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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.”

Bigelow Tea Is Gushing Over Charleston Tea Plantation’s First Flush

bigelow tea charleston tea plantaion

Nothing excites Bigelow Tea more than seeing new growth, especially at the Charleston Tea Plantation! Every spring, their Camellia Sinensis plants reawaken from a winter slumber with a fresh batch of tea leaves known collectively as the First Flush. What makes this First Flush special is that these pristine leaves become the basis for First Flush Tea, a limited edition and unique tea traditionally reserved only for Royalty. And make note, this tea sells out quickly because it’s only around once every season.

bigelow tea charleston tea plantation blends

Of course, there’s always time to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation. Based on Wadmalaw Island, in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Bigelow Tea fans can learn how various tea blends like American Classic Tea are produced here by going on free daily factory tours where Bigelow’s manufacturing process from crop to cup is explained and you learn about the differences in the production of greenblack and Oolong teas among other tea points of interest. Plus while you’re here, you can explore the grounds of America’s largest tea garden by buying a ticket and hopping on a trolley tour. Keep your phone out to snap some scenic pics like this great shot that Merydie Ross posted on her Instagram. And don’t forget to purchase some tea before heading home so you can have a little bit of Charleston in your cupboard.  Enjoy and happy spring!

Bigelow Tea Adds More Green To Spring Up Our Garmugia Recipe

bigelow tea recipe

Bigelow Tea’s love for greens (which in this case includes not only tea but vegetables too!) is shared with this different take on Garmugia, a spring vegetable soup, featuring Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon as a zesty ingredient.

While Bigelow Tea, a family-run, third-generation company, has been in business for over 70 years, this traditional Italian dish has a longer history dating  back to the 16th or 17th century and is traced to the Tuscan city of Lucca where the soup was made with the vegetables harvested in the spring. Historically Garmugia included a medley of vegetables, bits of meat, and pieces of bread blended and slow cooked to perfection. Our version is very similar except the chef can find the ingredients in the grocery store and it can be ready to eat much faster, thankfully.  And we think our addition of Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon will make it even more enjoyable than the 17th century version!

Turn up the green this spring – give this recipe a try and let us know what you think by leaving a comment here or by writing a review here. We hope it makes your next dinner gathering or comfort food at home simply delish!

bigelow tea green tea with lemon

Garmugia (Spring Vegetable Soup)

40 Minutes, Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 20 Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon Tea Bags
  • 7 cups (1 ¾L) boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons (45mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh Italian sausage, casing removed and meat crumbled
  • 3 small white onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz. (90g) ground beef
  • ½ cup (125mL) frozen lima beans or frozen fava beans
  • ½ cup (125mL) frozen peas
  • ½ cup (125mL) asparagus tips
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5mL) salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5mL) freshly ground pepper

Croutons:

  • ¼ cup (60mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 slices coarse white bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) Italian parsley, chopped

Instructions

Place Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon tea bags into a large bowl; pour 7 cups boiling water over the tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeeze well and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage meat, onions and ground beef; sauté until meat browns and onions turn opaque. Add the beans, peas and asparagus and stir well. Pour in reserved tea, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook covered until the flavors are blended, about 30 minutes, skimming off any froth from the surface of the soup. Halfway through the cooking time, season with salt and pepper. Serve. To prepare the croutons, add olive oil to frying pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until it begins to turn golden. Remove garlic and add bread cubes and stir until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crouton to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with parsley. Ladle hot soup into warmed soup bowls and garnish with croutons.

Tea Study: Bigelow Tea Learns That Last Year’s Tea Market Review Shows Industry Growth

bigelow tea variety

For 70-plus years the Bigelow Tea family has kept their eye on all tea-related news and today is no different!  2015 was a wonderful year for the U.S. tea industry as seen below where we share the findings from a ‘State of the U.S. Tea Industry 2015 Market Review  by the U.S. Tea Association:

  • More people are drinking tea! This growth extends to all ages – from Millennials to Baby Boomers – who are filling up their tea cups.
  • Specialty teas are growing in popularity with an 8-10 percent rise in sales last year. And who’s especially savoring these flavors? Millennials! They seek teas with unique flavors as well as blends that ethnically or culturally reflect their family’s origin. Our new line steep by Bigelow in addition to 130 Bigelow tea flavors would definitely appeal to these tea drinkers.  Check out Instagrammer jlep76’s selections.
  • In the global market, the United States is now the third largest tea importer, behind Russia and Pakistan. Plus we’re the only Western country to grow in both importing and consuming our favorite drink!

Happy tea drinking!

Bigelow Tea’s Lemon Lift is a Perfect Pick-Me-Up

bigelow tea lemonlift cupLike peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese, tea and lemon are a classic pairing. So it’s really no surprise that Bigelow Tea Lemon Lift is such a fan favorite. In this distinctive blend of black tea, however, you don’t just taste lemon notes—your taste buds have the opportunity to flirt with the spices that the Bigelow family has added to round out the cup for a product unlike any other. Now that’s quality flavor!

As if you need more proof, Pat Benatar—ranked by Billboard magazine as the most successful female rock vocalist of all time, winner of four consecutive Grammy Awards, and creative genius bigelow tea lemon lift boxbehind timeless hits like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”—is a fan of Lemon Lift, too! Pat has been known to request the tart and refreshing blend before performances.

Take this stellar advice from Bigelow Tea: When life gives you lemons, slice them up and add them to a cuppa tea. It can make your day any time, which is why Lemon Lift is the perfect afternoon treat for @angelic_abbie. Pucker up and enjoy!

 

Start off Spring Right with Bigelow Tea and a Clean ‘Green’ Sweep

bigelow tea green tea spring

Every spring ushers in a fresh start which inspires us to clean up both inside and out! At Bigelow Tea, it’s also about being ‘green’! As part of the company’s 70+ year legacy, the Bigelow family uses eco-friendly measures to keep the facilities clean — and encourages fellow tea drinkers to do the same at their homes! Here are some tips:

o   Use green cleaning products instead of ones that traditionally include harsh chemicals. Or make your own with ingredients like vinegar, castile soap, and baking soda to tackle just about any surface.

o   Instead of spraying chemical air fresheners or room deodorizers, create your own scent featuring lemon or cinnamon.

o   Use houseplants to help clear the air which also add a little nature indoors.

Speaking of plants, the Bigelow family has also been busy tending to the new Camellia Sinensis plant growth at the Bigelow owned Charleston Tea Plantation. For your garden, consider these suggestions:

o   Clear out drainage areas so that spring showers will have adequate runoff. Additional touch up can involve early weeding, removing dead foliage off of ornamental plants, and raking the lawn. Plus, these removals can become compost (which Bigelow happily promotes doing!).

o   Along with having native plants, consider companion planting where certain plant pairings support each other’s growth and vitality.

o   Avoid using pesticides and fertilizers that can do more harm that good in your garden. Look for organic fertilizers and natural treatments, plus consider methods that attract “good” bugs and pollinators like hummingbirds.bigelow tea earl grey green tea

And finally, why not add more green to your spring cleaning routine with a new or different type of Bigelow Green Tea? Instagrammer @blackbettybgb loves our Jasmine Green Tea, but varieties like Green Tea with Mango and Earl Grey Green are also wonderful!

Let Bigelow know how you’re greening up your spring cleaning and what tea you are sipping along the way.

Top image by Counse Broders via Flickr

Bigelow Tea Celebrates All Things Green On St. Patrick’s Day

bigelow tea decaf green teaThis St. Patrick’s Day, Bigelow Tea is celebrating all things green and it starts with tea! Kick off the top o’ the morning by brewing a cup of Bigelow Tea Green Tea – from Classic Green Tea to Green Tea with Peach, Bigelow Tea has a variety of flavors for you to choose from. And brewing great green tea doesn’t require the luck of the Irish — be sure to bring water just to the point where tiny bubbles begin to form before pouring it over the tea bag for a perfect cuppa!

So, what makes green tea so green (aside from getting into the spirit for St. Patrick’s Day)? Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, the source of all tea leaves. In the case of green tea, though, the leaves are immediately steamed or pan fried to avoid any oxidization. The result is a more delicate tea with lower caffeine content and higher polyphenols that make them popular with the health-conscious.

Why limit yourself to only drinking a great cup of green tea today? You can also prepare a delicious meal enhanced by the flavor of Bigelow Green Tea. For instance, check out the recipe below for Green Tea Ramen Soup; a bit of pasta and a bag of green tea will make your very own pot of gold. Or finish off your meal with Green Tea Cupcakes. Might we recommend decorating with a shamrock or two? However you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, it’s the perfect time to make a tip of the hat to the subtle and surprising green tea!

Green Tea Ramen Soup

Ingredients

4 cups water
4 bags Bigelow Green Tea
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
1 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
2 shredded carrots
7 ounces Soba Stir Fry noodles*
¼ cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
⅛ cup fresh minced cilantro
Optional: dash of hot sauce or Sriracha

bigelow tea green tea recipe

Instructions

Bring water, tea bags, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add in carrots (I like them with crunch, if you prefer softer, throw them in at the beginning of cooking process) and soba noodles. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until noodles have warmed through. Serve with green onions, cilantro and a dash of hot sauce if desired.

*A package of fresh, vacuumed sealed soba stir-fry noodles  (usually found in the Asian food aisle) works great, but refrigerated fresh noodles work, as well.

Bigelow Tea Combines Beloved Family Recipe With Green Tea For A Special Tea Blend

bigelow tea constant comment mugbigelow tea constant comment green teaBigelow Tea wouldn’t be America’s favorite specialty tea company if Ruth Campbell Bigelow hadn’t created “Constant Comment” in her kitchen back in 1945. To this day, “Constant Comment” is a secret recipe known only by the Bigelow family. Its popularity inspired the Bigelows to add “Constant Comment Green” into the green tea line combining the delicate brew of green tea with our original flavor.

The combination was a natural fit.

Green Tea is another best-selling tea at Bigelow and which has a smooth, delicate flavor profile partnered with what researchers say are countless health benefits. Now add sweet spices and orange rind and you have an instant classic with “Constant Comment Green”! Facebook fan Katey Maus says it’s her favorite!

Next time you’re placing an order at Bigelowtea.com, go ahead and add “Constant Comment Green” to your cart. Your taste buds will thank you!

Spice Up Your Tea Time With Bigelow Tea Vanilla Chai

bigelow tea vanilla chai black teaArtful blending of hand-picked black tea and exotic spices with just the right amount of vanilla is the secret to a Bigelow Tea masterpiece: Vanilla Chai Tea where the distinctively delicious flavor and heady aroma of Vanilla Chai can be enjoyed using the single-serving K-Cups, as well as our tea bags. This flavor is one of four varieties offered in the Bigelow Tea K-Cup line.

vanilla chai bigelow teaFor the uninitiated, Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea is a great choice when you crave a rich, soul-satisfying treat. It’s the ideal afternoon pick-me-up or dessert alternative to tame your sweet tooth in the evening. Chai itself is a beloved beverage in India, where it has a long and fascinating history. The milky tea beverage westerners refer to as chai is actually known as “masala chai” or “spiced tea” in India. Masala chai recipes abound in that country and vary by region, but commonly used spices include cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorn, nutmeg and cloves.

Milk and sweetener are essential ingredients in traditional masala chai to balance the spicy notes in the tea. Adding a touch of both to Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai Tea brings out the vanilla for a superb flavor sensation. Sweet and spicy all at the same time! However you prefer it – brewed from a tea bag or a K-Cup – Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea is sure to add spice to your life! As @AshlyFahlstrom tweeted, it is “The. Best.”

Bigelow Tea With A Push Of A Button

bigelow tea K-cups

These days everyone is busy, busy, busy. But when you do have a few minutes to relax, it’s nice to enjoy a mug of Bigelow Tea at a moment’s notice. And while boiling water isn’t the most harrowing task, there’s an even easier way when you have one of those moments: Bigelow Tea K-Cup pods.

In case you didn’t know, Bigelow Tea has the same delicious teas you love packaged in K-Cup pods for use in all Keurig K-Cup brewers. Just load the pod, place your mug underneath, and push to brew. Voila—delicious Bigelow Tea made to order!

And the best news is that, each Bigelow Tea K-Cup pod holds the same quality ingredients you have come to expect from the Bigelow family. The Lemon Ginger K-Cups are filled with zesty ingredients that appeal to the taste palette and the nose, including lemongrass, lemon peel, cinnamon, ginger and lemon verbena. And the Earl Grey K-Cups hold aromatic bergamot and bold handpicked black tea—no surprises here, simply premium ingredients that take Bigelow Tea flavors from beyond good to great!

That’s what the Bigelow family insists upon: A promise of smooth taste, consistent flavor and exceptional aroma. From classics like Green Tea and English Breakfast, to seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Spice, there’s a wide assortment of Bigelow Teas available to brew with your Keurig K-Cup brewer. So the next time you think you don’t have time for a cuppa, remember that a hot cup of your favorite blend can be ready in seconds.