Mother's Day Shopping...Done

Mother's Day is right around the corner!

How about surprising your mom with a lovely package of tea goodies...

With Tea Box Express you can be done after just a few clicks! Our monthly boxes contain high quality tea, tasty treats, and useful accessories. They are the perfect all-in-one gifts for deserving moms.

See our gift options here.



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Brand Spotlight: Petali Teas

Our upcoming March box (shipping next week!) features a wonderful tea from Petali Teas. Joy, the owner of Petali and creator of it's amazing blends, shares more about her company, the tea, and what fuels her passion.

Source: petaliteas.com

Can you tell us a little about Petali Teas and how it got started? 

I started foraging for herbs when I was a little girl and made teas and dyes.  It has been a lifelong interest and love.  My career was in culinary arts and after being exposed to all the tea traditions from different countries,  I knew I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to the art of tea and tea drinking. It is one activity that everyone at any age can enjoy, together or in solitude. It brings wellness and happiness. 

Petali Teas is comprised of:

  • Our bricks and mortar shop on our farm at Mootz Run in Alexandria, OH, 
  • Our online retail sites which include our home site of www.petaliteas.com and our Amazon shop
  • Our Tea Lifestyle Brand which can be found at www.modernteagirl.com
  • And our wholesale division that supplies hotels, restaurants, tea shops, and spas as well as many other clients around the world.  

Petali offers a large and diverse selection of different teas and blends, some of which are pretty interesting (Boysenberry Almond Cheesecake Green Tea for example). How do you come up with your blends? 

I am inspired by cultures, interesting ingredients and favorite dessert recipes from around the world. Many times customers make suggestions and I custom blend for them. I have a background in culinary arts and interior design and approach all tea recipes with sensory detail. 

Source: petaliteas.com

What are some of the more unique or “special” teas that you offer?  

I love to blend with ingredients that are specialities from regions such as crystallized flowers from France, chocolate from Belgium and Switzerland, fruits and nuts from family farms and coffee beans from local roasters.   I am always on the look out for the unexpected ingredient such as carrots that I used in our Carrot Cake Tea. 

From where do you source your teas and other ingredients? 

We source from many countries- South America, Canada, Germany, Croatia, China, Japan, India, France, Switzerland, Kenya, to name a few countries. Love to source locally meaning all regions in the USA- many of our citrus, berries and nuts come from our own country.

Which tea from Petali Teas is your favorite? 

I love them all and depends on the season. For wintertime, I am fond of Roasted Almond Chai and Puerhs- Late winter, I crave our citrus and tropical teas such as Mootz Run Blend, Himalayan Sunrise, Mystic grapefruit, Aussie Paradise and Ginger Orange. Summertime, I love our berry teas such as Blackberry Sangria and Berry Chamomile. We also have a nice selection of handcrafted orthodox teas and Japanese teas. 

Thanks Joy! To learn more and view the selection, visit www.petaliteas.com.

Brand Spotlight: Tease Tea

The Tea Box Express February box will feature two teas from Tease Tea, a modern tea company with Canadian roots. Sheena Brady, the tea sommelier who founded Tease Tea, shares with us how she started her company and about their teas (including naming them!).

How did Tease Tea get started and how long has it been around?

Tease in an online tea boutique, born in 2013. At first it was more of a hobby blending tea and herbal ingredients for friends and family after I became a certified Tea Sommelier. I had begun to receive so much positive feedback, that in 2014 I chose to build a strong ecommerce business, catering to the modern tea drinkers goals and desires.

Your customers can shop by desire. What does this mean?

We want our customers to abandon their traditional tea drinking beliefs by asking themselves "What do I want to feel" vs "What do I usually like" Whether you are looking to increase energy, improve focus, destress, promote beauty sleep, we have a tea for that and many more desires. At teasetea.com if you select "Shop Desire" you can shop by our desire collections. IE: Energy Tease, Sleepy Tease, Skinny Tease, Romantic Tease, etc.

Tease Tea offers lots of unique-sounding blends. How do you come up with these?

It is my true creative outlet! I was always envious of the people who got to name nail polish. At Tease Tea, I love to create and design unique blends with names that are not only playful, but also reflect the profile and character of the tea. Each blend truly has it its own personality. 

From where do you source your teas?

We work with specific ingredient suppliers who source from all over the world. Most of our tea however, is from China and Japan. I particularly love Japanese Sencha for it's smooth, subtle character due to the steaming process they use.

 Which tea from Tease Tea is your favorite?

That is like asking a mom to pick her favourite child! Honestly, it really just depends on what mood I'm in. I rely on To the Finish Lime to help increase productivity and focus on days when I have a lot to accomplish. Chai Love You is perfect full bodied, fragrant, and decadent alternative to coffee when you need a pick me up. Show me the Honey really helps me unwind and feel less bloated after a big dinner. Berry me in Kisses is literally dessert in a cup, minus the calories. A guilt free sweet indulgence.

Thanks Sheena! You can learn more (and go shopping!) at teasetea.com.

To purchase a February box, sign up for a gift or a subscription by February 5th.

*Photos courtesy of Tease Tea.

Brand Spotlight: Village Tea Company

The first box of 2016 will feature several fantastic items from Village Tea Company, including a not-to-miss teaware item. Janon, the company's CEO, shares more about the Village Tea Company and their passion for their tea and products.

What is Village Tea Company and how did it get started?

My name is Janon Costley and I am currently the CEO of Village Tea Company Distribution, Inc, owner and distributor of the Village Tea Company brand of premium loose leaf tea, accessories and other complimentary organic/natural food and beverage products. The Company was founded by my business partner, entrepreneur, tea expert and brand development guru,  Martin Ekechuwu. Before launching Village Tea in 2009, Martin worked for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and became fascinated by the research available on the health benefits and diversity of flavors of his favorite beverage – tea. Martin had loved tea for as long as he could remember, sharing many a cup with his grandmother as a child in central Europe and finding time to enjoy tea every day as an adult.

Although a fan of tea himself, Martin could not understand why it hadn’t really taken off in America like coffee or carbonated drinks; most teas he found domestically often lacked flavor and did not have the fresh packaging or innovative marketing that would ever make it accessible and desirable for the main- stream consumer. Plus the quality of the teas found in traditional tea bags was so poor, they barely resembled the teas of his youth. This “tea dust” failed to provide the health benefits that high-quality loose leaf teas were known for so Martin knew that he could do better. He embarked on a worldwide, tea-tasting journey, hoping to discover the right flavor combinations that could deliver truly unique and delicious products—along with a spoonful of health benefits—to American consumers. After sampling hundreds of teas from around the world, he developed his own blend of innovative teas with a vast array of combinations to choose from and so began Village Tea Company. 

Please visit www.villageteaco.com for more information 

 

Village Tea has lots of neat tea options. How does the company come up with the different blends?

We only use premium loose leaf tea in all our batches because of the ability to gain more antioxidant and healthy properties versus your traditional tea bag ( or tea “dust”).  Each tea is blended by hand and packaged by hand into one of our 100% biodegradable ( recycled paper) canisters. We source fair trade ingredients for most of our blends and all of our tea’s are now 100% organic. The base flavors are imported and blended to order based on our proprietary flavor combinations which are primarily created by the company founder,  who is a tea expert as well as product development specialist having worked for a number of well known food and beverage consumer products companies in brand development and brand management capacities. 

Village Tea features its own portable teapot. Can you tell us more about this?

Our Mobile Tea Pot has become one of our most popular items. We introduced the mobile tea pot and our travel size (size of a tube of lipstick) loose leaf tea canister, affectionately called, Teasers (currently available in 5 flavors containing 3- 5 servings of tea) as a way of addressing two issues; the need for people to have the ability to take their favorite cups of loose leaf tea with them as they are moving throughout their busy lives but also as a way of simplifying the process for preparing loose leaf, which can be a hindrance for people who are new to drinking loose lead tea.  Simply open your Teaser and empty one - 2 servings of tea into the mobile tea pot, add hot water and let it steps for your desired flavor profile. The mobile tea pot is made of double pane, BPA free high quality material, which can be used to steep 1-1/2 cups of tea at a time.  You can consume the product directly from the unit ( once it cools) or simply pour it into your favorite tea cup when you get to your destination.

Village Tea 6.jpg

From where do you source your teas?

Our teas and ingredients are sourced from all over the world where quality teas are grown. Traditionally we have sourced teas directly from farmers in various countries such as: Sri Lanka for black, China for Green, Black,Oolong and White and South Africa for Rooibos. We have recently expanded our sourcing into other areas such as India.  

Which tea from Village Tea is your favorite?

As the CEO of the Company of course I am a little biased because I like them all depending on my mood, time of day, need and benefit. For a good nights sleep I may drink Our Comfy Organic Chamomille, if I am not feeling well I may have a cup of Organic Lemon Ginger, for an afternoon pick up or everyday antioxidant I may sip on our Cherry Rooibos w/Acai (our most popular flavor) and if I am in the mood for Iced Tea  , I will probably mix use our Sweet Grace Vanilla Rooibos with our Pura Natural Organic Agave Sweetener for a fantastic refreshing summer beverage.   All of our flavors are fantastic and excellent sources for receiving natural health and wellness benefits with each sip. 

Thanks Janon! To learn more about the company and products, visit villageteaco.com.

To purchase a January box, sign up for a subscription or gift by January 5th.

*Photos courtesy of Village Tea Company

Brand Spotlight: FashionistaTea

Tea Box Express's November box will feature a tea from FashionistaTea. Brenda, the founder, shares more about her company, herself, and how she has blended two loves together to create quality tea with a stylish presentation.

FashionistaTea picture.jpg

Source: fashionistatea.com

What is your background and how did you get involved in tea?

Tea has been a love of mine since I was a teenager drinking tea with my Mom at the kitchen table.  Then going out with girlfriends to celebrate special occasions having afternoon tea in tea salons and fancy hotels; I just loved everything about it the etiquette, the fine china, the tea pots (which I collect), the scones and the tiny sandwiches. The whole ritual of taking the time to connect, slow down, especially in this busy world, always appealed to me. 

As I started to travel more, especially trips to Paris, I discovered different types of tea and that there was much more than what we might see on grocery store shelves, led me to read more about tea and study tea more intently becoming a member of The Specialty Tea Institute.  You can never learn enough about “tea” so I am excited to be on this journey!  We’re also happy to give tea a purpose by working on a Holiday Tea fundraiser to benefit an organization that helps children and young adults here in New York City.

How did you come up with the name and where does the “fashion” part come in?

FashionistaTea, came from blending two loves, fashion and tea, together.  I studied fashion design and merchandising in college and later in my television career, I produced many fashion and design segments covering New York Fashion Week and producing segments on Donna Karan, Oscar DeLa Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, just to name a few.  As a bit of a history buff, I wanted to celebrate the dressing up for “tea” as an occasion.  I wanted our tea tins to be aesthetically pleasing as a great gift and our tea sachets have a stiletto heel tag that hangs over your cup to hopefully put a smile on your face and start a conversation so you feel you are drinking “tea with style.”

From where do you source your teas?

We are a private label company and the teas are sourced from that company which is based in Los Angeles.  They were selected because of their relationships with small growers around the world and the owner is known as a master blender in the industry.  For example our Orange Chamomile comes from a small Egyptian Chamomile farm in Egypt.  It was also important that our tea collectionbe Organic and or Fair Trade to help the environment.  We love the idea through Fair Trade that we are helping small farmers on the other side of the world to work in better living conditions and help provide for their families.

Which tea from FashionistaTea is your favorite?

That’s a little hard, they are like children and we love them all.  But I am partial to our signature Organic “Fashionista” blend, which I created with my tea blender, it was an homage to many of the teas I have enjoyed in my travels, so I had specific ingredients in mind and we went back and forth a few times, tasting and testing until it was something everyone liked.  Some mornings I love it without anything and sometimes in the afternoon, I enjoy it with a little milk.

Thanks Brenda! To view their tea selection and learn more, visit fashionistatea.com.

To order a November box, sign up for a subscription or gift by November 5th.

Brand Spotlight: Golden Moon Tea Company

It's October! This month, we have a delicious tea from a unique company. Marcus Stout, President of Golden Moon Tea Company, has a lot to say about his company, their teas, and his quest for pure toxic-free ingredients. 

Source: goldenmoontea.com

How did Golden Moon Tea get started?

Golden Moon Tea was founded based off a transcendent experience in France in 1994. It was while sitting at an outdoor café on the Boulevard St-Michel that we were first shown the elegant and delicious experience of loose tea. Between the selection of the large tea leaves, the pouring of the water, the wonderful aroma and the rich flavor we were hooked. It was at this moment that we knew we needed to bring real tea like this back to the US. Since then Golden Moon Tea has only sold whole leaf tea and strives to create the same experience that we had that sunny day in Paris.

From where do you source your teas?

Our teas are sourced from farmers who are committed to growing teas the right way. This means that there are no pesticides or chemicals used to “enhance” the tea leaves. The main countries where we get our teas are from the traditional tea growing nations: China, India, Taiwan, Japan and Sri Lanka.

For botanicals, we heavily research where they are from and try our best to source from the origin country. For example, the best Bourbon Vanilla comes from Madagascar. Because of this we source our vanilla beans directly from the best vanilla farms in the country.

Can you tell us more about the ingredients you use and your commitment to avoiding artificial flavors?

In the beginning of 2013 I was at one of those points in my life. I was in a rut where I just felt off. I had little energy, was grumpy and felt like I was starting to burn out. I needed to make a change so I made a drastic change in my diet. I decided to remove all harmful chemicals from everything I eat and drink. This means I do not eat any GMO’s, pesticides or any other manipulation that was created by the food industry. The change in my life was astounding. After a few weeks my mind was crystal clear whereas it felt like it was foggy before. I had energy. I lost a ton of weight. The interesting part of this is all of this was due to avoiding hidden chemicals in processed foods.

When I decided to apply these same changes to my teas I was shocked. I was shocked that I was lied to by omission by our flavor companies. I was shocked to find out how many chemicals are found in teas that were promised to be pure. The biggest surprise came when I found out how GMO’s and plastics are used in the making of teabags and other teaware. I needed to review each and every one of my teas and find pure alternatives.

My quest for pure teas hit a dead end right away. I was told over and over again that I cannot make blends without the use of any chemicals or “natural” flavors from almost every vendor I know, even well respected tea blenders that sell to the largest tea companies. It seems that the food and flavor industry is so intertwined with tea it is almost impossible to avoid them. I could see right way that I was on my own. I needed to source each and every ingredient myself to ensure its purity. This was the only way I could ensure that everything I used was actually grown and not made with hidden chemicals.

After 8 months of searching, sourcing and testing every tea leaf, vanilla bean, mint leaf and other crops used for our blends, I am proud to say that our teas are now 100% pure. The food industry does not manipulate us like they do every other tea company. This means no pesticides, GMO’s, plastics or “natural” flavors that are created in a lab. Just pure and toxic free tea.

Which Golden Moon tea is your favorite?

Interesting question. I really don’t believe in favorites (not for tea, food or anything really). What I like to do is think of the best tea for the situation I am in. On a cold snowy day after being outside nothing beats a authentic Chai that is brewed directly in milk. In the early spring I love a cup of vibrant Sencha first thing in the morning when the scents of Spring are at their strongest. And if I am having a full blown breakfast with pancakes or waffles I love Sinharaja with milk - It just brings me back to my childhood. 

Thanks Marcus! To learn more about Golden Moon Tea and view their tea selection, visit goldenmoontea.com.

To order an October box, purchase a subscription or a gift by October 5th.

Brand Spotlight: Full Leaf Tea Company

The Tea Box Express September box will feature a tea from Full Leaf Tea Company. Matt, who co-founded the company with his wife, Lisa, shares more about Full Leaf, the vast selection of tea they offer, and their high value on customer service.

 

Source: fullleafteacompany.com

Tell us a little about Full Leaf Tea Company and how it got started.

Full Leaf Tea Company  values the “tea experience" just as much, if not more, than the products we offer. We (Matt and Lisa Hammonds) launched Full Leaf with the intentions of sharing our passion of tea with anyone and everyone. 

The heart of the company is the personal touch with each customer. With every order, a handwritten note is placed within each box.  We talk directly with any of our customers that have questions right away.  We like to be in touch with what our customers are looking for so we can give them an experience they will love!

Full Leaf offers a lot of tea options! Can you tell us more about how you come up with your different blends?

Our blends are created based of a handful of things. We strive to create the perfect blend for every need. Our research on ingredients is a HUGE part of how we decide what is brought together. 

For an example, our “SkinnyMe” tea was created out of the demand of a metabolism boosting/weight loss tea. Though we all know there is no “magic potion” that will drop the pounds, we found some key ingredients that will naturally help the process. Though trial and error, we found the perfect ratio of spicy, sweet, and rich to bring fourth a delicious cup. (whether you want the benefits or not! :) )  

From where do you source your teas and other ingredients?

Our teas and ingredients are sourced from ALL over the world! If we can buy local (herbs/spices) we do. But we work directly with the source to ensure the quality of each product we receive.

Source: fullleafteacompany.com

Which Full Leaf tea is your favorite?

Now that’s TRICKY! There are so many categories of tea to choose from!

My wife has a few favorites, lets start with her…

Fancy French Breakfast- black tea with a hint of vanilla

Seasonal Tea- “Holiday Brew” She thinks its like Christmas in a cup

Organic Masala Chai- She drinks it with a little honey and almond milk

I happen to have a sweet spot for matcha.  I drink our ceremonial matcha almost daily because it is delicious and gives me the perfect level of energy all day.

As for our other teas, I really like all of our “raw” tea like our Lung Ching green tea or our Award Winning Chamraj Estate Handmade oolong tea.

The good news is with more than 100 teas to choose from, you will never be bored!

Thanks Matt! To learn more and see the incredible tea selection for yourself, visit fullleafteacompany.com.

To sign up for a September box that features a tin of Full Leaf Tea Company tea, purchase a subscription or a gift by September 5th.

Brand Spotlight: Chai Diaries

It's already July and we have a great box coming up this month! July's featured tea is from Chai Diaries. The company's founder, Ami (<--she grew up on a tea plantation in India!!!) was kind enough to share a little more with us about Chai Diaries.

Source: mychaidiaries.com

How did Chai Diaries get started and how long has it been around?

I started Chai Diaries in 2013 when I moved to America from India.  My family has harvested tea in India for over 100 years, which motivated by passion from a very young age. I’m inspired by the serene joy that comes from the tea drinking experience and I wanted to share the culture and ritual of tea drinking with others.

Have you always been a tea enthusiast?

You could say I was born a tea enthusiast.  Growing up on my family’s beautiful tea plantation was enough to get me hooked.  Each flavor recipe is an exciting tasting adventure as you perfect the blend. I have a love for developing refined blends and beautiful aromas because it captures my memories from childhood and allows me to share this experience with others.   

How did you come up with the name and where does the “diaries” part come in?

Chai Diaries is built on the principle of honesty and the importance of self-reflection.  The ritual of enjoying tea is sacred to each individual. You pick a tea based on the mood of the present moment and I encourage its enjoyment as a reprieve in what may otherwise be an overwhelming day. Tea drinking can be both a personal and introspective experience or shared with a friend, but I believe it should always provide pleasure.

From where do you source your teas?

Our teas are sourced directly from tea growing estates around the world. We have years of relationships established with the estate owners across countries like India, China, Japan, Taiwan, allowing us to ensure that we are procuring what’s best for our customers. Our specialty teas are then hand blended in-house in California with natural whole fruits and botanicals. Each tin is hand packed fresh when we receive orders from customers, ensuring their Chai Diaries experience is one filled with freshness and love!

Which Chai Diaries tea is your favorite?

Oh well that would definitely depend on my mood.  What I love so much about Chai Diaries is that we offer an array of premium teas to suit each and every mood and function.  In the morning, I love having our Chinese Organic Dragonwell, a beautiful pan-fired green tea exclusive to that area in China. But in the evenings I’ll enjoy something a little more fruity and iced, like our Blood Orange blend or our summer favorite – Passion Fruit Oolong!

Thanks Ami! To learn more and see their tea selection, visit mychaidiaries.com.

To sign up for a July box that contains Chai Diaries tea, purchase a subscription or a gift by July 5th.

An Iced Chai Summer Drink

Summer calls for cold variations of our favorite hot drinks. This 4-ingredient chai latte is super easy and hits the spot! The secret is in the coconut milk, which makes this drink thicker and creamier than regular milk can do.

Cold, creamy, and very satisfying on a hot summer day! Find the complete recipe at blackteaworld.com.

Iced Coconut Chai Tea Latte

 

 

Brand Spotlight: The Tea Spot

We've got something pretty exciting and unique in store for the upcoming June box. The Tea Spot will be featured for both their tea and a pretty neat accessory created by the company itself. Which tea and which cool accessory? Well...that part is a secret!

Mary from The Tea Spot shares more about this Colorado-based company, their awesome teas and innovative products.

 

Source: theteaspot.com

How long has the Tea Spot been around and how did it get started? 

The Tea Spot has been around for nearly 11 years now! Maria, the CEO and Founder, started the business in July of 2004 with a passion for full leaf tea and its innate health benefits. She wanted to get premium, full leaf tea in the hands of more people, and make it undeniably fresh and flavorful so that it would become a lifestyle choice, and in turn, you would reap all of the benefits that full leaf tea offers. In fact, Maria, an Ovarian Cancer survivor, found that tea was so instrumental in her recovery, that upon starting her business she also dedicates the company to philanthropic efforts. At The Tea Spot, we have a 10% pledge, ensuring that 10% of all SALES would be donated in-kind to cancer and community wellness programs. 

The Tea Spot has so many different tea options! You offer many different teas and interesting blends as well as herbal and floral varieties. Has your selection evolved over time and how do you come up with the blends you offer? 

Our selection has undoubtedly evolved and expanded over time. Over the years, our customers have told us their preferences, and we take listening to customer feedback very seriously. As a result, we have landed on a variety of teas that we are not only proud of, but confident that our customers will love just as much as us! Here at The Tea Spot, handcrafting unique and innovative blends is one of our favorite things to do, because we want to help to continue to keep tea modern, interesting, and of course, crave-worthy. 

From where do you source your teas? 

We source our teas throughout the traditional tea producing regions of the world: China, Japan, India, and Sri Lanka. Our herbals come from another suite of regions throughout the world, even the US! Most recently we've sourced Golden Pu'erh and Black Pearls from China's Yunnan Province, as well as an Organic Matcha from Miyazaki prefecture located on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan. - Jessica Kochik, The Tea Spot CMO

The Tea Spot also has its own line of teaware called Steepware. Can you tell us about a few of your Steepware products? 

We like to say that Steepware is a fusion of tea tradition with modern technology, aimed to make loose tea steeping easy, simple, and stylish. Our modern twist on teaware is designed by our CEO Maria, who is not just a tea enthusiast, but a mechanical engineer, who never stops thinking of the next item to make enjoying full leaf tea seamless. We have a wide array of Steepware products, including tea infusers, mugs, pots, and other items that allow you to brew up tea hot OR cold. We are chomping at the bits over our newest item, the Urban Tea Tumbler. It is a borosilicate glass bottle with a cork sleeve, that allows you to infuse your tea, either hot or cold brewed. It is sturdy, sleek, unique, and a must have item! 

 

Which Tea Spot tea is your favorite? 

You’ll find that it's almost impossible to get a straight answer from a tea lover on which tea is their favorite, I tell ya, because it is always changing, and depends on so many things! So... I will tell you my personal favorite right now, which is our Coconut Cabana Oolong tea! It is a full sensory experience, from the divine coconut smell, to the heavenly taste, and one teaspoon lasts me an entire day!

Thanks Mary! To learn more about The Tea Spot and what they offer visit www.theteaspot.com.

To sign up for the June box purchase a subscription or a gift by June 5th.

Brand Spotlight: Plum Deluxe

Our May box will feature two different selections from Plum Deluxe, a Portland-based company with a website that is totally worth checking out and their own line of tea blends.  Andy, the founder, shares more about Plum Deluxe and what they're all about.

Source: plumdeluxe.com

What is Plum Deluxe and how did it get started?

Plum Deluxe is the website that helps you create moments that matter.  From our daily inspirational articles, to our signature organic teas, we give you the tools to slow down and enjoy the good life.  After leaving a toxic corporate work environment and building a better life for myself, I started Plum Deluxe to help others do the same.  We are based in Portland, Oregon with subscribers in all 50 states.

What made you decide to start your own line of tea blends?

Over the 8 years we’ve tried a little bit of everything.  From the beginning, I’ve always focused on offerings and partnerships that fit our brand ethos – but as you can imagine, this is easier said than done, as many of the big companies with big dollars aren’t things we want to feature on our site.  Thus, we took our future into our own hands, and tea was the obvious choice – it allows us to stamp our own brand of creativity onto the market, and tea is a beverage that has a slow, mindful ethereal quality to it.  It’s been one of the best decisions we’ve made, and now tea plays a major role in everything from our online editorial to our community events.  I’m excited to see that tea is also making a resurgence in American culture as people are more mindful about the food and beverage products they consume.

How do you choose the ingredients for your blends?

We are based in Oregon, which means we can get a wide variety of the products we use locally, whether that’s rose petals or lavender.  But as for choosing what to use, we start with organic, fair trade products of course.  Then I consider 3 factors when blending: visual appearance (everyone loves a pretty tea), scent (scent plays a major factor in taste), and of course, taste.  We have a scratch pad where I work out rough concepts and ideas – many of them from our current customers who give us input on future blends – and from there I do several rounds of taste tests (with friends, family, and lucky Plum Deluxe community members as taste testers). 

Which Plum Deluxe blend is your favorite?

It depends on the season. On a day to day basis, I generally am an herbal tea drinker, so I usually end my day with a cup of Cuddletime Tea – it’s a chamomile tea but also has a bit of peppermint & vanilla that hits that sweet tooth.  I am also obsessed right now with our Portland Chai, which is a spicy blackberry rose tea – very quirky, very Portland, very yummy!

Thanks Andy!

To experience two exciting Plum Deluxe tea blends in the upcoming May box, sign up for a subscription or a gift by May 5th.

Brand Spotlight: Two Leaves and a Bud

The April box contains an exceptional tea from Two Leaves and a Bud.  Christy was kind enough to share a little more with us about the company and their tea.

two-leaves-african-sunset.jpg

Source: twoleavestea.com

How did Two Leaves and a Bud get started?

Richard Rosenfeld started Two Leaves and a Bud in 2004 after traveling extensively in Asia for business where he became passionate about tea. He was confounded by not finding that same quality tea back at home. So he went to the tea gardens in Sri Lanka. He started from the source, building relationships with organic tea farmers from whom the company sources small quantities of tea each growing season. Two Leaves has built an international reputation for being the premier source for the highest quality organic and  fairly traded tea in whole leaf tea sachets, iced tea, loose leaf and now teabags, from its Paisley Label Tea collection.

The company is named for the top two leaves and bud of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) plucked to make the world's best tea. Our independent tea company is based in a small mountain town in Colorado - because we love living here!

Can you tell us more about where do your teas come from?

Our gardens are located in some of the most beautiful places, all over the world, from the rolling hills of Darjeeling, India, to the arid eastern Washington State. We have a personal relationship with our organic gardens, and are honored to support their small-farm mentality. The teas are hand-plucked and packed near the garden so that the tea is as fresh as it possibly can be. From the gardens, the tea takes a quick journey to our warehouse and then is delivered to your cup.

Which Two Leaves and a Bud tea is your favorite? 

Since we are constantly cupping new teas and developing new flavor profiles, favorites tend to change around here. However, the green tea that gets the most praise and attention at the office is Organic Tamayokucha, while the most favored black tea is our best-selling Organic Assam.

What sets Two Leaves and a Bud apart from other tea companies?

The tea!  You’ll taste the difference. That’s because we are committed to offering truly great tea.              We do that by:

  • sourcing and blending the highest quality teas. 
  • letting the quality ingredients stand out in our teas, as opposed to using lower quality blending teas and masking tea with flavoring.
  • offering organic, fairly traded, sustainable teas because that matters to us, just like it matters to you.

At Two Leaves and a Bud, we take tea personally. Our passion is connecting tea lovers with the teas they love and introducing new tea drinkers to truly great tea.

Thanks Christy!  For more information and an outstanding tea selection visit the Two Leaves and a Bud website.

There's still time to sign up!  The deadline for the April box is April 5th.  You can purchase a subscription or a gift.

Brand Spotlight: The Cookie Department

We're pretty excited about the tasty treats that will be part of the April box.  Today we learn more from Akiva about The Cookie Department, a company he founded in 2009 that puts a unique twist on the everyday cookie.  The company currently offers six different flavors and every cookie is hand baked.  We can't wait for you to try them!

Source: thecookiedepartment.com

Tell us a little more about starting The Cookie Department.  Why cookies?  

I started my sales career in the functional beverage industry.  I worked for two small start ups about 10 years ago.  Before that, I had attended culinary school and majored in pastry arts.  I decided to combine the two areas of experience to start my own brand creating functional cookies for all.  I started the company with $500 and baked part time in my cousins bread bakery in Berkeley, CA.  I would bake at night and deliver to five local cafes in the morning.  Fast forward to present and we're in over 500 stores.  

What is a “fully functional” cookie?  What makes them different from other cookies?  

At The Cookie Department, we start with classic cookie formulations and fortify them with unique and innovative ingredients like coffee, caffeine, rBST free whey protein, superfoods, antioxidants, detoxifying spices, and probiotics, giving our customers an extra benefit with every bite.  

Your cookies include ingredients like maca and sweet potato.  Are these cookies healthy? 

Our cookies are healthier then most.  We do use butter, sugar and flour but all of our cookies have added benefits.  Maca is a superfood full of vitamins and minerals.  Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants.  Our cookies do not contain any trans fats nor do they contain any preservatives or chemicals additives.  

How do you come up with the flavors?  

Honestly, my mother helps me! I grew up in a household where my mother was always baking something.  If it wasn't bread, it was granola, brownies, black bottom cupcakes and lemon bars.  I can always count on my mother to help me come with all my unique formulations.  Its only after we finalize the formulation that we create a function to attach to the marketing of the product. 

Which cookie is your personal favorite?  Which one is the most popular with your customers?  

I personally love the Snap Back but I have to admit that our new flavor, Cherry Bomb, a gluten free double chocolate cherry probiotic cookie is a runner up.  Our Snap Back and Awaken Baked are two of the best sellers in our line.  

Thanks Akiva!  To learn more, check out The Cookie Department website.

To receive or give an April box, sign up for a subscription or a gift by April 5th.

Brand Spotlight: sweetriot

The upcoming March box showcases forward-thinking companies that have more on their agenda than just making a profit.  sweetriot is an all-natural dark chocolate company based in NYC that is serious about ethically sourcing cacao and running a business that is sustainable and socially responsible.

Today sweetriot’s Catalyst of Cool Operations, Tracy, shares a little more about the company she works for and their products.

Some of sweetriot's mouthwatering products (Source: sweetriot.com)

How did sweetriot get started and how long has it been around?

sweetriot was a dream come true for Chief Rioter, Founder and CEO, Sarah Endline as she always wanted to start a candy company. As she researched options and origins of candy, she fell in love with the cacao fruit and wanted to share the story of where chocolate actually comes from and how healthy it truly can be! She officially launched sweetriot in 2005 and we’ve been rioting ever since! 

Where did the name “sweetriot” come from?

sweetriot as a company embodies a very fun, loving, and artistic culture which is apparent through everything we do. This personality represents our “riotous” spirit and pairs well with the “sweet” we offer with our delicious fixes. Sarah wanted a name that was strong and memorable but also unique!

You guys have a social mission as well.  Tell us more about that.

sweetriot is a social mission based company, meaning that the initial, driving component of our brand is based on wanting to make all aspects of creating and running a business sustainable, fair, and beneficial for everyone involved – from the farmers to the warehouse workers, the retailers that support and carry our products and our rioters nationwide! We want to inspire everyone to think about their purchases and how everything you do can support the growth and prosperity of someone else!

Which sweetriot product is your favorite?

That’s an almost impossible question to answer but I would have to say our delicious dark chocolate riotBar with Quinoa. It’s an adult version of the crisped rice bars we grew up eating as children but without the guilt and with the benefits of one of the most delicious ancient grains! J

Do you eat chocolate pretty much all the time? 

Although this is expected, yes. We are constantly testing out new ideas and tend to sample chocolate ALL the time. I am a very lucky lady! 

Thanks Tracy!  To learn more about sweetriot and their products visit sweetriot.com.

To receive or give the March box, purchase a subscription or a gift by March 5th.

 

Brand Spotlight: Tea of the People

The centerpiece of our March box is a nifty blend from a very unique tea company.  Tea of the People is about more than great tea (although it is definitely about great tea).  The company fulfills a higher purpose each month by donating a portion of its profits to game-changing entrepreneurs and non-profits.  

Josh Caplan, founder of Tea of the People, was kind enough to share more about his company, the awesome tea they blend, and their dedication to bringing positive change to people and the planet.

Do you spy blueberries, dragon fruit pieces, and whole leaf green tea?

Your blends are visually attractive and contain healthy and interesting ingredients like blueberries, dragon fruit, baobab, and acai.  Like a fancy fruit salad in a cup of tea!  How do you come up with these combinations? 

When coming up with our innovative teas, we ask ourselves what’s our dream tea? After we figure it out, we get to work!

What is your best seller?

Our Acai x Goji Dragon Well green tea is very popular. Our customers are thrilled by the large amount of goji berries we blend into the tea. Our Organic Barrel Aged Silk Road Chai is a big seller, as well. Jennifer Bless of SororiTea Sisters recently gave it a great review, calling it complex and the kind of chai she’ll be thinking about for a long time.

Ingredients for Acai x Goji Dragon Well tea blend (Source: teaofthepeople.com)

Where do you get your tea and other ingredients from?

All our teas and ingredients are ethically source from leading tea estates and farmers from China, South Africa, India, Japan and Ecuador. We are dead serious about sourcing from eco-friendly suppliers. 

Tell us more about barrel aging and how Tea of the People got into it.

We thought up barrel aging tea by exploring innovative ways different food products were achieving flavours with deep complexity and sophistication. Our barrel aging process begins by carefully hand-blending the tea and ingredients together and placing the blend into charred white oak wood barrels. The oak keeps the ingredients tightly stored, allowing for the ingredient's flavours to fuse harmoniously with the tea. 

Barrel aged chai (Source: teaofthepeople.com)

You sell a lot of Dragon Well tea blends.  What's so great about this type of green tea?

Dragon Well is the King of green tea. For over 2000 years, it’s been the tea of choice for Chinese Emperors and present-day dignitaries. Among the most meticulously produced teas on earth, there exists only a small clique of tea masters who have full command of the painstaking ten-step production process. According to a recent study, Dragon Well is the most antioxidant green tea on earth and blending it with real super fruits, as seen with our Blueberry x Dragon Fruit Dragon Well green tea, transforms a near perfect tea into a super tea!

Tea of the People regularly gives a portion of its profits to non-profit organizations.  How do you choose which organizations to support?

Tea of the People gives a portion of its profits each month to a game-changing entrepreneur or non-profit. Each month we select a new organization leveraging technology to make inroads on poverty alleviation, education, public health and climate change.

Being a young company, is it hard to balance earning a profit to stay in business while maintaining a commitment to giving?

Because Tea of the People was founded with a higher purpose to do good, so it’s forever in our company’s DNA. Every business decision is viewed through a socially conscious lens.  Balancing the economics and doing good is natural, and we are proud to demonstrate how a young company can make a difference.

What has been your favorite cause Tea of the People has supported?

With the help of Watsi, a healthcare crowd funding non-profit, we paid for the entire medical procedure of a 12-year-old girl from Cambodia, named Chantha. Chronic ear infections threatened her ability to hear. We were so touched by her story and spirit that we chose to donate to her cause through Watsi.

Besides the dedication to social responsibility, is there anything else that sets Tea of the People apart from other tea companies?

The tea space is facing two big issues: quality and authenticity. We only offer “best in class tea”, that are either the most antioxidant-rich or possess a highly unique health benefit, the most meticulous to produce and / or extremely rare and exotic. That’s why we proudly use Dragon Well, instead of nameless green tea. Authenticity-wise, virtually all the fruit flavored teas do not possess real fruit. Our approach is simple, if you are enjoying a goji berry green tea, let’s blend a healthy helping of real goji berries, darn it. We don’t see tea as a just delicious beverage but an opportunity to lead a healthier and socially conscious existence.

Thanks Josh!  To learn more about Tea of the People and their teas check out the Tea of the People website.

To receive or give a March box sign up for a subscription or a gift by March 5th.

How to Clean a Tea Kettle

We hate it when the bottom of our tea kettle loses it's gleam!  So when we ran across this NO SCRUB advice for cleaning tea kettles from Cherished Bliss we were pretty excited.

Below are three easy steps (and just two ingredients) for getting rid of the mineral deposits that cause the bottom of the tea kettle to get all mucked up.

  1. Pour 2 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups of water into the kettle.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil.  Let boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn off kettle or remove from heat.  Allow mixture to sit in the kettle for a few hours or overnight.
cherished-bliss-clean-clean-kettle.jpg

Brand Spotlight: PuurBody

The upcoming February/Valentine's Day box (sign up by Feb. 5th) has two exciting goodies from Etsy-based PuurBody.  Brandi, the creator of PuurBody and mother of five (!!!) boys, was nice enough to share more about her products and her business.  It was a pleasure working with Brandi and choosing tea-inspired items that we know you'll enjoy in this month's box.

Sneak Peak! (Source: PuurBody Etsy Shop)

You have hundreds of products on Etsy! When did you start and how did you get into this?

I started PuurBody in 2010, after learning to make natural hot process soap for my family. Even a family of seven couldn't use up all the products I was making and developing and since I was a stay at home mom, an online business was the perfect opportunity for me!

You also have thousands of positive reviews, which is no small feat. How do you keep your customers so happy?

I have the greatest customers that are extremely understanding, even when I mess up and drop the ball, I'm always grateful for their patience and understanding and try to put myself in their shoes and respond in a way that I would appreciate as a customer.

Many of your body products have food themes. Where do you get the inspiration for this?

I am a huge foodie, and I love to cook and eat! I'm also not a fan of typical scents or florals so a lot of my scents have been inspired by favorite recipes or places I've been, it's fun!

Which products are your most popular ones?

My men's products have been far more successful than I imagined, back when I just made shaving soap because my husband had a shaving mug and brush, and then made beard oil and balm when he grew a beard. Never imagined myself making products for beard care aficionados but as the mom of boys, the manly scents come naturally to me even though I'm TOTALLY a girly-girl.

What is your favorite part about running this business?

Developing new products, definitely! From the inspiration to the development and testing, it's something I never get tired of, the trouble not to add ALL my new ideas at once, and to keep it down to manageable levels!

Thanks Brandi! You must hop over to PuurBody to look through the awesome selection of handmade soaps, candles, lotions and even deodorants.  

The February tea box showcases items from SerendipiTea, PuurBody, and more!  To give or receive this month's box purchase a subscription or a gift by Feb. 5th.

Brand Spotlight: SerendipiTea

We are thrilled to feature SerendipiTea as part of our February (Valentine’s Edition!) tea box.  SerendipiTea was founded in New York City in 1995 and has been importing and selling high quality loose leaf teas (and putting together some amazing blends) ever since.  The February box from Tea Box Express contains two wonderful blends: Once Upon a Tea and Roses Plenty.

Jennifer Villano of SerendipiTea was kind enough to share more with by answering some questions.

Once Upon a Tea (Source: serendipitea.com)

Tea Box Express: You have an impressive variety of blended teas and tisanes.  Who comes up with these combinations and where does the inspiration come from?

Jennifer Villano: Linda, the co-founder, creates the SerendipiTea recipes.  Her inspiration comes from so many different sources - literature, poetry, spins on culinary recipes (savory & sweet).  By reading through the names and descriptions you'll see many different references.

TBE: With a tea blend, is the visual component as important as the taste?  

JV: We always say that in the end it's the flavor that's most important but visuals are certainly key as tea is a multi-sensory experience.  We choose with our eyes, nose and finally taste.

TBE: Who gets to do the tasting?

JV: Linda and Sonam do the cupping for straight tea but everyone tastes when a blend is in development.

TBE: Which SerendipiTea tea is your favorite?

JV: I have a few favorites as it is hard to narrow down:

Guatemala Black - medium-bodied and very smooth.  Not to mention exciting as it is the first tea in the United States from Guatemala.

Moroccan Mint - a robust blend of gunpowder, peppermint and spearmint

Koh Samet Sun - a delicious, lemony combination of ginger, orange peel and lemon grass

Crème a ‘la Orange - a silky balance of orange, Rooibos, vanilla, licorice, lemon balm and sunflower and cornflower petals.

TBE: From where do you source your teas and other ingredients? 

JV: All countries of origin are identified in our catalog: the tea (camellia sinensis) comes from places such as China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan & Taiwan as well as Thailand, Kenya, Guatemala, Tanzania, etc. Tisanes (botanicals that are not tea) come from many places including Europe, China & Egypt to name a few origins.

TBE: Does anyone from SerendipiTea ever travel to the origin countries? 

JV: Yes, Linda the owner an co-founder travels extensively to meet and work with the various families and owners of the tea gardens and estates from which we source our tea. She has been all over the world from India to Taiwan to Gautemala and writes about her travels and tea in general for various trade and tea-focused publications.

You can also read about some of her travels on our website and sometimes in her monthly blog on our website as well.

Thanks Jennifer!  To learn more and look through the many, many teas and tisanes check out the SerendipiTea website.

To receive or give a February box sign up for a subscription or a gift by February 5th.

 

 

 

 

A Valentine's Tea Box Coming Right Up!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  If you're looking for a unique gift for a tea lover in your life (or a little treat for yourself) then look no further!

We have 3 good reasons why you'll love the February box.

1.  It includes TWO (!!) unique blended teas.  Here's a sneak peak at one of them:

Yes, those are real rose petals in the mix!

2.  It wouldn't be Valentine's Day without chocolate, right?  Consider that covered.

3.  The box will include two handmade all-natural tea-inspired bath & body products.

February's box is full of unique products from neat brands.  You won't want to miss it!  

To receive or give a February box sign up for a subscription or a gift by February 5th.