Friday, July 31, 2009

Drinking Black Teas May Lower Blood Sugar

A substance in Black Tea has been found to mimic type 2 diabetes drugs Precose and Glyset. This interesting information comes from today’s WebMD Health News, and is based on a report by Haixia Chen and colleagues of Tianjin University, China. Their findings, published in the current issue of the Journal of Food Science, state that a substance in Black Tea Mimics Diabetes Drugs.

Black tea contains more of this diabtetes drug-mimicking substance, a polysaccharide compound, than either green or oolong teas. Chen and colleagues show that tea polysaccharides inhibit an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase, which turns starch into glucose. The diabetes drugs Precose and Glyset work similarly, by inhibiting this enzyme.

Very black tea has been used as a diabetes treatment in China and Japan. It's known that tea polysaccharides reduce blood sugar. "Many efforts have been made to search for effective glucose inhibitors from natural materials," Chen says in a news release. "There is a potential for exploitation of black tea polysaccharide in managing diabetes."

For more information on black tea health benefits, visit this section on our website, theteaspot.com To find black teas to drink, you may visit our black tea page.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Simply a Great Event- The Rocky Mountain Tea Festival


For those of us who live in Boulder, having one of our tea houses host the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival seems pretty normal and self evident. For those of you who don't, I'll explain why we wouldn't be surprised about having this event in our hometown. Boulder is known for its outdoorsy, health conscious, green style living. The stigma of Boulder is that we ride around on bikes, holding our reusable to-go cup of coffee (or tea), carrying a backpack filled with hiking boots and granola. This image might be a little bit extreme, but it is true that here in Boulder, everything health conscious is a lot more easily accessible, including loose leaf tea.

Actually, my first loose leaf tea experience was right here in Boulder at The Book End Cafe (featured here on the left). I walked into the coffee shop in the fall two years ago, taking some down time to go and read a book, but before I ordered I realized I just didn't want a cup of coffee. I asked about their tea selections and they handed me a huge sheet filled with with so many varieties of tea, many that I had never even heard of, that I couldn't decide. I told them what I typically drank and what I didn't and they suggested that I try their rooibos tea. I was not sure of what that was, but I decided to give it a try, and I loved it!
The tea tasted amazing, rich, not bitter (like so many of my tea experiences in the past) and from that day on I would drink loose leaf tea if I wasn't in the mood for coffee and even make cambricks (aka tea lattes) as a substitute for my latte craving. I'm not sure even if I tried that I could find tea bags being served in Boulder!

All of that back story is really to lay out the scene that loose leaf, high quality tea is prevalent in Boulder and therefore makes sense that the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival would be hosted by the Dushanbe Tea House here in Boulder. The Dushanbe Tea House has a wonderful history all of its own (that will be an entirely separate blog for another time) and while they carry a expansive tea catalog of their own, they are happy to host the Tea Festival and represent many other tea businesses and professionals in the area.

During the tea festival which runs from the morning of August 1st to the evening of August 2nd, there will be vendors, such as ourselves, demoing our teas and selling our products, but there will also be many tea tastings and classes for the public to take part in. I have never attended this event (being that I was hired in October of last year) so it will be very interesting for me to see the atmosphere and the public who love loose leaf tea as much as we do!

If you would like to attend and want to find out more about the classes and the schedule, check out this link http://www.boulderteahouse.com/teafest.html for more information. And if you would like to find out more about the teas and products that we will be featuring at the show, come visit us on the website at www.theteaspot.com or email me at sales@theteaspot.com!


Images found at
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img2.allposters.com/images/PTGPOD/458975a-FB.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.allposters.com/-sp/The-Flatirons-Boulder-Colorado-Posters_i3511771_.htm&usg=__H-Zgotk7zQ6e_b9kHdZu0qBPf7I=&h=300&w=400&sz=53&hl=en&start=15&sig2=aCDlxz9hLeCAzG3BOEzNJw&um=1&tbnid=Vz4UKVlkismRuM:&tbnh=93&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dflatirons,%2Bboulder%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGIH_en%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1&ei=et9xSuvIOI6mtAOP1cXvCA

http://denver.metromix.com/restaurants/baked_goods/bookend-cafe-pearl-street-downtown/305793/content

http://www.boulderteahouse.com/index.html

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tea Steeped Tabouli, not just a side dish anymore...

Last week in culinary school I learned how make a classic  Tabouli Salad, a great side dish for any occasion. Well this weekend I decided to 'Teas' the recipe and add a some protein, making the flavors, aromas and texture party in your mouth. 

Steeping the Tabouli in Organic MATE LIMON CHAI enhanced the flavor from the inside out. Adding chickpeas to the dish gave it another layer of texture, enriched it with more nutrients and promoted it from a side dish to a main dish.

Tea Steeped Tabouli
Portions 4, main dish / 12, side dish

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz Bulgur Wheat, medium texture
  • 2 TBS MATE LIMON CHAI
  • 1 oz olive oil
  • 1 lb English cucumber, peeled, seeded and dice
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 oz parsley, finely chopped
  • 1.5 oz mint, finely chopped
  • 1.5 oz scallions, sliced thin
  • 6 oz tomato, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 3 fl oz lemon juice & zest from 1 lemon 
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (Cholula)
  • 3 fl oz olive oil
  • 4 oz feta cheese, drained & crumbled
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Pita Bread
Preparation:
  1. Bring 28 oz  of water to a boil. Place bulgur wheat in a bowl. Pour boiling water over bulgur wheat. Add 2 TBS MATE LIMON CHAI and 1 oz olive oil.
  2. Cover and let stand until completely cool. The bulgur should have absorbed most or all the water and should be tender enough to eat. Drain & squeeze any extra water and fluff with fork.
  3. Add cucumber, chickpeas and 2 tsp salt to bulgur wheat and toss. 
  4. Add parsley, scallions, tomatoes, lemon juice, zest , hot sauce, olive oil and combine. 
  5. Mix in feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with lemon and parsley
  7. Serve with pita bread
This dish will not only start the party in your mouth it will keep it going for days...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Eat, Drink and Live Strong... but smoking???


Many of you may not find the same humor in irony as i did in the attached series of pictures... but i really couldn't resist posting them.



So many of us have been inspired once again by Lance Armstrong - as though it weren't quite enough to almost handily win the Tour de France 7 times AFTER overcoming advanced stage Cancer, he's now flaunting his immortality by traumatizing young riders' positions on the podium of his signature race. The French have always hated him, i'm not really sure why... they so loved Greg Lemond (was it his French name? He spoke no French, Lance is fluent). Maybe it's Lance's TEXAS medal hanging from his neck instead of a saint, or the association with another high profile Texan (he whose name we shall no longer mention) at an unfortunate time in our
country's history. Whatever. The commentators and the papers were killing Lance, (almost more so than in the days of daily accusations of drug use "doh-pay", "doh-pay"!) but French President Sarkozy came out to watch him at the Mt Ventoux stage last week and defended him
eloquently while being interviewed by the ever so rude and insolent French cycling star, Laurent Jalabert: [sic] "are you repraoching him for wanting to win??? This man's an inspriation to anyone. It's not the people who have a problem with him, it's you commentators!"


Anyway, back to my little laugh here... we all know that the powerful antioxidant content in green tea has been attributed to even reducing the effects of smoking and resulting onset of Cancer in strong green tea-drinking nations like Korea and Japan... but what about this young man decked out in Livestrong gear, smoking away. WTF? So maybe we can't all spend hours each day on a bike, but, NO one born after 1970 has the excuse to be smoking these days - it's way beyond stupid. So please, if you're a Lance fan, or even just a fan of life - Live Strong. But
don't smoke!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Tea Spot steeps loose tea in WHAT?!?!?!

We get a lot of questions regarding the choice of silicone for our Tuffy Steepers. As the socially responsible loose leaf tea company, and the creators of STEEPWARE... it was a rather dramatic departure from handcrafted porcelain! And needless to say, for a tea connoisseur, the thought of steeping your tea in a rubber basket is, at first blush, not very appealing! But I would challenge even some of the most refined tea drinkers to carry a Silicone Tuffy Tea Steeper around on their next few out of town trips… and I’d bet that most of them will ultimately succumb and become users of this nice, big, and practical loose leaf tea filter that folds up to less than half of its total volume. Yes, the first time you smell a new Tuffy, it’s going to smell of rubber – but pour boiling water through it, and let it sit for a while – it will be odorless after your first steeping (it you prefer to rinse it with tea that will go to water your favorite plant later, be my guest…

There was a lot of research and testing done on silicone materials before we came out with this product – that’s why our’s is made with a German-grade (not US, sorry!) silicone – it exceeds the FDA standards, and is considered “medical-grade” silicone. I too was a bit taken aback the first time I saw a quiche baked in a flimsy rubber pan – wouldn’t that rubber melt right into my food?! Silicone rubber is a synthetic rubber made from a polymer of silicon and oxygen, and food-grade silicone is considered very inert. Silicon is one of the most plentiful elements in the Earth's crust, second only to oxygen. The melting point of our Silicone is 932°F - not a likely temperature to get anywhere close to while making tea…

In addition, we feel that there's no big barrier to purchasing and using silicone rubber objects, if you follow the general responsible consumption plan, aka, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Silicone is certainly preferable to toxic plastics, and a happy alternative material (so far as we know) in baby bottles and non-stick pans. It's reasonable to replace disposable paper muffin tin liners and the like with silicone liners, if we use the silicone liners for years and years. So… no need to make things complicated next time you camping or on the road – you can just grab a Tuffy Steeper, along with some of your favorite tea leaves and stay well anti-oxidized… that’s why we created it – so drink up, and feel good about it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Simple Song: Tea for Two

As I was starting up my computer this morning I thought, "I wonder how much the word tea is mentioned in music?" And what does one do when one wonders today? You google it. So I googled tea in music and found a very detailed blog from the Adagio Teas website about that very topic. The article, which can be read in futher detail here, mentioned quite a few instances throughout history where tea is used in the lyrics. The one that caught my eye however, and should have been the first song that I thought of was "Tea for Two".

I figured, I know this song, and by "I know" I mean I can sing "Tea for two, and two for tea, da da, da dum, da da, da dum..." Obviously I didn't really know this song, and so, I looked it up! Tea for Two is a song that was written for the 1925 Broadway musical "No, No Nanette". The lyrics (below) show that the character Jimmy is postulating what life would be like if he were to have a wife, a family and a future with Nanette, complete with a cup of tea!


A few decades later Doris Day would star in the 1950's movie titled "Tea for Two" which was rewritten as completely different story line from the earlier Broadway musical that it was based on. The entire storyline of the movie can be found here http://www.dorisday.net/tea_for_two.html as well as the Tea for Two song, sung by Doris Day.

There would be a 1971 revival of No, No, Nanette and Tea for Two was a song that would be recreated a few more times throughout the 20th century continuing its popularity. The thoughts and dreams surrounding this song might be what many considered "The American Dream" back when it was first sung. And while the ideas of this song may not resonate with many people's lives today, the idea of simple pleasures and finding happiness living a life with the one you love isn't a bad reminder of what we should be striving for everyday, and sure, tack on a cup of tea and you've got a pretty good thing going on!



JIMMY:

Picture you upon my knee

Just tea for two

And two for tea

Just me for you

And you for me...alone-

[DIALOGUE]

JIMMY:

I'm discontented with homes that I've rented

So I have invented my own.

Darling, this place is lovely oasis

Where life's weary taste is unknown

Far from the crowded city

Where flowers pretty caress the stream

Cozy to hide in, to live side by side in,

Don't let it apart in my dream-

Picture you upon my knee

Just tea for two

And two for tea

Just me for you

And you for me alone NANETTE:

Nobody near us to see us or hear us Mm, mm, mm,

No friends or relations Mm, mm, mm,

On weekend vacations Mm, mm, mm.

We won't have it known, dear,

That we own a telephone, dear...

NANETTE:

Day will break and I'll wake

And start to bake a sugar cake

For you to take for all the boys to see

BOTH:

We'll raise a family

JIMMY:

A boy for you

And a girl for me

BOTH:

Can't you see how happy we would be...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Basic Tabouli, tealess but not tasteless

Tabbouleh or Tabouli, a Middle Eastern dish of Bulgur Wheat (steamed, dried and crushed wheat kernels) mixed with parsley, tomatoes, onions, mint, olive oil and lemon juice is served cold and usually with pita. One of my favorite vegetarian dishes that's nutritious and satisfying. Below is a photo of our final product created last week in culinary school. The one on the left, which I did, was 'cooked' a little longer with a little more water. It was also finished with a little more lemon and zest. A little more then half the class, including me, liked it better then the one on the right; softer, fluffier, zestier and  a little more refreshing. 



The following recipe is taken from
Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen (Le Cordon Bleu 6th edition), page 701.  My variations are highlighted in red.

Tabbouleh
Portions 12
Portion Size 4 oz

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz Bulgur Wheat, medium texture
  • 1 oz olive oil
  • 1 lb English cucumber, peeled, seeded and dice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 oz parsley, finely chopped
  • 1.5 oz scallions, sliced thin
  • 6 oz tomato, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 3 fl oz lemon juice & zest from 1 lemon 
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (Cholula)
  • 3 fl oz olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
Preparation:
  1. Bring 28 oz  of water to a boil. Place bulgur wheat in a bowl. Pour boiling water over bulgur wheat. Add 1 oz olive oil.
  2. Cover and let stand until completely cool. The bulgur should have absorbed most or all the water and should be tender enough to eat. Drain & squeeze any extra water and fluff with fork.
  3. Add cucumber and 2 tsp salt to bulgur wheat and toss. Drain any extra moisture.
  4. Add parsley, scallions, tomatoes, lemon juice, zest , hot sauce and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Garnish with lemon and parsley
  6. Serve with pita bread
Next week I will be making with dish with tea and serving it with Tea-Ta Chips...stay tuned, it is Simply Tea-licious...

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Tea’s just so much sexier than coffee"



Last night we were taken out to a lovely dinner at the restaurant Santacaf√©, and our hostess made the above comment when the server came around and asked whether we wanted a coffee or tea with our dessert selections. I’ve been pondering that comment all night now (welcome to the life of an entrepreneur) and I think it’s so right on… and also can’t believe that we haven’t picked up and run with this one before! It hadn’t occurred to me previously, because I tend to think of drinks’ personalities as being tied to their cultural heritage – which I’m sure most of us agree puts coffee in a most sexy light – witness even Mr. Balanchine’s NYCB Nutcracker which I grew up with – sexiest dance ever is Coffee (the NYCB Nutcracker renames the 2nd act dances from Spanish, Arabic, Chinese to Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, etc…).

But if you can take these drinks out of their cultural context, and bring them, if you will, into our consumer and product-centric 21st c melting-pot homeland, you gain a very different perspective on things. Whom would you rather kiss? Someone who just downed a thick espresso (we’ll leave the cigarette out of the picture) or someone who just cleansed their mouth with a freshly steeped mug of black tea? And speaking of the cigarette, what’s the smoker more likely to be swigging down – coffee, for sure – no longer a sexy image in today’s society. Also, coffee tends to be view as more addictive – also not a sexy image. The most upscale restaurants are these days touting their – loose-leaf tea selection. So part of tea’s sexiness is, of course, that we’re so “now”… witness the focus on cooking with tea, the multitudes of tea beauty products hitting the market every month, etc.

So here’s to tea – next time your server asks – present yourself in the sexiest possible light and ask them to Steep it Loose!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

EARL OF GREY Risotto with Shrimp & English Truffled Peas

Last week in culinary school I learned how to make a basic Risotto alla Parmigiana. A classic dish with a specific cooking technique that is not hard to perfect but important to master. Once mastered you can incorporate different ingredients and various flavor profiles. Needless to say, I added tea to the recipe, incorporated the English peas I got from the Farmer's Market (Pastures of Plenty) and mixed in shrimp I found in my freezer. I stirred in some Parmesan cheese and finished it with a touch of white truffle oil. 

The recipe is very similar to the one I illustrated last week except I placed EARL OF GREY tea in a cheese cloth and steeped it in the chicken stock. Once the risotto was 3/4's of the way finished, I took it off the stove and separately sauted the blanched peas and shrimp. Then finished cooking the risotto and folded in the peas, shrimp and finishing ingredients (cheese and truffle oil). The result...a creamy, earthy, tender yet firm risotto with hints of bergamont and citrus from the tea.

EARL OF GREY Risotto with Shrimp & English Truffled Peas
Portions: 10
Portion Size: 6-7 oz

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz butter 
  • 1 fl oz Vegetable oil
  • 1 oz onion, finely diced 
  • 1 lb Arborio rice (short grain)
  • 2 qt Chicken Stock, hot
  • 2 TBS EARL OF GREY, wrapped in cheese cloth
Finishing Ingredients:
  • 3 oz butter, separated by oz (1 oz for peas, 1 oz for shrimp, 1 oz for finishing)
  • 3 oz onion, finely diced & separated evenly
  • 1.5 lb shrimp, deveined & peeled (option: tails on or off)
  • 12 oz English peas, shelled & washed
  • 2 TBS white truffle oil
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • SPTT (Salt and Pepper to taste)
Preparation:
  1. Blanch peas: Bring salted water to boil. Add peas and cook 4-6 minutes, should be tender yet firm. Remove peas from boiling water and shock them in ice cold water to stop cooking. Reserve.
  2. In a medium pot, bring chicken stock with EARL OF GREY tea wrapped in cheese cloth to boil. 
  3. Over medium-high heat, melt butter and oil in a large, straight-sided saute pan. Add the onion, sweat until soft and translucent. Do not brown.
  4. Add the rice and saute until well coated with butter, oil and onion.
  5. Using a 6-oz ladle, add one ladle of stock to rice at a time and gently stir over medium heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Repeat procedure until 3/4 of stock is absorbed, reserving the last 1/4 stock until ready to serve. Do not add more then one ladle of stock at a time and do not sir too much. Remove pan from heat and reserve until peas and shrimp are cooked.
  6. Melt 1 oz butter in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Sweat 1.5 oz onions, add peas and coat with butter.  Cook until tender but still firm, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and reserve
  7. Melt 1 oz butter in the same large saute pan over medium-high heat. Sweat 1.5 oz onions, add shrimp and coat with butter. Cook until pink yet translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and let stand. 
  8. Place risotto mixture back over heat and add the remaining chicken stock one ladle at time, stirring gently. Stop adding stock when the rice is tender but still a little firm in the center. It should look moist and creamy, but not runny. Remove from heat.
  9. Place shrimp back over medium heat combine reserved peas. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off stove and drizzle with tuffle oil. Gently stir to combine.
  10. Fold the shrimp mixture into the risotto, add butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately on a heated platter.
I left the shrimp tails on because I think they add another level of texture and a slightly salty flavor to the dish. My husband on the other hand thought they should have been discarded because they were messy and ruined the presentation...what would you do & why? 



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Simply Marvelous! Understanding the fantastic quality of Jasmine Pearls.


"Simply Mahvelous Dahling" think.... Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's what I think of when I talk about Jasmine Pearls. I've learned bits and pieces about this coveted high quality, incredibly expensive tea and I did some reasearch wanting to know more. I'm sure, like the processing of all teas, there are slight variations in how jasmine pearls are made, but no matter which one you look at, the process is quite remarkable.

Jsamine Pearls, as opposed to Jasmine Flower Tea, which is typically a green or black tea base with Jasmine flowers added to the blend, are actually a green tea leaf which has been plucked, withered, hand rolled and then are infused by the Jasmine Flowers to create a beautifully scented green tea. If you've ever purchased Jasmine Pearls whether by the pot or by the ounce, you know it is a VERY expensive tea. It is obviously hand rolled and that adds to the cost, but there is much more detail than I knew about. A blog from Jing (below) aptly describes the process of how green tea pearls are thoroughly made.

http://jingtea.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/pearls-for-our-jasmine-pearls/

The blog seems to fall off when they go into how the green tea pearls are then scented, but Tao of Tea has a great description for this.

The Tao of Tea describes the Jasmine infusion part of the process as "The rolled pearls are then heat infused with jasmine flowers and the process repeated several times to achieve the desired strength of aroma. High grade Jasmine Pearls undergo this process at least five times."

What The Tea Spot has done is we've taken Jasmine Pearls and blended them with
white tea and rosebuds, making a fantastic tea called Meditative Mind which has a soft floral aroma and taste. This allows people to enjoy the taste of their Jasmine Pearls without having to pay the Jasmine Pearl price!!

And quite honestly, if there was a choice of tea served in Breakfast at Tiffany's I'm quite sure she would have chosen Jasmine Pearls to compliment her haute couture breakfast.





http://www.iconocast.com/B000000000000081/Q5/News1_0.jpg

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Risotto alla Parmigiana, simply creamy & delicious

I never understood the hype around risotto until I had a taste of my friend's Wild Mushroom Risotto in Black Truffle jus at Celadon in Napa. By the way, if you're ever in Napa, I highly recommend you eat at Celadon, located downtown. Chef Greg Cole's inspirational menu features flavors from the Mediterranean, Asia, and the Americas. Needless to say, I have been craving risotto ever since that bite of absolute creamy richness with hints of earthiness. My craving finally subsided last night when I learned how to make risotto. Although very different from the one I had at Celadon, it was none the less creamy and rich. 
 
The word risotto comes from the Italian word riso, meaning 'rice'. Risotto is a classic Italian method of cooking rice. After sweating the aromatics and sauteing the rice, hot liquid is added in small amounts while the rice is gently stirred. As the liquid evaporates, more liquid is added until the rice is cooked but still firm. The finished products has a creamy consistency due to the starch that is cooked out of the rice as well as the cheese that is added when finishing the dish. 

Below is the a basic recipe for Risotto alla Parmigiana  taken from Professional Cooking, Wayne Gisslen, 6th Edition (p.626). There are many variations but the technique and method remains the same. Although this recipe calls for chicken stock, I bet you can use tea...

Risotto alla Parmigiana
Portions: 10
Portion Size: 5 oz

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz butter 
  • 1 fl oz Vegetable oil
  • 1 oz onion, finely diced 
  • 1 lb Arborio rice (short grain)
  • 1.5 qt Chicken Stock, hot
Finishing Ingredients:
  • 1 oz butter
  • 3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • SPTT (Salt and Pepper to taste)
Preparation:
  1. Heat butter and oil in a large, straight-sided saute pan. Add the onion, sweat until soft and translucent. Do not brown.
  2. Add the rice and saute until well coated with butter, oil and onion.
  3. Using a 6-oz ladle, add one ladle of stock to rice at a time and gently stir over medium heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid.
  4. Add another ladle of stock and repeat procedure. Do not add more then one ladle of stock at a time and do not sir too much.
  5. Stop adding stock when the rice is tender but still a little firm in the center. It should look moist and creamy, but not runny. The cooking time should take 25-30 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the raw butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt & pepper to taste.
I know what your thinking...This recipe does not have any tea...How can I be The Tea Spot Chef without tea???...Well, I am going to Culinary School to learn the foundation of French Cuisine. Once I learn the basics to a recipe and the method of preparation, I can then creatively introduce tea and other interesting ingredients (like wild mushrooms and black truffle) into a recipe...Stay tuned to see how I incorporate our Earl of Grey into the Risotto alla Parmigiana...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Grilling with Tea Balls this 4th of July Weekend?


This "teaball" meatball griller was my very favorite piece of 4th of July week holiday Spam!

Now I know that as the loose leaf tea company, that we're in the business of busting teaballs in my company, but this contraption just makes it too easy. A suggested reconfiguration of your drawer of unused teaballs? An engineering contest for recycling of unloved teaballs? The latest gift for the host who already has everything (and clearly more storage than is to be had in my kitchen)? For whatever reason, it just cracked me up. could you imagine setting up 12 cups of hot water and steeping 12 different teas at once?! Sorry Williams-Sonoma, i'm sure the meatball griller makes the most perfectly spherical, uniform and charcoal-roasty meatballs...

We have no clever new inventions to share with you this weekend, only a FREE download to help celebrate our freedom with a tasty toast - our New Guide to Gourmet Iced Teas "Summer Chill Out". (Bottom left of our home page)

Enjoy... and Happy 4th to all!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Simply a Coincidence!? I think not!

This upcoming weekend marks a year from when I first even heard about The Tea Spot. Let me begin...

I was working for another company, but was fortunate enough to have the 4th of July weekend off and my friend Sean asked if I wanted to go hiking and camping. My answer was a resounding YES! Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities but I had never hiked a 14er before and Sean promised that we would hike three over the weekend...I was psyched!!! The plan was to hike Mt. Antero first and then we would go camping about an hour away in Crested Butte with some of his kayaking friends and then on Sunday we would hike two more 14ers, Mt. Shavano which connects to Tabeguache Peak, allowing you to hit two in one hike. It sounded like a great plan. So first things first we hiked Mt. Antero and this is me pictured at 14,269'.


After the hike we headed to Crested Butte and had a great time camping on Friday July 4th, watching the fireworks in town from the campsite. The next day we hung out by the river,
I watched as the rest of the group kayaked down the river (and yes this is them going over a waterfall!!!) and had a really great time over the course of two days. During our second day of camping however, it started to rain, so the group decided that instead of cooking out we'd just go into town that night for dinner. We went to what seemed to be "the hot spot" in town, a pizza joint with great beers on draft. Now after two days of not showering, having hiked a 14er and camped in a rather muddy campsite, I felt that going into a public bathroom, I should probably take advantage of the running water and at least wash off my exposed
limbs. While I was at the sink washing off, myself and another woman were laughing about being dirty from camping and she was doing the same thing. We got to talking and she asked where I lived and what I did. I told her I lived in Boulder and I was in retail sales. She said she too lived in Boulder and told me that she was co-owner of a tea company in Boulder. I had never heard about it, but as we were walking out the door she handed me her card and said that they might be looking to hire later in the summer and told me to contact her if I was interested. This interesting, outdoorsy, fun woman was our one and only Tea Spot Chef, Karen Harbour.


Was it fate!? A coincidence!? A part of the great plan!? Who knows. But I went on my merry way: ate some pizza, drank some beer, hiked a few more 14ers Mt. Shavano at 14,229' and Tabeguache Peak at 14,155' the next day(shown here), and headed back to Boulder. Over the next couple of months I continued to work at my retail job, but stayed in touch with Karen, came in to learn about the company and interview in September and by October 1st was offered a position to work at The Tea Spot.

So that's the story! All I was doing was hiking and camping, minding my own business and a crossroads unexpectedly fell into my lap! Now that we're approaching a year from the first time that I met Karen in Crested Butte, I think back to where I was a year ago, and all that I've done since then and how I got to be such an intergral part of this company. I've come a long way baby!! And wouldn't you know, I'm going back with other friends to hike Mt. Shavano and Karen is headed back to Crested Butte, full circle :)