Category Archives: Tea news

The Deal with Kombucha

Buzz about Kombucha tea has been echoing from all corners of the Internet for the past few weeks. Madonna and Lindsay Lohan have been spotted imbibing the fermented beverage, and “Kombucha” was a trending search term on Google last week.

Lindsay Lohan drinking Kombucha tea

Photo courtesy of

Despite its recent trendiness, Kombucha tea is nothing new. It originated in China over 2,000 years ago, when it was referred to as an “immortal health elixir.” Kombucha is a mass of yeast and bacteria (yum) which is added to tea and allowed to ferment for about 10 days. During the fermentation period, hundreds of compounds — including B vitamins, alcohol and lactic acid — are released.

Kombucha enthusiasts claim that this yeasty-tea bolsters the immune system, boosts energy, aids digestion, prevents cancer, clears skin, increases the shininess of hair, and more. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence in favor of these claims. In fact, illness and even death have resulted from the consumption of home-brewed Kombucha due to unsanitary and imprecise fermentation conditions.

Personally, I don’t love the idea of a mass of bacteria and yeast in my tea. But I enjoy a nice beer and yogurt of all descriptions, so I think that I shouldn’t let the description scare me away. Since the dangers of drinking Kombucha are limited to home-brewed versions, and the tea (like anything worth buying) is available at shops all over Brooklyn, I think I’ll pick some up this weekend and give it a shot.

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Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Images, Tea for health, Tea news, Tea trends


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A Cup (or 200) a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

According to an article in The Telegraph, government officials at the UK’s Department of Health have spent 109,017 British pounds sterling (that’s $174,372.80) on tea and biscuits since January 1, 2012. The comically high bill covered the department’s “hospitality” charges, which largely fund stocking the department’s kitchens with these English staples.

Given the English’s stereotyped fondness for “tea and crumpets,” the article’s subheadline, “Officials at the Department of Health have spent more than £100,000 on tea and biscuits so far this year” is comically astonishing. British citizens, however, are less than amused.

Jon Trickett, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, has accused the department of reckless spending. The government is in the process of launching a “full and urgent review” of the Department of Health’s spending habits.

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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Tea culture, Tea news


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A New Tea on Top

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Big Island Tea, the world’s most expensive tea at about $20 per cup.

Today, The Huffington Post reported that there’s a new luxury tea on the market, tipping the scales in its favor at just over $200 per cup. And here’s the kicker: it’s grown using panda feces as fertilizer.

People love a sensational poop story, so, naturally, the news has proliferated on the Internet. Many headlines proclaim that the tea is made of panda dung, which is it isn’t (thank God).

The tea’s developer, An Yanshi, slapped on the astronomical price tag because the endangered animal’s dung is full of nutrients. Pandas, as it turns out, absorb only a fraction of the nutritional value of the bamboo they eat. The initial profits will be donated to an environmental fund, and future batches will be cheaper, he said.

An created the tea as a symbol of how waste can be converted into something useful and enjoyable.


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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Tea culture, Tea for health, Tea news


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“Green” Tea

If you’ve ever gotten too close to your gas burner while your kettle heats up, you know that not all of the heat is transferred directly to the vessel. In fact, more than 50 percent of the heat produced by the burner flame is lost before it makes contact with the kettle. Heating water for a few cups a day, combined with other cooking, results in significant energy loss over time.

Two professors at China’s Hubei University of Technology’s School of Art and Design designed a tea kettle that virtually eliminates this heat loss. The square shape and conical hole trap heat that would have otherwise moved outward, and the multiple levels of the hole increases the amount of surface area that can be heated.

The design received a Red Dot Design Award for energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient tea kettle

Image courtesy of Red Dot.

Not digging the kettle’s hyper-modern design? You can reduce tea-related energy loss by using the smallest burner on your stove to heat your kettle.


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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Images, Tea news, Tea tech


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Lucrative Leaves

If forced to choose a favorite type of tea, I’d say Barry’s Gold Blend Irish Tea. It’s a bagged tea that’s strong enough to wake me up the in the morning, steeps relatively quickly, and is bursting with a rich, golden flavor.

As bagged tea goes, it’s a bit on the expensive side at $8.99 for a box of 80 tea bags. Lipton runs about about $3.20 for 100 tea bags and 100 Red Rose tea bags cost about $3.30.

Judging by the price round-up of popular bagged teas, it appears that tea drinking is a relatively cheap habit. Not so, though, if you drink Big Island Tea, a new black tea blend grown in Hawaii that is currently worth about $5,000 per pound, or $20 per cup.

The tea, which is only available at legendary Harrods of London, owes its extraordinary price to the artisanal methods used to create it. A Harrods spokesperson told Fox News that the tea is “hand-picked, hand-rolled, hand-fired, and produced in small batches by the farm-owner.” It is cultivated and grown in a 400 year old patch of fertile volcanic ash.

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Tea news, The business of tea


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Make your tea as healthy as it’s cracked up to be

For ages, grandmothers and doctors alike have hailed tea as a cure-all for illness as well as a preventative measure against everything from coughs to cancer. And with good reason: leaf teas are chock full of flavonoids, which may protect their ingesters from cancers, heart disease, and clogged arteries.

However, recent findings have shown that both the type of tea you drink and the way you prepare it can affect whether or not you are receiving these health benefits. This article on WebMD explains which teas provide which health benefits. According to the article, green tea is the cancer- and cholesterol-buster, while black teas may reduce the risk of stroke.

Moreover, proper form is as essential in tea-drinking as it is in yoga, ballet, or golf. This article, featured in Well+Good NYC, provides a simple how-to for tea selection, brewing, and consumption that will maximize your tea’s warm, cozy, healthful goodness.

Spoiler: the more you drink, the better off you’ll be! No complaints here.

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Tea for health, Tea news


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