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Bigelow Tea Joins with Habitat for Humanity for House Building!

On June 11, a dozen Bigelow employees (including a couple of spouses and a consultant!) joined together with Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County to help with some projects. One was a lovely, nearly completed house in Bridgeport. Workers painted, insulated the basement, cleared the yard of debris and completed a front porch.

In the afternoon the group returned to the warehouse to construct door panels. Hammers were busily tapping away as participants learned new skills, laughed a lot and enjoyed the camaraderie all while working together for a very worthwhile cause – building brand new homes for deserving families.

Cindi Bigelow

Stressed Out?

At Bigelow Tea we often associate sipping tea with relaxation. Well, now there’s more evidence that drinking tea really can be a calming experience! A recent study published in the Journal of Functional Foods observed that an amino acid found in tea leaves, L-theanine, may boost attention for people with anxiety. The study, which took place in Japan, showed that highly anxious subjects receiving L-theanine displayed a slowing of their heart rate, improved attention and better reaction times to assigned tasks. Interestingly, no significant benefits were observed in the subjects with minimal anxiety.

L-theanine has been the subject of various studies and has been found, among other things, to increase the body’s defenses against infection, to reduce mental fatigue, and to positively enhance one’s mood. It’s all good!

And while tea drinking is certainly a relaxing and pleasant experience, it’s important to note that L-theanine is found in tea leaves in low concentrations (less than 2 percent), and dosage levels administered in this study included supplements. Nevertheless, we heartily recommend enjoying a cup of tea, like traditional Earl Grey, the next time you’re studying for a test or preparing for a big presentation. Not only will taste great, but it’s likely to help you relax and focus a bit too! Enjoy!

Image by liza31337, via Flickr.com

Bigelow Tea Wants to Know: What is your perfect cup of tea?

The French expression “chacun à son goût” (“to each one his taste”) is apropos when referring to the perfect cup of tea.  Our neighbors across the pond in the UK have a great affinity for tea …  and very opinionated theories as to what constitutes a perfect cuppa!  The British Waitrose Food Illustrated conducted a survey to get to the root of the matter, gathering a panel of 70 people dubbed “The Tea Council.” This panel reached a consensus for the perfect English cup of tea:

  • English Breakfast loose leaf tea
  • In a mug
  • Steeped for 3 ½ minutes
  • Made in a pre-warmed China pot
  • Tea in first
  • Splash of milk
  • No sugar

On this side of the Atlantic, tastes vary considerably because our culture is a melting pot. We have so many people from a variety of cultures and traditions, each with their own concept of the perfect cup of tea. As for us at Bigelow Tea, we focus on the quality of our tea and the brewing details. Here’s how we’d make our perfect cup:

  • Bigelow Tea (any type, any flavor)
  • Fresh cold water
  • For BlackOolong and Herb teas:  bring water to a boil, then pour immediately over tea  (steep Black/Oolong teas 1-2 minutes; Herbal teas, 3-5 minutes)
  • For Green and White teas: bring water just to when bubbles begin to form, then pour over tea (steep Green teas 2-4 minutes)

For further instruction, here’s Cindi Bigelow herself, giving us her best advice on the perfect cup–check it out, she’s the expert!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYxpbUYfvrw&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

So, there we have it.  Now it’s your turn: comment here or visit our Facebook Page and let us know what makes your perfect cup of tea!

Image via Blogs.voices.com.

Bigelow Tea Minding Your Manners Experts Share Tea Etiquette Tips

For those of us who ponder the finer points of etiquette, we thought it would be fun to chat with some experts about taking our tea graciously! If you’re at home in your PJs, slurping down a big ole’ mug of your favorite Bigelow Tea, hey, we’re fine with that! But if you’re having a tea party, going out for tea or just want to be “in the know,” advice on tea etiquette abounds. There are books (even some for children!) and videos on tea manners. And while we can’t cover it all today, here’s a start.

The Tea Party Club says there’s an order in which tea party foods are to be eaten: first, scones or muffins, then sandwiches, and lastly, sweets. And always “take small bites. Never stuff the whole sandwich or dessert in your mouth even though it seems small enough.”

Iowa’s Miss Manners, Patricia Tice believes that good manners never go out of style. Tea time is a grand opportunity for sharing special time. She also provided us with some practical thoughts for making a top-notch cup of tea. They include starting with good quality tea (Bigelow Tea can help you there!) using a proper tea kettle, and then importantly, sharing the tea with a good friend. Her advice on what not to do? “Do not use your tea spoon as a musical instrument, banging it against the side of the cup. Banging it is considered bad manners. Don’t do it.”

And as for that “pinkies up!” rule, we wonder if it’s necessary…we suggest that you don’t sweat it. If you naturally extend your pinkie as you sip, that’s OK, and if not, that’s fine too.  Don’t over-think it! So, fortified with sound tea etiquette information, you’re sure to be quite proper and more comfortable at your next tea drinking event!

Image by prudencebrown121, via Flickr.com

Thirsty? Drink Some Bigelow Tea!

The wonderful thing about summer is that it’s nature’s way of giving us an energy boost. The sun’s out, the weather’s warm, and suddenly we all want to spend more time outdoors, which is a good thing. But Bigelow Tea wants to remind you that there’s something we all need to keep in mind, especially when the heat rises above 85° F:  hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more! It’s very easy to get heat stroke or faint from dehydration, so make sure you keep your favorite libation close at hand (and remember that alcohol actually dehydrates the body).

We’ve all been told that water is the best thirst quencher, and Bigelow Tea certainly loves water…. because without water, we can’t make tea! However, another interesting study has come to light, indicating that tea appears to hydrate the body just as much as water!  Sponsored by the UK Tea Advisory Panel, the study surveyed 21 volunteers who drank volumes of either tea or equal amounts of plain water.  When their hydration levels were tested, it was noted that there was no discernable difference.  The research findings are purported to dispel the notion that the caffeine content in tea causes dehydration. That’s music to our ears!

But that’s not all. Did you know that drinking hot tea in the summertime is also reported to cool you down?  In the sage words of former British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), “If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.”

On that note, happy summer and enjoy your favorite cup of hot, flavorful Bigelow Tea!

Image by Daily Mail cartoonist Jonathan Pugh via Dailymail.co.uk

Get Fit For Summer with a Little Help from Some Bigelow Green Tea!

Fitness is a passion of ours at Bigelow Tea. It’s never too late to get fit.  And there’s something special about summer that can inspire us to put on our most comfortable pair of sneakers and go out for a walk, run, cycle, or swim!  Maybe you’re dreaming about that bikini that fit you … once upon a time! Or perhaps you just want to regain or maintain that feeling of good health and well-being.  Whatever the reason,  get out and enjoy that sunshine!

Of course, it’s important to remember that you can’t get fit through exercise alone. Your diet plays a major role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise are kind of like Bigelow Tea and water – you can’t have one without the other!

Along with nutritious food, portion control and regular eating hours, there are the drinks that hydrate you while providing you with loads of antioxidants, like green tea!  Research studies have extolled the virtues of dailygreen tea consumption to help maintain a fit and healthy body.  And at Bigelow Tea we wholeheartedly concur! In fact, both caffeine and the polyphenol, EGCg, are reported to be critical fat-burning components – both found in green tea!

Yet, despite all our good intentions, we sometimes need variety … and Bigelow Tea eliminates any boredom factor with our fantastic selection of green teas that come in a cornucopia of flavors and combinations, like Bigelow Green Tea with MangoBigelow Green Tea with LemonBigelow Green Tea with Pomegranate and many more!

So stay fit this summer and be sure to do it with your favorite Bigelow Green Tea!

Image (top) via Weissesroessl.at.

Bigelow Tea’s Winning Green Tea Combos are Iced for June!

With so many creative Bigelow® Green Tea combinations to try out, and in honor of National Iced Tea Month,Bigelow Tea is kicking it up a notch, a much cooler notch: iced tea combos! Bursting with flavor (and antioxidants!) our iced tea recipes are perfect for that warm summer afternoon.  Try out some favorites, like Bigelow® Green Tea and Raspberry Iced Tea or … Bigelow® Green Tea and Sweetheart Cinnamon Iced Teaor …. the ever delightful Bigelow® Green Tea with Mango and Perfect Peach Iced Tea. Here are recipes for all three:

GREEN TEA AND RED RASPBERRY ICED TEA

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Ingredients:

2   Bigelow Red Raspberry Teabags
1   Bigelow Green Teabag
½  cup boiling water
2½ cups cold water

Instructions:

Pour boiling water over 2 Red Raspberry teabags and 1 Green Tea teabag.
Steep 3 to 5 minutes. Remove teabags.  Add cold water.  Sweeten to taste.
Pour into tall glass filled with ice…just sit back, relax, and enjoy!

GREEN TEA AND SWEETHEART CINNAMON ICED TEA

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Ingredients:

2  Bigelow Sweetheart Cinnamon Teabags
1  Bigelow Green Teabag
½  cup boiling water
2½ cups cold water

Instructions:

Pour boiling water over 2 Sweetheart Cinnamon teabags and 1 Green Tea teabag.
Steep 3 to 5 minutes. Remove teabags.  Add cold water.  Sweeten to taste.
Pour into tall glass filled with ice…and sip to your heart’s content!

GREEN TEA WITH MANGO AND PERFECT PEACH ICED TEA

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Ingredients:

2   Bigelow Perfect Peach Teabags
1   Bigelow Green Tea with Mango Teabag
½  cup boiling water
2½ cups cold water

Instructions:

Pour boiling water over 2 Perfect Peach teabags and 1 Green tea with Mango teabag.
Steep 3 to 5 minutes. Remove teabags.  Add cold water.  Sweeten to taste.
Pour into tall glass filled with ice…and taste that flavor!

Image (top) via Lisaknowstea.blogspot.com.

Win Bigelow Tea’s Hot New Coconut Water and Green Tea Mixes!

Be among the first of your friends to win and then try Bigelow Tea’s Coconut Water and Green Tea Mixes (yes, you will receive all 3 flavors: Bigelow Coconut Water and Green Tea MixBigelow Coconut Water and Pomegranate Acai Green Tea MixBigelow Coconut Water and Mango Green Tea Mix), all-natural, delicious and nutritious, and just in time for summer! Enter our sweepstakes on Facebook or the website starting today, June 20 -24, to win a handy reusable gift basket featuring all three tea-licious flavors (total value – $24.95).  One winner will be chosen by random in our drawing.

So have you heard the buzz about coconut water!?  Check out our new video featuring Cindi Bigelow who explains our coconut water and green tea mixes which are convenient, healthy, and only 50 calories per drink.  As Cindi demonstrates in the video, you simply pour the flavor crystals into a water bottle (Cindi likes to use a reusable bottle!) and shake it up for a refreshing drink that’s loaded with potassium. Great for the whole family, and we’re proud to say there’s no high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6yU1q7ZJEw[/youtube]

Good luck, and get “shakin”!

Tears and Touching Moments at the Rose of Hope Awards

What a perfect afternoon.  I had to leave the office yesterday around 11:30 am and I have to be honest I was grumbling the whole way, I am too busy, I have so much to get done, I really need some solid hours at my desk. And as usual, I left anyway to go to the annual Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center luncheon.  This year the keynote speaker was going to be Vanessa Williams, I had admired some of her work, so I thought the afternoon most likely would turn out alright.  The other reason I had to go was one of my best friends is the director of the center and I knew she had put in a gazillion hours to make this afternoon special.  So up I got, in my car and to the event I went (along with a team of us from Bigelow).

Well when I got there, I saw so many wonderful people that I knew in the community.  And as I should have expected, each person was nicer than the next-big hugs, lots of smiles and kisses…Okay I needed to go.  Then we sat down, and my dear friend, Donna Twist the director, got up and gave away two Rose of Hope awards to some pretty special ladies that have worked tirelessly for the center.  The awards were extremely well deserved and the words they each shared when they received their plaque were so beautifully touching.  Yeah, this is good. Then up to the podium came a young woman named Natasha Jones.  She is a breast care survivor (still in treatment), single mother of four, 35 years old, with no safety net in the world to help her with her children if anything was ever to happen to her.  Her words stopped me cold….it wasn’t a disease that she would ever get, it wasn’t something she ever even thought twice about and all of a sudden she is diagnosed with stage 2 cancer and is fighting for her life.  She spoke for about 20 minutes and you could hear a pin drop in the audience of almost 500 people.  Each statement she made was more riveting than the last about her journey, her outstanding care she received at the center and her unwavering will to survive.  I could not stop the tears streaming down my face.  When she finished I could not jump to my feet fast enough.  500 of us were giving her the ovation of her life.  Yes, this is a wonderful cause. Then finally Vanessa was at the microphone.  Of course she was as beautiful as ever but it was what she said that was really what made her shine in my eyes.  First she acknowledged Natasha and her fight against breast cancer with such a caring and compassionate tone.  I quickly realized this was not a woman who was going to just get up and just give her prepared speech and move on.  She was sincere, passionate about this disease that stole her 42 year cousin (who was like a sister to her) and honest.  She shared stories of her life, her love of her children, how the loss of her cousin affected her and how invaluable a center like the Norma Pfriem truly is to our community.  It wasn’t a canned speech, it was written with true purpose and heart.  Once again the tears started.  When she was done, all 500 of us were back on our feet applauding this truly beautiful speech that we watched unfold.

Now I am back in my office, looking at all the numbers, preparing for upcoming meetings and handling phone calls.  I am still too busy, I still have too much to get done, and I still need more hours than I have in a day at my desk, but it doesn’t matter.  Thank you Donna, thank you Vanessa and thank you Natasha….you put me back in balance, you made my day and I realize how lucky I am that I was even given the chance to attend this wonderful lunch.  It was the perfect afternoon….

Cindi Bigelow

A Summer Solstice Tea Party with Bigelow Tea

The languid days of summer will officially begin with the summer solstice on June 21, and here at Bigelow Tea we’re in the mood to celebrate! A summer solstice tea party feels like the perfect pick-me-up after a long winter and busy spring.  After all, summer is for relaxation, rejuvenation, and reconnecting with friends and family – all of which tea helps to promote!

As one blogger noted, a summer solstice tea party is a simple way to evoke “the wonder of a childhood summer day” and perhaps even start a lovely new family or neighborhood tradition. Whether you prefer a formal or informal tea, Bigelow Tea has tons of ideas for creating your own unique event.

For starters, take advantage of the warmer weather and lush flowers by bringing the party outdoors! Then, consider special plates and cups; this is the time to break out your grandmother’s tea service, along with your pretty china! You can also adorn a buffet table with cheerful linens and a beautiful centerpiece of flowers, greenery or fresh fruit.

Try serving several different types of tea – hot, iced or both! Earl GreyPlantation Mint or Chamomile Mango Herb would be special at a formal tea, while French Vanilla and Perfect Peach Herb could set the tone for a more informal gathering. All of our teas can be served iced, but Bigelow Tea also makes convenient quart-size ice tea bags in three luscious flavors; each tea bag makes a full pitcher of tea. Or try one of our wonderful “Winning Combination” iced tea recipes, such as I Love Lemon and English Breakfast. The possibilities are endless!

For more inspiration, check out our extensive collection of tried-and-true food and beverage recipes. So go ahead – indulge your imagination and have fun with tea all summer long! And follow us on Twitter to keep the ideas brewing!