Alas, 2020 is here. Happy New Year!
We hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season as you look forward with renewed energy and hope for a splendid new year. As we mentioned in December, we have some big news to share about pricing as well as some tea trivia and more. Grab a cup of tea and let’s get started.
Updated Pricing Structure
We work hard to source high quality organic teas while maintaining sensible pricing. For many years, we’ve run various “sales” and promotions on specific teas. Of course, not everyone’s favorite “cup of tea” might make it onto a sale list in a given year. Going forward, we’ll largely forego typical “sale” promotions as we introduce every-day discounts based on package size.
While we used to offer 10% off of six ounces or more of an individual tea, our new structure offers savings of 5-15% on purchases made at the 4 oz, 8 oz and 16 oz levels. We hope these new discount levels offer more transparent and predictable pricing throughout the year while offering you a chance to save more when stocking up on your favorite teas.
Free Shipping Program Update
We are pleased to announce an update to our free shipping policy. Specifically, free shipping is now available for orders of $60 or more on orders designated for delivery to U.S. addresses. The former rate to qualify for free shipping was $75 (and it was $100 just a few years ago!!).
Tea Spotlight: Digestive
Our most popular “wellness” tea, Digestive, comes with serious functionality and great taste. Treasured for its soothing effect on tummies, aiding with digestion and eliminating bloat, our Digestive blend is a staple tea to keep on hand. Here’s a look at what makes it both tasty and functional:
Fennel: This fragrant and invigorating seed contains compounds such as anethole, estragole, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and volatile oils that can assist the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and immune systems while providing antioxidant, antibacterial, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Anise: Anise is commonly looked to for relief from upset tummies and intestinal gas and may help to stimulate appetite.
Peppermint: Delightfully fragrant and sought after for its great taste, peppermint has been used for thousands of years for relief of digestive and gastrointestinal issues. Peppermint tea is considered a carminative (relieves flatulence) as it helps to move gas through the body as it accumulates, reducing bloating, cramping, and helping to prevent upset tummies. Its antibacterial qualities (and minty fresh taste) also make it an ideal way of preventing halitosis, helping to improve breath.
Ginger Root: Helpful in so many ways, ginger root is sought after for its antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, digestive, antispasmodic relaxant properties.
Licorice Root: The health benefits of licorice root are plentiful due to the presence of unique organic compounds including glycosides, flavonoids, anethole, coumarins, sterols and a number of other antioxidants.
All combined, this custom herbal blend brews up a rich, slightly sweet, soothing tisane that is as delicious as it is functional. To achieve higher “function” of any herbal tea, we recommend a steeping time of seven minutes or more.
Tea Trivia: Did You Know....?
Photo: Camelia Sinensis, Shizuoka, Japan
How much do you know about the plant responsible for all of the green, white, black, oolong and pu-erh teas you enjoy? All of these are made from leaves of the Camelia Sinensis plant with most scholars pointing toward China’s Yunnan Province as its native land. There are two major varieties used for tea making, specifically Camelia Sinensis var. Sinensis (China bush) and Camelia Sinensis var. Assamica (Assam bush). A third variety, var. Camobodi, is less consistently productive and is used mainly for lower-quality, non-export tea production in areas such as Southeast Asia.
The China bush (var. Sinensis) thrives on cool mountainsides with southern exposure at elevations of roughly 6000-9000 feet in places receiving upwards of 50 inches of annual rainfall. The Sinensis variety is most commonly cultivated in China, Japan, Taiwan and some parts of Southern Asia and the Himalaya.
The Assamica variety prefers more jungle-like conditions with rainfall of 100 inches a year and a warm climate. It grows well on flat, low lying areas and hillsides alike. The leaves are larger than that of the China bush though the leaf is most commonly used to produce black teas rather than the more delicate green teas and oolongs produced from the var. Sinensis.
There are more than a thousand sub-varieties of the tea plant, each having slight variation in taste, color and preferred growing conditions. Left to grow on its own, a tea plant can mature into a tree of 40+ feet in height. However, for most tea production purposes, the plants are regularly pruned to stay at a low hedge height for ease in plucking and maintenance. While any type of tea (black, white, green, etc.) can be made from any variety of the tea plant, the growing location is as important as the plant variety in terms of what type of tea will be made. It is this combination that allows us to associate the “flavor” profile for that place, such as grassy, green teas from Japan or bold, black, malty teas from Assam. And, on the contrary, we wouldn’t expect to find a lot of grassy green teas coming from the Darjeeling region which has long been known for its high-elevation, delicate, slightly floral black teas.
Next month we’ll dive a little deeper into the tea plant from environmental elements that affect taste to harvesting periods and techniques.
What's Next for Modern Steep?
While we continue our ongoing search for the next great tea to add to our collection, we are also in the process of moving toward more sustainable packaging for our teas. While our current silver stand-up pouches can be recycled in some municipalities, we want to do more in terms of sustainability. Toward that end, we have spent the past few months testing and comparing various compostable bag options and are currently honing in on what might work for us in the near future. We even have fun new labels created for the occasion!
Please note, however, that compostable packaging is not as shelf stable as the current silver bags. This means that they are not intended for long term or repeated use. Instead, the contents in a compostable package should be emptied into a suitable container that can protect the tea from moisture, light and air relatively soon after purchase. Stay tuned for more on this subject over the next couple of months. If you have any particular thoughts regarding this subject, please let us know by writing to us as email@example.com.