Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Organic Tea Poem

We get lots of comments about our tea. But this one is so cool! We just had to share it.

Ah, the Mountain Jasmine Dragon Pearl, a flowered pearl so sweet,
when put inside a teacup, mingles essence with the heat.
Each breath that I take in, each petal that unfolds,
Enlightens with its fragrance,
and moves my quiet soul.

The dance we make is calming,
yet moving all the same.
A light touch here, a warm embrace,
Yet, excitement, none too tame.

Invigorated and refreshed,
we part, as lovers do,
with lingering lips on surfaces warm,
and returning promises, too.

By Patricia Chaney

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Organic Tea Tasting Team

In case you wanted to know who it was that served you tea in the store, it might have been one of our pro teamakers.

Tea Servers Nando, Angelina and Michelle are often present in stores around California (and sometimes other states) offering samples of fresh whole tea leaves, brewed hot and also iced.
Dave, Judah, Hong, Tamara and others sometimes assist, but this is the core team that makes it happen.

If you want to request a tea tasting, demonstration or ceremony, or if you want to learn to serve tea with our team, please feel free to contact us.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lassen's Natural Foods To Carry Dragon Pearl Tea

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins is interested in carrying the finest, freshest products that offer the best value. They've ordered stock of Dragon Pearl organic teas, so they should be on the shelf soon!

Lassen's has stores in Southern and Central California as well as the Central Coast.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Learn more at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Purity Test Results Are In

Once again, we're posting our certified lab tests for anyone to see.

We do a full tox screen, including very careful tests that can detect traces of chemicals left by pesticides, ferilizer, moldicides, and fungicides.

If grown properly, tea shouldn't have any of those chemical or be tainted with diesel fumes, either. :)

You can view the latest results produced by Anresco Labs (San Francisco, CA) at

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our 2008 Tea and Health Studies Article

Green Tea Health Benefits - Significant 2008 Studies

New Evidence: Green Tea, Antioxidants and Caffeine

This is from a press release about an article we produced based on our research this year. Our lab studies at Brunswick and Anresco Labs revealed some interesting things about caffeine, antioxidant potency and purity of commercial teas.

High-potency organic teas tested higher in caffeine than coffee,
the exception being oolong tea, the lowest in caffeine-- equal
to the caffeine in an average cup of coffee.

We also summarize some related research from earlier this year to provide a more complete picture. Read the full article on our main site.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tea Interview with the Travel Channel

Last weekend's WorldFest08 celebration in Santa Barbara started slow, but ended strong with a full parking lot and an amazing assortment of talent and cuisine from around the world.

Specialty food included Hawaiian Teriyaki chicken and Kalhua pork, Ethiopian specialty foods, Mexican roasted chicken tacos, Chinese traditionals and other handmade treats.

Entertainment included Flamenco, Hawaiian and Belly dancers and lots of singing and bands, climaxing with the big brass sound of the Anthony Prieto band.

Dragon Pearl Tea made a presence with our 5-headed dragon tray, carved from a single piece of wood, and Tea Master Hong serving fresh green, white and oolong tea.

Here Samantha from the Travel Channel interviews co-founder Judah. He explains the different colors of tea.

(Click on the photos for a better view)

See more at

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dragon Pearl TV Ads

We get a lot of comments about our ads. We like to do "travelog"-style ads that give viewers information about tea they didn't have before.

Here's an example of a 30-second "infomercial" currently running in the LA area to promote our tea for the 150 stores or so that carry Dragon Pearl Tea. We're running on some the most popular shows and stations, like Travel Channel, Food Network, SciFi, USA, History Channel, Discovery, A&E, and CNN.

This ad explains that white, green, oolong and black teas all come from the same plant.

Tea Master Hong to Serve Tea at World Fest

Tea Master Hong will be serving up our organic green, white, oolong and black teas next weekend, gongfu cha style.

Bands will play all day Saturday and Sunday during World Fest 08. Learn more at the WorldFest website.


Friday, September 19, 2008

New Organic Tea Store in Hawaii

Yay! Down to Earth Natural Foods in Maui will be carrying Dragon Pearl organic tea beginning next month! We know the people of Hawaii love our tea (we ship it there all the time), and now people in Maui will be able to get it right at the local organic store!

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

(We'll have to go over there and check on the product once in a while.)

: )

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dragon Pearl Tea and the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon

Yesterday was the annual Jerry Lewis MDA telethon, a benefit for muscular dystrophy research and patient support. MDA is one of our favorite charities.

Dragon Pearl Tea provided donation and volunteer support for the telethon, which featured 82-year-old Jerry Lewis with Tom Bergeron (America's Funniest Home Videos), Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney, Nancy O'Dell and Norm Crosby. Also co-hosting were recording artists Ace Young, who serves as MDA Celebrity Ambassador, and Billy Gilman, MDA National Youth Chairman.
Here's a shot of the cast & crew I took (with my cell phone) after the telethon.

In all, we raised over 65 million dollars nationally and over $250,000 for the local Central Coast area. The local portion of the telethon, produced by Don Katich of Santa Barbara, was extremely successful, thanks to an experienced crew and the talent of local celebrities, including Lance Orozco, John Palminteri, Carlos Cerecedo and Bob Burton.

The California Central Coast part of the telethon was broadcast from the Chumash Indian Tribal Hall in Santa Ynez.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beautiful Organic Tea Areas of China

Where in the World Is Taimu Mountain?

The organic southern mountains of coastal China hold some of the most gorgeous mountains and rock formations in the world. Far away from cities of industry, here the air and soil are pure, and the land is dotted with clear streams and lakes.

Nature's work astonishes every visitor; stunning, tranquil scenes release the mind.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Fujian Tourist Bureau

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dragon Pearl Tea at World Fest '08

World Fest '08 is a cultural festival in Santa Barbara this October 18 & 19.

Dragon Pearl Tea will participate with gongfu cha demos and tea tasting. There will also be live music, performances, and cuisine from around the world. Check it out!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Get a Free T-Shirt... Just Write a Tea Review

Just write a review of your favorite Dragon Pearl Tea and you're entered to win one of three prizes... plus you get a free tea T-shirt just for entering if you're one of the first 20 people to write your review.

Read details here

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Organic Tea Podcast: 3 Minutes with Dave Dahl

Ann & Peter Haigh host On the Menu radio, an exciting weekly, one-hour program on the wide world of food, wine, travel & lifestyle.

A husband & wife duo, they interview chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, authors, winemakers, food producers, cookware and kitchen gadget makers and other culinary luminaries. They also discuss food trends, new products, where to go, how to get there and special events worth noting.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

This week On the Menu interviewed Dragon Pearl co-founder Dave Dahl and asked about where the tea comes from and how Dragon Pearl got started.

You can hear the audio-only radio podcast on their website.

Listen now - The On the Menu archives (See Aug. 10)
Previous Interview - a podcast with interviewer Sean Daly and Dave Dahl
Dragon Pearl in Print - a recent article about the company and co-founder Judah Sanders

Monday, July 28, 2008

Making Tea in Your Steeping Cup

The Water Dragon Steeping Cup makes is easy to enjoy fresh whole tea leaves without a teabag. Basically, you just treat your little ceramic basket like a teabag.

Why whole leaves and steeping cups are better than teabags:
Most teabags are very low quality tea to begin with. People drinking really good tea don't want it to be stale and they don't want to taste paper or have ink and staples floating around in their tea. Of course, glass or pottery is recommended for pure tea flavor; plastic, wood, paper, metal and other materials that add flavor are "boohao"-- no good!

How to use it:
These traditional steeping cups have been used for centuries in China, where top-grade tea is never put into teabags. All you do is:

1) Put tea in the basket. Always use fresh whole organic tea leaves; cheaper teas will usually be stale and less flavorful and often have impurities like pesticides and lead.

2) Add hot water. Use pure hot water... about 170 to 190 degrees is fine. (If you use more tea, steep less time; use a smaller amount, steep longer.)

3) You can easily re-steep just by putting the basket back in and adding more hot water. For decaffeinated tea, pour out the first steeping, which removes up to 50% of the caffeine (in tea it's called theine).

You can steep whole tea leaves 3-5 times, and the second and third steeping are usually considered the best. (Hong jokes "Pour out the first steeping...or give it to someone you don't like.")

More about steeping
See the video

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Get Tea News on Your Mobile Phone

Now you can get weekly tea news updates from our organic tea blog. Just Sign up at PlusMo and you can see a preview of what the news updates look like on your model.

Why would you do this? If you want to follow our current tea news stories and tips, sometimes it's convenient (and kind of fun) to get content you want to view while you're waiting at the airport, the doctor's office, a long car ride (as a passenger, of course)... or anytime you've got some time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Recycling Tea Containers

We use a LOT of tea containers! We serve thousands of samples at trade shows, tea tastings and events, so we go through a lot of containers.

Some of our customers might notice a sticker at the bottom of the container indicating it's a recycled container. We put new tea in the containers (each in its own bag) in order to reduce waste, because these containers are still new and usable and we hate to throw them away.

The tea is always fresh!

Other things you can do with the tea containers after you've used them:
  • Put other tea in them.
  • Put nuts or other dry foods in them.
  • Use them to keep dry herbs or spices fresh.
  • Organize small items like buttons, batteries, tacks
  • Use them in the garage to store your nuts, bolts and nails
Got other ideas? Send them to us, and if we like it enough to implement it, we'll send you a free T-shirt.

The Perfect Iced Tea, Naturally

"Why is bottled iced tea so different from home-brewed?"
everyone asks. The answer is not singular, but the main reason is usually the acidity.

Unless you add lemon, bottled tea will be much higher in acid--about a 4 on the pH scale. Compared with natural brewed tea, it tends to have a sharp tartness to it... unless it's loaded with sugar, as many of them are. (Tea you brew naturally has a pH over 6, closer to the body's natural alkalinity level.)

Now, you might ask why all the tartness and why all the sugar. It's simple: FDA regulations require a high acidity for bottling shelf-stable products to avoid the potential for the bottles to develop botulinum toxin.

So one of the big advantages you have when you make tea instead of buying bottles is that you don't have to drink ANOTHER acidified beverage (check the labels; bottled iced tea aways has citric or ascorbic acid).

Now cola, on the other hand, is highly acidic and contains enormous amounts of sugar. The new Coke 42 ouncer has about 100 grams of sugar-- about the same weight as our oolong tea container! (It has no sugar, just pure tea leaves).

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Besides being closer to your body's natural pH level, home-made iced tea requires a lot less sugar to taste sweet. (And what bottled tea is very good compared to fresh-brewed?)

How to make the perfect iced tea:

1. Use fresh, whole leaf tea. We always recommend organic, because many teas contain impurities like lead and pesticides. Cheaper teas also tend to be powdered or crushed; this causes them to lose their potency and flavor as the air makes the tea stale.

2. Brew it triple-strength. This will provide a stronger extract to make a base from so it's not too light when you add ice. The easiest way to do this is to add three times the "normal" amount (which is about 2 grams, so use about 6) to your steeper and add hot water. Let it cool as much as possible before pouring over ice.

3. Add the extract and ice to your pitcher, then add water and/or sugar to get the desired flavor.

Fresh Iced Tea Varieties
  • For black tea, try adding pumpkin spice, sugar and milk for a delicious chai style tea
  • For people who like straight tea with no sugar, oolong and white tea are ideal
  • For the perfect iced green tea, try the jasmine pearl green with a little organic sugar
Decaf Iced Tea, Naturally
Any whole leaf tea can be decaffeinated by steeping it in water for 30-90 seconds, then pouring out the first infusion with up to 50% of the caffeine removed but the flavor still intact.

Sun Tea
Tea will brew at any temperature; the hotter the water, the faster it infuses. Raw tea is great, but do be very careful using non-hot water methods since bacteria can grow. We recommend a pre-rinse with boiling water (just for about 30 seconds) to ensure the purity of the brewed tea. To use this method, after rinsing the tea and adding any fruit (add juice or sugar later), and set the tea in a jar with a lid in direct sunlight for 4-6 hours, the refrigerate or pour over ice, depnding on how strong it came out.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dragon Pearl Tea Wins Sofi Award

OUTSTANDING BEVERAGE AWARD: The annual Sofi Awards, formerly known as the NASFT Product Awards, was held in New York this week and Dragon Pearl Tea was awarded a Sofi Silver. (The one Gold award went to a hot chocolate product, which was apparently the best in the world. We might've been bummed if another tea company got the top award, but how do we complain about chocolate? : )

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Tea Accessories

If you make a mess when you make tea, this tea tray is for you. It's very high-quality and has a step so you can separate tea vessels for different activities.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Our bamboo products are made from sustainable bamboo. This plant grows naturally and very quickly! We prefer bamboo over plastic and other woods because of its low environmental impact and its amazing durability.

See our other accessories here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

33 Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

This is an article by Christina Laun. Her main points:

1. Tea contains antioxidants. Antioxidants can help slow down aging and help your cells to regenerate and repair. Teas of all varieties contain high levels of antioxidant polyphenols that can help keep your body healthier and some studies suggest even ward of some cancers.

2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee. While there are some potential health benefits to consuming moderate amounts of caffeine, drinking loads of it is hard on your heart and other organs. Tea can provide the pick me up of coffee but without the high levels of caffeine making you less jittery and helping you get to sleep when you want. (NOTE: we're not sure we agree with this part based on recent lab tests we've conducted. But you can easily decaffeinate by pre-steeping your tea.)

3. Tea helps keep you hydrated. Conventional wisdom held that caffeinated beverages actually dehydrated you more than they hydrated you. Recent research has shown, however, that caffeine doesn’t make a difference unless you consume more than 5 to 6 cups at a time. Tea has been shown to actually be more healthy for you than water alone in some cases because it hydrates while providing antioxidants.

Read the whole article here.

More about White Tea

What's White Tea, Really?
We get a lot of questions about white tea. To begin, let's clarify what white tea is. Like green tea, black tea and oolong tea, white tea is made from the camellia sinensis plant. What defines it as white tea is NOT the part of the plant used; "white tea" is the uncured, unfermented tea leaf.

Unlike green tea, which is heat cured in a pan or an oven, white tea is simply fast-dried using ovens, steam or direct sunlight. (Black and oolong teas are fermented before curing.) Like green tea, white tea is most often made from the young tops of the plants, picked in spring and summer. Typically white tea is made from the top bud and leaves, the tender new growth that's about two weeks old.

White tea is the specialty of China's Fujian Mountain area, known for the best white tea in the world among tea officionados. Fujian produces very little black tea and flavored teas, focusing mostly on traditional green, white and oolong tea. Mountain farms ensure the purity of air, soil and water, and provides and ideal growing environment for organic tea. Coastal mountain breezes keep the tea cool (photosynthesis stops when hotter than about 97 degrees F) and nighttime temperatures are mild for proper glycolysis.

Tasting White Tea
In the West, especially America, white tea is certainly misunderstood. Most people haven't tasted white tea because flavors are added to most kinds of white tea available in stores. The reason? Most white tea that makes it to America is extremely low grade, leftover tea that is cheap. It doesn't taste good, and it's stale. It isn't pure, and teas of low grades used in most teabags test high is pesticides and lead. And if you have had white tea with orange, lemon, blueberry, pear, or any other flavor, you did not taste the white tea.

Many people mistakenly think that white tea is "the baby tea leaf" (new tea leaves are used in most varieties for green tea as well) and are often drawn to the yin zhen bai hao white tea, which is made from just the tiny new tips of the plant that are only 1-3 days old. However, these tiny tips, while lovely, have not developed the flavor, color or potency. During the day, photosynthiates are built up in the leaves from the conversion of carbon into high-molecular-weight compounds of flavor, aroma, and structure. New leaves that have two weeks to absorb and convert sunlight to plant polyphenols are not only more potent in their health benefits, but also much more flavorful, reflected in the darker color of the bai mu dan style (natural whole-leaf) white tea.

White Tea and Caffeine
White tea tends to be lower in caffeine (technically called theine in tea) than black, oolong or green tea. However, remember that any tea can be decaffeinated naturally by pre-steeping, and it might be a good idea to pre-steep (that is, pour out the first steeping) if you're drinking any tea at night. Even white tea, if it's fully potent, can keep you up late.

White Tea and Health Benefits
A great interest about tea has arisen in the Western medical community, especially green and white tea. Real tea contains high levels of plant polyphenols, which many scientists believe fight illness. As most people have heard, tea--especially white and green tea--has been found to contain high levels of Epigallocatechin Gallate, or EGCG, which is a powerful anti-oxidant.

Human bodies produce unstable molecules called oxidants, or free radicals, which cause tissue damage and cancer. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is a flavonoid that has been shown to destroy cancerous tissues in vitro (in a test tube) and in animals. Currently medical authorities are reluctant to connect tea directly with the healing of cancer because definitive studies take time, and only long-term results will allow us to understand specific benefits.

Another recent article about white tea and health:

Title: White Tea Beats Green Tea In Fighting Germs
Publisher: Science Daily
New studies conducted at Pace University have indicated that White Tea Extract (WTE) may have prophylactic applications in retarding growth of bacteria that cause Staphylococcus infections, Streptococcus infections, pneumonia and dental caries. Researchers present their findings today at the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
Full story >

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New tea photos

These are from the summer 2008 inspection trip this month.

We reviewed our upcoming tea requirements and spent some time walking through the tea fields. Once you're away from the cities, China has some beautiful places!

Green Tea and Weight Loss

It's true that "green tea helps you lose weight." This is because of its ability to stimulate the metabolism and aid in digestion, besides being healthy for your immune system (read more about this and other health benefits on our green tea page). Oolong tea is even more well-known as a weight loss aid.

With kids, weight problems get worse faster as they get older. A big part of the problem with kids and weight and sugar (and diabetes) is soda. Kids love Monster and other "energy" drinks too, and they can be even higher is sugar and caffeine.

One simple way green tea can help you lose weight is by reducing your sugar intake. Remember, even a small soda has a whole pile of sugar dissolved into it... unless it has some dangerous chemicals in it like aspartame.

TRY THIS: make some truly delicious iced green tea. Use plain sugar (organic preferred, of course) and you will find you need very little sugar compared to soda and juice drinks.

About a teaspoon will do it, which is less than half of most sodas-- it's healthy AND your kids will love it.

1. Make tea extract by brewing jasmine pearl tea extra strong.
2. Add sugar and ice
3. Stir and adjust by adding more water, sugar or tea.

NOTE: Don't drink too much at night! Green tea might keep you up late just like cola or coffee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why is my white tea so dark?

The very name "white tea" gives us the impression that it's light. It's not.

True, there are very light varieties of white tea. Most people in the West who are unfamiliar with white tea associate it with the Silver Needle variety (yin zhen bai hao, pictured in the middle) and incorrectly think that white tea is simply the very young part of the plant.

In fact, green and white tea both use very young parts of the tea plant, as do most other teas (oolong leaves are noteably more mature, but still young).

Green tea that uses the youngest leaves include jasmine pearl, which uses two leaves that are just a couple of days old; jade sword (cui jian), a leung jin style green tea using 5-day old leaves; and mao feng ("fur peak") style, which uses new leaves that are about two weeks old.

Using leaves that have had a chance to mature for a full week after opening allows the plant to work its miracle, converting the sunlight into rich plant polyphenols and flavor.

Note that the tea on left includes all the top leaves; the tea in the middle, the silver needle, will typically be pale and very mild. The tea that includes the full new leaves will be more flavorful, but also will get darker as you steep it more and the plant nutrients are released into the water.

These full-leaf natural white teas are the true taste of the tea plant, uncured and unfermented, in its purest form, grassy and leafy and sweet. Those of us who have come to love it look for this true flavor, full and robust.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Mmmm, tea from the whole top!

Many people who have tried "white tea" in a bottle or mixed with a fruit flavor like those on the right. These products have no white tea flavor at all, nor should one expect benefits from old white tea powder, which is generally the only "tea" ingredient used in these products.

Beware of cheap tea; our comparative lab tests indicate cheap powdered teas contain pesticides, flouride, aluminum and lead. No kidding!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why is Mountain Grown Tea Better?

Like wine grapes, tea has an ideal growing climate in which photosynthesis occurs during the day to produce the best flavor.

During the day, photosynthiates are built up in the leaves from the conversion of carbon into high-molecular-weight compounds of flavor, aroma, and structure.

But maximum photosynthesis occurs at approximately 87 degrees Fahrenheit. (This is true of most deciduous plants, plus or minus a few degrees.) At over 98 degrees, photosynthesis stops. For glycolosis, which happens at night, the right temperature is also important.

In addition to providing the perfect growing conditions, the Fujian Mountains are also very clean. For purity of the soil, water and air, mountain farms are the best spots.