everyone gets stuck in ruts—eating the same lunch, driving the same route home, sipping the same flavor Gatorade in between drag-ups at the gym—and gets the idea that they have no control over whether or not their lives are boring.
So try something new every week. As for tea, you never know when you’ll discover a new favorite, but the right stimulation of your taste buds at the right time is the definition of pick-me-up, if not nirvana.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tazo Tea - stylish and sweet

Tazo has style, I`ll say that. The work of graphic designers with talent infused its packaging, labels, and Flash website, where a `read your tea leaves` sage spews nonsense that you wouldn`t even find on fortune cookies (Tonight I got, `believe it or not, you`re about to become a champion bass fisherman´) with panache. Even the flavor names are designed to accentuate some trippy folklore (African Red Bush, Mate Tropic). So...what about the taste? Well, I`ve yet to try the bottled juiced teas, but I`m looking forward to that Giant Peach green tea on my next Atlanta layover. Wild Sweet Orange, hot brewed, seemed a bit more like lemon & spice, but I give them credit for letting the citrus run free instead of smothering it in spices like many other orange-flavored teas do. This is a fun brand, perfect for internet cafes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Earl Grey vs. English Breakfast

To get the answer to this head-scratching question of the ages, I decided to procure the aid of a professional at

Status: Connecting ...
Status: Looking for a guide ...
Status: Connected to guide: James(40274)
James(40274): Welcome to ChaCha!
You: Hi James(40274): hi
James(40274): What info on tea can I get for you?
You: What is the difference
You: between english breakfast and earl grey tea?
James(40274): ok
You: because they taste about the same
James(40274): Please wait a moment while I search for your
You: ok
James(40274): Thanks for being patient! Rest assured I'm
finding the most relevant results for your search.
You: its like theyre evil twins separated at birth or something
James(40274): lol
You: Wow there really isn`t a difference is there? it feels like a conspiracy!
You: Just some basic info on both with suffice then good sir
James(40274): i can not find any
James(40274): ok
James(40274): thanks
James(40274): there ytou go
You: thank you
James(40274): good luck with it
James(40274): lol
You: this shall be all
James(40274): bye
James(40274): Please RATE ME. Thanks for using ChaCha.
Status: Session ended.

I feel like writing Twinings and asking that they put the two labels on the same bag to save paper. According to Wikipedia:

Earl Grey tea is a tea blend with a distinctive flavour and aroma derived from the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit.
Traditionally the term "Earl Grey" was applied only to
black tea; however, today the term is also applied to both green and white teas that contain oil of bergamot.

The Earl Grey blend is named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime
in the 1830s, who reputedly received a gift, probably a diplomatic perquisite, of tea flavoured with bergamot oil. The legend usually involves a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey's men, although this blend of tea was first made from fermented black Indian and "Ceylonese" (Sri Lankan) teas. As green tea is much more popular in China than black tea, it seems somewhat unlikely that they would have had a recipe for what we now call Earl Grey to bestow on visitors, though over the years many other varieties of tea have been used. In addition, Lord Grey never set foot in China. Another version of the legend has the son of an Indian raja being rescued from a tiger by one of Grey's servants.

Whatever. About English Breakfast:

English Breakfast tea is a black tea blend usually described as full-bodied, robust, and/or rich, and blended to go well with milk and sugar, in a style traditionally associated with a hearty English breakfast.The black teas included in the blend vary, with Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan teas, and Keemun common. Common brands
of English Breakfast tea include
Twinings, Taylor's of Harrogate, PG Tips, Stash Tea Company, Lipton, Celestial Seasonings, Ringtons Tea and Dilmah.

Accounts of its origins vary. Many[1][2] attribute its origins to a man named Drysdale in Edinburgh:
Over a hundred years ago in Scotland a man named Drysdale went into the specialty tea business within sight of the
castle of Edinburgh and offered a tea called Breakfast....[ As of 1982 ] they still sell the only tea on the market called simply Breakfast and nothing more, probably reasoning that Scots ... at that time of day want to be told nothing more than which blend of teas makes a good eye-opener. [3][4]
Another explanation of its origin
[5] cites a Journal of Commerce article which dates the blend to 1843 and a tea merchant named
Richard Davies in
New York City. Davies, an English immigrant, started with a base of Congou and added a bit of Pekoe and Pouchong. It sold for 50 cents a pound, and its success led to imitators, helping to popularize the name.

I guess Earl Grey is the one you drink without milk at any time of the day...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Tea Trivia: Who Knew?

Adagio Teas
has an interesting trivia page. Did you know that in restaurants, 'tips' stands for 'to ensure prompt service'? Me neither.

another reason to hate the war
American tea consumption prior to World War II is an interesting bit of trivia. In those days, black tea accounted for only about 40% of our tea intake. Another 40% were green teas and the remainder were oolongs. However, the war with Japan had closed off Asian tea markets, our source of green and oolong teas. Americans were left consuming black tea from countries unaffected by the fighting, primarily in Argentina. Ever since the war, America's consumption of black tea had remained close to 98%.

save the queen and tea
Tea deliveries to Britain were also affected by the fighting in the two World Wars. The German U-boat blockade had severely restricted supply during World War I, resulting in rationing and price controls on tea. Rationing was less severe during the Second World War. However, given its role as a national morale booster, stocks of tea were dispersed to over 500 different location all over England in order to better protect it from air raids by the Luftwaffe.

to insure prompt service
Tipping as a response to prompt service was born in the tea gardens of England. A small wooden box was placed on each table in the garden. The box was inscribed "To Insure Prompt Service" or TIPS for short. A coin dropped in the box usually assured prompt tea service. And thus the custom of tipping was born.

america's early millionaires
The fortunes of America's first three millionaires were made in the China trade. T.H. Perkins of Boston, Stephen Girard of Philadelphia, and John Jacob Astor of New York prospered by bringing tea directly to the colonies, bypassing the hugely wasteful and monopolistic East India Company.

the union of milk and tea
The British custom of drinking tea with milk has its roots not in taste but economics. The long journey from the Orient made tea prohibitively expensive. Milk, on the other hand, was cheap and became the condiment of choice among the lower classes. The amount of milk added became a telltale of one's social standing. The wealthy took their tea undiluted. The middle class poured the expensive tea and then diluted it with milk. The lower class filled the cup with cheap milk and then added a splash of the costly tea.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Honest Tea - USDA organic all the way

Some things need to be said about Honest Tea. First, their products are USDA organic certified; second, they don't use High Fructose Corn Syrup to sweeten their exquisitely flavored bottled teas, and third, they have an artsy feel, with trivia or zen-like sayings on the flipside of the bottlecap. Cool.

Of their many bottled-iced-tea flavors, I have tried Moroccan Mint Green, Lori's Lemon Tea, Green Dragon Tea, and my favorite, fair-trade-certified Peach Oo-la-long. Perfect for sports and traveling, you can depend on Honest Tea for never being too sweet, nor too bitter.