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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Order for April 14th, 2008. Loose Leaf Teas

We'll be placing an order this Monday (April 14th) for Tea. We have chosen a selection of all loose-leaf teas: two green tea blends, herbal Valerian Root, herbal Yerba Mate, and herbal Rooibos (or Rooibush) tea....pronounced "roy-boss".

Our Green-Tea purchase this time around will be from a Global Co-Op focused on promoting fair-trade and healthy relationships. So, while their tea is not locally produced, it is organic and and equitably traded. This organization places a healthy emphasis on education about fairly traded products and their mutual benefits to consumer and farmer.

David and I have purchased from them in the past, but this time around we made a donation and have become members of their cooperative organization which, in turn, helps them maintain a positive effect in the marketplace, and helps us by lowering our costs slightly - which we can then pass onto our members.

All products they purchase, come directly from cooperatives of low-income and small farmers or through nonprofit alternative channels. Some products are limited by the amount of each co-op's annual harvest. David has found himself particularly in love with the Green Moroccan Mint, and wanted to be sure I told everyone that it came highly recommended.

Our herbal teas will all be purchased from another supplier, they offer all Fair Trade Certified and Organically grown teas.

Our Feature tea offering this time around is Rooibos. It is an herbal tea (decaffeinated)originating in South Africa, where it is commonly prepared with milk and sugar; elsewhere it is usually prepared without. The flavor of rooibos tea is often described as being sweet (without sugar added) and slightly nutty. The brew is a reddish brown color, explaining why rooibos is sometimes referred to as "red tea". One of the most interesting things I learned about this tea is its ability to settle upset stomachs.

To Prepare Rooibos: Rooibos tea should be steeped or brewed for a minimum of 5 minutes to release the flavor and the valuable antioxidants and minerals. Experts suggest that brewing Rooibos for 10 minutes or longer will increase the antioxidant content of the tea by 30%, longer brewing can also enhance the flavor. After this, the tea can be used immediately or stored. It can be reheated or cooled without any effect, as the tea is very low in tannins and will thus not turn bitter as normal coffee and tea would. One Teaspoon of Rooibos tea is enough for one cup of tea.

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