Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recession? Forget about it!

Recession got you bummed? You’re not alone. Please don’t head to your neighborhood bar or bother investing in a bottle of liquor – relief may be as simple as a pot of tea. It comes without the headache, the hangover, the guilt and the dirty looks from the dog. Above all, it’s actually good for you. Perhaps you need some way to unwind after a day of job hunting. It’s a tough hunt, especially when you know the jobs just aren’t out there right now. Step away from the liquor cabinet! While alcohol may make you forget your problems (and possibly more), it will not solve your problem. In fact, alcohol may aggravate matters. Alcohol is a depressant, so by the time you sober up you may be even more bummed. Sure you can enjoy an occasional social drink, but please don’t expect it to be your salvation. Very few find salvation at the bottom of a bottle.

Did you ever achieve your dreams while you were drunk or hungover?
Me neither.

First choose the tea. If you need something to help with relaxation, choose something with chamomile or lavender, or at least something low in caffeine. Even our Immortal Nectar Pu Erh is a tea known to decrease physical stress, lower cholesterol and assist with weight loss.

Heat the water. Sometimes just listening to the water heat up can be therapeutic.

Steep the tea. If possible, steep it in a see-through vessel so you can see what is called ``the agony of the leaves’’. See … even your tea empathizes with you.

Create a relaxing environment. Softer lighting, pleasing music, a cozy blanket.

Now, as you enjoy that cup of tea, let’s take a couple moments to be logical.

1) You know that you have survived tough conditions in the past.

2) You know others who have survived tough conditions in the past and are currently surviving tough conditions.


When I was a Girl Scout Leader, I challenged my girls to make a index card with a list of 5-10 things that made them feel worried or stressed. I had them put the cards in envelopes and seal them and give them to me. At the end of the year (8 months later) I returned their envelopes. I asked them to tell me how many things they worried about actually happened. They were all quite surprised to find that almost none of the things they worried about happened. When you look back on your past, isn’t that also true for you? It’s a little trick I learned from reading works of Dale Carnegie. ``You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.’’ Don’t remember who said it, but never forgot it.

More about tea and tough times later this week. In the meantime, stop worrying, enjoy your tea and for goodness sake, smile. It’s hard to be bummed when you're smiling.
Don't worry, be happy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New at SensibiliTeas .... Organic Olive Leaf!

For Christians and Jews alike, we know it to be the sign given to Noah that dry land existed -- a sign of hope. We’ve seen it in the mouth of the dove of peace. We’ve seen a wreath of it around the heads of ancient kings and emperors. To see an olive branch, we see a symbol of peace. Today, many studies indicate that we may also look at this branch as a symbol of good health!

Olive leaf is the leaf of the olive tree (Olea europaea). This tree is historically known as the Tree of Life, likely with good reason. While the fruit of the olive plant and oil from the olives are well known for flavor and health benefits, the leaf has been used medicinally through history. Natural olive leaf and olive leaf extracts (OLE containing oleuropein), are now marketed as anti-aging, immuno-stimulators, and even antibiotics. Clinical evidence has proven the blood pressure lowering effects of olive leaf.

It has been studied for use against a variety of bacteria including those that can cause salmonella, pneumonia and other infections of the respiratory tract and intestines and shown to be useful in the treatment of these ailments. Viral invaders, including those that can cause herpes, shingles, yeast infections, polio, colds and influenza may also be inhibited by olive leaf.

Olive leaf is also good for the heart. Scientists think olive leaf's potential ability to support cardiovascular health is linked to four main factors. First, olive leaf contains an antioxidant that may help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol-the so-called "bad" cholesterol-can severely damage the walls of arteries and it is one of the chief contributors to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Another compound in olive leaf may support healthy blood flow by lowering its viscosity and making it less "sticky." Third, olive leaf may have the ability to dilate blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure. Finally, olive leaf may be able to lower cholesterol levels.

As for digestive health, olive leaf may also have anti-fungal properties that can help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the intestines. The anti-fungal and anti-viral properties in olive leaf make it potentially useful in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. And to top it all off, olive leaf has four times the antioxidant power of green tea to boost the immune system, may increase energy levels and serves as a natural detoxifier.

Some recent research on the olive leaf has shown its antioxidants to be effective in treating some tumors and cancers such as liver, prostate and breast cancer but the research on this is preliminary.

Organic Olive Leaf is now available at SensibiliTeas for $3.00. Also for $3.00 per ounce is an Olive Leaf custom blend containing Organic Olive Leaf, Organic Lemon Myrtle and Organic Stevia. Fantastic hot or iced. For best results, steeping time, though, should be strictly obeyed, as it can become quite bitter if steeped longer than 1 minute. These products are not yet on the website. Blog readers are the first to learn of new products!

Recommended use for effectiveness is 4-6 teaspoons of dried olive leaf daily. This is three 16oz. cups, or four 12 oz. cups. Unless a physician is consulted, use of olive leaf should be avoided by those taking anticoagulants, diabetic medications, ACE inhibitors, antihypertensive medications and antiplatelet medications. Use should be discontinued two weeks prior to surgery or dental work.

As with most herbs, we recommend against use by pregnant and breast-feeding women, and caution that allergic reactions may appear in sensitive individuals. Discontinue use if you detect irregular breathing, rash, hives or itching.

Today's quote is from Benjamin Franklin:
There was never a good war or bad peace.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not only is today inauguration day, it's also National Cheese Day!
Did you know that just as cheese pairs well with wine, cheese pairs with tea beautifully! It's just helpful to know which tea goes with which teas!

Keemun black tea, Pai Mu Tan white tea

Dragonwell green tea, Vietnamese black tea, Darjeeling tea or green tea, Nepal black tea

Dragonwell green tea, Chun Mee green tea, Gunpowder green tea,Vietnamese Black tea, Spring (1st flush) Darjeeling black tea or green tea, Nepal black tea

Tung Ting Oolong, Darjeeling (Spring, 1st flush or Summer, 2nd flush)

Cream Cheese:
Ceylon, Spring (1st flush) Darjeeling black tea

Ceylon black tea, Autumnal Darjeeling black tea, Wuyi Oolong or Purple Oolong

Gorgonzola & other bleu cheeses:
Chun Mee green tea, Vietnamese black tea, Ceylon black tea, Pouchong oolong

Tung Ting Oolong, Pouchong oolong Provolone: Ceylon black tea, Nilgiri black tea, Indonesian black tea

Have a tea and cheese party!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Such a noteful day!

Iva Toguri D’Aquino was the daughter of Japanese immigrants, born in Los Angeles on July 4, 1916. Being of Japanese descent, and having spent a great deal of time in Japan, I am confident she must have been a tea drinker at one time or another. She is better known as ``Tokyo Rose’’, as she was called by the Allied forces stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. ``Tokyo Rose” was actually the name given to a composite of a dozen or so female radio broadcasters responsible for anti-American transmissions intended to demoralize soldiers fighting in the South Pacific.
She was detained by US Military for a year before she was released due to lack of evidence. However, upon her return to the United States, the FBI started investigating her activities. As a result, the US Attorney’s Office charged her with eight counts of treason. She was stripped of her citizenship and convicted on one of treason in her 1949 trial. This made her only the seventh American to be convicted on a treason charge. She served six years in Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia.
She was released from prison January 18, 1956, but the Immigration Service ordered her to leave the United States by April 13, 1956. If not for her will to fight the deportation and the determination and spirit of her lawyer, Wayne M. Collins, she would have been deported. A request for pardon was made the Presidents Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon to no avail. Investigative journalists in 1974 learned that key witnesses had lied during testimony and further determined there were other serious problems with the conduct of the 1949 trail. On this day in history, January 19, 1977, President Gerald Ford pardoned her on his last day in office. This made her the only us citizen convicted of treason to be pardoned.

Today is also many birthdays of note. I’m going to skip the obvious, the national day of recognition of Martin Luther King Jr's. birthday, as I just discussed his ``I have a dream’’ speech a few days ago. And I won’t carry on about how odd I think it is that it is also Robert E. Lee’s birthday and Confederate Heroes Day is on the same day this year. Or that the alignment of opposing celebrations occurs on the eve of the inauguration of a president with a Kenyan father. (I won’t call Barack Obama African-American … he is as American as I am.)

Today is the birthday of Tippi Hedren, possibly best known for her performance in the Hitchcock classic the birds. She was born in 1930, so today she is 79. In 2002, she won a Best Actress Award from the New York International Independent Film Festival for her role as Grandma Rae in the 2002 short film Tea With Grandma.

It’s also the birthday of Janis Joplin, who would have been 65 today. A confirmed alcoholic and drug addict, this bluesy singer/songwriter from Port Arthur, TX was also a tea drinker. An excerpt from a January 1, 1968 article about her in The Village Voice (New York) by Richard Goldstein:
``But Janis stalks around the tiny room, her fingers drumming against a tabletop. She sips hot tea from a Styrofoam cup. She talks in gasps, and between sentences, she belts a swig of Southern Comfort, her trademark. Tonight, a knowing admirer has graced her dressing room with a fifth, in lieu of flowers. “I don’t drink anything on the rocks,” she explains. “Cold is bad for my throat. So, it’s always straight or in tea. Tastes like orange petals in tea. I usually get about a pint and a half down me, when I’m performing. Any more, I start to nod out.’’ Too bad she couldn’t have been a teetotaler. The girl did have talent.

Today is the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth in Boston, MA. While I cannot easily confirm that Poe was a tea drinker, many of his writings hold references to tea or tea accoutrements.
Given we are talking a about a writer who loved to add a strange twist to things, let’s talk about somewhat of a tea-related reference to which he wasn’t linked (clear as mud? I know…)

In the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in the chapter "A Mad Tea Party", the Mad Hatter asks a riddle: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" When Alice ponders and gives up, the Hatter admits he does not have an answer himself. The author, Lewis Carroll intended the riddle to be just a riddle without an answer, but after many requests from readers, he and others thought up possible answers to the riddle. One possible answer is "Poe wrote on both", a reference to Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote The Raven.
And what the heck … perhaps a quote for the day. From another birthday girl, Dolly Parton, who is 63 today. The tea connection? It is a quote that was found under an Honest Tea cap. (Honest Tea is the drink of choice of president-elect Barack Obama, more specifically, the Black Forest Berry, which is actually not tea at all, but by their own admission, an herbal fruit infusion.)

And the quote:
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Captain James Cook discovers Hawaii

On this day in history, on January 18, 1778, English explorer Captain James Cook became the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands.

On January 8, 2009, a silver tea tray A silver tray that once belonged to Captain James Cook was sold for $120,000 to the National Library in Canberra. Covered with small scratches, it is believed to have been regularly used in the Cook household to serve tea and drinks. The insignia shows a globe centered on the Pacific Ocean and bears the motto, "He left nothing unattempted".

Tongue in cheek, the library’s curator of maps, Martin Woods, said of the motto, ``I must add that they had 17 years together of married life, only four years of which were spent together and they had six children, so it was probably an appropriate marker."

In any attempt to justify the very loose tea links of late, I'll put some teas on sale to celebrate Captain Cook's discovery of Hawaii. For the week of 01/18/09 through 01/24/09 the following teas will be available for $2.50 per ounce rather than $3.00 per ounce (over 16% savings)! The sale is NOT AUTOMATIC, but it's easy. It's just for blog readers. Just mention the blog or use code blog011809 in the special comments field of the online order form.
Flavored Black Teas:
Breeze, Coconut Crème, Copacabana, Eden, Grapefruit, Lime, Mango, Orange, Piña Colada, Pineapple, Tangerine, Tom's Compassion (passionfruit), Pomegranate
Flavored Green Teas:

Banana, Compassionfruit, Mango, Orange, Pomegranate, Tropical
Flavored White Teas:
Grapefruit, Melon, Tangerine (I only carry Tangerine Organic now), Tropics
Flavored Oolong Teas:
Grapefruit, Mango, Orange Blossom
Coconut, Compassionfruit, Lime Ginger, Lime, Mango, Mango Passion, Orange, Orange Organic, Tangerine, Tangerine Spice
Herbal Tisanes:
Compassion Orange, Mango Tango, Orange Sunrise, Piña Colada Herbal, Tropical Splash
Yerba Mate:
Citrus, Mango

That's 43 teas on sale just because Captain James Cook found Hawaii 231 years ago!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Recipe for Life

Today is also the birthday of Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, KY he is undeniably one of the greatest boxers of all time.

In an interview, when asked how he would like to be remembered, he replied:
He took a few cups of love.
He took one tablespoon of patience.
One tablespoon, teaspoon of generosity.
One pint of kindness.
He took one quart of laughter.
One pinch of concern.
And then he mixed willingness with happiness.
He added lots of faith.
And he stirred it up well.
Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime.
And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.

It's how I'll remember him.

Tea totaler or teetotaler?

Tea-totaler or Tee-totaler?

This term comes up in the tea shop quite often. By listening I can't tell how it's being spelled, but I can tell you it is typically misused. I thought I’d take a moment to more clearly define the term and explain from where it comes. It has to do with prohibition. It likely has nothing at all to do with tea.

The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. On January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, which prohibited the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes". Yesterday was the 90th anniversary of this amendment.

The term teetotaler is likely most correctly attributed to Dicky Turner, a stammering member of the Preston Temperance Society, who in a speech remarked, ``nothing will do but a T-T-Total abstinence’’. The t in the tee totaler is said to have come from the stammering part of his remark. Others say the t stands for Temperance. In either case, today the term teetotaler is properly used to indicate someone practicing and/or promoting total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. While it is believed by many to mean one who drinks tea, there is little to no evidence to support that definition, unless that definition means that the tea drinker is drinking tea in an effort to refrain from the intake of alcohol.

Most of our familiarity with prohibition was garnered through our viewing of programs like ``The Untouchables’’ wherein Federal Agent Eliot Ness and his incorruptible team of agents battle organized crime. It was the early 1930s when people would do just about anything for an alcoholic beverage. Bootlegging operations got the folks their drinks and drew in immense wealth for gangsters like Al Capone. Al Capone was born 110 years ago day, on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn NY.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth

Today marks the passing of a great artist, Andrew Wyeth, who passed away early this morning at his home outside Philadelphia. He was 90 years old. His most memorable piece is likely his 1948 painting``Christina’s World” (above), in which he depicts a real woman, Christina Olson, who had a never-diagnosed muscular deterioration disorder, and was known to drag herself across the grass to pick wildflowers. He had seen her through his studio window at a house at Hathorn Point on the Maine coast, in Cushing. The painting was done when Christina was 55-years old. The skeletal arms of Christina are her own, but Christina’s body was actually painted based on the body of Wyeth’s 35-year-old daughter Betsy.
Christina Olson died January 27, 1968. Until two months before her death, she’s lived her whole life in that house on the hill.

How does Andrew Wyeth relate to tea?

In 1968, Wyeth did a painting of ``Christina’s Teapot’’, perhaps in her memory.,-Andrew-Newell/Christina%27s-Teapot/3/1/

In 1989 he also created a painting entitled ``Two for Tea’’

It's not known if he was a tea drinker. I'm just personally glad such an outstanding talent had the opportunity to live such a long and rich life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside ...

Sorry for no post yesterday ... My fingers were frozen!

Brrrrrrrrrrr…. I don’t know where all of you are located, but here … Baby, it’s cold outside! As I write this (7pm EST) it is currently –11ºF and it’s expected to go as low as –17ºF tonight!
So I figured I’d offer a little heat at a discount. We carry an herbal tea called Fire Ginseng. I chuckle to myself a little when people come in an ask ``Is it spicy?” Well … we don’t call if FIRE just for fun!
Fire Ginseng is a sweet spicy blend that contains red Korean ginseng, cinnamon, orange peel, star anise, ginger, licorice root, black pepper, natural flavors of cinnamon and mandarin orange. Korean ginseng itself is known as fire ginseng due to its warming properties. It is beneficial to those needing a quick burst of energy without caffeine, or those whose bodies have been depleted by illness or improper diet. Fire Ginseng will be on sale from now until 01/31/09 for $2.00 per oz. (regularly $3.00 per oz.)

Well it was with passion and fire on a warm summer day when the famous ``I have a dream’’ speech was first heard. (August 28, 1963) If you’ve never read or heard the full text of this speech, you should. I still get goosebumps every time I hear it. Only a good speech can do that. Today, on Martin Luther King Jrs. real birthday, it might be a good time to hear it. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 80 years old today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Drink your tea and eat it too!

When I was a kid, I loved most vegetables, but not all of them. I happily ate corn, green beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips – more vegetables than most kids I think – but I hated peas and carrots. American Kitchens put out some frozen French fries that contained the vegetables I hated. They were called ``I Hate Peas”’ and ``I Hate Carrots’’. They weren’t on the market for long as I believe most kids saw through the trick. I must have been a little slower on the uptake, or perhaps a little more trusting. But I loved them!

So I thought … I don’t like green tea much, but I do eat oatmeal. So what if I made the oatmeal with green tea instead of plain old water. Hmmm… get the health benefits of the tea while I’m eating my breakfast? Sign me up! So I tried a recipe provided to me by a friend and it was fabulous! Now it’s my favorite breakfast! Here’s the recipe in case you’d like to try it. (She said I could share it!)

1 cup brewed green tea
1/2 cup quick oats
1 TBSP or so diced apricots
1 TBSP or so of dried berries (cranberries, craisins, cherries [my favorite], or a mix)
1 TBSP of toasted almonds
1 tsp almond extract (vanilla extract is nice too)

Make the tea. Remove the tea leaves from the brew. Reheat the tea to boiling. Add the oatmeal. Let it sit for a few minutes. This is when you can dice your apricots, and maybe cut the berries into smaller pieces if you wish. Add the toasted almonds to the fruit mixture.

Mix the almond extract into the oatmeal. Top with the fruit & nut mixture. Drizzle with honey.

Want to make it vegan? Omit the honey. If you want it sweetened use agave nectar or brew the tea with stevia leaves. Or sugar … there’s really nothing wrong with sugar used in moderation!

Don’t have toasted almonds? Plain slivered almonds are fine too. But almonds are easy to toast and they are so much tastier when they are toastier. One pound of slivered almonds equals about 4 cups, so toast a whole bunch one day and have them on hand. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. spread nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden OR stir in a heavy ungreased skillet over medium heat until brown.

Now, though I haven’t tried it I would bet this recipe would work just as well with rooibos or honeybush or just about any tea you like. Think of the variations! Maybe oatmeal made with chai, or a fruit tea. Maybe you could get the kids to eat oatmeal! Gotta get your omega-3 fatty acids? Try adding some flax seed or walnuts. Ooooo … Banana Green tea with bananas and walnuts and a little dab of cinnamon. The ideas just keep coming! Why does breakfast come only once a day!

Today’s Birthdays

Albert Schweitzer – Born on January 14, 1875 Schweitzer, a philosopher, theologian, missionary and musicologist, was one of the most remarkable people of the 20th century. His life and work were governed by a great humanitarianism and a reverence for the natural word. In 1952, he was award the Nobel Peace Prize, and used his $33,000 award money to open a leprosarium (home for those with leprosy) in Lambaréné in Gabon. From the early 1950s until his death in 1965 he spoke tirelessly of his opposition to nuclear tests and nuclear weapons. And yes … he was a tea drinker.

LL Cool J – Hip hop artist LL Cool J was born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968 in Bay Shore, NY and raised in St. Albans, Queens NY. He adopted the stage name which stands for Ladies Love Cool James. LL Cool J's Platinum Workout: Sculpt Your Best Body Ever with Hollywood's Fittest Star, he states: “Drink 2 cups of green tea every day. It gently boosts your metabolism and is loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants. The most potent among them has demonstrated 100 times the antioxidant power of Vitamin C and 25 times the power of Vitamin E.” While his music is not my cup of tea, and tea hasn’t done much for his humility, you have to admit the man is in pretty ripped shape for 41 years old.

Celebritea quote of the day:
Never say there is nothing
beautiful in the world anymore.

There is always something
to make you wonder in the shape of a tree,
the trembling of a leaf.
Albert Schweitzer (01/14/1875-09/04/1965)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Do you hate green tea?

Many people refuse to embrace the health benefits of green tea because they claim to hate green tea. What a shame!
While green tea is not my favorite cup of tea (I'm a real black tea/oolong/rooibos fan), I have found several green teas I can truly enjoy. The trick to finding a green tea you can enjoy is defining what you hate about it. Not all green teas are created equally.Talk to me about it and I'll walk your through the vast selection of green teas we carry.

  • Have you had green tea from a tea bag? Loose leaf tea is far superior!
  • Have you only had bottled green tea? Well, that's a lot more about water, high fructose corn syrup and citric acid than it is tea. Read the ingredient label.
  • Did you hate that it was bitter? This might not have been the tea at all. It may have been the preparation. Most people don't know that the water temperature should be lower (185º) than boiling. Also, the steeping time must be carefully watched. Most green teas will not tolerate steeping beyond three minutes without releasing bitter-tasting tannins.
  • Did you hate that is was too light? Though green teas aren't known for their boldness, but there are some in stock at SensibiliTeas that are a little bolder, a little more full-flavored.
  • Did you hate that it was grassy? Not all green teas are grassy.
  • Maybe you are a flavors person? You can get all the benefits of green tea from a flavored green tea as well. Are you fruity? Minty? Spicy? We have all those options available.

Come tell us why you hate green tea, and we'll see what we can do about finding one you'd like. All we are saying, is give greens a chance!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Uses for unwanted tea

So ... New Year's resolutions often involve cleaning out cupboards and such. Here are some cool uses for those old teas you no longer enjoy (ie., tea bags, tea you received as gifts but hated, etc.)
  • Revitalize tired, achy or puffy eyes with a tea compress. Soak two teabags, TSacs or muslin tea bags in warm water and place them over your closed eyes, Relax for 20 minutes. The tannins in the tea act to reduce puffiness and soothe tired eyes. Chamomile tea is also particularly effective against puffiness.
  • Wash face with tea to cure acne. Rub green tea leaves over your face and wash them off. It's proven to reduce acne and it's cheaper than other solutions.
  • Condition dry hair. To give a natural shine to dry hair, use a quart of warm freshly brewed tea as a final rinse after your regular shampoo.
  • Stop foot odor. Put an end to smelly feet by giving them a daily tea bath. Just soak your tootsies in strongly brewed tea for 20 minutes a day and say goodbye to offensive odors.
  • Tenderize tough meat. Even the toughest cuts of meat will melt in your mouth after you marinate them in regular black tea. Here's how: Place 4 TBSP black tea leaves in a pot of warm (not boiling) water and steep for 5 minutes. Strain to remove the leaves and stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar until it dissolves. Set aside. Season up to 3 pounds meat with salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder, and place it in a Dutch oven. Pour the liquid over the seasoned meat and cook in a preheated 325°F (165°C) oven until the meat is fork tender, about 90 minutes.
  • Shine your mirrors, To make mirrors sparkle and shine, brew a pot of strong tea, let it cool, and then use it to clean the mirrors. Dampen a soft cloth in the tea and wipe it all over the surface of the mirrors. Then buff with a soft, dry cloth for a sparkly, streak-free shine. Also great for washing windows and other glass.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Learn how to relax

Relaxed people are able to solve problems more quickly and easily, which actually keeps them more relaxed. Ironically, relaxed people have more energy! With increased energy you will achieve more which makes you feel more positive and more relaxed. What a wonderful vortex!

If you find yourself collapsing, exhausted at the weekend, or you are constantly looking forward to holidays so you can do nothing for a while, it may not be the case that you are overworking. You simply don’t know how to relax properly.
Relaxation doesn’t mean watching TV, reading a book or playing video games. It’s not about having a drink with friends. Those are all activities for which your mind must remain active. It is achieved through doing absolutely nothing … just letting your mind unwind. Close your eyes and be aware of the non-visual world around you. What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel in the air? Don’t think about the meeting you just left or the doctor’s appointment you have tomorrow.
Just be.
Just for a few minutes.
Find 15 minutes a day.
This is 1/96th of your day – 1.041% of your day.

You have the time.

Personally, I enjoy relaxing with a cup of tea (no surprise there, right?!). The simple act of making a cup of tea is relaxing to me. I like watching the tea leaves dance in the infuser. I love the sound of hot tea pouring into my cup. I like having the cup of tea nearby as I can smell it, and holding near my face feel the warmth of the tea. Any cup of tea is fine. Any caffeine in the tea will not affect you for about 20 minutes – exactly when it’s time to return to normal activities. If you are sensitive to caffeine, herbal tisanes, including rooibos or honeybush, are good choices. We carry a wide variety of herbal tisanes. You’re certain to find one you love. We do carry teas specifically for relaxing, but recommend those teas mostly for use at bedtime, at least until you know how they will affect you.
If you can make your relaxation time right before a meal, you may even find you eat less.

If you’re having trouble relaxing, there are certain activities that can certainly help. Yoga, t'ai chi, massage and meditation are all fabulous ways to relax your mind. Sometimes all it takes is just closing your eyes and listening to yourself breathe.

A good reason to feel relaxed …. You’re not here!
One of Japan’s scariest footbridges.

Today's quote:
Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
Alexander Hamilton (01/11/1755-07/12/1804)

Friday, January 09, 2009

The beginning of Assam in Britain

Two Scottish brothers, Major Robert Bruce and Sir Charles Alexander Bruce started tea cultivation in India in 1817. In 1823 Robert discovered an indigenous plant used by the people of the Assam region of India. Originally it was rejected as being just another form of the flower, Camellia sinensis. Before his death in 1825, Robert passed the information about the plant on to his brother Charles. When presented more thoroughly in 1830 by Charles, the find was declared ``the most important and valuable'' ever made on agricultural or commercial resources of the British Empire. In 1835, the first tea company, the Assam Tea Company, opened.

On January 10, 1839 a shipment of 159k of tea (about 300 lbs of Assam tea shipped in May 1838) from the Assam region of India became available in Britain for the first time. Until this time, the nation had seen only tea from China, and that had become very expensive. As India was a British colony, there was no duty on the Indian tea and it quickly became more affordable than the Chinese tea. This lead to the popularity of tea drinking in Britain.

Today's CelebriTea is Rod Stewart
Lyrics excerpted from ``Every Picture Tells a Story'', 1971

Paris was a place you could hide away
if you felt you didn't fit in
French police wouldn't give me no peace
They claimed I was a nasty person
Down along the Left Bank minding my own
Was knocked down by a human stampede
Got arrested for inciting a peaceful riot
when all I wanted was a cup of tea
I was accused
I moved on ...

Happy 64th Birthday, Rod!

A relaxing cup of tea

Studies conducted by University College London researchers have proven that drinking 4 daily cups of black tea can help you recover more quickly from the stresses of everyday life. This scientific evidence showed that black tea has an effect on stress hormone levels in the body. The study found that people who drank tea were able to destress more quickly than those who drank a fake tea substitute. The study also showed that participants were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood after a stressful event, compared with a control group who drank the fake or placebo tea for the same period of time. Similar results are not produced with a similar intake of green tea, oolong tea or white tea.
(Black tea is what some folks would call``normal'' tea. It's the with which tea nearly everyone in America is familiar and includes varieties like Assam and Ceylon)

Conditions of excessive cortisol production cause high blood pressure, thinning of the skin, storage of fat in the abdomen, defective immune function, and mood disorders such as depression.

Black teas and flavored black teas will be available at 10% their regular price from now until Saturday, January 17, 2009. Mention you saw the sale mentioned in this post at time of purchase, or enter the code blog010909 in the special comments section of the online order form.

CelebriTea quote
You don't get to choose how you're going to die.
Or when.
You can decide how you're going to live now.
– Joan Baez (01/09/1941-present)
(A celebriTea is a tea-drinking celebrity)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Relax ...

Okay …you’ve had a week of weight loss resolution suggestions. Let’s work on another resolution. – reducing stress! Did you know January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day? Jasmine tea is perfect with a bubble bath. (Well, maybe not for this little bugger, but ain't he cute?!)

What is jasmine tea? Jasmine (from Persian yasmin which means ``gift from God’’) flowers, which bloom only at night, are placed atop tea leaves after they have been processed into typically green or oolong teas. Their scent is a distinctively rich, warm floral fragrance that is sweetly exotic. Jasmine sedates the nervous system, so it is great for jangled nerves, headaches, insomnia, and depression and for taking the emotional edge off PMS and menopause. It also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac!

The intoxicating fragrance of the jasmine blossoms scents the tea, and the scent stays with the tea. A more intense jasmine fragrance can be obtained when the tea is scented numerous times. The tea should just taste like good tea. The jasmine is a scent, and should only be within the flavor as achieved through your sense of smell. A flavored jasmine tea is a cheap knockoff, and should be avoided. The best way to enjoy a cup of jasmine tea is to inhale the scent on the steam as you are sipping in the tea. Add a bubble bath, some soothing music, maybe subdued lighting … I’m feeling better already!

Our jasmine offerings are extensive. Our most popular jasmine teas are Jasmine Green and Jasmine Chun Hao, though Rose-Kissed Jasmine has recently picked up a following:

Our most intense jasmines are the pearls (shown above) and butterflies (shown below). In the case of the pearls, two leaves and a bud are hand-rolled into a ball the size and shape of a pearl. Upon steeping, these pearls dance gracefully through the water, slowly unfurling and releasing their alluring fragrance. The only difference between Dragon Phoenix Jasmine Pearls and Organic Jasmine Pearls is that Dragon Phoenix Jasmine Pearls are not certified organic.

Golden Jasmine Butterfly is a rare reserve tea, perhaps the finest jasmine tea we’ve ever experienced. Not your everyday tea (unless your everyday is a little like heaven!) Exceptional hand-picked Chinese white tea is together by hand into the shape of beautiful small butterflies, then layered with fresh jasmine petals replaced night after night until the scent and flavor are indescribably deep and sweet.

There are five other lovely jasmines available at SensibiliTeas

Can you tell which one goes with my bubble bath?
It’s time to let yourself go …

Jasmine teas will be available at 10% their regular price from now until Saturday, January 17, 2009. Mention you saw the sale mentioned in this post, or enter the code blog01089 in the special comments section of the online order form.

(Please call the shop before trying to visit. I may still be out of town due to a death in the family. )

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Yerba Mate

Yerba mate (pronounced herba maatay) is an shrub or tree native to the subtropical regions of South America, primarily Argentina, eastern Paraguay, western Uruguay and southern Brazil. A member of the holly family, it grows to be about 40 feet tall. Yerba Mate is NOT A TEA. It is an herbal tisane, which is prepared and enjoyed as tea is, but it comes from a plant that is not a TEA plant (camellia sinensis) Yerba means herb and mate means gourd. In South America, mate is typically drunk from a gourd called a cuia through a long silver straw called a bombilla (both available at SensibiliTeas, though not yet on the website). Drinking it from a cup is perfectly acceptable, though.

Recently there has been a flurry of excitement about yerba mate being an effective aid for losing weight. Mate raises metabolism, regulates appetite and aids digestion. It is also thermogenic, meaning it induces the body to burn calories. Mate is a good source of antioxidants and provides the B vitamins, minerals and amino acids needed for long-lasting metabolism stimulation. I personally have not used yerba mate for weight loss purposes, as I am satisfied with the abilities of oolong and Pu Erh, but I do find it to be a pleasantly uplifting cuppa in the afternoon. I especially enjoy the Citrus Mate, which I have come to refer to as ``sunshine in a cup.’’
Quote du jour:

"We must use time wisely and
forever realize that the
time is always ripe to do right."

Nelson Mendela (07/18/18-present)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sherlock Holmes and his cup of tea

Sherlock Holmes was born in this day in history in 1854. That is to say, of course, that is character was born. Let’s remember that Sherlock Holmes was a character, not a real person. It is widely accepted that lapsang souchong was the tea of choice for Sherlock Holmes. However, while it is clear that Sherlock was definitely a tea drinker there is no reference to lapsang souchong in any of the Sherlock Holmes book. All the same, we are confident that the tea, lapsang or not, led him to all those brilliant deductions. Don't you agree? Lapsang souchong (Chinese term is Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong) black tea from the Wuyi region in the Fujian province of China. It is a distinctively smoky tea, due largely to the fact that it is smoked. Tea leaves are placed in cypress baskets and smoked over pine fires. The scent is not unlike that of a campfire. While it is safe to say it is certainly an acquired teas, lapsang souchong is a fabulous with which to cook. When making soups and stews, substitute lapsang souchong for a smokier taste that is fat-free, calorie-free and vegan. Lapsang souchong can also be great when used in place of water for making rice. You might, though, want to consider a little salt, as you will be lacking all the sodium the commercial broths contain.

Other cool stuff!

Today is the birthday of one of the best kids programs in history! Schoolhouse Rock was ``born'' on this day 36 years ago. This is how I think I first came to learn that the independence of our country has something to do with tea. Actually this is how I learned a lot of things when I was growing up (oh yeah ... and I read a lot of books and drank tea, too!)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is in English folk custom the end of Christmas merrymaking and in ancient Celtic tradition the end of the 12-day winter solstice celebration. On Twelfth Night, it was customary for the assembled company to toast one another from the wassail bowl. In Old English, wassail means "Be in good health," but the term also was applied to the drink itself (usually spiced ale). Leaves me to wonder how many people got sick drinking from the same wassail bowl!

WASSAIL TEA recipe for Twelfth Night Celebration
¾ c. lemon juice
1 ½ c. orange juice
1 ½ c. apple cider
1 ½ c. sugar
1 ½ c. water
3 tsp. of our Organic Pumpkin Spice Black Tea blend
7 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 ½ tsp. tea

Combine juices and cider in large kettle. Set aside. Combine ½ cup sugar, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks in 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Remove spices. Add spiced water mixture to juices. Add 1 ½ cups boiling water to tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain. Add tea to juices with remaining 1 cup sugar. Add 5 cups boiling water before serving. Heat until piping hot. Do not boil.

Green tea and weight loss

Green tea can be a great part of a healthy weight management diet. It is calorie-free, fat-free and carbohydrate-free with no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners. Like oolong, pu-erh and yerba mate, it boosts your metabolism. Green tea is the perfect complement to meals of fresh fruits and vegetables, which should be a large part of any weight loss regime.

Green tea more popularly used for weight loss, because green tea is what has been marketed as the right tea for weight loss. More of the tea harvest is allocated for green tea production. Green tea is less expensive than oolong and therefore more profitable for a big company to use green tea for the ready-to-drink market. Once it hits the ready-to-drink market, it’s the cure-all. Personally, I think the effects of green tea weight loss combined with its superb health benefits (that will be discussed at another time) make it a good adjunct to any weight loss program. However, I have personally seen better results with oolong and Pu Erh. Drinking five cups of green tea a day will burn between 70-80 calories daily.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


On this date in history, Sir Isaac Newton was born i
n the year 1643. This mathematician, astronomer, physicist, theologian, alchemist, philosopher, all-round-brainiac is considered to be one of the most influential men in history.


Sir Isaac Newton was taking tea under the apple trees in the family gardens at Woolsthorpe one summer's afternoon in 1665 when an apple fell from an overhanging branch, plunked him on the head, and immediately provided the inspiration for his law of gravitation. Or so the story goes. It may indeed have happened that way, but no one knows for certain. Even the famed British astronomer Sir Harold Spencer Jones, who publicly stated in 1944 that the story was probably true, later recanted, noting that "one cannot be sure either way." Sir Harold the Waffler …, that is. (Picture from Schoolhouse Rock ... one of the best kids shows of all time!)

Excerpted from the book: Isaac Newton: Live and Legacies, Chapter 3 Of Genius, Fire and Plague

While at Woolsthorpe waiting for Cambridge to reopen, Newton experienced the insight that has since become legend. A year before Newton died in 1727, his friend William Stukeley visited him at his home in Kensington near London. After dining, they went into the garden to drink tea under the shade of some apple trees. "Amidst other discourse," Stukeley wrote, "he told me he was just in the same situation as when formerly the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasioned by the fall of the apple, as he sat in a contemplative mood.

Isaac Newton -- Lives and Legacies, Christianson, Gale E.
Published by Oxford University Press US, 2005
ISBN 019530070X, 9780195300703

Here at SensibiliTeas, we'd prefer to believe that it was the TEA, not the apple, that helped him develop and describe of principles of universal gravitation (c'mon ... it could have been that way ... ask Sir Harold Spencer Jones)

At any rate, tea and apples are a great combo! Here’s a recipe for a apple tea cake that might even be okay (once in a while & shared with friends) for the resolutionists on their weight loss quests. About 1300 calories in the entire cake (about 190 from fat). Simple enough to encourage the young baker in your life.

Apple Tea Cake, serves 6-10

½ stick of butter

½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup self-rising flour
pinch of salt
½ cup milk
1 apple peeled, cored and thinly sliced
extra sugar

1. Preheat oven to 355º.

2. Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat well.
3. Add flour and salt alternately with milk. Mix until light and fluffy.
4. Pour mixture into a greased, lined cake tin.
5. Place sliced apple on top of cake. Go ahead! Be decorative!
6. Sprinkle with extra sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.
7. Place in oven and bake 30-45 minutes.
8. Allow to cool on rack.
9. Enjoy with tea!

The perfect tea to have with this cake?
A Ceylon tea would be nice, but perfect would be our Cinnamon black tea or our Vanilla Cinnamon Rooibos!

Had it not been for Sir Issac Newton, we may have never known about a really cool way to make tea -- in a gravity press! What's a gravity press? It's how we make each cup of tea at SensibiliTeas. It is a infuser cup into which you place any kind of time on top of the fine mesh filter. Add hot water and close lid. Steep for the appropriate time. When that time is up, simply place the infuser cup atop the cup from which you will be drinking your tea. The clear brew is deposited into the cup, through a drain beneath the filter in the center of the bottom of the infuser, while all the loose tea leaves remain about the filter. The great thing about this cup, beyond its ease, is its versatility. While a tea ball is really only well-suited to a black tea, a tea press like this has a chamber large enough to handle the largest. most elegant oolong leaves, the filter is fine enough to strain the finest tisanes, such as rooibos. This gadget changed the way I drank tea. It makes it so easy to enjoy loose leaf tea! Below is a link to a youtube video that shows the cup in action. Though not yet listed on the website, they are available for sale. They are $20. The ingenuiTea (on the right) is a 16 oz cup, while the Smart Tea Maker (on the left) is 18oz. A 32oz version of the ingenuiTea, perfect for iced tea is available for $25.00
Back to weight loss teas tomorrow.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

``Sorry! I don't want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea–any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Goodbye!” With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem rude. Wizards after all are wizards.
“What on earth did I ask him to tea for!” he said to himself. He had only just had breakfast, but he thought a cake or two and a drink of something would do him good after his fright. -- from The Hobbit, 1937

Today is the birthday of a well-loved famous author who loved tea. The author of ``The Lord of the Rings'' trilogy and ``The Hobbit'' was born on this day in in 1892. Tolkien was orphaned by the age of 12, having lost his father to rheumatic fever in 1895, and his mother to complications of Type 1 diabetes in 1904. In 1911, Tolkien and three friends formed a semi-secret society which they called the T.C.B.S which stood for Tea Club and Barrovian Society, alluding to their fondness for drinking tea Barrow's store near the school ... and mischievously in the school library as well.

At the age of 16, Tolkien met Edith Mary Bratt when J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel ... they called him Ronald) and his brother Hilary Tolkien moved into the same boarding house. According to Humphrey Carpenter:

Edith and Ronald took to frequenting Birmingham teashops, especially one which had a balcony overlooking the pavement. There they would sit and throw sugarlumps into the hats of passers-by, moving to the next table when the sugar bowl was empty. ...With two people of their personalities and in their position, romance was bound to flourish. Both were orphans in need of affection, and they found that they could give it to each other. During the summer of 1909, they decided that they were in love.

Despite this decision of love, Tolkien's guardian, Father Francis Morgan, forbade this relationship as he was horrified at Tolkien's involvement with a Protestant girl. Tolkien was unable to see Edith again until he was 21. On the evening of his 21st birthday (January 3 , 1913) Tolkien wrote to Edith and asked her to marry him. She had already agreed to marry another man because she thought Tolkien had forgotten her. They met beneath a railway, renewed their love, Edith
dumped the other guy, Edith became Catholic and they lived happily ever after.

Bilbo Baggins above
J.R.R. Tolkien below
Am I the only one that sees the similarity?

I find another interesting similarity. The likeness between
Tolkien's monogram/estate trademark
the Chinese symbol for cha (tea)

Coincidence? I think not.

Source: Tolkien: A Biography. (1977) by Humphrey Carpenter