1983. The first mobile phones are introduced by Motorola. Gas averages around $1/gallon. The final episode of M*A*S*H airs, and 105 million people watch. Sally Ride becomes the first woman to launch into space. Mario Bros is released by Nintendo in Japan. In women’s fashion, shoulder pads are everywhere. Chicken McNuggets are born. But the perhaps biggest event of 1983? John Harney founded Harney & Sons Fine Teas!
As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we thought it only appropriate to share 40 things we love about tea. While there are more than 40 things to love about the world’s best beverage, 40 seemed like a good idea given the occasion. So without further ado, here are the first 20. We’ll share the rest of the list in our next blog.
1. Over 300 awesome varieties.
Sure, Coke has a bunch of flavors, and coffee comes in a plethora of strengths and flavors, but there’s nothing like the wide variety of teas to please every palate. We’re excited that we can offer our customers over 300 varieties of teas, from the globally loved standards like English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Chamomile, to wonderful Chinese and Japanese greens, to dark fermented Pu-Erhs, to our own signature blends like Hot Cinnamon Spice, Paris, or Vanilla Comoro. Tea flavors run the gamut, and we’re always excited to come up with a new blend or source a new tea to offer our customers. After 40 years, bringing you the finest teas never gets old!
2. The zen process of brewing tea.
If you’ve done it, you know what we mean. There’s no rushing the perfect cup of tea. From warming the teapot to boiling the water, letting the tea steep, watching the water change color, and the steam rising…it almost feels like time is slowing down. Many people attest to the calming effects of brewing tea. Want to make sure you’re getting the best out of your brew? See our directions on Making the Best Cup of Tea of Your Life!
3. Tea brings people together.
How many times have you watched a scene in a movie where a friend comes to another friend in distress and the words “Let me put the kettle on” are uttered. Sure, it was probably British, but still. Sitting down with family and friends over a cup of tea somehow makes it a more warm and peaceful event. Also, tea does not discriminate. As we like to say, “We don’t make tea for some, we make tea for all.” It is an equal opportunity, non-discriminatory and accepting beverage!
4. It’s thousands of years old!
Tea has been around for 5,000 years. That’s like 35,000 in dog years! No matter how you measure it, tea has persevered and is still going strong. You gotta respect a beverage that’s even more popular now than it was in the BC years. (We like to think “BC” stands for “Before Coffee,” which would be the golden age!)
5. Almost all types of teas come from the same plant.
We know it doesn’t seem possible that a strong, dark black tea and a delicate white tea come from the same mother, but they do! All teas, except for herbals and tisanes, come from the Camellia sinensis plant. It’s what they do with the leaves after harvest that makes the big differences in varieties. We love this fact about tea, makes it seem almost magical.
6. Um…tea is delicious!
7. Less caffeine on average than coffee.
In general, a cup of tea has about 40-60 MG of caffeine per cup, while the average cup of coffee has around 105 MG. See our caffeine chart to find out which teas have more or less caffeine than others.
8. Tea has health benefits.
The Chinese knew this a long time before we figured it out. There’s a lot about tea that is good for you. Modern science is finally figuring out what the ancient Chinese knew: a recent article in Advanced Nutrition says that two cups of tea a day may help keep the doctor away!
9. You don’t ever have to feel guilty about drinking tea.
Along with the health benefits found especially in green teas, unless you load up your tea with a lot of milk, cream, or calorie-laden sweeteners, you’re drinking a naturally calorie-free beverage. Just keep an eye on your caffeine levels, which is why herbal teas are your afternoon/evening besties!
10. Two words: Afternoon Tea
Tea is so hip that afternoon tea has been declared the new happy hour! Put away the chardonnay and break out the china – afternoon tea is cool! Whether it’s the ritual, the togetherness of brewing and pouring tea or the tiny sandwiches and macarons – let’s face it, they’re like the puppies and kittens of food, just so adorable you could (and will) eat them up – afternoon tea has got it goin’ on.
11. Wars were fought over tea.
Tea was once one of the most valued commodities in the world. Hard to come by, highly desired, and worth more than its weight in gold, you can see why skirmishes were had and tea-dumping parties were held. Discover the role tea played in the Revolutionary War and the Opium Wars.
12. Tea is great hot!
Whether it’s what you turn to to wake up first thing in the morning, enjoy while you snuggle up in a blanket to read, or sip to make you feel better when you have a cold, there’s just nothing like a hot cup of tea. Unless it’s a lovely glass of iced tea, perhaps?
13. Tea is great cold!
Ahhh, the refreshing sip of an iced tea on a summer day. We love iced teas on warm days…almost as much as we love hot teas on chilly days. Oh heck – we love ‘em both!
14. Theanines, theaflavins, and thearubigins
We can hear you asking, “You love the what?” Theanines, theaflavins, and thearubigins are elements found in tea that each have an important role to play in the teas you love.
15. Cool accessories!
16. Tea can help you sleep.
Many of us swear that having a hot cup of decaf or herbal tea before bedtime helps us sleep better. Whether it’s just the comforting routine that tells your body you’re getting ready for bed, or if it’s properties found in some teas, like our Hemp Moringa Deep Sleep Tea, that are conducive to a good night’s rest, tea could be the key to telling the sheep to hit the road.
17. You can cook with it.
If you’re just drinking your tea, you’re missing out. Tea is a wonderful ingredient to incorporate into baked goods, savory dishes and more. Our founder and my grandfather, John Harney, co-authored a cookbook full of dishes made with tea (sadly, it is out of print). We’ve served up dozens of recipes using tea over the years – here’s just one blog with several of our fall faves to give you an idea of the possibiliteas!
18. Tea chests.
Call us biased, but we think tea chests are awesome. There’s something about them that’s instantly classy, like a cigar humidor, and also totally practical. Remember what we said earlier about tea once being a highly valuable commodity? That’s how tea chests came into being – people who were fortunate to have tea, locked it into secure chests. If you’re fortunate enough to have tea, you may need a chest too! We offer a variety of tea chests. They’re wonderful not only because they’re handsome, but because they come fully stocked with tea!
19. Tea tins.
Part of what makes our product so special isn’t only the tea – it’s the vessel the tea comes in. We love designing tea tins. Whether it’s a Classic tin, Historic Royal Palaces, one-offs like Death on the Nile or special collections like the Met, Emily Winfield Martin, or Disney, tea tins are both pretty and practical. What can you do with the tins when the tea runs out? Well, you can reorder in our bulk bags and refill the tins…or you can get creative and crafty.
20. Tea sets.
Perhaps you’ve inherited a tea set that’s been in your family for generations, or you’ve started your own. However a tea set came into your possession, it’s a cherished thing. Something you keep for special occasions, breaking out the linen napkins and sugar cubes. Maybe it’s something like our Madison Bay cup & saucer set – porcelain and handled with care. Whatever it is, when your tea set comes out, you know an occasion is about to happen that will make you smile.