Tea and Caffeine

Morning Peeps...

Its been a month since I blogged. Bad me. I’ve been focusing on new ventures that are coming up this fall. Like teaching a tea class at Open Kitchen and attending expos and events (more on that later). I have been loyal to my morning cup of Jade Oolong and Im about to cup a few more this afternoon. Yeah me!

I was sifting through some old emails and came across this interesting bit from my Peep over in England, Nigel Melican. He is an expert on many many tea related issues especially caffeine. So Id like to share with you what he said recently. A question was asked:

Q. “First, I was wondering which tea had the greatest caffeine content White,Green,or Black?…

A. “A 2007 study in Germany (Hilal & Engelhardt) looked at 30 Black teas, 2 sets of 30 Green teas & 30 White teas. This is the most comprehensive study I know. They found a range of caffeine:


Black tea 2.0 to 5.4% – average 3.5%

Green tea (1) 1.5 to 5.2% – average 3.4%

Green tea (2) 1.7 to 3.9% – average 2.9%

White tea 3.4 to 5.7% – average 4.9%


My conclusion from this is that to drink any particular color of tea for its low or high level is to fool yourself. Despite what many misguided (or unscrupulous) vendors may tell you, your black could be as low as 2.0% and your green as high as 5.2% – and even on average (if you could ever find an average tea) a black will be the same caffeine level as a green – from sample set 1 at least.


White tea scores higher on average than black or green, though a ‘high’ black or green could still beat a ‘low’ white.


Steeping practice will modify caffeine intake more than your choice of tea type. Halve the tea you use = 50% less caffeine in your cup. Treble steep your green or white teas and you will have significantly less caffeine per oz of water consumed than in a single steep of black.


Finally, don’t worry so much about caffeine in tea. Nature provided tea polyphenols to complex it – so you do not get the coffee jitters from tea – and the unique relaxing L-theanine to balance caffeine’s energizing effects. New research (in mice only, so far) points to caffeine having a protecting and reversing affect on Alzheimer dementia at a dose of 500mg per day – around 14 cups! That has to be an argument for increased tea drinking.


Analysis shows that the African cultivars are consistently high for caffeine content. Some can be up to 6% in parts of the year and the CTC manufactured types are the highest. Teas from Kenya and Rwanda are particularly good for combination of taste, high caffeine and high L-theanine (the stress busting amino acid unique to tea). In USA though it’s difficult to find these teas as straight origins. I suggest you seek out a supplier of Taylors Yorkshire Gold – their blend incorporates a lot of the best African teas – good and strong and my favorite for the morning wake up cuppa.

Q. “I know this has been addressed in the past, but once again….Which if any tea has the most caffine? I am a loose tea drinker, but also love my coffee. Coffee isnt agreeing with me anymore, but Ive gotta have that “buzz” in the morning to get me going. I have a job where I sit all day and look at a computer, and need to stay awake!…[I’d] appreciate anything you can advise me on.”


A.  “Analysis shows that the African cultivars are consistently high for caffeine content. Some can be up to 6% in parts of the year and the CTC manufactured types are the highest. Teas from Kenya and Rwanda are particularly good for combination of taste, high caffeine and high L-theanine (the stress busting amino acid unique to tea). In USA though it’s difficult to find these teas as straight origins. I suggest you seek out a supplier of Taylors Yorkshire Gold – their blend incorporates a lot of the best African teas – good and strong and my favorite for the morning wake up cuppa.”


There you have it. Thanks Nigel!

Happy Sipping!

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Tea and Caffeine

Yoga Teapots and Cherry Blossoms

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I love teapots. I have a giant collection of them and can’t stop buying new ones. I probably need to open a store just to showcase them all.

I ventured into teaware last fall. I’m picky about my pots so I made sure to test them over and over again. Sometimes you see a cute design, take it home and it drips when you pour. Me no likee. Or, the mesh infuser is too thin and bends making it impossible to use again. Me really no likee.

Then there are the ones that just dont hold enough water for teatime. You know, the ones that give you just one cup of tea. I need at least two per sitting.

I’ve been happy with the choice I made with regard to iPot Teapot and have decided to keep them around for a while. There are some others I’m testing out in the TeaLab, but I’m not ready to release just yet.

Recently I ordered some new designs. How cool are the ones with the yoga positions etched into the side? Love it. Will definitely keep a few for me. 🙂 I am offering them in 3 colors: Bamboo and Grape (tree pose) and Carribbean Blue (lotus pose). There are matching cups as well that make such a nice gift. Either for yourself or someone who loves tea and yoga.

I also just had to have the Cherry Blossom design which is simply gorgeous and perfect for this time of year. We are in Cherry Blossom Season here in DC so it just makes it all the more fitting.  It a also has a matching teapot.The duo is so feminine.

If you are subscribed to this blog or follow me on twitter, Im going to offer you tealove peeps 10% off both the Yoga design and the Cherry Blossoms if you order by April 5, 2009. Just use code: CB10 at checkout.

Happy Sipping! Happy Spring!

** If you live in the DC Metro Area, please come to the Woman’s Show of Northern Virginia April 3-5 at the Dulles Expo Center. Stop by and say hello. We’re in Booth 1019.

Yoga Teapots and Cherry Blossoms

A Ramble on Tea Reviews (and Wine): Part 1

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It’s just after midnight here in our Nation’s Capital. And I’m wondering why President Obama hasn’t ordered any of our “Drink for Change” blend? Which then led me to Twitter. Random? Of course.

While on Twitter I noticed a significant jump in people following Pearl Fine Teas. Interesting. I hadn’t been paying attention the last few weeks. I clicked to see who was interested in us. Even more interesting. As I browsed the list, checking out fellow TeaPeeps and clicking on their sites or being led to other sites related to tea, I noticed something even more interesting than the last interesting thing…

puter1There are a TON of Tea Review websites out there. When did this happen? So I sat with this thought for a bit… Why are there so many sites that review tea? Why do so many people want to review tea? Why are people building websites and social networks around reviewing tea? Is anyone really interested in someone else’s review of tea? Remember, I was in advertising for many years and my default is extreme curiosity and intense questioning about things like this.

I must admit here on my very own TeaLove Blog, which is mostly about tea and my thoughts on things related to tea (hence totally teacentric) that even I am only mildly interested in another persons review. There I said it. From a business perspective I love the idea of people trying our teas, having an opinion about it (hopefully positive) and then telling others. I like the idea of community. I don’t know how I feel or what I think just yet on the whole “review” thing.  Not knocking the reviewers, just so curious on this new trend. And forming an opinion. (Because I always have an opinion on something.)

I mean… I’ve seen movies where critics have given 2 thumbs down for a movie that I loved. Dare I admit to loving Anchorman? Shallow Hal? Dodgeball? Did I fall asleep watching Ghandi? I really did. But I did love Slumdog Millionaire!

When people ask me what tea they should drink, I always pause for a moment, and then suggest teas that I believe are of high quality and value, and why I think they may like it. However, even though I may like that tea, it doesn’t mean someone else will. High quality aside.

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i love this wine

A few years ago I had a client who was (I think still is) the CEO of a bank. He and his wife were lovers of California wines. I remember talking to him about my growing interest in wines and reading Wine Spectator. He looked at me and said, “Elise, drink what you like and forget the rest. Who cares if something got a low rating. If you like it, drink it.”

I had no reply to that. He was right. Plus he was my client. And a lot taller then me. I feel that way about tea as well. If you like it, drink it.

I LOVE good tea. I also LOVE good wine. But what does good really mean? I’ve had the pleasure of sampling collectible wines: 1989 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape (Yes! It’s true!); 1996 Latour Corton Charlemagne; 1989 Paul Jaboulet Aine, Hermitage La Chapelle; and a fabulous 1990 Caymus Cabernet Special Selection. I’ve also had Yellow Tail and an unbelievable Pinot Noir from Sonoma-Cutrer for $45 a bottle that left such an impression, I’m ordering a case. Seriously.

lipton4I’ve also sampled many spectacular teas. Some considered so good they are collected and sold for a small fortunes in Asia (ie: puerh). Some I liked and some I didn’t. I’ve also had Lipton. Who hasn’t. There is a time and place for all things, including Lipton Tea. Think iced on a hot summer day.  I refuse to bash Lipton, though I know some people who do. Sir Thomas Johnson Lipton began in 1870 and is currently one of the biggest tea distributors in the world. Its been around for 139 years! People like it.

“Whats her point you may be saying…My point is that, some of us are tea snobs. Some of us are wine snobs. Some of us are both. Is being a snob really such a good thing? I dunno. In the end what matters is what tastes good to YOU. Enjoy the pleasure and the journey of sampling teas and form your own opinion on the leaf (or grape). For good or for bad, its the pleasure of discovering what you like that’s fantastic. And, if you find a tea you absolutely love ENJOY IT. If it happens to be a tea in a bag from a roadside diner paired with the meatloaf special… Who cares. If YOU like it, sip it. (I can feel the tea community twitching as I type this.)

pearl_logo-smallAll that said… I do prefer a whole leaf tea to fannings and anyone out there who would like to review some of our teas (Teaviews & Steepster) and shout out good things to the world about us … you know where to find me.

Ok it’s now 2:23am. I’m done rambling for now and will formulate more thoughts soon on this fantastic growing phenomenon. Part 2 to come…

Happy Sipping! (both tea and wine)

A Ramble on Tea Reviews (and Wine): Part 1

A Tea Journey to Sri Lanka and South India

map_indiaI’ve traveled a good bit over the years touching down in places like Southern Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean and now it appears that I will have the pleasure of visiting India and Sri Lanka. I am thrilled!

Having been invited by Pearl Dexter, Editor of Tea. A Magazine to join her and 6 others for a private tour of the tea estates and gardens in both countries, I must say the excitement is hard to contain. Those participating in this wonderful tour include: Pearl Dexter; Cynthia Gold, Tea Sommelier, Boston Park Plaza Hotel; her husband Julian; Danielle Beaudette, Owner/The Cozy Tea Cart; Judy Larkin, The Larkin Tea Company; Carol Sims, Tea Embassy; her husband Bob; and myself.

I am so looking forward to exploring the estates in Sri Lanka and the  Nilgiri region of Southern India.Though the idea of a 24 hour flight out of JFK less then thrills me, I’ve no doubt what awaits will be magical. I can’t wait to sip of cup of freshly produced tea!

Our group will leave the US on April 16th and return on the 25th. My hope is to blog, twitter and facebook while I am there, but that will require the leap over to AT&T and the wonderful iPhone. I cant wait!

I hope to bring back a ton of stories along with a fresh crop of teas from both countries! Below is a bit of info on both regions:

tea-estates-in-nilgiri1Nilgiri: South India’s Nilgiri means “blue mountain.” Started in the 19th century. 2nd largest tea producing area after Assam. Especially teas produced in altitude regions of over 1,600m surrounded by plants like eucalyptus or cypress trees, are known internationally as “fragrant teas” and highly recognized by their special flavors.

plantation2Sri Lanka: Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka, is considered the best tea in the world. The influence of climatic conditions of its plantation imparts to the product a variety of flavors and aromas, synonymous with quality. Why is Ceylon Tea considered unique? The diversity in flavor – something that other tea producing countries do not have. Teais = grown in six agro climatic regions, each region giving its own flavor profile to the tea grown in it. There are six regions for tea in Sri Lanka: Uva, Nuwara eliya, Udapussellawa, Kandy, Dimbulla and Ruhuna. The tea sectosr in Sri Lanka have always been a vital component of her economy. It is also the country’s largest employer providing employment both directly and indirectly to over one million people. It also contributes a significant amount to Government revenue and to the gross domestic product.

Happy Sipping!

A Tea Journey to Sri Lanka and South India

Christmas Tea at the Mayflower Hotel

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Amy, Mysoon, Nicole (owner of Quiet Mind Yoga), Tiffany, Rochel (owner of Joyful Bath Co.)

Every year it’s the same. I send out an email in August to my “TeaPeeps” suggesting a Sunday in December for us to meet for Christmas Tea. A bit early for an RSVP, but this way we are all on the same page and can actually make it happen. It seems to work because this is our 5th year! Amy, Mysoon, Nicole and Tiffany were all past students of mine (when I was teaching design and creative thinking) who obviously transitioned into being dear friends. Rochel was a past vendor of mine, who is now a dear friend. Nicole has recently followed her heart and has started a yoga studio here in DC called Quiet Mind. Rochel has done the same with following her heart and has started her second business called Joyful Bath Co. Amy and Mysoon have followed their hearts and passion and are both working as designers and Tiffany followed her heart into a wonderful job that has her traveling to exotic locations like Vietnam!

A fabulous group of woman,  we met today at 315p at the Mayflower Hotel, in downtown DC. I’m sure many of you have heard of  hotel – think Eliot Spitzer.

The Mayflower Hotel  is elegant and their afternoon tea is well done. I have often met many a client for tea here, but was impressed with their version of Christmas Tea. Decorated with poinsettias on each table and a harpist in the corner of the room, each of us was offered our own 2-tier of savory and sweets.We decided that we likes this rather than a large 3-tier in the center of the table.

food2It began with a selection of savory tea sandwiches including: smoked salmon, grilled vegetarian sandwich on focaccia bread, smoked duck and a mozerella on pita. Delicious! Rochel enjoyed it so much, she requested a refill! The sweets section was abundant and I don’t think any of us were able to finish what was offered. There was a raspberry fruit tartlet, chocolate eclair, black currant scone, clotted cream and lemon curd, raisin brioche, coconut rocher and hazelnut macaroon and their signature banana bread. We often add on a glass of champagne, but this year we skipped the bubbly and just enjoyed the tea. I enjoyed a pot of Wild Blueberry. And I believe there were some oohs and ahs over their Mountain Spring Jasmine tea. I had a sip – quite good. The tea menu included the following: Breakfast Americana, Darjeeling Choice Estate, Earl Grey, Wild Blackberries, Orchid Oolong, Mountain Spring Jasmine, Sencha, Chamomile Citrus, Ginger Twist and Organic Mint Melange. All I believe from Mighty Leaf. I thought the service was good and the overall experience was pleasant.

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The menu

The room was filled with many young woman who were obviously there with family and friends to celebrate season and enjoy each others company. I can say that our Christmas Tea event has become something I look forward to each year. Though we many not see each other for 364 days, we can always count on coming together in early December over tea and treats to catch-up on whats happened over the last year. I truly treasure the time we spend together and look forward to next year!

Here is a little bit of history on the Historic Mayflower Hotel:

The Mayflower Hotel was known as the “Grande Dame of Washington, D.C.,” boasting more gold than any other building in the country except for the Library of Congress. Just four blocks from the White House, this grand, historic hotel remains not only a place to make history but to absorb it; throughout the last 80 years the hotel has hosted events that have changed the course of human affairs. Its opening function, the annual banquet of the Washington Chamber of Commerce, was totally eclipsed by Calvin Coolidge’s Inaugural Charity Ball held two weeks later in the Grand Ballroom. The ball began a long tradition of presidential use of the Mayflower. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ate lunch at the hotel every day for 20 years, and President Harry Truman lived at the Mayflower during the first 90 days of his presidential term. Franklin Roosevelt lived in Suite 776 during his pre-inaugural period and dictated his famous, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” speech there. In 1942, the hotel staged Washington’s first blackout drill, installed air raid sirens and first aid stations on every floor, turned the roof into an observation post and made plans to convert the barbershop into an emergency hospital. Harry S. Truman announced his intention to run for the presidency in 1948 at a Jackson Day dinner at the Mayflower (“I want to say that during the next four years there will be a Democrat in the White House and you are looking at him.”)

1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20036 USA
Phone:  1-202-347-3000
Fax:  1-202-776-9182

Christmas Tea at the Mayflower Hotel

Give The Gift of Tea… for 20% OFF!

gift the gift of tea
gift the gift of tea

It’s cyber-monday and we are doing our part to stimulate the economy by offering a 20% Discount on tea and teaware from today through December 24th! Just enter Code TLB20 at checkout! And… If you order totals more than $100, shipping is FREE!

Need suggestions on what teas to give? How about…

Earl Grey de la Creme or Earl Grey Lavender
Perfect for the Earl Grey lover who might be interested in trying something different. de la Creme is smooth and creamy with notes of vanilla. Lavendar is light, refreshing and very aromatic. Both blend nicely with the oil of bergamot!

Counting Sheep
Know someone who needs to chill? Having trouble relaxing and falling asleep. We aren’t sleep doctors, but we have to admit… Counting Sheep seems to relax the TeaPeeps here at Pearl Fine Teas. The blend is light and fresh and has strong notes of citrus. The aromatherapy alone should have you sawing wood. Caffeine Free to promote total relaxation and a peaceful end to your day. Just don’t sip and drive with this blend… you could fall asleep behind the wheel!

Bora Bora
Did your plans for a tropical vacation fall by the wayside this year because of the economic climate? No worries. Sip Bora Bora and imagine yourself on a tropical island… sun warming your skin… We know its no substitute for a real vacation, but why not sip this healthy green tea blended with passionfruit to warm you from the inside out?

Ceylon
One of the most outstanding Ceylon teas you will ever drink. Our Ceylon is from Shawlands Estate in the Uva region of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Takes well to milk although best drunk black. Full bodied, soothing and complex. Superb!

Maojian
Maojian is one of China’s most famous green teas, grown high in the mountains in misty tea gardens with brief sunlight and cold nights. The difficult conditions yield strong leaves that can withstand rolling and high roasting which creates its wonderful rich flavor and aroma. If you haven’t tried this green tea, you are missing something special.

Silver Needles
Long, soft and downy, Silver Needles are the first spring buds of the Da-Bai tea plant. It comes from Fuding, a serene region with soothing waterfalls and crystal clear lakes. The peaceful setting is reflected in the flavour: soft, mellow, with the sweet freshness of honeydew melon. A classic not to be dismissed.

How about a teapot to go with all this loose leaf tea? We’ve touted the virtues of the wonderful iPot and still stand by our recommendation. Choose from a 17 oz version in Scarlet, Jasmine, Pink, and Eggplant Damask. Or a 24 oz version in Scarlet, Pistachio, Ocean Blue, and Sky.

There’s a lot more tea on the website so have a peek!

Happy Sipping! Happy Shopping!

Give The Gift of Tea… for 20% OFF!

Retire the Tea Ball

the dreaded tea ball
the dreaded tea ball

Anyone that knows me knows… I have opinions. On everything from organic cat food to global warming. I also have an opinion on the what I call: the dreaded tea ball.

A couple of times a week, I stand outside in the cold to meet people and talk about tea. Yes, I am “doing” a farmers market in Northern Virginia. What can I say… my beloved bookkeeper Glenn (a TeaPeep) is sort of a mover and shaker at the market and thought I would be a good fit. So I said, “Ok.” If you happen to live there, come by and say hello. I’ll be in Del Rey on Saturdays wearing my sunglasses and a very large fluffy black down coat. I’ll be sipping hot tea. Tangent. Sorry…

Often times people will ask me this question: “What should I use to brew my tea in?” First of all, if you read my post on “To Steep or To Brew?” you would know that the word “brew” is like nails on a chalkboard to me. So I answer like this: “What I like to use to STEEP my tea is…” and I share my opinion.

So what do I like to use? Certainly NOT the dreaded tea ball. I’m sure it came in handy during Victorian times and like, the 80s, but it’s 2008, TeaPeeps, we need to retire the ball. It doesn’t do the leaf justice. Leaves need room to stretch out and “breath.” The ball is too restrictive. Plus, its messy.

Universal Infuser

What I love are tea pots with built-in infusers (I will be blogging about this in a few days). I also like our Universal Tea Infuser. Love it. Have more than one. I also like the glass tea pot called Bora Bora by Bodum. And not just because it just happens to match the name of our super fabulous Bora Bora Green tea with passion fruit. Pure coincidence. Lastly, I really like our HuesNBrews tea pots. These pots work. Are easy on the eyes. Easy clean up. I’m partial to sunflower this year.

the tea "pillowcase"
tea pillowcase

I also really really love our tea pillow cases. That’s what I call them. I’m not a fan of the “tea sock”. Others love it. Not me. I don’t like that it hangs over the side of the cup. Don’t like that tea can sneak out. Yep.. the pillow case gets my vote. I also LOVE that I can make my own tea bags and bring them with me. I never leave home without tea. Seriously. I have special tea carry case. Does that make me a tea nerd? Absolutely. But at least I’m drinking some darn good tea and not something of lower quality.

What to do with your old tea ball? Honor it. Frame it. Hang it on your Christmas tree. Glue it to a pedestal, but please, retire the dreaded tea ball.

Do you have an opinion on the dreaded tea ball? I’d like to hear about it.

If you liked this post, pass it on to a friend!

Retire the Tea Ball