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.

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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.

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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.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dragon Pearl Gets "Double A" Rating with BBB

Dragon Pearl Tea has been frisked! We make every effort to ensure customer satisfaction, and it shows in the responses we get from customers as well as on paper. Here is a direct quote from a customer from May 2008:

Not only is it is the best tea i ever tasted, but on top of that your customer service is outstanding.

I will buy only from your company in the future.

Thank you so much.


The Better Business Bureau engages Principle of Trust that we agree with. Once we went through their accreditation process, they gave us an initial AA rating. Nice! This way customers can have confidence ordering from us directly as well as trusting our products in the store.

We plan to keep our unconditional guarantee policy in place to ensure continued customer satisfaction: if any customer is ever unhappy with any Dragon Pearl product, for any reason, they can return it for a replacement or a refund.

Our BBB Profile can be viewed here:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dragon Pearl on the Map

Dragon Pearl Tea is now on Google Earth! (You can't do a 3-D fly-through of our warehouse yet, but we're working on it.)

If you haven't tried Google Earth, give it a shot (it's free). It's a truly amazing tool... if you haven't used it, it will give you a whole new perspective, guaranteed. You can download it at

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Masters of Taste Award 2008

Here is an award from the 2008 Fancy Foods show. The Master of Taste award recognizes quality new products that exceed consumers' expectations. The variety that won their attention was our fresh mountain jasmine pearl green tea. We're honored to have our products recognized among so many new tea brands on the market.

World Green Tea Contest - 1st Place Again

This is the first place award won by our Fujian Mountain Farms co-op, the Grand Gold Prize for Best Green Tea in the 2007 World Green Tea Contest. The tea that won is our very "best of the best" green tea, which we sell as the Jade Sword (Cui Jian), the Emperor's Tea Box on our gifts page. A very prestigious award. Our Kudos went to the farms and the tea masters who did a perfect job on last season's Jade Sword.