India’s Tea Grading System Might Get Even More Complicated

Organic Assam Black Tea TGFOPYou may have noticed the long list of grading letters that often trail the name of an Indian or Sri Lankan (Ceylon) tea, such as in our Organic and Fair Trade Certified Assam Black Tea “TGFOP”. Once manufactured, tea is graded based on its physical description (including leaf size and color). Indian black teas are subject to the most structured and extensive grading system. It is important to know that Indian tea grading does NOT reflect the quality of the final brew, just the visual characteristics of the dry tea leaf. The basic term used for grading whole leaf tea,what we predominately sell at Arbor Teas, is Orange Pekoe (pronounced PECK-oh), or “OP”. In addition to the “OP” designation, additional letters are often assigned to describe the leaves’ various characteristics. So, for example the tea shown above has a rating of “TGFOP” which signifies a tea leaf that is Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Now that is a mouthful!

Well, this already complicated system might be getting even more complicated. As reported in the Business Standard today, the Tea Board of India is proposing to rate tea factories too. During his address at the inaugural session of the 24th annual general meeting of Federation of All India Tea Traders Association (FAITTA), the chairman of the Tea Board Board of India, M G V K Bhanu, announced that the Tea Board of India has proposed to give all the tea factories in India a category rating ranging from A to D, with A being the top quality category. Bhanu stressed this rating system would help spread awareness about the importance of good quality tea among the small tea growers and ensure good quality tea production in the country.

“We propose to map all the tea factories on some of the key parameters. An independent agency will take samples of tea from these factories and certify them with respective categories like A, B, C and D. This will give the factories an identity and ensure the quality production of tea,” said Tea Board of India chairman Bhanu.

June 19 2013 | Tea Facts | No Comments »

COOKING WITH TEA RECIPE: Burmese Tea Leaf Salad or Lahpet Thoke

Burmese Tea Salad
We couldn’t be more excited to post this Cooking with Tea recipe created by Olivia May at From the Kitchen of Olivia.  When the Arbor Teas team recently visited San Francisco we enjoyed an amazing Burmese Tea Salad at a small family restaurant named Pagan.  We shared our adventure with Olivia who, inspired by her own Burmese Tea Salad adventures, created this recipe using Arbor Teas’ Organic Makaibari Estate Darjeeling Green Tea.

This recipe for a traditional Burmese fermented tea leaf salad (Lahpet Thoke pronounced “la-pay toe”) is an eclectic mix of flavors and textures.  However, finding fermented tea leaves outside Burma and northern Thailand isn’t very easy. Luckily, this recipe includes directions to ferment your own tea leaves!

Check here for the full recipe for Burmese Tea Leaf Salad!

May 20 2013 | Cooking with Tea | 2 Comments »

Arbor Teas Website is Award Winning!

We are delighted to announce that the Arbor Teas website ( is now an award-winning website! won a 2013 Gold AVA Award honoring digital excellence for small business.   AVA Awards is an international competition that recognizes outstanding work by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design and production of media that is part of the evolution of digital communication.  AVA Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP).

Congratulations to the team of designers at FWD Design that brought the Arbor Teas website to life!

Thank you!

May 08 2013 | Media and Miscellaneous | No Comments »

Arbor Teas Annual Earth Day Sale – Monday, April 22, 2013

Our Annual Earth Day Sale is Monday, April 22!

Celebrate Earth Day with the Arbor Teas Annual Earth Day Sale. For one day only, we offer 15% off everything in our inventory – our largest sale of the year! To take advantage of the Earth Day Sale, place your order on the Arbor Teas website ( on April 22nd and input the following coupon code during checkout: EarthDay2013.

Earth Day Sale Details
Date: Monday, April 22, 2013
Time: Between 12:01 am EST and 11:59 pm PST
Sale: 15% off everything in our inventory!
Bonus: Free shipping for orders over $60
Coupon Code: EarthDay2013

The Earth Day Discount is available while supplies last. In the past, we have sold out of certain teas and teaware, so order early! We’re sorry, but the Earth Day discount cannot be applied to orders placed before April 22nd and cannot be applied to orders placed after April 22nd. The Earth Day discount cannot be combined with other coupons and cannot be applied toward shipping costs, however we are pleased to offer free shipping for orders over $60!

PS – Don’t forget Mother’s Day is right around the corner – now is a perfect time to treat that special mom in your life to something delicious and healthy!

April 21 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

COOKING WITH TEA RECIPE: Chamomile Hummus and Chamomile Vinaigrette Dressing

Arbor Teas customer Dimitra Anne was recently inspired by our Organic Chamomile to create two (2) new “cooking with tea” recipes! In fact, when her daughter sat down at the dinner table she exclaimed, “Mom, is there Chamomile in this!?”.

Chamomile Vinaigrette DressingDimitra created a wonderful Chamomile Vinaigrette Dressing that can be served over a lettuce salad or altered slightly to create a delicious tahini dressing for a shredded cabbage and carrot salad.

Dimitra recommends a salad of romaine, baby spinach, spring greens, cauliflower, red pepper, garbanzos, hemp and chia seeds, slivered almonds, goji berries, and dried fig slices.

Check here to view the full recipe for Chamomile Vinaigrette Dressing.

Chamomile HummusDimitra also created a delightful Chamomile Hummus that can be served alone with bread, crackers, carrots, and cucumbers. Or served as a counterpart to vegetable fritters such as fried eggplant. She also recommends serving this fresh hummus with warm garbanzos. Yum!

Check here to view the full recipe for Chamomile Hummus.

Don’t forget to submit your own tea-inspired recipe to earn 100 rewards points at Arbor Teas!

April 10 2013 | Cooking with Tea | No Comments »

Arbor Teas celebrates 6 years of partnership with Carbon Fund!

Carbon Fund Partner LogoFor the past six years, Arbor Teas has ”neutralized” its annual operational emissions and its product shipment emissions in partnership with  We are committed to making a positive impact on the environment and have taken many steps to reduce emissions by offering only organic teas, packaging our tea in backyard compostable packaging, and using renewable energy sources.  However, our teas come from all corners of the world, so the shipping emissions are unavoidable.  To mitigate these emissions, we have maintained a CarbonFree® Shipping program to offset the carbon footprint of annual product shipment emissions, and to offset all internal operational emissions, by supporting’s renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects.

Until technology allow us to eliminate carbon emissions entirely,  we agree whole-heartedly with’s motto:

“Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.”

March 20 2013 | Energy and Green Business and Sustainability | No Comments »

Arbor Teas Mentioned in New Book – Rich Food, Poor Food

Rich Food, Poor FoodArbor Teas was recently named in a new book, Rich Food, Poor Food, that strives to help shoppers locate the healthiest foods on the market.

Sold out at Barnes and Noble and reaching #18 on, this grocery store guide takes shoppers aisle by aisle, from the produce section to the pasta aisle, visiting every department in between, teaching its readers how to identify potentially problematic ingredients including synthetic hormones, pesticides and GMOs, as well as sharing tips on how to lock in a food’s nutritional value during preservation and preparation. Arbor Teas is listed as having some of the best products on the market today!

Browse the Arbor Teas selection of USDA organic certified loose leaf teas and tisanes!

March 06 2013 | Media | 2 Comments »

Arbor Teas Holidays Hours 2012

Arbor Teas will be closed for the Holidays, Dec 24, 2012 – Jan 1, 2013.

We will continue to accept orders via, but no shipments will be made during this time. All orders placed during this time frame will be promptly shipped beginning January 2.

Free Delivery in Ann Arbor will resume on Friday, January 4.

Wishing Everyone a Very Merry Holiday and Happy New Year!

December 19 2012 | Miscellaneous | No Comments »

Arbor Teas Mentioned in

Sustainable BrandsAs many of you know, starting on Earth Day 2010 Arbor Teas began to deliver its line of organic loose teas in 100% backyard compostable packaging! With the release of this next generation packaging, we at Arbor Teas advanced our environmental mission, continuing to lead the tea industry through our staunch commitment to sustainable business practices. For the first time ever, tea drinkers were able to compost their tea leaves AND tea packaging together in their home composting system!

Recently, our packaging was recognized in the article “Is That a Candy Bar Wrapper in My Tomato Garden?” on You may recognize the photo at the beginning of the article!

“Sustainable packaging gives the consumer yet another reason to choose one product over another…”
(Christopher Mitchell,  

Thanks for choosing us!

December 12 2012 | Green Business and Media | No Comments »

NEW Tea-Infused Smoky Caramels & NEW Coconut Rooibos Truffle!

Tea Infused Caramels & Tea Infused TrufflesTis the Season! Our gourmet Tea Infused Chocolate Truffles are back for the holidays! We have offered these tasty little treats during the holiday season for 4 years in a row, brought back each year by popular demand. This year we are mixing it up. We are replacing one of the previous truffles with a new Coconut Rooibos truffle. It is amazing!

Plus, NEW for 2012! Enjoy sweet and smoky artisan caramels. These handmade caramels are meticulously prepared in small batches by our very own Olivia May at From the Kitchen of Olivia. Olivia has been creating tea inspired recipes for the Arbor Teas Cooking with Tea section (and this blog!) for several years. This year, we FINALLY convinced Olivia to share her talent with all of us! For the holiday season only (Nov thru Dec), Olivia is re-creating her most popular recipe, Tea Infused Smoky Caramels. Olivia uses our Organic and Fair Trade Certified Lapsang Souchong Black Tea to create a smoky infusion for these caramels. Think buttery sweet smoke wrapped in one amazingly gooey and salty caramel. We’ve never tasted a caramel as good as this!

PS – Watch out, these caramels can be addictive!

November 08 2012 | Products | No Comments »

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