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Tea Newsletter #4 – Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better

Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better

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Hello Tea Lovers

It may be late in the year for Iced tea (or Iced tea.)  Even here in Sarasota, we have the windows open, and it’s great sleeping weather. But I have a story I want to share with you about Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better.

Debbie S is a long time customer who uses our Organic Sarasotan Breakfast Tea to make ice tea. I recently connected with her, and she told me she steeps her tea THREE times, with outstanding results.

Cold Brew Iced Tea

She makes large tea bags using the Tea Sacs #4 – Large and 38g of tea.  In the first batch, she uses the  ‘Cold Brew‘ method; a gallon of cold water in a sealed container, with the Tea Sac in the fridge overnight.

For the next batch, a second steep in cold water, but this time she leaves the container in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Debbie told me the tea is a little bit lighter, but it’s still a nice cup of tea.

For the third steep, she uses the same tea sac in a large bowl and hits it with a quart of boiling water.  She lets the tea steep until it cools, adds cold water to make it a gallon, and then puts it in the fridge.

Debbie is a creature of habit and drinks tea all day long.  My preference is hot tea, and I like a bit of variety.  Above all, this is just one reason why loose leaf tea is so much better, in this case, so much more economical than tea bags.  Debbie is an inspiration to anyone; everyone who wants to get the most out of their tea.  It is possible, and I thought it was interesting to share it here.  Thanks, Debbie.

Correction to Last Month’s Newsletter

Thank you for the emails telling me ’Live from Here’ got canceled. Drag!  I need a whole new Sunday Tea routine.

Netflix

I am a sporadic viewer of the Great British Baking Show, but I found ‘Biscuit Week’ to be especially ”Tea Focused”  I don’t bake at all, but the show grabs me with the characters and the vocabulary.  I love the way the brits turn a phrase.  Hilarious, and they don’t take themselves too seriously, even in competition.

Enter Rowan.  He laughs his way through a few episodes, stopping for a cuppa amidst the chaos.  For the ‘Showstopper’ challenge, many contestants created variations of tea services made from biscuits. Clever.  However, I still have a few episodes to go.
Tea Pairing – Chocolate Honeybush with store-bought biscuits.

Places

Faith Stewart-Gordon, the owner of the Russian Tea Room, has died. She was 88.  Obit here.  Fun Fact – Madonna was a coat A decorative glass teacup used in the Think Out of the Bag monthly Newsletter by Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.check clerk and was fired for slipping her demo tapes to guests.  Stewart-Gordon had a goal “to make the restaurant look the way people remembered it, not the way it was.”  RIP and I raise a cuppa Lapsang Souchong in a decorative glass teacup in her memory.

 Sip Locally Tea Blog – recent posts

5 reason you will love Rooibos Tea

Teapots for TeaParties – Teapotty

Books

I am reading ‘Titan’ by Ron Chernow. My ‘big book’ for the year from the author who wrote Hamilton. I don’t see a rap version of this story about John D Rockefeller, but then again, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius.
Tea pairing – Organic Earl Grey with a splash of Oat milk.

GolfToons

I play more golf since the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens closed.  GolfToons is a side hustle I’ve been working on with Dianne’s brother, Marty.  Have a look and please pass along to any golfers you know.  Or, you can subscribe and Laugh at the Agony!
Tea Pairing – Organic Strawbango Mushed up words that sound funny!

As always, your comments are welcomed, and thanks for your support.

Your Local Tea Team

Tea Newsletter #3 – Better Teas, Better Spices

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Since the pandemic, sales on our web site have ticked up.  I suspect people are drinking more tea, with many new habits formed these past months. Firing up the kettle any time of the day is one of the healthiest habits you can have.

Better Teas

And if you are drinking more tea, the next logical step is to drink better tea.  We have many favorites, like Selby Select and Mote Beach Tea or Siesta Tea and Goji Green.  All will dazzle you and contribute to that newly formed habit.

If you are interested in learning about healthy teas, here is a post Glynis wrote a few years back and a more recent post about consuming goji berries every day.

Some of our more unusual teas include Lapsang Souchong (my personal favorite), our Young Pu Erh, or perhaps our Aronia Oolong with chokeberries and passion fruit.  Lots to explore in our online shop.

This uptick in sales does not cover the drop volume to our wholesale business.  So, if you can support our Serving Partners, thank you.

Better Spices

Like everyone else, we have been preparing more of our meals at home.  And in the spirit of drinking better tea, I am doing the same when it comes to the spices.   So, we are using better spices.  Better teas, better spices.

We have used a mortar and pestle for years to grind pepper and kosher salt.  And, we use a lot of fennel, especially on salmon.  Freshly ground fennel is Magic!!

And now, I have started using really good spices, and the difference is MASSIVE.  I have known about the Spice Trekkers (or Epices de Cru) for years.  I have even gifted sets of their blends, along with a mortar and pestle as my go-to wedding gift.  But like many gift buyers, I bought better for others than myself…

No more. I am hooked. My first order was for two different black peppers (Yupanqui and a Tellicherry) and fennel from Greece.  I also found a powerful Chinese Five Spice and a tangy Harissa.  I filmed an unboxing video, in case you are interested.  Better teas, better spices!

The company is based in Montreal, and they have a fantastic website filled with ‘spice stories.’  I really like the videos they created, especially for the Yupanqui black pepper from Ecuador. Very cool and hard to not order the works!!  Merci, Epices de Cru!

Better Teas Better Spices

My Sunday tea is Sweet Orange Mate while listening to Live from Here on NPR. I do miss Garrison, but the music Chris plays is much better. And Tom Poppa always makes me laugh.  I drink my cuppa (or mugga) Mate as hot tea.  And you may enjoy a recent blog post, “Is it Iced Tea or Ice Tea?”

Music

I had some fun reviewing Yusuf Cat Stevens ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ this summer.  I thought the remastered version was his new one.  Explained here.  ‘Tea for the Tillerman 2’ came out a few weeks ago.  The original was arguably one of the best albums ever, and 50 years later, we get another version by Yusuf Cat.  I’m working on the final post, but in the meantime, listen and enjoy.  Tea PairingOrganic Sarasotan Breakfast Blend “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.”

TV

We ping pong between Lovecraft Country and The Vow.  HBO is knocking it out of the park, though I don’t know which is weirder. John Oliver is back, and Fargo is waiting in the wings.  Tea Pairing – Organic Peppermint, for when your breath gets taken away!!

Podcast

My new favorite podcast is “It Was Said,”  A shortish show (45 minutes or less) where Jon Meachum covers a famous speech and provides a bit of context or historical perspective.  The Ronald Reagen episode was especially touching.  Tea Pairing – Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling, a serious black tea!

And lastly, a farewell to Pat Glass, Dianne’s Mom.  She passed away last month.  Pat was incredible, a true force in the Universe.  Glowing tributes here and here, and an obit with her many accomplishments. With Love!

As always, your comments are welcomed, and thanks for your support.

Your Local Tea Team

Tea Newsletter #2 – New Teas and Old Teas and Glynis

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Thanks for the wonderful response to our first newsletter.  Your comments and kind wishes are always welcome.  Thank you. 

Many of you asked after Glynis.  She is well and has been working at Selby Gardens in the Welcome Center.  She still helps with all adjustments to our tea line up, and she still drinks a lot of tea.  Lately, though, Glynis has been drinking ice tea.  Yes, Ice Tea!!  I can hear the collective gasp from those who have heard her opine about Hot Tea.  It is hot here in Sarasota, so she is making pitchers of Bertha Palmer Rooibos Iced.  

Also, our next blog post… Is it Ice Tea or Iced Tea?  Does anyone want to guess???

Others asked about some of our discontinued teas.  I’ll start with our new teas and then list our excuses:):)

New Teas

Island Mango Black – Created for the Gaugin exhibit at Selby.  So popular that we kept it. Black tea with mango and lime. 

Black Lemon Ginger – We needed a black tea with ginger and lemon, and we found it!  This is an excellent quality black tea, an OP (Orange Pekoe) from Sri Lanka.

Old Teas

* Black Coconut – We still get a bunch of requests each month for this tea. And we are still working on a replacement.

* Sparkling Pineapple White Tea – I liked this one too, but we did not sell enough to keep it.  Sorry!

* Flowers in the Factory – This was a tea created for the Warhol exhibit at Selby.  We used our Organic Red Berries tea, so the cool packet is not available, but the tea is!

Otherwise, our line up is the same, with  Goji Green Tea leading the way.  Our selection of Rooibos is going strong at 9, and that is not counting Chocolate Honeybush, our perennial best seller. 

Our other best seller is Mote Beach Tea, and we do contribute a portion of all sales of this caffeine-free gem back to Mote Marine Laboratory.  Here is a blog post, More about Mote, with details about the volunteer programs Michael is active with; Sea Turtles and Dolphins.  

Our Serving Partners offering Mote Beach Tea include;  Bean Coffeehouse, Cafe in the Park, Burns Court Cafe, Morton’s Bakery, Blue Dolphin Cafe, Breakfast House, Mojo Risin, AJ’s Kitchen, Mountain Comfort Coffee, Pastry Arts, Serving Spoon, State Street Eating House, Sunnyside Cafe, and The Reserve.  Please support these and any other local businesses you can.  Thank you.

We are always looking for tea connections out in the world.  Here are a few recent favorites…

Watching

Poldark – We binged this Masterpiece Classic on Amazon Prime.  Set in the 1790s in Cornwall.  Great drama and even more fabulous images of the Cornwall coastline.  Demelza and Ross don’t drink as much tea as port and sherry, but the 5 seasons was a great escape!

Listening

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou is an Ethiopian piano-playing nun, and she will be 97 in December.  I don’t recall how I came across her mellow sounds, but she is easy to listen to on Sunday mornings with a cuppa Yerba Mate.  Sweet Orange Mate is my favorite.  Her music is fantastic, and her story is even better.

Coverville is one of my favorite podcasts, offering themed cover songs & stories. Loved a recent Blondie Episode, especially ‘The Tide is High’ covered by Dakota Blonde – a country cover of a new wave song originally recorded as a reggae song!  No tea connection, but a great listen.

Reading

Summer thriller Camino Winds by John Grisham.  Not much tea involved, mostly cold beer and wine, but I look forward to a Grisham book every summer. 

As ever, we welcome your comments and thanks for your support.  

Your Local Tea Team

Tea Newsletter #1 – Remember Us?

Hello Tea lovers – Remember Us?

We are restarting our email newsletter after a bit of a break.  Yes, it has been more than 7 years, so more of a hiatus, but here we are.  

Remember Us?

First, if you would like to unsubscribe, click here.

You can expect an email every three or four weeks with updates and announcements about our teas. We will also share interesting tea-related products you might enjoy, with an inspiring tea quote to go with what we are listening to, watching, reading, and laughing about as we drink our tea.  

It’s good to be back!  And now, more than ever, the simple pleasures of a calming cuppa tea are crucial to our collective sanity.  Organic Peppermint works for us.  What tea do you turn to for comfort?

Who are you?

When last we sent our newsletter, Local Tea Co was busy sampling and selling our teas at the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens.  And, on Saturday, you could find our ‘Tea Tent’ at the Sarasota Farmers Market.  I HOPE you remember us.

Part of the reason we restarted this newsletter is that the Market restarted last weekend, after a few months off.  This return got us thinking about all the people we met and spent time with on Saturdays or at the Garden.  

We are no longer at the Market, and we left Selby Gardens as well.  You can find all the details in our History.  

What have we been doing?

We are now focused on our wholesale tea business.  We have a long list of Serving Partners that offer our wonderful teas.  And if you know of a cafe or restaurant that should be selling our teas, let them know about us.  

We also continue to sell out teas online.  And Michael has committed to improving his handwriting, though we have our doubts:):)

Our Tea Blog is more active these days, with a recent post about an Amy Tan quote.  And did you know Yusuf / Cat Stevens drinks his Breakfast Blend with a cardamom pod?

This ‘TeaMail’ newsletter was titled “Think out of the Bag,” as we are always promoting loose leaf tea.  We still promote loose leaf teas, though now offer 20 of our teas in biodegradable SOILON silk sachets. 

Our Pinterest Page is probably our most active social page. Have a look and please, follow, like, and comment on any of our pages.  

On Instagram and YouTube, we have a bunch of videos visiting our Serving Partners.  Have a look and a laugh. And we try to keep up on Facebook and Twitter.  What is your preferred social media platform?

As ever, we welcome your comments and thank you for your support.  

Your Local Tea Team

Tea for the Tillerman – 50 years later

Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea?

Yusuf / Cat Stevens released an updated version of ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ this month, adding 50 years of wisdom and maturity to the songs.

The songs sound great, Yusuf sounds great, and the lyrics of Tea for the Tillerman are so familiar they reflexively bring memories to mind.  But what struck me was my interest in the album cover.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

I listen to music, but I rarely have any interest in album, song, or track art.  Whatever it is called these days.  Was this some other instinct from long ago?

Actually, I remembered that Yusuf / Cat Stevens was not only a singer-songwriter 50 years ago, but also an illustrator.  So, I wanted to see what he sent out into the world with these songs.

Album Cover Art

I have not spent so much time examining an album cover in a very long time. Of course, “Tea” attracted me at first.  But what kind of tea?  Perhaps the lyrics offered some clues, so I listened to the familiar songs as I sought significance from the cover.

Remember, ‘tea’ also refers to the meal taken at the end of the day. Glynis and her husband taught me that term, and they still use ‘tea’ to refer to many of their meals.  Tea is more than Tea.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

But on the album cover, the ‘Tillerman’ has a teapot to go with his mug on the table. Then some milk and sugar, it seems.   Is the Tillerman waiting to be served his tea?

A tiller-man refers to a person steering a boat or a farmer tilling the soil.  Also, the person that steers the back of a fire truck or holds a ladder.

My guess with the deer in the background is either a farmer or this guy could be ferrying things across a river or lake. Perhaps this is how he is paid for his services?  Isn’t that how we are all compensated, with food and drink for the work we do?

Further, the hat seems less a farmer’s cap and more of a dock hand’s cap, with a feather of either massive significance or just something that was found along the way?

What’s in the Tillerman’s Cuppa?

So, what’s in his cuppa? With a full beard and worker’s boots, my guess is something black and strong. If you told me he was drinking herbal tea, I would scoff.

I consider this as I revise this post early in the morning, drinking my smoky lapsang souchong with steamed Oatly oat milk and local honey.  I bet that would get a scoff out of the Tillerman.

My guess is the milk is fresh from a morning milking. The ‘Big Guy’ could be lactose intolerant. Soaking oats, then straining them for a bit of creaminess with his tea, is not that far off or out of the question. What if he farms oats?

The giant sun is up, and so this is midday or late afternoon. With the kids climbing a tree, the tillerman looks happy. Are these his children? Perhaps his wife left the kids with him as she went about a chore.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

The only thing I can’t explain is the gorgeous white tablecloth perfectly fitting the table. It seems like a special occasion, but I can’t make that fit.  I guess that it could have been easier for Cat to draw a covered table rather than trying to illustrate a seated Tillerman?

Or, what if the Tillerman has been working a nearby plot of land that may have been in his family for a few generations?  And recently, the acreage was purchased, retiring the laborer to a life of luxury.  And with silver in his beard, maybe he is looking after his grandkids?

That might explain the white tablecloth, and this is how he spends his days now.  He will be served ‘tea’ to go with his Darjeeling. Or if this is a cuppa green tea, I would guess an Organic Sencha rather than a fruited Goji Green or an Organic Strawberry Smile.

Tea for the Tillerman Lyrics

The album ends with a concise song I did not remember, ‘Tea for the Tillerman.’  A bit of a clue in the opening…

“Bring tea for the Tillerman,

Steak for the Sun

Wine for the woman who made the rain come…”

Okay, so a farmer waiting for his meal?

I have to do this more often. I really enjoyed gazing at this album art while listening to these classics.  The album cover for Tea for the Tillerman holds up as well as the music.

Thank you again, Yusuf / Cat Stevens

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #9 – Cafe Evergreen – Nokomis

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Cuppa Tea at Cafe Evergreen

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we visit Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis, where Tristan talks with us.

This is one of our favorite spots, especially after a soak at Warm Mineral Springs. The Beet Reuben is off the charts, and all of their food is creative, eclectic, and delicious.

Breakfast is best known for the Evergreen Scrambler with tofu, quinoa, spinach, and more. They also offer a freshly pressed juice bar, along with wheatgrass and ginger shots.

For lunch, check out the Evergreen Club sandwich, voted Best Vegetarian Sandwich in America by the Restaurant Hospitality Magazine!!  And the previously mentioned the Beet Reuben with roasted, pickled beets, house-made sauerkraut, and a chickpea thousand island dressing. Fantastic!!!

All the teas are organic for dinner (or lunch), and Local Tea Company created a custom iced tea, Evergreen Peach.  Try it.  And all the hot teas are served as loose leaf teas in teapots for the best tea experience possible.  Tristan and his wife like our Organic Strawberry Smile green tea.

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ,’ we do a ‘Video Visit’ with one of our Serving Partners.  It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.

Please subscribe and after that, let us know what you think.

Cheers,

Episode #9 Cafe Evergreen – Nokomis

Logo for Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis Florida

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #8 – The Overton Rosemary District Sarasota

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Cuppa Tea at The Overton

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we visit The Overton in the Rosemary District of Sarasota to chat with owner Christian Hershman.

When we visited this week, the MTV reality show “Siesta Key” was wrapping up filming. And, per usual, The Overton had a buzz about it. The Overton is Americano, fast-casual at its finest. Christian is a groundbreaker, and The Overton does it again.

The food is “On Trend” and eclectic, but more important, Delicious!!! They do things the Overton Way from the ‘Avo Toast,’ thick-cut bacon, and porridge, along with many other brekkie favorites.

For later in the day, The Roadside Burger is probably the most popular with fresh ground beef by the Butcher Block. The Fries are available in beef tallow or olive oil, and the list goes on…

Also, The Overton makes two styles of cold-brewed iced teas, a Nitro and a Sparkling.  The Nitro is frothy with a thick foam.  The Sparkling is a bit bubbly but not overwhelming.  Try them and let us know which one you like better!

 

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ,’ we do a ‘Video Visit’ with one of our Serving Partners.  It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.

Please subscribe and after that, let us know what you think.

Cheers,

Episode #8 The Overton in the Rosemary District Sarasota

The Overton Logo

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #7 – Pastry Arts on Main Street Sarasota

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Cuppa Tea at Pastry Arts

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we visit Main Street Sarasota and Pastry Arts to chat with owner Chip Beeman.

They have an extensive Tea Menu to go with a massive pastry case.  All pastries are made from scratch daily, with the espresso muffin most popular.  Pastry Arts also serves soups and sandwiches for lunch.  Chip is also the owner of the Main Bar Sandwich Shop.

The walls are filled with the works from local artist Ron Genta, including a few pieces with the Local tea logo!  Pastry Arts is jammed on Saturday mornings during the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Stop by and enjoy the outdoor seating and watch Sarasota!!

Tea is featured most afternoons as perfect for a break from the office.  There is a bit of an afternoon rush when guests stop in for a cuppa and something sweet.  Spend some time out front with the rest of Sarasota

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ,’ we do a ‘Video Visit’ with one of our Serving Partners.  It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.

Please subscribe and after that, let us know what you think.

Cheers,

Episode #7 – Pastry Arts on Main Street Sarasota

Pastry Arts Bakery and Sandwich Shop Sarasota

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village

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Cuppa Tea at Bean Coffeehouse

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in Sarasota,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we go back to the very beginning to where it all began.  The first location of Local Tea Company, and Local Coffee + Tea in the heart of Siesta Key Village for a cuppa tea at the Bean Coffeehouse

The shop, now known as the Bean Coffeehouse, was opened in 2007, and you can read more about it in the history section of the Local Tea Co. website.  The interior is wildly colorful with many works by local artist Ron Genta.

For this Holiday episode, we visit the Bean late in the day, just before closing, to chat with Zach and his massive tea menu. They only serve loose leaf teas, AND they have a great selection of retail tea packets available.

Where else can you find so many #Rooibos teas to pick from?

Each episode of Cuppa Tea in Sarasota, we do a ‘Video Visit’ with one of our Serving Partners.  It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.

Please subscribe and after that, let us know what you think.

Cheers,

Episode #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village

Logo for Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village Florida

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s on East

Cuppa Tea at Selby House Cafe

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in Sarasota,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we go back to our roots.  We visit the Selby House Cafe at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. for a cuppa tea at the Selby House Cafe.

The cafe is now operated by Michael’s on East, and they do a fantastic job and serve an incredible cuppa tea!!!  Selby Select Rooibos, Secret Garden Green, and Little Monkey fruit tea, to name a few, and we are always creating new tea for the annual garden exhibitions.  Previously art from Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, and Paul Gauguin has been on display at Selby Gardens.

Teas at Selby House Cafe at Selby Gardens

The annual holiday Lights in Bloom celebration starts December 14, and when we visited, the gardens were humming in anticipation.  Millions of lights in the trees, Santa Claus, reindeer games, live music, and much more.

Local Tea Company previously operated a tea shop, the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens, and the cafe.  It is always nice to come home for a visit.

Each episode of Cuppa Tea in Sarasota, we do a ‘Video Visit’ with one of our Serving Partners.  It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.

Please subscribe and after that, let us know what you think.

Cheers,

Episode #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s On East

Local Tea available from Michael's On East at Selby Gardens