A small admission: We never really thought of ourselves as sexy until yesterday. We love tea, we drink it every day, all day long … and THEN we found out that so does one model known primarily for her work with Victoria’s Secret — Alessandra Ambrosio.

Alessandra Ambrosio's wings are powered by Organic Chamomile. OUR Organic Chamomile.

Alessandra Ambrosio’s wings are powered by Organic Chamomile. OUR Organic Chamomile.

Our coworker Jen was glancing through the pages of an US Weekly magazine when she paused on an interview with Ambrosio, where the model discusses what she carries around in her handbag — or rather, her Gucci tote. She mentions some potato chips and chocolate, which you think would have been enough to make Jen turn the page, but then she says this:

“I drink Two Leaves and a Bud chamomile tea when I wake up, during the day and before I go to sleep. When I travel, I make sure they’re with me.”

And ohmygosh, now we’re Alessandra Ambrosio’s biggest fans (but not in a creepy way). First, she knows that we exist … and we apologize for sounding like a high school freshman when we point that out. Second, she recognizes that our Organic Chamomile is delicious and worthy of drinking all day long. Finally, she’s saying something we’ve said about our tea sachets all along — they’re just so conveniently portable, that they make it easy to travel with the best tea!

So of course we raced around trying to find more copies of Alessandra’s mini Two Leaves and a Bud love note, starting online, and our CEO and founder Richard Rosenfeld sent us an e-mail that said: “I tried to look this up on their site but only got pictures of her in a bikini. Although that was not exactly disappointing, it was not what I was looking for. (I must be getting old.)”

 

No, Richard — we all just got a bit sexier. Cheers, tea lovers!

 

Posted in Herbal Tea, News from two leaves tea company, Organic Herbal Tea, Products from two leaves and a bud, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response
Three new tart herbal teas, meet three new tea cocktails.

Three new tart herbal teas, meet three new tea cocktails.

There are definitely worse things I’ve had to do for work than mix up a few fruit cocktails using tart tea as a main ingredient. Many of you tea lovers would probably argue that what our small team does here at Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company is already a plum gig — since it comes with an endless supply of tea and daily cuppings of new and (sometimes rare) tea varieties shipped from overseas. And you’re right about that … so for someone who loves a good tart, herbal tea and a cocktail now and then, today my own kitchen was a great place to be.

Have you met our three new tart herbal teas? Paisley Tarts are all complex blends of organic herbal teas using long lists of natural ingredients, rather than just “natural flavorings”. Organic Tart Meyer Lemon, Organic Tart Blood Orange and Organic Tart Berry all stand out as palate-stretching, fruit-forward blends, and it didn’t take us long to figure that if they paired so well with boiling water or with ice, why not try them with a few other ingredients like … oh, I don’t know … vodka, sparkling wine, or tequila?

So I called my husband at 8:50 a.m. to ask him to pick up a bottle of rum on his way home from an early morning photography job (he sounded a lot less surprised than I expected him to, which worries me), and assembled various ingredients that would pair well with the Paisley Tarts. Besides the rum, I kept my ingredients to items I had in my kitchen and liquor cabinet, so that things wouldn’t get too complicated for the average tea fan to whip up (I have a personal policy against ever buying a bottle of Angostura Bitters.) And what resulted are three herbal tea-based concoctions I would be happy to drink anytime (including breakfast, if we can be really honest about this for a second). Here goes:

Tropical Tart with Paisley Organic Tart Meyer Lemon

A tropical twist with a side of lemon.

A tropical twist with a side of lemon.

(This one includes making your own ice cubes with tea and raspberries, so it’s bound to impress your friends)

Serves 8

  1. Pour boiling water over Paisley Organic Tart Meyer Lemon herbal tea bags; cover and brew 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and squeeze. Stir in sugar; chill.
  2. In large pitcher, combine 2 cups chilled tea with remaining ingredients; chill.
  3. Meanwhile, in 2 ice cube trays*, arrange 3 raspberries in each compartment. Pour remaining chilled tea over berries. Freeze 2 hours or until solid. To serve, pour punch into large pitcher or bowl. Add tea ice cubes. Serve immediately.

Blood Orange Mimosa

For Sunday, blood orange Sunday. (Apologies to U2)

For Sunday, blood orange Sunday. (Apologies to U2)

(The sparkling wine could easily be left out of this one for a refreshing, extra-orange drink if you want to do brunch without the alcohol.)

Serves 4

 

Cut the peel off an orange, including as much of the white pith as you can, and cut the orange into eight pieces.

Place the orange pieces in a small bowl and sprinkle the sugar over them. Muddle until no large chunks remain. Divide the orange mixture among 4 iced tea glasses (or champagne flutes). Add Tart Blood Orange iced tea to each glass.

Pour sparkling wine in each glass to top off; garnish with a lime wedge.

Minted Tart Berry Chiller

(Mint grows like crazy in my backyard, so I use it whenever I can. It gives a nice edge to this super-berry drink.)

Definitely my favorite.

Definitely my favorite.

Serves 8

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups raspberries
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for garnish
  • 6 tea bags of Organic Paisley Tart Berry herbal tea
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups silver tequila
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • Ice as needed
  1. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add 2 cups of the raspberries, the chopped mint and the Paisley Tart Berry herbal tea bags. Remove from the heat and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Remove and discard the tea bags and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Discard the solids. Add the sugar, tequila, Grand Marnier and lime juice and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  3. Pour into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with the remaining 1 cup raspberries and mint leaves and serve immediately.

 

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It's tea time whenever this person says it is.

It’s tea time whenever this person says it is.

Saying that the last 10 years as a tea company has been fun and rewarding and full of important business lessons… well, that’s great and all, but let’s get right down to it, shall we? Our favorite part of this business is meeting you guys.

Which got us thinking: could we recognize a fellow fan of Two Leaves and a Bud just by sight? Probably not, unless your travel mug is sporting a string with a TLAB tag sticking out of it. (Although, some of you love your loose tea on the way to work … so there goes that theory).

We came up with a little list so you diehard Two Leaves and a Bud people could recognize yourselves.

Top 10 Signs You’re a Serious Two Leaves and a Bud Fan:

1. You think Camellia would be a good baby name, especially if the middle name is Sinensis.

Tea to go. Forever.

Tea to go. Forever.

2. You carry sachets with you as a matter of course, wherever you go. That’s why they’re so portable, right?

3. The only thing that’s constant in your schedule every day is tea time.

4. Sometimes you wish your job would just pay you in loose tea.

5. You’d rather teach your kid all about tea than watch another tea party take place where only air is served.

6. You’ve never thought, “I overdid it today,” while steeping your eighth cup of tea.

7. 7 a.m. means Organic Better Morning Blend, 1 p.m. means Organic Better Belly Blend and 8 p.m. means Organic Better Rest Blend.

8. Someone has asked you out to coffee and you’ve replied, “As long as I can have tea.”

Loyal to the cup.

Loyal to the cup.

9. You are the owner of the best tea stash in your office, and proud of it.

10. You’ve snorted tea out of your nose — or spat it at a computer screen — because of a great joke.

What score did you get? (And if all of these apply to you, are you wondering if you have a problem? You might have a problem. And we might be in love with you.) We want to know from you true Two Leaves and a Bud people — what’s missing from our list? Comment here or on Facebook or Twitter, and we’re prepared to reward FREE TEA to our favorite answers!

Fair warning: We’re working on a mega-contest to find out who our biggest fan really is. We’re planning a few hoops you’ll have to hop through (none of them are on fire, though), and a BIG prize that makes being a our biggest fan truly worth it. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the details, which are coming up!

It doesn't have to be a *big* tattoo.

It doesn’t have to be a *big* tattoo.

And while we’ll note that Googling tea tattoos is super fun, we promise we won’t ask any of you to tattoo our logo on yourselves. That would be crazy.

Cheers, tea lovers.

Posted in Contest, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response
We're 10 years old this year! That's a lot of tea we've sold ... loose and otherwise.

We’re 10 years old this year! That’s a lot of tea we’ve sold … loose and otherwise.

It’s our 10-year anniversary! According to Hallmark, a 10th wedding anniversary is traditionally known as the “Tin/Aluminum” anniversary, which really sounds about as romantic as … well, as giving someone a canned good as an anniversary gift. What would anyone have to say about the 10th anniversary of a small, independent tea company?

I had a chat with our CEO and Founder, Richard Rosenfeld, about how this anniversary snuck up on us, and here’s a nugget that has to do with you, dear tea lover: “Things I’m especially proud of include our loyal consumer base — the people who look for our products out there. Consumer loyalty comes back to the product itself: Our tea has to deliver on the promises we’ve made. Every single time someone drinks our tea, it’s gotta taste good.”

But I’ll stop right there before this starts to sound like a business seminar.

Because here’s what I think is interesting: We’ve evolved! And I’m not just talking about the little things like product names, some ingredients and all that. If you’ve been paying attention for the past 10 years (or even the past four years) you’ve seen us going through some packaging changes, and we promise we’re not doing that just to drive you crazy. It’s hard work trying to stand out from the pack in a very crowded aisle of tea.

TL_OldTagLine_ABetterCuppaWe started this journey 10 years ago with the words, “A better cuppa’ tea” on our boxes, which makes a lot of sense if you know our brand story. Here’s a short version: Richard began to love tea because of all the business he was doing in Asia, where he was served a lot of tea. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t find the same delicious tea when he got back home to the United States, so it makes sense that his company’s motto for the first several years was exactly that — giving people better tea than they’d had before.

He put organic, whole -leaf tea inside pyramid-shaped sachets (a relatively new technology at the time) instead of paper teabags, and Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company was off and running. We’re not saying we were the very first using sachets, but it was definitely an idea with legs. Pretty soon more tea companies were offering whole leaf tea in convenient sachets, and it wasn’t as hard to find “a better cuppa’ tea” in the supermarket.

TLABgothereBut you know what else we’ve always done that makes our tea great? We “Go There”! We take time to travel to the tea gardens, developing relationships with organic farmers who are growing the leaves we want to steep. We have photos from the first and subsequent trips when Richard dragged his wife, Pam, into tea gardens, meeting the pluckers and deciding which organic growers were the best for our company. Pam brought her camera and took those photos of her then-ponytailed husband planting tea bushes. Many years and a few haircuts later, we’re so happy to have proof of Pam’s positive effect on Richard’s style experience there in the field: literally witnessing the work and care that goes into a superior cup of tea.

And after a few more years of crafting great cups of tea, seeing more and more large companies enter the specialty tea industry we realized: Our strength as a company is, in fact, how very small we are. The eight of us who are in the office together in Colorado — and one person on the East Coast — drink a lot of tea. Tea tastings are open to everyone on staff, and I’ve never heard a single person at a tasting say, “I don’t have an opinion.” We regularly talk to tea fans all over the world via social media or e-mail, and we love when they tell us their own tea concoctions, offer constructive criticism that we find really helpful, or call up with a few good ideas that we take to heart. Tea lovers who discover us often travel with our sachets, so wherever they go, they’ll have a delicious tea when they get there.

We do all of those things too! Tea affects our lives quite personally, just as it affects yours. Hence, “We take tea personally.” If one phrase can possibly sum up how we feel about our place in the huge, occasionally impersonal tea industry, we think that’s darn close.

TLAB_Logo_TakeTeaPersonally

So what’s next for us? World domination! Just kidding … sort of. You see, we do want to be recognized as the best for what we do, and we do want to land in the hands of tea lovers everywhere, whether those tea lovers want loose leaf tea, sachets, tea bags, or even the really, really hard to get limited teas. But we’re not going to do that at the cost of changing who we are — a small, independent company who can focus on quality, sustainability and the tea lovers themselves.

We’ll get back to work making great tea while the next 10 years go by. You guys just keep on drinking.

Just a reminder for you!

Just a reminder for you!

Posted in News from two leaves tea company, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Response
Step 1: Add water Step 2: Wait

Step 1: Add water
Step 2: Wait

When time is on your side, as it may be during a lazy summer day, maybe it’s time to try something new with your tea leaves.

We have to chuckle a bit at that sentence. Can there really be something “new” with a drink that’s thousands of years old, and about as basic as it gets? Tea is leaves and hot water … what could possibly be new?

Here’s what: the temperature of the water. Lately we’re hearing a lot about “cold brew” for both tea and coffee, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: brewing tea (or coffee) for a long period of time in cold or room temperature water.

Voilà! Something new. Well … or just something new to you.

June is National Iced Tea Month, and while National Anything Months amuse us to no end, we’re still going to use June as an opportunity to sell you on the virtues of iced tea … because you know … it’s summer, you’re thirsty, and we sell tea. This doesn’t take a marketing major, people. (And that’s a good thing, because no one in our marketing department — cough, cough, including the company blogger — majored in marketing.)

Our favorite description of why cold brewing works for our favorite beverage is actually in a 2011 New York Times article by Harold McGee (“The Curious Cook”) and we’ll quote from it here:

Give cold brew a shot with any kind of tea — black, green, white or herbal. There are no rules!

Give cold brew a shot with any kind of tea — black, green, white or herbal. There are no rules!

As water moves into the coffee particles or tea leaves, it dissolves or suspends hundreds of different substances and extracts them from the solids. If the water is hot, it extracts more rapidly and completely. Hot water also cooks as it extracts, forcing chemical reactions that transform some of the extracted substances into other things, and driving some aroma substances out of the liquid. Cold water, in contrast, extracts more slowly and selectively, produces a simpler extract, and doesn’t change the original flavor substances as much.

So cold-brewed teas and coffees are chemically different from their hot counterparts. They tend to contain less caffeine and less acid. And, of course, they taste different. If the flavor of hot tea or coffee is your gold standard, then cold brews won’t measure up. If you think of hot and cold brews as different drinks, just as a lager isn’t the same as a pale ale, then you may find that you enjoy both.

We went looking for someone who swears by cold brew, and we found her: Facebook fan Cady Mae says cold brewed tea is now her favorite method.

“The taste is clearer or purer somehow,” she says. “Not applying any heat at all to the leaves seems to keeps ALL the bitterness out. It is cold clear flavor, if that makes any sense. Every single person that tries my iced tea first exclaims: ‘That’s GOOD!’ and then asks how I make it.”

Cady’s answer is six tablespoons of loose tea to two liters of water, but cold brewing tea is “new” enough in the café industry that the jury’s still out on this one — plenty of tea experts have their own ratios that they prefer.

And she’s right about a lack of bitterness — hot water pulls both polyphenols and caffeine out of tea leaves, two components that are known for being astringent and bitter. Cold water, on the other hand, is able to slowly pull flavor out of the tea leaves without those other characteristics. Thus, you’re more likely to notice flavors in your tried and true tea leaves you haven’t tasted before.

As a recent article in Fresh Cup magazine by Cory Eldridge explains, the only real downside to cold brew (besides having to prepare it ahead of time) is the amount of space a jar of cold brewing tea can take up in your refrigerator before you drink it. Some of us tea lovers would say that’s well worth a new(ish) favorite beverage, right?!

We will warn you though, tea lovers: there are some companies specially making packets for cold brew tea. We tried one of them recently, and found it to be ick. (That’s a technical tea term. Ick.) Our best advice is just to do like Cady does: Take some of your favorite loose tea, add water, and wait. Prepare to be surprised by a smoother flavor. Isn’t it time your electric kettle got a little summer vacation?

Cheers!

Posted in Recipes with Tea, Tea Education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Responses