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Bigger is Better… and with more people.

If you’ve listened to our latest podcast, you know that we’re taking a brief hiatus from producing the show. Don’t worry—we’ll be back, raring to go, in about seven more weeks. In the meantime, however, we’ve got lots of work to do. Read more…

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Mmmmm… Maya Tea Mead!

The first time I tried mead was in Flagstaff, a little college town tucked into the pines at the base of Arizona’s tallest mountain.  I was on vacation, visiting one of my closest girlfriends and her husband.  One early afternoon, Tony (the husband) handed me a glass of what looked like liquor.  I gave him my most incredulous look and pointed at the high-reaching hands of the clock.  “You’re on vacation!” he argued.  I shook my head.  “Maybe if it was a beer,” I said, “but you can’t start me off this early with liquor.  I’ll never make it through the day.”  He pushed the glass under my nose—“It’s mead, not liquor.  I made it.  Myself.”  Oh, hell—I thought.  He made it.  I was obligated. Read more…

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Unexpected Origins

When we think about tea origins, we traditionally think of China, Japan, and India.

Walking through the rows of booths at the World Tea Expo last June, those were the most largely represented origins. In fact, a large section of the show floor is dedicated every year strictly to Chinese teas. But if you look carefully, you will find a few rare gems among the crowd reflecting some of the lesser-known tea growing regions. Of particular interest to us last year were those growers from Kenya, Portugal, and Hawaii, and we were lucky enough to snag interviews with their representatives. Those interviews have been integrated into our podcasts over the last couple of weeks, and are available now for your listening pleasure. Read more…

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Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

“I have a good inkling of what this could turn into now, but given how naïve I was back then I can only imagine that my best guess of what I will turn into now is probably still short of the mark.  That leaves me kind of breathless, because the possibilities for all of us at the Maya Tea Company are pretty substantial.”

~ Manish Shah, on Steeping Around, show 79

The Maya Tea Company, like many businesses, has humble origins.  In the beginning there was only one product, a family recipe for chai tea, blended and packaged into teabags.  Ambitions were small, expectations were narrow, and even hopes fell short of what the tea company, after a decade, has become. Read more…

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Thankful for…

Last Thursday, thankfulness settled into my bones like a disease.  This was long after I had sent the traditional “I am thankful for YOU” texts to my loved ones.  It was hours after my family had gathered for turkey.  It was after the sun had set, and I sat alone at my house.  Tryptophan had taken a toll on my weary body.  I ran a hot bath, lit a few candles, and poured myself a glass of wine. Read more…

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Kombucha: Who Likes It?

So, after last week’s blog, I’ve left a lot of you wondering: what is kombucha?

Those of you who listened to our most recent podcast already know. G.T. Dave of Synergy Drinks (one of the largest manufacturers of kombucha in the United States) joined Manish and Tere on the show to talk about the miracle drink and disclose its history. For those of you who didn’t listen, tsk tsk. Nonetheless, here is a quick recap: Read more…

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Halloween and Kombucha Tea

Last weekend I threw a Halloween party.  Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year—it is the one holiday that you don’t have to stress out about.  You do not have to buy presents for anyone, there is no large meal to prepare for.  Instead, you get to dress up in costume and carve pumpkins, and everyone still manages to get together and smile.  There is something truly magic about it. Read more…

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Join the Resistance! (Against Colds)

This past weekend your smooth-talking host was the emcee for a concert in Tucson. But his voice wasn’t as silky as it usually is on the air—Manish was recovering from a cold. Read more…

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A Cup of Communion – Tea for the Spirits

Tea is ancient—so old, in fact, that we can’t be sure exactly when, how, or by whom it was discovered. There are countless stories of its first use and history has yet to prove which account, if any, is true. But the spread of tea is widely documented and proven to be due to a very particular sect of people: monks. Monks carried the seeds of tea plants with them as they traveled and grew them wherever they went, introducing the drink brewed from the mature leaves to consumers around the world.

But… why? Read more…

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New Recipes for Old Remedies

If you’ve listened to our show, particularly in the earlier days, you know that there are very specific amounts of time that you ought to be steeping your tea leaves.  Usually, it goes something like this: four minutes for black teas, three for greens, and two to three minutes for white teas.  Careful attention to these recommended times ensures a great tasting cup of tea, and when it comes down to it, it’s all about flavor.  That’s why we drink tea, and presumably, that’s why you drink it too. At four minutes, give or take, the flavors in black tea are rich and bold, and they haven’t yet become bitter or offensive, as tends to happen as they continue to steep.  But if you are drinking for specific purposes related to health, all of those instructions fly out the window. Read more…

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The Voice of Steeping Around

The concept of a blog for Steeping Around is somewhat tricky. I write the blogs for Maya Tea Company, and they come somewhat naturally—I simply relate a broader subject to the world of tea. But a blog for the radio show should be different, and to be honest I have been having a difficult time pinpointing exactly what form it should take. Read more…

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Continual Learning

We have a new guy in the office.  He is the fresh age of twenty-two; his eyes are bright and he walks with confidence.  His back hasn’t yet bowed under years of disappointments and hard-learned lessons.  Those of us who have been in the industry for awhile have been beaten and bruised by the trial and error of business, and we have been humbled.  Occasionally we cast knowing glances in our new guy’s direction, silently telling ourselves “his day will come, oh—his day will come.” Read more…

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Talking Iced Tea – Part 3: Cold Brewing Methods

It has been an excruciatingly sticky summer, but those of you who have been tuning in to Steeping Around have likely found a bit of relief. Since last week, you all should be able to produce excellent iced tea from the comfort of your kitchen. It may not be so comfortable however; sometimes the last thing we want to do during the summertime is turn on the gas. This week, Manish offers a little relief: three easy and delicious ways to brew iced tea without nearing the stove. Read more…

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Talking Iced Tea – Part 2

Last week on Steeping Around, your host recounted the short but colorful history of iced tea and made honorary mention of some of the delicious variations that have become popular in different cultures and regions. Among these were the infamous Southern Sweet Tea, the rich and creamy Thai Iced Tea, and the increasingly available gourmet blends at coffee shops. On behalf of the Maya Tea company, I would like to apologize for leaving your mouth watering. Read more…

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Talking Iced Tea – Part 1

In sweltering Tucson, where the Maya clan has planted their stakes, we are feeling every excruciating second of summer. The average high temperature during the past week was a staggering 106°, and amidst sweaty brows and steaming asphalt we don’t even want to talk about hot tea anymore.

And so Manish doesn’t—in episode four of “Steeping Around,” he turns his attention to iced tea, introducing the first of a frosty four part series. We’re keeping the temperatures a little cooler over the next few episodes, examining every aspect of iced tea: its history, varieties, brewing, serving, and spicing. Read more…

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