Arbor Teas attended the 5th International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health in September at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC. The daylong symposium included 11 presentations by world renowned scientists who are currently studying the effects of tea on human health. The presentations covered several topics including (but not limited to) tea and weight loss, tea and cancer prevention, and tea and cardiovascular health.
Last Friday, NPR’s All Things Considered featured a story based on research presented at the Symposium. NPR’s Allison Aubrey beautifully summarized part of Rick Hursel’s presentation on Tea and Weight Loss in her story “Health Benefits of Tea: Milking It or Not”. Allison Aubrey’s story explored Hursel’s findings that the mixture of caffeine and catechins found in tea can have a stimulating effect on energy expenditure in the human body (ie our bodies may burn more calories when we drink tea). However, Hursel found that milk proteins may inhibit this function. In other words, if you add milk to your tea it may inhibit or prohibit the caffeine/catechin mix from increasing your energy expenditure. This story provoked a great deal of response from readers on the NPR website. Check out the full story at: “Health Benefits of Tea: Milking It or Not” (Sept 27, All Things Considered)
While Hursel’s research on tea and weight loss explored the most popular health-related issue surrounding tea today, it was only one of several research papers presented at the Symposium. A plethora of positive findings linked tea with a healthy heart, increased cognitive performance, bone health and cancer prevention. Further, these findings represented only a small fraction of the thousands of peer reviewed studies that have been published in the past decade identifying and quantifying the bioactive compounds in the leaves of Camellia sinensis. While there were many highly specific findings presented at the Symposium, we prefer to zoom out and focus on the broader outcomes. Below, we list our top five take-aways from the Symposium.
Arbor Teas’ Top Five Take-Aways
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We are delighted to announce the addition of 4 new wonderful teas to the Arbor Teas catalog.
3 New Organic Oolongs.
We’ve been searching high and low for extraordinary organic oolongs and have FINALLY found some. Great oolongs are extremely difficult to find USDA-certified organic, and we are proud to add these gems to our catalog. Better yet, these amazing oolongs are grown and manufactured by a small, family owned and operated tea garden in Anhui, China.
Organic Bao Zhong Oolong Tea. Also known as Pao Zhong, this beautiful organic oolong tea has an aroma of buttered greens and pronounced wildflowers. Smooth and lightly creamy with a lingering dry floral finish with a hint of almond. Using the Jin Xuan varietal instead of the traditionally-used Cing Xin varietal, this organic loose leaf tea breaks the traditional definition of what we expect from an organic Chinese tea and, similarly, what we expect from a Taiwanese Bao Zhong oolong. Exquisite!
Organic Dong Ding Oolong Tea. Also known as Tong Ting, this organic oolong is made in the “traditional style” with a deeper oxidation and a more pronounced roasting (as opposed to the more fashionable green style that has become popular these days). The single leaf, rolled balls lend an aroma of roasted peanut shells with orchid notes and a sweet full-bodied, smooth, and creamy infusion. If you already appreciate Taiwanese Dong Ding Oolongs, you will not be disappointed by this Chinese version and may even find that it allows for a particularly generous number of infusions!
Organic Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea. Also known as Bai Hao oolong, Pong Fong oolong, Super Fancy Formosa Oolong or simply Formosa Oolong, our organic Oriental Beauty has a deep oxidation of around 75% which produces a bronze-colored, extremely smooth (almost velvety!) cup that reveals hints of spices and citrus marmalade. It is produced in small batches and is a superb example of one of this distinctive oolongs.
1 New Organic Pu-erh. Organic Chocolate Pu-erh Tea. This wonderfully aromatic tea, combines Pu-erh with an American favorite – chocolate and almonds. With a rich bouquet of almond and chocolate, the mellow cup tastes earthy with hints of carob and almond.
Last month, we released our Organic and Fair Trade Certified Thai Iced Tea to celebrate National Iced Tea Month. It was a resounding success! We’ve received rave reviews and Thai Iced Tea has become our #1 selling tea. Our Thai Iced Tea is a blend of strong black tea and ground anise, vanilla bean and cardamom. By choosing to use ground spices, we’ve created a wonderfully spicy blend that can easily hold up to the addition of sweetened condensed milk to create a traditional restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea. However, many customers are surprised that our Thai Iced Tea blend is delicious simply on its own.
One customer exclaimed: “…it is so delicious it doesn’t even need all that other stuff [dairy and sugar]!”
Plus, NO artificial colors or flavors! Did you know that the deep orange color of Thai Iced Tea served in restaurants is usually attributed to artificial coloring? Well, no longer! We’ve developed an organic tea blend that includes no artificial colors or flavors. As a result, when dairy is added to this iced tea it will not turn orange, but a beautiful, natural light brown!
Thai Tea Parfait and Thai Bubble Tea.
Our Thai Iced Tea has been so popular that it has inspired other creations! Olivia May at From the Kitchen of Olivia has created an amazing Thai Tea Parfait recipe inspired by Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar. Olivia’s Thai Tea Parfait has a creamy gelatin base, with a cloud-like mix of Thai tea, dulce de leche and tamarind, which is layered with fresh coconut curd and a crispy almond topping. Yum! Check here to find the full recipe for Olivia’s Thai Tea Parfait.
Our own Taylor Caldron shared his recipe for Thai Boba “Bubble” Tea. In order to create Thai Boba Tea, all you need to do is follow a regular thai iced tea recipe (included), with one extra step! It’s all about knowing WHEN to add the boba. Check here to find Taylor’s Quick Recipe for Thai Boba Tea.
Thai Tea (also known as Thai Iced Tea) is a popular iced drink hailing from Thailand, commonly found in Thai restaurants across the USA. Arbor Teas’ Thai Iced Tea is a traditional blend of strong black tea, vanilla bean, cardamom and anise. It can be enjoyed hot or cold with a twist of lime as a self drinker (without milk). Or it can be brewed to create a traditional, restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea when combined with ice, milk and sugar!
NO Artificial Colors or Flavors!
Did you know that the deep orange color of Thai Iced Tea served in restaurants is usually attributed to artificial coloring (specifically FD&C Yellow #6)? Well, no longer! After a failed search to find an organic, traditional Thai Iced Tea sold in the US without artificial flavors or dyes, Arbor Teas decided to develop its own. The resulting blend is Organic and Fair Trade Certified, includes no artificial colors or flavors, and does not turn orange when dairy is added, but instead turns a beautiful natural light brown!
Make Your Own Restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea at Home
To recreate a restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea, Arbor Teas recommends steeping a double strength cup of tea. Then sweeten the hot brew with sugar, and serve over ice. Glasses of Thai Iced Tea are usually topped with dairy, such as sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk (this last one, of course, is not actually dairy). The final addition of dairy usually rests on top of the ice cubes creating a beautiful layered effect in the glass!
On Earth Day 2010, Arbor Teas became the FIRST tea company in the United States (to our knowledge) to deliver a full 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 are able to compost their tea leaves AND tea packaging together in their home composting system!
Lately, we’ve had several customers ask, “Is it OK to place Arbor Teas packaging in worm composting bins?” We’ve contacted the manufacturer of the films used to create Arbor Teas packaging and we have great news! Yes, Arbor Teas backyard compostable packaging is also safe to use in worm composting bins!
“To meet the AS4736 standard, NatureFlex™ films had to undergo a stringent test regime, carried out by an independent accredited laboratory to the required global standards, in order to confirm that their inclusion will have no negative effect on soil, compost quality or earthworm toxicity.”
We also wanted to share this amazing video with you! Watch films similar to those used in our packaging decompose over the course of 12 weeks.
Note: the worms!
What Makes Arbor Teas Packaging Different?
Our exciting packaging is composed of a cellulose film made from wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed trees. Most of the compostable packaging available in today’s marketplace is only truly compostable in industrial settings optimized for rapid breakdown. By contrast, the film used for Arbor Teas’ new packaging can actually break down in a backyard compost setting. Because of greater variation in moisture and temperature, backyard composting environments have historically been incapable of breaking down so-called “compostable” packaging materials, such as corn-based plastic cups and take-out containers. However, the material in Arbor Teas’ new packages requires a less optimized environment for biodegradation, representing a major advance in low-impact packaging.
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 (www.arborteas.com) on April 22nd and input the following coupon code during checkout: EarthDay2012.
Earth Day Sale Details Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012
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: EarthDay2012
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!
One of the amazing things about the world of tea is there is always something new to learn. Just when we think we’ve heard of everything, we discover a new origin, style, or blend, and the learning process begins anew! During Arbor Teas’ recent trip to NYC to participate in the Specialty Tea Institute’s tea curriculum, we were introduced to a “new” category of tea. I put quotation marks around the word “new” because this category of tea is actually not new at all. I (Aubrey) was taught and have always understood the five main types of tea as: white, green, oolong, black and pu-erh. These five main types of tea were touted by the Specialty Tea Institute way back when I took their Foundations of Tea classes, and in many famous and well respected tea history books. In fact, on www.ArborTeas.com we divide our navigation menu into these five types of tea, plus “rooibos” and the catch-all category of “herbal“.
However, what Sarah and Peggy learned in their Foundations of Tea class this time around was that Pu-erh teas are actually a sub-set of a larger category of Chinese teas called “Dark Teas”. Because Pu-Erhs are really the only Dark Teas known to the western world, they are often mistakenly described as their own category (like white, green, oolong, and black). But technically speaking, the fifth category of tea should not be “Pu-erh” but “Dark”. (As an aside, kudos to Sarah and Peggy for completing and passing Foundations of Tea Levels One & Two – congrats!)
Arbor Teas was recently featured in the February edition of MetroParent Magazine! In this fun story, MetroParent introduces its readers to Arbor Teas’ owners Aubrey and Jeremy as well as their children Arthur and Penelope. To celebrate the event, Olivia May From the Kitchen of Olivia, shared with us her latest Cooking with Tea Recipe: Honeybush Tea Jelly. Olivia exclaims “This recipe is for the kids! Honeybush Tea Jelly makes fantastic PB&J sandwiches!” The woody sweetness of Arbor Teas’ Organic Honeybush balances the tartness of the homemade apple pectin used to thicken the jelly and Honeybush is naturally caffeine-free – yes, it is quite perfect for the kids! Honeybush Tea Jelly can also be combined with nuts and spices and stuffed into apple dumplings… yum! Check out the full recipe for Honeybush Tea Jelly on the Arbor Teas website.
Arbor Teas is a contestant for the Intuit $25,000 Small Business Grant! This contest runs through the end of January 2012 and the winner receives a $25,000 hiring grant. The more votes we receive the greater our chance of winning. So take a moment to vote for us and tell Intuit why you love Arbor Teas!
Monday, January 23, 2012 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Celebrate the Chinese New Year by trying a new Chinese Tea! China is the birthplace of tea, from which all traditional styles of tea originate: white, green, black, oolong and pu-erh. To celebrate, we have selected one Chinese tea from each style and are offering it at 10% off! Simply input the coupon code below during checkout. Offer expires January 31, 2012 or while supplies last.
This blog serves as a more casual forum for news and updates about Arbor Teas, as well as issues related to tea and sustainable living. Check out Arbor Teas for one of the largest selections of organic and Fair Trade Certified teas available!