When it comes to flavored tea, how much variety is too much? In a perfect world, there would be no limit to the number of flavors one could create or offer to customers. What’s the downside? Quality and freshness are at stake. As a customer, think about this very carefully. The more flavors that are offered, the more inventory that is accumulated, and the longer it takes to go through the inventory. The reason is not everyone will purchase every flavor, which means many of the flavors could sit around for a long, long time before they are replenished with fresh product. Ultimately, you, the customer, pay the price by getting stuck with stale tea.
Take Cold Stone Creamery for example, a retail chain of gourmet ice cream stores. They offer 20 signature creations and approximately 9 base ice cream flavors for custom blending. By keeping a limit to the variety, they are able to control the quality and freshness of their ice cream.
As a consumer, you should be thankful when you see a company or brand follow this type of strategy. Everyone likes variety, but there is a price to pay for too much variety. Of course there is no formula or magic number for the variety of tea flavors a brand should offer. But when you see a tea company offer 70 different loose tea flavors, approach with caution. They obviously don’t have freshness or quality in mind and are interested in one thing…volume.
We discovered a new loose tea flavor by combining our Very Raspberry with our Dark Chocolate Dream at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington D.C. The result was a huge hit with the customers. We are now seriously considering combining these two loose tea flavors and offering it as a special blend from time to time. Stay tuned for further updates.
Recently, we have had a few customers ask us if the Smart Tea Maker is safe to use in the microwave. While many of our customers do use their Smart Tea Makers to brew their loose tea in the microwave, the manufacturer has not laboratory tested the units in the microwave. Even though many of our customers are brewing their tea in this fasion without incident, we cannot make the claim that the Smart Tea Maker is safe to use in the microwave.
If you want to use the microwave, our suggestion is to heat the water first in the microwave and then pour into the Smart Tea Maker. Of course, you can always use a hot water dispenser, a pot of boiling water or a kettle as well.
We had an incredible response to our naturally flavored loose teas this past weekend at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C. I wish we could have blogged and twittered from the event, but we were too busy serving samples and selling tea! The event drew over 20,000 foodies, and I would like to thank all those who attended and visited our booth. Sheetal and I would also like to thank Tej and Rupa for all their help, as we could not have pulled it off without them. Below are some of pictures from the event:
What do I mean by the loose tea lifestyle? It’s pretty simple, and it is not just about tea. Living a loose tea lifestyle means you actually place a priority on quality, freshness and flavor and not convenience. You are willing to spend a minute extra to brew loose tea over a tea bag. You are also the type of individual who actually chooses to use your kitchen to prepare a meal from fresh ingredients instead of opting for prepared foods. Sharing this experience with friends and family are also a part of this lifestyle. So how do you live your life…like a tea bag or a batch of fresh loose tea leaves?
You may have noticed that we have been very quiet on the blogging front lately. A great deal of our time and effort this past month has been devoted to preparing for the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C. this November 7 & 8. We will be hosting a booth, where we will be serving samples of our flavored loose tea and offering our products for purchase. In addition, we will be sponsoring a Food and Wine Pairing event hosted by Food Network Chef Tyler Florence and will be serving our delicious tea to his audience at the end of his presentation.
A local Executive Chef, Trevor Lymam from Bella Brava, has been experimenting with our loose tea in some of his recipes. He hit paydirt with his latest creation, Ahi Tuna rolled in Lemon Ginger Green tea, lightly seared in a pan and then topped with a relish of tomatoes, red onions, and balsamic vinegar. Let me tell you, it was fantastic! In fact, it was so good, we had to try it at home. With delicious recipes like this, we are eager to taste more from Chef Trevor!
Did you know that loose tea typically contains more antioxidants than your average tea bag? The reason for this is that loose tea is less processed than the dust and lower quality tea often used in tea bags.
Most of us are familiar with the typical benefits offered by consuming loose tea, such as reducing risk to heart disease, aiding in the lowering of cholesterol, etc.. Recently, a research study discovered that those who drank 2 cups of green tea per day were practically 50% less likely to develop impairment issues with cognitive abilities than those who drank less than 3 cups of tea per week. There is still much research to be done with tea, but everyday, we learn something new about the benefits of drinking tea.
The primary reason for the difference in flavor between Japanese Sencha (green) tea and Chinese green tea has to do with the processing. With Japanese Sencha, the loose tea leaves are initially steamed for a very brief period to prevent oxidation, whereas Chinese green tea leaves are initally pan-fired without any steaming process.
Ultimately, the steaming process with Japanese sencha creates a more vegetal, almost grassy-like flavor. The Sencha loose tea leaves are also much greener in color and have a long cylindrical, needle-like shape.