CMO Jessica Kochik manages digital marketing and ecommerce at The Tea Spot. A scientist by training, she’s a keen analytical thinker, project manager, and our design eye. Jessica geeks out on spreadsheets, lives to travel, and is the proud parent of a baby girl. This queen of shavasana is also obsessed with yoga.
Inspired by the books and products surrounding Bulletproof Coffee, we wanted to bring it back to its roots in tea – Butter Tea to be exact. Embraced by many in the Paleo and Crossfit communities, Bulletproof Coffee and Bulletproof Tea are touted by fitness gurus to both satisfy and energize. These power drinks are rooted in traditional Tibetan Butter Tea, or “po cha”, a rich brothy brew made from Pu’erh, salt, and yak butter.
Butter tea has been a staple throughout many regions of the Himalayas for over a thousand years, where it’s drunk throughout the day for its warming and energy-rich character. It helps provide sustenance for everyday living in the harsh, cold and arid conditions at high altitude. Many westerners have been exposed to this tradition while traveling to Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and India, where it’s drunk by monks, sherpas, and everyday people.
If you want to try this intriguing concoction without the expense of traveling halfway around the world, you can simply use a few substitutions to make it yourself. Since it’s likely impossible to find freshly churned yak butter at your local market, you can substitute organic butter from a cow and virgin coconut oil, to give it the right consistency (and a lovely coconut aroma). Instead of using a traditional tall wooden churn, called “cha dong”, to mix up your brew, a basic blender does a great job in a fraction of the time and is often used today in Tibet.
Here’s a modern rendition of Butter Tea you can make at home. And believe us when we say, you’ll never again crave a typical latte!
1 cup of strongly brewed Pu’erh or Bolder Breakfast (5 min steep)
1 tsp organic unsalted butter
1 TBS organic virgin coconut oil
a touch of honey (optional)
PREPARATION: Put all the ingredients in a blender. Mix on high for 1 minute until frothy. (Please use caution when opening the hot blender.) Sip and enjoy this highly satisfying energy tea!
The summer heat is starting to pick up here in Boulder, Colorado. And while all loose leaf teas can technically be served iced, some are better at it than others. It’s those thirst-quenching, mouth-watering, summertime wonders that are my current obsession in this hot and sticky weather. So I took a poll around the office to see which iced teas were trending in-house with our avid tea guzzlers. Here’s what I found:
“Grasshopper Green – I find this blend of roasted green tea and peppermint to be the most thirst-quenching, refreshing and subtly energizing of all our teas. It’s what I take on any long-distance hike or ride. Plus, it’s nice to know I’m refueling with one of our teas that’s highest in antioxidants. And it cold brews and re-steeps like a champ!” – Maria Uspenski, CEO / Founder & Global Jet-Setter
“I’d have to say Boulder Blues. What makes this tea my favorite is the fragrant aroma of crisp rhubarb and lingering strawberry complimented by its golden hue. It awakens all the senses and quenches any summer thirst.” – Hope Larsen, Graphic Designer & Gardening Guru
“A staple at my house is Mango Tango. The blend of mango, passion fruit and black tea are all flavors I love in the summer and make a perfect glass of iced tea. Pro Tip… Add ripe peach slices to your pitcher of Mango Tango, let it infuse for a couple hours, and serve… Perfection!” – Jackie Hetzel, Customer Service Extraordinaire & Knitter of Jen the Cat’s Bow Ties
“An iced tea I could absolutely not go without is Red Rocks! Not only is it subtly sweet, and undeniably refreshing, I love that it is caffeine-free, because I crave iced tea on these hot summer nights.” – Mary Kloberdanz, Sales Manager & Mountain Bike Rockstar
As for myself, it depends… When I’m in the mood for a traditional black, I go for Blue Mountain Nilgiri. It has a bold body, balanced tannins, and blackberry notes that really hit the spot. But for green iced tea, it’s all about Jasmine Petals. It’s beyond refreshing, lightly floral, and strong enough in the body to give me a good energy boost!
So the crazy part of this, like twilight zone type of crazy, is that all six of these teas mentioned above just so happen to be found in our Iced Tea Sampler. Completely unplanned. Mind blown. Like whoa.
Moms are the absolute best! While they come in all forms (some biological, some adopted, and some unofficially adopted), they have more love for you than you can ever imagine. As a new mom, I can attest to the fact that you are instantly filled with more love for your babe than you ever knew possible – and it just keeps growing from there! Motherhood takes unconditional love to a new level of ooey gooey gaga! And from the looks of it, becoming “grandma”, or “mimi” as my mom prefers, might be the next best thing.
To celebrate all the super moms in our lives, The Tea Spot has partnered with Fresh Produce, a fellow Boulder company, to create a stellar Mother’s Day Giveaway. Now through May 11th, you can enter to win a mother lode of new clothing and loose leaf teas! Specifically, two randomly selected winners will receive a $250 Gift Certificate to shop the vibrant clothing and accessories at Fresh Produce online, plus a Signature Tea Collection and Steeping Mug from The Tea Spot. And if your mom is anything like mine – she would love to share in this bounty!
This celebration made us want to share special memories about our mums, so we’re giving a second entry to everyone who shares a story with us – be it sweet, serious, or silly. Simply add your favorite story about your mom to the comments here. Fair warning… the stories already posted are incredibly touching, so grab a tissue. They totally brought out my mushy side and made me tear up.
We’re big fans of Fresh Produce over here at The Tea Spot – with their love of bright colors, their stylish effortless accessories, and their easy-breezy attitude. Even their motto of “Live life. Enjoy color.” seems to go hand in hand with our “Thirst for life!” philosophy. Fresh Produce has been designing clothing for nearly three decades, and is primarily made in the USA! The founders Mary Ellen & Thom Vernon are committed to helping women feel beautiful and confident through vibrant clothing. Here’s a bit more about what we love about their brand:
The heart of the Fresh Produce is rooted in the positive impact of color. We love color and want our customers to light up the room in our clothes. From casual tops and feminine dresses to decorative scarves and stylish pants, Fresh Produce is dedicated to creating feel-good clothes women want to wear every day… The comfortable fabrics, fit and style reflect carefree ease.
We hope you’ll visit freshproduceclothes.com to see what’s new in women’s fashion for the season. When you do, you’ll receive $20 off your $100 purchase* by using code: TEASPOT at checkout. Clothing, scarves, and jewelry also make a great gift for Mom, too!
From The Tea Spot & Fresh Produce, we hope your Mother’s Day is Tea-riffic! <3
*Purchase must be $100 or more. Valid online only at freshproduceclothes.com. Enter code at checkout to redeem offer. May not be combined with other offers or used toward previous purchases. Not valid on cash or gift cards. Code expires May 12, 2014.
Today, we are thrilled to induct our all-time favorite tropical tea, Mango Tango, into our collection of Signature Teas in tins. This loose leaf black mango tea has been one of our favorite gourmet iced teas for almost 10 years now! And her new tin is adorned with a sassy tango dancer, to heat up your cup…
Our Tea Blender’s notes on the new mango tea tin have a fun new flare too:
Mango Tango is a seductive and versatile black tea that can heat you up like a pair of tango dancers on a hot Argentine night or cool you down like a summer breeze. This full leaf ceylon tea blended with passionfruit and mango creates a crisp fruity combination that will take you on a tropical escape any time of year. It brews into a deep red liquor with a heady, bright aroma that just might inspire you to break into dramatic dance! Mango Tango takes traditional black tea to a new level of epicurean delight.
So how do you take your Mango Tango, hot or on-the-rocks?
If Black Friday shopping is your cup of tea, we’ve got some Pro Tips to help you WIN!
NOTE: These tactics can be applied to other urban jungle excursions and crowded holiday traveling.
Strategize & Prioritize.
Cozy up with a cup of Meditative Mind at the end of Thanksgiving Day to plan your attack. The L-theanine in white tea creates a calm yet alert state of mind so you can strategize and prioritize for tomorrow’s adventure. Then unwind and relish in the Q.T. you spent with family and friends earlier in the day.
Caffeinate early & often.
Start your morning off with a cup of Bolder Breakfast – our customers’ all time favorite tea – the numbers don’t lie. It’s highly caffeinated and packs a secret punch with pu’erh.
Cold brewing on-the-go is definitely the way to go here. Steep & Go and Keep Fit Cold Infusions tea makes it easy with a steady green tea energy boost. Simply refill your bottle with more water throughout the day to cold brew more fresh tea.
Pack your good stuff with you.
Pack a few of your favorite teas and a Tuffy Steeper in your water-resistant Travel Zipper Pouch. You never know when a mug of hot water is going to jump out in front of you for a mid-day break. And life’s too short to settle for dusty bags.
Unwind & rest easy.
Back at home at the end of the day, kick your feet up and celebrate your top scores of the day with some Sweet Lullaby herbal tea. But first, get cozy in your pajamas because this valerian root hibiscus blend will have you counting sheep in no time. Congrats, you’re winning!
We just want to let everyone know that we (and the tea) are okay… And thank you for all the support we’ve received. We’ve had an overwhelming amount of email and Facebook love! We’ve been super fortunate throughout all of the flooding – The Tea Spot’s little neighborhood has been draining well.
Our hearts go out to all of the people who were affected by the floods. We also send a huge thanks to all of the first responders and local volunteers who have been helping rescue people and mitigate the damage. Without them, our town would be in far worse condition. We’re hoping to get a reprieve from the rain for long enough to dry out a bit. And then, the clean-up is still to come. Please feel free to stop by our warehouse for a free cup of tea. We’re here weekdays 9am-5pm: 4699 Nautilus Ct. S. Suite 403, 80301.
Calling All Coloradans – Take the Colorado Get Movin’ Challenge with us! What’s the challenge? Get active for 30 minutes a day for 30 days beginning tomorrow, August 1st. There’s a chance to win some great prizes, like a Vail Epic Ski Pass or heart rate monitor, so if this type of thing is up your alley or if you’re looking for a little nudge to get hustlin’, sign up here. (We’re not affiliated with the contest, just excited for the physical challenge!)
We decided to create Team Tea Spot to help us stay motivated and get together for some after work recreation this month. Everyone is welcome to join our team “Thirst for Life!” to meet up for local hikes, bikes, and walks, or just as virtual motivation to get moving! We’d love to get to know more Tea Spotters. And chances are, we’ll bring some extra Steep & Go cold brew filters and Cold Infusions teas to help us all stay hydrated on the trails.
I kicked off my own challenge tonight with a Barre Burn class, where my legs felt the burn until muscle fatigue kicked in with a little shake. Excited to see how much progress can happen with 1 month of daily workouts. Let’s get moving!
Awhile ago, I watched Oprah’s favorite doctor, Dr. Oz, discuss the weight loss benefits of matcha tea on his TV show. It made me wonder what the researchers say. So a quick Google Scholar search for “matcha weight loss” revealed a suite of studies on the topic supporting this healthy claim as well as other interesting findings, such as this:
Matcha, a Powdered Green Tea, Ameliorates the Progression of Renal and Hepatic Damage in Type 2 Diabetic OLETF Rats (Journal of Medicinal Food. Volume: 12 Issue 4: September 7, 2009).
Due to its finely ground powdered form, when drinking matcha, you’re actually ingesting the leaves! Many think this boosts your antioxidant intake over drinking regular green tea extractions, where you steep the leaves then strain them from the beverage. The major polyphenols are primarily flavonoids that assist in weight loss & and boosted metabolism include:
epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
Over the past 5+ years, we’ve seen a boost in green tea shakes and smoothies made with matcha tea in popular food and beverage chains, often advertized with a health slant. Although tasty, you’ve got to wonder if drinking a smoothie with a teaspoon of matcha tea is really going to help you lose weight. Can the health benefits of this unique green tea powder outweigh (no pun intended) the calories from the tasty green tea dessert beverages?
I didn’t see any research on this, but the answer is clear. The additional calories from the milk, yogurt, sugar, and whipped cream in “green tea” smoothies are not insubstantial compared to drinking tea with just water. If you really want to slim down, drinking matcha in the traditional manner, simply whisked in hot water, or cold brewed in cold water is clearly the way to go. But if weight management is not a focus and you’re just going for tasty – then hell – try some green tea ice cream or green tea mochi, which are also made with matcha and taste fantastic!
A bit on the historical background of this fine green tea powder… Although green tea powder originated in China, matcha tea as we know it and the tradition of its whisked preparation was made popular by Japanese Zen Buddhist monks, after migrating to Japan in 1911 – according to good old wikipedia. The official Zen Buddhist tea ceremony is a ritualistic method of tea preparation that involves a bamboo whisk (chasen), a bowl (chawan), a narrow hooked spoon (chashaku), precise movements, and fresh matcha green tea powder of course!
A fluke change in flight times recently gave me & my honey 24 hours in Seoul, South Korea, at the start of our honeymoon. Just 3 days before we left, a quick google search of “cool neighborhoods in Seoul” swayed us to roll with this new fate and check out the neighborhood of Insadong during our layover–and we fell in love. <3
Insadong, known for its art galleries and antiques, had a network of small winding allies that branch off a main street packed with a variety of merchants, restaurants, cafes, and art. The area was packed with a mix of locals and tourists (although we only overheard other english speakers once, so we felt that we were in our own private world for this quick adventure). But with so little time, there was so much to see and do and taste.
We ran all over town with a map and a camera–full-on unabashed tourist style. I grabbed a fruit smoothie for breakfast from a modern Italian style cafe, where my husband had the best Americano of his life–funny how that always happens when you’re half way around the world. We then wandered the gorgeous gardens of the old royal palace. I fulfilled my longtime fantasy of eating fresh steamed dumplings from a street cart–and they were as tasty as I had always imagined. And when we found a little tea shop, we had to check it out.
At the entrance of the shop, a guy was in the process of heating tea leaves in a large copper wok. I initially thought he was firing the tea leaves during processing, but upon closer look realized that he was re-heating already processed and dried whole leaf tea. What?! He then proceeded to make a cup of tea for us to sample–a bright vegetal green with both steamed and panfired notes. So tasty! This guy was onto something!
So we stayed for a pot… and a re-steep…
Fast forward a couple weeks through Bali’s rice paddies, monkeys, chickens, sea turtles, and back again, and after browsing our photos from the trip, I’m inspired to try this fresh re-roasting tea trick at home. And of course the geek in me has to test a few different types of tea to compare the differences in effect. So I prepared some side by side tastings between regular leaves & re-fired ones, and here’s what I found.
Note: To re-roast the tea, I simply heated the leaves over medium heat in a stainless steel frying pan, with no oil for roughly 2 minutes, while tossing the leaves to get even heating.
Dragonwell – a Chinese green tea heated via pan-firing during processing – Would this second pan-firing bring out the natural roasted notes in this tea?
The heat affected the flavor profile dramatically! It was not more dragonwell-esque, but it was tasty. (Loved by 4 out of 4 volunteer tasters here in the office). The flavor became super roasted, leaning towards notes of hojicha while maintaining a markedly green base. The leaves also dramatically changed color from deep green to yellowish and brown while in the pan, as they further oxidized, and the liquor of the brews was also markedly different.
Sencha – a Japanese green tea heated via steam during processing – Would pan firing a steamed tea muddle the unique fresh grassy flavors?
The sencha was not visibly affected by the heating, likely due to high water content in the steamed leaves. The leaves remained their deep green color, but I did smell the roasting effects when I pulled the leaves off the burner. The flavor of the steeped tea became nutty like popcorn, reminding all of us of genmaicha with a twist. The roasting also removed the natural oceanic kombu flavors from the liquor. While not enhancing the essence of sencha, we all enjoyed this unique new brew.
Thin Mint Green – a blend of peppermint and hojicha, a Japanese green tea roasted during processing – Would the natural roasted flavor become even stronger with a fresh firing?
The re-roasting of this blend was just bizarre. I couldn’t taste any enhanced roasting notes in the hojicha, if they did exist. The roasted peppermint turned into cabbage-like flavor that took over as the dominant note. No longer minty or roasty, this fresh roasted blend was a mellow cabbage soup flop.
Admittedly, I might have used too high of heat during the re-roasting, and could probably work on my technique, but I’ll continue to play with this little trick on Saturday mornings and see what I can come up with. I’m curious to try re-roasting hojicha on its own, and wonder what the heat would do for black teas. I might even need to return to Seoul to take a second look at this technique ;)
Has anyone dabbled with re-roasting tea? If so, what temperature, for how long, and with what teas did you re-roast?