Our new logo, as well as our refurbished name, celebrates our 10 years in the tea biz. That means we're 85 in tea industry years.

Our new logo, as well as our refurbished name, celebrates our 10 years in the tea biz. (That’s 85 in tea industry years.)

The bud is back, baby. The bud is back.

What? Oh – maybe you didn’t realize that a couple of years ago we changed our name from “two leaves and a bud tea company” to “two leaves tea company.” And if you weren’t aware of that, go about your business, because technically to you, nothing’s changing.

To the rest of you: We’re changing it back! You spoke, we listened, and we agree with you. In an attempt to streamline and simplify our name, we removed a key part of our personality. And in this small company, our personality is who we are.

We took to Facebook this week to chat about “and a bud” with our fans, who are a thoughtful bunch. And surprise, surprise … Gail Bull nailed it. She said, “‘Two Leaves and a Bud’ has a certain rebellious charm to it. It seems to be saying, ‘yeah, our tea company’s name is longer than most, but we aren’t just any other tea company!’ Which is absolutely true.”

Gail, we’re pumping our fists at our desks. You totally get it.

As we say around here, “We take tea personally.”

(Inspirational music is swelling in the background as you read this next part.)

To us, this is more than a business — it’s personal. Our company is all about the tea. We’re not about wacky flavors, fancy packaging, or the latest fad being hyped in this industry. We make tea we love to drink because we know you tea lovers are addicted to our very high standards. And you guys, just like us, are full of personality.

If anyone can handle a name that’s nine syllables long and might start a conversation about tea, it’s you. Here’s how that conversation might go:

Friend/coworker/relative/neighbor: Hey, what’s that you’ve got there in your travel mug? I see you with it every day.

You: It’s my two leaves and a bud. I’m totally addicted.

Them: Two leaves and a what?

You: It’s tea. No wait, let me clarify — it’s the best tea. The highest quality tea in the world comes from the top two leaves and a bud of the tea plant.

Them: Whoa. You seem to know a lot about tea. You’re kind of awesome.

You <blushing graciously>: Here – I’ll give you a sachet. I realize I sound like a total tea dork, but if you try this, you’ll see what I’m getting at.

… and so on.

It’s a long name, and yeah, a bit clunky. But it’s also an accurate name … and the closest we can get to announcing who we are without wearing shirts that say “Hey – we’re resolute tea nerds.” (Although we’d totally wear those shirts.)

See? Two leaves and a bud!

See? Two leaves and a bud!

Because as you told your friend in an imaginary conversation (is this getting weird?), “two leaves and a bud” references the part of the camellia sinensis plant that makes up our tea. And a company’s name is more than factual — it’s emotional. Facebook friend Annie Bryant said,

“Two Leaves and a Bud was a fun name. Two Leaves seems like the company is growing up and becoming more serious. I liked the Bud.”

Whoa. That made us think. Our company is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year! You could say we are growing up. Ah, those halcyon days back in 2004, when we had four employees instead of 11. But you can’t force us to be more serious. Our anniversary this year will come with a new logo (see above), a redesigned website and a packaging refresh, but we’ll hang on to our sense of fun with a death grip.

So in that spirit, we say yeah, we made an error of judgment, and don’t want to screw with your heads. We find an easy laugh is the best policy. Check out this handy infographic listing some reasons why we may have decided to bring back the “bud”:

Bud is Back

Cheers, tea lovers. Drink that two leaves and a bud with pride.

Posted in Customer Survey, News from two leaves tea company, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses
A Russian art print by  Helen Vladykina

A Russian art print by Helen Vladykina

Let’s face it: as a blogger for this tea company, sometimes I’m just a girl with a strong Internet connection and a penchant for Googling things about tea. In a quest to provide you with interesting, relevant tea info, I decided to find out what I could about Russian tea culture and report back to all of you, since the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, begins on Friday, February 7.

So imagine my surprise when, thanks to the wonder of Wikipedia, I discover that the prime tea growing part of Russia is, in fact, Sochi! Turns out that while the Russian settlement in the area was named Sochi in 1886, the first tea plantations were established there around 1903. But it took a few tries before tea was successfully grown there. In fact, it was a Ukrainian peasant named Judas Antonovich Koshman who worked for a tea factory on the Black Sea coast and who brought tea plant seeds to Sochi, (or more specifically, the sub-tropical climate of Dagomys, 30 km south of Sochi.) He developed a brand of tea which was both resistant to cold temps, and resulted in a rich taste.

Check out this traditional Russian samovar.

Check out this traditional Russian samovar.

This tea resulted in Krasnodarsky Tea, a brand that is still the most prominent Russian-grown tea and is one of the northernmost tea plantations in the world.

Very cool!

So the next obvious question is, how do Russians like to prepare and drink their tea? This answer is also very cool: with a samovar. We’re posting a picture so you can admire how ornate these tea dispensers can be. Basically, it’s like an electric kettle (they used to be heated with coal or even dry pinecones) that heats water to a perfect boil.

Sitting around the samovar (family portrait in 1844 by T. Myagkov).

Sitting around the samovar (family portrait in 1844 by T. Myagkov).

Up above the heating compartment, a strong tea concentrate is kept warm. It seems that the way to drink tea traditionally in Russia is to mix that tea concentrate with hot water, at roughly a ratio of one part concentrate to 10 parts hot water.

The Russian phrase “to have a sit by the samovar” means to have a leisurely talk while sipping tea. Sounds lovely. These days a samovar is seen as a symbol of hospitality and comfort. There are more gorgeous tea accouterments in Russian tea culture, like pretty tea glass holders.

As for how the Russians take their tea, well, lots of different ways, but typical stir-ins include lemon, sugar or jam. We’ve got to try that! I also liked learning that in the 19th century it was popular to drink tea with a cube of sugar held between your teeth.

If there's a photo of tea drinking in Russia, there's usually a samovar in it.

If there’s a photo of tea drinking in Russia, there’s usually a samovar in it.

Since I think you’ll have a hard time getting your hands on some Russian tea in time for the Winter Olympics broadcast, I’ll leave you with something you can make for your Olympics-viewing tea time: Russian Tea Cakes. Fair warning that no one really knows the association between these cookies and Russia since they go by lots of names, including Mexican Wedding Cookies. Some people think the recipe may have migrated to Mexico with European nuns.

Russian Tea Cakes: Probably not *that* Russian, but delicious all the same.

Russian Tea Cakes: Probably not *that* Russian, but delicious all the same.

My own mother used to make them at Christmas time, and we called them Crescent Cookies, because they can be shaped as pretty little crescents. (And yet, in my family, Crescent Cookies were always just made to be round — a mystery that endures in my mind to this day.)

I’ll leave you with the recipe. And let’s all agree that during the Winter Olympics, we’ll whip up a batch, nibble them while sipping tea on the couch, and reflect on the things we miss about Apolo Ohno. That soul patch just doesn’t have the same swagger to it now that he’s just a commentator, does it?

Enjoy the Olympics, everyone. Cheers! Oh- in Russian, that’s На здоровье (Nahz dah-ROH-vee-ah.)  Now you’ve really earned a cookie.

 

Russian Tea Cakes

-Makes 4 dozen cookies, so invite your friends over-

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.
  5. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

 

Posted in Recipes with Tea, Tea Education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses
All that chocolate ... all that tea. It's not a bad thing.

All that chocolate … all that tea. It’s not a bad thing.

We have an unofficial culture of chocolate here in our office — what started as a treat turned into quite the habit. Several times a week Richard comes back from lunch with a bar of chocolate he breaks up and leaves on the unfolded wrapper in the middle of our office, where we’re all inevitably drawn to it, all afternoon long.

It has turned us into chocolate connoisseurs and label readers — there are now team members in our office who turn up their noses at anything less than 60 percent cacao. And forget almonds as a novel addition to your chocolate bar — we’ve indulged in dark chocolate that has included chunks of ginger, sea salt, orange peel, chiles and “popping candy,” AKA Pop Rocks. (Richard thinks milk chocolate is a “sacrilege”, so it’s ironic that we’re immune to being judged while eating a bar of chocolate that includes Pop Rocks.)  Is it tough to share chocolate with eight people? Not with chocolate as high quality as the kinds we indulge in — when you just need one little piece. Most of the time.

So it’s not much of a leap to realize that if we’re surrounded by great tea all day long (and drinking it, all day long), we need to figure out what chocolate we’d like to have with which tea. And just for good measure, we threw in a couple of less-than-artisinal types of chocolate, since it is early November, otherwise known as the season of leftover Halloween candy. Our chocolate line-up is pictured here.

A look at all of the chocolates we tasted with teas. (Apologies for the glare on those shiny wrappers.)

A look at all of the chocolates we tastes with teas. (Apologies for the glare on those shiny wrappers.)

And then we decided that the two leaves™ tea we’d be pairing with chocolate would be Organic Assam Breakfast, Organic Mountain High Chai, Organic Tamayokucha, Jasmine Petal Green, Organic Darjeeling and Alpine Berry.

And just in case you think we’re just a bunch of tea and chocolate junkies who wanted an excuse to indulge, I’ll have you know we took this assignment quite seriously! We rotated through the chocolate and tea pairings taking notes and making comments, eating pretzel sticks to cleanse our palates, and each got a really weird sugar-caffeine buzz as a result. It didn’t feel very good, honestly, but we’ll do anything for you, dear tea blog readers.

Here we are swooping in for chocolate so quickly that this photo is blurry.

Here we are swooping in for chocolate so quickly that this photo is blurry.

A few ringers and duds from the results:

Organic Tamayokucha and 70 percent Dark Chocolate: A dud. The strong (yet delicious) chocolate totally overpowered this delicate green tea.

Organic Assam Breakfast and Hershey Cookies ‘n’ Cream: A surprising ringer! While this “chocolate” (white chocolate is not really chocolate – it’s made from cocoa butter, milk and sugar) was too sweet for many of us, when you take a nibble (a very small nibble) immediately followed with black tea, it’s like adding milk and honey to your tea. Again — it’s pretty sweet, but also pretty good.

Jasmine Petal Green and Nestlé Crunch: See above. While this chocolate was deemed way too sweet by most of us, if you take the tiniest of bites of the chocolate and follow with a Jasmine Petal Green chaser, you’ll get a unique flavor experience that’s not unlike ordering dessert at a dim sum restaurant.

Organic Mountain High Chai and Dark Chocolate with Ginger: A mixed bag. Some of us liked the different spices mixed together (chai’s cinnamon and clove with the chocolate’s chunks of ginger) and some just found it overwhelmingly spicy.

Alpine Berry and Raspberry Dark Chocolate: Ding, ding, ding! A clear office favorite. The berry combination blew our socks off — Christy astutely pointed out that the sweet and fruity chocolate was the perfect accompaniment to the tart flavor of the hibiscus in our Alpine Berry.

A few extra notes:

Deep in chocolate contemplation. We should do this every day!

Deep in chocolate contemplation. We should do this every day!

* Richard loves desserts (including chocolate) paired with the subtle astringency of Organic Darjeeling. That said, pairing chocolate with a tea as nuanced as darjeeling is a tricky business. When we put this tea with moderately dark chocolate that included mint, most of us couldn’t taste the tea. The same went for 70 percent dark chocolate — Gigi loved it because she loves both dark chocolate and Darjeeling, but the rest of us felt the combo was overpowering. Could it be that when tasting these together, you really have to watch out for taking too big of a bite of chocolate?

* I won’t tell you which combo elicited this reaction, but when Lindsay wrote “reminds me of a stinky cat house” on her tasting form, I almost laughed tea out of my nose.

* To each his or her own, clearly. We had a lot of fun combining chocolate and tea, and sometimes that’s all that matters. Christy loved Organic Assam Breakfast with the Spicy Maya chocolate, but from what I heard, she was one of the few. If nothing else, she now knows that when the Spicy Maya bar of chocolate is calling her name from the expensive chocolate aisle of the supermarket, she’ll think to put the kettle on before unwrapping it when she gets home.

Richard makes an emphatic point about the Spicy Maya chocolate. Wish we could remember what it was ...

Richard makes an emphatic point about the Spicy Maya chocolate. Wish we could remember what it was …

Finally, a complete list of the chocolates we tasted, along with pertinent links if you want more info:

 

So now you’ve gotta tell us: Do you ever sip tea and eat your favorite chocolate at the same time? Give us the details, so we can try it ourselves!

 

 

Posted in Green Tea, Herbal Tea, Tea Education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 13 Responses

Quick! Think of your favorite mug.

My favorite mug at work -- steepin' some Tropical Green.

My favorite mug at work — steepin’ some Organic Tropical Green.

My favorite mug, seen blurry at 7 a.m., pre-caffeination.

My favorite mug, seen blurry at 7 a.m., pre-caffeination.

My friend Regna's favorite mug lost its handle long ago.

My friend Regna’s favorite mug lost its handle long ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was easy, wasn’t it? Your favorite mug might be sitting right next to you, or your fingers might be wrapped around it this very moment. It probably sits in a visible spot on a kitchen shelf, and occasionally takes up space in your car’s cup holder. If you’re a true black tea fan, the inside might be stained a faint brown color. There’s probably a good story about why you love this mug.

My husbands favorite mug, bought in Peru

My husband’s favorite mug, bought in Peru

One thing is certainly true: It’s yours and you love it. Tea just might taste better when you’re sipping out of it.

A funny thing happened when I started thinking about favorite mugs, and taking pictures of them: I noticed that everyone around me was clutching a favorite mug. Because that’s what we do with favorite mugs: we clutch them, since they’re near and dear.

I’m including a small smattering of photos I took just this morning of favorite mugs in my life — personally and among coworkers. Why am I doing this, you ask?

Because we’re starting a new craze here at two leaves. Remember Tebowing? C’mon, even if you’re not a sports fan, you remember Tebowing.

We’re introducing: TeaMugging.

My friend Bryant's favorite mug was won in a white elephant gift exchange.

My friend Bryant’s favorite mug was won in a white elephant gift exchange.

It’s basically what it sounds like: Taking a mug shot of your favorite mug. We’d love it if your photo include your hand holding the mug, because we know tea fans are shy and don’t necessarily want their faces in the photos (don’t believe us about this? Read #StuffTeaPeopleLike). And hey, a bonus if there’s some two leaves™ tea brewing in that mug, of course!

To truly kick off the art form of TeaMugging, we’ve got a contest! For the next two weeks or so (until Wednesday, Oct. 23), post your best TeaMugging photos (as many as you want!) on our Facebook page. We’ll pick the one we love the most and award you lucky TeaMugger $25 to spend on our tea, plus a two leaves™ “tea-shirt”!

So to all of you with favorite mugs, take a second, hoist it high, snap a picture, and post it with the hashtag: #TeaMugging.

Really — dazzle us! Grab that favorite mug, and get creative with this photo. And hey, even if you don’t win, you’ll end up with a nice portrait of your favorite tea mug, which you can frame and hang somewhere. That’s not creepy at all …

It has to be said: Chloe's mug collection would make anyone jealous.

It has to be said: Chloe’s mug collection would make anyone jealous.

Chloe gets artistic with her #Teamugging in the office.

Chloe gets artistic with her #TeaMugging in the office.

The first-ever instance of #Teamugging with Paisley Brand Tea!

The first-ever instance of #TeaMugging with Paisley Brand Tea™!

 

Posted in Contest, News from two leaves tea company | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Responses
We're taking iced tea quite literally!

We’re taking iced tea quite literally!

I’m not exaggerating when I say that summer in our neck of the woods is glorious. GLORIOUS.

We live in the mountains of Colorado, and after a long, cold and snowy winter, the summer up here is like the vacation you’ve been planning for the past six months. Don’t get me wrong — people like us live up here because we love all of the seasons, even the muddier ones. But summer is like our big chance to stop layering our clothing quite as severely, saunter about in flip flops for weeks on end and spend as much time outside — morning, noon and night — as possible.

So let’s talk about new ways to drink tea in the summer, shall we? Last summer we had an adventurous romp creating several fruity, tea-inspired drinks, and it was really fun. This summer we found ourselves with a bit less time, but a desire to be creative. Things got busy, we didn’t want to haul out the blender, and we definitely weren’t going to just grab a sugar-laden “sweet tea” or whatever is in the supermarket that is supposed to quench our summer thirst.

Gorgeous summertime refreshment (and the labbits that we love)

Gorgeous summertime refreshment (and the labbits that we love)

But what really caught our attention was a simple project that our CEO and founder’s lovely wife, Pam, whipped up the other day and took inspiring photos of: tea ice cubes! Just look at these photos and nod with us in agreement.

So, which tea will you steep and turn into ice cubes? It depends on what color and flavor you’re looking to impart into whatever drink you’re preparing. For a bit of astringency in a pretty light green, try Organic Tamayokucha. Green with a tropical vibe? Tropical Green. Pam warns us that while she loves ice cubes made out of Alpine Berry, that tea is a deep red and will turn whatever liquid you add to those cubes the same color — but she’s also got a penchant for bourbon poured over Alpine Berry ice cubes.

And — ooh, we just thought of this — what if you serve your guests lemonade, but pour it over Organic Assam ice cubes, so they more the cubes melt, the more they have a little Arnold Palmer flavor?

(You can easily Google and find little round ice cube trays like Pam used, but we found some really awesome shapes, including anchors and tropical fish right here.)

Experiment and have fun! This is summer, after all, and we can all be a bit more casual about tea drinking in the warmer months, can’t we? Tell us how it goes if you try one …

 

Posted in Green Tea, Iced Tea, Recipes with Tea | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment