Delight in Our New & Improved Gourmet Teas!

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We’re thrilled to announce exciting changes with our Gourmet Teas, inspired by Seattle’s rich landscape and vibrant culinary scene. A delicious twist on tradition blends timeless teas with a dash of whimsy, yielding an unexpected and sophisticated cup.

If you’re already a fan of the line, you’ll love the changes we’ve made.

The new and improved teas now feature contemporary watercolor artwork that focuses on ingredients along with updated certifications for USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, and Gluten-Free. Boxes now contain 16 tea bags.

All 12 teas remain the same great blends that you love with refreshed names to reflect key ingredients and flavor profile.

The new and improved Gourmet Teas are available now! Shop the line here.

Meet the new line-up below!

Blackberry Hibiscus 72dpiBlackberry Hibiscus formerly Northwest Blackberry
Steep a vivacious, fruity tisane that welcomes festivity. With its tangy character and sweet aroma, this ruby-hued blend is the life of the party. The taste of blackberry mixes with citrusy lemongrass as hearty hibiscus petals tango with tart rosehips. A sprinkling of spearmint melds with a dash of sweet licorice root. This unforgettable infusion tastes like an herbal ode to sangria and plays well with ice.

Breakfast Blend 72dpiBreakfast Blend formerly Celtic Breakfast
Rise and shine, ready for whatever the day may hold over a robust cup of tea. Bold Assam and smooth Ceylon black tea leaves blend together for a hearty brew that will invigorate you with its wide-eyed flavor and centering aroma. Savor this timeless classic, served straight up and steaming hot. Add a splash of milk or a squeeze of lemon. Poured over ice is mighty   fine too.

Chai Spice 72dpiChai Spice formerly Chai Spice Black
Journey to a spice market as you drink this enticing black tea. Assertive Assam black tea leaves team up with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and a dash of black pepper for a lively, yet balanced blend with a clean finish. Serve it as they do in India with your favorite milk and sweetener to soften the warming seasonings and create a creamy customized cup of tea you will crave hot or iced.

Chamomile Mint 72dpiChamomile Mint formerly Chamomile Spearmint
Long sought out to usher in calm and contemplation, chamomile’s sunny blossoms and aromatic fragrance continue to offer contentment in a cup. Spearmint leaves mingle with chamomile flowers while a squeeze of Italian bergamot imparts a slight citrusy note in this relaxing herbal infusion. Cozy up to a steamy cup or serve this honey-hued elixir over ice for an uplifting glass of refreshment.

Dragon Well 72dpiDragon Well formerly Dragon Well Green
An ancient tale and love of the leaf meet in a cup of classic green tea. Chinese folklore describes water from a well nourishing a tea so exquisite it became the tribute to emperors and is now offered to you. Pan-fired green tea leaves impart buttery notes for a palate-pleasing brew that is subtly toasty and will fill you with serenity. Serve it hot or over ice for a contemplative cooler.

Earl Grey Lavender 72dpiEarl Grey Lavender formerly Earl Grey with Lavender
Take the road less traveled when you sip a cup of this classic tea redefined. Full-bodied and smooth, Indian and Sri Lankan black teas blend with a squeeze of citrus as Italian bergamot scents the tea leaves. English lavender blossoms gently infuse their fragrance and flavor into this elegant tea that enthralls at the start of the day and well into afternoon tea. Try iced for a refined refreshment.

Jasmine Green 72dpiJasmine Green formerly Jasmine Green Tea
This tranquil green tea evokes evening strolls where the sky is strewn with stars, the air scented by flowers, and anything is possible. Jasmine blossoms perfume green tea leaves with their intoxicating flavor and fragrance before the petals are removed. The aromatic bouquet of floral notes makes this green tea a classic. Serve hot or over ice for an enchanting experience.

Licorice Mint 72dpiLicorice Mint formerly Liquorice Peppermint
Indulge your senses with a luxurious tisane. The pop of bright peppermint is softened by naturally sweet licorice root to provide an alluring finish to this aromatic herbal infusion. This full-bodied blend is smooth, silky, and compelling. Serve hot for a luscious, pleasing drink or over ice for an invigorating departure from everyday iced tea.

Mango Black 72dpiMango Black formerly Mango Ceylon with Vanilla
Set your course for paradise with this tempting black tea paired with a touch of tropical fruit. Smooth Ceylon and bold Indian black teas mingle with notes of mango evoking the aroma and flavor of fresh cut fruit. A hint of Sumatran vanilla imparts a subtle sweetness to this luscious tea that also satisfies when served over ice.

Mint Green 72dpiMint Green formerly Moroccan Mint Green Tea
From a Marrakesh market to a backyard herb garden, we blend old world tradition with Pacific Northwest flavor. Our interpretation of this Moroccan classic combines full-bodied green tea with mellow lemongrass while Washington-grown peppermint and cooling spearmint brighten the cup. This lightly caffeinated, half mint, half green tea blend also refreshes when served iced.

Peach Green 72dpiPeach Green formerly Green Tea with Essence of Peach
Reminiscent of the lazy days and sultry nights of summer, this blend entices with its heady fragrance and smooth fruit-kissed flavor. Freshly steamed green tea blends with the essence of ripe peaches, citrusy lemongrass, and tart rosehips in a delicately sweet, revitalizing infusion. Steep a cup to drink hot or pour it over ice to linger on the porch just a bit longer.

Vanilla Rooibos 72dpiVanilla Rooibos formerly Rooibos (Red Bush Tea) + Vanilla
Satisfy your cravings with a wholesome treat any time of day or night. Native to South Africa, the leaves of the red bush, known as rooibos (pronounced roy-boss), brew into an earthy, rich, mahogany-hued herbal infusion. A kiss of Sumatran vanilla draws out the sweet honey notes in rooibos for a cup that satisfies when served hot or over ice.

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Another Update on Our Japanese Teas

Now that we have started packaging tea harvested after the earthquake and tsunami events of March 11, 2011 in Japan, we wanted to share updated information about our continued efforts to oversee the safety of our Japanese teas.

We are working with an accredited lab to conduct testing for the post-earthquake teas. Test results showed levels “less than or not exceeding 1 becquerel,” indicating virtually no contamination. This result is dramatically lower than the stated standards of the United States, Europe and Japan and restores confidence in the safety of these teas. Also, tea is steeped and not ingested, thus, reducing exposure.

All of our Japanese teas (Premium Japanese Green, Bancha Hojicha, Twig Kukicha, & Genmaicha) are sourced from Nara and Kyoto Prefectures only.  These prefectures have no reported fallout and reside over 300 miles from the Fukushima area.

Additionally, in March 2012, our buyer, Eric Ring, visited tea estates in Japan to witness and ensure that proper safety protocols are enforced.

We hope you find this information helps you make your tea buying decisions. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide you with any additional reports that may come forward.

As always, we are deeply committed to maintaining quality, safe, and pure products for all of our customers.

Chai It, You’ll Like It: How to Make Loose Leaf Chai

As we move toward the darker, colder days of winter, it’s the perfect time to rekindle old traditions and begin new ones  ̶  especially yummy ones made on the stove!  For those of you that have never made loose leaf chai before, winter is the perfect time to give it a try.

We offer a couple different sizes of loose leaf chai: a 2.1 oz box and a 2 lb bag, also in decaffeinated versions too!

Here’s a couple recipes to get you started:

Traditional Method

Combine in a pan 2/3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of loose leaf chai. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add 1/3 cup milk (or your favorite non-dairy alternative). Simmer 5 minutes and strain into a serving cup. Add sweetener to taste, then sip and savor. Makes one serving. Increase portions for multiple servings.

Untraditional Method

In a French press, pour 2/3 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon of loose leaf chai and steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm 1/3 cup milk in a saucepan. Press and pour brew into a serving cup. Add warmed milk and desired sweetener. Makes one serving. Increase portions for multiple servings.

Remember:  You can experiment with proportions. Use more chai mix for a stronger, spicier tea. Use more milk for a smoother taste. Try adding a dash of vanilla extract to your cup, or serve it cold. Chai is as individual as the maker!

What is your favorite way to make chai? What sweetner or creamer do you use, if any? Have you tried loose leaf chai before, or do you love the convenience of a tea bag? Let us know below, and one random winner will be chosen to receive a 2.1 oz box of Original Chai and Decaffeinated Chai, plus a box of our Chai Spice! We’ll choose a winner on Wednesday, November 23rd!

Mint & Green Tea: A Moroccan Tradition

I’ve always been a fan of our various mint-infused teas, but until recently I was unfamiliar with why our green tea blended with mint was called Moroccan. I did some research and was interested to learn that mixing green tea with spearmint leaves is a long-held Moroccan tradition, dating back to the 18th century when British merchants brought chests of green tea ashore during their return trips from China.  Since Moroccans have long been using homegrown mint and other herbs in their cuisine, adding mint to tea was a natural evolution of the beverage. The tea remains popular today, often used in hospitality customs as well as more elaborate tea ceremonies. It is so popular in fact, that Morocco is the number one importer of Chinese green tea in the world.

The traditional tea ceremony begins with pouring a small amount of boiling water into a silver-plated teapot to warm the pot. Then, green tea and mint leaves are added. Next, the pot is shaken to rinse the ingredients, and the water is discarded. Sugar is then added and the teapot is filled with boiling water.  After steeping for a few minutes, the tea is poured into glasses from high above, sometimes 12 inches or even more, so that a froth is created on the drink’s surface. Moroccan teapots are even designed so they can pour from a distance to aerate the tea and create this effect. Colorful, ornate tea glasses often enhance the experience as they are used to serve guests.

To get your fix of this North African favorite, try our Green Moroccan Mint in our Original Line or our Moroccan Mint Green in our Gourmet Line. Or, if you want to create your own tea ceremony experience, brew our loose leaf Gunpowder Green Tea, fresh mint, and your preferred sweetener, if desired.  You may want to give pouring for frothiness a try, but don’t worry-no silver-plated teapot required.

Staff Favorites: Twig Tea

One of the best things about working here at Choice Organic Teas is the sheer range of teas we get to try. There’s a tea here to fit every taste, and we drink them all. The spectrum of teas that we offer means that every employee has a different favorite. And like any tea drinker, we’re passionate about our favorites. So each month, one of us here at Choice Organic Teas writes about our favorites and what they mean to us.

This month Anne-Marie Phillips, our Head of Sales and Marketing, shares her favorite. Anne-Marie spends her day making sure that our tea can be found all across the country. Her favorite? Our Twig Tea.
“Like many tea drinkers, I tend to have one particular tea that I consider my daily, “go-to” tea, but because we have so many teas to choose from, I’ve gone through a number of favorites over time. First it was Genmaicha, then I couldn’t get enough of our Oolong. Our Black Tea never lets me down, and even the distinctive Russian Caravan served as my regular morning cuppa for a short time.

But hands down, my tried and true tea, the tea I can drink all through the day, is the humble Twig Tea, a.k.a. Kukicha, a traditional Japanese tea made from aged and roasted twigs of the tea plant rather than the tea leaf.

Twig tea is naturally low in caffeine since most of the caffeine is concentrated in the leaf of the tea plant. Its rich, roasted flavor provides the warmth and rousing aroma I crave in the morning while providing just enough caffeine throughout the day without keeping me up all night.

Its mellow flavor makes it quite versatile, pairing well with just about any food, but I find it especially good with sushi or as a dessert tea, particularly involving anything with chocolate!

While maybe not as common as some other teas in the U.S., Twig tea has long been a mainstay for those following a macrobiotic diet and ours is the preferred tea for a Taste of Health & the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Holistic Holiday at Sea, a healthy living cruise in the Caribbean. I was first introduced to Twig tea by a friend fighting cancer and have since learned it is well known among naturopaths for its antioxidants, purported liver and kidney cleansing properties, and as a remedy for indigestion.

I’ll usually brew a cup of our Original Twig Tea for work or when I’m on-the-go, and brew a pot of our loose leaf Twig Tea- Kukicha when I’m at home and have more time. Either way, I can’t help but help but think I am drinking to my health with each cup.”

What are your healthy teas?

Spice Tea for a Chilly Day

On a cold day, there are few things more pleasant than a cup of spiced tea. The hot tea, the warming spices, a blanket by the fireplace…a perfect winter scene.

Our spice teas are particularly wonderful after a day out in the cold. My personal favorite, our Orange Spice, focuses on traditional blends of citrus and warming spices. Citrus is traditionally added to wintry spiced drinks, like German Glühwein or English mulled cider. The brightness of the citrus draws out the warming quality of the spices, making a perfect match. The spice mixture we use is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, all classic tastes that are even good for you. Mixed with black tea, it’s a new way to have a traditional European favorite.

From the other side of the world, similar ideas are used in the creation of chai tea. This daily staple of India and Nepal refers to a blend of black tea and spices, with every family and roadside stand offering something slightly different. Traditionally, it’s served with milk and sweetener, but the old saying goes that “chai is as individual as its maker.”

We offer three ways to get your chai fix here at Choice Organic Teas. Our pre-made Chai mix, available in a box good for about 20 servings or a 2lb bag, is a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and black pepper with ground Indian black tea. When a pot is brewed up on the stove, the whole room fills with the scent of spices. It’s great to share with friends and family, and there’s even a decaf version for the winter nights.

If you just want a great, convenient cup of chai on the go, though, our Chai Spice Black Tea from the Gourmet line is perfect. Made of the same blend of spices as our regular Chai, it comes in a box of 20 traditional teabags. It’s great for a warming burst in the morning, or settling into work after a chilly commute.

What teas do you use to warm up?

Valentine’s Day Tea & Chocolate Pairings by Relationship Stage

"Valentine's Day"Want something special for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day? Create a “mood” with some well-paired tea and chocolate! The right tea with the right chocolate might just get your significant other in the mood for love.

According to William Leaman, executive chef and owner of Bakery Nouveau, Seattle, “Carefully chosen chocolates can pair wonderfully with teas. They can share many of the same characteristics, such as floral or fruit aromas and varying levels of astringency from tannins. The key is in finding the right combination that offers either balanced flavor contrasts or reinforces a particular note. Paired correctly, a tea and chocolate combination can offer a greatly enhanced tasting experience.”

We have a few tantalizing combinations to suggest that are sure to impress your sweetie and created some playful suggestions as to what stage of a relationship might call for which kind of tea and chocolate pairing.

Crush – dark chocolate with fruit & nuts and Gourmet Earl Grey with Lavender

Light-headed, giddy, can’t get the object of your affection off your mind? Sounds like the distinct signs of a serious crush. Show them how you feel with dark chocolate with fruit and nuts paired with Gourmet Earl Grey with Lavender tea. The citrus from bergamot oil in Earl Grey compliments the sweet flavors from the fruit. The herbal nuance of lavender balances the acidity of the tea and chocolate while complimenting the earthiness of the nuts. This is a tantalizing combination for any “wooer” or “wooee.”

Sweet Romance – white chocolate paired with Whole Leaf Organics Jasmine Green

True white chocolate (made with real cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla) pairs perfectly with tea scented with jasmine blossoms. Jasmine comes from the Persian “yasmin,” meaning gift from God. The ethereal nature of this floral green tea compliments the rich and creamy, yet delicate flavors of cocoa butter. This romantic combination of a sensuous tea and uncommon confection is a delicacy that is sure to get the attention of your Romeo and make a lasting impression on your Juliet.

Passionate New Love – lemon and white chocolate ganache and Gourmet Chai Spice Black Tea

Whether in love, or when pairing chocolate and tea, it’s important to share similarities while complimenting your differences. Like a new romance, a spiced tea like Chai offers exciting complex notes and flavors, while the lemon provides a refreshing contrasting simplicity that compliments the balance of spices. And the combination of the exotic spices is the perfect compliment to the flush of new love.

Steady Relationship – salted caramels in chocolate with Original Darjeeling

Salt, one of the most essential minerals, is prized for its ability to preserve the most precious provisions. Traditionally cherished above all other black teas, Darjeeling tea is often referred to as the Champagne of teas. Show your sweetie how much you value your enduring love by making an elegant toast with this classy combination. Darjeeling’s naturally bright fruit flavor and subtle floral aroma compliment the creamy caramel, chocolate and hint of salt.

Long-Term Love -75% cacao paired with Whole Leaf Organics Lychee White

True chocolate for a true love. We tend to crave stronger flavors as we get older and our palates become less sensitive. Dark chocolate with 75% or more cacao content offers a robust, satisfying indulgence. Dark chocolate has more tannins and higher acidity and yearns for the subtler flavors of white tea to help balance the stronger flavors. Lychee fruit adds a touch of sweetness and a silky compliment to the robust dark chocolate, making an enduring blend that’s strong and tender.

Turbulent Love – “Rocky Road” with Gunpowder Green

An olio of dark chocolate, nuts and fluffy marshmallow signifies the roller coaster element of some love affairs – sweet but with a salty, sassy, complex undertone. A little messy, if you will. Gunpowder Green Tea has a smoky flavor that pairs well with the salty and sweet combination of Rocky Road and smooths the experience.

For the tantalizing chocolate varieties suggested above contact Bakery Nouveau, or visit your local chocolatier.

What do you think of our pairings? Do you have a favorite tea & chocolate pairing you’d like to suggest? Send us your ideas!