Moving Forward

Building out: April 2012

Building out: April 2012

Opening a retail tea store has been a dream of my husband’s and mine since the late 1990s. A New Leaf began as an assignment to prepare a marketing business plan for an MBA class I took at Hofstra University (I got an A). We waited quite some time until [what we thought was] the best time and then jumped in feet first. Living locally, we honestly believed that Seventh Street was the location in which we wanted to open our first store. Once a site opened up, I got up my nerve to leave a 24-year career to start my own retail business. At the age of 42, I showed my three beautiful daughters not to be afraid, to follow their dreams, and to take a chance. You only get to do this once – live life.

Clearly as a result of our customers’ loyalty, and the great growth of our online presence, A New Leaf has recognized double-digit growth nearly every month of its operation. However, after nearly three years on Seventh Street, A New Leaf has plans to relocate to new retail space this fall.

Reading The New York Times

Reading The New York Times

The decision to relocate is not related to lack of growth. As a result of creative marketing efforts, loyal customers, and fantastic publicity, A New Leaf has grown to happily serve the niche tea market in Nassau County. A New Leaf has a heavy social media presence (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress, LinkedIn) as well as an ecommerce Web site. Additionally, in just over two years’ time, A New Leaf has been written about in The New York Times, Newsday (twice), Long Island Woman, Long Island Pulse, the Malverne-West Hempstead Herald, and was used as a location to film the season premiere of “Long Island Medium.” Impressive for a “three-years-young” small business.

Life IS Good!

Life IS Good!

Fighting the battle of a fast-moving society also turned out to be quite the challenge. Tea has a lot to do with being mindful. “Tea time” is a time for relaxation and peace. For centuries, the tea ceremony has been one of reflection, meditation and simply “being.” In today’s society, no one stops. Very few people relax for extended periods of time to just “be.” Trying to encourage people to slow down and relax is a challenge not easily fought by one person/business in a community where most people are running to work or running to do errands, or running to schools to pick up children. If I could fight the battle alone, I would.

I am grateful to those customers that believe in me, the store, the tea, and the business model. For those customers that thought A New Leaf wouldn’t make it (and especially to those who told me I wouldn’t make it, for one reason or another), I challenge you to patronize a small business today and find one nice thing to say to the owner. Perhaps you can thank them for boosting the economy. Thank them for employing people (A New Leaf employed six local college students). Thank them for trusting in your community to believe that it was strong enough to allow them to follow their dream. Tell them how beautiful their store is. Tell them how helpful their staff is. Find something nice to say to brighten their day. Rather than express an opinion on what you would do if you were in their shoes (especially if you’ve never been in their shoes), perhaps simply take a moment to thank them for their effort in the small-business sector, and give them words of encouragement for believing in your local economy. Trust me; they will appreciate it. Those truly are the moments that can help someone get by.

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Store design

A New Leaf has received so many great compliments over the course of the three years we’ve worked on designing, building, and operating the store. From the layout of our space, to the courtesy and knowledge of our six wonderful staff, right down to the calming atmosphere – compliments came frequently, and nothing pleases a business owner more. I lost count on how many times I was asked if A New Leaf was a franchise – we spared no expense on making this, our first location, the most appealing and relaxing spot we could think of.

A New Leaf also received its share of advice from customers. From, “You should serve food,” to “You’ll never make it because you don’t sell pancakes,” we’ve heard it all. It is my firm belief that Seventh Street is predominantly food-oriented. This is very challenging for a retail business. Through no fault of its own, this local community craves more eateries. In order to preserve the original plan for A New Leaf and to hold true to my business model, A New Leaf did not enter into the restaurant or food business. There are plenty of other people who could do that a lot better than me, and who would love the opportunity to do so.

Tea with Seniors

Tea with Seniors

A New Leaf is proud to have provided Garden City High School with tea for three “Tea With Seniors,” events since 2013. We’ve donated to wonderful charities, non-profits, and causes when we were able. We’ve helped people sleep better, cleanse their bodies, and start their mornings with tea. We’ve provided tea-tasting classes, had guest speakers and converted “coffee-only” drinkers. We’ve helped provide relief from colds, allergies, insomnia, and the occasional not-so-common illness. I’ve spoken at events and lectures, all in the interest of tea.

10628438_791923067497838_372141737129996260_nHow wonderful it is! I beat the odds; I am very proud of the 33 months that I worked tirelessly both in the store and at home to share my love of tea with all of you. What I am most proud of, however, is that I was able to do something that very few people could say that they did. I followed my dream. I took a chance. How many people will look back at their lives and say, “I’m so happy I did that?” Not many. Most will say, “I wish I did that;” but not me. I have no regrets. What a life lesson I learned and what an example I set for my three daughters: take a chance; what do you have to lose? Money? You can always make more money. But you can’t get back time or an opportunity. What do you have to lose? Whatever happens, you’ll have a great story to tell.

I look forward to my next location, and details will be disclosed soon.

As of August 1, our inventory will be available online from ANewLeafTeaCo.com, and we will continue to restock our most popular teas.

Any questions and/or comments to this open letter can be directed to me at info@anewleafteaco.com.

Good luck to all of you! A New Leaf looks forward to serving you online at www.ANewLeafTeaCo.com.

Kimberly Orlic

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It’s our Two-year Anniversary!

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take …”

My story

Celebrating Two Retail Years

Celebrating Two Retail Years

Over 18 years ago, at the tender age of 25, I developed the marketing plan for a tea shop while earning my MBA. Three children later, I completed my degree and continued my full-time career in higher education. Upon turning 40, I started to become discontent in my 20-year career. I decided to dust off that marketing plan and, with the help of my husband, created a full-blown business plan. I took one of the biggest gambles in my life and left my career to follow my dream of owning a tea shop. Many people thought I was crazy and I often hear(d), “I could never do what you did.”

Being a small-business owner is a great feat. Every day is a challenge in strength and perseverance. Oftentimes (and certainly in the case of A New Leaf), you wear many different hats. Not only are you the go-to person, you’re also the marketing executive, accountant, salesperson, IT technician, decorator, cleaner. But in my case, I’m also still a wife and a mother. Learning to balance all of it is very challenging and more difficult than running the day-to-day. I could never be where I am today without the help and support of my wonderful husband and three beautiful daughters. I look back at everyone that told me that they could never do what I did and hope they see that risk can pay off — but with the combination of hard work and a great support system.

Looking back on two years: sure, there are things I would have done differently, but learning is part of life. I encourage everyone: do something that scares you, and take those chances before you regret the fact that you didn’t take them at at all. Thank you to everyone who has made A New Leaf a success; even to the doubters: I couldn’t have done it without any of you.

 

Twelve (Little-known) Uses for Tea and Tea Leaves

So far on my blog, I’ve given some advice about where tea comes from, why loose tea is better than bagged tea, how to store and steep tea, and even how to fight cold and flu season with tea. Today, we’re taking a fun look at some slightly less common facts about, and uses for, tea leaves.

  1. Freshen up that lingerie drawer. With Valentine’s day on our doorstep, why not start with a little fun?! Place loose (unsteeped) tea leaves in a muslin bag in your lingerie drawer to add a subtle spice to your unmentionables. Try Earl Grey, which contains perfumy bergamot, jasmine with flowers, or a lavender-based tea, like Provence.
  2. Feed houseplants. Use cooled, steeped tea once per week instead of water to feed ferns and other houseplants that thrive in an acidic soil (most plants that bloom).
  3. Fertilize roses. Once the spring arrives, roses will need lots of TLC. Put used black or green tea leaves around rosebushes, then add mulch and water.
  4. Use as a conditioner for parched hair. Steep a strong black or green tea, apply to wet, just-shampooed hair and allow to dry.  Rinse with water once hair is dry. This simple rinse will leave hair softer and with more shine.
  5. Soothe pink eye itch. Conjunctivitis can be quite a nuisance. Use a warm, wet tea bag (try camomile, rooibos, green or black tea) as a compress to soothe the itching and pain of pinkeye.
  6. Jazz up a rice dish. Place some loose masala chai or vanilla chai in an infuser and add to rice while cooking for flavor. Use this rice to make a delicious rice pudding!
  7. Polish wood. Steeped black or green tea leaves can help clean and shine wood furniture. Dip a soft, clean cloth into freshly steeped and cooled teaand use to wipe down tables, chairs and other wood furniture.
  8. Freshen your fridge. Rather than baking soda, place dried, used green tea leaves in a small open bowl in your refrigerator to help absorb odors.
  9. Get rid of fishy or garlicky smells. Rinse your hands with cooled tea after eating or preparing fish (or other stinky foods) to eliminate odors.
  10. Cure acne breakouts. Cleanse affected areas with cooled green tea to cure or reduce acne.
  11. Tenderize meat. Marinate tough meat in black tea to make it more tender. The tannins in tea are a natural tenderizer. Make a cup or two of strong black tea, allow it to cool and then use to marinate.
  12. Soothe yourself to sleep. Stuff dried tea leaves into your pillow! According to Chinese folk medicine, sleeping on tea leaves helps reduce blood pressure, relieve insomnia and soothe headache. Place a sachet of dried tea leaves inside your pillow (use a tea with lavender, camomile or bergamot) and replace regularly.

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Kimberly Orlic
, co-founder and chief operating officer of A New Leaf, LLC is a new entrepreneur, with over 25 years’ experience in the workforce. The mother of three daughters, she is an avid tea lover and developed the idea for A New Leaf along with her husband over 15 years ago while obtaining her master of business administration degree. She holds bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Hofstra University. 
Kimberly has over 15 years of management experience and significant experience in process improvement, systems implementation and enhancements. While at Hofstra University she demonstrated the ability to adapt to changing environments and learn different operations. In every role, she left a better organized and more efficient department. In her most recent role as the University Bulletin Editor, she recognized the potential of digital media and migrated a labor-intensive, print-only process to an efficient print, online, and mobile app product full of previously unavailable features. As a member of Hofstra’s public relations department, she was an integral part of the team that hosted the 2008 Presidential Debate and worked extensively on the program. A New Leaf is her first business venture. As COO, Kimberly’s responsibilities focus on running the retail operation, marketing, and promotion. 

Matcha: The Tea Powerhouse

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Matcha is in the spotlight here at A New Leaf since Dr. Oz did a segment on the wonderful health benefits of this tea powerhouse. However, matcha has been around for quite some time. In our first blog post, we discussed how all tea comes from the same plant: Camellia sinensis and a variety known as Camellia assamica.

Matcha green tea originated in Japan, and is a powerful green tea, because the entire leaf is ingested in powder form. In Japanese “cha” means tea, and “ma” means powder, thus the word matcha literally translates to “powdered green tea.” It is believed that the very first Camellia sinensis seeds were brought to Japan from China by the Zen master Eisai in 1191 A.D., who planted them on the temple grounds in Kyoto. Eisai was perhaps the first person to grind and consume green tea leaves in powdered form. Thus Zen and matcha became forever associated. The Japanese tea ceremony celebrates the Zen of simple things — the extraordinary in the ordinary — and has made great contributions to our current mindfulness awareness. The drinking of matcha tea stimulates presence of mind, mental alertness, and helps promote a calm, meditative state.

Antioxidant Content of Matcha

Unlike green teas, with matcha you are consuming the entire tea leaf. Therefore, the antioxidant level is up to 10 times higher than in ordinary green tea. The antioxidant concentration in matcha is up to 137 times greater than that of green tea, and much higher than such vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, as well as healthful berries including gojiberries and blueberries. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) tests prove that one gram of organic matcha ceremonial green tea contains 1,384 ORAC units.

Green tea contains potent antioxidants called catechins, which scavenge for dangerous free radicals in the body. The most powerful catechin found in green tea is EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen. A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking one cup of matcha has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea. University studies shows it slows the growth of deadly cancer cells, and can even help prevent them from forming in the first place. A study conducted at the University of Colorado in 2003 confirmed that drinking 1 cup of Matcha Green Tea has 137 times the amount of EGCg compared to a conventional cup of green tea.

ImageMatcha causes a boost of energy after drinking without the crash after consuming sugar or coffee. High in L-Theanine, matcha reduces stress while improving mental clarity and focus. Being nearly calorie-free, matcha is a great alternative to sugary drinks to provide energy throughout the day. L-theanine is also a powerful “anti-anxiolytic” or calming agent that it is now being formulated in capsules and sold in health food stores as a natural valium. Studies have shown that L-theanine significantly increases the output of alpha waves by the brain. Alpha waves are responsible for the deep, peaceful, calm feeling that is imparted by meditation, yoga, deep relaxation etc. This is why matcha was so popular among  Buddhist monks years ago during their rigorous meditation sessions.

A New Leaf carries both traditional and organic matcha. Stop in today to try a cup, purchase a tin for home use, or buy it online!


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Kimberly Orlic
, co-founder and chief operating officer of A New Leaf, LLC is a new entrepreneur, with over 25 years’ experience in the workforce. The mother of three daughters, she is an avid tea lover and developed the idea for A New Leaf along with her husband over 15 years ago while obtaining her master of business administration degree. She holds bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Hofstra University. 
Kimberly has over 15 years of management experience and significant experience in process improvement, systems implementation and enhancements. While at Hofstra University she demonstrated the ability to adapt to changing environments and learn different operations. In every role, she left a better organized and more efficient department. In her most recent role as the University Bulletin Editor, she recognized the potential of digital media and migrated a labor-intensive, print-only process to an efficient print, online, and mobile app product full of previously unavailable features. As a member of Hofstra’s public relations department, she was an integral part of the team that hosted the 2008 Presidential Debate and worked extensively on the program. A New Leaf is her first business venture. As COO, Kimberly’s responsibilities focus on running the retail operation, marketing, and promotion. 

Tea & Mead … What a Delicious Blend

Who would have thought that two high school friends’ worlds would have crossed paths again in such a unique way? With the growing popularity of social media over the past five or so years, many of us have been reconnecting with those in our past circles. It’s certainly been overwhelming to learn where people have ended up, what wonderful things many have gone on to do. I have many friends with whom I lost touch over the years. Having grown up in Yonkers, New York, I didn’t relocate too far; and it seems even less so with Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram. Sometimes I feel like I’m catching up on 25 years of lost time … oh, wait. I am.

I have discovered many interesting things about those childhood friends with whom I have reconnected. However, one of the most unique reconnections I have made is with my friend Bob Slanzi (aka, “Bobby Honeybee.”) Bob is a beekeeper, and is busy making a name for himself in the world of mead. To be frank, I knew little about mead, and have realized that it’s absolutely amazing. Bob and I caught up back in 2011 and discussed honey, bees, and mead. Once I opened A New Leaf in 2012, I was excited to become a part of his mead-making world.

1009463_4813010697850_182679767_o“The tannins, the acid, the sweetness- they all have to be in balance. And that’s what makes a good mead.”

 Bob Slanzi on Fuhmentaboudit!

Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by the fermentation of water and honey. The alcohol content in mead can range wildly from 8% ABV to more than 20%. The majority of the beverage’s fermentable sugar is derived from honey.

Mead is quite possibly the oldest alcoholic drink in history and may have been discovered accidentally when old tree stumps filled with honey bees were flooded during heavy periods of rain. The fermentation process started to occur naturally, only to be found and consumed by travelers. Mead went on to become the preferred drink in the Mediterranean during the so-called “Age of Gold” in Greece, and was known for its mystical properties. Referenced by the great philosopher Aristotle, mead was often produced by monks in Northern Europe, where grapes were scarce.

Back to Bob. Bob was recently recognized by Men’s Journal for brewing the best craft mead: ghost pepper mead. This ghost chili mead took Best of Show in 2013’s Homebrew Alley VII competition of the New York City Homebrewers Guild, beating out 762 beers, meads, and ciders. Bob makes bottle upon bottle of craft meads, experimenting with many different blends: blueberry mead, strawberry mead, honey mead, chocolate chili mead, and his latest concoction: using A New Leaf Russian Caravan black tea.

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Bob Slanzi’s mead made with Russian Caravan black tea from A New Leaf

“This mead was made from a Russian caravan tea and caramelized honey. It was fermented with a white wine yeast using staggered nutrient addition method. This method allows a full fermentation from start to finish in less than two months.

This mead has a color of deep red rust with a brilliant clarity. By smelling this mead you would get a burnt honey aroma with a bit of caramel maybe some toffee notes, roasty smoke would also be present. Tasting this mead would lead you to realize that a lot is going on here. The first thing you will get is the scorched honey followed by toffee flavors at mid-palate. You may notice the alcohol contained is pushing 14%. On the back end you will taste the smoke from the Russian caravan tea followed by a lingering taste to caramelized honey.” Bob Slanzi, 1.12.14

I’m very honored to hear that this mead will be entered into the New York City homebrewers guild contest, Homebrew Alley as well as the American Homebrewer’s Association National Competition. I am also looking  forward to making a trip up to Yonkers soon to barter some even smokier Lapsang Souchong for some of this Russian Caravan mead, and to congratulate my friend on his growing popularity on the word of mead.

Fight Cold and Flu Season Naturally With Tea

Cold and flu season is upon us again. Accuweather reports that the deadly flu outbreak that has reached all 50 states may be linked to this the recent cold, dry air that has infiltrated much of the United States. If you’d prefer to naturally fight cold and flu season, you should add teas and herbal tisanes to your everyday routine.

As many of us know, over-the-counter remedies only suppress symptoms; they don’t cure the illness or make you better more quickly. In fact, suppressing symptoms can impair your body’s natural ability to fend off disease. Additionally, the common cold and influenza cannot be treated with antibiotics. Herbal treatments can help your body heal itself naturally and boost immunity.

At A New Leaf, we believe that the Ben Franklin adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” couldn’t be more appropriate. Herbal tisanes, as well as black, green, and white teas can help protect and heal you this cold and flu season.

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What is Orange Pekoe Anyway?

If you’re new to the world of loose-leaf tea, you may not know that the term orange pekoe (typically pronounced “pea-koh,” but more aptly “peck-oh,” from the Chinese Xiamen pek-ho) has nothing to do with oranges. Contrary to popular belief, Orange Pekoe does not refer to a particular flavor, or even to a specific variety or quality or tea. Orange pekoe is merely a designation of leaf size.

When used outside the context of black-tea grading, the term “pekoe” (or, occasionally, orange pekoe) describes the unopened terminal leaf bud (tips) in tea flushes. Pekoe tea is a fine grade of tea which includes young tea leaves and buds. The tea once handled and brewed has “a rich forest-like scent with a hint of bitterness and a sweet finish.” The orange part of the word is thought to originate from the Dutch East India Company, that tried marketing the tea by associating it with the House of Orange, one of the most respected aristocratic families in the days of the Dutch Republic.

Loose-leaf tea grading terms are typically used for teas from Sri Lanka, India and countries other than China; they are not generally known within Chinese-speaking countries. The grading system is based upon the size of processed and dried black tea leaves.This system has less to do about quality of tea as the appearance of the tea. The top few tea leaves are typically reserved for a tea harvest. The very top buds are of a higher grade. As you go lower down the shrub of the tea plant to the larger leaves, the grade also goes down.

michael-rougier-food-chinese-men-sifting-tea-leaves-on-large-round-bamboo-screens-to-grade-them-by-sizeIf you think of tea grading in terms of using a sifter in the soil to find larger fragments of rock or coins, etc., it may be easier to understand. Because smaller particles steep more quickly, tea leaves are sifted into groups of uniform leaf size. Teas designated OP (for orange pekoe) are comprised of larger leaf particles or whole leaves that will not pass through a sieve of a particular size. BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe) designates a grade that is finer than OP. Grades finer than BOP are called fannings, PF for Pekoe Fannings, and the smallest particles are referred to as dust. Dust grades are used primarily in teabags.

The grades for whole leaf orthodox black tea, in ascending order of quality are:

OP (Orange Pekoe)
FOP (Flowery Orange Pekoe)
GFOP (Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
FTGFOP (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
SFTGFOP (Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)

TGFOP Assam tea leaves.

TGFOP Assam tea leaves.

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SFTGFOP Darjeeling

Sources:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-pekoe-tea.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_leaf_grading
http://www.artoftea.com/learn_about_tea/sizematters.html
http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/information/INFOgrading.asp

Mindfulness and Tea: Remember to Take Time for You!

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As we quickly approach the holiday season, it seems that everyone starts to move at an even more frantic pace. The first day of Chanukah starts at sunset on Wednesday November 27; the night before Thanksgiving, November 28, 2013. It’s never happened before, and it will never happen again. Thanksgiving is falling at the latest possible day it can, only leaving only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rush, rush rush.

However, we have to remember to take time for ourselves. Not just now, but every day of the year.

Mindfulness can be defined as “being completely in touch with the present moment and being open to experiences as they come.” Mindfulness has been around for quite some time, but has become more popular, in large part due to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Recently, Dr. Kabat-Zinn spoke at Harvard Graduate school of Education, indicating that mindfulness is becoming an increasingly important tool in education, from top-level leaders to elementary schoolchildren. We see many business who incorporate mindfulness awareness into their wellness programs in the workplace.

Two great primers on mindfulness can be found here and here.

I’ve been through a couple of mindfulness training exercises over the past year, and it certainly does take practice. However, it’s not difficult to see that if one were to incorporate some kind of mindfulness activity into their everyday life, stress reduction could occur.

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Tea is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your daily routine. Green teas are shown to have high levels of L-theanine, which binds to GABA receptors and induces changes in brain waves indicative of relaxation. Our Serenity herbal blend contains camomile, lemon balm, lemon verbena, linden flower, passion flower and oat straw, all natural stress and anxiety reducers.

I challenge you to give these mindfulness activities a try:

  1. Make and sip tea mindfully. 
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    The enjoyment of tea goes back thousands of years. When you drink tea as a mindfulness ritual, think about the connection to others who have had ceremonial tea over the globe. Create your very own tea ceremony. Boil your water mindfully. Focus on the kettle warming the water as you measure out your loose tea. Listen to the noise the water makes when you pour it into your cup. Watch the steam rise from the kettle. Watch the water turn color as the tea steeps to perfection. Sip your tea mindfully, focusing on the way it feels when you sip it, the warmth it spreads through your body, and the calming effect of its properties. Pay attention, be mindful, and feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. Taste the subtle flavors in each sip. Leave all of your other worries behind. Don’t read e-mail, don’t talk on the phone. Just sit and sip tea. A New Leaf carries some great herbal tisanes to help you relax, and delicious oolongs, black teas, green teas and white teas for that mindfulness release.
  2. Brush your teeth. ToothbrushAndPaste
    I know that when I brush my teeth, I’m usually running through the laundry list of things I need to do before I walk out the door, or thinking of whether or not I’ve gotten everything I needed to get accomplished done before bed. Try, for two solid minutes to focus on each stroke of the toothbrush. Try fully concentrating on the action of brushing, on each stroke of each tooth, going from one side of the mouth to the other. You end up doing a better job, and it helps you realize how much we do on autopilot.
  3. The Game of Five
    Take an opportunity to notice five things in your day that would typically go unnoticed. These could be things you hear, smell, feel or see. For example you might see a tree, listen to the wind, feel your clothes or smell food cooking. Of course, you may already do these things, but are you really aware of these things and the connections they have with your world?
  4. Walk mindfully
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    Oftentimes, especially in bustling cities, people are walking with headphones plugged in to their ears, or texting frantically onto a smart phone. I would challenge you to take a simple mindful walk, either around your block, or something as simple as walking to or from your office each day. Take a few deep breaths, try to be aware of your environment and your internal state (e.g., thoughts, feelings, sensations). Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground. Notice the comfort (or discomfort) of your shoes. Notice which muscles tense or relax as you walk. Notice where you are stepping, the lightness or forcefulness of each step and the feel of the ground beneath your feet or shoes. If your mind starts to wander to the past or the future, try to bring it back to the present moment. As you walk, what do you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel? How does the air feel on your skin? What do you notice around you? Notice the thoughts that cross your mind as you walk. As you finish your walk, congratulate yourself, no matter how many times your mind was pulled away from the walk.

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IMG_0620Kimberly Orlic, co-founder and chief operating officer of A New Leaf, LLC is a new entrepreneur, with over 25 years’ experience in the workforce. The mother of three daughters, she is an avid tea lover and developed the idea for A New Leaf along with her husband over 15 years ago while obtaining her master of business administration degree. She holds bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Hofstra University. Kimberly has over 15 years of management experience and significant experience in process improvement, systems implementation and enhancements. While at Hofstra University she demonstrated the ability to adapt to changing environments and learn different operations. In every role, she left a better organized and more efficient department. In her most recent role as the University Bulletin Editor, she recognized the potential of digital media and migrated a labor-intensive, print-only process to an efficient print, online, and mobile app product full of previously unavailable features. As a member of Hofstra’s Public Relations department, she was a member of the team that hosted the 2008 Presidential Debate and worked extensively on the program. A New Leaf is her first business venture. As founder, owner, and COO, Kimberly’s responsibilities focus on running the retail operation, marketing, and promotion. 

Steeping the Perfect Cup of Tea

Quite frequently I’m asked if it really matters that people steep their tea properly. My answer is a resounding yes. Without a doubt.

I’ve seen many customers amazed at how precise we tend to be at A New Leaf with the measurement of the proper amount of tea for both our in-store and to-go cups, our proper water temperature, and even the rinsing of our oolong leaves. We also be sure to let our tea drinkers know how long the tea they will be drinking should steep. I can’t stress enough my belief that taking the couple of extra steps certainly makes a difference in your enjoyment of tea.

1. Tea amounts

ImageDifferent types of teas have different densities which can greatly affect the taste of the tea when using the wrong proportions. A leafy white tea is very different from a black tea when it comes to density. One tablespoon of our White Champagne Raspberry weighs 1.5 grams, the same measurement of our Keemun Panda weighs 9 grams. Black teas typically fit better into a tea- or tablespoon, but white teas, like Pai Mu Tan are difficult to measure in a spoon. We realize that not everyone has a gram scale at home, so A New Leaf measures approximately 6 grams of tea for each 12 oz. cup. Keep in mind that high quality loose-leaf teas infuse at a slower rate, as the leaves unfurl and release their flavor into the water.

2. Water Temperature
oggi_red_KettleThere are varying opinions on tea and water temperature. A New Leaf has calibrated filtered water dispensers to steep your tea at the proper temperature. Many of our customers tell us our tea is very hot; however you’re tea would not be as delicious if it were steeped improperly! We recommend:

  • White teas and mate: 170-175 degrees F (let water sit approx. 10 min. in the open kettle)
  • Green teas: 180-185 degrees F (let water sit approx. 5 min. in the open kettle)
  • Oolong teas: 190 degrees F (let water sit approx. 3 min. in the open kettle)
  • Black teas: 205 degrees F (let water sit 1 min. in the open kettle)
  • Herbal tisanes and pu-erh: 212 F (boiling water)

If the water is too cool, no tannins in the tea leaves will be released, resulting in an incomplete flavor. Too hot a temperature, too much tannin is released, often resulting in a metallic or bitter taste.

Never use water that has been boiled previously or that has been sitting around. Always use filtered water when possible.

3. Steep Time
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If you usually leave your tea in your cup for a lot longer than recommended (or until your cup is empty), I would encourage you to follow our recommended steep times;  the taste of your tea will certainly improve. Different teas require different steep times. In general, 5-7 minutes for herbal tisanes and mate, 3-5 minutes for black teas, 3 minutes for green teas, 1-3 minutes for white teas and many oolongs, and as little as 30 seconds for pu-erh. By combining the perfect steep time with the proper water temperature, you’re sure to notice a difference in your cup.

To take the guessing out of water temperatures and steep times, I would recommend the Breville tea maker. This wonderful piece of equipment is the most prized possession in my home kitchen. After measuring your tea, the Breville makes it for you! It’s the best $249 I’ve spent (and use a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon to save!)

IMG_0620Kimberly Orlic, co-founder and chief operating officer of A New Leaf, LLC is a new entrepreneur, with over 25 years’ experience in the workforce. The mother of three daughters, she is an avid tea lover and developed the idea for A New Leaf along with her husband over 15 years ago while obtaining her master of business administration degree. She holds bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Hofstra University. Kimberly has over 15 years of management experience and significant experience in process improvement, systems implementation and enhancements. While at Hofstra University she demonstrated the ability to adapt to changing environments and learn different operations. In every role, she left a better organized and more efficient department. In her most recent role as the University Bulletin Editor, she recognized the potential of digital media and migrated a labor-intensive, print-only process to an efficient print, online, and mobile app product full of previously unavailable features. As a member of Hofstra’s Public Relations department, she was a member of the team that hosted the 2008 Presidential Debate and worked extensively on the program. A New Leaf is her first business venture. As owner, co-founder, and COO, Kimberly’s responsibilities focus on running the retail operation, marketing, and promotion.

Tea in Croatia: Kuća Čaja

Just outside the ancient walls of Diocletian’s Palace (built in 305 AD) on Ulica kralja Tomislava in Split, Croatia is the charming loose leaf tea shop, Kuća Čaja (House of Tea). Stop inside, and you’ll be amazed at all of the fine loose-leaf teas housed in the cozy shop. With over 100 teas stored in aluminum tins behind the counter, Kuća Čaja also has other specialty blends with flavors like, “New York Cheesecake” and “Angel’s Tongue.”  Glass shelves in the customer area are stocked with beautiful, delicate porcelain tea pots and cups, matcha wares, whisks, gift items, tea timers, and other tea accessories.

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Siniša Kaliterna, Mila Skoko, Kimberly Orlić and Ivan Orlić outside Kuća Čaja Split.

Siniša Kaliterna, the sales manager, and Mila Skoko were more than happy to speak with us about their growth in a place where coffee prevails. Siniša and the staff have been supplying Split, its tourists and the locals from the surrounding towns, with premium quality loose-leaf tea for the past four years.  When I asked Siniša why he decided to open a tea shop he explained that there was nothing like it in Split and he understood that it was a huge gamble.  He explained, “Here, our culture is very focused on cafés and wine. Friends meet for coffee or a drink; people would often associate tea with something you drink when you don’t feel well.”  The staff at Kuća Čaja have noticed a change since they opened.  There is a growing interest in tea and the many heath benefits from drinking tea.  “Also, people are beginning to explore the many favors of tea while appreciating their subtle differences.”

While strong tourism brings in people from across the globe, while I was there, a local Croatian mother came in from Trogir, a town about 30 km away, because she heard of one of their teas which helped with a particular ailment she was experiencing.

The selection of teas at Kuća Čaja are selected from around the globe and include many masterful blends. There is also have a growing selection of local tisanes which include chamomile, lavender and sage.

Recognizing the enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge and love for the Camellia sinensis plant with her customers, Mila was happy to open container after container of tea for this Long Island, New York tea shop owner.  From fine Silver Needle white tea, a common Irish breakfast and a less common green Assam to distinct aromatic blends containing healthful ingredients such as sage, nettle, lavender, and calendula flower this duo certainly knew their teas.

Of course, I had the overwhelming urge to purchase 50g of every tea Kuća Čaja sold, but settled on a handful to bring back to New York:

  • Oasis of Senses: a Sencha (green tea) leaf with apple pieces, almond slices, lemon peel, coriander, pistachio, pink peppercorn and calendula petals.
  • Angel’s Tongue:a Pai Mu Tan (white tea) leaf with calendula petals, scented with bergamot and vanilla essence.
  • White Dragon: a blend of two exceptional white teas: Silver Needle and Mao Feng.
  • King of Pu-erh: a fermented dark tea produced in China with may health benefits, purportedly including cholesterol reduction, weight loss, and many antimicrobial properties.

It was certainly a pleasure to meet two individuals as enthusiastic about tea as me, and to learn about the growth of a startup to a comfortable place in the Croatian small business world. I’m already excited to go back next summer!

Be sure to visit Kuća Čaja‘s web page and like them on Facebook!