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From Tea Entrepreneur To The White House, Bigelow Tea Presents Four Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped History

bigelow tea constant comment ruth bigelowThere’s an unattributed quote circling the Internet these days—maybe you’ve seen it? “Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” And, goodness, that quote certainly rings true, especially during Women’s History Month. Which is why Bigelow Tea wanted to take a moment to recognize a few notable women, all of whom share a common thread: They were born in 1896. Let’s start with one that you’re probably a bit familiar with (I mean, you’re on the Bigelow Tea Blog, right?!).

Ruth Campbell Bigelow, Entrepreneur

bigelow tea ruth campbell bigelow In 1945, inspired by an early Colonial recipe and dissatisfied with the tea that was commonplace in the 1940s, Ruth Campbell Bigelow focused her energy on making a better cup of tea in the kitchen of her New York City brownstone. 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. After that, she didn’t look back—“Constant Comment,”® and the Bigelow Tea Company we know and love was born. Today, we don’t need to look far to be touched by the leadership and spirit of pioneering women. At the helm of the family-owned company is third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow. Before assuming the role in 2005, Cindi spent 20 years in virtually all areas of the company that her grandmother founded. When you’re raised in an environment that embraces female leadership, you’re bound to step up, pitch in and find success.

Ethel Waters, Jazz Musicianbigelow tea ethel waters

The next time you choose a jazz playlist on Spotify, think of Ethel Waters. Ethel was an American blues, jazz and gospel singer and actress. Despite a very tragic and difficult childhood, she made history, garnering many recognitions and “firsts.” She was the first African American woman to appear on radio (in 1922), star in a show at the Palace Theater in New York (in 1925) and in a commercial network radio show (in 1933), and the first singer to introduce 50 songs that became hits (in 1933). She was also the first African American woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award in 1962. Recognized as one of the best blues singers of all time, Ethel also performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Talk about a star.

Louise McManus, Science Extraordinaire

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Louise McManus was the first nurse to earn a Ph.D. As a member of the Teachers College of Columbia University faculty beginning in 1925, Louise founded the Institute of Research and Service in Nursing Education. She also helped to develop nationally standardized methods for nursing licensure in the United States, and created a “Patient Bill of Rights,” later adopted by the Joint Commission in Accreditation of Hospitals. Another scientist deserving of an honorable mention born the same year was Czech-American biochemist Gerty Theresa Cori. Gerty became the third woman—and first American woman—to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Thanks to the contributions of these trailblazing females, women today enter the fields of science and medicine with great role models.

Mamie Eisenhower, Fashionista With A Passion For Civil Rightsbigelow tea mamie eisenhower

A 1950s fashionista and self-defined hostess, Mamie Eisenhower was an American first lady and the wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower. She was also a woman who held a penchant for entertaining heads of state and leaders of foreign governments, and for the color pink. Actually, she decorated the White House with so much pink that the White House press corps referred to the place as “The Pink Palace.” The pretty pastel, which is now iconic to 1950s decorating (how about those pink bathrooms?), became known at “Mamie Pink.” However, Mamie was more than just the hostess with the most-ess.

She led the local and national fundraising drives for the American Heart Association in 1956, and later supported increased benefits and the formation of a retirement community for military personnel and widows. She also took a stand to combat segregation through such symbolic acts as inviting African American children to the White House Easter Egg Roll, and she accepted an honorary membership to the National Council of Negro Women.

Whether they’re revolutionizing a beverage market or breaking down social barriers, these women made their mark in history, and it reminds us all that we have the opportunity to do the same. And when you need a break from being absolutely amazing, sit back and regroup with a cup of tea. It’s a perfect way to recharge – you’ve got a lot to do, after all! Tag #TeaProudly on social media and tell us how YOU will go down in history.

Image of Ethel Waters by Florida Keys Public Library via Flickr
Image of Louisa McManus, courtesy of The Women Hall of Fame
Image of Mamie Eisenhower by Terry Saffron via Flickr

Forever And Always, “Constant Comment” Bigelow Tea

bigelow tea constant comment

Tea is second only to water as the most consumed beverage in the world which doesn’t surprise any avid tea drinker given the importance the beverage holds in many cultures, whether it’s a hearty daily tradition, a treat for a special ceremony, or a therapeutic blend to soothe and comfort. On any given day, over 158 million Americans alone are drinking tea and we are proud to be a part of this thriving community and honored that as a third generation family businessBigelow Tea continues to be part of the tea lovers’ community decades after the creation of the one and only “Constant Comment”®. Today, we offer over 130 flavors that will please any palate, but for National Hot Tea Month, what better time to get back to our roots by honoring this remarkable and historic tea that’s still a source of “Constant Comments” among all tea fans!

In case you aren’t familiar, here is the story of how Bigleow Tea got started: it all began in 1945 when Ruth Campbell Bigelow started on her mission to create a better cup of tea than what was commonly offered at the time. She was inspired by an early Colonial recipe that used orange rind and sweet spices. After tireless hours spent creating her own special blend, she shared it with friends who couldn’t stop commenting, and hence the name “Constant Comment” tea. Ruth knew she was on to something with her blend and took “Constant Comment”®   to every store she could. One shopkeeper told Ruth that he had been opening the container for customers to take a whiff of the incredible aroma, and it was flying off the shelves! Ruth took this idea one step further and set up a jar of “Constant Comment”® in each case of tea, with the directions to “open and whiff.”  Shops across the country placed this little jar by their cash registers and sales grew.  Jump ahead to today, over 70 years later, and here we are, a tea company beyond Ruth’s wildest dreams!

To this day, “Constant Comment”® is the same wonderful recipe that third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow’s grandmother, Ruth Campbell Bigelow, first created. It has stood the test of time and we know it will continue to fill cups and hearts for many more decades to come. Amazing when you think how this special product started on the shelves of local shops, and today it’s still a source of constant comments all over the Web… and the world! If you’re a fan of “Constant Comment” tea, Bigelow Tea or tea overall, you’ll love hearing Cindi Bigelow herself tell this story of this original creation while sharing more about her personal (and professional) love of tea!

Tell us, what was the first “comment” you had when you tried “Constant Comment” for the very first time?  Tag anywhere online with #TeaProudly so we can share in the fun.

“I Spy” A #TeaProudly Moment, Actually Many… Do You?!

There’s no question how much we love tea at Bigelow. As a proud third generation family run business, founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow created our flagship “Constant Comment” tea in 1945 and from that moment on, we have reinvented tea in America, one tea bag at a time. How, you may ask? Simple. We’ve been providing tea drinkers with a selection of more than 130 flavors of black, green, oolong, and herbal teas using premium ingredients and foil pouches for each tea bag. We’re still American-made, we’re still the same family, and we’re always dedicated to giving you the highest quality, most delicious cup of tea. That’s our promise. And that’s what makes us #TeaProudly! 

#TeaProudly is a celebration for tea drinkers who take pride in even the littlest of tea drinking moments. Because at Bigelow, we take pride in everything we do — like this super cool new video which explains it all. 

Just as we love tea, we also love a good game of “I Spy.” Wanna play? Check out the video and see if you can answer all five questions! Find our answers (if you can’t guess them yourself) on our Instagram profile.  

  1. Which tea flavor pouch is opened at the beginning of the video? 
  2. Under our logo on the side of our building, is a defining phrase….what is it? 
  3. What’s at least one thing that we are dedicated to giving you more of? 
  4. What do we use to protect our tea bags? 
  5. Which fruit is featured? 

Join in on the tea conversation at www.teaproudly.com and tag your special moments using #TeaProudly

Another Reason To Be #TeaProudly…Learning The ABC’s Of Tea Leaves With Bigelow Tea

We all know that drinking tea soothes souls and invites conversations but hey, what exactly is in that mug and how does tea become the most perfect beverage in the world? Take a break, sit back and check out this awesome video where third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow (of Bigelow Tea of course) gives us the scoop on tea leaves and more. Here is a brief rundown that sums it all up:

  • The three types of tea all come from the leaf bud and leaves of the Camellia Sinesis plant. You’ve got your green,  your black and your Oolong. And It’s all about the air…exposure for different amounts of time is what gives you the various tea types.
  • The black tea Bigelow uses originates from either Sri Lanka or India where the tea leaves and buds come from the highest mountains and gardens for an extra beautiful tea!
  • Green tea is unfermented, which means it’s not exposed to air. It’s steamed or pan fried and then chopped up, leaving a vibrant green color and one-of-a-kind taste.
  • Black tea is chopped up so that all the juice in the leaves and leaf bud’s vein is exposed to air; it ferments for about 6-8 hours, and then the coppery black colored tea is dried and chopped again.
  • Oolong tea is semi-fermented. The leaves and bud are chopped and exposed to air for around 3 hours, then dried or chopped.
  • These types of teas all have different caffeine contents, because as they are exposed to air, the caffeine comes out. But where do the various types stack up, caffeine-wise? Here’s a cheat sheet:

bigelow-tea-caffeine-meter

  • Drink your veggies in a tea cup? We’ll take it! Tea is like drinking the brew of a vegetable, as Cindi says. Tea is high in antioxidants and a good choice for a healthier lifestyle, according to the tons of studies done on the drink!

As you can see, there’s always more to discover about the amazingness of tea which is all part of living the #TeaProudly lifestyle. Tell us here, via social (using #TeaProudly) or join us on www.teaproudly.com, and let us know what you find most interesting about this beautiful beverage?

Leadership, Sacrifice And Courage: Bigelow Tea Spends A Day With Retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman

bigelow-tea-navy-seal-motivational-speach
It’s not every day we get to meet a hero. But a few weeks back, that’s exactly what we did. Decorated former United States Navy SEAL Lieutenant Jason Redman spent a few awe inspiring hours at the Bigelow Tea headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he personally addressed Bigelow employees.   The visit was shared via live feed to our teams in Louisville, KY and Boise, ID. As founder and spokesperson of the Combat Wounded Coalition, a nonprofit organization that supports combat wounded warriors and families of the fallen, and author of the memoir The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Officer, Jason spent some time talking about leadership, teamwork and overcoming adversity. It was an honor and privilege to hear him speak.

Jason served 21 years with the U.S. Navy — 11 years as an enlisted Navy SEAL and 10 years as a SEAL officer. In 2007, he was severely wounded in a firefight in Iraq after his team was ambushed. While recovering at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Jason bravely faced his challenges by writing a bright orange sign to hang on his door, which became a statement and symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. It read:bigelow-tea-sign

Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.  

— The Management

The original sign on the door, signed by President George W. Bush, now hangs in the Wounded Ward at the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda as an inspiration to his fellow service men and women.

After 37 surgeries, Jason candidly shares his experiences and positive attitude to motivate others and to continue to raise awareness of the sacrifices of America’s courageous military forces and their families. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and the U.S. Army Ranger tab, along with numerous other personal and unit awards.bigelow-tea-cindi-bigelow-jason-redman

Just as Jason is committed to the U.S. military community, so are we. In 2009, we launched the “Tea for the Troops” program, which sends specially designed boxes of 100% American-grown tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation to U.S. military personnel overseas and in the States. To date, we have sent more than 5 million tea bags to service men and women. We also became an official sponsor of the USO in 2015. We deeply appreciate the sacrifices the members of our military—and their families—have made to keep our country free, and we will continue to support them, one tea bag at a time.

Thank you, Jason, for your service. You are an inspiration to us!

Top image: Jason Redman speaking to Bigelow Tea employees

Lower image (L-R): Cindi Bigelow, Jason Redman and his service dog, Kharma, and Jason’s wife, Erica.

Congratulations Cindi Bigelow!

Cindi Bigelow, Award Winner

 

Cindi Bigelow, third generation president and CEO of Bigelow Tea, was honored with Moffly Media’s Good Corporate Neighbor award at the 9th Annual Light a Fire Awards. The prestigious award is in recognition of the ongoing support, among other things, provided through the annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge (now in its 29th year) that to date has donated $1.4 million to 20 Connecticut based charitable organizations. These organizations’ programs and tireless efforts continue to provide important educational services, housing, food, crisis counseling, after-school tutoring, wellness and recreational programs to often-overlooked members of Bigelow Tea’s local community.

Congratulations Cindi!

Thanksgiving Wishes To Warm Your Heart

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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.

bigelow-tea-female-entrepreneurs

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

bigelow-tea-family

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?