Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Latest Newsletter Is Full of Special Discounts!

We're excited about our new web site and we want you to be, too, so our latest newsletter is full of discounts on some very special tea and more as our way of saying thanks for visiting and having a look around. You'll find unprecedented markdowns on rare favorites such as Imperial Dragon Well, Old Bush Shui Xian, Imperial Keemun Mao Feng, and more. But that's not all: enter the coupon code in the newsletter and receive free UPS Ground shipping on domestic orders.

Let us know what you think of the site, and be sure to subscribe to the newsletter so you don't miss any special offers and teahouse news during 2010, the eventful Year of the Tiger!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Our New Web Site Is Live!

If we've seemed quieter than usual of late, we've been busy on an important project. Today we're pleased to announce that we finally launched our long-awaited new web site! The old site was hosted on an obsolete platform that frequently malfunctioned and surprised users (in a bad way). Now we've updated to a entirely new back end that should support a much improved user experience.

Inevitably it will take a few days to get all the bugs out of the system, but have a look and let us know what you think. And stay tuned, we'll soon be announcing some specials to celebrate!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Check In on Foursquare, Check Out Our Specials

Because we're based in San Francisco, we're always on the lookout for fun new social networking opportunities that help us connect with customers. This week, Foursquare caught our eye and we promptly set up a promotion: for every fifth Foursquare checkin we'll give you a free serving of our delicious tea snacks! And if Foursquare says you're the mayor of our teahouse, you can order one tea, get one free.

If you don't yet know Foursquare, it allows you to use your mobile phone to "check in" whenever you visit your favorite spots (Foursquare uses your phone to determine your location). Check-ins can be shared with friends (maybe they want to join you), and the service keeps tabs on how often you've visited.

To qualify for our Foursquare promotion, show us your phone with a multiple of five check-ins to the teahouse (5, 10, 15, etc. visits), or your icon as Mayor. The Foursquare specials are available in either the San Francisco Ferry Building or Berkeley teahouses. And keep an eye here on the blog. We'll keep you posted about all the latest deals!

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Teapots: Sold Out!

If you hesitated, you missed out: we've sold out of the three new Imperial-grade yi xing teapots we blogged about on Wednesday. Teapot lovers, stay tuned: we'll have more new pots arriving in the spring. And to the lucky new owners of the Yang Tong, Yi Li Zhu, and Shu Bian teapots, congratulations! You're fortunate enough to have terrific teaware that will enhance your enjoyment of fine Chinese tea for many more years to come.

A Year of Blogging

Hard to believe, but the Camellia Sinensis Blog has celebrated its first birthday! About this time last year we at Imperial Tea Court decided it was time to make a more direct connection with our tea-loving friends around the world, so we launched this blog plus a Twitter account and Facebook group, the Virtual Teahouse.

A year later it's exciting to see that we've had over 25,000 pageviews to the blog coming from more than 100 countries on six continents. To date we have 373 Twitter followers and 314 members in the Virtual Teahouse. Several hundred people have taken our Facebook quiz, What Tea Are You?

The blog has made it easy to share fun details and photos of Roy's tea treks to China, excerpts from Roy's new book, Great Teas of China, updates on new products in the teahouse, tea tasting notes, the latest news and events, and more. Equally important, you've brought your comments, ideas, and feedback to the tea table.

Roy has an ambitious agenda for 2010, full of travel and new initiatives including a tea farm here in California and maybe even another book. We're looking forward to year two and beyond here in the social network. Let's keep in touch!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Three New Imperial Grade Yi Xing Teapots

Last summer when he was in Yi Xing, Roy commissioned three new teapots for our Imperial collection, the highest grade of teapot we offer. This week they arrived! We're excited to share these new teapots - all based on famous teapots from the past - here on the blog.
The Imperial Yang Tong Yi Xing Teapot is modeled after a Qing Dynasty original. Meticulously handcrafted, it features hand-wrought copper detailing. The ping zi ni body enhances the pot's ability to absorb the essence of the tea you brew in it and gain a lustrous patina. An excellent pot for either puerh or oolong tea, the Yang Tong holds a generous 30 ounces. Roy has been hoping to reproduce this teapot since 1994, and only now is satisfied enough with the result to agree to sell it!

The Imperial Yi Li Zhu (Single Pearl) Yi Xing Teapot has returned! Based on a classic design, this exquisite small zi sha pot was briefly available last summer before Roy sent it back to the studio for more improvements. It must be cradled in the palms of your hands for its tactile allure to be fully appreciated. A superb choice for either puerh or oolong teas, the 8-ounce Yi Li Zhu is a timeless beauty. It comes with its own traditional-style cloth sack, based on a Chinese coin purse design, that can be used to protect or carry it.

At last, a fine yi xing teapot for green tea lovers! The Imperial Shu Bian Yi Xing Teapot is made of fine duan ni (tan clay) and is designed to cradle in the palm of one hand so you can drink from the spout - the ultimate "personal teapot" (it also pours smoothly and is great for sharing, if you prefer to drink from a teacup). It's a small, personal pot (6 ounces), and surprise - the squat design and wide mouth suggest that the Shu Bian is a great companion for green tea. Like the Yi Li Zhu, the Shu Bian comes with its own traditional-style cloth sack.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Our Latest Newsletter: Chinese New Year, Year of the Tiger Edition!

We just sent our latest newsletter, and it's all about the upcoming Chun Jie (Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year). It's time to celebrate 4707, the year of the tiger! Here in North America, Chinese New Year arrives the evening of February 13; in Europe and Asia, February 14 is the lucky day.  To help you celebrate, our newsletter features lots of Spring Festival-themed tea and teaware. Check it out!