Sunday, June 13, 2010

Caffeine Study Results are Surprising

Study results released on May 12th suggested that caffeine consumption helped workers improve on the job performance and also prevented errors. In addition, caffeine seemed to enhance attention, memory and perception.

The great thing about tea is that you get some caffeine without the "buzz" typically experienced from coffee. The amino acid L-Theanine, which promotes physical relaxation without drowsiness, is found in tea and counterbalances the caffeine. L-Theanine also supports cardiovascular heath and provides important antioxidant properties (Polyphenolic antioxidants) that combat a wide array of neurological diseases. The amount of caffeine in tea can be influenced by numerous factors such as the amount of time the tea is steeped or the quantity of tea used per cup but in general a cup of tea has about half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. If you don't want that caffeine but cannot find your favorite tea in decaffeinated form you may want to try this natural caffeine reducer:

1. Brew/steep your tea as usual or based upon the instructions that accompany the tea.
2. After brewing the tea discard it. Yes, pour it down the drain. Most of the caffeine in the tea will be released in the first brewing of the tea.
3. Brew the tea a second time- this is the tea you will drink.

Caffeine Content of Tea and Coffee per 8 ounce cup(source: Linus Pauling Institute)
Green Tea: 9-50 mg of caffeine
Black Tea: 42-72 mg of caffeine
Coffee: 72-130 mg of caffeine

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You Won't Believe This!

Yesterday was my son Jordan's 15th birthday party. We had a cook-out (it rained- of course- and our dog bit two of the guests) and had the regular variety of hamburgers and potato salad. My good friend, the owner of Miss Bliss Bakery in Horsham, PA made the birthday cake. Miss Bliss provided many of the delicious baked products for my Tea Bar and tea parties that we catered over the past two years(some of you may remember the "giant cake"). When she arrived at my home on Friday evening with the cake it was in a big, sealed box and she warned me that it was heavy. Well, after she left I opened the box and was truly amazed at the beautiful, towering cake that must have weighed at least 10 pounds of pound cake. Jordan likes lemon so it was a 4-layer lemon pound cake with lemon mousse separating the layers. The cake was so spectacular that my son took each guest to "see my giant cake" as soon as they arrived. No one could wait until we cut it and my brother-in-law insisted that we needed a sword- a long knife did the trick. It was by far the best cake I ever tasted in my life and even my mother, Queen of the Pound Cake, agreed! If you are in the Philadelphia area (and I think she can ship)and need a cake for a special occasion or just for a sugar fix you have to contact Miss Bliss Bakery at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eco Friendly Tea

I was recently asked for some eco-friendly uses for tea in honor of Earth Day. I have tested all of the ideas listed if I could just remember to bring the reusable bag with me when I go to the supermarket.

* Used green tea leaves can be placed on top of the soil of houseplants to provide rich nutrients. All-natural plant food!
* Used black or green tea leaves can be used to feed azaleas and hydrangeas- just sprinkle the leaves on the soil around the plant. Note- My azaleas love tea.
* Used black or green tea leaves can be dried and made into sachets. Place the sachets inside boots and sneakers to absorb odors and moisture. Note- I use 2 in each shoe for my husband's sneakers!
* Used green tea leaves (dried) can refresh a stinky carpet. Sprinkle the tea leaves on the carpet, use the broom to gently move the leaves into the carpet fibers, wait 1/2 hour and vacuum.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Get Your Matcha On!

Last week my husband, son and I went to New York City for a few days. We hit our favorite restaurants and got lucky that the weather was cooperative. I have a favorite smoothie shop on W. Broadway that offers all types of "special boosts" to their drinks- like immunity, energy and digestive. I decided to add the immunity boost to my strawberry whirl and was surprised to find that they added a teaspoon of Matcha as the immunity booster. Matcha is stone-ground, powdered green tea from Japan. "Real" matcha is Tencha-grade so you have to be careful to know what you are buying (you cannot find the real stuff in a supermarket). It has a much higher level of antioxidants (it is reported to be 137 times stronger)than regular brewed tea since you are consuming the whole leaf. Give it a try- you will be shocked at how much energy you have. Cheers!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Tea Eggs

Marbled Easter Eggs are beautiful and easy to make. After they are finished you can cut them in 1/2, take out the yoke, and use them as little cups for chicken, seafood or tuna salad. Wonderful for Easter!

1 dozen extra large eggs
3 tablespoons of Assam tea leaves
8 cups of water
2 teaspoons of salt

1. Put the eggs in a large soup pot and cover them with cold water.
2. Bring water to a gentle boil and cook for 15 minutes.
3. After the eggs are cooked lift the eggs out of the pot and place them under cold running water for approximately 3-4 minutes or until they are no longer too hot to hold.
4. Place the cooked eggs on the counter on a paper towel to cool.
5. After eggs are cold, gently crack the eggshells all over by rolling them on a paper towel or using the back of a spoon the tap the shells of each egg. Be careful and don't let the eggshell detach from the egg.
5. In a large saucepan add the Assam leaves, water, and salt.
6. Gently place the cooked eggs into the pan. Make sure the water covers the eggs,add extra water if you need.
7. Bring the water slowly to to a boil and as soon as the water boils turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pan.
8. The eggs must simmer in the liquid for 1-hour.
9. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the eggs cool while sitting in the liquid.
10. After the eggs are cool, drain and place the eggs in a sealed plastic bag.
11. Store in the eggs in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
12. Remove the shells right before serving.

PS- Add a drop of food color to step #5 if you want colored eggs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Time For 1st Flush

Darjeeling tea is known as the Champagne of Tea- for good reason! In Darjeeling the tea plants are dormant during the winter months but as the weather turns a bit warmer, and the spring season begins, the highly anticipated harvest of the first flush Darjeeling tea begins. Typically harvested in mid-march, first flush is wildly popular in Paris and has regularly been airlifted to famous customers and has been likened to the annual release of the famous French Beaujolais Nouveau wine. In the U.S., Americans are more partial to the second flush Darjeeling which is harvested during the summer months. The second flush is a more robust tea and the majority of Darjeeling tea found in the U.S. is second flush.

Try a delicious first flush Darjeeling on March 20th (2:30pm) at Lemons & Limes in Chestnut Hill.8133 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill, PA 19118 (215-242-3080)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Drink Green Tea for Relief!

It seems as if someone in my house has had a runny nose and cough since last October and we have loaded up on vitamins and "immune" enhancers (you know, the tablets that fizz when you drop them in water) with no success. My 14-year old son has gone through more boxes of tissues than I can count. New study results (from a double-blind study) were released that show Green Tea may be the answer for those suffering from cold and flu symptoms.

There were 32% fewer people with cold-flu symptoms

There was a decrease in the number of symptomatic days by 36%

There was a decrease in the need for medical treatment due to symptoms by 58%

There was an average increase in immune system gammadelta T cells by 28%, and

There was an average increase in immune system IFN-gamma secretion by 26%

Now, you need to drink at least 10 (8oz) cups of quality, green tea for these results. If you try it, let me know if it works for you! Cheers.

(Rowe CA, Journal American College Nutrition)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Join Me For Tea & Culinary Pairing

Tea & Culinary Pairing at Montgomery County Community College (Blue Bell, PA)
The newest culinary trend! Pair tea with cuisine by
flavor, aroma and texture. Taste a variety of pairings and discuss
why they are so successful. Enjoy a peak experience with every
meal. Mon 3/8 6:30-8:30PM $29
#2010/01 LLGI 3180 01 Course Code#: LLGI 3180

Monday, February 8, 2010

Read The Tea Leaves

The second most asked question (the first is: how to lose weight with tea) by my customers is how to read tea leaves, and if there really is such a thing. Reading tea leaves is the art of tasseography which is practiced most often in England, Scotland and Ireland but was originally developed at least a thousand years ago in China. Special cups have been designed for tea leaf reading but you can also use a regular tea cup. Place a pinch of tea leaves into a tea cup and pour boiling water over the leaves and steep for 3minutes. Drink the liquid leaving the loose tea and a small amount of liquid on the bottom of the cup. Take the cup by the handle and move it rapidly in a circle (swirl the liquid) 3 times. Next, slowly invert the cup on a saucer and let all of the liquid drain. The cup is divided into 3 parts: the rim is the present, the side represents events in the near future and the bottom is the distant future. The following are some symbols (and their meaning) to look for:

Acorn: Improved health
Anchor: Success in business or love
Sun, Moon or Star: Good luck
Owl: Sickness or poverty
Elephant: Happiness
Triangles: Unexpected good fortune
Birds: Good luck

For more details on tea leaf reading please visit:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Raw Honey- It is supposed to look that way!

Recently I had a friend come over for tea and when I put the honey on the table she seemed hesitant to add it to her cup. I asked if she liked honey and she told me that she loves honey but wondered if my honey was spoiled because it was not clear. I realized that she had never used raw honey before- and when I asked she told me that she never heard of raw honey. I explained that raw honey is unprocessed and unheated so it can appear white and creamy instead of clear and golden in color. Raw honey contains 27 minerals, 22 amino acids and 5,000 live enzymes that work together to boost immunity and aid the digestive system. The honey found in supermarkets (and in that little bear) has been heated and filtered to be more attractive to consumers. Unfortunately, when honey is heated the yeast and enzymes which are responsible for activating vitamins and minerals in the body system are partially destroyed. Raw honey is also a powerful anti-bacterial that can help coughs and upper respiratory infections. I buy my honey from Fruitwood Orchards in NJ but you should look for your most "local" source. For a natural cough remedy try this(it tastes much better than the stuff in the pharmacy):

In a clean glass jar (with lid) mix:

4 Tablespoons of raw honey
6-8 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (with Mother)

Shake until mixed. Take 1 tsp at least 4x per day.

For some honey statistics check this out:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Amazing Chocolate Chai

Yesterday my husband and I went to the Max Brenner restaurant in downtown Philadelphia. We visited the one they have in Union Square (in NYC) and really enjoyed it so we were excited when they opened in Philly. The restaurant is at 15 & Walnut in case you want to try it. They are a "chocolate" restaurant and most everything has some type of chocolate or cocoa in it. When we had our store in Chestnut Hill our most popular drink was the chocolate chai so I always get excited to try choco chai whenever it is listed on a menu. I ordered the chocolate chai at Max Brenner and was surprised (and delighted) that they use loose leaf tea! I was also surprised at how good it was. I spent most of today trying to recreate it. They used little pieces of chocolate instead of the chocolate sauce we typically use. This is definitely a dessert drink- and is so delicious it is worth the trouble to make! Below are the directions to make 1 mug. You can make a large batch of the tea and spice mixture and store in an airtight glass jar.

To make a 16 oz mug:

1 tsp Assam
2-4 peppercorns
2 cardamom pods broken in 1/2
pinch ginger
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
5-7 Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
Splash of milk
1 teaspoon honey

Steep the tea and spices in 16 oz. water for 4-5 minutes. Strain into a mug and add the chocolate and stir. Add honey and milk to taste.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Check Out Lemons & Limes in Chestnut Hill

When in Chestnut Hill stop by Lemons & Limes at 8133 Germantown Avenue
(215-242-3080). Not only do they have unique gifts and fabulous accessories but they also carry The Hill Tea Bar's "Bestsellers". Mark your calendar for March 20th (2:30pm)- we will be holding a complimentary tea tasting at Lemons & Limes. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Upcoming Tea Events

I wanted to let you know about some upcoming tea events. I hope to see you!

Diamond Spa in Chestnut Hill
Enjoy a sensory tasting of 6 teas blended for health and wellbeing
Girl's Night Out- Wednesday, February 3rd at 6pm

Philadelphia Community College
The workshop's CRN is 15644 (Tea, History and Health Benefits) and it's scheduled to run on Saturdays, 4/10 & 4/17/10; from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Detox For The New Year

It is that time of year again when we are starting fresh with new diets and resolutions. Kick off the new year with a detox that will flush harmful toxins from your system. Detoxing is important for improving body functions, overall health and jump starting any weight loss program. The following tea detox can be made at home and will give you a boost of powerful antioxidants while providing a digestive flush.

Spicy Green Tea Detox

1 teaspoon Gunpowder Green Tea
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried peppermint
1 teaspoon dried, ground ginger root
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Steep all herbs and tea in 8 oz. boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain. Add lemon juice. Drink. Repeat 3 times in 24 hours.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year ..New Tea!

I knew I had gallstones for the last few years. I decided to try to control the gallbladder attacks by eating a fat-free diet and drinking lots of green tea. This worked- until Christmas Eve. A gallstone lodged in my pancreas and I found myself in the local hospital. When I arrived at the hospital the surgeon told me that they would feed me only water for a week and after my pancreas "rested" they would take out my gallbladder. Wait- feed me only water? Yep, for a week I did not eat anything by the mouth, they gave me fluids through the IV. You can only imagine how happy I was this past Friday when they said I could start having liquids by mouth. I kept waiting for some type of menu to arrive with my choices of liquids. No menu ever came, and when the liquids arrived, puree of beef barley, I let the food service person know that I don't eat meat. They seemed confused so I asked if they had vegetable broth and I eventually did get some type of broth but it tasted suspiciously like those chicken bullion cubes my Mom cooked with when I was a child. They also gave me tea. Well, it was Lipton but I was thrilled to get any type of tea at that point. When I was waking up from surgery I heard someone asking if I was the "tea lady"- I usually don't love that endearment because it makes me feel old but it was comforting given the situation. When I was fully awake the recovery nurse who recognized me told me that they really needed some good tea at the hospital. I agreed, I was never hospitalized before and had always just assumed that the food and beverage choices would be aligned for health...and taste. Anyway, I am happy to be home with my family and tea. I guess the upside is the 10 pounds I lost on the week of water.