Introducing: Art of Tea Collections

By October 21, 2016 Brewing Tea

This week, we unveiled a new look, and with it, new collections. Your favorite teas are still available through Art of Tea, but some of them are now available through our collections. We grouped together some of our customers’ most beloved teas and put them together in categories and we created two new collections that we hope will provide you with a unique tea-drinking experience.


Enhance your Days with the Time Collection 

From the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep, we’ve found the perfect tea for you. Varying in levels of caffeine and flavors, the Time Collection perfectly matches the time of day. This group of teas span the waking hours of the day at three hour intervals: 6:00 am, 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 9:00 pm. If you’re conscious about caffeine, the Time Collection is a great option. While the morning and early afternoon teas are caffeinated, your day will round off with two caffeine-free tisanes. We’ve paired these times with Art of Tea products you might already be familiar with. 

Wake up early with our 6:00 AM (Ancient Forest Blend); sip on 12:00 pm (Peach Oolong) at lunch, and wind down with 6:00 PM (Welcome). We’ve taken the guess work out of finding the best tea for the moment. After all, different teas are great at different times of the day!

Travel the World with the Location Collection

While many of our teas come from Japan, China, or India, the flavor of tea can really transport you anywhere. That’s the mission of our Location Collection. Inspired by some of the most beautiful places in the world, the teas in this collection will take you on a sensuous journey around the world. While some of our existing teas fit the bill for some locations, like Amore for Tuscany, some locations demanded a brand new blend.

Big Sur, Kyoto, and Brooklyn are destinations that got us thinking, creating new flavors that will remind you of their destination namesakes. Big Sur marries the earthy and mint flavors of the Pacific Northwest in one graceful blend. Kyoto is an elevated take on Gen Mai Matcha, hand-blended by a world-class tea provider in Kyoto, Japan.  And Brooklyn brings the bold flavor of the borough with black tea and Madagascar vanilla notes. 

Try Popular Teas with our Other Collections

We gave our most popular teas a new look and grouped them together in easy-to-shop collections. You’ll find fan favorites like Earl Grey, White Coconut Creme, and Tali’s Masala Chai in our Classic Collection. Rare, single-origin teas like Silver Needle, Immortal Nectar, and Alishan Oolong are all part of our Single Origin Collection. Some of the best teas to use as iced tea, like Hibiscus Cooler, Garden of Eden, and Passionfruit Jasmine are in our Iced Tea Collection. Ayurvedic blends, like Endurance, Bright Eyed, and Happy Tea are in the Wellness Collection. Find the perfect after dinner treat, like Chocolate Monkey or Caramelized Pear, in our Dessert Collection.

We’re thrilled to present these new flavors, new collections, and old favorites and we can’t wait for you to try them all. Look out for these beautiful new designs at your favorite cafe and keep an eye out for matching tins for the home – coming soon!




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How to Benefit from “Tea Time”

By October 19, 2016 History and Culture of Tea, Our Beliefs

You’ve probably heard about some health benefits of drinking tea. From magazine articles to news segments, tea is often celebrated as a healthy alternative to soda or other sugary beverages. The one benefit that’s rarely discussed isn’t related to health, though. It’s the benefit to your mental well-being. To reap the full benefits of tea, you’ll need to look beyond just consuming the warm liquid in your cup. You’ll need to consume a tea drinking experience. 

The practice of steeping and drinking tea can almost be spiritual. Historically, tea is often tied to ceremonies and tradition. Silver Needle is said to have been picked by virgins and served to emperors. Matcha was once enjoyed by the wealthy in ceremonial settings. These ceremonies might seem archaic or stuffy now, but the principle can be applied to modern tea drinking.


Enhance Your Tea Drinking Experience

To bring the serenity of the tea drinking ceremony into your life, think about how you usually digest food and drink. Do you eat quickly while you scroll through your Newsfeed? Do you slurp down your tea while you shoot out an email? Is consumption a sped-up, out-of-focus action that accompanies the hustle and bustle of your life? Or is it a sacred time for you?

Making time to drink tea is easy. First, put more intention into your tea brewing process. If you usually start multitasking while your tea steeps, stop. Instead, carefully select your tea, pour in water that’s the appropriate temperature and steep for the right amount of time. Take this moment for yourself. You can even make a point of using this time as a detox from screens and technology.

You’ll also want to make sure you have the right environment to drink tea. Whether that means cozying up on your favorite chair or making your office workspace more hospitable, you want to make your experience as pleasant and relaxing as possible. Set yourself up to fully experience your tea from the first sip until the last sip. 

As you start to drink your tea, try to focus on what you’re sensing. 80% of what you’re experiencing when you drink tea is through your sense of smell. When you remove your tea leaves from your cup or teapot, smell them and try to figure out what the tea reminds you of. As you actually sip the tea, let it pass over each part of your tongue so you can taste each flavor note. Different sections of the tongue sense different tastes, so it’s important that you expose as much area of the tongue to the tea as you can. 

By creating a moment for yourself every time you drink tea, you’ll increase your own mindfulness and you’ll find that your tea drinking can provide an experience that goes beyond taste and smell. 



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Why Does Tea From the Grocery Store Taste Different?

By October 17, 2016 Brewing Tea

Tea drinkers who’ve grown up on tea from the grocery store might notice that Art of Tea’s products taste different. For one, they’re not as strongly sweet. They also take some care to prepare. These aren’t bad things! In fact, these are signs that the tea is higher quality. That’s why we suggest learning how to brew and steep Art of Tea tea. The tea leaves and blend components are different than those found in cheaper teas.


Tea Leaf Size and Quality

Next time you bag your own loose leaf tea using Art of Tea filter bags, grab a pre-packaged tea bag from your pantry and hold the two bags in your hands to compare. They feel different, right? That’s because the tea leaves are different.

Of course both Art of Tea and other tea brands use Camellia Sinensis or similar tisane ingredients, but the tea grade is not the same. You can actually think of these two grades of teas like you would potato chips.

When you open a bag of chips, the top few are potato-chip-commercial-worthy perfection. They’re usually whole, unbroken, and the highest quality. Those are the same qualities we look for when we source teas. We want whole tea leaves of the right size. These larger tea leaves are superior because as they brew and unfurl, they release flavor from more constituents of the leaf. Brewing whole leaf tea also reduces bitterness and unwanted astringency.

When brewing a bagged tea from the grocery store, you’re often brewing a bag of “fannings.” Fannings are dusty bits of broken tea leaves. Of course, these tea bags also contains larger pieces of tea leaves, but the pieces are smaller. You can compare these leaves and dusty bits to the chips at the bottom of the bag. When you pour the final crumbs of potato chips into your mouth, (Don’t worry. We’ve all done it.) they’re flavor-packed and full of concentrated salty flavor. The flavor can be overpowering and unpleasant.

Natural vs. Artificial Flavoring

When you drink a single origin tea, like Dragonwell, Silver Needle, or Gyokuro, you’re just drinking Camellia Sinensis. The leaves are processed through steaming, oxidizing, drying, baking, or roasting, but otherwise, the tea isn’t altered. Blends are a little different, though. Blends contain tea leaves, of course, but then we add other components, like botanicals, dried fruits, cacao, or other tea types. Sometimes, we add naturally sourced flavors. These flavors don’t contribute to the flavor of the tea as they do the smell. In fact, we like to think they contribute “essence.” They give you the essence of a fruit, the essence of vanilla, or the essence of another component. 

Natural flavors are fleeting, too. Imagine a piano. When you play a key, the sound appears and then disappears. It’s a short moment of sound. That’s what natural flavors are like. They appear, and they disappear after a moment. Artificial flavors are like a note played on the piano while you hold down a pedal. Flavor appears and then lingers, like a prolonged note. Artificial flavors are a little bit stronger, too. Rather than capturing an essence of something, they replicate the flavor. Sometimes these flavors, like the fannings, can be overpowering. 

We never use strictly artificial flavoring in our tea blends. Some companies do. If you’re having a difficult time distinguishing the taste of natural and artificial flavors, think back to a time when you drank a fruit punch or grape-flavored sports drink. That long-lasting, sometimes “chemically” taste is artificial flavoring. 

Keep all of these factors in mind next time you drink Art of Tea or a pre-bagged tea from the grocery store shelves. You’ll begin to notice the nuances that make Art of Tea’s products different and you’ll understand why we covet those top-of-the-bag potato-chip tea leaves the way we do. 

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