Caroline’s Musings

Stay Calm, Carry On, and Put the Kettle On!
By Caroline MacDougall
March 20, 2020

Dear Teeccino family,

We hope that all of you are safe wherever you are riding out this crisis, staying healthy by limiting exposure, and keeping connected despite the social distancing that is required at this time.

There are so many things to be grateful for. We give thanks for our cherished loved ones and pray for their safety. We are also so grateful that the internet plus our cell phones keep us in contact with one another and bring us inspiration from people around the world.

Let’s take the advice of the British during World War ll. They survived unbelievable bombardment and endured terrible deprivation but they managed to keep their equanimity. As the top tea drinking culture in the western world, they taught us that a hot cup of tea brings comfort in times of great challenges. Put the kettle on and make yourselves a satisfying cup to sip and enjoy!

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Teeccino is still producing and shipping:

As a food and beverage company, we are recognized as an essential business to carry on working. Fortunately we’re well stocked on ingredients and our production is running to keep the grocery shelves, our etailers and the Teeccino website fully supplied.  We always follow all good food manufacturing practices (GMPs) including gloves worn by our production team while complying with strict hygiene protocol and not being allowed to work if they are sick. We already offer paid sick leave and have expanded it so none of our employees will be deprived of income if they fall ill during these trying times.  We also have most of our office staff members working remotely.

Exciting news!

New package design:

To celebrate 25 years of marketing Teeccino, we’re excited to announce a new brand image to better convey the health promoting values we hold dear. We look forward to sharing an all-new package design from a very talented woman whose background includes designing for national brands like Starbucks® and Teavana®.

We hope you’ll love our new color palate highlighting each of Teeccino’s family of blends with their unique mandala designs and botanical illustrations. With a cleaner presentation of product information, the goal is to make it easier to understand all the health giving properties and delicious flavor in a cup of Teeccino. Have fun checking out the beautiful images on our Mediterranean, Maya and Dandelion packages!

Two new Teeccino lines:

Nothing like celebrating your 25th anniversary by creating 9 new flavors for Teeccino! I’ve been inspired by the growing interest in adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms which I’ve been consuming myself for decades. Teeccino has always been ahead of its time, and now the time is compelling us to expand our wellness offerings.

Mushroom Adaptogen Blends

I’ve paired renowned wellness mushrooms with adaptogenic herbs to bring you 6 new Teeccino blends that help you reduce stress and stay healthy.

Adaptogens are those plants and mushrooms that help the body adapt to stress, whether external or internal, while normalizing physiological functions, increasing energy and endurance, and strengthening the immune system.

Soon you’ll be able to drink a cup of Reishi Eleuthero featuring a dark roast flavor for coffee lovers, Coryceps Schisandra featuring cinnamon berry flavor for a spicy finish, and Turkey Tail Astragulus featuring toasted maple flavor for a sweet treat without added sugar. Have fun reading about these mushrooms and herbs on the internet and stay tuned to our email announcement for when our new blends are ready to ship.

Prebiotic SuperBoost™ Blends

As you know, every cup of Teeccino has prebiotic inulin that extracts naturally from chicory and dandelion roots during brewing. Prebiotics are what your probiotics need to flourish and thrive.

From the early days of Teeccino, our customers have claimed that Teeccino has made a difference to their digestion and elimination. In the last five years, new scientific studies about the microorganisms that live in our gut have revealed many revolutionary findings about what these critters do for our health. Now we know that about 70% of the immune system and over 80% of cells that produce immunoglobulin A actually reside in the gut!

I have been following this prebiotic research eagerly and just recently, I found two concentrated prebiotics that could be added to a cup of Teeccino to enhance its prebiotic properties. I’m excited to announce that two new Prebiotic Superboost blends of Teeccino will be available soon. Mango Lemon Balm featuring one of my favorite herbs to drink before bedtime and Macadamia Nut with all the rich, bold flavor that Teeccino is famous for will be shipping in the next few weeks.

Available only to our teeccino.com customers!

Although we are waiting for our new packaging for our new blends to arrive along with some of the organic adaptogenic herbs coming from India, we are able to roll out 3 of these blends in the all-purpose-grind before then. It seems so crucial at this time to deliver them to your cup to support your health. We hope you don’t mind if we sticker over some of our existing packages to get them out right away.

Today is the first day of spring so please join us in taking a moment to enjoy it by strolling through nature. It will refresh you and lessen your stress. We so look forward to hearing your feedback and thank you for your continued support!

Celebrating Women Around The World Who Harvest and Prepare the Herbs in Your Cup

By Caroline MacDougall
March 5th, 2020

One of the most satisfying things about my 40+ years sourcing herbs around the world has been providing opportunities for women to earn income where income opportunities for women in particular are scarce to nonexistent.

Study after study has shown that when women earn money, they spend it on improving the lives of their family. They invest in education for their children, better food and health care, and income-generating micro-enterprises like buying chickens and goats or growing fruits and vegetables to produce products to sell in their local market.

There is another really important aspect to women being able to earn an income. I’ve found that their social standing within their family is dramatically elevated. No longer are they looked upon simply as “cooks” like they were in the small villages I worked in in Mexico. Income gave them an element of independence producing new respect in the eyes of their husbands. They had more say in how the family budget was allocated. They had pride in themselves and also their children saw their mothers with new respect and authority.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I’d like to honor these women by showing you some pictures of them at work harvesting, drying and preparing the herbs for your cup of Teeccino!

Every vanilla flower has to be hand pollinated in order to grow a vanilla bean. The native bee that can pollinate vanilla flowers only lives in Mexico where vanilla is indigenous. Pollinating flowers is a delicate procedure requiring small and nimble fingers. Women excel at this vital job! Every vanilla bean is handled some 600 times during the course of curing it over 4 months and women often work in the curing facility as well.

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Teeccino’s organic chicory is grown in India by smallholder farming families. Women do much of the essential weeding work in the fields in their colorful saris which has to be done by hand instead of sprayed with herbicides like conventional chicory. They spread the roots to dry after harvest and clean and sort them once they are ready for shipment.

The most rewarding project in my sourcing career has been developing the commercial value of wild ramón seeds that were going to waste on the forest floor in Guatemala. Ramón trees were called the “corn tree” by the Maya who planted them in the forest around their cities. They drank a brew made from roasted ramón seeds way before the Spaniards brought coffee trees to Central America and they ate ground ramón flour mixed with their corn flour to make it more nutritious.

When I started investigating ramón seeds as an ingredient for Teeccino, none of the people living in the Maya Biosphere Reserve knew they were edible. As a super hard, zero-fat seed, you couldn’t just pick one up and eat it. In these villages, hunger and malnutrition was a big problem and I realized that ramón seeds could help solve it. Not only did the harvest of ramón seeds provide income for women who could pick up seeds while still minding their young children, but also, it helped women create commercial enterprises.  A group of women formed a cooperative to start drying the seeds and then baking them into breads, muffins and cookies to sell in the local market.

Teeccino supported workshops given by women from the original cooperative to women in other villages to spread the knowledge of how to prepare and eat ramón seeds. Eventually the government of Guatemala became involved and started buying ramón seed baked goods to distribute to the local schools. Teachers reported that attendance was up and illness was down after the children started eating cookies and muffins made with ramón seed flour.

When we “gringos” began the harvest of wild harvested ramón seeds, they were considered “basura” or garbage because the seeds dropped to the ground from 130 ft tall trees. Our development of this wasted nutritious seed changed the nutrition and income of these villagers!

Bees, Butterflies & Your Cup of Teeccino

By Caroline MacDougall
February 27th, 2020

Bees, butterflies and other insects are essential to our food production as pollinators. Your cup of Teeccino depends on bees, both honey bees and wild bee species to ensure that crops are well pollinated. Chicory, carob, almonds, dates, figs, and dandelions are all pollinated by bees.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the massive colony collapse disorder that is plaguing honeybees. It is also affecting wild bee colonies. Last year, 40% of honeybees – over 50 billion bees – died before the spring pollination season started up again. It’s devastating to beekeepers, farmers and of course the bees!

Here in Santa Barbara, October to March, monarch butterflies return to our local grove of eucalyptus trees where they cluster to keep warm for the winter months. Last year, instead of tens of thousands of monarchs, whose golden wings make an extraordinarily beautiful site to behold, only 230 butterflies showed up. 230! In Mexico, at the reserve in the mountains northwest of Mexico City where butterflies fly over 2500 miles from the US Northeast, a similar dire reduction in butterfly numbers was recorded.

Then came the highly distressing news that two of the top local conservationists in the Mexican Monarch Biosphere Reserve were murdered this month. In many parts of the world, being an environmentalist working to protect wild habitat is a dangerous career. Yet these people are so dedicated, they continue their work despite the risk to their lives.

I was so shocked and saddened, I decided that Teeccino as a company has to do something about this. Each of us, whether as individuals or as companies, have a role to play in protecting our environment. Now more than ever, we have to take the steps that ensure there is a healthy planet for our children to inherit!

Here’s what Teeccino plans to do!

Teeccino’s Mediterranean blends depend on golden roasted almonds from California to imbue their delicious nuttiness into a brewed cup. Think Hazelnut, Vanilla Nut, Mocha, Java and many other delicious –nut blends. Over 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California’s Central Valley. Almond orchards cover over 500,000 acres. With 2 hives per acres required for pollination, a million hives and billions of bees are at risk. One beekeeper likened the conditions in these orchards to sending bees to war. It is time to start supporting the bees instead of killing them!

Bees can fly 5 miles in search of food. Even if a farmer is organic, bees may fly to conventional fields where they are exposed to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids that act like nicotine. These pesticides weaken bees’ immune systems and can kill them the whole hive when the pesticides are brought back from the fields. The EPA has banned 12 neonicotinoids but left 47 still on the market.

With some research, I discovered that there is a new “Bee Better Certification” for farmers founded by The Xerces Society, which supports science-based conservation and protection for pollinators. Farmers can get certified if they commit to the following:

  • No-till and no pesticide application approaches
  • Keeping a growing cover crop on soil between rows of trees or between income crops
  • Dedicating 5% of land to habitat for wild bees and growing food plants for butterflies.
  • Providing nesting sites for wild bees and butterfly host plants.

Teeccino is now committed to buying certified bee-friendly almonds that increase the survival of both honeybees and native bees. I’ve found an almond grower who is visionary about growing both conventional and organic almonds employing bee friendly methods. I’m excited about sourcing our almonds exclusively from this grower!

If you’d like to join us in supporting conservation of bees, butterflies and other pollinators, please learn more about the Xerces Society and become a member!

The Evolution of teeccino

Celebrating 25 years of Teeccino!

When I was inspired to create a caffeine-free cappuccino in 1994, I never would have ever imagined that I’d still be marketing Teeccino 25 years later. As an entrepreneur, the challenge of getting herbs to run through an espresso machine just possessed me. I don’t know about you, but when I’m struck with a vision, I never imagine all the hard work that will go into manifesting it. I just am filled with enthusiasm and think it will all be fun!

Well, it has been fun…and hard…and everything in between. The greatest reward is always hearing from all of you, whose enthusiastic embrace of Teeccino continually juices my inspiration to new heights.

For this 25th year, we are planning big things. I’m busy in my kitchen creating two new families of Teeccino flavors: Mushroom Adaptogen Herbal Coffees & Teas and Prebiotic SuperBoost Herbal Coffees & Teas. We’re planning on helping you “Stress less and digest best!”.

When you’re 25, it’s time for a new look. Soon you, our readers, will be the very first to see all new Teeccino packaging rolling off the production line. To get you ready for the change, I made a video with Galen, my son and Teeccino’s VP of Sales, showing you the evolution of Teeccino packaging from the beginning until now.

Hope you enjoy watching it! Stay tuned for more details on the launch of our new flavors in March. You’ll read it here first!

 

Tasting 25 Year Old Vintage Teeccino

 

Teeccino is 25 years old! Seems like ancient times to look back at it now. No cell phones, no internet, no social media, photographs on film that had to be developed and printed. We actually did business by making phone calls, writing and mailing letters!

 

Teeccino was started in my garage like all great entrepreneurial start-ups in America. At the time, I worked for Odwalla Juice Company selling their dried orange peel from their newly built juice plant in Dinuba, CA. We had a big blender and that’s where the very first batches of Teeccino were made in August of 1994.

 

This summer I made a discovery while cleaning my garage. Ok, I have cupboards that are deep and full of herbs and other ingredients I use in my product development. Way back in the recesses of the bottom shelf, I found a box marked Teeccino. Inside were ziplock baggies holding the retained samples from that very first production run. Yes, 25 year old Teeccino!

 

Watch my son, Galen, our VP of Sales who was 6 years old in 1994, join me in tasting vintage Teeccino 25 years later. It was a lot of fun and we lived to tell the story!

 

Happy Holidays to you and your families,

 

Pausing to Feel Grateful

It takes just a moment, only a second or two. It requires simply pausing. It can happen in the middle of anything you’re doing and if you’re like me during the holiday season, that’s an overwhelming amount of tasks.

Pause to take an in-breath. Pause to center yourself. Pause to feel gratefulness well up from the heart. Pause to exhale gratitude into the world.

It’s pretty simple and yet it’s probably the most profound thing we can do to shift our mood, change the atmosphere, and generate goodness. Feeling grateful is something we humans are uniquely capable of emanating. It benefits both ourselves, our health and it positively affects everyone around us.

 

When we radiate gratitude, when we give thanks for our beautiful planet that supports our wellbeing, when we are grateful for each other and the worldwide community that we depend upon, we shift away from fear and anxiety and renew our deepest sense of connection.

Here’s my Thanksgiving wish for all of our wonderful customers – you!

When you take a cup of Teeccino into your hands, remember how grateful we are for you. Take a sip and know that the brewed liquid we call Teeccino is just a symbol of that gratefulness.

Sipping Teeccino or any other hot beverage this holiday season is the perfect moment in which to pause and feel grateful. We will be sipping our Teeccino and sending our gratitude to you. You are our community. We strive to bring you the best possible herbs full of health benefits to enhance your optimal wellbeing.

Join us in sipping and being grateful this holiday season and throughout the coming year!

                                                    Fasting Tips To Reap Healthy Results!

Have you ever fasted or does the idea make you immediately feel starving? There was a time not long ago when fasting was out of fashion with claims that it slowed down the metabolism, wasted muscle and made blood sugar unstable. Now there’s a surge in fasting popularity as new science has proven its many health benefits that have been touted throughout the ages.

If you haven’t yet experimented with fasting, allow me to give you some tips that will help you get started. Over many years, I’ve tried every type of fast from juice fasting to water fasting, from fasting for weeks to fasting a day at a time. As my body has aged, I’ve learned how to fast differently than I fasted in my twenties and yet still get great results.

This summer, I decided to lose some weight (the age weight creep is the worst, isn’t it?). I turned to fasting when nothing else was moving the scale downwards. Having successfully lost 8 lbs or 6.5% of my body weight, I’d like to share with you how to fast and reap the health rewards!

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When herbal tea was introduced to the American market in the early 1970’s, tea drinkers complained that herbal tea wasn’t really tea at all. Herbal tea doesn’t contain Camellia sinensis, the caffeine-containing plant known as “tea” from which we get black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, matcha and many other varieties of tea depending on where tea is grown and how the leaf is fermented and dried.

British tea connoisseurs think that herbal tea should be called an “infusion” while the French call herbal tea a “tisane”. But Americans are more practical. If it brews and looks like tea, but it’s caffeine-free and made from herbs, it’s simply called “herbal tea”.

When the 1990’s came along and coffee bars were being opened everywhere, Caroline was inspired to create Teeccino, a whole new concept for an herbal beverage that brews, looks and tastes like coffee but is made from naturally caffeine-free herbs. In the beginning, she called Teeccino an “herbal espresso” because she began brewing it in an espresso machine to make caffeine-free cappuccinos. After hearing from enthusiastic customers who wanted to brew Teeccino any way they brew coffee, it finally dawned on her that she has created “herbal coffee”! It was one of those things that after you say it, it’s so obvious, you wonder, what took you so long?

Herbal beverages offer a wide variety of healthful properties without any caffeine or acidity. Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, a drug that triggers the body’s stress response called the “flight or fight” syndrome. Too much caffeine can aggravate stress by elevating cortisol and keep you awake at night. There are many health conditions whose symptoms are made worse from too much caffeine. Naturally caffeine-free herbal teas and herbal coffees can be drunk any time of the day or night and they can help promote a good night’s sleep.

Both herbal teas and herbal coffees are made from herbs with a long tradition of being enjoyed throughout the world for many millennia. Herbs are valued for their health and wellness properties with age-old reputations for promoting optimal health. Herbal teas and herbal coffees are made from herbs that are safe to drink on a daily basis. Rest assured that pharmaceutical botanicals that shouldn’t be consumed regularly are not used in herbal beverages or wellness teas.

We hope you enjoy the many herbal beverages Caroline has developed for your tasting pleasure and to promote optimal health.

Regenerative Agriculture: Soil Can Save The Planet

If you tune in to conversations about state-of-the-art organic agriculture these days, you’re sure to hear the use of the term, “regenerative”. Every mission-driven, natural foods company is scrambling to make sure its organic ingredients are grown with regenerative agricultural practices in place. At Teeccino, we’re taking this movement just as seriously as we take the organic certification of our herbal ingredients. Here’s why:


Rich, fertile topsoil with deep humus has the ability to store millions of tons of carbon right under our feet. Plants pull carbon out of the atmosphere via photosynthesis and sink it into the ground. Humus, the organic matter in healthy soil, acts like a sponge, absorbing both water and carbon while supporting the life of plants and the trillions of microorganisms that live in the soil.


It’s called the carbon cycle. If we humans use it to rebuild and regenerate our topsoil, it can save life as we know it from the disastrous warming trend that is accelerating extinction of so many life forms from mammals to insects. And it can be done relatively quickly. Farmers using regenerative practices to build topsoil are finding they can build multiple inches of topsoil in a season.


Here’s an interesting fact that surprised me: Agriculture since the mid-1800’s has been responsible for losing twice as much carbon into the atmosphere than burning fossil fuels! Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Especially since the 1970’s, modern agricultural practices are releasing carbon at a greatly accelerated rate and at the same time, farmers are losing topsoil at alarming volumes. No topsoil, no plants to eat!


For Earth Day 2019, we’d like to share some things we at Teeccino are doing to ensure that our herbal ingredients are grown with regenerative soil practices. We’d also like to give you ways that you can support the regenerative agricultural movement. Together, we can join forces to regenerate the planet’s topsoil, draw carbon out of our atmosphere and store it in our soil. We can reverse this global warming trend in our lifetime while improving the health of the plants we eat and thus our own health as well.



Regenerative agriculture and Teeccino’s herbal ingredients:


The majority of Teeccino’s ingredients come from tree crops. This is fortuitous because trees are permanent plants that continue to draw down carbon from the atmosphere year after year without disturbing the soil. When soil is tilled, a tremendous amount of carbon gets released into the atmosphere.


But we can go one step further. Many orchards leave the soil bare between trees so that weeds don’t compete with the trees for nutrients. Cover crops are a tried-and-true organic agricultural technique of improving soil health. Cover crops that are legumes sink nitrogen into the soil to provide this essential nutrient to the trees. If the plants are turned into the soil, they become “green manure” that builds the humus content.


We are checking with our date, fig and almond farmers to see if they are employing cover crops between the trees so that topsoil is regenerated. We hope that providing information about regenerative soil techniques can help upgrade practices to improve soil health.


By the way, carob is a leguminous tree and thus farmers plant it in their organic fields to help nourish the crops they grow. Wild carob trees that grow in the mountains surrounding the Mediterranean are also a significant source of organic carob pods. In the wild, trees like carob and the ramón tree in Guatemala are part of a permanent forest cover that regenerates the soil as part of nature’s carbon cycle.


Two of our main ingredients are organic crops planted annually: barley and chicory roots. Once again, we’re lucky in that barley is often used as a cover crop as it has thick roots, crowds out weeds, and recycles more nitrogen back into the soil when its remains are turned into the fields after harvest. Barley can be a “no-till” crop.


Our organic barley is grown in Germany by family farmers. We are inquiring if it is planted without tilling and if the stalks are turned back into the soil. Knowing the Germans, I suspect they use every bit of the barley plant to their advantage!


Chicory is a root crop that needs the field tilled before planting. The young seedlings can’t compete with weeds and organic agriculture doesn’t use herbicides. Our organic chicory is grown in India by smallholder family farmers who weed by hand. Chicory is rotated with other crops grown to feed the family. We work with a team of organic agricultural specialists in India to advise and teach best organic practices to the farmers in order to increase their yields and the health of their soil.



Here’s what you can do:

  1. Buy food from organic farmers who care for their soil. How do you know if they do? If you frequent your local Farmer’s Market, you’ll find organic family farmers who build their topsoil as part of their farm’s regime. Organic agriculture is designed to grow healthy plants by building healthy soil. However, big business has entered the organic market too. Although we welcome more farmland being converted to organic practices, it’s the family farms that are at the vanguard of the regenerative agricultural movement.
  2. Read about regenerative agriculture and spread the word. I highly recommend this informative and interesting book, “Cows Save The Planet” by the investigative journalist, Judith Schwartz. The book should have been entitled, Soil Can Save The Planet, but I guess the publishers thought cows were more appealing. You’ll be amazed reading her tales of the scientists, ranchers and farmers all over the planet who are working to regenerate our soil. Don’t have time to read the book? Here’s an article by Judith in a Yale University publication that sums up the latest soil science: https://e360.yale.edu/features/soil_as_carbon_storehouse_new_weapon_in_climate_fight
  3. Do you have some land? Even a small plot can help save the planet. Grow trees that give food. Sacrifice your lawn for herbs, flowers, and any perennial plants with deep roots. Grow legumes. Keep your soil covered with mulch. As one organic farmer advised me twenty years ago while regarding my heavy clay soil with thin topsoil, “Just keep covering the ground with more and more mulch very year. Eventually you’ll have good topsoil.” I took his advice and I can say now that my land has many inches of topsoil!
  4. Support organizations teaching farmers, ranchers, and other thought leaders about carbon sequestration in the soil. Here are a few I recommend:


Some more interesting facts:

  • There are 2500 billion tons of carbon stored in the planet’s soil whereas plants and animals only store 560 billion tons. That’s why there is more carbon in the soil than there is in forests!
  • Carbon rich soil stores water like a sponge and then releases it down into ground water storage. It can protect land from floods and replenish our clean water supply. Too much fresh water now runs off of our asphalt-covered cities and our conventional farmland taking with it toxins and topsoil, polluting our rivers and oceans. If instead, systems to retain water in our farmlands and by creating soil our own homes helps restore the rain cycle too!
  • World Wildlife Fund estimates that we are losing 30-37 million acres of forest every year. Think 36 football fields every minute! Loss of forest cover is creating drought as forest respiration produces vapor that later becomes rain.
  • Desertification is rapidly growing as rain cycles are disturbed through loss of forests and increasing land covered by asphalt and or left bare. A single tree can transmit 26 gallons of water on a sunny day which adds to the cooling of the atmosphere as well as contributing to the rain cycle.

It keeps the beat of life flowing through our veins. It doesn’t ask for much from us, but it’s essential to our every breath. It’s thought of as the “body’s engine room” and the center of our life force. It’s the super muscle that counts out every second of our lives to keep us vibrant and healthy. Yes, I’m talking about our hearts.

Sadly, the heart has become one of the most disease-ridden organs globally, particularly in the United States. Heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death nationally, though healthy lifestyle habits can dramatically reduce such unfortunate prospects. One in four women die from heart disease yet women’s heart problems are often overlooked and undiagnosed until it is too late.

Maybe it’s because we women are so good at focusing on others and ignoring our own needs. Our sensitivity can even cause us to suffer heart attacks from the “Broken Heart Syndrome” without any prior heart diseaseThis month, I’ve been observing what nurtures my heart while balancing its desires with the necessities of a busy life. Here’s 4 surprising discoveries that are easy to do on a daily basis to keep your heart healthy!

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