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Archives for posts tagged ‘history’

Bigelow Tea Looks Back At The History Of Caffeine

bigelow tea american breakfast

 

Busy lives today mean work, family, chores and fun … but 1,000 years ago people who lived in North America were busy doing other things like hunting and gathering! Guess what? They needed a little caffeine jolt just like the people of today! Bigelow Tea is sharing an eye-opening article from NPR regarding new research that shows that caffeine has been a part of North American history for at least a millennium!

Recent studies suggest that 1,000 years ago Native Americans in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest brewed caffeinated drinks made from cacao, and the leaves and twigs of yaupon holly, a caffeinated plant. It sounds a lot like they were making early cups of tea, doesn’t it?

According to the article, “Patricia Crown, a professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico, led a team that analyzed 177 pottery samples from 18 sites in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico. (During the analysis, scientists were not allowed to bring any caffeinated beverages into the lab, for fear of contamination). They found caffeine residue on pieces of jars, pitchers and mugs in 40 samples from 12 sites and conclude[d] that the groups ‘likely consumed stimulant drinks in communal, ritual gatherings.’” Early tea parties, perhaps?

bigelow tea american breakfast extra caffeine

When it comes to caffeine, Bigelow Tea understands the energizing benefits that make it such an important staple in the lives of many. That’s why there’s now Bigelow Tea American Breakfast tea! With 50% more caffeine than your average cup of tea, this stimulating blend is crafted with the finest ingredients that jumpstart your day without the crash. Tea gets help from Theanine, a naturally occurring compound unique to tea that—when combined with caffeine—provides a sustained energy boost along with a feeling of relaxation. Enjoy three different flavors: American Breakfast Black Tea; American Breakfast Black Tea and Lemon; and American Breakfast Black Tea and Honey.

Now that we know that caffeine has been fueling people for at least 1,000 years, it makes perfect sense that drinking tea is a daily ritual for many—like @ANewDawnnBlog, who kick-starts each day with a cup! So brew yourself some tea … and you’ll be in good company, enjoying a tradition that has lasted over a millennium!

Saying Goodbye to Art Linkletter

Art Linkletter and the Bigelow family, 1964

Last week, TV pioneer and former Bigelow Tea spokesman Art Linkletter passed away.  Our own David & Eunice Bigelow had these thoughts:

Art Linkletter, our spokesman for Constant Comment® back in the sixties on the Art Linkletter House Party (TV and radio), passed away recently at 97.  At Bigelow Tea, we’re indebted to Art for giving Constant Comment® believability at a critical time when we were first breaking into supermarkets.  His smiling face on our floor and shelf displays went a long way to help Constant Comment® get started in the grocery industry.

Art was the consummate entertainer on the House Party, interviewing children who, as he said, “say the darndest things.”  Thanks, Art, for helping us to make Constant Comment® one of America’s most popular teas.

David and Eunice Bigelow, Co-Chairman, Bigelow Tea

What Fuels You?

This year, Bigelow Tea turns 65.  And in the United States, 65 is synonymous with retirement.

Does that mean we’re retiring from tea?  Never!

Our family company has been making tea for three generations, and we get better every year.  In fact, in a recent interview with World Tea News, our own Cindi Bigelow explained why she’d never consider taking the company public:

Why would I? We are so committed to this business, so committed to the product, the consumer and the employee. As soon as you bring somebody else in, that focus changes. They’d propose things that we don’t feel are good for the family long-term. Their concern is profit; our main concern is our people and our product.

That’s because Cindi knows what fuels her: she’s committed to the quality of our product and the well-being of our employees.  She’d never sacrifice her values for the sake of a dollar — and that commitment has made Bigelow Tea profitable and sustainable for generations.

Last year, while visiting our Charleston Tea Plantation, Cindi stopped to chat with some of the entrepreneurs in Charleston’s tourist district.  She learned a bit about their businesses, but she also recognized a kinship they share with the Bigelow family: each of them is fueled by the desire to succeed, on their own terms, doing what they love.

(Of course, it helps that some of them keep themselves fueled with tea, too…)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b064FEv0DQI[/youtube]

So, as we celebrate our own 65 years of success, we’d like to know: what fuels you to succeed?

Happy Birthday Lewis Carroll, from Bigelow Tea!


“Take some more tea,” would be the best way to celebrate the anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s birthday, born January 27, 1832. After all, those were the famous words the March Hare spoke to Alice “very earnestly” in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland during what is probably the most famous, certainly the maddest tea party ever.

Image Courtesy of Alice Magazine

Image Courtesy of Alice Magazine

For more on that never-ending tea party, including clips of several movies that were made about the story, see here. The best-selling book about Alice launched the writing career of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who wrote under the pen name of Lewis Carroll. Prior to that, the tall, brilliant but quirky Englishman was an accomplished but relatively obscure instructor at Oxford University.

In addition to being a major literary figure of his day, Dodgson was one of the world’s first noted photographers, a master mathematician, an expert gamesman and a clever humorist.

image005

Image of Lewis Carrol Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Dodgson must have been powered by some strong tea!  He was an ordained deacon residing at Oxford until his death at the age of 65. People still read his works and research his life, many aspects of which remain mysteries. There are many Lewis Carroll Societies around the world.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated and distributed to more than 80 countries, and Carroll is one of the most quoted authors in the English language. One reason he is so beloved is his association with one of the world’s most popular beverage: tea. Therefore, let’s end with one of his most famous tea quotations:

“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”

Spring forward to that first Cup of Tea!

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin composed his “Essay on Daylight Saving,” proposing a law that would require Parisians to get up an hour earlier in the summer to put daylight to better use. He reasoned that they’d save a good deal of money on buying candles! Today Daylight Saving Time, or DST, still is meant to conserve energy by changing clocks by an hour to gain more waking sunlight hours in the spring and summer, and fewer in the winter. It begins on the second Sunday of March, which this year falls on March 8th.

So, early in the morning of March 8th at 2:00 a.m., clocks are set ahead one hour, which then becomes 3:00 a.m. local daylight time. Simple…it may be easier to remember to always “spring” forward one hour in March, and then “fall” back one hour in November. As a tool for reducing energy consumption, DST reportedly saves 10,000 barrels of oil each day in force, due to reduced power needs by businesses during daylight hours. So we “lose” an hour during the night — to a tea lover that is just “springing ahead” to that first hot cup of Bigelow Tea in the morning!

Standard time zones were instituted in the US by the powerful railroads in 1883 to help maintain train schedules, and DST was developed later during World War I, to help with war production costs. After modifications over the years, we now recognize DST in its current form, except for Arizona Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, who do not observe DST. Even with the benefits, DST causes stress or consternation for some people and their busy schedules. All the more reason to enjoy an extra cup or two of calming Bigelow Tea.

President’s Day: A tradition of Tea

President’s Day 2009 stands to remind us that Tea has played an important part in the Presidency and American politics from the beginning of the Republic. According to the Tea book Tea with Presidential Families, presidents and their wives knew a cup of tea could change a country. We know that tea can grace a quiet afternoon on a rainy day, but it also plays prominently in the powerful office of the Presidency. From George Washington to Barrack Obama, each president has a story with tea playing a role.

And thank goodness for that — the presidential regime is tough, and the Commander in Chief needs all the help he can get to maintain mental and physical vigor. With all the many health properties that Tea brings to the table, the President profits from improved attention and focus as well as benefits to the Brain and Heart. Our First President George Washington drank tea regularly, as did most Americans. In fact, it is estimated that Americans at the time of the American Revolution drank more tea per capita than any other nation on earth, at times averaging 10 pounds of tea per person yearly. That’s a great country-building plan! After Washington became President, tea was always served for state occasions, and George and Martha began a long tradition of Presidential Tea.

Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln also enjoyed tea; enjoying tea time with the family was one of the customs the Lincolns observed to affirm their middle class status before ascending to the Presidency. The Tea tradition continues today with the current Administration, so a tip of the cup on President’s Day to tradition and good taste!

Celebrate Chinese New Year with a traditional Chinese New Years Tea Party

Say goodbye to 2008 and the Year of the Rat, and say welcome to 2009, the Year of the OX! The Chinese New Year falls every year between January 21 and February 19 on the Gregorian Calendar. In 2009, the Year of the Ox starts on January 26. Why name years with the names of animals? Legend has it that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year, and then named a year after each of the twelve animals that came. He decreed that people born in each animal’s year will share some of that animal’s personality. And for those who are counting: 2009 translates to the year 4706–4707 on the historical Chinese calendar.

In some regions of China, New Year’s starts with a cup of tea with lotus seeds. As you take a sip, you say “tiantian mimi”, meaning “life will be happy“. Sounds like a great start to the year! Since tea was discovered in China, an excellent way to celebrate the Year of the Ox is with a Chinese New Year’s Tea Party. You can use red and gold for table decorations; red symbolizes fire to scare away bad luck, and gold stands for prosperity. Paper lanterns make great decorations, and don’t forget your Ox ornamentation! The Chinese New Year is celebrated for 14 days — so a New Year’s tea party any time during those two weeks after January 26 is appropriate.

There are many more preparations and tasks for the traditional Chinese New Year, but the basic theme is familiar to celebrations all around the world — a time to reflect on the passing year, and to welcome the promise of the New Year to come.

Presidential Tea Past and Present

From George Washington to president-elect Barack Obama, every president and first lady has understood the value of tea. The stimulating and warming qualities of tea have been helping advance our democracy for hundreds of years! Washington drank tea regularly, and always purchased the highest quality tea, from Great Britain initially, and then from the Dutch. Today Washington could purchase his quality tea right here in the “colonies” from the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only location in North America where tea is grown today. While commanding the Revolutionary War and as president, Washington, like most Americans in the 18th century, was a committed tea lover.

Once John and Abigail Adams moved into the Presidential Mansion — now called the White House — society ladies called on her for invitations to tea as often as a dozen times a day; an impossible schedule even for the most ardent tea lover. In the early 19th century, Dolly Madison, our country’s fourth first lady, sometimes served tea three times daily at the White House — at breakfast, in the afternoon and after an evening meal.

In the 20th century, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt enjoyed tea so much that she would have several teas in a row. And at what may have been one of the largest American tea parties ever, 4,000 guests were served sandwiches and cakes with gallons of tea on Inauguration Day 1941. And the 21st century? President-elect Obama is often seen in interviews with a cup of tea in hand, and on the Today Show Obama stated that it’s definitely tea over coffee for him, a fact that Bigelow Tea will appreciate for the next four years!

Historical Tea, conquering the Colonies

Just as archaeologists divide history into different periods based on the use of different materials — the stone age, the iron age, etc — you can also look at history as periods dominated by six different beverages: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, cola, and tea. All have been the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. And so it was in the American Colonies that the history of tea was key to their relationship with Great Britain, factoring into social, political and financial issues, even the development of fine art.

The practice of tea drinking arrived with colonists from both England and the Netherlands, and Dutchman Peter Stuyvesant is said to have introduced the first tea to the settlement of New Amsterdam (later re-named “New York”). Colonial settlers were confirmed tea drinkers, and in fact, Ruth Campbell Bigelow created the landmark Bigelow Tea Blend Constant Comment based on what she had learned of the practice in Colonial Times.

When tea was fully established as Britain’s national drink, maintaining the lucrative Tea trade helped drive British foreign policy. Tea production and commerce was a big part of the Empire, and ironically it contributed to the independence of the United States. Tea importation and taxation policy became an argument for independence as the British government imposed a series of taxes and restrictions on tea. Outraged Colonists took to smuggling tea and resisting the British taxes. When Parliament finally passed the Tea Act in 1773, creating a monopoly on all tea imported to the Americas, the Colonists were driven to the boiling point, and responded with the famous Boston Tea Party. A terrible waste of tea, true, but an important flashpoint in the ultimate independence of the colonies from Great Britain.

Boise turns 25

In 1983, the Dow Jones Industrial Average passed the 1200 mark for the first time, Terms of Endearment was big at the box office and the Academy Awards, the Redskins beat the Dolphins, and the Orioles took the Phillies in four games.

Bigelow Tea Company was looking to increase service to the Western United States by adding a packaging facility out west. Several cities were being considered and after a stop in Salt Lake City, which had many nice features it was then on to Portland, Oregon to see what they had to offer. On the way out to Portland the plane made a scheduled stop in Boise, Idaho. Back then the Boise metropolitan area had about 270,000 people and was a pretty quiet little town tucked up against beautiful mountains and fertile farm ground. Based upon that short plane stop another trip was made back to investigate Boise further and in the end it was decided that Boise was to be our new western home.

With plenty of production space and a strong work ethic in the local population, it was felt like this could be a good home for a Bigelow packaging facility. Once the initial 15,000 square foot building was secured, employees were hired and you might say the rest is good history.

Fast forward 25 years to 2008 and the Boise population has increased to 635,000 and Bigelow has a 60,000 square foot production facility that produces a quality product utilizing an employee population with an average tenure of over 12 years.

To help us celebrate this milestone, several “seasoned” folks from corporate headquarters made the trip to Boise to help celebrate this important milestone by reminiscing about the early days while looking forward to continued success at the Boise plant.

Local dignitaries from the Idaho State government, Chamber of Commerce, Buy Idaho, and key vendors, spoke of their appreciation for the contribution Bigelow Tea has made to the quality of life in the Boise area. Everyone joined the Bigelow plant employees in a bar-b-q lunch and cake celebration that capped this special and memorable event.

Dean