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Archives for the ‘Tea History’ Category

Bigelow Explores The History of Iced Tea

bigelow tea iced tea history

When you hear the words “iced tea,” it’s easy to envision a pitcher of your favorite Bigelow Tea flavor over ice. Perhaps you add in a sweetener, or maybe you enjoy it nice and simple. Whichever way you drink it, now you can sip with an appreciation for its back story—it is steeped in history, after all!

Richard Blechynden has often been attributed with making the first iced tea at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. As sales for his hot tea dropped while summer temperatures rose, he purportedly poured tea over ice to entice fairgoers. Some dedicated research tells another story, though, with iced tea’s roots reaching as far back as 1879, when Marion Cabell Tyree created a recipe for green tea over ice, which was published in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia. Later, in 1884, another recipe for iced black tea surfaced from the Boston Cooking School.bigelow tea iced tea blend These days, while iced tea is still extremely popular during summer, the classic drink is enjoyed year ‘round. In the United States, 85 percent of tea consumed each year is iced as noted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We are an iced tea culture, and we are the only country in the world [noted as such],” said Peter Goggi, president of Tea Association of the USA. Who are the most popular consumers, you may wonder? Well, baby boomers and millennials, of course! 87 percent of millennials drink tea, according to the Tea Association. Goggi said that it’s likely because millennials grew up in the ready-to-drink era that accepted tea as a good alternative to soda and other sugary drinks.

Whatever the reason (or season!), iced tea is always a cool option—and you can make it with any flavor of Bigelow Tea that you would normally enjoy hot. So pick your favorite (@LukeIsASequin suggests “Constant Comment®”), brew and pour over ice for a cold treat any time!

Learn Why Bigelow Uses Tea From Sri Lanka

 

bigelow tea sri lankaHigh in the mountains of Sri Lanka grow acres of gorgeous tea plants renowned for yielding a light, bright brew prized as “the champagne of teas.” Bigelow Tea founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow fell in love with tea from the region and initiated a partnership that has endured for 67 years! Third-generation President and CEO Cindi Bigelow was thrilled to visit this tiny island country in South Asia to meet the folks who expertly hand-pick tea leaves used in Bigelow’s black teas.

For a rare peek inside the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, check out Cindi’s Sri Lanka journal and videos. And here are a few more interesting facts highlighting why Bigelow Tea embraces Sri Lankan tea producers as part of its extended global family:

  • The British planted the first camellia sinensis (tea) plant in Sri Lanka in the 1800s following a blight that had wiped out the coffee crop, sparking new traditions built around tea farming.
  • Today, tea cultivation is a $1.5 billion industry in Sri Lanka employing more than 1 million people who produce the world’s most expensive tea.
  • Before 1972, while under British colonization, the island was known as “Ceylon.” Hence tea from Sri Lanka is still called Ceylon tea.
  • Every tea estate in Sri Lanka with which Bigelow Tea does business is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which promotes fair treatment of workers and sustainable farming practices.
  • With high elevations that can exceed 6,000 feet, Sri Lankan tea gardens boast extremely favorable soil and weather conditions for growing delicate tea plants.
  • Each Sri Lankan estate prides itself on producing signature teas—much the same way vintners age wines for different tastes.

Enjoy the delicious results in your mug of Bigelow black tea! @Daniela441 tweeted his love for English Teatime. What’s your favorite Bigelow black tea blend?

Bigelow Tea Takes A Look At Cataract Awareness Month

bigelow tea green tea mug
Your eyes are like cameras, taking in images of what’s around you. Since June is Cataract Awareness MonthBigelow Tea is getting a clear perspective on how cataracts can affect vision. So brew up a little iced tea and read on!

bigelow tea iced teaAccording to the American Optometric Association, a cataract can impact the eye’s lens, which focuses light onto the retina to transmit what images the brain can see. A cataract blocks light from properly passing through the lens, which in turn can make your vision blurry or dim. Just like with a camera, a blurry lens affects how the images come out!

Cataracts can happen at any age, but they often develop as you become older. Treatment can really make a difference in handling cataracts, so it’s important to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis.  Nutrition, too, plays a factor, as lutein and Vitamins C & E appear to help with eye health.

And let’s not forget about tea’s connection to eye health where over the last decade, researchers have begun to study the effects of black tea, green tea, and EGCG from green tea extract on preventing the development of cataracts in the lens of the eye.  So, during this warmer weather—and during Iced Tea Month—enjoy Bigelow Green Tea with Pomegranate Iced Tea. Sip a little while you plan on having a clearer view of taking care of your eyes!

Dive Into History With An Ancient Book And Bigelow Tea

bigelow tea book

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cup of Bigelow Tea while reading a classic. And a book that is over 800 years old is definitely a classic—especially one about something as timeless as tea. Grab a mug of your favorite Bigelow flavor, settle in and learn about one of the oldest books about tea. According to the book, it is the “elixir of life,” after all…

Long ago—in 1211 to be exact—a famous Buddhist priest by the name of Eisai wrote what is known to be the oldest book on tea in Japan: Kissa Yojoki (“How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea”). Prior to writing the two-volume book, Eisai had brought tea seeds from China to Kyoto in 1191 and had given the seeds to a priest named Myoe Shopin, who made them into Uji tea.

The book begins by saying, “Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy, and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete,” and outlines the positive effects that tea has on the vital organs, particularly the heart. It praises the value of tea as a medicine in curing indigestion, quenching thirst, avoiding fatigue, working as a stimulant, undoing the effects of alcohol, and improving brain and urinary function. The book also explains the parts of the tea plant and the appropriate dosages and administration for specific ailments.

In 1214, legend holds that Eisai introduced tea to the Samurai in an effort to help Shogun Minmoto no Sanetomo curb his alcohol habit. Armed with his writings on the benefits of drinking tea, Eisai allegedly helped to wean Saneomo from imbibing alcohol to drinking tea. Following that, tea drinking became popular among the Shogun and the Samurai.

Whether you’re craving a taste of history or want to spend the evening in with a book and a mug of tea like @Glam_Butterfly, Bigelow Tea is a great way to carry on the tradition of tea-drinking that stretches back centuries and across the globe!

Image via Flickr by A Girl With Tea

Bigelow Tea Talks Teapots

bigelow tea tea potBigelow Tea fans know that the perfect cup of Bigelow Tea starts in the teapot or tea kettle, but may not know much about them. Here’s a quick lesson! A tea kettle is heated on a stovetop and a teapot is not heated but the tea is steeped inside it.

bigelow tea green tea pot

A brief history of the teapot reveals that when tea and teapots were introduced to Great Britain in the early 1600s the original Chinese teapots were undifferentiated from wine-pots, which have a handle and spout. In 1694 the British East India Company indicated that all their teapots needed a grate before the spout to hold back tea leaves. Ceramic teapots are now available in a variety of colors and sizes like this Lime Green Curve Teapot (pictured above and available on the Bigelow Tea website) but they weren’t made in Britain until the 1690s!

tea pot bigelow teaToday, people typically use either stovetop or electric kettles to heat the water for their tea. Facebook Fan Marian Herbet says “a blue kettle heats my water on the stove in the winter. When the Summer comes I use an electric kettle.” Electric tea kettles quickly and quietly boil water while traditional kettles are used on a stovetop (like the Catalina Tea-Kettle in Stainless Steel, pictured above). This traditionally shaped kettle heats up quickly and keeps hands safe with a heat-resistant stay-cool lid and handle. You’ll know your water is ready when you hear the whistle!

In any case, make sure to let your water come to a rolling boil and immediately pour over your favorite Bigelow Tea flavor and of course, enjoy every sip!

Bigelow Tea Looks At Evidence That Tea Is More Than 2000 Years Old

bigelow tea historyIt turns out that “one of the world’s oldest beverages” is even older than previously thought. New analysis of plant remains found in ancient tombs confirms that they are, in fact, from tea plants. Bigelow Tea loves a good mystery and learning that the key to solving this one was the presence of theanine, an amino acid found only in tea and responsible for its relaxing properties.

According to an NPR report, the oldest known reference to tea was in a document from 59 B.C., though scholars were unsure of its accuracy. Experts now have what they believe is physical evidence of tea’s existence in two tombs that are 2,100 years old, about 100 years before the document in question. Leaf buds found in these tombs resemble the finest tea. To prove their hunch, researchers compared the chemistry of the buds to modern tea samples. The presence of caffeine was helpful, but not conclusive, evidence. A few other plants also contain caffeine. Finding theanine was “the clincher.”

The investigation also supported the belief that tea has long been highly prized and sought after, as one of the tombs –in western China – belonged to an emperor! What remains unclear is exactly how this ancient tea was enjoyed. Other evidence suggests that before modern brewing techniques, cultural practices involved mixing barley and other plants with tea for medicinal purposes.

However it was used, tea clearly has a long and distinguished history that tea lovers all over the world can appreciate. As a third-generation family-owned tea company founded 70 years ago, Bigelow Tea is proud to be a part of this tradition!

Learn Why Bigelow Tea Uses Tea From Sri Lanka

bigelow tea sri lanka cindi bigelow

High in the mountains of Sri Lanka grow acres of gorgeous tea plants renowned for yielding a light, bright brew prized as “the champagne of teas.” Bigelow Tea founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow fell in love with tea from the region and initiated a partnership that has endured for 67 years! Third-generation President and CEO Cindi Bigelow was thrilled to visit this tiny island country in South Asia to meet the folks who expertly hand-pick tea leaves used in Bigelow’s black teas.

For a rare peek inside the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, check out Cindi’s Sri Lanka journal and videos. And here are a few more interesting facts highlighting why Bigelow Tea embraces Sri Lankan tea producers as part of its extended global family:

  • The British planted the first camellia sinensis (tea) plant in Sri Lanka in the 1800s following a blight that had wiped out the coffee crop, sparking new traditions built around tea farming.

bigelow tea english breakfast black tea

  • Today, tea cultivation is a $1.5 billion industry in Sri Lanka employing more than 1 million people who produce the world’s most expensive tea.
  • Before 1972, while under British colonization, the island was known as “Ceylon.” Hence tea from Sri Lanka is still called Ceylon tea.
  • Every tea estate in Sri Lanka with which Bigelow Tea does business is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which promotes fair treatment of workers and sustainable farming practices.
  • With high elevations that can exceed 6,000 feet, Sri Lankan tea gardens boast extremely favorable soil and weather conditions for growing delicate tea plants.
  • Each Sri Lankan estate prides itself on producing signature teas —much the same way vintners age wines for different tastes.

Enjoy the delicious results in your mug of Bigelow black tea! @Daniela441 tweeted his love for English Teatime. What’s your favorite Bigelow black tea blend?

 

Add Some Zing To The Table With Bigelow Tea’s Signature Spice Cake

bigelow tea recipe

Looking to bring a bit of spice to your baking repertoire? Look no further than one of Bigelow Tea’s most popular recipes: “Constant Comment”® Spice Cake. Considered to be the “signature cake” using Bigelow Tea’s flagship blend, this spice cake has been teasing taste buds for years—ever since the era when “Constant Comment”® was first introduced.

There’s a lot of history behind this flavor (and this recipe). In 1945, founder Ruth Bigelow’s revolutionary spirit created the very first Bigelow Tea, which generated constant comment among those who sampled it. She named it “Constant Comment”® of course! In doing so, she challenged well-known tea brands and helped establish specialty tea in America. Seventy years later, under the third generation of family leadership, Bigelow Tea produces 1.7 billion tea bags annually in more than 130 varieties of blackgreen and herbal teas in may flavors and varieties. Each tea bag is individually overwrapped in signature foil pouches that protect the tea from air, moisture and surrounding aromas, keeping all the flavor and freshness in until you’re ready to enjoy!

This expert blending and zealous protection of flavor not only makes for a fantastic tea, it also makes a spectacular ingredient for the “Constant Comment”® Spice Cake. It’s a sweetly-spiced dessert as timeless as the tea with which it’s made. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredientsbigelow tea constant comment

  • ½ cup milk
  • Bigelow Constant Comment® Tea Bags
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1-⅔ cups flour
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Confectioners sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9″” round cake pan. Combine milk and tea bags in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat until bubbles form around the edge, stirring occasionally. (DO NOT BOIL.) Remove from heat and let cool (15-20 minutes); remove tea bags squeezing out liquid. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk to blend. Add the cooled milk; continue to whisk until thoroughly combined. Add flour and baking powder; mix until a smooth batter forms. Pour batter into pan. Bake approximately 35 minutes, or until center of cake springs back when touched. Cool on wire rack before removing from pan. Let cool completely before serving. Dust top with confectioners sugar.

 

On Presidents’ Day, Bigelow Tea Hails U.S. Presidential Tea Drinkers

bigelow tea american breakfastOn Presidents’ Day, Bigelow Tea gives a hail to the chiefs known for drinking tea. Here are some Commanders In Chief historically linked to the beverage.  At Mount Vernon, George Washington stocked up on teas popular during his time, and imported tea chests, silver teaspoons and even a silver-plated tea urn.

o  Letters between John and Abigail Adams mention tea. One from July 1774 describes a hostess only serving coffee since tea (during the American Revolution) was considered unpatriotic.

o  Thomas Jefferson bought different teas for Monticello, but would drink a particular type like Imperial.

o  Lyndon Johnson had four buttons installed in the Oval Office to order his favorite beverages—including tea—on demand!

o  For breakfast, Gerald Ford had tea with lemon alongside OJ, melon, and English muffins.

o  Barack Obama has been spotted drinking tea as well.

o  Let’s not forget the First Ladies! From Dolley Madison to Michelle Obama, they’ve served tea to White House guests.

This year, on Presidents’ Day, Bigelow Tea’s caffeinated American Breakfast teas are a great fit for the day off! Facebook fan Lydia Kammerer starts the morning with “large cup” every day! Sip and think about the presidents who have sipped as well.

 

Bigelow Tea Shares Favorite Family Stories On Ruth Campbell Bigelow’s Birthday

 

ruth bigelow bigelow tea

 

Today, Bigelow Tea celebrates the 120th anniversary of the birth of founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow, and also celebrates her remarkable achievements as a visionary American entrepreneur.  Although Ruth passed away in 1966, the little company she started in her kitchen in 1945 continues to thrive in its third generation of family ownership. “Constant Comment“®, the company’s first tea variety, remains a best seller, even as offerings have expanded to include more than 130 tea flavors. Wow!

The entire Bigelow Tea extended family, which celebrated the company’s 70th anniversary in 2015, is proud to honor Ruth’s legacy by producing the highest-quality teasserving the community and operating as good environmental and corporate citizens. Here are a few favorite Bigelow family stories that exemplify Ruth’s signature can-do spirit:

  • Inspired by a Colonial recipe, Ruth experimented in her kitchen until she emerged with a blend of black tea, orange rind and sweet spices that she was convinced would be a winner. Indeed, it was the source of “constant comment”among her friends, and Bigelow Tea was born.
  • Ruth had an “aha” moment in those tough early days when a shop keeper said that he had opened a container of “Constant Comment”®to allow customers to smell the tea’s wonderful aroma. “One whiff and they’re sold!” he said. So Ruth made sure that every case of tea came with an extra whiffing jar that retailers could keep next to the cash register.
  • Soon after the company moved from New York to Connecticut in 1955, Bigelow Tea almost met a watery end when back-to-back hurricanes flooded the new building. But once again, Ruth and David rallied and rebuilt!bigelow tea constant comment

Stories like these are wonderful reminders of how far Bigelow Tea has come and the traditions that keep it going. Ruth would love knowing that a contemporary of hers, Gladys Hooper, wished for cake and a cup of tea when she recently celebrated her 113th birthday. Tea is truly timeless!