Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Shipment of premium tea delayed by typhoon

Well, we were about to post a message that Mr. Nagata had just shipped a special, limited amount of his most premium "tamaryokucha" green tea, but he sent word that he had to delay packaging because of a typhoon. Because of the heavy rainfall brought by the typhoon, the weather is too humid to remove the tea from the large dehumidifier/refrigerator in which he stores the processed tea until he gets an order. Exposing it to the humid air would change its taste, aroma, and color. So we'll have to wait a little longer until we can share this special batch of tea with you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Finding your green tea's "sweet spot"

Every green tea has its "sweet spot"--the right combination of water temperature, amount of tea leaves, and steeping time that really brings out the tea's flavor and aroma. Don't think that you know a tea after drinking a few cups of it; a different combination of variables could make it taste like a completely different tea the next time around. Experiment with your Mellow Monk tea, and keep a mental note of, for instance, the water temperature. You don't have to use a thermometer; just get a general sense of how long you let the water sit after boiling. (Just-boiled water is too hot and will "cook" the tea.) To experiment methodically, hold one variable constant while changing another. For instance, if brewing by the potful, always put a heaping teaspoon into the pot, and let the boiled water sit roughly the same length of time before pouring it into the teapot, but let the tea steep for 3 or 4 minutes one time, then longer the next time. You'll begin to notice subtle differences in the flavor and aroma, and eventually learn which one suits your own tastes. You can also vary the tea according to how you feel--a strong brew one day, a lighter one the next day. After a time, it will all become second nature to you.

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Let it steep!

Studies into the health benefits of green tea recommend letting your tea steep for at least 3 to 5 minutes in order to draw out the catechins and other flavonoids that act as powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants. And since modern science is only beginning to plumb the depths of green tea, who knows what other health-promoting compounds will be discovered in the future. In addition, studies also show that freshly brewed green tea has more antioxidants than ready-to-drink green tea. That's why for the maximum health benefit of green tea, it's best to brew your own. Besides, taking the time to boil water, let the tea steep, and slowly enjoy the tummy-warming infusion is a way to take a break, step away from your busy day, and get mellow.

Green tea article in HMO publication

The fall issue of Senior Outlook, published by not-for-profit HMO Kaiser Permanente, has on page 2 an article entitled “Tea Time.” It discusses studies suggesting that tea may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, prevent cavities, and help you lose weight. Dietician Renee D. Cowen, R.D., is quoted often in the article, which recommends green tea over fermented teas, such as English tea: “Compared to fermented tea, teas that aren't fermented [green tea] contain more of the antioxidants believed to be responsible for tea's many health benefits.” So there you are: Yet another study verifying the many health benefits of drinking green tea!

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Saturday, October 16, 2004

PayPal's problems

We apologize to any of our customers who were affected by the outages that occurred at the PayPal website last week. We seriously contemplated switching to another payment processor, but decided to give PayPal another chance. PayPal's fee structure is more affordable for a low-volume business like ours, and we get to pass those savings on to you. In addition, PayPal offers access to the U.S. Postal Service's 1st class mail, which is less expensive for lightweight packages than other options -- another way we are able to keep our costs low. So, please bear with us as we take a deep breath, pour a nice, hot cup of Mellow Monk green tea, and wait for the industrious folks at PayPal to finish their repair job.

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Article at CNN.com about green tea's popularity in Japan

We found this article at CNN.com about the resurgence in popularity of green tea in Japan in recent years, among young and old alike. People there are discovering that the "ancient secret" of green tea is a wonderful antidote for the physical and emotional ailments brought on by modern living.

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Sunday, October 10, 2004

Why freshly brewed green tea is the best source of catechins

A study published in Harvard Women's Health Watch found that green tea has many positive health effects because of its high content of flavonoids -- plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants. The article reports that green tea is more effective than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to the body's cells, and that there is "an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder."

Importantly, the study found that freshly brewed green tea is the best way to get the tea's flavonoids. "Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds."

This not only reaffirms the huge body of scientific evidence about the health benefits of green tea, but also underscores how the best way to get those beneficial compounds is by consuming the tea in its natural state, not as an extract or otherwise pre-processed product.

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Green tea's weight-loss effects

Carin in Pleasanton, California, e-mailed to tell us about an article she found in the August 2004 issue of Women's World magazine. The article, entitled "The no-carb Asian Health Secret [Green Tea!] that STOPS FAT STORAGE!"

In this article, it describes on how green-tea "Revs-Up" your metabolism, and also describes that by drinking green-tea how it "melts a pound a week."
And describes how "ladies have lost over 20 - 30 pounds in just twenty weeks, by drinking iced green-tea." We haven't seen the article, so we don't know exactly what kind of diet this is, but if anyone has access to Women's World, why not give it a look?

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Thursday, October 07, 2004


"If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past."
--Master Po, "Kung Fu" TV series, episode "The Tide"

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Ichiro's name: We stand corrected!

We received word from a reader of this blog that a previous post about baseball superstar Ichiro contained an error: It turns out that Ichiro isn't his parents' eldest son; he's a second son. We based our assumption about Ichiro's birth order on other families we know where the eldest son is named Ichiro (which means "first boy") and the second-oldest is named Jiro ("second boy"). So the rule doesn't hold up all the time.

Still, what makes Japanese names so interesting is that they all have a meaning that's apparent in the kanji (Chinese characters) in which they're written.

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"Mellow Monk" makes the news!

Today the Contra Costa Times ran an article about Mellow Monk. The article discusses our roots, our market niche, and other aspects about the business. As the article states, one of the great things about the Internet is that it brings together people all over America who appreciate quality green tea with a company dedicated to provided quality green tea that's still affordable enough to drink every day.

If you can't read the above html file, we have the PDF version here (you'll need Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader to view it).

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