Monday, December 21, 2009

Just 2 more days!

Our store will be open 2 more days- and we have lots of great gift ideas (and fabulous prices) for those last minute shoppers! It is a bit sad for me to close the store but I am staying (at least trying) focused on the future. Don't forget to check out our new, easy to use web store on January 1st. Plus, see the story of our closing on Hill on The Avenue-
Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday and Prosperous New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Transitioning in 2010!

We made the hard decision in September that our bricks and mortar store was not following the path of our business plan. The original plan was to have a primary focus on premium, loose leaf tea and provide education about the amazing health benefits of tea. The Chestnut Hill location we selected for our store was so charming that we soon found ourselves really veering off the path of loose leaf tea into the territory of restaurant management. We are closing our store on 12/23/2009 andlaunching a full-service, secure web store on 1/1/2010. Our web store will be chock full of over 100 premium tea varieties- and many new custom blends. You will even be able to book a "tea party to go" online. Customers who do not like online shopping will be able to find our "best sellers" at Lemons and Limes in Chestnut Hill (just a few steps from our current location). The good news is that our online prices will be lower than our present in-store pricing (even with shipping it is less!). I will be teaching a series on The History and Health Benefits of Tea in January at Montgomery County Community College and also at Philadelphia Community College- enrollment is open now for both classes!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The effects of L-Theanine are clinically proven!

Have you ever wondered why the caffeine in tea does not make you jittery like your favorite coffee latte? The answer is L-Theanine. L-Theanine is an amino acid that is formed in the root of the tea bush and is transported into the leave. Young tea leaves show a higher L-Theanine content- calling all white tea lovers! It acts antagonistically against the stimulating effect of caffeine.

The clinically proven effects of L-Theanine:

 Provides strong relaxing properties by stimulating the production of alpha brain
 Reduces stress and anxiety
 Strengthens the immune system

During this season of stress and anxiety don't forget to drink your tea each day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Get in the holiday spirit!

Come to the Chestnut Hill Holiday House Tour this Saturday, 12/5/09. Visit some beautifully decorated homes and take away some decorating ideas for your own home! Look for our tea display in the Chestnut Hill Avenue house. The event starts at 10am and ends at 4pm- click on the link for more info:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shop For A Cause!

On Friday, November 27th (Black Friday) The Hill Tea Bar will be participating in Dignity Housing's annual "Shop for a Cause". Dignity Housing is a Philadelphia based, non-profit organization that works to eliminate homelessness. 15% of all sales made on 11/27 will be donated to the cause. Please join in making a difference this holiday season. For more information:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spirited Eggnog Chai Punch

Tired of the same old cranberry and gingerale punch? Here is a delicious and unique punch to serve at your next holiday dinner or party.

Serves 12

In a punchbowl combine:

6 cups strong brewed chai tea (chilled)
5 cups cold eggnog (purchased in the refrigerator case at the supermarket)
1 cup brandy
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Stir well. The eggnog will sweeten the punch but add some simple syrup or sugar if you like a sweeter punch.

Star anise can be added for decoration or crush candy canes and sprinkle on top of the punch.

For an extra-spirited punch increase the brandy to 2 cups and reduce the chai to 5 cups.

Use leftover eggnog punch to make wonderful french toast the next morning (add an egg).


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tulsi Basil

Thank you to everyone who came to the tea lecture and tasting last Sunday! We did not have enough time to discuss herbals and I promised to share more information about the benefits of Tulsi Basil(Ocimum tenuiflorum). In my opinion, tulsi is one of the most beneficial herbals that we know of (plus, it makes delicious tea)! Tulsi has been used for over a thousand years in Ayurveda- most often for balancing the body effects. Tulsi is used for stomach problems, headaches, inflammation, poisoning, heart disease and the common cold. It has anti-bacterial properties and recent studies suggest that tulsi may be a COX-2 inhibitor (pain reliever) as well as being a possible treatment for diabetes by reducing blood glucose levels. Tulsi is commonly used in South Asia as a medicinal plant. Just be sure you don't confuse tulsi basil with Thai basil- the latter is used for cooking only.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Reason To Drink Tea

Just a little tidbit to think about. A 14oz (this is the small size)coffee latte has approximately 150 calories, without any sweetener or syrup. If you drink one a day for a year you have racked up 54,750 calories (if you use syrup and sweetener you can add another 25,000 calories- mochachino anyone??). That equates to 15.6 pounds of body fat per year. Switch to unsweetened (or use Splenda or Stevia) and you could slim down without much effort. Just a thought.

Tea Tasting on Sunday, November 8th

Join us at the Springfield Library this Sunday at 1pm for a special tea tasting and discussion. We will taste 5 different tea varieties and discuss the origin of each.

The Hill Tea Bar will be closed on 11/8 for this event.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spooky Live Concert on Halloween

Come and join us on 10/31 (12noon) for a Spooky Family Concert at The Hill Tea Bar. Michael Mabry will entertain with a special Halloween selection. Michael has been performing in Philadelphia for over 15 years and is an accomplished singer and songwriter. We will also have lots of treats for the little ghosts and goblins!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

White Tea

I am asked about white tea more often than any other tea variety. While it has become popular in the United States its popularity is still small compared to black and green tea. The first export of White Peony to Europe wasn't until 1922. While white tea is a relatively new product to us it has a long history in China- it is traced back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It is so revered in China that during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD)they developed the "9 Forbidden Rules" for harvesting white tea (the rules are still used today).

No plucking is permitted when:
- Raining
- Early morning when the dew is too wet
- Buds too thin (premature)
- Purple buds (post-mature)
- Buds damaged by wind, insects or human-mishandling
- Opened mature buds
- Hollow buds
- De-shaped buds
- Buds with more than two leaves

An interesting fact for all of the Silver Needles lovers is that it takes more than 3,000 buds to make up 1 pound of tea.

Friday, October 9, 2009

October Family Events at The Hill Tea Bar!

We have two spectacular family events planned for October.

October 24th at 1pm- Kid's Fall Fun Day at The Hill Tea Bar!
Kids Tea Party and Craft Hour hosted by renowned watercolor artist Ginny Lang. Kids of all ages are welcome to enjoy the tea party and then create some magical crafts with Ginny. Ginny is the creator of "watercolor quilt art" and her works have been shown in numerous East Coast galleries and museums. She has put together an exciting agenda of autumn glitter leaves, abstract paper art and tissue paper she will be bringing her face painting kit! Cost is $12.50 per child. Reservations are required 215-381-2226.

October 31st- Family Halloween Concert with Michael Mabry. Michael is an accomplished singer and songwriter who has been entertaining Philadelphia audiences for over 15-years. Join Michael as he sings some spooky tunes!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Annual Chestnut Hill Fall Festival- This Sunday 10/4

They are calling for beautiful weather on Sunday for the annual Chestnut Hill Fall Festival (11am-5pm on Germantown Avenue). Stop by our tent for a taste of our hand-blended green pina colada tea. At 1:45 there will be a demonstration of Laughter Yoga (by Laugh Yourself Philly)in the garden of The Hill Tea Bar. Come enjoy an afternoon in Historic Chestnut Hill!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cheese & Tea? Yes!

Last week when I was in Boston for the Tea Expo I took a class with the renowned tea sommelier Cynthia Gold. I was intrigued that the pairing was tea and cheese as I have paired tea with most food items- but never cheese (at least intentionally). The concept is the same as wine and cheese pairing- with the exception of regional pairings, you cannot pair tea and cheese regionally. For example, you would possibly pair a creamy, high fat-content cheese with a bold, dry wine to cleanse the palate (I know there are more complexities to wine & cheese ...this is just one example) so following the same idea you would pair a triple cream cheese with a bold pu-erh. I was amazed how well the tea and cheese complimented each other and how utterly delicious the selections were.
Try it at home:
* Try salty cheese with sweet tea - Stilton Blue Cheese with Lychee Congou
* Try a soft, creamy cheese with a mild green tea - Chevre with Sencha
* Try a nutty cheese with an earthy, bold tea- Comte Cheese with Ceylon
* Try an intense cheese with a smokey tea- Gorgonzola with Lapsang

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

World Tea Expo East

Hi from Boston! I made the trek from Philadelphia to Boston today (the driving directions said 4.5 hours but it took 5.5 hours- and I don't drive slow!)for the first East Coast Tea Expo. It is being co-located with the Natural Food Expo so it should be packed with new and exciting products. Tomorrow I am taking classes all day (and drinking tea, tea and more tea) and on Friday I will be checking out the exhibits. I am especially excited to take the cheese and tea pairing class- I will be sure to pass on what I learn so you can give it a try at home.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Local Glass Blower Displays Art at The Hill Tea Bar

Local glass blower, Karin Kozlowski, is displaying her extraordinary glass pumpkins at The Hill Tea Bar. If you are in the Philly area please stop by to see them- they are truly incredible pieces of art! Also pick up information on glass blowing lessons with Kristin.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Annie Hart- Philadelphia Story Artist

Many of you know Annie Hart from her storytelling events; I am always asked by customers for more information. She is famous in the Philadelphia area- for those of you who want to hear more of Annie's stories check out:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TEAdious Tuesday

I have customers who come in every day asking for tea with no caffeine. There are lots of choices for them but I never understood how anyone could get through life- or even the day- without a bold cup of assam or an earthy pu-erh. Anyway, tea has little caffeine compared to coffee, so how could it hurt? Last week my doctor told me that I should stop drinking all caffeinated beverages- I asked her if she was joking...I spend all day drinking tea! She told me she was serious so I grudgingly replaced my morning assam with rooibos and my 3pm pu-erh with ginger tea. While I like rooibos and herbal infusions it does not make up for the lack of black tea. This morning I drove my son to his first day of high school and of course I was either driving too slow, was in the wrong lane or not understanding his dire need to play a particular X-Box game and by the time we got to the school I cannot say I was sorry to see him go; it was a long 25 minute ride. After I dropped him off I went to the restaurant warehouse to pick up some supplies and on the way to the car I lost 4 bottles of syrup as they slid off the flatbed (no shopping carts, only flatbeds at this place) and rolled under a big truck. I wasn't going to go under the truck to fetch them so I just left them there. I won't tell my husband that I left the syrup- he will be aghast that I "threw money away". By the time I got to my shop and unloaded everything I really needed my black tea. I decided to ease into being caffeine free- too weak to go cold turkey! I enjoyed a big mug of robust Formosa Oolong. Did I tell you that the doc said not to have sugar either- ha!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Final Garden Storytelling Event of 2009 on 9/11/09

The final summertime storytelling event has been rescheduled for Friday, 9/11/2009 at 7pm. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy Annie Hart's special story. Annie is a local story artist who has been featured on television and radio. Her special story blend is sure to entertain! For more information about Annie check out

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Calling All Italian Wine Lovers!

September 18, 2009 - 7:30pm The Lost Regions of Italy Wine Class
Join us as we discuss the forgotten (...and some of the most spectacular) wine regions of Italy. Enjoy 8 wines from Sardinia, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and other less known regions. Wine will be accompanies by perfectly paired cheese. This class will be facilitated by a professional wine instructor. Cost is $40 per person and reservations are required.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Tea-Coffee Obsession

Last week my family took a short vacation at the New Jersey shore and I got to visit a few tea shops. My 14-year old son was not thrilled about this, he says that "everything does not need to be about tea", so he declined to accompany me on my tea shop excursion but my husband agreed if I promised to spend no more than 15 minutes in each place. What a guy!! Anyway, at one location they had a special blend of coffee, tea and chocolate. It sounded kind of weird but I wanted to try something different. It was so delicious! I have spent the last two days, a bit obsessively, trying to duplicate the blend. I think I came pretty close. I have been drinking it black but my husband likes it with milk and sugar. The fact that my husband likes it so much is amazing. Here is my recipe to blend it at home (trust me, give it a try!)

To make approx. 4 ounces of tea (about 40 8ounce cups)

2.5 ounces Assam
1 ounce Dark Coffee Beans (the whole beans- I used Sumatra)
.5 ounce Dark Chocolate Nibs

Mix together in a glass jar and let sit for a day or two. Use 1 tsp per cup when steeping. Steep for 4-5minutes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tea Tango

A fellow tea lover (and her husband) wrote these fabulous tea songs. Check it out!

A New Wine Class for August!

You asked for more California Wine Classes- so this is for you!
California Wine Intensive Class
August 21st (7:30pm-9:30pm)
Very few wine regions have attained distinction as quickly as California. The state covers immense territory and its wines have become a driving force in shaping wine making methods around the world. Through tastings we will explore California's many interpretations of classic varieties such as Zinfandel, Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Four reds and four whites will be served with perfectly paired cheese selections. This class will be facilitated by a professional wine instructor. Cost is $40 per person/ reservations are required. Call 215.381.2226.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Taste World Famous Darjeeling Tea on August 15th!

August 15, 2009 - 1pm-3pm at our shop in Philadelphia, PA.
Experience two of the finest 2nd flush darjeeling teas in the world! Stop by for a special complimentary tea tasting.

*An special 2nd Flush from the Chamong tea estate has natural nuances of peach flavor that delight the tea connoisseurs refined palate. The flavor grows as you savour every sip due to special characteristics in the soil. This 100% organic tippy golden tea will elevate your senses.

*Lingia 2nd Flush is uniquely saturated with the essence of wild rose. The teas from Lingia estate are a tea connoisseurs delight. Lingia tea is known for its distinct wild floral notes. (I cannot get enough of this tea. It is absolutely amazing!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fresh Mint- Interesting Benefits!

My friend Annie has a "thing" for sprouts. She grows her own and uses different types (and there is a whole list of different varieties) to accent her meals- and I am pretty sure she eats them with more than one meal each day. This summer I am having a similar love affair with mint. I am growing licorice mint, orange mint, peppermint, cinnamon mint and chocolate mint- on my front porch in individual pots. All were found at the local garden center in my neighborhood. I cannot believe how delicious the fresh mint makes my frozen tea smoothies. I started reading about mint and was surprised by the number of health benefits of "Mentha". Here are just a few: helps with digestion, nausea, provides relief for bronchial problems like asthma and colds, germicidal, breath freshener and rheumatism. Crush it and make a poultice for acne, skin irritations and bug bites. Of course, it is also delicious in hot and iced tea! For a great summer smoothie recipe with mint check out my Twitter posting from today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Men's Club

Yesterday my 14-year old son helped me with an event we held at The Woodmere Art Museum. Later at night when my husband asked him how it went he explained that only "one man" attended and the rest was a "big room full of ladies". I had to jump in and tell my son about a male customer who came in a few weeks ago and told me that he coordinates a "tea group" at his law firm in NYC. The customer explained how each lawyer brings in a variety of tea and once a month they meet up in the office kitchen and taste all of the different types of tea- he also told me that the members of the tea group are mostly men. After the tea tasting they leave the tea in the kitchen to enjoy for the rest of the month until their next tasting. Well, my son rolled his eyes at me but it is true that tea is a man's drink. Most of my loose tea customers are men- and they purchase more white and puerh than women. When my husband was growing up he remembers visiting his favorite uncle and drinking tea (on the occasions that they were not drinking whiskey). His uncle was an interesting sort who would fire "warning shots" with his rifle up through the roof. My husband does not know what the warnings were for but he remembers that they always drank tea. It just goes to prove, you should never stereotype a tea drinker!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Check Out The Woodmere Art Museum when in Philadelphia!

On this coming Monday I am partnering with The Woodmere Art Museum for a talk on "Tea & Art". When I visited the museum today to discuss logistics I fell in love with the museum all over again- I have this experience every time I go. It is a real gem and anyone visiting the Philadelphia area (or locals who have not visited lately)should check it out. Best of all, admission is free. Our program on 7/27 is sold out but stay tuned for our next event...and in the meantime browse the museum's website and a list of their summer events at:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Even Tea Can't Cure This Mess!

Over the past few weeks I have been experiencing some bad pains in my arms, of course I imagined that I had a terminal illness and tried to use this to get my husband to take me to Italy for a "last hurrah". He wasn't buying it though so I went to the Doctor and found out that I have a slipped disc in my neck- not terminal at all. It really bothers me at night so the Dr. prescribed some pain medicine. This past Thursday night I decided to take one of the pills and within a half hour all of the pain was gone and I was feeling so good I could have painted our entire house! Since we did not have any paint sitting around I decided to save some money by dyeing my own roots (this is female hair "talk" in case you did not know). I figured that my frugal husband would be delighted so I asked him to drive me to CVS to get a box of hair dye but he told me not to be "crazy". Well, I decided I would walk the block to CVS - I could use the exercise anyway. I guess in my happy state I did not read the color information on the box of dye (Lesson #1 never believe the color picture on the box- specifically "Ash"). Once home I applied the dye (Lesson #2 it is impossible to get it on the "roots only") and within 5 minutes the dye looked bright purple. This scared me a bit so I washed it out- and yep, my hair was purple (Lesson #3 it gets your towels purple too!). My husband heard me freaking out and came upstairs and promptly told me "Your tea won't get you out of this mess" and laughed all the way back to his beloved Wall Street Journal. Friday morning I borrowed one of my son's baseball caps and was waiting on the front step of my hair stylist's shop an hour before she opened. When she arrived I begged her to fix my hair- and promised her free tea for life. My hair is fixed now but unfortunately it cost double to put my hair back to it's pre-easter egg condition. I won't tell my husband he was right...but once or twice a year he is.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lose 5 lbs this weekend!

This tried and tested detox smoothie will help reduce bloating and shed water weight.
Yes,I did test this myself last weekend and it worked. I am going to do it again this weekend in preparation for putting on a bathing suit (I need all the help I can get!).

Drink 1 smoothie for lunch at least 3 days in a row for the best results.

To make 1 smoothie-

8 ounces cool Holy Detox Tea (steeped)
4 ounces honeydew pieces (cold)
4 ounces watermelon pieces (cold)
3 slices of peeled cucumber (cold)
1/4 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled)
3 packets Stevia or Splenda (less or more based upon taste)

Put it all in the blender and mix for about 1 minute or until smooth.

To make your own Holy Detox Tea (for 1 ounce loose tea = 8cups)
1/4 ounce dried peppermint and spearmint mixed
3/4 ounce dried Tulsi Basil (must be Tulsi!)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients in an airtight jar and shake.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The MainLine Today Magazine Has Featured Our Green Tea Mojito!

Check out our green tea mojito recipe featured in the June issue of the MainLine Today magazine:


Tea & Book Celebration on July 11th!

I love books- all types. My husband recently had to move the treadmill out of our bedroom to build more book shelves. While he takes issue with my weekly expediture for tea purchases from other tea shops (how else am I supposed to keep abreast of trends?)even Mr. Cheapo is embarrassed to complain about my book purchases. Keep in mind that this is a man who told me the other day that marriage counseling is not what people need- instead, they need "Financial Counseling"! Anyway, my idea of the perfect day is sitting in my favorite chair with a real page turner and a cup of Darjeeling in one of my Grammie's teacups. So, I was extremely excited when it was announced that Chestnut Hill will be hosting an Author's Weekend this coming weekend, July 10-12. The Hill Tea Bar will be hosting local author Donna Allender on July 11th at 2pm for a signing and reading from her book "The Humanistic Teacher". Educators and parents won't want to miss this!

The Humanistic Teacher: Meeting the needs of every child is the basic tenet of humanistic education, and this text explores both theory and practical methods for achieving this difficult goal. The Humanistic Teacher enables teachers to meet the different needs of individual students and to become the educators they want to be. Donna Sclarow Allender cofounded the Project Learn School in Philadelphia in 1970. She is also a practicing psychotherapist.

I also want to tell you about our dear friend, Salvatore Grasso, who is a local author of murder mysteries ("Larceny" and "Paradise Awakens"). Check out his books at or at

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Herbs and Tea

Recently someone brought me a bottle of herb flavored water that they purchased at the local organic food store. I thought the flavor (lavender mint)was great but it was missing something. Then it dawned on me that it was missing the tea! Dry herbs are typically blended with tea but fresh herbs are delicious in both hot and iced tea. When making iced tea, add the herbs when steeping the tea leaves and remove them before serving. Try combining fresh herbs with spices for a really special beverage. Here are some of my favorite combinations:

Black tea with mint and vanilla bean (split the vanilla bean and steep with the mint & tea leaves)

Green tea with basil and mint (basil and mint are delicious when combined!)

White tea with lemon verbena and fresh lemon rind

Oolong tea with lavender

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iced Tea Made From Loose Leaf Tea

The most common question customers(and non-customers)ask me in the warm months is how to make iced tea with loose leaf tea. Here you go!

A simple way to make the perfect iced tea from loose tea leaves (for approximately 1 & 1/2 quart of iced tea or 4-5 servings):

You will need 16 teaspoons of tea leaves & 8 Finum brewing bags

1. Place 2 teaspoons of tea leaves into a brewing bag such as Finum slim or medium unbleached tea bags- you will need 8 brewing bags.
2. Bring 1 quart of cold water to a rolling boil.
3. Remove from heat and add 8 brewing bags to the hot water.
4. Steep the tea for 5 minutes and remove the brewing bags. Pour the hot tea over 4 cups of ice cubes (in a heat-proof pitcher).
5. Pour into tall glasses filled with ice and sweeten as desired.

For "Sweet Tea" add simple syrup after step #4.

Bordeaux vs. Napa

July 24, 2009- 7:30pm
Bordeaux vs. Napa Wine Class
Both Napa & Bordeaux grow Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and both produce intense & complex wines...yet, there are distinct differences! Bordeaux has centuries of history in wine making that reveals their finesse while Napa creates wine with purity of fruit. Sample the wines of Bordeaux and Napa side-by-side to discover your favorite! A selection of aged cheese will accompany the wine. This class will be facilitated by a professional wine educator. $40 per person- reservations required.

The Hill Tea Bar Partners With The Woodmere Art Museum

I am excited to announce:
Tea and Art at the Woodmere Art Museum on July 27th at 2pm. Join us for a special tea party and an art & tea discussion. Reservations required (contact The Hill Tea Bar 215-381-2226 or the Woodmere Art Museum 215-247-0476). Cost is $20 per person.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Steeped in Embarrassment!

In Chestnut Hill we have a farmer's market that is around the corner from my shop and I usually stop by on Thursday mornings to pick up some sushi for my lunch. This past Thursday I was in a great mood and was wearing a new white blouse (a designer number with a big ruffle down the front) even though I knew I would probably have tea stains on it by the end of the day. When I went to the sushi stand the man who makes the sushi,who has never looked up from his preparations on the numerous other times I was at their stand, pushed the woman waiting on me aside and decided to wait on me himself- even though he barely spoke English. I couldn't understand why he was paying so much attention to me but I paid for my sushi and headed to the post office to buy stamps for postcards I was sending to customers. The man in line ahead of me started talking to me and when his turn at the counter was over he stood next to me and kept talking to me while I purchased my stamps. He started to guess why I needed so many stamps (was I in a band? did I run a gallery?)and I practically had to run away from him. As I walked back to my shop a UPS truck beeped its horn at me and I made a mental note to check and see if there had been a full moon the night before since everyone was acting so odd. When I arrived at my shop I walked past a mirrored case where I keep teapots and noticed the reason for my new found attention- my blouse was unbuttoned (pretty much to my navel). The ruffle had acted nicely in preventing a draft which is why I did not notice. I haven't had Assam in quite awhile but I made myself a big mug with honey and steamed milk- after I fixed my blouse. Talk about emotional tea pairing. The tea made me feel better but I don't think I will be going to the farmer's market for a long time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Emotions of Tea Pairing

One of my dearest friends lost her father last winter and she had to travel to the other side of the world for the funeral. Before she left we would drink Chai and eat cake a few times a week as we gossiped and discussed the meaning of life (which we still have not figured out). When she came back from the funeral she stopped by to see me at my shop and ordered a piece of cake and...ahem...a cup of coffee. Now, anyone who knows me understands that the coffee is good but the tea is excellent. She asked for the coffee almost sheepishly and said that she needed to alleviate her jet lag. This was in March and she is still drinking coffee every day. I asked her last week what caused the switch from tea to coffee and she said that she did not make a specific decision to switch. We figured that it was caused by the emotions of her loss and her need to have something almost bitter tasting (plus, she grew up drinking tea and maybe didn't want the reminder). I got to thinking about this and realize that there are lots of emotions behind the way we pair tea with our emotional disposition. I regularly have customers who buy three or four types of tea to drink at different times- a brisk Assam for a no-nonsense cup before work, a lavender earl grey to pair with a great novel, chamomile for a hectic and hurried day or a sencha for a sense of well being and tranquility. There are so many delicious varieties of tea that it is easy to have a few on hand to match your mood- or to improve your mood. In the meantime, I am trying to get my friend to transition back to tea!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Check This Out...

Read a story about The Hill Tea Bar at:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tea and Sunburn

The sun and I just don't get along! My skin is so fair that it turns fiery red after just a few minutes outdoors. I am one of those odd people who really prefers the snow and cool weather. Yesterday I was a chaperone for my son's school trip to an amusement park- and since it wasn't that sunny out I thought I would be fine sitting under an umbrella in the water park area. Wrong- I am fried to a crisp! Good thing that the tannins in black tea are known to draw the burn out of skin. I am planning to submerge myself into a tub of black tea.

To try this:
You can steep really strong black tea (cheap teabags are perfect) and let it cool. Soak a clean washcloth or towel in the cool tea and then gently pat the towel on to your sunburned skin. For an all-over sunburn treatment pour 1 gallon of strong, cooled black tea into a tub filled with cool water. Submerge yourself in the tea bath for at least 10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chamomile Tea is for Blondes!

I love blonde hair- which is the reason my hair has developed the texture of straw over the years. As I get older I keep getting blonder...and blonder. Unfortunately, it has become even too blonde for me (I am not trying to channel any of the Golden Girls)and my hair stylist's expensive attempts to add "caramel sprinkles" to my hair has not worked. On Sunday night my husband and I went out for a fabulous dinner and over the course of the meal he kept looking at my hair. Now, this man does not normally look up from a plate of pasta to look at me so I knew there must be something sticking up or hanging from my head. I asked him if there was something "on my hair" and he told me that he was noticing how white my hair was. He said this with the same enthusiasm he had when our accountant told us the balance we owed the IRS so I was pretty sure that it was not a compliment. By Sunday morning I had become obsessed with my white hair so I headed to the pharmacy to see what do-it-at-home trouble I could purchase. In the shampoo aisle I spotted a "Chamomile" shampoo that advertised its ability to add golden hi-lights. Well, chamomile was listed as the last ingredient on the shampoo bottle so I decided to go home and see how I could make some chamomile infused shampoo with a higher concentration of chamomile. Now, I know that chamomile has long been used as a hair rinse but I figured that chamomile infused shampoo would be better since it could be left on the hair for a few minutes to allow the chamomile to do its trick. I mixed 1 TBSP of shampoo (for color treated hair) in a 1/2 cup of cool, very strong chamomile tea. I took it in the shower and washed my hair with it, I slowly added the entire 1/2 cup of mixture and let it stay on my hair for about 5 minutes. I was really surprised after I blew my hair dry that I actually had hi-lights. I repeated the process on Monday morning and have to say that I am thrilled with the results- very subtle but natural looking. The power of tea in action!!

To try at home:

Use 3 teaspoons of loose chamomile and steep in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain. Stir 1 TBSP of gentle shampoo into the cool tea. Wet hair and shampoo with mixture. Repeat once each day until desired results are obtained.

A Little Inspiration for Wednesday!

Many of my customers know Annie Hart (renowned Story Artist) who performs her original story art at our shop in Philadelphia. Annie is a master break-through coach who has inspired and propelled many people to live their dream. I am lucky to call Annie my friend- and she keeps me in line when I start to stray from my own dream! Please check out her blog for a bit of inspiration.

Annie will be performing a special story in the garden at The Hill Tea Bar on June 12th at 7pm.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First Flush...Tea Stories...June 12th

Help us round out our month long Anniversary Celebration with a special storytelling event in our garden on June 12th at 7pm. Annie Hart, local story artist, will be featuring a special "First Flush" story to tie in with the annual release of first flush darjeeling. Sample some darjeeling while you enjoy the event.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Year in Tea!

One full year in the tea business has passed and I am still as excited as I was on the first day! In addition to playing with my tea all day (as my husband would put it) I am working on my PhD in the Philosophy of Business and I just completed a research paper on "Job Satisfaction". It was the absolute validation that my decision to be my own boss was the right one. I am more convinced than ever that all of our experiences are building the path to something great...if we are not afraid to take chances and stay motivated to keep moving forward. I have been proud over the past year to use my business as a venue for promoting local farmers, supporting women business owners and as a meeting place for community seminars. Research supports what I always believed- the fact that workers want to be successful and if they are not it is because management will not let them be. If you are not happy have a cup of tea and think about where your path is leading you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Discover The Wines of Summer- June 19th

We just listed our June wine class on the events calendar.

Enjoy an exceptional selection of 8 different summer wines with perfectly paired cheese selections. Learn foolproof wine and food pairing concepts. The class will be taught by a professional wine educator. June 19th- 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Cost is $40 per person. Reservations required. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tea and Fashion in Historic Chestnut Hill!

Calling all Fashionistas! Stop by our shop on Sunday, May 17th for a designer trunk show. Summer fashions from a famous LA designer will be on display and a professional stylist will discuss tips and tricks to help you get the most from your wardrobe. 11am to 2pm. Tea and clothes...what could be better?

Rooibos Helps Sinus Headache

Last week I taught a class about Tea & Health and there were many questions about Rooibos. Rooibos is not tea since it does not come from the Camellia sinensis plant. It is mineral rich and studies raise the possibility that the herb could be useful in aiding deficient immune responses in allergies and infections. There is a following of people who believe that Rooibos helps with migrane headaches. Yesterday I woke up with a throbbing headache, the kind that stabs you behind the eyes. I figured it was a sinus problem since it was confined to the right side of my head. I took ibuprofen (a lot of them!) but it did not work. Since I was surrounded by tea, as I am every day in my shop, I decided to give Rooibos a try for my headache. I drank two 16ounce cups of hot Rooibos in the afternoon and 2 more cups after dinner. This morning the headache was gone. Now, this could have been a fluke but next time you have a sinus issue or headache give it a try.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Real Chai

One of my very good friends is originally from Sri Lanka and she only drinks the darkest, black tea and grew up drinking "real chai". We invited her to dinner on Sunday night for her birthday and I thought I would test my best chai recipe on her. I have been refining my recipe over the past three years, and since I received my friend's endorsement, I am going to share the recipe. Now, remember that this is not as quick as making chai with a concentrate or teabag but it is oh so good! I promise it is worth the time.

For 2 mugs:

32 ounces whole milk
6 cardamom pods (broken)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1 star anise
10 peppercorns (black or red)
3 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons loose leaf Assam (whole leaf)

Place milk in sauce pan and heat slowly over low heat- Do not allow the milk to boil. After 3 minutes add all ingredients except the honey to the warm milk. Simmer, while stirring, for at least 10 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes! After a minimum of 10 minutes stir in the honey. Strain and serve in 2 mugs. (PS. you can add a splash of real vanilla extract for a vanilla chai)

Garden Festival Rescheduled for May 17th

The garden festival was rained out on May 3rd- but it is rescheduled for May 17th...Rain or Shine!
Don't forget to stop inside The Hill Tea Bar on the 17th to check out the designer trunk show that will take place in the garden room.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Chestnut Hill Garden Festival- May 3, 2009

Don't forget that the Garden Festival is this Sunday! We will have lots of fun activities going on so stop by and try one of our new iced tea blends. Our outdoor garden will be open.

11am- Face Painting for the kids by watercolor artist Ginny Lang
11am-1pm- Madam Olga will read your tea leaves and explore your past lives
11am-5pm- Stop by our tent on Germantown Avenue for iced tea

The festival is located at Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19118

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Double The Weight Loss Power!

I have been blending specialty tea for the past year- and having a great time doing it! Over the last 3 weeks I have been reading some new studies (2008) about the weight loss benefits of oolong tea and green tea. I usually drink 2 cups of oolong each day and 3 cups of green tea in an effort to get as much weight loss power as possible. Today I decided to mix some Formosa oolong and green tea together for double the weight loss power- and it was fabulous! Try it at home, instead of 1tsp loose tea per cup just use 1/2tsp of quality oolong mixed with 1/2tsp quality green tea. Tomorrow I am going to try mixing orange oolong with lemon flavored green tea.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Green Tea Mojito- A Springtime Favorite!

Last year we experimented with numerous Green Tea Cocktails and our overwhelming favorite was The Green Tea Mojito. We served samples of the cocktail at our various Garden Events and everyone loved it!

Green Tea Mojito
From The Hill Tea Bar
Serves 4
Brew 3 ¾ cups of Green Lemonade Tea and pour into a 1 qt. heat proof pitcher. Add sugar to hot tea and stir until dissolved. Add peppermint leaves to tea and stir. Allow tea mixture to cool. Add lime juice and rum to cooled tea. Fill 4 tall glasses with ice and pour Green Tea Mojito over ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh peppermint.

1. 3 ¾ cups freshly brewed Green Lemonade Tea (or plain green tea)
2. 15 large peppermint leaves
3. ½ cup granulated sugar
4. Juice of 1 small lime
5. 4 ounces white rum (optional)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be a Part of a New Tea Anthology!

Calling all Tea Lovers! A fellow tea blogger has asked that you share your special story or memory and be a part of an exciting new tea themed anthology. Full information about the project (including the Call for Essays and Submission Guidelines) is available at The submission deadline is June 30, 2009.


A new anthology, "Tea Memories: Living Life One Cup at a Time," is in need of your original, non-fiction essays.

Have you "taken tea" in a unique place or under unusual circumstances?

Do you have a story about sharing tea with someone special in your life?

Have you made an important decision over a cup of tea?

Whether humorous or touching, serious or inspiring, your stories of events, experiences, and transformational moments are welcomed. The most important criteria is that the stories be true and that tea plays a role in your essay.

Our intent is to show that tea is far more than something that quenches your thirst. Tea provides comfort, a time for reflection, and a starting point for conversation. Tea plays a supporting role in the stories of our lives. "Tea Memories" aims to share the ways that tea has changed our lives, one cup at a time.

Published and unpublished authors of all ages are encouraged to submit essays for consideration. The best essays will be selected for inclusion in the "Tea Memories" anthology.


Essays should be 800 to 1800 words in length.

The piece should be submitted as an e-mail attachment in .rtf format with "Essay submission" as the subject line of the e-mail.

Include your name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, and a short (60 word max) biography.

Submit essay by June 30, 2009 to

Spring Cleaning- With Tea

The town that I live in has been promoting "Go Green" for the last six months. Recently my son told me that at his school they were going to start using "green" cleaning supplies and suggested that I follow suit (actually, he told me that I need to switch to prevent polluting his air space). I like my house to stay clean, okay- I am a bit fanatical about it, and that has always meant using glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner and bleach among other toxic cleaning chemicals. This past Saturday a customer came in and brought me a page from a national magazine that discussed all natural cleaners. Tea was listed as the product to use for scouring rusty garden tools. The directions said to make 2 pots of really strong black tea and let it cool (cheap teabags are a good option for this). After the tea has cooled pour into a bucket and add the rusty garden tools. Allow the tools to soak for a few hours and then remove and wipe with a cloth. This started me thinking about other ways that tea can be used for cleaning. I found that used green tea leaves (thoroughly dried after steeping) have strong deodorizing properties and can be used to deodorize a cat litter box. Simply sprinkle the dried tea leaves in with fresh litter. Used, dried, green tea leaves can also refresh a soiled and smelly carpet- sprinkle on the carpet (let sit for 5-10 minutes) and then vacuum. And don’t forget, used tea leaves are also excellent for composting, just add to your bucket of coffee grinds and veggie peels to make all- natural mulch. Happy spring cleaning!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dental Health and Green Tea

Green tea is regularly consumed immediately after meals in Asia. Streptococcus mutans are bacteria that cause dental cavities. The bacteria reacts with sugars to produce a sticky plaque that coats the teeth. Laboratory tests revealed that the catechins in even one cup of green tea can destroy and inhibit the Streptococcus mutans. Green tea contains chlorophyll and flavanoids that can kill the oral bacteria that causes bad breath. Just another reason to enjoy a cup of green tea after each meal!

Wine Class Added- May 8th

We have just added a new wine class to our events calendar:

Both Argentina and Chile boast a long history in wine-making. Argentina owes the roots of its wine culture to the strong influence of Italian immigration. Chile's wine production traces its ancestry to France. Experience the earthy, structured style of Malbec from the Mendoza region and some of Chile’s finest Carmenere, and Sauvignon Blanc. You will enjoy a total of eight wines with perfectly paired cheese. A professional wine instructor will facilitate this class. May 8th- 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Cost is $40 per person. Reservations required: 215.381.2226

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chamomile Facts

Chamomile has a wide array of medicinal properties but unfortunately not everyone can use it. Chamomile is part of the Asteraceae plant family, which includes ragweed and chrysanthemum. People who are allergic to ragweed may have a reaction when they use chamomile either internally or topically. It is not recommended that pregnant or breast feeding women use chamomile. Chamomile is native to Europe and Asia with the flower portion of the plant used for medicinal purposes. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are the two key types of chamomile used for health conditions. Chamomile is regularly used in Europe for digestive ailments because of its anti-inflammatory properties known to ease spasm and discomfort in the digestive tract. It is a popular treatment for numerous ailments: sleep disorders, anxiety, digestion and intestinal conditions, skin irritations including eczema, and diaper rash. If you are not allergic to ragweed give Chamomile a try!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yerba Mate- Is it a miracle drink?

I have studied and researched tea (Camellia sinensis) but my only real experience with Mate was when I purchased it at a health food store about 5 years ago after I read that it acted like an appetite suppressant. It ended up on the "junk" shelf in my kitchen with an embarrassingly large variety of other potions to keep it company. Last year one of our family friends went to Brazil and came back with a gourd that she told me was the typical Mate drinking vessel. She explained that she had become a Mate "convert"- and didn't need to drink coffee anymore because she got so much energy from the Mate. I decided to research Mate and was shocked by what I found out. Yerba Mate contains vitamin A, C, E, B1, B2, B complex, carotene, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin and vitamin C complex. It also has 15 different amino acids,magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, manganese, silicon, phosphates, zinc, niacin, sulfur, and chlorophyll, choline, and inositol. The list of health benefits seems endless: improves mental clarity, reduces the symptoms of hayfever and allergies, balances blood glucose levels, relaxes peripheral blood vessels (thereby reducing blood pressure), stimulates a weak nervous system, boosts immunity and suppresses the appetite. The list doesn't end there but I will save the rest for another time. Of course I had to add Yerba Mate to our menu and encourage you to give it a try. It is pretty close to being the "Miracle Beverage".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wine & Live Music Events Added To Calendar

We have just posted two new events to our calendar. If you are in the Philadelphia area come out and enjoy some tea with us!

Live Music on Sunday, March 22nd 12Noon until 2pm
Enjoy a pot of tea while folksinger Michael Mabry performs an eclectic mix of traditional and original story songs, drawing on American, British and Celtic roots. An accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist, Michael has been entertaining audiences in and around Philadelphia for 15 years.

Discover The Wines of South Africa~ Friday, April 10th
Did you that while South Africa produces only 3% of the worlds wine it ranks as number nine in overall wine volume production? Until recently, most people in the U.S. had never tried or heard of South African wine even though they have been making wine since the late 1600’s. Today there are more high quality South African wines for sale in the U.S. than ever before. Join us as we sample Shiraz, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and other selections accompanied by perfectly paired cheese. This class will be facilitated by a professional wine instructor.

Time: 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Cost: $40 per person
Where: The Hill Tea Bar
Reservations: 215-381-2226

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pu-erh and Weight Loss

If you ever stopped by my shop you may already know that in 2007 I lost 40 pounds and that I credit much of it with my switch from coffee to tea. I did not go the green tea or oolong route- I switched to pu-erh. In 2006 I was introduced to pu-erh at a tea house in San Francisco during a business trip and quickly became addicted to the earthy, dark tea. I was so intrigued by pu-erh that I spent some time researching its history and I learned about numerous studies that concluded pu-erh helps with digestion in addition to providing powerful cholesterol lowering effects and blood cleansing properties. Then- Bingo- I found a study that suggested pu-erh aides significantly in weight loss efforts by curbing the appetite and flushing the fat ingested from greasy meals. Once I discovered it could help me loose weight I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey and started drinking 6-7 cups of pu-erh per day (Yes, I was drowning in it). When Mark Ukra's book, The Ultimate Tea Diet, came out in early 2008 I was excited to find that he included a unique array of recipes that incorporated pu-erh into everyday meals. If you are a tea lover and have not read the book you need to borrow a copy from your library- it is a great book. Well, yesterday I was waiting in line at the grocery store and was paging through one of those gossip magazines and saw an article about a famous movie star who credits her good shape to.....pu-erh tea!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

SereniTEA is Needed Today!

I knew when I woke up it was going to be a bad day. Well, I wasn't 100% sure until my husband told me that my hair looked half-done. When I asked him to elaborate he told me that it looked like "I started but gave up". Considering that this came from a bald man I was not too thrilled. A few hours later I heard banging in the kitchen of our Tea Bar and I went back to see what was going on. There was my husband again- I asked what he was doing and he told me that he was our "Protector of Information". He was dismantling one of our old computers and being obsessed as he is with identity theft my husband explained his method for protecting our information- he removed the hard drive from the computer, ran a magnet over it, submerged it in water and smashed it with a hammer (in this exact order). He told me that he didn't have time to finish the job until you see what I have to look forward to? Well, I figured it was a day for SereniTEA. Chamomile mixed with the green tea is always relaxing and you can blend it yourself at home. Try to use dried chamomile flowers (not powdered or crushed) for the best flavor.

For 1 large 16 ounce mug:

1 tsp panfired green tea
1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
Mix together and steep for 4 minutes- Cheers!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crowsfeet and Green Tea

Hi to all of my friends who have told me that they love the green tea face toner (men and women alike). You have been asking me for more all-natural, anti-aging products and I have been working on it! Last week I tested out a DIY green tea eye treatment that I am really loving- I have noticed a marked improvement in the crepiness under my eyes. Give it a try and let me know what you think...

2 Tablespoons Jojoba Oil
2 Tablespoons Very Strong Brewed Green Tea (cooled- I use Gunpowder Green)

Place the jojoba oil in a small, sterilized bottle and add the cooled green tea. Shake very well to mix and apply with a q-tip or finger around the under eye area making sure to gently pat in the mixture. Unrefrigerated the potion will last 1-month; in the refrigerator it will last 2 months.

Jojoba oil is a non-greasy oil recognized for its ability to penetrate and protect all three layers of your skin. Jojoba oil is a natural antioxidant and it also acts as a natural sunscreen with a SPF of 16. You can purchase the oil in a health food store, a natural grocery store or online.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Phillip Silverstone Comes to The Hill Tea Bar!

We are so excited that starting in March 2009 The Hill Tea Bar will be partnering with world renowned wine expert Phillip Silverstone to offer exclusive Sunday afternoon wine tastings. Read more....

We are proud to announce a series of unstuffy Sunday afternoon wine interludes with Wine-tertainer Phillip Silverstone. Ever the consummate raconteur, Silverstone's presentation will include a sampling of his favorite slurps during his un-snooty, unpretentious, witty and unpredictable conversation.

Phillip grew up in St John's Wood, London and has lived in Philadelphia since 1977. Phillip is a TV and radio wine commentator, author and columnist, writing and hosting his award winning radio features "Time Out For Fine Wine" heard on WRTI 90.1FM. His twice Emmy nominated PBS TV series "One On Wine with Phillip Silverstone" was seen on WHYY TV. Phillip's column "Wining About The Good Life" is syndicated in weekly publications, and his book "Cheers! The World of a Wine-osaur" is published by Camino, Philadelphia. He has been featured on CNN and the Food Network.

With his ever present, self-deprecating dry British sense of humor, Silverstone's philosophy is refreshingly simple and unique, for anyone intimidated by the subject. His anecdotes, short stories, outspoken opinions and practical tips are aimed at anyone who enjoys a lighthearted approach to the subject of wine. He calls it: Wine-tertaining!

Phillip's Wine-tertainment is offered the last Sunday of each month.
WHEN: Sunday March 29th 3-5 pm
WHERE: The Hill Tea Bar, 6 East Hartwell Lane, Chestnut Hill, PA 19118
COST: $60 per person (includes wine and cheese and fruit)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Results of Tea & Wine

Well, on Open That Bottle Night we had wine and tea! We opened a bottle of 2004 V. Sattui Family Red from one of our favorite Napa Valley vineyards and reminisced about drinking the very same wine outside of the winery with a picnic of hard cheese and french bread. It was our last bottle from a case we brought home with us in 2006and we enjoyed every last drop! It isn't a fancy wine but one that we love and brings back happy memories. By 9pm I was missing my evening tea so I decided to have a cup of oolong that a customer brought home with them from Taiwan. It was a delicious treat...who ever said wine and tea don't mix?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Open That Bottle Night- Tea & Wine?

Tonight is Open That Bottle Night started by the famous Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. As someone who was interested in wine before tea, and whose husband is an avid wine collector, I am always surprised by the similarities between tea and wine(don't laugh!). Tea can offer complex fragrances that can be floral, fruity or savory based upon on the variety of tea leaves and the way they are processed. Tea even conveys terroir- flavors of the earth reflecting where the tea leaves were grown (don't believe it? Try Pu-erh!). Tea can also be light bodied or full bodied and some experts believe that tea tasting can sharpen the palettes for improved wine tasting. So... if you aren't a wine drinker (or even if you are)... consider a full bodied, savory Lapsang Souchong or a light and clean Sencha.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rooibos- The Cure All?

I have a nice following of customers who love Rooibos (otherwise known as Red Tea) with a few of them drinking it strictly for medicinal purposes. It has no caffeine and contains iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium as well as calcium and fluoride. Rooibos is an excellent anti-spasmodic that aides upset stomach, is safe for pregnant women and helps babies with colic. The significant antioxidant properties help fight free radicals and it is showing up some prestigious cosmetic lines- be on the look out for "red tea serum". I was recently in a large natural food grocery market and was reading the ingredients on the labels of a nationally known tea line that comes packaged in pretty silver canisters. They had: Detox Tea, Pregnancy Tea, Skin Repair Tea, Weight Loss Tea, Digestive Tea and Relaxation Tea. Every one of the teas had Rooibos listed as the #1 ingredient.

For your best results, try loose organic Rooibos and add your own "healthy" ingredients.

Digestive Infusion/Upset Stomach: For a 12 ounce cup: Steep 1 tsp of organic Rooibos and 1 tsp of fresh ginger for 6 minutes. Strain and enjoy. ** For a sweet treat substitute 1 piece of crystallized ginger for the fresh ginger.

Relaxation Infusion: For a 12 ounce cup: Steep 1 tsp of organic Roobios and add 1 tsp of dried chamomile for 6 minutes. Strain and enjoy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Power of Ginger

I regularly sell black and green tea mixed with ginger to customers who have sore throats or upset stomachs. I have also read about the powerful anti-nausea benefits of ginger but never had a first hand experience until last weekend when my husband and I went out to dinner with friends and on the ride home the nauseous feeling I had was overwhelming. Thus began a 24 hour vomiting episode that ended in the emergency room where I was told that I had "The Virus" and not food poisoning as I had self-diagnosed. I was given an IV with medicine to stop the nausea and felt much better when I got home. Within a few hours the good feeling was gone and I was in full virus mode again. I took the anti-nausea medicine the ER doctor sent home with me and ultimately realized it was worthless. On the third afternoon I was laying in bed and remembered that ginger is supposed to quell motion sickness so I sent my husband to the market to purchase some ginger (that is another story all together). I peeled about a tablespoon amount of the ginger and cut it into small slices. I boiled the ginger with about 16 ounces of water for about 5 minutes and added a teaspoon of raw honey. The ginger infusion shockingly worked better than the medication and a cup every hour killed the virus for good!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Benefits of Black Tea

I don't know if you noticed but most people refer to green tea when they are discussing tea and health. A customer asked me yesterday if there are ANY health benefits to black tea. You bet there are!! This is for all Assam & Ceylon lovers:

According to a study by University College of London researchers, drinking black tea lowers stress hormone levels of cortisol. "Just 50 minutes after a high stress event, tea drinkers, who had been drinking 4 cups of black tea daily for a month, had a 20% greater drop in cortisol than the placebo group. Blood platelet activation, which is linked to blood clotting and the risk of heart attacks was also lower for tea drinkers." (“Black tea soothes away stress,” Science Daily, October 4, 2006.)
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago stated that the polyphenols in black tea help inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.
Mild burns such as sunburn can be treated with cold black tea. Soak a dishtowel in cold black tea and place the cold compress on the burn says Marie Savard, MD of the University of Pennsylvania. The phytonutrients will reduce the inflamed blood vessels. (Health News You Can Use At Home; Rodale 2008)
Black tea consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Double Header This Sunday at The Hill Tea Bar!

Stop by this Sunday (1/25/09) for an entertaining afternoon!

Sunday, January 25th: 11am to 12noon/ Hypnosis with Sharon Muir
Expansive Trance at the Hill Tea Bar
Want to make sure you manifest your New Years Resolutions?
Hypnosis helps give you the edge you need to follow through.
Spend some time with Sharon Muir Certified Hypnotist!
Learn some practical Hypnosis you can use for yourself.

Sunday, January 25th; 12noon to 2pm/ Live Music with Michael Mabry
Folksinger Michael Mabry performs an eclectic mix of traditional and original story songs, drawing on American, British and Celtic roots. An accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist, Michael has been entertaining audiences in and around Philadelphia for 15 years.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lose Weight in 2009- With Oolong!

Well- it is resolution time again. I noticed all of the "resolution" people in the gym the first week in January (yes...I was among them). Some exciting study results have been published about the weight loss benefits of oolong tea that may make achieving your weight loss goal a bit easier in 2009.
A high profile Japanese study was conducted in 2006, and researchers concluded that oolong tea was able to reduce the absorption of fats eaten during a meal. They found that fat lipids were passed through the body at a higher rate than participants who did not drink the tea after their meals. The tea also had a positive effect on the participant's cholesterol levels. Another study, conducted in China in 1998 studied 102 women, and the effects of oolong consumption, over a six week period. The study revealed that consumption of oolong tea, for the six weeks period, resulted in a reduction of body weight. In 2001 the US Agriculture Research Services' Diet and Human Laboratory conducted a study regarding oolong tea and found that fat oxidation was increased by 12% after consuming oolong tea.

Why not try some oolong and boost your 2009 resolution!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tea is Trendy Again!

Health Magazine has a recent tea article (Tea is Trendy Again) that I wanted to share with you. It is an interesting read...even though we all know that tea has always been trendy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Puffy Eyes? Try This!

I looked in the mirror last week and realized that I looked like I had a down pillow under each of my eyes. Too little sleep was starting to take its toll and I needed help. I searched my handy Herbal Cures book and found that chamomile would reduce swelling if applied topically. I made 1 cup of chamomile tisane (1 tsp steeped in boiling water for 7 minutes) and chilled it in the refrigerator. I soaked two cotton balls in the cold tisane and let them rest on my closed eyelids for about 15 minutes (I did this laying down of course!!). The next morning my eyes appeared a bit better but it was not the big difference I hoped for. A friend told me to try Preparation H but I was determined to find a natural solution. I took the cold tisane and poured it into an icecube tray and put it in the freezer. Once I had chamomile icecubes I took out two and wrapped each in a clean washcloth. Again, laying down, I rested a wash cloth on each eye for about 20 minutes. The next morning the puffiness was significantly reduced! Try it out the next time you have a puffy eye issue.