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Rishi's tea powder offers on-the-go alternative to brewing


It's Sunday morning, and you've got all the time in the world, it seems, to brew a pot of tea and sip it casually and comfortably as the day unfolds.

Unfortunately, every day cannot be Sunday, and Milwaukee's Rishi Tea company understands this. For many people, the other six days of the week are a juggling act of chaotic activity and steeping tea leaves before work doesn't always factor into the day's timetable.

This is reality, and thus, Rishi has unveiled its line of premium tea powders -- a convenient way to give health a fighting chance in our on-the-go lives -- to make any time tea time.

Rishi's tea powder is 100 percent pure, traditional tealeaves, rendering it naturally free from artificial colors, additives, sweeteners and flavors. Instead of brewing the tealeaves, Rishi uses a cold mill process -- an ancient tradition that uses large granite stones to grind the leaves into a powder -- to retain the tea's flavor and aroma in the powder.

And all you're responsible for is the water bottle.

"Until now, instant teas for water bottles contained no tea leaves and relied on standardized extracts of tea, maltodextrin, artificial sweeteners, colorants and synthetic flavors," says Joshua Kaiser, co-owner of Rishi, which has been operating in Milwaukee for nine years. "Rishi Tea's process and use of true tealeaves allows for an instant, easy to use product that has authentic gourmet tea flavor and naturally abundant antioxidants without any of the industrial food ingredients typically found in instant tea."

Rishi's tea powders -- which come in three flavors: sencha, oolong and genmai -- packs in the nutritional points, as well. Brewed tea, while still a healthy choice, yields less than 35 percent of the total nutritional value and antioxidant tea polyphenols present in tealeaves. The powders, however, retain 100 percent of the nutritional elements tea offers because the entire leave is consumed.

The powdered teas tend to be significantly lower in caffeine than brewed teas, something Rishi's Jason Reichel says is directly related to serving size.

"Although you are consuming the entire leaf when you drink tea powders, you are actually using less tea," he says. "Around 30 percent of the nutritional elements are lost during brewing. Consequently, to achieve the same flavor profile in a brewed cup, much more tea is required. The average cup of tea contains 30 milligrams of caffeine. One single serving of tea powder, one bottle of tea, contains three milligrams of caffeine."

According to Reichel, water isn't the only thing they've been mixing with the tea lately.

"Our tea powders make fantastic martinis, mixers and blended drinks," he says, adding that Yaffa restaurant's best selling martini at the moment is its Rishi green tea mango martini. "We are in talks with other local restaurants and bars to develop Rishi branded drinks that use both our brewed teas and our powders. The bartender's imagination is the only limit."

Locally, the tea powder line will be available at Whole Foods, Sendik's, Comet -- both in the sticks sold with a water bottle and behind the bar -- and Yaffa, where they are adding Rishi tea powder into bottles of vodka and serving it straight and in mixed drinks.

Reichel says the line will be available citywide at other specialty food retailers soon, as well as numerous locations nationwide.


Talkbacks

OMCreader | Sept. 22, 2006 at 12:54 p.m. (report)

Mina said: I've tried Rishi's powdered green tea and it is excellent. It's about time someone did it here. Japan has had it forever.

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OMCreader | Sept. 21, 2006 at 10:52 a.m. (report)

Hank said: They have some of the best tea out there. I think the next thing this company should attempt to do is open up a tea house, similar to all the coffee houses all over tonw. It's time for something new!

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