Friday, October 26, 2007

Geographic Indication Tag for Darjeeling Tea

India is hoping to make Darjeeling Tea an exclusive product of India.

The tea variety will soon have a geographical indication (GI) in all international markets. At present, Champagne is the only product that commands a GI worldwide. The issue of GI for Darjeeling Tea has been debated for the last couple of years in various national and international forums.

While the government has filed for GI in the US and Canada, it has also perked up the process in other international markets. India is the second largest producer of tea in the world and Darjeeling Tea is considered to be its most sought-after variety. Despite this, India commands less than 13% share in the export market. Also planned is the set up of a body to monitor and regulate tea exporters.

Import of tea from India has been banned in some East Asian countries, mainly on quality issues. Till about the early 1990’s, India happened to be one of the leading tea exporters in the world. This share has continuously dipped since then, due to various reasons. However, in the last 6-7 years, there have been an aggressive takeover of tea gardens by corporates, and almost 80% tea production lies with the organised sector now.

Blog Note: This is a long time coming and may finally put some integrity back in the Darjeeling market. Our sales of darjeeling slip every year as the market is flooded with questionable product.

On another note, we have greatly expanded our offerings of Oolong tea and have included several offerings from China (in addition to our traditional Formosa Oolongs).

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tea Has Arrived In New York

As we plan our entry into the retail tea world, we note the following:

Last March, Tavalon Tea Bar (22 E 14th Street) opened, offering more than 30 varieties of tea—and an on-site DJ.

T Salon (75 Ninth Avenue) and Gramstand (214 Avenue A) appeared last winter: The former trumpets itself “the first environmentally sustainable tea bar-cafĂ©-market in the world!,” while the latter boasts “Zen-like industrial design” and more than 50 types of leaves.

In August, Sanctuary T (337B West Broadway) opened with a similarly mind-boggling array. A month later, Tafu (569 Lexington Avenue) brought premium Japanese teas to midtown.

And in the coming weeks, Amai Tea and Bake House (171 Third Avenue), whose coveted sweets are sold at Takashimaya, will open its first retail space. We plan to offer Amai's treasures through our web site in the very near future.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Black Tea Shows Blood Sugar Benefits

October 24, 2007 - A one gram drink of black tea may have the potential to stimulate an insulin response and reduce blood sugar levels, suggests new research from England. The study suggests that black tea could have benefits for diabetics to blunt the blood sugar spikes, keeping the body's blood sugar levels relatively steady throughout the day. This has been linked to better regulation of appetite and a reduced tendency to snack.

Researchers from King's College London and the University of Central Lancashire recruited 16 healthy subjects and assigned them to drink 75 grams of glucose in either 250ml of water (control), 250ml of water plus 0.052g of caffeine (positive control) or 250 ml of water plus 1.0 or 3.0 grams of instant black tea. Writing in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the researchers report that plasma glucose concentrations during the first hour in response to the drinks were not significantly different. However, after two hours plasma glucose concentrations were significantly in the group who consumed 1.0 grams of tea, relative to the control and caffeine drinks. Moreover, drinking the black tea was associated with increased insulin levels compared with the control and caffeine drinks at 90 minutes.

The health benefits of tea, including protection from certain cancers and Alzheimer's, have been linked to the polyphenol content of the tea. Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent.The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tealeaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin.Chemical analysis showed that the tea was rich in polyphenolic compounds (total, 350mg/g). Bryans and co-workers state that the polyphenol content of the tea was most probably behind the effects. They state that these compounds could have an insulin-stimulating effect on pancreatic B-cells - cells responsible for insulin production. "It is important to note also that the physiological effects seen in this study were relatively small and were achieved under test conditions. "Under normal tea drinking conditions before or after food, the presence of other phenolic compounds could potentially alter, or even enhance, the effects seen in our study. "It is certainly an area of research that warrants further investigation," they concluded.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tea May Help Lower Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Risks

According the The Canadian Press:

TORONTO -- New scientific research suggests that drinking tea may lower an individual's risk of developing dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

This data and other new research that suggests drinking tea may improve and maintain brain health and function was presented at the recent Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health in Washington, D.C.

The body of research shows that tea likely directly impacts brain health by maintaining brain cell function and by assisting in the repair of damaged cells, says Carol Greenwood, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.

"Drinking tea may further help because it reduces the risk of developing other disorders which increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia,'' she says.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Tea Drinking and Hip Structure in Elderly Women

October 12, 2007 — Tea drinking is associated with preservation of hip structure in elderly women, according to the results of a cross-sectional and longitudinal study reported in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Impaired hip structure assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) areal bone mineral density (aBMD) is an independent predictor for osteoporotic hip fracture," write Amanda Devine, from the University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues. "Previous studies have shown that drinking tea has been associated with a higher aBMD and a reduced risk of hip fracture."

In a 5-year prospective trial to determine whether oral calcium supplements prevent osteoporotic fractures, 1500 randomly selected women aged 70 to 85 years had measurement of aBMD at the hip with DXA at years 1 and 5. At 5 years, cross-sectional analysis of 1027 of these women using a questionnaire evaluated the relationship of customary tea intake with aBMD. A prospective analysis of 164 women evaluated the relationship of tea intake at baseline, measured with a 24-hour dietary recall, with change in aBMD from years 1 to 5.

The cross-sectional analysis revealed that mean total hip aBMD was 2.8% greater in tea drinkers (806; 95% confidence interval [CI], 797 - 815 mg/cm2) than in non–tea drinkers (784; 95% CI, 764 - 803 mg/cm2; P < .05). During the 4-year period of the prospective analysis, tea drinkers lost an average of 1.6% of total hip aBMD, whereas non–tea drinkers lost 4.0%. Adjustment for covariates did not affect this pattern of findings.

Study limitations include the small sample size in the prospective study because of limited data on beverage intake collected at baseline; 2 different methods used to assess tea drinking; and measurement error associated with the self-administered beverage questionnaire.

"Tea drinking is associated with preservation of hip structure in elderly women," the authors write. "This finding provides further evidence of the beneficial effects of tea consumption on the skeleton.... Dietary calcium and coffee intake, physical activity, and smoking did not appear to be important confounders of the relation between tea and BMD."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Two Updates & A Note & Myspace

1. Our server will be down on October 10, 2007 beginning at 3:00am for about an hour.

2. For those customers who receive orders via FEDEX, we will be installing a FEDEX add-in to our web site that will enable you to track your orders directly from our home page. For all others, we can continue to supply tracking numbers via email. We are going to only use USPS Priority shipping for those customers that prefer to receive packages to a PO Box. Within a few weeks all orders will ship via Fedex Ground Service.

Note: We are delayed for a few days in offering a tea/product of the day. We hope to get the programming done this week and start the program next week.

Yes, we have joined MySpace. See us at There is not much there yet.

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