SUCK UK – MyCuppa Mugs

At some point in every relationship you’re going to have to make a cup of tea, or a cuppa if you’re British, for the other person. And depending on how much of a tea fanatic they are, you may be judged by the color of your tea. And if you haven’t been paying attention to how they like their tea, oh boy will you be in trouble. There’s something just a little wrong about dating someone for several months and then realizing that they don’t even know how you take your tea.

Luckily there’s a mug out there to help you get out of this mess. Along the inside there are shades of tan/brown going from light to dark. Once you have the mug, all you have to do is have the other person pick the color that they like their tea. Or if you’re more sly, have them make it in the mug once and then see which swatch it matches.

I wish I had this when I was in England the first time and incorrectly made the wrong color tea for my flatmate. She’s a classic British woman, of course, and like my tea like my chocolate – milky.

A simple cuppa tea – saving relationships everywhere.

SUCK UK – MyCuppa Mugs

Britain’s leading nutritionist recommends daily high tea

Tea, little cucumber sandwiches and scones with Devonshire cream! – who wouldn’t want that every afternoon. Of course, if we ate our normal meals plus high tea it might not be too good for you. But Jane Clarke writes in the Daily Mail that we should have it:

So often, when we’re tired and hungry, we overeat; we then sleep badly and can pile on weight. It’s a classic scenario but easily addressed by having afternoon tea (and then a lighter supper, such as fruit, soup and salad).

The key there is a light supper – not a full on roast. I know if I have a little snack and tea late in the afternoon I’m more productive at work and less likely to head home early hungry for supper. And it gives me yet another excuse to try new teas.

Jane Clarke: High tea helps beat the afternoon slump | Mail Online

Fluoride and tea don’t mix – according to new research

According to recent research findings, fluoridation puts tea drinkers at risk of damaged bones, discolored teeth and soft tissue harm. What most tea drinkers probably don’t know is that tea has naturally high fluoride levels. Excess fluoride can weaken bones and discolor children’s un-erupted teeth. And you could be getting more fluoride than you realize if you live in a region that fluoridates its water.

Whenever I see new studies come out, I take them with a grain of salt. We don’t know who sponsored the research or what they were trying to prove that could have influenced the way they conducted their research. But this one gave me a little pause because I drink a lot of tea.

According to 1997 ADA data, you shouldn’t have more than 3 mg (women) or 4 mg (men) of fluoride per liter of water daily. It’s much lower for children. In 2006, the National Research Council reported the basis for those levels should be reduced.

In the study, four cups of tea delivered 0.8 to 1.8 mg of fluoride, reports Cao et al. in Food Chemistry. “Among populations habitually consuming black tea, water fluoridation is not only unnecessary but also possibly harmful…The target organs of chronic fluoride intoxication are not only the teeth and skeleton, but also the liver, kidney, nervous and reproductive systems,” they write.

A March 2008 Food and Chemical Toxicology study found up to 4.5, 1.8, and 0.5 mg/L fluoride in black, green and white teas, respectively, when brewed for 5 minutes (61 teas sampled). Brewed teas could contain up to 6 mg/L fluoride depending on the amount of dry tea used, the water fluoride concentration and the brewing time, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

The examples of what too much fluoride combined with tea at not good. Case Reports by Cao and Yi in the Journal of Fluorine Chemistry (February 2008) “Fluoride and Tea” showed:

  • A 57-year-old Englishman’s misdiagnosed Paget’s disease (weakened bones) with osteoarthritis was finally correctly diagnosed as skeletal fluorosis caused by his long-term heavy tea-drinking habit.
  • A Pakistani woman’s dental fluorosis resulted solely from tea which she consumed from age two.
  • A 36-year-old Chinese woman’s ten-years of joint pain disappeared when she stopped drinking tea.
  • French doctors identified 5 patients who developed bone softening (osteomalacia) from drinking tea.
  • An American woman’s fluoride-caused debilitating joint pains disappeared when her two-gallon-a-day iced-tea habit stopped.

While there are definite benefits of fluorinated water, if you’re a heavy tea drinker you might want to make your tea with filtered water…just in case.

USDA: Fluoride in Food

Learn the way of tea – Japanese tea ceremony

Avon Global Ambassador, Reese Witherspoon Participates in Traditional Tea Ceremony and Meets with Breast Cancer Survivors in Japan.  (PRNewsFoto/Avon Products, Inc., JUNKO KIMURA)

Avon Global Ambassador, Reese Witherspoon Participates in Traditional Tea Ceremony and Meets with Breast Cancer Survivors in Japan. (PRNewsFoto/Avon Products, Inc., JUNKO KIMURA)

Over the summer, Reese Witherspoon was in Japan as part of her Avon Global Ambassador duties to raise breast cancer awareness. And the lucky girl was treated to a Japanese tea ceremony – and dressed in a traditional kimono. I’m not too sure how traditional it was, because it involved sitting on proper chairs when you’re supposed to kneel – a difficult task for most Westerners when they’re not in a restrictive kimono.

So what should a Japanese tea ceremony entail? I’ve been lucky enough to experience one at a tea shop in Vancouver called T that holds a chadō once a month in their small traditional Japanese tea room within the shop. We crawled into the room, knelt on tatami mats (then switched to a more comfortable position when my kneels cried uncle), and Mrs. Saikaino of the local Urasenke Foundation hosted a “thin tea”, where she explained everything that she did during the short ceremony. A “thick tea” does not allow for talking and can go on for four hours – that I would love to experience once.

There are so many intricate details to the ceremony, but basically it involves making the green tea from a matcha powder, passing around the cup, turning it, and drinking from it. Wikipedia actually has a rather good explanation of the chadō.

To find a Japanese tea ceremony where you are, try contacting your local Urasenke Foundation. The one in New York holds regular demonstrations and classes. And the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA is about to host their annual Hakone Daichakai on October 19 – they’ll have several tea sites hosting thin or thick tea. Register by Oct 10.

Low-tech iced tea brewer – pitcher set

Even though Fall has arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere, there are days when you need a nice iced tea to help pick you up during long days at work. And if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, well this is just in time for your summer. Tea Forte has a nice little brewing/pitcher system for making fresh iced tea when you need it.

I haven’t tried it out yet, so I don’t know just how nice of an iced tea it makes. But it does look pretty.

Star Wars tea towels with a Japanese theme

I found this cute and zen-like tea towel from a company in Japan. This one should be entitled “R2D2, Mt. Fuji Off Kanagawa” lafter Hokusai’s print. On the site there’s a whole set of 7 Star Wars themed tea towels.

I can’t read Japanese so I’ll just make up names for them. There’s also a lightsaber Christmas, C3PO cherry blossoms, Vader and Yoda Christmas, zen stormtroopers, and Dark Side/Light Side dueling heads.

Seeing as I can only find them from on a Japanese site, you might want to order them now if you want them in time for the holidays. Of course, you’ll probably need your Japanese reading friend to help you make the order…

【楽天市場】オフィシャルグッズSTAR WARS 和てぬぐい:ココロ商店

Tea time wall clock

Looking for the gift that says it’s always time for tea? These cute clocks might be your cuppa tea. Not sure if it’s the image, but the color looks slightly off to be a real cuppa tea or coffee…but maybe you can switch out the face easily with a piece of card that looks more like the correct color of your tea.

Designer furniture, unique home accessories – Tea time wall clock

Sun-powered tea factory

You’ve probably heard of sun tea, putting a jar of tea in the sun to brew it, but there’s a tea company that’s using the power of the sun to make tea. Traditional Medicinals, an organic medicinal tea company in Sonoma County, California, has partnered with Akeena Solar to add 1,450 solar panels to power its 70,000 square foot tea factory and headquarters. And they’re saying that makes it the largest solar powered tea factory on earth. (I’m not going to research it…will have to take their word for it.)

This is good news for the environment and tea lovers who what to be eco-friendly in their choice of tea. Traditional Medicinals has offset 100 percent of its electricity usage with wind credits, and this new solar installation will improve upon its environmental objectives, generating 430,000 kilowatt hours per year of clean, renewable energy.

“Energy independence has been a long term goal at Traditional Medicinals” explains co-founder Drake Sadler. “Our company operates according to a set of ethical business principles and practices which embrace environmental stewardship, and advocate for social and cultural sustainability and preservation. Projects like this solar installation simply reflect our deep respect for the earth and humanity.”

It sounds like they take being enviromentally concious to heart. They were one of the firsts in organic and biodynamic agriculture and sustainable wild herb teas. And they help minimize their environmental impact with recycled and recyclable packaging, intensive on site recycling and a fleet of hybrid vehicles. Plus, the company’s 8.5 acre facility is nearly self-sustained with its own water source and purification system, a sophisticated waste water disposal system, a large stocked fish pond for fire suppression and uses dense native drought-resistant landscaping. Perfect for California’s long dry summers.

So not only can you take care of your body with Traditional Medicinals’ herbal teas, you can help take care of the environment too.


Lord of the Rings’ Viggo Mortensen stopped for tea possession

mate by Taras Kalapun.
If you’re devoted to a particular tea that’s hard to find – be careful going through security at the airport. Viggo Mortensen, of Lord of the Rings fame, frequently is stopped at the airport, because his favorite Argentinian mate is mistaken for pot. Plus the traditional ways of drinking it cause even more confusion. reports:

And it doesn’t help that Mortensen, who grew up in Argentina, drinks his tea with a pipe. He was recently stopped on his way to the Toronto Film Festival in Canada. He says, “They asked me if it’s a bong or a pipe to smoke pot. I’ve made the mistake of putting the mate in a plastic Ziploc bag instead of its original packaging, so that it ends up looking like pot.”

Lesson learned: Avoid carrying your loose tea without it’s original packaging or you might be spending more time at the airport than you’d like.


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Duo brings Siberian flare to fruit teas

Two sisters, Katya Popoff and Olga Lenova, are bringing fruit/black tea blends inspired by the ones they drank in Siberia to North America with Fully Loaded Tea. The duo moved to Canada with their parents as kids but missed the tea of their youth and launched the company in 2007. And just a year later Fully Loaded Tea was served at the Kodak Theatre during the StandUp2Cancer event on September 5, 2008. Stars at the event, including the boys from Mad Men (below), tasted their Cucumber Mojo White Tea and the Citrus Spiked Black Tea.

Vincent Kartheiser and Rich Sommer from the Emmy Award winning Mad Men.

Fully Loaded Tea – Blog