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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?

Listen To Cindi Bigelow Explain Bigelow Tea Sustainabili-TEA!

bigelow tea environment

Cindi Bigelow was on the radio again—this time talking about sustainabili-TEA, always a hot topic at Bigelow Tea! Take a few minutes to listen to her radio interview on the It’s Your Health Network. In honor of Earth Month, here are some highlights from the conversation with host Lisa Davis:

  • Cindi, who is third-generation president and CEO of the family-owned business, noted that caring for the environment, employees and the community are deeply ingrained company values. All three Bigelow Tea facilities have GWC (Greening, Wellness, Community) committees that consider “how do we become healthier as a family, as a community?”
  • 880 Solar Panels were installed on the roof of the Fairfield headquarters in 2007 and currently provide up to 15 percent of energy used there.
  • The company now composts two tons of material from the three facilities!

Cindi said, “We [act sustainably] because it’s the right thing to do.” Be sure to listen to the full interview to learn more, and while you’re at, share your family’s favorite #sustainabilitea tips on Twitter or Instagram!

(Image via Fairfield Citizen News featuring Jim Glidea next to Bigelow Tea solar panels)

Cindi Bigelow Shares a Memorable Evening At The School for Ethical Education’s Ethics Awards Dinner

cindi speaking 2014

The other night, I had the most wonderful opportunity to speak to high school students from all over Connecticut who won very special Laws of Life Awards for ethics in action.  The students were chosen based on essays they had written from experiences in their life that really taught them to be the best they can possibly be.

I, too, was honored to receive an Ethics in Action Award and be their keynote speaker.  During my address I shared with them experiences in my life that helped shape me to be the person I am today, both personally and professionally.  I shared many stories of my father who helped define who I am today.

My favorite story that I shared was when I first started working at Bigelow Tea.  I had just gotten my MBA and was feeling very excited about working and all the changes I would be able to make (in my opinion, to make the company better).  My father walked in after my first three days and asked me how things were going.  I looked up at him proudly and stated, “Fantastic! I changed this, I’ve done this, I’ve accomplished this. “He smiled nicely and then said to me, “I noticed you have some envelopes outside in the out basket,” (yes, we did have out-baskets back then), “and they’re missing some stamps.”  I said, “Oh, I brought in some bills to mail out.” And then he said, “Well, if you don’t put stamps on your envelopes, why should the other employees put stamps on theirs?  So, why don’t you go out there, grab your envelopes and put some stamps on them.” And then he looked at me and walked out the door.

I stood there for a minute or two, my head spinning.  That wasn’t how I anticipated my first business conversation with my father to go, but to this day, almost thirty years later, I have never forgotten what he said and I never will forget what that stood for.

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to share that with the students and I think that simple little story really resonated with them, as it did me, about the importance of ethics in business and ethics in life.

Spending time with exceptional students at the School for Ethical Education’s Ethics Awards Dinner and sharing some special stories in my life made for a memorable evening.

 

Cindi Bigelow

 

 

 

Cindi Bigelow Asks How Nice Are People Really?

03/11/2008 Cindy Bigelow portrait shoot Fairfield CT

I have had to do a fair amount of traveling lately for business and maybe I am just on a good roll of meeting people, but I have to say people are really nice. You just have to give them the opportunity. Everyone is alive and everyone cares but maybe they get caught up with the day to day, maybe they are completely preoccupied…whatever the thing that is going on in their life, I am convinced more than ever, if you give them the chance, you give them the benefit, they are really nice.

Tonight I flew back from a sales call out west. When I walked into the waiting room of the retailer earlier in that day and the receptionist could not have been more kind and with a bigger smile.  I thought I walked into someone’s home.

Then, the person in charge of social media for this account appeared in the lobby to discuss something with the receptionist. It piqued my interest as that is a part of my job and has required a significant amount of time lately.  I asked her a question and the next thing I knew we got into the most energized conversation. You would have thought we knew each other for quite some time.

Then I went into the meeting room with the buyer. Okay, the woman could not have been lovelier. At this point I was starting to pinch myself.  What is going on here?  She was intelligent, sweet and just plain real. She allowed me over an hour (rare in today’s fast paced environment). When I left I wanted to hug her (okay that would not have been appropriate, so I held back).

Then I rushed to the airport in my usual just barely making it style. While waiting in the terminal I witnessed some interesting human transactions. An attendant who sees a long-lost friend (also a flight attendant coming off an earlier flight), gives her the most beautiful “hello.” Her joyous greeting was so sincere.

Another woman who had just gotten off the plane but had lost her phone on board and was waiting to see if they could find it, was holding her young son but was so preoccupied she paid almost not attention to his sweet antics. There was a line of people starting to board the plane but were annoyed that they had to move over to another lane in order to get checked in. I decided to engage that line of people on the wrong side with a cute little comment about how lucky they were that being in “zone 1,” which meant they had to get into the sky priority line.  After thinking about it, they all felt pretty special and happily moved over.

I then boarded with them to find the most engaging young man as my “row mate.” He introduced himself, “Hi.  I am Kelvin”. Okay, I thought, he seemed nice enough but I had lots of work to do. Well, I did end up getting a fair amount of work done but at the same time we ended up having the most outstanding conversations. We talk about everything from religion, to child rearing, to business, to discussing how nice people really are.  With that, our flight attendant Carol joined in (yes, the same one that greeted her friend with such a huge hello). And then we started the debate, just how nice are people?

I thought about the day.  I thought about all I had experienced and I really have to say, I think all people have such a huge capacity for being nice. We just all have to give people the runway to do it. With the use of a warm smile, the sound of a kind word, the true look into someone’s eyes and the caring ear to really listen, everyone can be the best they can be. We just have to take the time to create the right environment.

Yes Carol, Kelvin and I all agreed in the end, people are really nice…we just have to let them know we care and let them know we see them with eyes that invite them to be nice.

 

-Cindi Bigelow