Monday, February 29, 2016

Herbal Tea Can Help During Pregnancy

Herbal teas can act as remedy for a number of ailments, including discomfort or nervousness that many experience during pregnancy. Read about the role herbal medicine can play during pregnancy below in a Q & A column: 
Hi Sandra, I'm expecting my first baby in a few weeks and am a little nervous about keeping myself and my baby healthy. My pregnancy has been difficult and I'm already exhausted. I understand I need to eat well and rest where I can, but I was wondering what plant medicine may help new mothers? 
-Nicky, Wellington
Congratulations on your first baby and the exciting times you have ahead. It's normal for most first time mothers to feel nervous, especially if your pregnancy has been difficult.
Eating well and resting are more important than ever and this is where daily rituals of self-care with nutritive medicinal herbal teas can strengthen you.
Traditional plant medicines have been used by women for generations to help mitigate issues through pregnancy and post birth fatigue. In Switzerland, where traditional plant remedies are a part of the mainstream medical system, a medicinal tea is recommended for pregnant women as part of their obstetric care.
This traditional midwifery formula includes raspberry leaf and lady's mantle to build up the uterine muscle, horsetail for connective tissue strength and yarrow as a circulatory tonic and to prevent excessive bleeding at birth, as well as nourishing nettle, calming lemon balm and uplifting St. John's Wort.
This specialised Swiss pregnancy tea is deemed highly effective in mitigating common complaints during pregnancy and shown empirically to facilitate a swift birth whilst being absolutely safe.
For these reasons, this traditional herbal combination is recommended at Zurich's University Hospital, a teaching hospital for doctors, nurses and midwives.
St John's wort is also an important traditional remedy used in pregnancy. We have referenced medical use of St John's Wort in pregnancy and child birth going back to the 16th century. It is an amazing plant that has benefitted many women to better tolerate the changes that pregnancy brings and it is entirely safe when taken in tea form, even when you are taking pharmaceuticals.
St. John's Wort is an energising tonic that is scientifically proven to alleviate fatigue, anxiety, mild to moderate depression and tiredness. It may also help to strengthen your nervous system to make you more resilient when you are experiencing stress and anxiety.
St John's Wort oil is also a lifesaver that can help prepare your body for childbirth by reducing stretchmarks during pregnancy and also by reducing the chance of perineum tearing at birth. You could ask your midwife to help show you the best way to massage this oil into your perineum. It is best applied twice daily for the last six-eight weeks before birth, in order to build good elasticity in this area.
The 100 per cent organic plant oil is free of mineral oil such as liquid paraffin. You can also use this oil to help healing in sensitive areas post birth. Using St. John's Wort oil on your baby is another great use as their skin is five times thinner at birth than ours and needs nourishment and protection. An additional benefit is that the oil has a calming influence on baby.
Nettle is also a nourishing plant that has been used safely for thousands of years as a traditional medicine - making it perfect for pregnant and new mums. It is high in strengthening minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C, enzymes and important nutrients.
The need for highly nutritive and nourishing foods increase at times of stress and when extra demands are placed on the body, so including nettle into your daily regime is a great way of topping up your stores as you welcome your new baby to the world.
Lemon balm is an excellent herb that helps to soothe your nerves during pregnancy and post child birth as it can really help with that sudden mood shift that some pregnant women experience. It may help relieve depression, relax muscle spasms and ease fluid retention as well.
Remember that hydration is important, so keep up your fluid intake through water, teas, smoothies or high water content fruit and vegetables.
Enjoy Drinking Tea? Try the Best Tea Accessory for enjoying mess-free tea while on the go, with t-sleeve. Order your t-sleeve today at:

SRC: Read the full article about natural pregnancy-related remedies here:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Spice List for Homemade Chai

If you didn't know, the term 'chai' simply means 'tea.' Shaped by U.S. vernacular, what many of us know as a 'chai tea' is actually called masala chai. With masala chai being a favorite drink of ours, we thought it would be fun to explore different spices in masala chai. Here is what we found:

The Essential Spice: Green Cardamom

When we talk about "chai-flavored" anything, in my opinion the dominant flavor we're really talking about is green cardamom. Intensely fragrant, with sharp vegetal notes of green spice and pepper, green cardamom pods are harvested earlier than black cardamom, which is muskier and more smoky.
Green cardamom is the base of most chai recipes that I am aware of. I like to buy green cardamom from the bulk bins at my local health food store, and I very lightly crack the pods before steeping them in the tea.

The Other Essentials (In My Humble Opionion)

After green cardamom the taste of chai can diverge in a few different directions. However, these four spices are perhaps most commonly used, and they form the base of the chai that I make the most:
  • Cinnamon stick - For sweetness and warmth.
  • Fennel seed - Offers a gentle anise or licorice note.
  • Fresh ginger - Flavors the whole pot of tea with a fresher spice note.
  • Black peppercorns - Gives the chai a spicy bite, which I love.

Even More Options

But other spices also show up in chai mixes. Here are others I sometimes use:
  • Whole cloves - Musky and strong.
  • Coriander seeds - Sweet and mild, with a citrus note.
  • Star anise - A darker, sweeter licorice flavor than the greener fennel seed.
Green cardamom forms the base of chai, but after that you could mix up nearly any of these spices and have yourself a fine cup. Personally I lean towards extra-spicy flavors with a strong dash of licorice or anise. Perhaps, though, you prefer the holiday baking aroma of cloves, or want to leave out all licorice notes and skip the fennel and star anise. Up to you!

The Best Sources for Chai Spices

I think of chai as a nice gateway to buying whole spices for the first time. If you're like me, you only bought ground spices in bottles until a really compelling project came along. For me, that was Indian cooking, particularly chai, and all of a sudden I was elbow-deep in a fresh supply of whole spices to explore.
But whole spices can be very expensive — unless you know where to look. Here are my favorite places to buy whole spices:
  • From the bulk section: Many health food stores, co-ops, and gourmet groceries have bulk sections for spices and teas. I just stocked up on a lot of spices, including cardamom and peppercorns, and only spent a few dollars on my haul.
  • From the Indian or Asian grocery: My other favorite place to buy spices, especially when I need a lot of them (my cumin seed habit requires supplies in pounds, not ounces), is the Indian grocery. You can buy a big bag of cardamom or other essential spices for reasonable prices.

Ready for a Recipe?

Are you hankering for a hot cup of chai now? Me too. Here are a few good recipes; you can see the dominance of the green cardamom and the diversity of the supporting spices. Any one of these recipes will teach you how to blend your spices and get a pot of tea brewed up.
SRC: Find the entire post and other recipes here:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Goal of t-sleeve

t-sleeve is a product designed to make taking tea to go easier for tea-drinkers. Store your favorite tea and sweetener in our compostable pouch and take your tea with you on the road! 

The goal of t-sleeve® is to be not only a convenient way to enjoy tea, but to be as eco-friendly as possible. Both the box packaging and t-sleeve® are recyclable. Once t-sleeve® comes in contact with the moist tea bag, it becomes a compostable product. Feel good about doing your part for the environment and reducing your carbon footprint.
Product Details 
Step by step instructions for t-sleeve®:

  1. Place your favorite tea bag and packaged sweeteners into t-sleeve®. Close pouch and take it on the go.
  2. Prior to steeping the tea, remove tea bag from pouch. Feed tea tab through opening at top.
  3. Steep the tea, allowing t-sleeve® to rest outside of cup on string and tea tab
  4. After steeping, pull tea tab up, drawing tea bag into the t-sleeve®.
  5. Once the tea bag is inside, fold in half and squeeze the residual liquid into cup.
  6. Discard the pouch/tea bag into trash receptacle or compost container.
  7. Enjoy your cup of tea!

You can order t-sleeve online here or find our product in Whole Foods Market.  

Start Your Day With Tea

A cup of tea can give you a rejuvenating and refreshing start to the day. If you are looking for some ideas for great varieties of teas to try, here are 3 favorite teas:  
White tea
Delicate white tea boosts cardiovascular health. It also has anti-aging properties and can help with weight management. 
White tea – 2 tbps Hot water
Brew the water to 180 Degrees (do not over boil). Allow the leaves to steep in this for three to four minutes. Enjoy!
Hibiscus ice tea
The tea is said to boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.
Hibiscus flower – 1, large
Water – 500 ml
Cinnamon stick – 1, small
Jaggery syrup – 1 tsp
Take the flower and remove its stamen. Boil water, turn off the heat add the hibiscus flower and cinnamon stick to this. Cover and steep the tea for 10 minutes. Strain this into a container, add a little syrup and serve with ice. Garnish the glass with a mint leaves and a slice of lime.”
Matcha tea
Super high in antioxidants and a metabolism booster, matcha tea is making people stand up and take notice of its benefits.
Almond milk – ½ cup
Matcha powder – ½ tsp
Cinnamon and cardamom – a sprinkling
Warm milk and add the spices to it. Make the matcha tea in a separate pan. Add the milk with spices and mix.
Enjoy Drinking Tea? Try the Best Tea Accessory for enjoying mess-free tea while on the go, with t-sleeve. Order your t-sleeve today at:

SRC: See the original post here:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha green tea offers rich flavor, lots of health benefits, and a great boost of energy. Made with entire green tea leaves, matcha green tea has a high concentration of caffeine and antioxidants. An ancient drink that originated in China, matcha green tea is gaining more popularity every day: 
1. High in Antioxidants
We’ve all read this word before. Antioxidants are the magical nutrients and enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, giving us younger-looking skin, and preventing a number of life-threatening maladies. Antioxidants are something that all health-conscious individuals seek from such foods as raw fruits, green veggies, and (let’s not forget) dark chocolate. The first amazing benefit of Matcha Green Tea is that just one bowl provides over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other food – the highest rated by the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) method.
2. Loaded with Catechin, EGCg
You may have already heard that not all antioxidants are created equal. Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins. Among antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial. One specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha Green Tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Scientists have found that Matcha Green Tea contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.
3. Enhances Calm
For over a millennium, Matcha Green Tea has been used by Chinese Daoists and Japanese Zen Buddhist monks as a means to relax and meditate while remaining alert. Now we know that this higher state of consciousness is due to the amino acid L-Theanine contained in the leaves used to make Matcha. L-Theanine promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness caused by other “downers.”
4. Boosts Memory and Concentration
Another side-effect of L-Theanine is the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration – something that can benefit everyone!
5. Increases Energy Levels and Endurance
Samurai, the noble warriors of medieval and early-modern Japan, drank Matcha Green Tea before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, the energy boost received from Matcha is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. The increased endurance from a bowl of Matcha Green Tea can last up to 6 hours and because of the effects of L-Theanine, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side-effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension. It’s good, clean energy.
Enjoy Drinking Tea? Try the Best Tea Accessory for enjoying mess-free tea while on the go, with t-sleeve. Order your t-sleeve today at:

SRC: Read more benefits of matcha green tea:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Story of Tea Bags

While tea is a drink that dates back thousands of years in human culture, tea bags are a fairly recent development by comparison. The thought for tea bags didn't come about until the turn of the 20th century, when two women had an idea to modernize the way people drank tea. Read the whole story here: 
Legend says that brewing tea dates back to around 2737 BC, when tea leaves fell into water being boiled for Emperor Shennong of China. There does not appear to be any hard evidence of tea being discovered this way, but evidence we do have suggests that brewing tea did indeed likely start in China, first as part of a medicinal elixir. The first documented reference to this is found during the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 1046 BC). By the Qin Dynasty in the third century BC, it had become a relatively popular drink using just the tea (camellia sinensis), rather than mixed with other things as seems to have been common when used medicinally. From the beginning until the early 20th century, very little innovation came about in terms of the common method of brewing tea. This all changed in 1901. 
Contrary to popular belief (and what every single tea manufacturer I could find said on their websites, and many-a-tea history book and paper consulted also stated), it was not tea merchant Thomas Sullivan who invented the tea bag in 1908. While he did (probably independently, given his reported design was quite inferior to the original) invent a tea bag that year, he was beat out by about seven years by Roberta C. Lawson and Mary Molaren of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
On August 26, 1901, the two intrepid women filed a patent (US723287) for a rather unique (at the time) “Tea-Leaf Holder” that is remarkably similar to the modern tea bag. 
They had identified an issue with the way tea had been commonly brewed for thousands of years. In their own words, the traditional method of having to brew a whole pot at a time, "involves the use of a considerable quantity of tea-leaves to prepare the desired supply of tea, and the tea, if not used directly, soon becomes stale or wanting in freshness, and therefore unsatisfactory, and frequently a large portion of the tea thus prepared and not used directly has to be thrown away, thus involving much waste and corresponding expense." 
Thus, they invented an open-meshed woven cotton bag, “folded over upon itself and stitched along its side edges, forming a pocket-like construction having a flap at its open end… with the flap at the upper end folded down over the top end of the pocket and inclosed…” 
A small portion of tea was then contained inside the enclosed cotton-mesh bag and allowed the preparer to place it “in a cup and have water poured thereon to produce only a cup of tea fresh for immediate use. By this means only so much of tea-leaves is used as is required for the single cup of tea, and thereby a cup of fresh. fragrant tea is prepared…” 
About two years after the ladies filed their patent, it was granted on March 24, 1903. However, seemingly they were unsuccessful at bringing this to market, at least on any widespread scale that would have registered in documented history. 
This brings us to Thomas Sullivan. Sullivan worked as a tea importer in New York when he (supposedly) accidentally invented tea bags in 1908. The story goes that Sullivan began sending small silk bags containing samples of the various forms of tea he sold to his customers as a way of encouraging sales. 
The “accident” part is that a number of those people who he sent the bags of tea to decided to use the bag as something of a tea infuser, rather than opening the bags up and brewing the tea normally. As with Lawson and Molaren’s aforementioned invention, this allowed a person to make a single cup of tea, rather than an entire pot, and made for much more convenient clean up- when done, simply toss the bag. No need to clean out all the tea leaves from the pot and strainer or infuser. 
The little marketing campaign worked and orders started rolling in, which Sullivan initially filled via standard containers of loose-leaf tea. Customers who had used the bags as infusers complained and Sullivan soon began offering his tea once again in bags. 
However, silk bags weren’t ideal for steeping standard loose-leaf tea, due to being a little too fine and expensive for single serve. He, thus, replaced the silk of the original sample bags with gauze and then further tweaked things for better steeping by filling the tea bags with fannings, the broken tea stalks, and tea dust leftover from processing the tea. Sullivan then began heavily marketing his little innovation and the tea bag was on its way to becoming a household staple. How much of this story is true is difficult to discern. While it does appear there was a tea merchant named Thomas Sullivan who helped popularize selling tea in single-serve bags (as well as in larger tea bags for brewing whole pots), there seems to be little in the way of documented evidence backing up the individual bits of the oft-repeated story. 
Whatever the case, we do know that commercial tea bags in the early days were not, on the whole, as good as Roberta Lawson and Mary Molaren’s original design, other than perhaps the later addition of a string to pull the bags out of the hot water when steeping was complete. You see, early bags often used glue to seal the tea in, rather than a folded, sewn bag. This glue then steeped along with the tea, greatly affecting the flavor. Various early fabrics used also often negatively impacted the taste. 
However, despite many companies early designs being less than ideal at producing the desired taste, convenience won out, and, partially thanks to WWI with certain countries’ soldiers being given tea bags as part of their rations, the tea bag began to rise in popularity significantly by, and then during, the 1920s. 
However, while Americans relatively quickly embraced the tea bag, the British viewed the invention with skepticism and a bit of upturned noses. Shortages of the materials used to make tea bags during World War II also helped keep the tea bag unpopular in the UK, despite the convenience factor and that by this time the tea bag was mostly perfected in terms of limiting its influence on the taste of the tea. 
However, when the 1950s hit, when products making common household tasks easier began becoming all the rage, the tea bag saw a huge surge in popularity, and for the first time started gaining traction in the UK. 
By the late 1950s, the tea bag had gone from virtually unavailable in the UK to controlling about 3% of the market, beginning its slow and steady climb. As of 2008, tea bags made up 96% of the tea market in the UK, a total surprisingly more than in the United States around that same time, where tea bags only held about a 90% share vs. loose-leaf tea.
Enjoy Drinking Tea? Try the Best Tea Accessory for enjoying mess-free tea while on the go, with t-sleeve. Order your t-sleeve today at:

SRC: This article by Sarah Stone can be found here:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Find t-sleeve in Whole Foods!

t-sleeve is the perfect item for any avid tea drinker. With Valentines Day around the corner, a box of t-sleeves will be a great gift for any tea-loving Valentine! You can order our products online, but even better, you can now find us at Whole Foods Market! See our product pictured above in a Bellevue, WA Market of Choice!
The goal of t-sleeve® is to be not only a convenient way to enjoy tea, but to be as eco-friendly as possible. Both the box packaging and t-sleeve® are recyclable. Once t-sleeve®  comes in contact with the moist tea bag, it becomes a compostable product.  Feel good about doing your part for the environment and reducing your carbon footprint.
Find t-sleeve at Whole Foods or order online here

Enjoy Drinking Tea? Try the Best Tea Accessory for enjoying mess-free tea while on the go, with t-sleeve. Order your t-sleeve today at:

Friday, February 5, 2016

10% To Foster Children

The vision for t-sleeve® came with the intent to give back to our communities and enrich lives through faith, love, hope and care for humanity.

This first version of t-sleeve® will give 10% of net profits to help Foster Children locally and nationally. Our charitable foundation plans to seek out community resources that assist in helping foster children. This could be foster care and stable home environments, events or activities for foster children or other options outside of local, state or federal government programs. This commitment will provide faith, love, hope and care to foster children in ways they may not otherwise experience in their daily lives.

Please go to our contact us page if you know of an organization in your community that could use assistance to help local foster children lead happier and more enriched lives.

Enjoy the convenience of t-sleeve® and feel good about knowing you are contributing to worthwhile causes. Help us make a difference…share t-sleeve® with a friend and share the vision!

You can order t-sleeve online OR find us a your local WHOLE FOODS MARKET. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lemon Tea Cake

Have a few extra lemons around the house that you want to use up while you still can? This tea cake is the perfect lemon-y treat, calling for fresh lemons and your favorite lemon herbal tea. 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup steeped lemon herb tea
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-cup Bundt pan and set aside. 
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the extract and zest.
6. At low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until the batter is evenly mixed.
7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, tea and the remaining cup of granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
9. Bring to a boil and stir constantly 7 minutes or until the mixture thickens, then cool completely.
10. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack 10 minutes.
11. Pierce the cake all over with an ice pick and slowly pour the syrup over the cake, allowing it to absorb completely.
12. Let the cake cool another 15 minutes and transfer to a serving platter.
13. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Enjoy Drinking Tea? Try the Best Tea Accessory for enjoying mess-free tea while on the go, with t-sleeve. Order your t-sleeve today at:

SRC: See the complete article here:

Monday, February 1, 2016

t-sleeve For Your Valentine

Does your Valentine love tea? t-sleeve is the small gift idea for any tea drinker! Pair t-sleeves with a new mug, their favorite tea, or in a gift basket along with other goodies! 

T-sleeve® is a brand new, complementary product for tea drinkers who use tea bags. T-sleeve® was created from a vision to enjoy a mess-free, tea drinking experience.

This handy design starts as a carrying pouch for your favorite tea bag and package sweeteners. Take it with you on the go to work, a restaurant or meeting a friend for a cup of tea. T-Sleeve® then becomes a tea bag squeezer when you steep your tea. After you have steeped the tea, simply pull the tea bag up into the t-sleeve®, fold and squeeze the residual liquid out, and then discard. There’s no mess, no wet fingers and no drippy tea bag. T-Sleeve® is made of recyclable and compostable materials, so simply dispose of the t-sleeve® and tea bag into the garbage or compost container. T-Sleeve® will compost, so you can feel good about making a difference in the environment.

One more way to feel good when you use a t-sleeve® is the lives you will touch just by enjoying a mess-free cup of tea. We are dedicated to enriching lives, not just enhancing your tea drinking experience. We will be putting our profit to a good use. Ten percent of all net profits of the original t-sleeve® will go to help Foster Children both locally and nationally. T-Sleeve® was specifically created to help others through charities that enrich lives, sharing love, hope and faith person to person.
Order t-sleeve HERE today or find us in select WHOLE FOODS!