Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Are drinks made with matcha green tea added as super-healthy as they sound?

The below post comes thanks to a Q&A posted on the Kansas City info zine site!

Matcha is simply ground green tea leaves. As traditionally prepared in Japan, a small amount of these ground leaves were whisked with plain hot water to produce tea. Both in Japan and the United States, it is now a common ingredient in sweets (where it adds a green color to ice cream, pudding and candy) and sweetened milk drinks such as lattés, smoothies and milkshakes. Matcha is generally an very expensive form of tea, although price and quality vary with where it was grown, timing and method of harvest, and the measures taken to keep the leaves from oxidizing. Research is limited on how its health benefits compare to regular green tea. One study from the University of Colorado found that matcha tea contained much, much higher antioxidants than green tea. However this comparison involved high quality matcha and relatively low quality green tea. USDA data on green tea suggests that its content may not be much different from that of matcha. While smoothies and lattes are a popular way to get green tea antioxidants, most of these drinks contain enough added sugar that they are far from low-calorie. For example, compared to 100 calories in the same size coffee latté, a 12-ounce matcha green tea latté made with skim milk from one popular national coffee bar chain contains 210 calories and includes over six teaspoons of added sugar... Sounds like we're talking antioxidant-rich frappucino here!

Thank you Amazon for the "New Tastes in Green Tea" cover shot

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Steamed Mussel in Hojicha Wine Nage (Broth)

The perfect appetizer for two...

The wine infuses the dish with hints of sweetness, the Hojicha gives it a touch of earthiness, the mussels balance it with bits of saltiness and the butter brings is all together...

Steamed Mussels in Hojicha Wine broth

· 1-2 TBS butter

· 1 shallot, minced

· 2 garlic cloves

· 1/2 cup white wine

· 3/4 cup fish stock

· 1/2 TBS Hojcha green tea, loose leaf

· 1 bay leaf

· 1 lb mussels scrubbed & debeared (keep over ice)

· 2 TBS heavy cream

· 2 roma tomatoes, blanched & shocked, seeded and diced

· 1 poblano pepper, seeded & diced

· 1 TBS butter,

· Garnish: parsley, lemon (zest & juice)

· Season with salt, pepper, & cayenne pepper

· Toasted bread

1. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Sweat shallots until soft, 2 min. Stir in garlic until fragrant. Stir in wine Hojicha tea, and bay leaf and simmer for 2 minutes.

2. Increase heat to high and add mussels. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until mussels open 3-7 minutes.

3. Using slotted spoon, transfer opened mussels to serving bowl, leaving liquid in pot, discard unopened. Remove bay leaf.

4. Toast bread.

5. Whisk in butter, cream and lemon until thickens about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, pepper and simmer. Garnish with parsley and season to taste. Pour nage (broth) over mussels and serve with toasted bread.

Easy to make and tea-licious to eat...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More on Locks of Love...

I feel the need to elaborate a little on my last post...
In accordance with our social mission to donate 10% of ALL sales to cancer wellness & community programs, I finally cut my hair. It took me close to a year to grow it long enough to donate it to Locks of Love
What is Locks of Love?
Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. Their 'mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.'

Cancer constitutes the second highest percentage of their recipients. Every year approximately 2,200 children under age 20 are diagnosed with brain tumors. Radiation treatment to the brain stem as a treatment for cancer can cause permanent hair loss. Chemotherapy may also cause hair loss to be long-term depending on the length of treatment needed.

It is amazing, something I took for granted is something a young child relies on for normalcy. Anyhow, I am not elaborating on my experience to toot my own teapot. I am trying to spread the word. It is a great cause that will help kids feel confident, beautiful and like everybody else. 

Just find a great hair dresser.


If you live in or new Boulder, CO go to Zing Hair. They treat their customers like family.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Give Some Love to the Ladies!

With so much around us plastered in pink and ribbons this month (including our homepage) it has become visually striking that people are truly banding together to raise awareness and funding for Breast Cancer. And the exciting part is that the collective efforts seem to be growing each year!

In line with our company's commitment to donating 10% of our sales (not to be mistaken for profits) as in-kind gifts to cancer wellness and community programs, we are doing something special this month. With each STEEP IT PINK set we sell this month (see image), we will give a gift of Snowflakes white tea and a Steeping Cup (valuing ~$27) to the breast cancer survivors participating in Casting for Recovery. This non-profit program is designed to incorporate the sport of fly-fishing and reconnecting to nature to encourage mental and physical healing of the participants as they recover from breast cancer. Participation in their program is free of charge to the women and primarily funded though the generosity of donors. We are so proud to be partnering with them and hope to be able to give generously to these women, with your help of course.

In the spirit of giving, FOODORO, a new gourmet food website that just launched earlier this year, is also doing a great Breast Cancer Awareness Promotion for the next couple weeks. They started carrying our teas and teaware a few months ago in addition to many other tasty finds. Right now they are promoting an array of breast cancer gifts which includes our STEEP IT PINK set on their homepage as well as in their Breast Cancer Awareness specialty shop. Check out all of the gifts and donations that will result. They've even got cute ribbons on the product photos to identify the donation amounts that each company is giving. Collectively, we can make a difference!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trip to Hawaii?... really any reason will do!

So maybe I'm just fantasizing about the tropical bliss of Hawaii after getting our first snow over the weekend (I'm a west coast transplant, still out of sorts when the morning calls for scraping ice from my windshield), but nonetheless I've got Hawaii on the mind. So today, we made it easier for our friends in Hawaii to place orders online.

I'm happy to announce that we're now offering shipping from our online tea & teaware shop to Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Puerto Rico, & the US Virgin Islands. The US Postal Service offers the best rates, so we're charging flat rates based on your order's subtotal:


$0 - $49.99 = $11 shipping
$50 - $149.99 = $19 shipping
$150.00+ = $39 shipping

We also offer additional options for Hawaii & Alaska, regardless of your subtotal, to expedite your order when you need it to arrive faster:

UPS "ground" = $33
UPS 2nd Day Air = $39

And in order to get you your products as soon as humanly possible, it's our ongoing policy that all UPS orders placed by 2pm EST are shipped from our warehouse the same day, Monday - Friday.

We're also expanding internationally soon, so spread the word...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Calling All Boulder Locals....Tent Sale Time!

Our neighbor, Celestial Seasonings, has generously welcomed us to join their Tent Sale this weekend, Friday-Sunday. We'll be there the whole time slinging our teas & teaware - for ridiculously good prices!! If you're in the area, it will be more than worth your while to stock up on your Tea Spot goods and even snag some early holiday presents for friends and family. And if you're local, you know that Fall is here and it's time to start steeping more hot tea to keep warm and healthy. Need I say more? See you there!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Simply Soothing: The benefits of working for a loose leaf tea company when you're Sick!


So here's the deal. I've been sick for about a week and I have found that working for a loose leaf tea company is fantastic when you aren't feeling well! I have all the loose leaf tea at my disposal and am able to drink each tea according to what I need. I've had a consistant sore throat so each morning I start with our Earl of Grey which contains licorice root. Licorice root has many medicinal qualities and is used in many cough medicines to help with coughs and sore throat.


I can't get hopped up on too much caffeine so typically after my cup of Earl of Grey in the morning, I switch to a green tea, our Green Roasted Mint which is a fantastic tea even when you're not sick, but it is particularly soothing when you are. Because it is a blend of Houjicha and peppermint, it has an incredibly comforting aroma and a soothing feel on my throat. Peppermint is actually said to be one of the oldest herbal medicines having many different benefits. The menthol or cold taste of peppermint is used in cough lozenges which sooths the mouth and throat.


And in the afternoon I move onto our Red Rocks tea. Rooibos, is an herb with a long list of health benefits. Rooibos has many vitamins and minerals, aids in digestion, and insomnia, reduces headaches and hypertension and what I was most focuesd on, contains anti-allergen properties. I believe that me being sick is a result of a combination of allergies and not getting enough rest, that being said, I was incredibly interested in having at least 2 cups a day of rooibos trying to help get rid of my allergies!

These teas have specific properties I was looking for each day, but overall tea is in the top five foods to help boost your immunity! Nowadays, everyone is focusing on their health, and in particular are looking towards prevention and boosting their immune system, so drinking a couple cups any tea (loose being healthier than bagged tea), would definitely be beneficial in keeping you healthy!

I am on the road to recovery and I know that having all this tea at my disposal has helped in making me feel better!



Facts in the article can be found here!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquorice
http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_073107.htm
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipes/article/0,,1694172,00.html#

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tea Seasoned Goat Cheese, an easy and delicious appetizer

Ingredients: Tea-Sonings

Tea + Seasonings = Tea-Sonings

Mix the following ingredients

  • BOULDER BLUES Teasonings (Tea + Seasonings = Tea-sonings)

Note: Tea-soning yields about 8 TBS: Use 2-3 TBS for goat cheese and store the rest in an air-tight container

2 TBS BOULDER BLUES, finely ground


2 TBS Chipotle Chile Pepper


1 TBS orange peel, dried

1 TBS salt

2 tsp back pepper

2 tsp cilantro flakes

1 tsp thyme, dried

½ tsp cumin, ground

  • 4 - 6 oz semi soft Cherve (goat cheese)
Note: I recommend Haystack Mountain Boulder Chevre. This classic fresh semi-soft cheese is rich and creamy and is Haystack’s flagship product. 

Serving Suggestions: Serve with crostinis, or cut into discs and warm in the oven as a salad topping, add to pasta dishes, spread on sandwiches and served as part of a cheese plate with any kind of salty olive or sweet dried fruit. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

Like a Proud Mother...

The Earl is gaining some serious fan power! And like a proud mother, every time I hear gushing compliments I beam. About a year ago, I tweaked the recipe for our Earl of Grey.

It honestly all started with a downturn of the US economy. We were really hurting to maintain the price of our Earl while the prices of a few of its components were going through the roof, due to the strength of the US dollar falling through the floor. So in efforts to not raise the price or discontinue this tea, I attempted to match the precise flavor profile of our original blend by substituting a few components of our original European components with new teas that we could get custom blended. After obtaining multiple test versions of each new component, we chose the closest matches. Then came the task of finding the perfect blended proportion of each of the new components. After trying blend versions A1-Z900 (only a slight exaggeration), I kept getting close, but something was still missing. It was a creamy sweetness that was missing. Something was needed to round out the rough edges of citrus and black tea. The naturally sweet throat-coat of Licorice Root came to mind, so I tried adding some to the blend. The results were interesting, and it seemed like we were onto something. So there were another round of test blends A1-Z99 to find the perfect proportion of licorice root to add, and when we did.... mmmmmm.... our current blend was born.

Since then, we've received nearly all positive feedback from fans of our original blend, and from new people that discover this tea one way or another. Just this week, we received 2 unsolicited emails from people that took the time to write us and tell us how much they love this blend. Honestly, I was so flattered, since I consider the blend my baby, that it made my week! At risk of ego-boosting shameless boasting, here is one of this week's emails:
Thanks for your note. You are a sweet genius!

My wife brought the Earl of Grey home from Pier 1 as a small gift since I have fallen in love with black tea and the many possibilities. To be honest, I thought, "oh, a nice tin—I hope the tea is worth drinking". At that point I could no longer find the Russian blend I'd come to know and love in the local Russian food shop or on the internet. You know how having the box in front of you is really no help when you're searching in a different country and language.

To make a long and happy story a bit shorter; I was completely knocked out with your blend. It is so much like that licorice you had as a kid ... it just calls to you even though your mouth, mind and the licorice recipes have changed over the years ... you want it as you remember and you never want it to change or ever end. Recently, I finally found the licorice that tastes like what I remember AND I've found the perfect tea as a companion while I'm playing my guitar, writing songs and happy internet messages, sitting in the chilly mountain air on the deck, or just anytime I want to feel special. Honestly, I do feel a bit too pampered when I spoon out the tea. You have done a remarkable job. I bow to you.

Also, I share this with every tea drinker I know and try to recruit others into the ranks of mellow, satisfied folk by word of mouth, uh, keyboard. Half of my purchase will go to a new client and friend who will appreciate it. I was counting on Pier 1 to fulfill my pledge to him to bring him a tea he would enjoy and love. Unfortunately, they were totally out. Surprise? I should have anticipated that.

Anyway, I know I can point directly to you and say, "This is the nice lady who did it. She's my personal tea blender. She made my life better". Thanks again.

My very best regards and Cheers,
Michael

So if I've done nothing more for this world, at least I've done something positive for this one tea drinker. And who doesn't like to be called a sweet genius from time to time. I think I can die satisfied now.