Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 4: White tea tasting with Joshua

This week we were fortunate to have Joshua in the states and also have him lead our Friday morning staff tea tasting.  We finished off the series with Silver Needle, White Peony, White Buds and Moonlight White.

It's a treat to be able to learn so much about white tea from Joshua himself.  He prepared the tea in cupping sets and allowed us all to visually inspect, smell and taste all four teas. 

He talked about the history, processing and brewing methods of all of these teas.  
It also got us excited about the upcoming white tea harvest.  White tea is usually harvested the last few days of March and the beginning of April.  We are only weeks away from the highly anticipated spring tea harvest!

White tea originated in Fujian, China.  From there we offer the traditional and organic Silver Needle and White Peony.  However, we also offer two white teas from Yunnan, China, one of the oldest tea cultivation zones.  Those teas are organic and fair trade certified and hand harvested from ancient tea trees deep in the jungle. Through these teas we are able to blend together ancient tea history with a newer type of tea.   

Looking back at last year, 2010 was a difficult year for farmers.  The weather was not as cooperative as it has been in the past.  Young buds were shocked with a freeze as they emerged causing  farmers to summon farming wisdom.  Despite any challenges they might have faced they still provided us with tea we are proud to share with our customers.  We are fortunate to have such talented partners at origin and have Joshua creating relationships with those who grow and process our teas.  Through that direct contact he is able to relay information on specific teas such as he did at our tasting.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week 3: Three Rishi Original White Tea Blends

Week 3 of our Friday tastings brought us Peach Blossom, Mandarin Citrus and Plum Berry. These tastings are not only a chance for all of our Rishi Tea staffers to get to know all of the teas we offer but also to take a moment and enjoy what we do best, tea.
We are able to taste, learn and laugh.  We get to know the leaves and each other.  
What do you think about these 3 blends?  Do you have any questions about them?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Save on your order this Valentine's Day!

15% off any purchase through March 1, 2011!
Just enter VDAY11 at checkout.

This year for Valentine's Day, give a gift that tastes delicious and helps the environment- Cinnamon Plum .  We are once again teaming up with Clean Water Fund.  We are donating 25% of the profits of Cinnamon Plum to their effort of keeping America's waterways clean.  Jon Scott, of Clean Water Fund, tells us what he loves about Cinnamon Plum.

What I like (love) about Cinnamon Plum
by Jon Scott
If you’ve already tried it you know this herbal blend makes a fantastic winter warmer. (If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. This is definitely the kind of Winter when it will really sing for you.).
There’s something very happy about that nice deep plum red color, combined with a kind of a tangy snap and the extra-warming boost the cinnamon brings to the party. Half an hour after shoveling snow off the deck and settling back into my favorite chair with a steaming mug of Cinnamon Plum, I’m already feeling great and ready to get back to work!

But I was thinking…
For the past couple of years, I’ve given Cinnamon Plum as holiday gifts and really enjoyed being able to give something that makes you feel good, and that you can also feel good about. That’s one benefit of this herbal tea’s Organic and Fair Trade certifications. The fact that sales of this tea also benefit my organization, Clean Water Fund, makes it even more fun to give and to receive.
One other thing. Now we’re getting into February. This Cinnamon Plum herbal tea brews up nice and red. It makes anyone who drinks it warm and happy, and there’s the extra warming zip of that cinnamon. Organic and Fair Trade certified, and benefits Clean Water Fund. Sounds like a perfect alternative (or addition) to the traditional Valentines Day candy, flowers. Can good tea be romantic? Give Cinnamon Plum this Valentines Day and find out for yourself.
Jon Scott is Director of Corporate Relations for Clean Water Fund & Clean Water Action

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 2: White Tea Rose Blends

White Tea Rose Melange
A blend of jasmine and wild rose scented white teas infused with rejuvenating peppermint and calming lavender. It’s floral with a fresh minty finish.

Brewing instructions:
Water: 190°F 
Leaves: 1 tbsp per 8 ounces
Infusion Time: 4 minutes

Story behind the tea:   
This tea has undergone many evolutions.  At one time it used to contain schizandra berries.  The peppermint in this blend is from a single farm in Washington State.

Origin: Milwaukee, WI - Rishi Tea original blend

Ingredients: Organic roses, Organic white tea, Organic Fair Trade Certified™ green tea, Organic peppermint, Organic lavender and Organic jasmine flowers

Interesting notes:  We made lemonade with this tea!  Simply infuse the tea leaves in cold lemonade for a few hours, strain and serve cold.

Our organic peppermint!

Wild Rose
White tea infused with aromatic wild harvested roses.

Brewing instructions:
Water: 190°F  
Leaves: 1 tbsp per 8 ounces 
Infusion Time: 4-6 minutes 

Origin: Milwaukee, WI - Rishi Tea original blend 

Ingredients: Organic white tea, Organic roses and natural essential rose oil

Interesting notes: You can make cookies with this tea!
Check out our recipe: Wild Rose Sugar Cookies

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Partnership with Becky's Blissful Bakery!

We've teamed up with local confectioners Becky's Blissful Bakery for an unbelievably delicious treat - Chai Tea Caramels! Becky's makes all organic, handmade desserts from scratch and for their latest creation, they've blended Rishi's organic Masala Chai Concentrate into the mix. The sweet, spicy and rich caramels are available on their site as well as in select Sendik's and Outpost stores in the Milwaukee area. 

Come by and taste our Chai Concentrate alongside Becky's Chai Tea Caramels on the following dates:  

January 29: Winter Farmers Market from 8am-12pm @ Tommy Thompson Youth Center, State Fair Park

January 30: Chai Sampling with Becky’s Blissful Bakery from 10am-1pm @ Sendiks in Elmbrook

February 12: Chai Sampling with Becky’s Blissful Bakery from 10am-1pm @ Sendiks in Brookfield

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 1 Tea Tasting: White Tea

Yields a nectar-sweet infusion with notes of apricot and honey.

Brewing instructions:
Water: 180°F 
Leaves: 1 tbsp per 8 ounces
Infusion Time: 5 minutes

Story behind the tea:   
The small and brightly-pigmented orange blossoms of Osthmanthus are hand harvested in the fall throughout Southern China. Little known in the West, Osthmanthus blossoms are also called “Guay Hua” in China and are used in wines, pastries, teas and perfumes.

Origin: Fujian, China

Ingredients: Silver needle white tea and Osthmanthus flowers.  
  • Silver Needle leaf buds from the Fuding Da Hao varietal
  • Harvest in late March–April.  Last year's harvest began on March 28th, 2010 
  • Osthmanthus flowers are a part of the olive family.  It's an evergreen tree or shrub native to China
Photo from Wikipedia 
Interesting cultivation notes: Silver Needle is harvested in late March-mid April and held for scenting in September when Osthmanthus flowers blossom.  The tea undergoes scenting in September and is exported in October, arriving in late November each year. 

Silver Needle Jasmine 
Refreshing, soft and subtle with sweet flavors, smooth white tea body and a lofty floral aroma.

 Brewing instructions:
Water: 185°F  
Leaves: 1 tbsp per 8 ounces 
Infusion Time: 4-5 minutes

Story behind the tea:  Jasmine scented tea is the most common scented tea in China.  The delicate and floral aroma of jasmine pairs great with the sublte sweetness of Silver Needle white tea. Most scented teas are green and blacks. 

Origin: Fujian, China

Ingredients: Silver needle white tea and Jasmine blossoms.  
  • Silver Needle leaf buds from the Fuding Da Hao varietal
  • Harvest in late March–April.  The 2010 harvest began on March 28th
  • Jasmine blossoms bloom in the summer 

Photo from Wikipedia 
 Interesting cultivation notes:  There are many scented teas on the market but a distinguishing factor in our tea is that it is organic.  The jasmine blossoms in our tea are organically grown.  Sourcing the amount of organic jasmine blossoms we require to scent this tea is challenging due to pests.  Pests are attracted to the extremely sweet scent of jasmine blossoms.

Welcome to Rishi Tea tastings!

We are committed not only to providing great tea but also creating a culture of tea knowledge that we can share with you.  At Rishi Tea, tea knowledge extends from Joshua to our sales team, our production workers, our full staff, and from our staff to our customers. Every Friday morning we conduct staff tea tastings which gives us the opportunity to spend time drinking tea, learning about tea and enjoying tea with our one another.

We invite you to join our weekly staff tastings via our blog, Facebook and Twitter in our quest to link the leaf at origin to its end result: a revitalizing cup of tea. 

Each week we'll post tasting notes and information from the prior Friday tea tasting. Please share any questions and comments you may have for us! Our 2011 tasting series begins with white tea.  In the near future, we hope to offer our weekly tea tastings to the public as well. Until then, join us virtually!  

 Susana, our resident tea geek, and Kevin, our head tea blender prepare to lead our Friday tea tastings.

Susana and Kevin serving two white tea favorites - Osthmanthus Silver Needle and Silver Needle Jasmine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

12 New Teas in Stores!

Ten herbal teas and two new Japanese green teas with environmentally sensitive packaging join our expanding retail collection! Ten naturally caffeine-free, organic herbal blends comprise the new Herbal Retail Collection, each a unique combination of natural botanicals, spices and fruits blended for both flavor and effect. The full line includes award-winning Cinnamon Plum, Tangerine Ginger, Chamomile Medley, Bergamot Sage, Hibiscus Berry, Mystic Mint, White Ginseng Detox, Serene Dream, Turmeric Ginger, and Unity

Rishi Tea founder, Joshua shares “Our new Herbal teas are inspired by ancient herbal beverages and our constant travel and study of food cultures around the world. We’ve fused traditional remedies with epicurean creativity, premium ingredients and original blending techniques to offer distinctive flavors not available elsewhere."

Genmai Matcha and Matcha Super Green are the newest additions to Rishi’s Green Tea Line. Both teas are blended with Matcha, a powdered green tea known to promote creativity, focus and energy.

“We’ve worked on developing an organic Genmai Matcha for more than five years and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Matcha Super Green is one of our most popular new teas. We are delighted to add these to our retail packaged line and expect they are really going to resonate. We see a growing interest in Japanese green tea in the North American market, and no signs of it abating,” explains Ben, co-owner of Rishi Tea.

Find these new teas and more of your favorite Rishi teas at Whole Foods Market nationwide and numerous health, specialty and natural food retailers. Can't find these teas at your neighborhood store? Ask them to place an order with our Wholesale Department!

Behind the Label - from Seed to Table

We are unbelievably thrilled to have Rishi Tea founder, Joshua join world renowned Chef Charlie Trotter and Tony Dreyfuss, co-owner of Metropolis Coffee for Behind the Label – from seed to table. Each will discuss the concepts of organic, fair trade, sustainable and local while sharing their personal journeys, and travels to select the world’s finest ingredients. The night will also feature an innovative menu from Chef Trotter, incorporating both Metropolis Coffee and Rishi Tea into the food, cocktails, wine and delicious desserts from Chef Keli Fayard of Vanille Patisserie.

Behind the Label takes place at 6pm on Monday, February 7th at Charlie Trotter’s on 816 W. Armitage in Chicago. Tickets are available for purchase from Vanille Patisserie

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hong Yue - NEW Black tea from Taiwan!

In the 1920's, the Japanese introduced assam tea plants to Taiwan and for many decades, Taiwan was famous for high quality black tea, much of it consumed domestically or in Asia. 

5 year old Hong Yue black tea farm in Nantou.

Hong Yue, as translated from Chinese means "Red Jade" or Ruby. This special breed of tea bush is a cross of Burmese Wild Tea and Taiwan Wild Tea. Ruby Black as we call it or Hong Hue, is the premier black tea cultivar in Taiwan and renders a very unique character if processed with skill. Ruby Black has a distinctive aroma of Clove, Wintergreen, Camphor, Red Date, Raisin and Cinnamon. Ruby Black brews a very assertive, strong flavored cup with a deep red infusion color and is best for gong fu cha style brewing, using a lot of leaf and short infusion times to yield multiple cups from the same serving of leaf. 

One of our employees, Susana, tried it and had this to say, "There are teas that make me stop and smile and this is one of those!  I filled my guywan about two thirds of the way with leaves, used 19o degree water and brewed about 16 infusions! My infusions were only seconds long. The aroma of camphor and wintergreen is very prominent.  I highly recommend this truly special tea.  I'm really into organic farming practices, so it's great to see the images of the garden." 

Too small for organic certification, but we still cultivate Hong Yue without pesticides or chemicals.

Snails and lady bugs and spiders are found throughout the garden.

The yellow flowers seen are related to peanut. A little portion is planted in the tea garden and it spreads rapidly, creeping along the ground. They are planted in the tea farms because they are nitrogen fixing herbs and help to nurture young tea bushes. They hold moisture in the soil. Their root systems aerate the soil and create an environment where beneficial bacteria thrive thus providing nutrition and nitrogen to the tea plants in place of fertilizers. After some time, they are mulched into the soil when the tea trees are older and stronger. 
The nitrogen fixing herb's roost system is dense and protects the soil and holds moisture in the soil.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Travel update from Joshua: Shizuoka, Japan

The Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan produces about 70% of Japanese green tea. Shizuoka, which translates into "tranquil hills" has been producing green teas for more than 800 years. Located on the south eastern coast facing the Pacific Ocean, Shizuoka's unique terrain, rich soil, balance of sunshine and rainfall along with dense fog are the right combination for quality green tea production. 

The Shizuoka airport offers an awesome green tea service. I ordered Fukamushi Sencha from the Makinohara district in Shizuoka and it was prepared by an expert tea instructor in the airport tea shop. The tea shop only hires certified tea instructors. He had great brewing skill.

 This tea menu is a map of Shizuoka and you can choose your tea by origin. Very nice!

Here a Japanese Tea Master performs a tea ceremony with his fellow tea masters from Korea and China at the World O-CHA (tea) Festival in Shizuoka.

This is a poster for the World O-CHA 2010 Festival in Shizuoka.

We offer a few wonderful green teas from Shizuoka: Genmaicha, Genmai Matcha, Sencha Superior, Sencha Yuzu and Sencha Sakura.

Imbibe rates Rishi Chai highest!

The ever enlightening and beautiful Imbibe Magazine featured a taste test in their Nov/Dec 2010 issue, preparing and tasting six different chai concentrates. Among the competition only one was found to strike a perfect balance of black tea with real spices and subtle sweetness our very own Masala Chai Concentrate! Imbibe rated our chai the highest with 4 1/2 stars, calling it "boldly nuanced; nicely balances black tea profile with varied spices and light sweetness..." For the full taste test results and to see who didn't make the chai cut, download the article here or see below.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Recipe: Cinnamon Plum Panna Cotta

The delicate and sophisticated flavor of Rishi's Cinnamon Plum makes this panna cotta a superstar dessert.  I like to serve this in pretty teacups with saucers. You can make these up to 48 hours before serving. - Gina De Roma (The Philosopher's Spoon)

Ingredients (serves 8):
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Fair Trade Certified organic sugar
4 tablespoons Rishi Organic Cinnamon Plum Tea
3 tablespoons cold water
1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatine

For garnish:
16 to 24 raw unsalted pistachios (about a tablespoon)
16 to 24 dried currents (pulled from the Rishi Tea)
Cinnamon Plum Syrup (recipe follows)
Ground Cinnamon

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, warm the cream, milk and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Bring mixture just to a simmer (do not boil!) and remove from heat.  Add Cinnamon Plum, stir and cover.  Let steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl (4 quart size), add the cold water and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the infused cream mixture through a fine sieve, pushing on the tea with the back of a spoon to extract all of the cream.  Discard the tea, return the cream to the pan and re-warm. 

Pour the warm tea over the gelatin in the bowl.  Stir well until gelatin has completely dissolved.

Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly among 8 teacups, small bowls, or ramekins. Cool to room temperature, cover each cup with plastic wrap, and chill until set (about 2 hours).

While panna cotta is chilling, make the syrup.  In a small bowl combine the following:

2 tablespoons Rishi Organic Cinnamon Plum
4 teaspoons of Organic Sugar
2 tablespoons of hot water

Stir until sugar dissolves.  Let steep for 5 minutes and strain syrup, discarding tea. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To serve:
Garnish each panna cotta with 2 or 3 pistachios, 2 or 3 dried currents, a drizzle of the syrup and a tiny dash or two of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Plum Season

It's about that time where we begin the transition from drinking lighter, spring harvested teas like Silver Needle, to dark and rich blacks, pu-erhs and herbal blends like our delicious Organic Cinnamon Plum. During the cooler months fall and frigid months of winter (we're in Wisconsin!), a hot cup of sweet, succulent and soothing Cinnamon Plum is enough to warm both your body and spirits.

Cinnamon Plum began as a limited, seasonal offering and a partnership with Clean Water Fund (we've donated over $10,000 to CWF) and has become a mainstay over the last three years, having won First Place for Best Blended Herbal at the 2009 World Tea Championship. Like our fans, friends and customers, we cannot get enough of this tea. That's why we decided to add Cinnamon Plum to our Retail Collection in early December, making it available in retail stores year-round. In the meantime, find Cinnamon Plum online and in a gift set and feel great knowing that for the third consecutive year, 25% of the profits are donated to Clean Water Fund (from October through March) in support of their efforts to protect and restore our country's waters. After all, tea will only be as good as the water used to brew it.  

Try Cinnamon Plum 3 Delicious Ways!

Cold Brew
Add 4 teaspoons to an Essential Tea Pitcher and fill with apple cider.  Place in fridge overnight and drink the next morning!

Hot Cider
Add 1 tablespoon to a saucepan for every 8 ounces of cider. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a heat resistant pitcher and serve with a cinnamon stick.

Hot Tea
Boil water. Add 1 tablespoon to a teapot for every 8 ounces of water. Steep for 5 minutes and serve.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recipe: Butternut Masala Chai Chocolate Chip Muffins

I grew up under the perpetually sunny skies of California.  I did not have the concept of the air cooling, becoming crisp, the leaves changing, covering the streets in red and gold and the need for spice and warmth, making you want to bake.  This fall in Milwaukee has been unseasonably warm. My fall vest is still in the closet but the urge to bake is still strong!  That urge to bake led me to my collection of squash.  I have a pie pumpkin, but that’s too predictable.  So, I decided to experiment with the butternut and my delicious Rishi Tea Chai concentrate!

It only made sense to pair my butternut with the aromatic spices of chai and I love chocolate so all together I made Butternut Chai Chocolate Chip Muffins! - Susana Mojica

1 cup of butternut (I cubed and baked at 375 for about half an hour, then mashed with a fork, that way you end up with a few chunkies!)
2 eggs
1 stick of butter (cream with sugar a bit)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of Rishi Tea chai concentrate
(Mix ingredients together) 
2 cups of flour (I used a half wheat, half white blend)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 baking soda
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp star anise
1tsp allspice
1tsp salt
(Mix dry ingredients together)
1 cup of chocolate chips

Mix the first set of ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the dry ingredients without over mixing. Mix in the chocolate chips

Bake at 375 for 24 minutes.   Bake until a toothpick comes out dry.

Makes 18 small muffins

Enjoy with a hot cup of chai!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pussimbing Darjeeling Black Tea

We are very excited to offer a special Darjeeling - Second Flush Darjeeling Select - Pussimbing Estate black tea is one of our new favorites!

This limited batch was the best tea we tasted from Darjeeling this year. This was one of the hardest years to find good quality Darjeeling tea.  The region was hit by back-to-back drought quality years and high quality was way down.  We were so lucky to find this one from the Pussimbing Organic Fair Trade Tea Estate.

Pussimbing Tea Estate is situated East of Darjeeling, just below the famous “Tiger Hill” and is famous for its misty ambiance which helps to produce a completely  different, exclusive variety of teas.

The history behind the local name, Pussimbing, is that it is a combination of 2 words “Pasang”(name/community) and “Ung” (water source).

It is said that a monk named "Pasang" searching for water near Darjeeling found several sources of water in the valley on the hills where the present Pussimbing Tea Estate is situated. Due to abundance of water tea could be cultivated with ease and the British Planters expanded it into a fully commercial plantation sometime in the year 1911.

Today Pussimbing makes some of the finest Bio-Organic teas produced in the Darjeeling District and a distinctive feature of the teas produced here are that they have a natural fruity fragrance and taste.

This is one of the highest elevation gardens in the district and also produces some of the finest Darjeeling Green Teas.

Elevation: 1500 Mts. to 2200 metres above sea level
Total Crop: 80 MT annually
Total Gross Area: 400 Hectares
Total Planed Area: 201 Hectares
Jats of tea planted :Both Original Darjeeling seed (China ) & High Quality Assam Hybrid
Workers Employed: 531

Status: 100 % Certified Bio-Organic since 1997 (Fair Trade since 1995)

Fair Trade Details
A. Number of families covered -   650
B. Utilization of  Fair Trade premiums :
  1.)  Distribution of  Livestock (cows) amongst workers
  2.)  Distribution of  LPG cylinders and stoves to workers for cooking
  3.)  Repair and construction of Village roads

Learn more about our new Pussimbing Estate Darjeeling

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tea Mavericks of America

Join Rishi Tea founder, tea buyer and CEO, Joshua Kaiser for a tea talk and tasting at Samovar's inaugural Tea with...Tea Mavericks of America! Joshua and other leading tea experts will discuss new innovations in the tea industry, the challenges they face, health benefits, sustainability trends and share their latest and greatest artisan teas on-camera for a live tea tasting. Joshua will be brewing our new award-winning Super Green, a blend of chumushi Sencha from Kagoshima and Matcha from the Kyoto Prefecture of Japan

Tea Mavericks of America takes place on Tuesday, September 14th at 5pm PST at Samovar's beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens location. Tickets are available for $40 or join the discussion online for a free streaming at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Story behind our 12 New Teas

Written by Kevin, Rishi Tea Head Blender

Kevin with a hand blended batch of our award-winning Cinnamon Plum

The way we taste is extremely personal and inarguable: No one can tell you what to like. Marketing notwithstanding, our taste buds are our own. A beverage designed to appeal to everyone rarely does. Looked at from another angle, products created with a specific function in mind--sleep aid, rejuvenator, brain tonic--are generally consumed for that specific function and not for their flavor. As much as they were intended to be enjoyed, they're more often than not simply tolerated for the good of one's health. We sometimes struggle with drinking things that are beneficial. Holding your nose to ease the medicine down, still somehow relates as an adult.

That reality is exactly the reasoning behind the development of our New Blends.

Drawing upon my 10 years of experience as Rishi's Master Blender and R&D Specialist, I strive to create products that are healthful as well as flavorful, melding the knowledge, skill and passion of our development team with the opportunities that exist in the under-represented, functional, full-leaf tea and herb categories.

We wanted to bring to market products that served specific functions and still had a taste to be craved. Because, ultimately, we drink what we like and always return to what pleases us.

So, for me, the impetuous behind a blend like Organic Hot Rod was less than altruistic: I wanted a new daily, go-to tea. I love Japanese greens and Taiwanese oolongs. These are my favorite styles of tea. Their clarity, depth and energy are remarkable, their history humbling. But, like most people with jobs, I have a busy schedule that doesn't always allow time for the attention to detail and reverence for preparation that these teas deserve. So, along comes Hot Rod!

Organic Hot Rod has the strength to live up to its name and the subtlety and complexity to satisfy an admitted tea elitist. And the blend's versatility means it can be enjoyed hot or iced. I have a jug of Hot Rod in my fridge right now.

We also wanted to offer a range of tastes from challenging and adventurous--Organic Turmeric Ginger and Bergamot Sage--to comforting--Organic Chocolate Maté Chai--that would allow people to explore the diversity of possibility in artisanal tea and herb pairings.

Organic Turmeric Ginger has a powerful profile driven by the pungency of its namesake ingredients. Its color and strength in the cup are remarkable and extremely enlivening. This blend is the result of Rishi's founding owner, Joshua Kaiser's desire to challenge the market and his continued faith in its ability to understand and appreciate bold innovation.

While, on the other hand, Organic Chocolate Maté Chai's creation was meant as a reward to adulthood. This blend has the smooth texture of hot cocoa, but a depth of character that the late night stand-by can't touch. Organic Pu-erh tea, shade-grown Organic Yerba Maté and Ayervedic longevity herbs like Organic Long Pepper lend a nuanced richness and complexity that force your taste buds to pay attention. This is truly a grown-up indulgence.

Our other new blends are equally intriguing, diverse and, with all due modesty, delicious. There’s no reason to wait for your body to need them; you'll just want them. And no need to hold your nose.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chai Gift Set Contest!

We need YOUR help naming our Vanilla Mint Chai & Chocolate Mate Chai Gift Set! Respond on our blog, Facebook or Twitter with your idea by end of day, Wednesday September 1st for a chance to win the gift set. We'll announce our favorite name and the winner on Thursday September 2nd. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Chai Story

Benjamin, co-owner of Rishi Tea talks about our new Masala Chai Concentrate, partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute and recent sofi Award at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York>>Watch the Video Here

Friday, July 23, 2010

Introducing 12 New Teas

We've handcrafted 12 new loose leaf tea blends, including 6 innovative botanical blends, 3 delicious chai teas, 2 energizing green teas and an aromatic oolong.

One of the fastest growing segments in the tea industry is “wellness tea,” but few premium loose leaf options exist. We’ve crafted six functional wellness blends that are naturally caffeine-free, organic and absolutely delicious. Our new botanical blends include Bergamot Sage, Hibiscus Berry, Red Ginseng Recharge, Serene Dream, Turmeric Ginger and White Ginseng Detox.

Our new Chai blends, Chocolate Mate Chai, Green Tea Chai and Vanilla Mint Chai, draw upon exotic and inspired ingredients designed for slow-brewing or infusing like tea.

Hot Rod Green Tea and Raspberry Green Tea fuse “super fruits” and naturally energizing herbs with green teas for a mood boosting and uplifting beverage without the sugar, chemicals and crash of most energy drinks.

And finally, our new Coconut Oolong perfectly blends Bao Zhong oolong with creamy coconut for a smooth and decadent tea. 

“Our thought process comes from the kitchen, not the lab,” says Joshua Kaiser, Rishi Tea founder and tea buyer. “We’re making innovative and interesting teas that represent different cultures and traditions. We look to ancient techniques to balance all aspects of the tea blend from energy and flavor to aroma and mouthfeel.”

All potential tea ingredients undergo a scrupulous evaluation process. Numerous herbs and fruits from various origins are tasted multiple times to determine the best ingredient for each blend, using organic certified ingredients and essential oils whenever possible. These thorough and precise measures result in well-balanced, high quality blends with nuance and depth.

All new teas will be available by August 4th at and will become part of Rishi’s Retail Tin Line starting in late 2010.

Join us for a celebration of our new teas on Thursday, August 12th from 6-8pm at the beautiful Anaba Tea Room in Shorewood, WI. Enjoy tea tastings, tea education, appetizers, giveaways & more! This event is free and open to all. To attend, please RSVP.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Brewing a Tea Renaissance

From Joshua's monthly tea article on Food Thinkers

Our goal is to take tea to a whole new level of appreciation. The evolution of wine and coffee in the US have inspired us and set reasonable goals for us to achieve.

Just 10 years ago, most consumers ordered wine by the type (red, white, etc.). Today, consumers are more likely to order wine based on varietal, style, vintage, and origin. Wine consumers have become very sophisticated.

 The physics of leaf, water volume, timing, and temperature 
are affected by brewing utensils

Within the last five years, consumers have begun to pay attention to the temperature at which their wine is stored and served as well as the shape and volume of the glass they savor their wine in.

Espresso and coffee also have blossomed from a simple beverage to a gourmet experience. Coffee bars are now using 2-3 times the amount of coffee grounds to make an average coffee drink. Coffee drinks have become stronger with richer body and a wider range of flavor profiles.

Single origin coffees, varietals, and complicated yet rewarding brewing methods, coupled with consumer education about coffee, have led this age-old beverage into a renaissance period.

People have come to expect more from coffee and wine, but what about tea? Can we cultivate an elevation in the understanding and appreciation of tea similar to that for wine and coffee? Yes, we can!

First, we must understand that our brewing methods and our concepts of tea are stuck in the 19th Century, when much of the tea consumed in the US was Congou black or broken leaf teas. Much of the premium tea we offer today was not even available in the US 10 years ago. Many of these teas can’t be measured with a teaspoon and have simple yet unique brewing methods that render the best flavors.

 Ms. Yumiko-san measuring the proper amount of Gyokuro for brewing in a Ho-hin.

Modern consumers have an unprecedented abundance of superb tea available to them, but rarely do they taste the full potential greatness of the leaf. People still make their tea too dilute, using a small amount of leaf in a large volume of water with teapots better suited for Victorian-era tea service. Many of the teas we appreciate today should be brewed using more leaf, controlling the infusion temperature and time to yield a strong, aromatic, rich bodied and stronger infusion.

 A Ho-hin is a traditional brewing vessel or small type of teapot used for fine green teas like Gyokuro.

It’s so important for people to understand the traditional and delicious flavors that remain locked within the potential of their tea leaves. The key is to grow the awareness and educate tea lovers about various brewing methods so they can fully enjoy the teas available to them.

Once the true taste and energy of tea is revealed through better brewing, I believe tea will enjoy a renaissance period like wine and coffee. The nuance of varietal, origin, vintage, season, and style will become apparent and appreciated only when we stop serving tea in an antiquated manner.

Sencha green tea from Japan is an example of a very popular tea that very few people brew to the tea’s full potential. This year, at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Rishi Tea invited our friend, Mr. Tadao Yasukura-san, a 70-year-old tea master from the Obaku Kofu Ryo school of Sencha-do, to lead tea ceremonies and brewing workshops in our booth.

The Sencha-do ceremonies educated our customers about improved brewing methods and helped nurture a better understanding of the wonderful flavor and energy of Sencha green tea. The workshops were a great success, informing tea lovers about the history and tradition of Japanese green tea as well as the improved brewing methods of using more tea and shorter brewing times.

 A rich, flavorful brew of roasted Bancha expertly decanted by Mr. Yasukura-san.

It’s important that we learn about various traditional brewing methods used in the tea origin and producing countries. Each tea has a specific brewing method best suited to its leaf style. Even if we don’t use the same meticulous methods or rare ceramics as a tea master, we can taste the way tea should taste and implement our own techniques to improve the way we serve and enjoy tea.

I hope tea lovers will be inspired to adapt certain core principles from traditional tea brewing methods in order to create their own unique style.