woman drinking tea

Teatime At Any Time: Five Heartfelt Songs About Tea

I may not write about tea as much as I do coffee and wine, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less.

If anything, I’ve found my love for tea blossoming even more now that I’m extra cooped up and going through the predictable side-effects of concentration issues and insomnia. Boba tea is sorely missed (fare thee well, local boba shop) and my mother recently got me a superberry flower tea for my birthday. It’s forever been a part of my life, which got me to considering a playlist that reflects it. Tea is delicious and soothing, yes…and like coffee, it’s yet another outlet with which to express ourselves.

The noun alone conjures up images of serenity and relaxation. Chilly evenings and long summer days. Sweet tea, anyone?

You see these instinctual reactions to tea reflected in all kinds of songwriting. Chamomile tea is used to invoke tenderness or sleepiness. Chai tea can be sultry or heartfelt, especially when mixed with other romantic ingredients like milk, sugar and honey. Tea in general is a fleeting moment of peace, an anchor warming your palms or cooling you off before the outside world floods in again. It can be so many incredible things and I want to share what I’ve heard.

I explored five songs about coffee a few weeks back and how this drink was interpreted through metaphor. Here are five songs that are either about tea or reference tea meaningfully:

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Coffee Or Tea? Choose Both With This Coffee Leaf Tea Drink From Wize

Coffee and tea cross over a lot.

They’re comforting drinks with roots as a community affair, easily consumed either hot or iced. They provide an easy caffeine boost to the weary and overworked, with a flavor kick for the decaf crowd. They’re both multi-billion dollar industries facing astronomically bad climate change and poor working conditions that could affect the crop forever.

So the list goes on.

Wize takes the best of both worlds with a tea drink made out of coffee leaves. It’s a trend I’ve been keeping up with for the past year and a half: several beverage industries have been skewing their products in favor of more healthy alternatives, whether low on sugar, low on alcohol or low on calories. This coffee leaf drink boasts a very healthy count, with additional incentive to the conscientiously minded: it’s also helping to bridge the economic gap between the industry and farmers.

The company’s co-founder stresses the dismal state today’s coffee farmers are in, stating as much as half of the farmers in their region leaving the business because of a lack of options. COVID-19 has made this rock and a hard place all the worse due to unsafe working environments, to boot, and is not expected to get better for many months. He insists not only will Wize’s coffee leaf tea keep farmers employed during the coffee industry’s off-season, it’ll also help them socially distance.

That’s a pretty tall order from a pretty neat drink. What do you think?

More Than A Rainy Day: The Threat To Global Tea Production

Tea is a delicate creation. It relies on a medley of strict agricultural standards, prime ecological conditions and timely collection to get that flavor and aroma you love. Anything that falls out of those complex parameters results in lackluster tea or crops that refuse to grow. Climate change remains one of the biggest threats to the tea industry, just like the coffee industry, and the coronavirus definitely hasn’t helped. People are working harder and longer for awful results…and it’s only getting worse.

What will the tea industry even look like in the next decade?

The Economic Times takes a look at the whopping 20% loss of tea crops in the Assam and Bengal tea belt. Excessive rainfall and not enough sun is to blame for much of this, leading to fears of missing vital economic minimums that keep businesses running and people employed. The thing with climate change? It’s not just a rainy day. It’s a precedent for similar weather patterns down the road. More loss. More difficulties. More more, snowballing faster than we can keep track.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of dramatic weather patterns and big business. I know I do. Giving up isn’t an answer, though. Not when this planet is our only home and there’s an entire generation that might just grow up where the tea industry isn’t a thing.

Everyone Has A Role To Play With Sustainability Labels

Sustainability has become a pretty convoluted word. It sounds nice on paper — and looks pretty snazzy — but the moment you start to scratch the surface, you run into trouble.

Which sustainability labels are actually inciting meaningful change for farmers? How are these certifications approved and maintained, much less reinforced by outside parties? Do consumers actually have any power when it comes to encouraging fair trade? These are just a few of the questions that The Week takes a look at: their illuminating piece goes into the nitty-gritty behind sustainability certification and what it actually means for farmers, traders and consumers.

Government initiatives versus non-profits. The issue of premium demand and production. The flaws in the reporting system and which standards are used to measure in the first place. There’s some good, insightful commentary here to pierce the labyrinthine tangle of fact and fiction. While the sustainability conversation won’t be ended with just one article — indeed, the oversaturation of certification labels is the problem — this article will give you a better idea as to what you’re looking at while shopping.

Just yesterday I was looking for coffee to stock up my shelf and wondering whether or not I should buy K-cups, thanks to recent recycling issues. I’m also planning on making the switch to a French Press for home coffee so I can focus on purchasing specialty, small-batch coffee. It’s not much…

…but change has to start somewhere.

party clinking wine glasses

Why Not Both? Mixing It Up With A Wine And Tea Blend

Something I make very clear when anyone meets me is my loves for a delicious drink. I won’t have single a meal without one. To me, a dish without a complimentary drink is like walking to the bus stop without pants: incomplete and a little odd.

This new wine and tea blend has already caught my eye, for obvious reasons. It’s no mere blender method (indeed, they mentioned it didn’t taste all that good), but a new approach to the distilling process. The creators of the Tea & Wine range talk about drying off their grapes on beds of tea leaves to infuse the end result with unique notes you won’t find elsewhere. They even take inspiration from classic cooking processes that have nothing to do with wine at all.

This isn’t available for the rest of the world yet, but consider me putting this on my to-buy list. With beanless coffee making waves and cold brew sitting pretty as a growing specialty bar choice, drink lovers have a lot to look forward to.

cute mug of coffee

A Dash Of Different: Five Fun Twists On Coffee And Tea

One of the genius details about coffee and tea is just how flexible they are. You can really come up with almost anything. …Almost. I really don’t want to read the news one of these days and find out liquid gold is now being called the ‘new espresso’.

I keep an eye on stories like these because I want innovation to be just as fun as it is necessary. Stories on climate change and the impact it leaves on entire livelihoods is an essential conversation, yes, but it’s also a little draining. Making the world a better place to live means embracing it all. Change as complex as coming up with new farming methods…as well as thinking about how to chill coffee quicker. Change as vital as planting millions of trees in one day, as well as a faster, cuter way of recycling.

Let’s take a look at some recent developments in coffee and tea, from low-calorie alcoholic tea varieties to caffeinated popsicles.

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cup of tea

There’s a lot of bad news out there. It makes stories like these all the more important.

A coffee shop was recently founded in Georgia by a musician who wanted a way to reach out to those struggling with mental illness. This is a truly bright spot on an otherwise miserable news circuit.

Coffee and tea isn’t just about roasting the rarest specialty coffee or the most esteemed harvesting technique. It’s about why we make it. The impact we leave on people, from harvested bean to espresso shot.

I chose to focus on coffee and tea because of the ongoing influence these drinks leave on my life. They’ve been a great source of pleasure and contentment, giving my itchy fingers something warm to cradle on a cold night. Back when I consumed caffeine coffee or tea sometimes was the only thing keeping me awake! Even now just the act of brewing has a way of grounding my mind and helping me focus on my work. As someone who is mentally ill, this tool has been indispensable for keeping me moving forward.

This cafe sounds like a truly lovely place to relax. On top of providing delicious food and drink Waller’s Coffee Shop hosts live music, weekend wellness events and open mic sessions. With coffee and tea industries having a mainstream reputation for elitist attitudes — and the physical cafe struggling for relevance in a digital era — I hope this sets a trend for others to follow.

To embrace both technique and the human heart at the core of it all.

cafe sign

Great Lattes, Great Interiors: Three Fun Spins On Classic Cafe Design

The quintessential coffee shop has grown, for lack of a better term, quite organically in the minds of Americans over the decades.

With over 30,000 cafes to the United States’ name, there comes an inevitable commonality between them all. They’re viewed as highly modern settings with convenience at your fingertips. Free Wi-Fi, accessible charging stations, quality lighting, you name it. Then there’s the rustic furniture or impeccable modernism, beautiful to witness even through the haze of the morning rush. It’s all topped off with, what else, delicious coffee and tea paired with pastries, soups and treats. Whether you visit cafes regularly or only swing by as a reward to yourself, it’s easy to think these places blur together after a while.

Here are three small, yet significant spins on the classic coffee shop I’ve seen recently. Some things never change, but these are more than happy to bump up the novelty:

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tea leaves

Climate Change Waits For No One: Why Tea Businesses Need Packaging Updates

Climate change is a subject that’s constantly talked about, yet doesn’t always feel…concrete. It’s a variable that becomes heavier or lighter depending on where you live and where you work. When it comes to the quality of tea, though, the difference can literally be tasted.

The issue of global warming is something no one should ignore, particularly tea businesses who rely on an ideal set of conditions to cultivate their delicate stock. When it comes to recognizing the impact of eco-friendly packaging, the tea industry often leads the charge. Numi Organic is a popular brand that projects front and center their commitment to organic products and fair sourcing, such as partnering with organizations that provide vulnerable communities access to clean water. Stash is another you’ll easily recognize for not just their bold logo, but their focus on sustainable, unbleached packaging materials. Quite a lot of tea packaging on store shelves will mention — if not outright revolve around — a commitment to green values, from ethical sourcing with farmers to recycled paper or plastic.

These are all great eco-friendly packaging habits that will make the world a better place to live. …Will it be enough, though?

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