Transparency of tea prices

On my quest for Darjeeling this year, I came across Tee Kampagne. The company was set up in Berlin in 1985 and deals exclusively with Darjeeling loose tea. They reduce packaging and shipping costs by selling in large quantities, online, directly to consumers. What impresses me most is the transparency of the costs and margins. I have not seen this level of disclosure by any other tea company.

Disclosure of Calculation - Tee Kampagne

Disclosure of Calculation – Tee Kampagne (Source)

Their 2014 first flush will only available in August. I’m not sure why it’s so late but from what I’ve read it will be worth the wait.

Tea Makers

I’ve been struggling for a while to make up my mind if I like the idea of electric tea makers (such as the Sage by Heston Blumenthal) or not. On the pro side, tea makers are usually designed around temperature and steep-times and so promote the importance of these factors (which are overlooked by so many). On the other side, I believe that preparing tea is more than just the end result and that the process of making it is part of its lure. This lure is diminished by a machine that does it all for me.

As an analogy, I have a bread-maker that is timed to rest, knead, rise and bake bread throughout the night. I love that it sends the aroma of fresh baked bread through the house in the morning but as with the tea-maker, you could say that I’m missing out on all the fun by using a bread-maker. That argument doesn’t fly with me because I find no joy in kneading and punching and waiting. For me bread-making is all about the end result and in contrast to tea-making, the more the machine can do the happier I am.

So for anyone considering buying a tea-maker I think the key question is; are they interested only in the end result or do they like the ritual of making tea. Mrs Doyle explains this concept better than me:


Tea for Children

child tea withdrawal

Me aged four with a definite look of caffeine withdrawal!!

Growing up I was sent to school every day with a 500ml flask of black tea. The tea was left in the flask so it steeped for about 4 hours before I got to it! A conservative estimate would put my caffeine intake at about 215mg. Most studies suggest that children should limit daily caffeine consumption to 2.5 mg per kg body weight. High caffeine intakes (i.e. >5 mg per kg body weight) are associated with an increased risk of anxiety and withdrawal symptoms (see photo right!). I was getting at least three times my daily allowance but it’s unclear what exactly are the cumulative affects of stimulants on a developing brain. Wikipedia reassures me that there is no evidence that coffee stunts a child’s growth but a 2010 review study by Temple was concerned about the “particular areas of the brain involved in executive function, impulsivity control, and planning”.

A UK study, compared diets for children in 1950 with those of children of roughly the same age in 1992-93. In the 1950s, 55% of four-year-olds drank tea with their meals while just 10% had soft drinks and juice. The consumption of soft drinks and fruit juices rose to 90% for soft drinks and 36% for fruit juices in 1992. During the same period the consumption of tea dropped to 30%.  Since the nineties though the situation is turning around again with a decrease in the consumption of soft drinks for children and a correlated increase in tea and coffee. Similar studies in the US are showing the same trends with coffee increasing from 10% in 2000 to 24% in 2010 while tea remains steady at ~25%.

To avoid this flip-flopping between sugar and caffeine, maybe it’s time to consider herbal teas that are naturally sweet without the added sugar and sometimes helpful for minor ailments:

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit (source)

Ginger: This tastes warm and will sooth upset stomachs and help with nausea and car sickness.

Chamomile is a mild sedative that is also considered to be a colic-remedy.

When Peter Rabbit was not very well during the evening, his mother put him to bed, and made some chamomile tea “One table-spoonful to be taken at bedtime.”

Rooibos: the south African plant is renowned for its soothing and calming effects especially on allergic and colicky babies.




Quick disclaimer: I am not a medical herbalist. Always check with a doctor before using herbs.