October Staff Picks

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The first staff-person I spoke with this month was Alicia Cooper, who has been working at the Co-op as a cashier since May of this year. For her pick Alicia chose Yogi Tea, which she has been enjoying thoroughly since it has been on sale this past month.

Alicia says she really likes this tea because it is naturally sweetened, so it tastes great without having to add any sweeteners to it. The company also offers lots of herbal remedies for a variety of ailments, making herbal medicine accessible to the average person. Alicia likes to try many types and to just generally stock up on tea whenever these are on sale. Currently her favorite flavor is the Cinnamon Vanilla Healthy Skin tea. She says the flavor is great and she really feels it has had a good effect on her skin.

The story of the Yogi Tea Company begins in 1969, in southern California, when Yogi Bhajan arrived in America to introduce this country to Kundalini Yoga. After each yoga class he would serve a spiced tea to his students, which they named “Yogi Tea.” The tea was a blend of five traditional Ayurvedic spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and black pepper. Many practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine believe that this particular combination of spices has unique and healthful properties.

In the 1970s, some of Yogi Bhanjan’s students opened a number of Golden Temple Vegetarian Restaurants in the United States, Canada, and Europe, where Yogi Tea enjoyed a prominent spot on the menu. Its popularity eventually led the way to the formation of the Yogi Tea Company in 1984. The company now employs over 150 people in the United States and Europe and has over 60 different tea blends.

The company espouses a philosophy of service, with their guiding principle being “Feel Good, Be Good, Do Good.” They use the holistic teachings found in Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and Western herbalism to develop teas that both taste great and leave you feeling great (yogitea.com). With selections ranging from soothing bedtime formulations made with valerian and chamomile to energizing green tea mixtures consisting of garcinia cambogia fruit extract and ginseng, there is surely a tea in their collection that will fill your need.

The next staff-person I spoke with this month was Jasan Lagrimanta, who has been working at the Co-op in the Grocery Department for just over three months. Jasan’s recommendation is Brew Dr. Kombucha made by Townshend’s Tea Company (her favorite flavor is Superberry, although she likes them all). Jasan says she is a big fan of kombucha and really likes to incorporate it into her daily routine whenever possible. She says the Brew Dr. Kombucha is her favorite because it has a smooth mild flavor that does not taste as strongly of vinegar as some of the other kombuchas on the market. She really thinks it improves her overall health in addition to giving her energy.

Townshend’s Tea Company began as a college project at the University of Oregon in 2002. Owner Matt Thomas had the idea to serve top-grade loose-leaf tea in an atmosphere reminiscent of the casual coffeehouses found on many campuses. He began working in the tea industry that year and was able to open his first teahouse in 2006, in Portland. The company has expanded since then and currently has five locations, four in Oregon and one in Montana (townshendstea.com). Brew Dr. Kombucha was a natural outgrowth of the tea company, as kombucha is a fermented tea that is often imbibed for medicinal purposes. In early 2008, the company began brewing their kombucha in small batches, experimenting with different blends of organic loose-leaf tea, organic sugar, and organic medicinal herbs. They now craft seven different flavors of kombucha, and claim that each batch includes over 2.2 billion live and active cultures per 14 ounces.

According to the company, some of the other potential benefits of kombucha are that it suppresses appetite, aids in digestion, provides a natural energy boost, and improves immune system function. Of course these claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, but if you are feeling a little kombucha-curious, why not pick up a bottle and see for yourself?