Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Arbor Teas Launches New Website!

Bold, Beautiful… and a whole lot BETTER!

Arbor Teas New Website

We are delighted to introduce the new and improved!

Over the past 7 years, we’ve been taking notes on how to keep making better and better. So without another moment’s delay, we’re delighted to introduce the new and improved version of our website!

Packed full of new features, better product imagery, and even MORE useful information – we believe we’ve finally created a website worthy of the top-notch organic teas we offer! And as usual, many of the most inspired and innovative ideas have come from YOU, our beloved customers.

So join the party and help us welcome the new Arbor Teas website today! Visit, login into your account and automatically earn 100 Rewards Points. continue reading »

September 25 2011 | Miscellaneous | No Comments »

Japanese Tea and Radiation: Update

As many of you may know, the 2011 tea harvest is well underway in Japan. With the devastating effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which badly damaged Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant, there has been a lot of speculation in the marketplace regarding the safety of Japanese tea. While much of the fearful chatter over irradiated Japanese products has subsided in recent weeks, concerns still abound.

Arbor Teas has begun to receive Japanese tea from the 2011 harvest. We’ve pulled together some important facts which we hope will help our customers understand the status of this issue (and, without diminishing the significance of this event, perhaps relieve some concerns).

1) No Japanese tea – either freshly picked or packaged – has been discovered to be contaminated by radioactive particles. (Update 6/1/11 – Unfortunately this is no longer true.  Radioactive cesium in newly harvested tea has been detected. Shipments of all the tea from the area were suspended pending additional tests. Please see comments below for more details.  We are working with our suppliers to have samples of their 2011 crop tested for radiation and will post them when available.) continue reading »

May 16 2011 | Green Business and Miscellaneous and Tea and Health | 24 Comments »

Meet the Arbor Teas Interns!

We’d like to introduce you to our wonderful team of interns who work (tirelessly, we might add!) to bring you all the great content we share on our blog and via Twitter. David, Kartikha and Sonya are all currently students at the University of Michigan here in Ann Arbor, and have been on the Arbor Teas team since September, and we’re so grateful to have them on board!  Here’s a little bit about each of them:

David Faulkner

David is our group history buff, responsible for fascinating articles on Earl Grey and pomegranate lore. He’s also taken it upon himself to show up to every team meeting in a full suit and tie – a classy fellow for sure. Good thing I got him a tie-clip for Christmas.

1. So what are you studying at the University of Michigan?

I’m a double major in English and Microbiology. I find the subject matter of microbiology fascinating, and I hope to study toxicology in graduate school. English just came naturally as a major because I love writing.

2. What do you think you’ll do after you graduate, and where do you see yourself ten years from now?

I hope to attend Public Health school to complete a graduate programme in industrial hygiene and toxicology.

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February 13 2011 | Miscellaneous | No Comments »

Latest Management News from Arbor Teas

PenelopeThere’s been a lot going at here at Arbor Teas lately.  This spring and summer saw the launch of our new “look”, and our industry-leading backyard compostable packaging was released with very positive reception.  Well, that isn’t all that’s been going on… As we’ve grown, we’ve felt the need to increase the size of the management team here at Arbor Teas, which has led to the recent addition of Penelope J. Lopatin on May 28, 2010.  Penelope will fill the newly created Director of Human Resources position.  She will be working in tandem with her older brother and Director of Time Management, Arthur, to oversee company morale and productivity.

All kidding aside, thank you all for being part of our larger “family”, and for sharing these moments in the growth of the Arbor Teas family with us!

June 30 2010 | Miscellaneous and Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Artist Finds Tea-based Paint a Viable Alternative

A tea painting by Jeffrey Axelrod

Painter Jeffrey Axelrod has brought a whole new meaning to “the art of tea.” Claiming that making paint from tea “costs pennies,” Axelrod has recently gained popularity as the modern pioneer of making art using tea – a method he has been practicing for the last seven years.

Another tea  painting by Jeffrey Axelrod

In order to obtain the full spectrum of colors that he needs for his paintings, Axelrod claims to use over 200 teas; he blends five or six of them to create a unique shade. To create a variety of hues, he includes flavored teas (like plum teas) for blue colors, African rooibos for oranges and reds, and intense Japanese green teas like matcha for green colors.

Axelrod believes that painting with tea touts other benefits, too. Mistakes can be erased simply by applying water with a paintbrush. The drying process can be catalyzed with a blow dryer – but usually Axelrod lets them bake in the sun, preventing the colors from ever fading.  But most importantly, Axelrod believes that tea produces art which cannot be replicated with water colors or acrylics – the results are entirely unique.

You can read more about Axelrod’s work here or view his artwork on his website here.

June 18 2010 | Miscellaneous | 2 Comments »

History of Irish Tea

One of our traditional blends at Arbor Teas is our ever-popular organic Irish Breakfast tea.  With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I got to wondering about this particulaUragh Stone Circle, Republic of Irelandr blend.  Where did the flavor profile come from and why is it so popular in Ireland?

One of Ireland’s most famous (and most consumed) brands of tea, Barry’s Tea, claims that on average the Irish consume up to 6 cups of tea per day!  And if that doesn’t convince you that the Irish drink a lot of tea, this statistic will: Ireland is one of the largest tea consumers per capita in the world!  Now in my opinion that is a boat load of tea.  What led Ireland to become such a large tea drinking country?

The history of tea in Ireland is similar to that of England (another well known tea drinking country).  It was initially introduced to the upper class in the early 1800s and later spread to the rural and lower class in the mid 1800s.  The tea that was available to the average Irish citizen was usually of poor quality and brewed strong, therefore it was consumed with plenty of milk.  This tradition of brewing strong tea and adding milk is still prevalent today.  We at Arbor Teas describe our Irish Breakfast blend as “so strong you could stand your spoon up in it,” and that is no joke.

Strong tea is preferred by the Irish – often continuously brewed on the stove all day long.  Tea became so popular in Ireland that on May 8, 1910, The New York Times printed an article titled “Tea is Ireland’s Evil – Ranks before Alcohol as an Enemy of Public Health.”  This now antiquated article (amazing how science has changed our perception of this healthful beverage!) relates that even within the most inaccessible communities in Ireland “The teapot stewing on the hearth all day long is literally on tap; the members of the family, young as well as old, resorting to it at discretion.”

It wasn’t until World War II that Ireland’s history with tea diverged from that of England.  Up until WWII, Ireland received most of its tea from the English auction houses, importing little from countries of origin.  However, during WWII Ireland took a neutral stand and refused to allow Britain to use its western ports.  As a result, Ireland’s tea ration was drastically cut.   With the help of newly adopted post-WWII laws, Ireland began importing its own tea direct from source and to diverge from Britain’s traditional tea flavor profile. continue reading »

March 07 2010 | Miscellaneous and Products and Tea Facts | 10 Comments »

Recent Study Finds that Region Does Matter for Tea Quality

Japanese Tea Garden

The World Tea News recently reported (11/30/09) on a study that suggests that plants producing high-quality tea cannot simply be reproduced in other regions with the same outcome.  Researchers at the Kenyan institutions Maseno University, Egerton University and Moi University, conducted the study, which will appear in the April 2010 issue of the scientific journal Food Chemistry.  They started from the idea: “A superior quality genotype in one location is assumed to replicate the same attributes when planted in different regions, especially when climatic variations are minimal.” To test it, they cloned 20 plants that produced high-quality tea and planted them under identical circumstances, but in three different regions.  The results showed significant differences in the quality of the plain tea produced, based on certain parameters, among varying locations of production. A closer look further indicated that the changes in the tea were not systematic, because the same clone underwent different changes in different regions.  The study led the team to conclude: “A genotype selected in one site for high quality may not retain the relative quality over other genotypes in new areas. It is necessary to test genotypes in new areas of production to fully evaluate their relative quality potentials.”

continue reading »

December 04 2009 | Miscellaneous and Tea Facts and Tea Preparation | No Comments »

Celebrate the Holidays with Tea

Celebrate the Holidays with TeaThe holidays are a great time to thank those around us for all that they do to make our lives better.  It is also a great time to initiate those random acts of kindness that many of us want to do, but often find ourselves too busy to execute.  One of my favorite random acts of kindness is to pay for the person behind me in line (think café, movie theater, drive-through, etc.).  Not something that I do every day, but certainly a surprise worth doing every so often!  When writing a blog post for Arbor Teas I wondered, “What can I do with tea to celebrate the holidays?”  Obviously, I can give Arbor Teas as a healthy, socially conscious gift.  But what else can I do with tea during these cold months to celebrate those strangers and loved ones that fill my life?

Here are a few simple ideas that I hope to do this holiday season:

  1. Give a cup (or two) of hot tea to my postman, who always looks chilly on these winter days.
  2. Boil a mixture of water and holiday spice black tea in a pot on my stovetop to infuse my home (and family!) with its festive holiday scent.
  3. Use tea in one of my favorite holiday recipes to “spice it up” and then maybe bring it to work to share with my co-workers.  For a great example, try From the Kitchen of Olivia’s masala chai tea scones (yum!).
  4. Host a holiday tea for my family and friends. A tea during the hustle and bustle of the holidays is a perfect excuse to slow down, take a breather, and enjoy the season! Because evenings are generally committed to the typical host of social gatherings at this time of year, mornings often work well for a holiday tea. I plan to keep my menu simple and fill it with items that can be prepared in advance, so I have a chance to slow down and enjoy the tea, too.  Menu: Cheesy egg bake (veggie and meat options); scones (perfect timing Olivia!); bread, butter and my mom’s homemade strawberry jam; Sweet cakes and breads (lemon poppyseed is a favorite!); and of course, our Holiday Spice Black Tea.

Hope this post helps you get started celebrating the holidays with tea!  I know there are plenty more ways that tea can help you celebrate – leave us a comment to add your ideas!

December 04 2009 | Miscellaneous and Tea Fun | No Comments »

Looking Back on Arbor Teas’ First Five Years!

This month marks the fifth anniversary of our humble little tea company, and it just wouldn’t be appropriate to let the occasion pass without comment. Looking back, it’s remarkable to realize how far we’ve come, and all that we’ve accomplished along the way!

Starting with a meager 100 pounds or so of tea, this company has grown from a part-time venture of a newly-married couple, to a company that now sells thousands of pounds of organic loose leaf tea every year, employs four, and is run by a family of three (finally a true mom-and-pop shop!).  From absolute tea “unknowns,” to a company featured in the national media for it’s staunch commitment to sustainability, invited to panel discussions as a leader in the industry, etc.  Wow!

So far, this one company has been through two generations of packaging (with a third to be revealed early 2010), three different websites (starting to think about version 4.0…), four school years teaching tea appreciation at the local community college and elsewhere, five World Tea Expo’s, countless certifications, inspections, approvals, mentions in the press, etc., etc., etc.

Above all else, however, the story of Arbor Teas has been about friendship. From the friends (and family!) who helped us make it through that lean first year, to the friends who’ve helped us shape and continue to grow this business, to the customers who come into our lives every day – offering not only money in exchange for the products we sell, but friendship and appreciation for what this company stands for.  At times, running our business feels like keeping up with an ever-growing collection of pen pals throughout the country – who also happen to buy organic tea from us!

It’s been quite a ride, and we wouldn’t change a thing.  If you measured success in the number of friends made, Arbor Teas would be on the cover of Fortune Magazine. And that’s how we’ll continue measuring it over the next five years!

November 09 2009 | Miscellaneous | 8 Comments »

Director of Time Management Celebrates 1st Anniversary with Arbor Teas!

Director of Time ManagementAs many of you may recall, Arbor Teas was joined by Arthur S. Lopatin, Director of Time Management, last July.  Well, we are very excited to celebrate his first anniversary with us!  In his short tenure, Arthur has implemented a wide variety of initiatives to increase efficiency and productivity at Arbor Teas, including:

  • A flexible nap policy, in an effort to combat employee fatigue;
  • Clothing-optional work environment for improved employee comfort (except in tea packing room, of course);
  • Regular playtimes to stimulate employee productivity; and,
  • An expanded selection of finger foods in the cafeteria to boost employee morale.

It’s been a real joy bringing up our son in the midst of this exciting and satisfying business, and sharing his growth and development with so many of our customers who have taken an interest.  Can’t wait to share his second anniversary with you!

August 18 2009 | Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

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