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Bigelow Tea Joins The Conversation About Female Entrepreneurs in America

Bigelow Tea is beyond proud of third-generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow, who was interviewed as part of a three-part series on Travels & Traditions, called “It’s a Good Thing: Women Entrepreneurs in America,” hosted by Burt Wolf and Linda McMahon. The program will begin airing across 290 PBS affiliate stations this month and more than 100 million viewers are expected to watch it.

In her interview segment, Cindi speaks about Bigelow Tea—its history and her experience at the helm of the company. Founded in 1945 by Ruth Campbell Bigelow, Bigelow Tea is dedicated to being a premier packer of truly fine quality teas. In fact, Bigelow Tea is recognized as America’s #1 Specialty Tea company. Here are a few of the tea-related tidbits Cindi shared:

  • Initially, Ruth had owned an interior design company called Ruth Campbell Design, and was very successful. But when the Great Depression hit, both Ruth and her husband lost their jobs. It was then when she decided to make tea.
  • In 1945, inspired by an Early Colonial recipe, Ruth disappeared into her New York brownstone kitchen to create a better cup of tea. After weeks of trial and error, blending black tea with orange rind and sweet spices, she emerged with the first cup of specialty tea, which would become known as “Constant Comment®”.
  • During the early years, it was challenging to sell “Constant Comment” until, one day, a shopkeeper who had success selling the tea shared with her that he had been opening up a container to allow his consumers to enjoy the tea’s amazing aroma. “One whiff and they were sold!” she said. Ruth immediately started including an “extra” little jar of “Constant Comment” in each case, labeled “Open and Whiff.” Shops across the country placed this whiffing jar by their cash registers. Soon after, the tea was sold in Bergdorf’s, Bloomingdale’s and grocery stores.
  • To ensure Bigelow’s fresh, pristine flavor each and every time you brew, our tea bags are individually wrapped in foil pouches to shield delicate tea leaves from air, moisture and surrounding aromas, locking in flavor and freshness. This approach began after David Bigelow began working with a Japanese company who created overlap packaging. Today, 1.7 billion bags of Bigelow Tea are packaged in foil overwrap.
  • To this day, “Constant Comment” is a secret recipe that only Cindi’s parents, Bigelow Tea Co-Chairmen Eunice and David Bigelow, know and blend.


On a daily basis, Cindi attempts to bring the spirit of her grandmother, Ruth, into every decision she makes for the company. In a country where only 5 percent of companies have female CEOs, Bigelow Tea has thrived—against all odds—to be not only the #1 specialty tea company in the USA, but a source of “constant comment” in the conversation about women entrepreneurs.

Bigelow Tea: Three Generations of Family Memories


Over 70 years ago Bigelow Tea humbly began in Ruth Campbell Bigelow’s kitchen in New York. Bigelow Tea has been a family affair since day one and continues today under the leadership of Ruth’s granddaughter, president & CEO Cindi Bigelow. Three generations of Bigelows have worked to build their family legacy and passion for tea and here are a few stories to prove it:

  • Bigelow would not be America’s #1 Specialty Tea Company today if not for the hard work Ruth, her husband David Sr., and son David Jr. put into the early days of the company. Each night David Sr. and David Jr. would sit in their Manhattan home and hand paint the two ladies on the original packaging to give it a special touch!
  • The holidays are always time for celebration at Bigelow Tea. David and Eunice Bigelow, Bigelow Tea Co-Chairs, fondly remember their two daughters Cindi and Lori helping to hand out Christmas gifts to the Bigelow Tea employees when they were young girls.  David and Eunice still have the girl’s matching black vests and red skirts!
  • While Cindi and Lori Bigelow were young, Eunice Bigelow stayed at home but still conducted all of the tea tastings from her kitchen. Cindi remembers coming home from school to dozens of cups in the kitchen filled with the day’s varieties to taste. It’s no wonder Cindi grew up dreaming about working at Bigelow Tea one day!
  • Nothing could keep Cindi from planning and hosting the first ever Bigelow Tea Community Challenge twenty five years ago. This was the only race that Cindi has ever run in and a day she will never forget. Bigelow Tea has donated almost a million dollars to charity since the inaugural race in 1988.

These memories are important building blocks in the Bigelow Tea company history. For over 70 years the family has been passionate about tea and continues to be personally involved in every aspect of running the company, quality and care we can taste in every cup of Bigelow tea!

Third Generation President and CEO Cindi Bigelow Shares Fascinating Facts About Tea

bigelow tea cindi bigelow

Tea comes in a myriad of flavors and types, but there’s so much more to this drink than meets the eye. Third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow sat down with Naturally Savvy, a website focused on natural and organic living, to share some interesting tidbits about tea that you might not know. Here are some of the highlights:

The theanine in tea is what gives you that relaxed feeling.

Studies say theanine  (also called L-theanine) can stimulate the immune system as well as the mind, leaving the body with benefits similar to yoga. Theanine actually binds with the caffeine in tea, which is what makes the tea-drinking experience so different from the jolt you get from coffee.

The benefits of theanine are found in tea bush leaves.
Theanine is a component of the camellia sinensis plant, so it’s found in green teablack tea or oolong tea. While herbal teas, such as chamomile, don’t contain leaves from the camellia sinensis plant, these teas can also be very relaxing because of the herbs used.

The tannin levels in a tea can affect people differently.

It’s not necessarily the caffeine that some people are sensitive to in tea- it might be the tannins. This natural component of tea that gives it its color may not agree with some people when the tea is consumed on an empty stomach. A high amount of tannin can taste astringent, and in general, a high quality tea will be lower in tannins, providing a better flavor.

Not all tea ingredients are the same. 

Sourcing is very important when it comes to making quality tea. Bigelow Tea sources many ingredients from family farms that have not only known the Bigelow family for decades but also provide high quality ingredients like the mint and the lemon used in a variety of Bigelow tea flavors.

Making time for tea everyday can be a great way to relax and revive as shared by Cindi Bigelow. How and why do you incorporate tea into your daily routine?

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?

A Note From Cindi Bigelow To Her Father, David Bigelow:  Thank you, Dad, For Your Many Invaluable Lessons!

bigelow tea cindi bigelow and dadAs the third generation CEO of family-owned Bigelow Tea (and daughter of parents who will be honored as pioneers by the Specialty Food Association on June 27 for the significant impact and positive influence they have had on the American specialty food industry), I was recently asked for special reflections this Father’s Day.  I wanted to share them with you.

The most important thing any father can do is give his children the assurance that whenever they turn around, he’ll be there – providing, protecting, advising, loving … all the things fathers are meant to do. And that is exactly what my father did for my sister and me. ​

He raised me to have same sense of fairness as my moral compass in all aspects of my life.  He also taught me to be successful without being successful at someone else’s expense. ​For my father, the highest calling is to be a good, decent human being. He lives by that in business and with his family.

Over the years, David Bigelow continues to be an inspiration as Chairman of the Board, a father and a husband.

Everyone should be as fortunate as I am, because one of life’s greatest blessings is to have a father committed to doing right in a world that often confuses right and wrong. His philosophy is very simple: be honest, be fair, be concerned about others more than yourself and remember that success has many different definitions.

Thank you, Dad, for your many invaluable lessons and more importantly, the power of your example.

With my warmest Father’s Day wishes to dads everywhere,

cindi bigelow sig

A Glance Through The History — And Family — Behind Bigelow Tea

bigelow tea family

For 70 years and three generationsBigelow Tea has been committed to being a premier producer of truly fine quality teas. In 1945 — in the kitchen of a New York City brownstone — Ruth Campbell Bigelow created her first cup of “Constant Comment”® tea. Just as it was then, it is now: Family is everything for the Bigelows, which is why the company embraces the celebration of National Family Month each May. So, sit back with a cup of your favorite Bigelow flavor and take a ride through the history of Bigelow Tea and the family behind it all.

Which Bigelow Tea flavor started it all and how?

Inspired by an early Colonial recipe and dissatisfied with the commodity tea that was commonplace in the 1940s, Ruth focused her creative energies on formulating a better cup of tea. After weeks of trial and error, blending black tea with orange rind and sweet spices, she emerged with the first cup of specialty tea in the country. Ruth shared her tea with friends and received many comments — in fact, “constant comments.” Her new brew got its name, and the Bigelow Tea Company was born.

As a family-owned and operated company, who runs Bigelow Tea today?

For many years, Ruth and her husband, David E. Bigelow, Sr., operated the company. Their son, David — along with his wife, Eunice, and their two daughters, Lori and Cindi — carried on expanding Ruth’s idea with many new flavors in tea, herbal teas, green teas and iced teas. Today, Eunice and David are co-chairmen of Bigelow Tea, and Cindi serves as president and CEO.

What’s a memorable Bigelow family moment? 

In 1955, Bigelow Tea moved from New York to Connecticut.  Soon afterwards, back-to-back hurricanes hit! Connecticut rivers, including the Norwalk River, where the new factory resided, rose up over 35 feet, moving over 50 miles an hour. When Ruth and David Bigelow reached the factory, they found that the building was flooded and all of their tea had washed down the river. Now that was a “Connecticut Tea Party,” indeed!

Although devastated, they were determined not to give up their dream. According to the family, Ruth turned to an employee and asked, “How long ’til we can get back in business?” Thankfully — due to the tenacity and tremendous efforts made by the family — Bigelow Tea was up and running again within a few months.

This year, for National Family Month, take some time to celebrate your own family, perhaps with some stories best enjoyed with a mug of Bigelow Tea — because no matter what time it is (as @Ovis_Obscura so eloquently puts it), when you’re with family, it’s “Time for Constant Comment.”

Foods That Play Well With Bigelow Tea’s Chamomile Varieties

bigelow tea chamomile varieties

Tea for two is definitely sweeter when there’s a little treat involved. Bigelow Tea knows that certain teas complement particular foods, and today’s  tea pairing focus is on Cozy Chamomile and other (non-sweet) chamomile varieties, like Chamomile MintChamomile MangoChamomile Vanilla and Sweet Dreams.bigelow tea cozy chamomile

What to pair with the delicate flower of the chamomile? Bigelow Tea’s chamomile varieties are herbal teas, so are naturally free of caffeine, making them ideal for evening or late afternoon. With a honey-colored hue and a sweet, floral bouquet with subtle lemon nuance, these teas pair particularly well with baked goods and sweets.

Maybe a cup of Cozy Chamomile and an I Love Lemon Quick Bread at 4 p.m.? Or a mug of Sweet Dreams and Ginger Oatmeal Muffin after dinner? Sounds delightful!

What do you pair with your favorite Bigelow chamomile tea?

Bigelow Tea Community Challenge Fundraiser 2014 Big Success


Thank you to everyone involved from the team at Bigelow Tea who did an unbelievable amount of planning all year, to the sponsors, community volunteers and of course all of the kids, runners and walkers who participated!! All of the charities who will be recipients of the $130,000 we raised are incredibly thankful as we all are.  Thanks once again to all!!

Cindi Bigelow’s Fun Tea Facts

Brew a mug of “Constant Comment®” and maybe even grab a little something sweet … ‘cause you’re in for a real treat today! Bigelow Tea’s own 3rdgeneration President & CEO, Cindi Bigelow, is back on the HooplaHa network channel with Tea Time With Cindi- Fun Tea Facts. This is a totally TEAriffic episode! Cindi discusses how different types of tea, despite coming from the same bush called Camellia Sinensis, can have completely distinct tastes, colors, and caffeine contents. In a nutshell, it’s the exposure to air, or processing, that gives each tea the unique characteristics you love so much! Who knew? Cindi did, of course! Share your new-found knowledge with your friends!

What’s in your mug of Bigelow Tea today?


Cindi Bigelow’s Surprising Bigelow Iced Tea Recipes!

Do the same iced tea flavors leave you faTEAgued? President & CEO Cindi Bigelow recently created a tea mini-series over on the HooplaHa network channel called Teatime with Cindi Bigelow.  In this episode of Surprising Iced Tea Recipes, she explains how to make iced tea by the glass and lets you in on some of her favorite flavor combinations such as Green Tea and Pomegranate PizzazzRed Raspberry and Green Tea with Jasmine, or Red Raspberry and I Love Lemon with English Teatime.

What are your winning Bigelow Tea flavor combos?