“Stir Before Using”

How many times have you seen that? We have it written on all our Honey Tea labels, but people don’t always read instructions. I remember trying to put together model airplanes as a kid thinking I didn’t need instructions. Boy did I get some funny looking planes – and lots of spare parts!

Pure, Raw & Unfiltered

We use raw unfiltered honey that crystallizes when left unattended and cool. We also use organic powdered herbs and spices in our honey tea blends which tend to separate from the natural honey and rise to the top. And that’s the reason we want you to “Stir before using.” We get the occasional call from concerned customers who, when opening a jar left on the shelf unopened for a while, see what looks like a product gone bad.

Floating Herbs

The herbs on top of the honey can resemble an unsavory growth and we do our best to assure folks that it’s OK and all they need to do is, yes, “Stir before using.” We also suggest heating the jar in a pan of simmering hot water for a few minutes to re-liquefy the honey which makes stirring easier. We are always saddened when we hear people tell us of honey found at grandma’s house that had “gone bad, all crystallized,” and thrown it out.

Oh No, Not the “M” Word!

Honey is a natural preservative and will last indefinitely. Honey is also known to be an excellent antiseptic and is even used on some band-aid products. The bottom line is that our natural honey not only absorbs the flavors of the herbs we use, but preserves them as well. With no water introduced in our mixture, there’s no chance of that nasty “M’ word occurring. So if you open a jar and see our herbs all globbed together on the top, fear not! Simply… “Stir before using.”

As the leaves began to turn color and paint the hillsides, it’s a perfect time to enjoy a hot cup of spiced tea, and we think our Qi Chai Honey Tea is just the thing. A delicious blend of traditional Indian spices, and delightful as a hot or latté drink. Our Qi Chai is also a flavorful ingredient in cooking. We offer this fall recipe as a starting point. Enjoy.

Apple Chai Spiced Cupcakes



  • 2 cups – unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon – salt
  • 3/4 cup – applesauce
  • 1/4 cup – buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup – butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup – Zen Bear Qi Chai Honey Tea
  • 2 large – eggs


Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a liquid measure, combine applesauce and buttermilk; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add Qi Chai Honey Tea; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time. Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the applesauce mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack; cool. Frost if desired.

We are often asked where we get our honey for our Zen Bear Honey Tea products. All of our honey comes from farms in the Aroostook Valley of northern Maine.

Nestled along the Canadian border of New Brunswick, Aroostook Valley is home to a growing number of Amish and neighboring farms who allow our beekeeper to place his hives in their fields and meadows.

Here’s how a typical day goes for us when we pick up our honey:

We leave our home on the mid-coast of Maine early in the morning. We head for the town of Houlton on the Canadian border, arriving around noon. From there, we continue north on Route 1 – yes, you can still go north from here! – for another hour to the Aroostook Valley. The signs tell us we’re in Amish country, something new for Maine. Once at the farm, we load our pickup truck to the max with around 1,500 pounds of honey and then head for home.


It’s a long trip, but worth it for the fine quality of honey we’re able to get – the honey is all pure, raw and unfiltered.

We think you’ll agree our long treks for honey make a big difference in the taste of Zen Bear Honey Tea’s products.

Here are a few more articles on Maine’s Amish community:

As the kids start heading into summer vacation and the weather gets warmer and warmer, we thought we’d share one of our favorite cold drinks made with our very own Enlighten-Mint Honey Tea.

We make this refreshing drink by the glass. It takes just 3 simple steps:

  1. Dissolve one teaspoon of Enlighten-Mint Honey Tea in approximately 1/3 cup hot water to use as a base
  2. Add cold water and ice to fill your glass
  3. Add a sprig of mint and enjoy!

Note: the amount of honey tea used may vary depending on taste preferences for sweeter or milder flavor. We encourage you to experiment to see what best suits your palate!

Alternately, if you have a favorite mint tea, our Enlighten-Mint Honey Tea can also be added as a sweetener.

Be creative. And be sure to share your own recipes with us. We love to hear how you use our honey teas in new and interesting ways! Watch our blog for future recipes and cooking ideas.

While perusing around our website, you may have noticed an odd-sounding ingredient called Chaga. We sell raw chaga in ground form to use as a tea, and it is a featured ingredient in our Mocha Chaga Honey Tea.

Chaga is a medicinal mushroom that grows on decaying birch trees. It is known to help prevent ailments such as lyme disease, cancer, tumors and the flu. The health benefits of chaga have been recognized for centuries. The Japanese call it “the diamond of the forest,” while the Chinese deem it “king of plants.”

It is believed that chaga supports the whole system. Some say chaga even helps you to live longer. It is especially popular in Siberia, Russia. This article claims “the chaga drinker lives 85 to 100 years, while the non chaga-drinking person, the Inuit, lives only about 50 years.”

Chaga is able to withstand harsh climates by concentrating natural compounds for its protection. Here in Maine, you can often find chaga sold in health food stores and farmers’ markets.

All of the Zen Bear Honey Tea chaga is wild harvested in Maine by our son, Ian, a licensed arborist.


In case you were wondering, our favorite way to brew chaga tea is with the ground chaga. We suggest simmering (not boiling) approximately two tablespoons of chaga in a small saucepan of water for 30 – 40 minutes. Note: the longer it is simmered, the more nutrients are drawn out. Once you are done simmering the chaga, strain it into a cup.

You can drink the chaga straight or with added milk or cream, just as you would with coffee or tea. Some people also like to add it to their morning coffee.

Here are a few articles we recommend for more information on chaga and its health benefits:

Have you tried chaga before? How do you use it?

When people first see a jar of Zen Bear Honey Tea, it is not uncommon for us to see a confused face. After all, isn’t tea supposed to be in a bag or dried leaves?

Not for us! At Zen Bear, we start with honey. In Oriental medicine, honey is hypotonic, which means it draws out flavors. This characteristic of honey makes it the perfect medium for drawing out herbal essences and the energies of spices.

Infusing the tea into the honey makes for a comforting experience that just makes you feel good all over.

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