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Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Beautiful Nayabadda Mountain

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Woke up at 4:50 am to the sound of Buddhist monks chanting in the distance. Seventy percent of Sri Lankans are Buddhist and this is how they like to wake up before work. They believe the pleasant sound or waves go into your body and make you more positive. So although I would have preferred a few more hours’ sleep, I enjoyed waking up to their chanting.

We gathered for breakfast: John, our VP Blending and R&D, and Prassana, our export partner in Sri Lanka.  I wanted to finish this trip ensuring I was experiencing as much of this country as possible, so I had a very authentic meal of a porridge called Kenda made from kurukan (a wheat-like plant) with jaggery (a cube of sap from the palm tree), that you bite into before each sip.

Alongside were string hoppers (made of rice), and chicken curry.  Oh yes, we were finishing in style.  I tried to savor every bite. When we finished we packed up the car and said our goodbyes to the staff.  As usual they were warm and made you feel like family.

As we headed down the mountain roads we were once again surrounded by tea fields as far as the eye could see. The British brought tea to this country back in the 1860’s, when blight wiped out coffee plants. As I looked out over vast gardens that employ over a million people on this island, I could only think how much this country has done to develop that concept, and how the Sri Lankan people nurtured this industry to make Ceylon tea renowned as one of the world’s finest quality teas.

As we continued our descent, we passed by stunning natural waterfalls running down the mountain side, sometimes seeing as many as one every few minutes.  On the way down I asked Prassana to stop if we saw monkeys so I could photograph them.  Well within a short period of time, we were pulling over to see a family of these adorable little creatures sitting on a fence. Of course I wanted to get out and pet them but was quickly dissuaded when I was told they most likely would attack me.  I didn’t want my trip to end on that note so I proceeded to talk to them through the open window while they were just a foot or two away. They definitely had a funny look on their faces as I talked to them like we were friends.

Cindi Bigelow


Love Tea? Enter the Bigelow Tea February Sweepstakes!

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Looking for something to brighten up your February?  Enter Bigelow Tea’s February sweepstakes to win the I Love Tea Tin or our Valentine Gift DuetBoth our I Love Tea Tin and the Valentine Gift Duet will definitely bring a smile to your face, or the face of a loved one … if you decide to share!

Filled with a variety of 120 individually wrapped flavored black teas, such as Earl GreyConstant Comment®Cinnamon Stick, and English Teatime, our I Love Tea Tin is bound to please. The I Love Tea Tin could be the perfect post-Valentine’s Day gift, something special to brew with friends or family, or even something just for you to enjoy.  What’s not to love? If you love tea, you will definitely love the I Love Tea Tin.

And the Valentine Tea Twin Pack features our White Chocolate Obsession Tea—which blends the heavenly taste of rich, decadent chocolate and robust black tea—and Sweetheart Cinnamon Herb Tea, a tantalizing combination of cinnamon and sweet apple herb tea.

Enter our sweepstakes from February 1 (today!) to February 22 to win these amazing prizes!  Fourteen (14) lucky winners will receive our I Love Tea Tin and fourteen (14) lucky winners will receive our Valentine Gift Duet … so don’t hesitate to enter!  To enter, simply “like” our Bigelow Tea Facebook page, then click the Sweepstakes icon under our cover photo and follow the instructions.

Look for an announcement of the winners on our blog! Good luck!


Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: More On The Art Of Tea

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

We headed toward the Ragalla Estate where we had another incredible learning experience, focused mostly on the processing and tasting of these delicate teas. Each plant processes a little differently to get the exact flavor they want to represent their gardens, much like wine.

After a few more hours we headed to a hotel in Bandarawela.  We just dropped our stuff off and headed back out to visit the Nayabadda factory to see their night manufacturing.  Well that was an experience! Up windy roads with few signs in the pitch black of night. Turning and turning, we made our way to this large, hundreds-of-years-old factory on top of a hill.

The crew greeted us with huge smiles. There, the learning process began once again, with an understanding of how they have operated for over 150 years to gently process this tender leaf to create the perfect light, bright cup of Ceylon tea.

We finished up and headed back to the hotel for a late dinner.  Completely exhausted at this point, I flopped into bed to catch a few hours’ sleep before waking up early to head back to Colombo. As I lay in bed my mind was swirling with information and emotion. I felt so connected to this wonderful country and, to be honest, with the realization that this could be the last time I came to visit. So I was happy and sad all in one.  This was truly a trip to cherish for a lifetime.

Cindi Bigelow


Bigelow Tea Goes Red for American Heart Month

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Let’s get ready to focus on matters of the heart in February! The second month of the year is American Heart Month, and Bigelow Tea encourages everyone to learn more about heart disease. And please wear red on Friday, February 1 … the 10th anniversary of National “Wear Red” Day!

National Wear Red Day is the perfect way to kick off American Heart Month, and to lead into Women’s Heart Week, which begins on Monday, February 4. By wearing Red on Friday, people will make a statement that it’s important to take action and commit to fighting heart disease. The Wear Red awareness campaign certainly adds a lot of color to this important cause!

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for women. It’s more deadly than all forms of cancer. Since the first National Wear Red Day ten years ago, 21 percent fewer women are dying from heart disease and 23 percent more women aware that it’s their No. 1 health threat.

At Bigelow Tea, we think that “sipping” red is a nice way to recognize the day too! Enjoy the flavors of our teas that come wrapped in red-colored boxes. Start off with something fruity like our Red Raspberry or Pomegranate Pizzazz herbal teas. Or add a little spice to the day with “Constant Comment”® or Spiced Chai. There are many Bigelow Teas in red wrappers, so check them all out!

So, as you move through February, remember to take your heart health seriously … and enjoy a little tea along the way!

Top image via American Heart Association/Go Red for Women


Bigelow Tea Is Looking Forward To The Big Game!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

It’s almost here: Super Bowl XLVII (that’s #47 for us “Roman numeral-deficient” types)! We’re seriously revved up at Bigelow Tea for the big game Sunday, and all of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds it. The game is being played at the newly named and renovated Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and it’s not just a game … it’s an event!

From the pre-game to the super halftime show featuring musical icon Beyonce to the whole amazing city of New Orleans, this will be one Super Party. If you happen to be throwing a party, let Bigelow Tea provide some Super beverages and appetizers for your guests, like our Sangri–Tea-ahhhh Iced Tea Lemonade and our Miniature Vegetable Quiches
(both recipes below) that both taste great!

We even expect an exciting game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. We know our good Bigelow Tea friend (and Super Bowl XXI MVP Quarterback) Phil Simms will be watching for sure. He’s not only one of the greatest New York Giants in history—he’s one of the best Bigelow Tea spokesmen ever!

So, in anticipation of Sunday, here are a few “Super Facts” we wanted to share!

Super Fact: it has been 10 years since the big game has been played in the SuperdomeOn February 3, 2002 the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in the Superdome.

Super Fact: Phil Simms’s MVP passing performance in the big game XXI is still considered one of the greatest in history!

Super Fact: the best seats for the big game are actually at home with friends, family and a cup of Bigelow Tea! Throw in a snack like Mini Vegetable Quiches made with Bigelow Tea, and you will be all set for kickoff! Enjoy!

Sangri–Tea-ahhhh Iced Tea Lemonade (Red)


4 cups boiling water
2 bag Bigelow Half & Half Iced Tea & Lemonade with Pomegranate
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups fresh fruit including oranges, lemons, peaches and apples ( Red, Fuji or both) cut into bite sized pieces
½ cup Brandy
½ -1 liter of any flavor sparkling seltzer water
1-750mL bottle of Merlot

Makes 4 servings Prep Time: 15-20 minutes Chill Time: 1 hour or overnight


Place tea bags in a 4-cup glass measure. Add boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Squeeze and remove tea bags, add sugar, and stir to dissolve. Add brandy and fruit to tea concentrate. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to one day for a stronger flavor). When ready to serve, combine chilled mixture with wine and sparkling seltzer water. Pour into ice filled pitcher.

Serve and enjoy!

Miniature Vegetable Quiches


Tea Concentrate:

10 bags Bigelow Green Tea
1 cup boiling water

Vegetable Tea Mixture:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup diced colored bell peppers
½ cup asparagus tips: cut into small pieces, 1/2 – 1 inch
½ cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon minced shallots
¼ cup tea concentrate 

Egg Mixture:

6 large eggs
½ cup half and half
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
4-ounces (1/2 of an 8-ounce) package cream cheese, slightly softened, cut into 18-20 pieces
Dill, optional garnish

Yield: 18 to 24 miniature quiches depending on size of mini-muffin tin (About 1 ½ cups vegetable mixture.)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 15 to 18 minutes

Top image by Iam_chihange via

Don’t Forget to Enter Bigelow Tea’s “Tea for a Year” Sweepstakes

Monday, January 28th, 2013

As you hopefully know by now, Bigelow Tea is giving away “Tea for Year” to one lucky winner in this month’s sweepstakes. But time is running out, and we hope you’ll enter before the deadline at midnight EST on January 31st.  This is a certainly a prize worth vying for!

As one way of celebrating January’s “Hot Tea Month”—perhaps our favorite month here at Bigelow Tea!—we’re offering up one of our most exciting sweepstakes prizes ever: tea for an entire year! Yes, we’re providing one lucky winner with a monthly case of Bigelow Tea (containing six boxes per case) for twelve months. That’s a total of 120 tea bags each month. All. Year. Long. Wow!

With the end of the month looming, it makes sense to enter right now. So, head on over to our Bigelow Tea Facebook page, “like” us (if you haven’t already) and then click on the Sweepstakes icon under our cover photo. You’ll be entered to win the grand prize.

Look for our winner will be announced on our Bigelow Tea blog soon. Good luck … and we hope that you’ll sip Bigelow Tea every day this year, whether you win or not!


Bigelow Tea Shares Suggestions For Celebrating Hot Tea Month

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Are you exploring the wonders of tea in honor of Hot Tea Month? Here at Bigelow Tea, we know that while tea is an ancient beverage, there is always something new to discover about its natural goodness. Writer Kim Gordon Moore certainly proves the point with her article offering “12 Ways to Celebrate National Hot Tea Month in January.” We’re sharing interesting tips from the list, along with a few of our own for indulging your passion for tea. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to step outside your tea comfort zone … and fall in love all over again!

You might study tea pairing, make a tea recipe, visit a tea house, or learn about samovars and gaiwans—Chinese lidded bowls used for the infusion of tea leaves—as Moore suggests. Her recommendation to “patronize tea businesses that give back to the community” is one we wholeheartedly endorse, too! She also gives a nod to our own Charleston Tea Garden, the only working tea farm in the continental United States, as an idyllic place to see actual tea plants.

These are all wonderful ideas, of course, but our favorite suggestion is to savor each cup of tea. With more than 120 varieties, Bigelow Tea won’t let you get bored. If you’re a devotee of unflavored black teas, why not try fun flavors like new Caramel Chai or one of our many Green Teas? And conversely, if you always go for rich tea blends, it’s a perfect time to discover classics like English Breakfast and Earl Grey, which have distinctive flavor profiles. Feeling adventurous? Give Chinese Oolong or Jasmine Green Tea a whirl. Herb teas, such as Lemon Ginger Herb Plus and Orange & Spice, offer refreshing flavors without caffeine.

Enjoy your tea journey all month long and throughout the year!


Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Our Visit to Pedro

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Off we went to our third plantation. We were now heading up to 6000 feet to the top of the mountain to our third (and one of our company’s favorite plantations that produces teas for our blends).  It is called Pedro.

As the gates opened up and we pulled into the lot, I was about to experience something that would profoundly impact me. The fields were filled with color as the Sri Lankan women in bright color clothing were in the fields busily plucking the freshly grown shoots off the bushes. I asked if I could join them and, after a nod from the manager, I ran down the steps and into the fields where the ladies were working.   When I came upon the first woman I asked her name and then happily shared mine.

After a whole bunch of smiles exchanged she started to work again. I just watched with amazement. She moved so quickly with such skilled hands. I, of course, tried to duplicate what she did and could only laugh at the results.  So did she.

After a few minutes I moved on to another lady and then another. We had the same exchange. Many smiles and it gave them great joy each time I tried to accomplish what they were doing with such ease. Even the manager joined in to coach me!

After that I followed the women to the weigh station. Every two hours of collecting the tea leaves they head down to designated areas to have their prize possession weighed. As they lined up smiling and chatting, quite curious about who I was, I had the manager explain how my family has been selling for 67 years the teas they pluck, and how my grandmother had fallen in love with Ceylon tea back in 1945.  We have been devoted purchasers ever since.

 That their garden was one of our favorites. And with that I started to walk down the line of beautiful women shaking their hands and saying “nan dri,” which is “thank you” in their language.  I couldn’t help myself as tears came down my cheek. When they asked why I could only say because I was so happy. So happy to witness this historical profession with my own eyes. Something never done by my family before. I was representing three generations whose entire lives have been centered around tea. It was a moment like no other.

After close to an hour in the field we went up to the “tea room.” There we got to see all the amazing work being done at Pedro. This plantation is certified Fair Trade, ISO 22000, ETP, Rain Forest Alliance and has built new homes for all their 800 employees.  So many of the plantations in Sri Lanka are moving in this direction in order to keep this historical profession sustainable into the future. They know they have to take care of the worker and the fields if they want these gardens to prosper for hundreds more years!

After many hours of learning and tasting we headed out. But my experience at Pedro will never leave me. It was a profound moment in my life. Back in the car we went, waving goodbye to some truly wonderful people.

Cindi Bigelow


Bigelow Tea Dishes About How To Take The Bite Out Of Cold And Flu Season

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

If there’s one good thing about cold and flu season, it’s that it offers another incentive to eat well and stay hydrated. We know that drinking lots of water and beverages like tea is the best way to stay hydrated. And research suggests that consuming a diet with plenty of essential vitamins and minerals can boost your immune system, the body’s first line of defense against those nasty cold and flu viruses.  So let’s make healthy food choices and brew up a pot of Bigelow Tea!

Of course, even the most robust people get sick occasionally, especially when exposed to others who are coughing and sneezing. Experts remind us that frequent hand washing is essential to keeping the germs away. Shopping for foods that boost your immunity is also important. As Bruce Bistrian, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, tells WebMD, “The immune system needs certain nutrients to be strong and fully functional.”

And, there are reasons to drink tea that go beyond hydration and deliciousness! Published research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University suggests that theanine in tea may support your immune system. A cup of tea contains an average of 20-25 mg of theanine.  That’s heart-warming research for Bigelow Tea lovers!

Finally, here’s a look at foods that research suggests that can help you shape up for cold and flu season:

Garlic – May increase resistance to infection and stress.

  • Dairy products – Contain conjugated linoleic acid, which has boosted immune response in animal studies.
  • Whole grains – Deliver immune-boosting selenium.
  • Vitamin C – Has been found to enhance immune function.
  • Zinc – Known to play an important role in proper immune function. Good sources include meat, chicken, peanuts and peanut butter.

While good eating habits and some tasty cups of tea are no guarantee you’ll stay healthy this season, you’ll still be nourishing and hydrating your body. And that’s always a wonderful thing!

Photo by Jon Sullivan via

Baking With Our January Fan Of The Month And Bigelow Spiced Chai Tea!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Earlier this month we introduced you to Tiffany King, our January Fan of the Month! Tiffany, who home schools her children, also creates recipes and writes about home cooking on her Eat at Home blog. Best of all, even though she’s super-busy, Tiffany always manages to find time for a cup of Bigelow Tea!

Recently Tiffany was inspired to create some sweet, spiced muffins using Bigelow Spiced Chai Tea! We wanted to share the recipe for Spiced Chai Tea Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping with you today. We hope you’ll break out the muffin pan and give it a try!

Spiced Chai Tea Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping


2 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup strong brewed Bigelow Spiced Chai Tea
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

For the topping:

5 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbs. butter
5 Tbs. flour


Stir flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
In a mixer bowl, mix butter, sugar and eggs.
Add brewed tea, milk and vanilla to wet ingredients and mix till well blended.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir gently till well combined.
Divide evenly between 12 muffin tins.
Using a fork, combine all ingredients for topping until you have crumbs.
Sprinkle on top of muffins.
Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Notes: To make the strong, brewed tea use 1 or 2 tea bags and 1/4 cup boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes.