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July 18, 2016

Organic: What is the label telling you?

Filed under: Black Tea,Green Tea,Newsletter,Oolong Tea,Tea and Health — wbwingert @ 10:10 am

Much is written and said about the benefits of choosing organic! At the same time, the labeling of commercial products seems to get more and more confusing and it becomes difficult to sort through the various marketing promises and and make healthy choices. That is why I wanted to take the opportunity to take a closer look at what exactly “certified organic” means and to shed some light into the often confusing organic labeling practices

The organic label indicates that an agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. These methods consist of cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. This means that synthetic fertilizer, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering may not be used!

The growing of organic tea is relatively new, dating back about ten years. The rules under which organic tea is produced are fairly complicated and tightly controlled. The tea crop must be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. It relies only on natural organic matter such as compost, plants and trees to provide the necessary nutrients and ground cover.

There are two categories of organic tea production. In the first category, you will find teas that have been certified organic by one of several international agencies. The second category includes teas that are grown according to traditional methods, following the principals of organic growth, but are not validated by a certified agent. These are often teas from smaller tea gardens whose owners simply cannot afford the certification fees, but take pride in the superior quality of their teas.

When a tea is labeled “certified organic”, it has met the conditions by at least one of the regulatory agencies. That does not, however, mean that all non-organic teas contain chemicals and are unhealthy. Some teas have been grown organically for centuries, in spite of codes or set rules.

Tusda organicea consumption worldwide is growing and the demand for high quality, certified organic teas is increasing, yet the production is driven mainly by cost.

For the consumer it is not always easy to decipher which teas are organically grown. Here in the U.S., the certifying agency is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and certified organic products are clearly labeled.

On the other hand, a tea can be grown organically and certified by the appropriate agencies in Japan, England or Germany, yet the consumer here will not be aware of this due to the lack of labeling.

The better known certifying agencies whose logos might appear on products sold in the U.S. are Germany’s Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement, Switzerland’s Institute for Marketecology and Japan’s Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS).

With the increasing demand, a wide range of organic teas is now available, but even without organic production methods, tea is actually a very clean product whose cultivation and production is tightly controlled

Some tea growers work in harmony with nature and produce what is called “bio-dynamic” tea. This means that the seasons, the weather, the waxing and waning of the moon and the interaction and interdependency of different species of insects, birds and animals are all taken into consideration when planting. This approach of tea farming links with ancient agricultural practices.

Demeter International is one of the bodies that runs a biodynamic certification program and invests in raising awareness of ecological patterns and sustainable farming activities.

So while the USDA ORGANIC label reflects the quality of the agricultural product you are buying, it is by no means the only seal for organically grown products. If you have questions about the origin and production of the tea and agricultural products you are buying, ask your grocer or tea purveyor for information on its origin and production.

Cheers!

Olivia Wingert is the Owner of Souvia® Tea and holds the Specialty Tea Institute’s Level III  Certified Tea Education Accreditation

September 9, 2014

August, Emerald Tea, Thirsaty?

Filed under: Newsletter,Oolong Tea,Tea and Health — wbwingert @ 10:43 am
Unable to view this newsletter?

August

Emerald Tea

Thirsty?

 

Matcha is made

from ground

Gyokuro.  The

leaves can also be

brewed

 

 

Learn how to make

green tea smoothies

with Matcha here

 Our Iced Tea Kit has

everything you need for

iced tea except the ice!

See it in action.

 

Our Sweet Matcha

powder is great alone

our in Smoothies

 

Latest Tea Menu

 

Please visit our

one of our partners

in Tea

 Phoenix

Tucson

Glendale

August

 

Thanks to everyone who supported Independent Businesses everywhere during Independent’s Week!  It’s monsoon season in Arizona which means lower temps, higher humidity, and more dust than rain!  It’s like winter in the North, but with fewer clothes and better driving conditions.

 

Coming up in August:

  • There is still time to enter our drawing for a Summer Fun Basket – get a chance for every $25 you spend in July
  • Our featured herb this Oat Straw and nourishing herb – so stop in to find out more
  • Watch for our new “Kid’s Cup” a special size for our smaller customers

 

Matcha: Emerald Green Drink from Japan

There really is quite a bit more to this drink than meets the eye:  Matcha, the finely milled, emerald green tea powder, has been used in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony for centuries. In modern times, matcha has also been used to flavor and color foods such as soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of Japanese sweets. In the west, matcha found its way into smoothies and lattes and is popular because of its rich taste and multitude of healthy nutrients.

How is it made?

While tea is produced in different countries throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. It is grown by local farmers using traditional methods from growing to milling.

The tea leaves used for matcha are shade grown and the preparation of this tea starts several weeks before the actual harvest, when the tea plants are covered with bamboo mats or tarp in order to reduce the exposure to sunlight and thereby increasing the chlorophyll content in the plant. It is the high chlorophyll content that gives matcha its distinctly green color. After plucking, the leaves are laid out flat to dry – the crumbled dried leaves make up the base product for matcha and are called tencha. Tencha is then de-veined, de-stemmed and stone milled into a fine, bright green powder, known as matcha. Only ground tencha can be called matcha, powered green teas made from other varietals, like sencha, are known as konacha –literally meaning “powder tea”.The most famous matcha producing tea regions in Japan are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka and northern Kyushu.

 

What is so good about matcha?

Matcha is renowned for many health benefits. It is rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, fiber, amino acids and chlorophyll.  Drinking matcha exceeds the nutritional value of a regular cup of green tea since the whole leaf is consumed, and not just the tea-infused water. In 2003, researchers from the University of Colorado found that the concentration of the antioxidant ECGC is up to 137 times greater than the amount of ECGC in other commercially available green teas.

On the other hand, it is not only the nutritional value that is increased, the caffeine content is also higher than in a regular cup of green tea, making matcha a stimulating beverage that will get you going in the morning.

Matcha, like all shade grown teas contains the amino acid “L-theanine”. Besides giving the tea a sweeter taste, L-theanine also has a relaxing effect on the nervous system which seems to complement the stimulating effects of the caffeine, offering a sustained alertness over time without the jitters.

How do I make it? more on the blog

 

Thirsty?

We all know tea can be incorporated into food, tea smoked duck, green tea in oatmeal, etc.  But if you are looking for something with a little more punch consider cooling summer cocktails with tea.

 

Matcha Salty Dog

This Salty Dog with matcha combines great flavor, presentation and a bit of health-boosting antioxidants and is the perfect drink to ring in the weekend.

Ingredients:

 

  • juice of half a grapefruit
  • 2 tbsp vodka (or to taste)
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 tsp matcha

 1. Squeeze the grapefruit to extract the juice. Moisten the rim of a glass with the rind and dip rim in salt. Fill the glass with ice cubes.

 

2. Place the grapefruit juice, vodka, and matcha in a cocktail shaker and shake until well mixed

 

3. Pour over the ice cubes and garnish with slice of grapefruit – serve immediately!

 

Consider these as well from our blog: Moroccan Mint Granita, Earl Grey Martini and more Ideas here

Thanks for Reading…

Thanks for reading this month.     Everyone who posts a picture of our teas on Facebook or Twitter (@souviatea) while on vacationgets 50g of any of or fruit flavored tea.   The best picture will get a $25 Souvia Gift card!   Runs through August 1st.

We hope you’ll visit us in the store, at one of our partners or online soon.  If you can’t get in, remember… we ship orders over $50 for free the same day and your tea will arrive quickly!

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January 23, 2009

Chinese New Year Specials

Filed under: Black Tea,Green Tea,Oolong Tea,Tea Culture,White Tea — Administrator @ 5:20 pm

yixing buddha.jpgMonday starts the Chinese year 4646, the year of the Ox.? We’ll help celebrate by offerign specials on our Yixing pots and Chinese Teas.? Stop in and try some traditional chinese teas in handmade teaware.

November 25, 2008

Tea sale and Massages

Don’t forget our annual tea sale and massages are this Friday, November 28th.? ? The sale lasts all day but the massages are from 1pm-3pm.? Read more about it in World Tea News.

? All teas will be 20% off and slected teaware will be on sale as well.? It is always fun and a great time to stock up on tea.

?

November 9, 2007

Sterling Awards Video

Filed under: Black Tea,Green Tea,Oolong Tea,Phoenix,Tea in Arizona — Administrator @ 11:22 am

Part of the Sterling awards was a profile video about Souvia.? You can see it now on Youtube? Souvia is about 2 minutes and 30 seconds in….?

October 3, 2007

What’s in your Cup

A great article in the New York Times makes the point that much of the tea consumed in the US is not all that healthy…? From the article

“But a 16-ounce bottle of the popular Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey, for instance, contains 140 calories and 34 grams of sugar. (By comparison, a similar amount of Coke has 194 calories and 54 grams of sugar.) A grande Tazo chai tea latte at Starbucks packs 240 calories and 41 grams of sugar.”

this is a benefit of brewing your own tea or drinking good quality leaf teas without all the additions.

? You can read the rest here….

June 9, 2007

$300 for Tea? Rare Tea “Rocks”

Filed under: Black Tea,Oolong Tea,Phoenix,Tea and Health,Tea Culture,Tea Enjoyment — Administrator @ 9:43 am

Da Hong Pao Tea Farm China.jpg“Rock teas like rare wines are appreciated by sophisticated tea drinkers around the globe” says Kerstin Wingert, President and Founder of Souvia Tea. Souvia Tea is expanding its line of premium teas to include rare teas.? “While we carry teas that cost as little at $3 for 25 cups, this tea sells for over $300 for a half pound and many of our customers look at rare teas like a fine Pinot Noir, something to celebrate a special occasion.”? Da Hang Pao (“Big Red Robe Tea”) is a legendary and much revered oolong which is grown in the Fujian province of China. Wingert continues, “What makes this tea so exceptional is the way it grows – on rocks in the Wu Yi Mountains where water trickling down the crevices nourishes the tea plants throughout the year.” ? ? Souvia will carry this and other rare teas on a limited time basis.? For those seeking a taste of a Da Hong Pao tea and pot of it can be had in the store for a mere $15.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Records of this teas’ existence date back as far the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), where legend has it, that the tea leaves cured the illness of the emperor’s mother. To show his gratitude, the emperor sent red robes to clothe the tea plants from which the leaves had been picked.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? From the four original tea plants that survived, only a few pounds of leaves are typically harvested each year and thousands of dollars are paid for just a few grams of this exquisite tea. In 2006, the government decided to place the original tea plants under protection and to stop the harvest altogether.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Since cuttings had been taken from the parent plant and cultivated in the region, a limited amount of this treasured oolong is still on the market. Taste variations, produced by processing, differences in the soil and location of these later generation plants are now used to grade the quality of this “King of Tea” Da Hong Pao steeps
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? But how does it taste? Wingert describes it this way, “Da Hong Pao has a warm and toasty flavor and a lingering floral fragrance, reminiscent of sweet-scented osmanthus flowers. Superb, even after multiple infusions.….”?

May 23, 2007

Tea ‘healthier’ drink than water?

Filed under: Black Tea,Green Tea,Oolong Tea,Tea and Health,Tea preparation,White Tea — Administrator @ 3:57 pm

BBC NewsGreat article today on the BBC website of a study on tea.? It is a concise summary of tea’s benefits.? I guess we should say that a couple of cups a day helps keep the doctor and dentist away!

April 2, 2007

Out with the old….

Filed under: Black Tea,Green Tea,Oolong Tea,Tea Enjoyment,Tea in Arizona — Administrator @ 5:02 pm

It’s time again to phase out some of our teas…? The following teas are either seasonal or discontinued.? No worries,as great replacements are on the way!

  • Sencha Pina Colada
  • Miseltoe Magic
  • Kukciha Toasted
  • Fountain of Youth
  • Jasmine Pearl in a shell
  • Yunnan FOP
  • Pear Helene
  • Nutcracker Suite
  • Darjeeling FTGFOP1
  • Ti Kuan yin Floral Select
  • Happy Holidays
  • Strawberry Kiwi

We always keep your favorites in stock!

March 28, 2007

New Arrivals

Filed under: Green Tea,Oolong Tea,Tea Enjoyment — Administrator @ 5:16 pm

It’s hanami (or flower viewing in Japanese) time!? To celebrate that we have several new Cherry Themed teas.?

  • Cherry Blossom -Sencha based with a divine sour cherry flavor
  • Black Forest Temptation – a unique combination of Sencha and Mate with a cherry finish
  • Sweet Cherry – A rooibos base with lovely bing cherry flavor

In addition, we have a new black tea from Vietnam.? It makes a wonderful morning tea, that you’ll soon add to your favorites list.

More to come!

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