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Baking With Our January Fan Of The Month And Bigelow Spiced Chai Tea!

Earlier this month we introduced you to Tiffany King, our January Fan of the Month! Tiffany, who home schools her children, also creates recipes and writes about home cooking on her Eat at Home blog. Best of all, even though she’s super-busy, Tiffany always manages to find time for a cup of Bigelow Tea!

Recently Tiffany was inspired to create some sweet, spiced muffins using Bigelow Spiced Chai Tea! We wanted to share the recipe for Spiced Chai Tea Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping with you today. We hope you’ll break out the muffin pan and give it a try!

Spiced Chai Tea Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup strong brewed Bigelow Spiced Chai Tea
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

For the topping:

5 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbs. butter
5 Tbs. flour

Instructions:

Stir flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
In a mixer bowl, mix butter, sugar and eggs.
Add brewed tea, milk and vanilla to wet ingredients and mix till well blended.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir gently till well combined.
Divide evenly between 12 muffin tins.
Using a fork, combine all ingredients for topping until you have crumbs.
Sprinkle on top of muffins.
Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Notes: To make the strong, brewed tea use 1 or 2 tea bags and 1/4 cup boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes.

 

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Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Onward and Upward

From there we left to continue our journey through the mountains, once again through windy roads, through miles and miles of tea bushes, headed for the Dessford plantation. Eventually we arrived at Dessford. We were late, my MO (Modus operandi) for the entire week, but they received us with huge smiles and great warmth — the usual Sri Lankan way!

This time we got to see how they processed their tea. Each facility being slightly different to create their own unique blend. We finished up drinking their freshest tea which had been carefully hand-picked only a few days before.

They shared with us nuances of tea tasting that I could have never imagined they could pick up. These people made me realize why my grandmother fell in love with Ceylon teas (from the country now called Sri Lanka), more than 70 years ago because no one knows more, has more history and has been as dedicated to this delicious product.

Ceylon teas are the most expensive on the world market and I clearly knew why. It was the people. Yes the Camilla sinensis grows all around the world. But on the top of these mountains, the soil, the conditions and the people were what truly made Ceylon teas so exquisite.

We finally finished up after 7 pm and headed back to the Grand Hotel N’Eliya. When we arrived we were pretty exhausted. So we had dinner around nine and feel asleep around midnight. Visions of tea bushes filled my head. The memories of the day were overwhelming. It was a day like no other. And the good news was I got to have another one just like it the following day.

Cindi Bigelow

 

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Bigelow Tea Remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Sweet Dream On Inauguration Day Today

Today we have two significant reasons to pause and reflect as we sip our Bigelow Tea: it is both Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the day of the inauguration of President Barak Obama. So let’s brew up a pot of tea and consider life in America.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, and it was a dream of a place where tolerance and equality reigned. Each year in January, we recognize his birth by devoting a day to thoughtful reflection and community service. At Bigelow Tea we hold community service in high regard, and we encourage everyone to do something for someone in need today.

Interestingly, the very person to be inaugurated today, President Obama, has been a proponent of national and community service. He also happens to be the United States’ first African-American President, and his election (and recent re-election) is something Dr. King may have dreamed of when he was giving his famous speech in 1963.

As we brew our tea on this morning, we think Sweet Dreams is the ideal selection to sip as we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision. His dream was a sweet one, indeed.

Image by e-strategyblog.com via Fotopedia.com

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Bigelow Tea Says Thank You!

It’s January, which means that it’s National Thank You Month! At Bigelow Tea we have so much to be thankful for, and we hope you’ll join us in saying “thank you” today.

Think of all those people who make a positive impact on our lives.  From teachers to coaches, from family to bus drivers, National Thank You Month means that it is time to say thanks to everyone who shows us kindness and generosity.

A great way to start is by making a list of the people you want to thank.  Then figure out how to best convey your appreciation. Write thank you cards with your family. Donate to an organization on behalf of someone. Bake a batch of cookies and box them up with a pretty bow.

Our absolute favorite way to say thanks? Make a cup of Bigelow Tea for someone you want to thank! Pour a cup of English Breakfast Tea, and you will really make that person’s day. It’s also National Hot Tea Month … so drink to new beginnings and old friendships!  A little goes a long way when saying thank you!

With the beginning of a new year, we hope you will take the time to reflect on what you have to be thankful for. Here at Bigelow Tea we want to say “thank you” to our loyal and hardworking employees and of course, you, our devoted customers!  To all our loving tea drinkers, many thanks for choosing Bigelow Tea!

Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr.com

 

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Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Our First Glimpse of the Tea Fields

We continued our climb up.  As we ascended we started to see the most beautiful vision…tea bushes. The Camillia sinensis plant, thousands of them, everywhere. The mountain side was covered in these distinctive plants as far as the eye could see.  It was like nothing I have ever seen in my life. Here was the bush that three generations of my family has been dedicated to for almost 70 years, right in front of me.

Higher and higher we climbed. Past 4,000 feet then 5,000 feet, past monkeys, oxen, mongoose. Finally at around 5,500 feet we reached our first plantation, Waltrim, a state-of-the-art facility sitting high up in the Nuwara Eliya section of the Sri Lankan mountains (there are six regions total). It was a site for sore eyes.  Nestled in the hills was this plant that had over 1,000 acres of tea bushes.

I could never share what that visit meant to me (nor really what all the plant visits meant to me). Needless to say it was beyond words. I had so many questions for them, I thought their management team was going to send me home. But each time they shared more about their process (each factory is a little different). I had a ton more questions. It was so interesting. I mean really, I was actually seeing withering beds with my own eyes. I was watching the leaves go through the rolling machine then the Rotovane machines to be carefully chopped into different leave sizes, then laid out on special beds to finish the fermentation, finally dried at about 125 degrees after 21 minutes.

Tea was being made in front of my very own eyes. We only buy orthodox tea, which is all that comes from the high mountain gardens of this country. It is a slower method to process the tea but it produces the lightest brightest most favorable cup. The process is centuries old but timeless in ensuring that perfect cup.

Cindi Bigelow

 

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The ABCs of Bigelow Tea

At Bigelow Tea we love any catchy little tune that involves tea, like I’m A Little Teapot and Tea for Two. Recently, we started thinking of some songs where we could adjust the lyrics to become tea-related … and we came up with the ABCs of Bigelow Tea! It might start something like this: “AmericanBlackChaiDarjeelingEarl GreyFruit & AlmondGreen… . ” The alphabe-TEA-cal possibilities are endless!

While thinking about our tea ABC song, we soon realized that we could create different alphabet songs for different aspects of tea. For example, how about a song based on the various kinds and descriptions of dry tea leaves: “aroma, blackish, chunky, dry, even, flaky, grainy … .” Or perhaps we could sing and learn about the descriptions of tea liquors, the actual liquid tea tastes, in our song “astringency, bitter, complex, dry, earthy too … .” What fun we can have as we sing and learn about different facets of tea!

When all’s said and done, how about this for the ending of our clever song? “Now we know our ABCs of tea, next time won’t you take a sip with me?” Pitch perfect!

 

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Rest Assured That Bigelow Tea Darjeeling Is 100 Percent Darjeeling

The smooth, rich taste of Darjeeling tea has a special place in the hearts of tea lovers all over the world. Known as “the champagne of teas,” it is grown only in Darjeeling, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas. This exotic region was recently highlighted in a New York Times story chronicling concerns about the authenticity of some teas marketed as Darjeeling. We think this article provides Bigelow Tea with the perfect opportunity to reassure our loyal tea consumers that our Darjeeling is 100 percent Darjeeling. That means our Darjeeling tea is never blended with teas from other regions!

As the Times article noted, some wholesalers sell Darjeeling blends as a way to capitalize on the popularity of Darjeeling tea while limiting cost and boosting volume. Darjeeling tea is significantly more expensive than teas from other regions because of limited production. There are just 87 certified tea gardens in the Darjeeling district. Precious real estate, indeed! The good news for consumers is that tea growers and the Indian government have initiated increasingly successful efforts to protect the Darjeeling name and the distinctive tea grown there, 5,000 feet above sea level in a climate that is just about perfect for delicate tea plants.

“In a decision this year, the European Union agreed to phase out the use of ‘Darjeeling’ on blended teas. Now, just as a bottle of Cognac must come from the region around the French town of Cognac, a cup of Darjeeling tea will have to be made only from tea grown around Darjeeling,” according to the Times.

Bigelow Tea wholeheartedly endorses these protections. Moreover, we work only with ethical suppliers who are as committed to quality as we are. So enjoy your next cup of Bigelow Tea Darjeeling knowing it is the real deal!

Photo by Jadis1958 via Flickr.com

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Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Heading up the Mountain

Since we didn’t go to bed till 1am after dinner with the ambassador, morning came kind of early when the alarm went off a little after 5am.  We were ready to start up for the mountains at 6am. Prassana, with whom we had spent our first full day in Sri Lanka, was there with a welcoming smile. Behind the wheel was a lovely man named Ishanka. In the car we went, first heading out of Colombo and then slowly climbing up. Traffic was nuts. Of the 20 million people who live on the island, 2 million live in the city.

I knew we’d be passing by Pinnawala, the renowned elephant orphanage, on our way up. We just had to stop there!  So after about three hours out of Colombo we came to our first destination…the orphanage for elephants. It was so wonderful. This place was nursing back to health or just raising elephants of all sizes and ages that had been wounded or orphaned.  The first thing I got to do was feed a bottle to a four year old elephant. It was amazing. The elephant actually wrapped his trunk around me and the bottle. After that we walked around and saw two babies at 4 and 7 months of age. They were so sweet and never left each other’s side.

Then we headed toward the lake where they were all going to spend two hours being scrubbed and just having fun in the water. On the way there, they asked if I wanted to ride one. Me??  Sure!!!  So next thing I know I am on a 50 year old female named Guiena (or something like that).  Me!  On an elephant!! Are you kidding me? It was a most enjoyable ride. She was so gentle. But it was pretty crazy to be so high up on her back!  After that outrageous experience, smiling ear to ear, we started back up the mountain. We had two plantations to visit in the same day.

Slightly smaller than its African cousin, the endangered Asiatic Elephant grows to between 6.6 to 9.8 ft and can weigh 2.25 to 5.5 tons.  It can be identified by its smaller, more rounded ears.  They are fascinating animals.  I encourage you to find out more about them.

Cindi Bigelow

 

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A Little Advice From Cindi Bigelow Leads To The Perfect Cup Of Bigelow Tea Just In Time For Hot Tea Month

One of the very best things about a cup of hot tea is that it’s so simple to make. Just water, a fresh tea bag and your favorite cup or mug … that’s all you need to enjoy Bigelow Tea any time of the day!

But during Hot Tea Month we thought we’d give you a little tutorial on how to make every cup of Bigelow Tea theperfect cup of tea! With a few “insider” tips from tea expert and company President Cindi Bigelow, you will find yourself sipping each flavorful cup of your favorite Bigelow Tea at its very best.

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

So take a moment to view this video. Perhaps you’ll learn something new about the art of making tea! We hope you do …  and that you take your new knowledge and use it to enjoy a perfect cup of tea all day long.  Happy hot tea month!

 

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For Hot Tea Month, Cindi Bigelow Shares Tips For Cooking With “Constant Comment”® Tea

Here at Bigelow Tea, it’s all about family, and nothing brings a family closer than cooking together in the kitchen. In fact, it was right in a family kitchen where our company began! More than 65 years ago Ruth Campbell Bigelow formulated “Constant Comment”® in her home kitchen, creating the very first Bigelow Tea flavor.  With its delicious blend of spices and orange peel, “Constant Comment” became an instant classic.

Your family can also enjoy togetherness courtesy of “Constant Comment” tea by using it in scrumptious recipes. In this video, Cindi Bigelow shares some of the ways you and your loved ones can cook using “Constant Comment” tea.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5tlSH91HW0[/youtube]

Whether you prepare a “Constant Comment”® Cosmo“Constant Comment”® Cupcakes or something else, we believe that if you make it with your family, you’ll be creating memories as well as a tasty treat!

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