San Francisco International Tea Festival 2014

16 vendors participated during San Francisco tea festival 16 this year with interesting lectures and tea tastings for roughly 1000 visitors. It’s great to see so many tea festivals being organized all over the world to educate tea lovers on authentic loose tea and it’s wonderful culture. See below some pictures of this year’s festival in San Francisco.

Ferry Building, San Francisco, SF tea festival san francisco market hall

Ferry Building, San Francisco

SF tea festival tea tasting

Wanna try this ;)

SF tea festival free tea tasting 2014

Here’s your cuppa.

san francisco tea festival visitors

What should I try first?

I just can't wait to take a sip

Close-up shot, pouring tea

san francisco tea festival gaiwan

They look pretty!

san francisco tea festival gaiwan tea tasting

Yummy, it’s steeped perfectly!

san francisco tea festival enjoy tea 2014

No words can describe this taste…

s.f. tea festival tea shopping bags

Looking good!

s.f. tea festival girl drink tea

You’re never to young to start drinking tea. Watch out for the caffeine when drinking in the evening though.

5 Reasons Why Tea Breaks Are Good For You In Office

Did you know that more than 15% of office workers in US & Canada have never made a cuppa for their colleagues? If you have a busy job, maybe you belong this group. Most of the time, you probably feel rushed in office, so you just can’t be bothered to serve others. However, a humble tea round is one of the most effective ways to stay energetic, efficient and manage stress at work. Here’s why..

Note: For a tea lover like me, I am happy to know that the other 85% do take part in this wonderful office ritual.

tea in office

Connect With Your Colleagues

No matter how busy your day is, nobody is too busy to just say “Do you fancy a cuppa?”

I believe that tea always has been a drink that connects people. Originated from China, cities here are full of tea houses where people gather and share their stories. In addition, it’s very normal in China that business deals are discussed while steeping a cup of tea together on a traditional tea set like the one below.

teaset in office

But this doesn’t hold only for China. It’s an universal thing that, even small chats with people around you can have a significant impact on your sense of well being. No matter how busy your day is, nobody is too busy to just say “Do you fancy a cuppa?”

The office can sometimes be a boring or lonely place. I really believe these small gestures of including your colleagues in your tea round can brighten their day. In addition, a relaxing and friendly surrounding can never hurt. In some cases I think it can actually increase productivity as well as decrease employee turnover.

Take Care Of Your Eyes

tea bag eye mask hydrateNot everyone works behind a computer the whole day but many people do. More and more people suffer from dry eyes as a result of staring at the computer screen all day.

It’s highly recommended to give your eyes a break every hour. It could be just simply looking away from your bright screen and staring outside the window and let your eyes gaze at something far away. Even better, make yourself (and others) a cup of tea to stay hydrated (as if you are giving yourself a tea bag eye mask) while relaxing your eye muscles. Your precious eyes will thank you for it.

Improve Weight, Posture And Avoid Back Issues

Not only our eyes, but our bodies are suffering from more stressful office environments. It’s reality, millions of office people are suffering from obesity, posture issues and as a result often also back and neck problems.

Tea is proven to support any type of weight loss diet. The caffeine in tea makes you more alert, be more efficient and burn more calories while avoiding an overdose that you could get from drinking coffee. In addition, the caffeine effects is more evenly distributed over several hours while coffee gives you a kick but the effect works out fast. I regularly post articles about tea versus coffee. Recently, I also posted an article about why coffee is a silent career killer.

Not only increased calorie consumption helps you lose weight, as I mentioned before, tea helps to digest a heavy lunch. If you’re interested in other health benefits then click here for other posts related to this topic.

Get up now and make yourself a cup of tea. A short walk to the kitchen can give body’s blood circulation is given a short boost and your limbs and joints deserve some relaxation as well. So never shy away from those tea rounds. And by the way, do a few stretches while you’re waiting for your tea to be steeped ;)

Reduce Your Stress

There is more than enough academic proof that tea helps you feel more calm and less stressed.


It’s not just what’s in your teacup that’s doing its job, but the fact that you regularly divert your attention away from the overwhelming to-do list for a moment can be very helpful to refocus and get back to it. So if you’re too busy to steep a cuppa, then you are missing the trick to actually stay organized.

Stay Hydrated

Never underestimate the impact of being dehydrated it really effects your performance and mental focus.

This is kinda related to what I mentioned above. When you start drinking when you feel dehydrated, it’s already to late. The trick is to drink before that happens. Forgetting to drink or just ignoring your thirst can be very counterproductive. So in short, think about your basic needs, get up, steep tea, and be more productive.

Ginkgo Biloba Tea Health Benefits And Side Effects

Ginkgo Biloba is one of the world’s oldest surviving tree species and has been used for thousands of years by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners as a healing herb to improve blood circulation. In the West, the tea is widely used to enhance memory and concentration.

ginkgo biloba leaf

What is Gingko Biloba?

Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest living tree species originated from China, and it is one of the most extensively researched herbs. The Ginkgo Biloba tree has green leaves that grow up to 3 inches long. During the fall season, the leaves usually turn chartreuse in color, although some leaves turn golden yellow in excellent growth conditions. The ginkgo biloba tree has stout twigs that appear gray, tan or light brown in color. The leaves of this tree are very popular in China for making herbal tea.

Gingko Biloba Benefits for Health

For thousands of years Ginkgo Biloba tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat a variety of disorders and support health. In TCM, Ginkgo Biloba tea is primarily used for treating dementia, memory loss and age-related cognitive decline. It can also be used to treat asthma and lung congestion. Most of Ginkgo Biloba’s benefits are due to its ability to increase blood flow in the body.
ginkgo biloba tea

Gingko Biloba Side Effects

Ginkgo biloba extract might cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, racing heart, headache and stomach upset. In addition, it might not be used together with other medication. In general, the side effects of ginkgo biloba are rare and mild. In theory though, it may also increase the risk of bleeding, particularly among people with certain medical conditions. Do not use ginkgo biloba if you have a bleeding condition, seizure disorder or any similar health condition. If you are a pregnant women, a nursing mothers, or someone taking medication with blood-thinning properties, avoid consuming Ginkgo Biloba.

Why Coffee Is A Silent Career Killer And Why You Should Switch To Tea

If you believe that coffee can improve your performance at work, it’s not. In fact, it’s actually a silent career killer. Learn why you should sip tea instead.

The Benefits Of Coffee Reviewed

Many coffee drinkers drink coffee in office because it improves performance, but is this true? According to a 2010 publication that summarizes a wide body of research articles on this topic and concludes that even though caffeine increases alertness, it usually does not improve performance of learning and memory related tasks.

coffee or tea?

The study also finds that low caffeine consumption reduces anxiety while a high dose actually increases anxiety. At last, there is mix scientific evidence on age related effects. Some studies find no age related effects while other studies actually find a decline in mental performance when older people consume coffee.

Even more recent, a new research by the Johns Hopkins Medical School shows that caffeine-related performance improvement is nonexistent without caffeine withdrawal. In other words, stop drinking caffeine actually reduces your cognitive performance and has a negative impact on your mood. So the only way to get back to normal performance is to drink coffee, and when you do consume it, you feel like it’s improving your performance significantly. In fact, caffeine is only taking your performance back to normal level  for a short period!

At last a known side effect is that caffeine makes it harder for you to fall asleep. However, what less people know is that the worst comes when you finally fall asleep: caffeine disrupts the quality of your sleep by reducing the rapid eye movement (REM) when your brain is recuperating and processing emotions. As caffeine disrupts this, you will wake up the next day with an emotional handicap. So what happens after is that you will naturally long for another cup of coffee and the vicious cycle continues…

See also the image below for some other side effects of coffee.

coffee side effects

Why You Should Switch To Tea

But don’t worry, tea is luckily offered at many workplaces around the world besides coffee. Here’s you should make the switch:

  1. Tea contains caffeine, but at a much lower dose, so you will not easily get an overdose. Here’s a tea caffeine guide if you want to know more.
  2. There are decaffeinated teas for those who are very sensitive to caffeine (even though it will still contain some caffeine). Besides, there are many herbal teas that are free of caffeine such as this calming Chrysanthemum tea and Rooibos tea.
  3. Tea does not only contain less caffeine but it is also distributed over a longer period of time, so result in mood swings. See the image below for further clarification.

coffee tea caffeine table distribution over time

Purple Tea, Coffee Leaf Tea, Alcoholic Tea & More

Lots of things are happening around the world when it comes to tea. Here’s a summary of all the news that you have to know about from this week.

Purple Tea?

Nelson Kibara has been growing tea in the Kerugoya region for 40 years. He said the prices this year have been so low that he has been left with almost no profit at all. To survive, he said, he needs to diversify. He thinks growing ‘Purple tea’ is the solution…Read More

Invest In Pu Erh Tea

Pu erh prices can sometimes be from another planet as we mentioned before in our article about Taetea’s pu erh tea cake. A growing number of Chinese are buying pu erh as an investment, like wine. In one of China’s biggest recorded sales, two kilos of Pu’erh tea sold for five million yuan, or around 800,000 US dollars. But the market isn’t always stable…Read More.

Coffee, Tea Or Coffee Leaf Tea?

It’s a completely innovative way to look at the plant and it’s disrupting the tea industry as well due to its higher antioxidant content than green tea. The main question remains though: How does it taste?…Read more
If you happen to try it out in the future, but you don’t like the taste, you can always try out our coffee-tea recipe.

Working Conditions Of Tea Pickers In India

Somewhat less pleasant news but important to highlight are the bad working conditions and exploitation tea pickers in India’s tea industry. This goes back centuries but recently about 100 tea workers in the Dooars region of West Bengal have died over the last 12 months brings the feudal conditions under which these workers are forced to toil into sharp focus…Read More

Rain Fall & Tea Taste

With a longer rainy season as a result of climate change, a larger proportion of the annual harvest is likely to be of lower-quality. Another concern for farmers is that tea harvested in the monsoon season needs more drying, which can also reduce its antioxidant properties…Read More

Alcoholic Tea?

Recently we reported about this Mar-Tea-Ni, but the trend towards alcoholic tea is continuing! Here’s the worlds first certified organic alcoholic ice tea…Read More

Sichuan Tea Culture Combines Tea With Kungfu: Long Spout Tea Kettle

sichuan long copper teapot show

The Sichuan long spout copper teapot is probably one of the most remarkable type of teapots in the world. They are often used in China to entertain a tea crowd by combining a spectacular tea serving ritual in combination with kungfu moves.


These shows were very popular during the Tang and Song Dynasties as a form of leisure and were often combined with kungfu and even poetry reading. Today, when you visit the Sichuan province, pouring tea through a long sprout copper teapot is a touristic attraction that you can’t miss.

long spout copper teapot show

It takes years of practice to perfectly master the art of pouring tea through these teapots. A tea master needs to control the speed and make sure to aim precisely to let the tea liquor perfectly flow in the teacup.

Though these long spout teapots aren’t practical for daily use, there is one advantage that is worth to mention: Because the tea liquor travels a longer distance through the air, it’s at perfect consumption temperature when it’s in your cup.

sichuan tea show

Honeysuckle Tea & Pregnancy

honeysuckle tea flowers

Due to a recent publication regarding honeysuckle tea’s effect against flu, we have received many emails from customers asking us whether honeysuckle tea can be consumed during pregnancy. For this blog post we have consulted different Chinese medicine doctors to make sure we give a responsible answer.

What Chinese Medicine Doctors Say

Here’s a few answers we got:

Answer 1: Honeysuckle, can be consumed during pregnancy, but do not drink too much. Focus more  on drinking lots of water and avoid spicy food.

Answer 2: It depends on your health condition. In general, honeysuckle tea can be consumed during pregnancy. However, when it causes diarrhea you should stop immediately.

Answer 3: Avoid drinking honeysuckle tea in the early stages of pregnancy. Honeysuckle tea has a cooling effect on the body.

Answer 4: After the 3rd month of pregnancy, honeysuckle tea is safe to drink.

Answer 5: It’s safe to drink, but due to it’s cooling effect, I don’t recommend it as it will not have the health benefits that you are looking for during pregnancy.

Conclusions & Guideline Regarding Honeysuckle Tea & Pregnancy

As you can see from the answers above, they are all very different, but we can make the following conclusions based on this:

  1. Avoid drinking honeysuckle tea in the early stage of pregnancy (1-3months)
  2. If you decide to consume, then don’t drink too much. Limit to a cup a day.
  3. If it causes stomach issues, stop consumption directly.

Do You Want a Tea Cocktail Mar-tea-ni or a Bubble Tea with Mixology

bubble tea mixology

Tea is the new coffee! As more and more restaurants, cafes and hotels starting to sell more exotic teas, a few of them are now trying to get creative in order to offer something unique. Here are two very good examples:


Berkeley’s Asha Tea House (2086 University Ave.) has always been a place for people with different levels of tea appreciation, including teenagers craving sweet boba drinks and connoisseurs who spend hours steeping top-grade high-mountain oolong leaves in a traditional gaiwan. Now there’s something for the boozehounds among us, too: Since August, Asha has been serving a small selection of tea cocktails. The drinks, which are available after 5:30 p.m., offer convincing evidence that tea and alcohol do, in fact, mix — better than you might imagine. Read more
tea cocktail

Bubble Tea with Mixology

The Frozen Old Fashioned bubble tea cocktail at MoPho tastes just like a standard version of the classic drink, but with daiquiri-like texture of blended ice and the squishy presence of tapioca pearls or gummy blobs of flavored jellies sucked through a fat straw. “I don’t think you can get any more fun and lighthearted than a boba tea,” said Jeff Gulotta, co-owner and manager of MoPho. (Gulotta, like many, prefers the more traditional word “boba” over the more popular “bubble” in describing the Southeast Asian drink. Read more

Given these two examples it seems that the possibilities are endless. Have you have tried to make a cool tea drink before at home? Perhaps you should try out making this bubble tea and add some additional creativity to it. Feel free to share.

Honeysuckle Iced Tea Recipe

honeysuckle iced tea

With the health benefits of honeysuckle tea in the international spotlight, we would like the share a wonderful recipe. The cool thing about this recipe is that fresh flowers are used, while in China this herbal tea is made after the honeysuckle flowers are dried.

With Easter and Passover behind us, spring is really and truly here.  The honeysuckle vine draped across my front porch is in bloom, and  every time I go in or out I’m blown away by the scent.  I’ve been determined to use those incredible – edible  flowers somehow.  I’m always inspired by ingredients I can find  in my own yard, (or my neighbor’s!)  Over the last three years we’ve moved so often that I’ve tried to reduce the sting by challenging myself to find the elements in each new landscape that I can incorporate into my cooking.    I tried to make you a honeysuckle ice cream, but I’m going to have to keep working on that one, the flavor just didn’t come through.   Honeysuckle tea is more mainstream, in fact its been used medicinally by the Chinese for thousands of years.   I love it for its delicate scent, and the nectar is sweeter than honey.  I was amazed by how much flavor I got out of a jarful of  flowers.  If you have access to a vine, you’ve got to try this.

Honeysuckle tea is made with the delicate white and yellow flowers of the Chinese Honeysuckle vine.  It’s considered an invasive species, so gardeners and conservationists don’t like it, but it is pretty common, so chances are there’s a vine or two near you.  The flowers come in pairs, and you’ll want to pluck them right at their base, where the nectar is.  Look for freshly opened flowers, and avoid or pick out the leaves, stems, and berries.

Pour scalding water over the blossoms

The tea is made by pouring scalding water over the blossoms, and letting it cool at room temperature.

Let it chill in the refrigerator

Then you can chill your infusion in the refrigerator.

Filter the tea

I left mine overnight before straining it through a coffee filter or tea filter.

Customize and decorate!

The finished tea has a lovely pale celadon color, a light floral scent, and a surprisingly sweet flavor. Pour over ice, and add a sprig of mint. Whatever you do, though, don’t add honey before tasting your tea — it’s incredibly sweet all by itself.  You might want a squeeze of lemon if you don’t like sweet tea.

iced honeysuckle tea

With the winter coming you might not be super interested in iced tea, but it can never hurt to stock up as it’s going to be useful when you are facing a cold or flu!

The recipe is from the

Honeysuckle Tea Act As ‘Virological Penicillin” Against Flu

chinese honeysuckle

Honeysuckle tea has been consumed in China for centuries for it’s effects against flu. Recently scientist from Nanjing university has confirmed through research this is not only a tradition.

The Telegraph reports that:

Trials showed that it could be effective against several variants of flu which have caused major public health scares in recent years, including H1N1 “Spanish Flu” and H5N1 avian flu.

The team from Nanjing University found that after drinking a “soup” of honeysuckle, mice absorbed a molecule from the plant known as MIR 2911 into their bloodstream and lung tissue.

The molecule was shown to suppress various types of flu virus by blocking two genes which are used by the influenza virus to replicate itself.

With the benefits of honeysuckle confirmed, which Chinese herbal tea will be next?