Pu’erh Tea and the Year of the Earth Ox.

yearofoxpotHappy Chinese New Year! Finally, we have closed the door on the Year of the Rat. *whew*

Bye Bye, Rat! Hello, Ox!

As I sit here contemplating the new year (which is today if you go by the Chinese lunar calendar) I am filled with optimism as we welcome the Year of the OX. It must be better than the Rat. Don’t  you think? I hope. Let’s look on the bright side…

Though times may be challenging, each day we get the opportunity to make a new choice! Every single morning, we can create a new reality… amend previous decisions… be more kind… save a bit more money… keep promises… maybe try something new…

Which brings me to my choice of tea tonight as we usher in the Year of the Earth Ox: Golden Tip Pu’erh. What a natural partnership! Rich, smooth, woody, earthy. Lacking the unpleasant mustiness of some pu’erhs.  It’s a perfect introduction into the mystical world of pu’erh. A few cups a day is said to have the highest in health benefits. We’ll let you know when we start glowing. If you haven’t tried this magical tea from China, we recommend you dive right in.

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Golden Tip Pu'erh

Ok, now back to Chinese Astrology.  The Chinese Zodiac is said to follow the stations of Jupiter’s orbit around the sun, which is just shy of 12 years. The animals mark years in a 12-year cycle that begins with rat, followed by ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. According GoToAstrology.com:

The coming 2009 year of the earth Ox also called 2009 year of the Bull or Buffalo is around the corner. It looks like we’ve got honest, candid and open natured year ahead. As you might guess, coming 2009 year of the earth Ox is dependable, calm and modest. Sun sign horoscope for the 2009 year of the Ox like his animal sing is unshakably patient, full of hard work and tireless though need financial support to fulfill your ideas and make your desires.

2009 year is the year of the earth Ox and 26 year in sixty-year cycle. As the Chinese astrology tells us, the Ox sign is the sign of prosperity found through fortitude and hard work. Such year as 2009 year of the earth Ox has a straight and unprejudiced nature though sometimes reveals hidden secrets without due thought, inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings and offend others. It should turn out to be the prosperous year for those hard thinkers and active planners who believe in and relay on a teamwork, running own business or work independently.”

OK! Well that sounds like good news to me!

Check out your Chinese Horoscope for the upcoming year. Don’t know your Chinese Sign? Click here.

Happy New Year! Happy Sipping!

Pu’erh Tea and the Year of the Earth Ox.

TEA. A Magazine… “Drinks for Change”

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Cover of TEA. A Magazine.

Happy New Year, TeaPeeps™. Here we are in the middle of January, and this only my second blog post. Where has the time gone? You’ll be happy to know I’ve been sipping and sampling some very nice teas these last few weeks. I’m a lucky TeaGirl!

Ok, so the big news for the new year is that our “Drink for Change” Obama Blend tea has made it to  TEA. A MAGAZINE. Yep you will see it, yet again, on the cover of the Winter 2009 Issue. Thanks to Pearl Dexter, Editor/Publisher for approaching us! She has also featured a little story about us and Jack Cheng on Page 28.  See what one little Twitter can do? If you haven’t already picked up your issue, scurry on out and scoop up a copy. This issue could sell out quickly! I believe it hits news stands… any second. History making cover? Yes. Amazing tea illustration? Absolutely. Tasty tea blend? You will love it.

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Page 28 - January 2009 Winter Issue

Blend Info:
Order Drink for Change! $15.50 (3 oz)

Let me be absolutely clear, this organic African Red Bush Rooibos based tea has Honeybush, Pineapple, Papaya, Ginger, Rose petals and Cornflowers. It’s smooth, fresh and lacks bitterness. Environmentally friendly, unexpected, and a little left of center. Contributes to your overall well being and Health(care). Steep for 3-5 minutes and enjoy. Caffeine Free!

*10% of each sale will go to the Washington Humane Society
** Tea illustration by Jack Cheng

Here’s to our new President Barack Obama (let’s send him positive energy) and the beginning of living and sipping change!

TEA. A Magazine… “Drinks for Change”

Review: Tea Kettles. Traditional or Electric?

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PINO Digital Kettle Pro

I was a kettle snob. I admit it. For the longest time (like forever) I was devoted to my yellow tea kettle. The kind you put on the stove, boil water, pour over leaves, steep, strain and sip. I think it was the ritual of it all.

One day not to long ago (like 2 months) I was somewhere that had no stove to boil water. What they had was an electric tea kettle. I eyed it with suspicion thinking, “Is she kidding?” But, since I had no choice in the matter, and was in need of tea, I gave in.

And then … everything changed.

I loved it! This particular one had no temperature control, it just offered water that would heat to a rolling boil. Fabulous! I went to Macy’s and bought a Cuisinart.

And then … I remembered the PINO.

If you drink tea daily, the PINO Digital Kettle is the most wonderful invention. A warm and loyal friend to the TeaLover. How fabulous to set the temperature to the desired degree and then have it click off when it’s ready. No worry of burning down the house and a perfect cup a tea to boot. I’ve melted many a kettle on my super-mega 5 burner gas range. Not a pretty sight.

In case you were wondering what all the fuse is about regarding water temperature, please remember that a great leaf can be ruined by the wrong water temperature. Boiling water over green tea? No, no, no, no, no!

I haven’t used my cute lonely, little yellow kettle in a while now, but what can I say? I’ve fallen for another.

Buy a PINO!  You won’t regret it. We should have them in stock in February!

Review: Tea Kettles. Traditional or Electric?

Smith and Hawken, Pearl Fine Teas & Orchid Oolong

metro-ce-logoh3The Big News for today, November 4th is… well, who will be our next President. It’s pretty hard to trump that, but given that we are totally TeaCentric (and have already voted) we have some Big News of our own to share with our fellow TeaPeeps and followers:

I have been invited to speak and show at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show right here in Washington DC at the new Convention Center! We are selling our fabulous loose leaf tea along with some amazing tea ware.  Our booth is #910 (right across from Beer, Wine and Spirits) so if you live close, stop by and introduce yourself. I am a featured speaker on Tea on Sunday, November 9th from 12:30-1:00pm. Very exciting.

pearl_orchid1The even BIGGER NEWS is that Smith & Hawken has signed on to support us! They have asked us to create a holiday event exclusively for their Chevy Chase, MD store. The seminar is called: “Tea in the Garden: Understanding Orchids and Orchid Oolong Tea.” Pretty fabulous! They will also be present at our booth and are outfitting our space with orchids galore and furniture from the store which should be just fantastic. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to not only speak at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show, but to help with this exclusive holiday event for Smith & Hawken. Anyone that knows me can tell you that it is truly one of my favorite stores. What an opportunity!

Orchid Oolong Tea. The Garden. What could be better? Check out the press release that went out today.

If you are not familiar with Orchid Oolong, you may be missing out on a spectacular experience. Here is a brief description of the one we carry at Pearl Fine Teas:

orchid oolong
orchid oolong

High mountain green oolong from Taiwan which is shipped to Fujian Province China to be scented with fresh orchid flowers. Yulan, the type of orchid we use is a much larger flower and much more aromatic than a jasmine. The danger can be that the tea absorbs too much moisture or becomes over scented and the crucial balance between tea and orchid taste is lost. This year’s crop represents the zenith of the art of scenting.

How can you not be enticed?

Remember: Please Vote! (and sip tea, we did!). There’s still time!

Smith and Hawken, Pearl Fine Teas & Orchid Oolong

Chocolate Tea?

Chocolate tea?
chocolate in my tea?

As a self proclaimed “tea snob” sometimes its hard to wrap my hands around a trendy blend.  Especially some that are just… the oddest of concoctions. I’ll refrain from mentioning anything specific, but one that comes to mind is a tea with so much strawberry in it I dumped it out immediately. It wasnt tea, it was Strawberry Quick!

We don’t sell “crazy blends.”  I like a blended tea that keeps with the integrity and mission of the company which is to: source and sell the best leaf with the best flavor. Quite simply: I like quality. Recently, a fellow TeaPeep & tea merchant strongly recommended I give chocolate tea a try. Here is what happened:

I loved it.

With just a touch of local honey (buy local!) to boost the chocolate flavor – you’ve got yourself one of the best secrets out there! Rich, smooth and creamy it reminded me of sitting fireside in Vail … watching everyone ski and snowboard into each other.

Do you have a chocolate addiction? Consider yourself a choco-holic? Like a chocolate-y snack around midnight? Try chocolate tea to satisfy the craving. I highly recommend this wonderful, surpising tea as a way of enjoying chocolate and tea without… consequence. (ie: calories).

*** If you contact me directly (info@pearlteas.com),  I’ll send the first 10 TeaPeeps a sample of our newest member to the tea family: “TeaChocolatte”.

In the subject line put: “TeaChocolatte, please!”  and let me know if you found us via Twitter or the TeaLove Blog! and don’t forget your mailing address!

Happy (TeaChocolatte) sipping!

Chocolate Tea?

Top Selling Teas

An article put out September 15, 2008 by World Tea News discussed the state of the economy for the tea industry. To paraphrase:  “…the results indicate that tea businesses are doing fine, despite the faltering economy.” I’m curious to see the survey after WTN reviews the Q4. October is just a mess.

According to the survey, the average gross monthly sales over the last 12 months were the highest for tea bars which reported $43,031. Tea rooms came in 2nd with $33,126 and tea retailers were last with $17,343.

Included in the article was an interesting chart of top selling teas.

Top Selling Teas Chart (World Tea News)
Top Selling Teas Chart (World Tea News)

I wasn’t surprised by black tea as the leader at 48% and green tea falling behind at 18% but I was surprised that Rooibos wasn’t far behind green in consuption. Puer or Pu’erh was in last place with 0% – not surprising.

Top Selling Teas