Quench Your Thirst For Knowledge

Russia’s Dark Secret: Baikhovy Tea

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia In the time of the great Khans a caravan laden with four “poods” of tea found favor with Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich but the “outlandish dried leaf” baffled his court. A pood is a Russian unit of mass equal to 40 funt, loosely translated it means “a very large amount” of tea (in this […]

Tea, Cha and Tisanes: Botanicals Reshape Tea Demand and Supply

There’s been a growing shift in the strange, unfamiliar and exotic words you’ll see on a tea ingredient label or description: it can be summarized as yesterday chemistry and botanicals today (and probably biogenetic propagation tomorrow.) Yesterday’s chemistry: sodium caseinate, modified corn starch, resveratrol extract, riboflavin, soy lecithin, ascorbyl glucoside, xylitol, sodium hexametaphosphate, and “natural” […]

Tea and Terroir Through Time

Where does tea flavor come from? The word “terroir” translates from the French to “of the earth.” It has become a fuzzy colloquial expression served up as a catchword that tries to resolve a mystery simply by naming it. The concept has been long in the making, dating to the very earliest Latin writings on wines. It’s a […]

Tea in Brazil: Back to the Future

Tea comes (back) to Brazil Just as tea is emblematic of England and core to its history, coffee and Brazil go together as almost one word. And just as Britain is becoming a dynamic and vibrant coffee market, demand for tea is expanding in this nation of 200 million, whose borders touch every South American […]

Tea Cocktails

In 2002 when Audrey Saunders first introduced her ‘Earl Grey Mar-Tea-ni’ at the Ritz Hotel in London, it took the mixology world by storm.  Ms. Saunders was at the forefront of a movement to use herbs and other culinary ingredients behind the bar, and while the cry was of innovation, Audrey was actually tapping into […]

Time-lapse of Japan’s Shincha Harvest Tea

  KYOTO, Japan — This time-lapse video captures the beautiful birth of this year’s shincha harvest. A special video camera, positioned at the Nakakubo Tea Farm, advanced a few frames every 5 minutes for about 30 days last month to show us the dance of the new leaves. The digital images were then edited to […]

Climate Change: Growers Fight Back

It’s no news that climate change is a growing, severe and global problem. Alas, it’s also not news that this is getting worse. For the tea industry, the impacts are becoming more and more apparent. The consensual figure is that 20-50% of the positives of tea will be lost within the next two to three […]

HARVEST REVIEW: Vietnam

Vietnam in 2017 ranked as the world’s seventh-largest producer of tea and fifth in exports. It has 124,000 hectares under production in around half its provinces, including the subtropical North and tropical South. This is roughly the same as Indonesia and three times the tea-growing acreage in Japan. Exports in the first nine months of […]

The package is part of an innovation complex

Tea packaging: The Innovation Edge

Innovation in tea increasingly depends on innovation in packaging Make the tea bag go away Change the labels Freshen up Don’t hide the evidence That may all sound negative. What it really amounts to is: Don’t treat packaging in its dictionary sense of being just a container. Packaging is more than how tea is stored […]

Tea Nuances: Exploring the World of Green Tea Blends

We all know that green tea is healthy.  However, most of us have only unearthed a fraction of the green teas produced around the world.  If we were to drink a different green tea variety every day for the next five years, we would not even come close to tasting all of the green teas […]

The Times and Tides of Tea Innovation

Tea innovation is a surprisingly inexhaustible subject. Choose a topic that has shaped society, such as  trade, war, health, literature, nutrition, crime, ship design, politics, household utensils, science and technology, retailing, and social reform, and you’ll soon find strong and deep connections with tea. It has been one of the most consistent and pervasive agents […]

Harvest Review: Australia

There is a clear emerging trend in the Australian market away from mainstream black tea to more specialist offerings. Australians’ choices show more discerning palates and product knowledge. This is being driven by marketing and training. Black tea consumption fell overall in the past 12 months, while specialty black teas sales grew by 4%. Green […]

Innovation in Tea: Watch These Spaces

The Innovation Imperative: Where and How, not If In a time of change, the question is not whether to innovate, but how. For tea, it’s also urgent. There are challenges to business as usual everywhere: sustainable development, shifting consumer tastes and demographics, coffee competition, yields, costs, and quality, to name just the obvious. The good […]

Pesticides in Tea: Getting a Clear Picture Not a Vague Impression

Does your tea contain pesticides? How much should that matter? Many tea drinkers have an impression that it is at least slightly unsafe as a drink. The more they are concerned with tea as a wellness aid – green tea health benefits, non-caffeinated herbal teas, natural ingredients, and organic growing, the stronger that impression is […]

The Nuances of Authentic Tea Blending

 Most people are familiar with the many black tea blends on the market but may not have much sense of the nuances of bringing together a complex set of flavors and of the wide varieties of choices that differentiate similar sounding teas. What, for instance, is the foundation of the tea blends we hear so […]

Innovation in Tea Flavor Design: Anything Goes – With Anything

How would you describe the flavor of these ten teas? They are a representative selection from the many market innovations that are having at least initial success. They consistently get positive customer reviews, and favorable informative and non-hype press and industry coverage. Some of these surely will not maintain a sustainable growth. But who knows […]

A New Era of Tea Tech and Sci: Smart Eyes, Molecular Detectives, Soft $3

Tea tech: robotics, computer vision, machine learning; Tea Sci: biogenetics, biomarkers; Soft $3: end-to-end logistics, sustainability, cost, productivity   If you search online for “tea innovation news” most of the results will be about the surge of new products. These are creative and  original. They are targeted to millennials, premiumization, flavor inventions and market-opening categories […]

Tea and Buddhism: Té if by Sea, Cha by Land

Tea and Buddhism: Much More than Just Contemplation It seems natural to associate Buddhism with tea. Tea expresses China’s history. It symbolizes the ethos and practices of  yoga, Zen and meditation.  Buddhism’s concerns for healthy daily living conjure up images evocative of tea. They highlight its calming, cleansing, contemplative, and ceremonial nature. These never even hint […]

Tearoom Revolution: The Weapon of Women’s Rights and Entrepreneurship

Tearooms are romantically portrayed as cozy and pleasant places to relax and enjoy teas with cakes, biscuits and sandwiches. Tearoom mythology is reinforced through evocations of scones and clotted cream. Hidden behind the Olde Worlde facade is a darker history. These unobtrusive locations became a force exploited by well-organized militants. They pushed aggressively to undermine […]

Kunlun Mountain Snow Chrysanthemum Tea: The two-mile high tea blossom

   Kunlun Mountain Snow Chrysanthemum tea is as striking to taste as it is to look at. It’s a candidate for any list of the world’s best herbal teas. But it also has a rich, aromatic whole leaf black tea flavor. It’s caffeine free but with a caffeine-ish zip. Additionally, it makes a terrific do-it-yourself […]

2018 Global Tea Fair Autumn

The Statler

This cocktail was first created for the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.  The Historic Park Plaza was originally called the Statler Hotel when it first opened its doors in 1927 and the Statler Lounge in the hotel pays tribute to that history.  New England has a long history with rum.  At it’s peak in 1770,  New […]

White Port with Black Tea, Lavender and Rose Petals

A taste of tea and flower petal infused White Port was the way that we greeted our Afternoon Tea guests at the Park Plaza for years.  The flowers, tea and herbs would vary, but this one was my favorite, so we came back to it time and time again. The tannins of the tea added […]

Tea Cocktails

In 2002 when Audrey Saunders first introduced her ‘Earl Grey Mar-Tea-ni’ at the Ritz Hotel in London, it took the mixology world by storm.  Ms. Saunders was at the forefront of a movement to use herbs and other culinary ingredients behind the bar, and while the cry was of innovation, Audrey was actually tapping into […]

The Smoky Tomato

This variation on a Bloody Mary is a wonderful vehicle for an earthy, smoky, Lapsang Souchong tea.  Lapsang Souchong is smoked over pine needles and pine wood for a wonderful tarry, peaty smokiness reminiscent of a good Islay Single Malt Scotch.

The Southern Earl Grey

This Champagne Tea Cocktail has been served on multiple continents and is a perennial favorite at L’Espalier in Boston.  It has also become a staple in classes as it combines two classic approached to tea cocktails, tea simple syrup and tea infused alcohol. When selecting the Bourbon to infuse, use a good quality that you […]

Biogenetics: Reducing the Mystery and Multiplying the Benefits of Tea

Tea’s a five-thousand year mystery tale. For every major fact we know, there is so much we have only been able to guess at or approximate about the “why” and “how” behind it. Here are the main mysteries: Flavors: Tea has an astonishing range of flavors and aromas: Mystery: How are they created from the […]

HARVEST REVIEW: Vietnam

Vietnam in 2017 ranked as the world’s seventh-largest producer of tea and fifth in exports. It has 124,000 hectares under production in around half its provinces, including the subtropical North and tropical South. This is roughly the same as Indonesia and three times the tea-growing acreage in Japan.

Origins: Tea Cultivation Takes Root in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Tucked away near Oregon’s Willamette River in Salem, is Minto Island Tea Company: a nearly half acre plot of land containing Camellia sinensis var. sinensis bushes. More botanic laboratory than tea farm, it’s a 29-year-old science project and the only place in the state of Oregon where tea is being cultivated and sold.

The Matcha Revolution: Baby Powder, Plastic Blankets and ¥3,000 Yen

The thousands of articles and blogs on matcha fall into two main groups: “Wow!” and “What?” Wow focuses on some aspect of how matcha has become both a favorite among tea, coffee, latte and alcohol drinkers, a dessert delicacy, an exotic cocktail and health supplement. It seems a very unlikely candidate to have created such […]

Old Age: Live Well – and Drink Tea

The health benefits of tea are increasingly established. Even discounting the extreme claims of its being a magic cure for even cancer, it seems clear that you are likely to live longer and better if tea is a daily part of your lifestyle. But how about when you reach old age? Is there anything different […]

Of Family & Tea: Novelist Lisa See’s Tea Journey

Six-time New York Times bestselling author, Lisa See, loves tea so much that she wrote a novel with Pu-erh tea as its historical background. This comes as no surprise if one knows the See family’s journey, of immigrants in the Wild West and Chinatown with a dash of Hollywood, intertwined with tea.