Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tulsi - India's "Holy Basil"

One of the most interesting things we found at the World Tea Expo was Tulsi, an herb from India with a distinct flavor.

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is also known as Holy Basil. It is part of the basil genus and is often used in various ayurvedic remedies. Tulsi is also naturally caffeine-free. It seems to have a number of health benefits, but what attracted us to it was its unique taste. It's hard to describe; slightly spicy, sweet, floral and minty, all at the same time.

There are two varieties of Tulsi, purple and green (the green is pictured). We've brought in six different blends in bulk; the pure green and purple varieties, as well as Cooling Mint, Marigold Lemon, Orange Fennel, and "House Blend", a mix of green and purple Tulsi.

We've also brought in some boxes of unbleached teabags; Pure Tulsi, Tulsi & Lemongrass, Tulsi Chai and Tulsi & Ginger, as well as an assortment pack of all four.

Oh, did I mention they are all Certified Organic? Our supplier also works with small farms to help support Sikhya - a free school for homeless, underpriveleged chlidren in Northern India.

We don't have it on the website currently, but we'll be brewing it up in the shop quite often, so come in and give this unique herb a try!

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Summer Teas

We've got two great new tea blends here for the summer! They both make fantastic iced teas, so we're just keeping them in stock while the weather is warm.

First up is a returning favorite, our Lime black tea.

A black tea blend with a bright and zesty lime flavor, this one is sure to please at your next summer tea party.

Also returning is White Champagne Raspberry, a white tea with, you guessed it, flavors of raspberry and a hint of champagne. We had it in the shop last year for a very brief amount of time, but it's back for real this year!

The champagne flavor is very light, and just serves to make the tea a little more complex. It's really quite lovely, especially over ice.

We'll be brewing these up in the shop (especially on the hotter days) so come in and try some!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

News from World Tea Expo

Greetings to everyone: I just returned from 3 days in Las Vegas at the World Tea Expo where I was able to meet old friends and make new ones. The Expo is the only place I can meet my suppliers in person. The rest of the year it is phone or fax. So it is a treat to meet and greet, so to speak. Here are a few of the highlights:

WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO PAY $25.00 FOR AN OUNCE OF TEA? Tea grown in Hawaii is available!!! Developed as a replacement for the failing sugar cane industry, Tea has adapted and developed to the stage where it is available commercially. This will be the first year of commercial production and the tea tastes great!! There are green, white, oolong and black teas available. The price is quite steep, so I would like to know how much interest there might be in this initial offering of what promises to become a staple of the US Tea Industry. This is the Ground Floor of this venture. Please email me ( or phone 888-448-4054 with your response.

Steve Smith, Creator/Developer of Stash Teas and TAZO Teas is back in Portland creating Tea again. This time, he has created Steve Smith Teas, a new and exciting group of tea blends that are entirely hand made and packaged in "silk" bags that are finer mesh than I have seen elsewhere. He blends only enough tea to sell in a month's time and places a supply code on each box that can be looked up on his website to see when the ingredients were purchased and blended. Freshness and flavor are his hallmarks. I look forward to making these bags available soon.

Tao of Tea in Portland is packaging Tulsi, a basil grown as a houseplant in India where it is considered almost sacred. It is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and contains anti-oxidents but no caffeine. There are two varieties, purple and green leaf. It is available blended with ginger, as a chai, with lemongrass and plain. It comes in bags and in bulk. Some of the proceeds are being used to help educate underprivileged children in India. We will be promoting this drink as a summer beverage both hot and over ice. Stop in and check it out!

Tea grown in the Pacific Northwest is seeming closer to commercial production. I met Richard Sakuma, President of Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington, WA and will be visiting his field of tea within the next few weeks to see his set up. I will let you know here first as soon as his product is commercially available. Pretty Exciting Stuff!!

I'd love to talk to you more about the faces and events of the expo, drop into the shop and let's chat over a cup of tea.