• 25Feb

    Because I’m an American and thus more used to watching this same battle rage over coffee in the office, I find this kind of … cute. Seriously. It’s tea. And the English. “More than their fair share of tea”, “a poor cup”, “bunk off”, “humble tea round”. It’s freakin’ adorable!

    Men tricking women into making tea

    Men of have been accused of using underhand tactics to get female colleagues to make more than their fair share of tea.

    A report shows that women make more than three times as many cups of tea as men in the workplace.

    Two-thirds of men told a study they invented bogus reasons for not making hot drinks, while one in four sneaked off to make one just for themselves.

    The study of 3,000 workers by Cafedirect revealed that men also moan more about having to make drinks for their colleagues.

    But women aren’t entirely blameless. Almost half (46 per cent) admit to using the office brew as a chance to bunk off work, while a quarter reveal their apparent act of generosity is merely a cover for sharing office gossip with colleagues.

    Some workers deliberately made a poor cup in a bid to avoid making any more, according to the report, launched at the start of Fairtrade fortnight.

    Recruitment consultants – the UK’s biggest tea drinkers – generally spend almost as long moaning about tea (four minutes) as making it (five minutes).

    They are also the most likely to use dirty tricks to duck out of making workmates a drink, with 44 per cent admitting to making deliberately poor tea to avoid repeat orders.

    Builders by contrast are least likely to complain about a bad cup of tea, with barely a third saying they have criticised workmates.

    Overall, two thirds of colleagues dispute whose turn it is to make the tea once a day, with 24 per cent saying it’s led them to secretly harbour bad thoughts towards those who haven’t pulled their weight.

    Anne MacCaig, Cafedirect chief executive, said: ”As office politics goes, the humble tea round would seem an unlikely cause of controversy but, with some making markedly more tea than others, workers are coming to blows over brews.”

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  • 24Feb

    Is it fate that I discovered the following videos just a day after attending a NASA Tweetup (STS-130) at Johnson Space Center?

    Patrick Stewart narrating for the environment, tea and NASA.

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  • 16Feb

    According to a study by Drinking Tea May Trim Men’s Waistlines.

    Tavalon tea kindly provides us with a picture of said trim waistline on their Voice of Tea blog.

    WebMD explains that:

    A new study shows that men who drink more than two cups of tea a day have trimmer waistlines than men who drink coffee or nothing at all. But the same doesn’t hold true for women.

    […]

    Researchers say the role between tea drinking and a trim waistline in men and women merits further study.

    I agree. So where do I sign up to be a part of this study?

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  • 19Jan

    I was surfing the Internet recently, just minding my own business, and I stumbled across this tidbit:

    Hugh Jackman – aka Wolverine – to be the face of Lipton Ice Tea

    Hugh Jackman, the actor most famous as the testosterone-fueled Wolverine in X-Men, is to show his softer side in a global advertising campaign for Lipton Ice Tea.

    Jackman, who also played the rugged stockman Drover opposite Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, has signed a three-year deal to front a multimillion-pound campaign, the first he has starred in outside his native Australia.

    The European marketing director for Lipton Ice Tea, Francois Bazini, said that it was Jackman’s singing and dancing performance as a host at last year’s Academy Awards that convinced the company to sign him up.

    “He has a great personality liked by men and women,” said Bazini. “He is very different from many other actors. He is a true entertainer who can dance, sing and act. We will use all of his skills.”

    […]

    Singing. Dancing. Hugh Jackman. For tea.
    Who’s the cool kid now, coffee?

    Note: The previous comment in no way implies I dislike my coffee brethren who have really cool coffee-making and coffee-drinking toys and accessories that apply perfectly well to tea too and who’ve had actors that warm my nerdy heart (*cough*Scott Bakula/Folgers*cough*) sing coffee’s praises.

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  • 02Dec

    On a  more serious note (yes, I’m capable of that), check this out:

    In a three-part series, The Phnom Penh Post (a Cambodian English-language newspaper) traces “the legacy of a royally ordained Cambodian tea plantation – plus a local strain of the popular plant.”

    Khmer brew: exploring the parviflora tea strain

    Today, many tea plants can still be found growing in the wild in Kirirom Park, where the old plantation used to be, not far from the King Father’s former summer residence. All teas – whether a grassy green, a buttery oolong or a hearty black – come from the same species of plant.

    It’s the variety of the plant, soil conditions, altitude, rainfall and the processing that make the difference in the end result: the most-consumed beverage in the world after water.

    But what happened to the tea plantation after the war?

    A 1996 article in the Post recounts how 1,500 hectares of Kirirom were signed over to a private Cambodian investor, who planned to establish a tea plantation, despite the region’s being declared part of Cambodia’s system of national parks by Royal Decree in 1993. The old prewar tea plantation, which measured some 300 hectares, was part of it.

    One year later, in 1997, the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper reported that the investor had sold many hectares of the park, installed a sawmill and destroyed the plantation.

    Nowadays, it’s believed that some of the surviving tea plants are harvested opportunistically, on a small scale, by locals.

    […]

    However, if you’re feeling down in Phnom Penh and fancy some fresh tea leaves for an uplifting brew, there’s no need to travel to the Indian foothills of the Himalayas anymore – a short day trip to Kirirom will do the trick.

    Picking your own leaves may equate to one of the more labour-intensive ways of brewing a cuppa – but it would also surely make one of the most satisfying cups you’re ever likely to taste.

    See also:
    Part II: Quality is their cup of tea
    Part III: Making time to enjoy a cup of tea, according to tradition

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  • 18Jun

    Ack! From the Voice of Tea: Tea Video: World Tea Shortage Hits Sri Lanka

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  • 07Apr

    One of the down sides to tea’s growing popularity in the United States: ShoppingBlog.com notes that Tea Prices are Likely to Rise as Techies Switch From Coffee to Tea:

    Wired has an article that says tea is the new coffee and reports that today’s web 2.0 crowd is on a tea drinking binge. The article also says that today’s influential young Web 2.0 millionaires are drinking expensive imported teas. The article says Digg founder Kevin Rose imports $1,000 a month worth of specialty tea for Digg employees.

    […]

    It is true that there is nothing quite a like a good cup of tea. Unfortunately, it’s no coincidence that as more people embrace tea, the demand for tea is going up, and so are the prices. The BBC reports that demand for tea is surging while production is falling.

    It looks like my little habit is about to become more expensive. I. Can. Quit. Anytime. I swear.

    Oy, I need a cup of tea after this news.

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  • 14Feb

    This is good news:

    Green Tea Component Could Help Fight HIV Infection

    A chemical that occurs naturally in green tea appears to prevent HIV-1 (the virus associated with AIDS) from infecting cells in the immune system and could prove a valuable part of treatment for the disease, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in a report that appears in the current issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

    Apparently epigallocatechin gallate (I’m so proud that I get to use a word like this on my tea blog) or EGCG, can inhibit the virus’ ability to infect cells. So, woot!

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  • 24Jan

    A bit more on the serious side of things, here’s an interesting article about the collapse of the Pu’er tea trade in China. Via The New York Times:

    A County in China Sees Its Fortunes in Tea Leaves Until a Bubble Bursts

    Saudi Arabia has its oil. South Africa has its diamonds. And here in China’s temperate southwest, prosperity has come from the scrubby green tea trees that blanket the mountains of fabled Menghai County.

    Over the past decade, as the nation went wild for the region’s brand of tea, known as Pu’er, farmers bought minivans, manufacturers became millionaires and Chinese citizens plowed their savings into black bricks of compacted Pu’er.

    But that was before the collapse of the tea market turned thousands of farmers and dealers into paupers and provided the nation with a very pungent lesson about gullibility, greed and the perils of the speculative bubble. “Most of us are ruined,” said Fu Wei, 43, one of the few tea traders to survive the implosion of the Pu’er market. “A lot of people behaved like idiots.”

    […]

    At least a third of the 3,000 tea manufacturers and merchants have called it quits in recent months. Farmers have begun replacing newly planted tea trees with more nourishing — and now, more lucrative — staples like corn and rice. Here in Menghai, the newly opened six-story emporium built to house hundreds of buyers and bundlers is a very lonely place.

    […]

    Among those most bruised by the crash are the farmers of Menghai County. Many had never experienced the kind of prosperity common in China’s cities. Villagers built two-story brick homes, equipped them with televisions and refrigerators and sent their children to schools in the district capital. Flush with cash, scores of elderly residents made their first trips to Beijing.

    “Everyone was wearing designer labels,” said Zhelu, 22, a farmer who is a member of the region’s Hani minority and uses only one name. “A lot of people bought cars, but now we can’t afford gas so we just park them.”

    Last week, dozens of vibrantly dressed women from Xinlu sat on the side of the highway hawking their excess tea. There were few takers. The going rate, about $3 a pound for medium-grade Pu’er, was less than a tenth of the peak price. The women said that during the boom years, tea traders from Guangdong Province would come to their village and buy up everyone’s harvest. But last year, they simply stopped showing up.

    Read the complete article here. (Note: The New York Times requires you login and articles are archived after a while.)

    Read more about Pu-erh tea at Wikipedia. I’ve never tried Pu’er, to be honest. I’m not sure if I’d like it, given that I don’t care much for the taste of the slightly fermented Japanese teas that I have. But stay tuned. I’ll post about a tasting, if I can get my hands on some.

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