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Teetotalers to Tea Parties?

In 18th century England, tea was an expensive commodity, heavily taxed and a luxury for the rich. At that time coffeehouses were popular meeting places for social interaction where news and views were exchanged, though women were banned!  Because of escalating drunkenness of the working classes (gin and ale being their drinking options) it was decided to start serving tea to ‘persons of inferior rank’. Many new cafes and coffeehouses opened as alternatives to pubs and inns leading to the Temperance movement.

The Preston Temperance Society of 1823 was started in the north of England by Joseph Livesey to promote abstinence from alcoholic beverages.  The movement quickly spread throughout England and to the States. In the village where I was raised in Yorkshire, there was a hotel called the Temperance Hotel.  The picture above depicts Christian women in the New York promoting the movement . Read More

A Nice Cup of Tea According to George Orwell

George Orwell taking time for tea

“All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little
stronger with each year that passes”.

We answer a lot of tea questions at Local Tea Company, and the most popular inquiry is about what makes for a good cup of tea? This tea quote is taken from an essay published in the Evening Standard in 1946 by the English author George Orwell. He directed his keen wit and passion for clarity in language to the topic of the perfect cup of tea.

Read More

An ode to tea

When the world is at odds,

And the mind is at sea,

Then cease the useless tedium,

And brew a cup of tea.

_

There is magic in it’s fragrance,

There is solace in it’s taste;

And the laden moments vanish,

Somehow into space.

_

And the world becomes a lovely thing!

There’s beauty as you see;

All because you briefly stopped,

To brew a cup of tea.

                                              -Author unknown

No need to add any further sentiments to this ode. The words so sweetly sum up the importance of taking time for tea!

Cheers,

Tea Team

How do you like your scones? Jam or cream 1st?

Grahame and I have just come back from England and drinking lots of TEA was certainly on the agenda, in part due to the inclement weather we had for the whole 2 weeks! So it was ‘Oh well let’s go have another cuppa’.

Our first tea outing was planned ahead and it was actually a sunny afternoon when we arrived in the city of Ely in Southeast England.  Laura had reserved a table at Peacocks Tea Room and it was just delightful.  The afternoon tea was excellent, consisting of 3 different sandwiches, scones with your choice of jam, followed by a cake of your choice.  I managed to eat the sandwiches and scone but had to take my cake home, there was simply too much to finish.  This was all washed down with copious amounts of tea (we all chose different ones!) served in individual teapots.

During afternoon tea (an earlier post explains the difference between high tea) we had a debate about the best way to eat scones.  If you were following correct etiquette then you would place your clotted cream and jam on the side of your plate, select your scone, slice in half and break into a bite sized piece.  One would then apply cream and jam (or lemon curd from a blog post from the Spring) as each piece was eaten, taking sips of tea in between.

However, I am not talking correct etiquette here.  In Yorkshire (a post bit about my hometown Harrogate) we don’t mess about with bite sized pieces!  Our debate was ‘Do you put jam on first before cream or cream on first before jam’.

I have always put jam on first and never really thought about changing the habit of a lifetime of scone eating, but it totally changed the taste experience and I loved it.  Grahame really enjoyed too!  Let us know which way you like your scone.  Please post on our Facebook page.

Thanks to Laura for finding this gem of a tearoom and thanks to Peacocks for the delicious afternoon tea.

How do you like your scones? Jam or cream 1st?

This holiday was our second of the summer, we visited northern Michigan in the Spring and here is a link to my earlier post.

Cheers,

Glynis Chapman

Toast and Tea

“BREAD AND WATER CAN SO EASILY BE TOAST AND TEA’
This is a lovely quote (author unknown) that came to mind this morning.  I was actually making some Lemon Curd at the time but I also had a visitor in the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens that told me he would not drink tea because his mother always made him have toast and tea when he was sick!  Of course she would, mothers know what is good for you.

I also felt sorry for him!  Toast and Tea is a custom most of us have such good feelings about and I for one can sample this pairing at any time of day.  There is nothing as simple or as tasty as toast and tea, unless you add a little lemon curd that is!

Lemons are in abundance here at the moment and as they keep arriving by the bagful at my house I just keep churning out the Lemon Curd!  I got myself a cup of jasmine tea and Lemons at the ready.  Want to have a go too?

This is a very easy recipe and method to follow.  You will need preserving jars which have been sterilized in boiling water.  I put the lemons in same water as it makes the juice release easier.  I usually double up the recipe, but to make one batch you will need:

Juice and Rind of 1 lemon (I have been adding rind of an extra lemon too!), 2 eggs, 2oz unsalted butter, and 3oz sugar.

  1. Place sugar and rind in large bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs and lemon juice together.  Add to bowl.
  3. Cut butter into small chunks.  Add to bowl.
  4. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until butter melts and whisk lightly over heat until mixture thickens.  (It may seem like mixture is never going to thicken but it will.)

Place in jar and refrigerate.

It tastes delicious and is so worth the effort.  I love giving to friends and of course, the suppliers of all my Lemons!  Lemon Curd is also the perfect accompaniment to scones, so maybe next time we will make scones.

I recommend putting on the kettle and making a pot of Yorkshire tea and sit down to enjoy some toast and tea.  Mmmm!

Cheers,
The TeaLady

Easter Wishes with Chocolate Honeybush

“The Spirit of Easter is all about Hope, Love and Joyful living.” -Anonymous.

Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead and is Christianity’s most important holiday.  As with Christmas, over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions have become a standard part of this holy holiday (whether you agree with it or not!) and includes Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets of candy and CHOCOLATE.  There are lots of stories about the connection of eggs (re-birth) and bunnies (originally hares actually and a symbol of new life in ancient times) but I am not sure how the chocolate connection came about.

Most of us have no problem with chocolate being included, reason or not!  At Local Tea Company we cannot offer chocolate eggs or bunnies but a very special tea we call Chocolate Honeybush.

Chocolate Honeybush

Honeybush is an herbal infusion or ‘tisane’ grown in the Langkloof Mountains of South Africa.  Read more from a previous post on Honeybush to learn all about this lovely tea.

Some might say that Honeybush is not complete without the addition of those chocolate and caramel pieces and if you smelled and tasted this version you might agree!

You will find us this weekend serving and delighting our customers with Chocolate Honeybush in the Carriage House Tea Room at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  We can guarantee plenty of love and joy too.  Please join us if you can for a chocolate celebration (without the calories!) but if you are not local then visit our online shop to stock up on your Easter supplies and be sure to share with all your friends too.

With good wishes to you all for the Easter holiday.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Pear Mu Tan

I am glad to announce that here at Local Tea Company we have added another tea to our Organic cultivation varieties.

Pear Mu Tan is a White tea grown in Fujian Province, China.  White teas are surrounded by folklore and mystique heralded from ancient China when this delicate tea was proclaimed by Emperors as “the culmination of all that is elegant”

White teas are the least processed of all the categories of tea.  The newest leaves are carefully picked when they have a silvery appearance which comes from the hair or ‘hao’.  They are lightly withered which turns them into an artists palate of hues, ranging from silver to green to brown and results in a light fluffy mixture of leaf pieces that yield a subtle and delicate flavor.

Pear Mu Tan White Tea

I had been asked several times about a Pear tea and after using this tea for several days in my travel mug, I knew we had to have it!  This type of White tea is known as Pai Mu Tan which means “white peony” and is produced from a variety of tea bush called chaicha, so it seemed natural to name this tea Pear Mu Tan.

There is evidence that Pear has been used as a food since prehistoric times so is a perfect partner for White tea.  To compliment the pear, there are dried apple pieces, mango cubes and marigold blossoms which results in shimmering golden liquor with a lingering fragrance and sweet, fresh mellow taste.  This is a truly beautiful tea both dry and infused.

Please note, this tea is organically cultivated but has not pursued the requirements to be designated ORGANIC.

White teas are becoming very popular now as they are considered to be the most beneficial of all teas for their health benefits.  With more antioxidants than black or green tea, white tea has anticancer properties, is heart healthy, has a calming (anti-sagging!) and detoxifying effect on the skin and the ability to strengthen our immune system.  An added bonus is that it tastes so good!

There are debates aplenty about the amount of caffeine in White teas; could it be that as the tea is made from young leaves that they contain the most concentrated amount of caffeine? The fact that we infuse for less time and at a lower temperature may mean less caffeine is released…and so on.  We may never know the exact reason and it really does not seem to matter too much!

In my experience I have found White tea VERY agreeable to my body function.  I do not seem to get as overheated or troubled with the caffeine content and therefore have been able to drink later into the day.   See how it works for you!

Pear Mu Tan is a tea that really keeps on giving and certainly wears the title ‘the culmination of all that is elegant’ very well.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Royal-Tea

How could you not be excited about the prospect of a Royal Wedding?  They don’t come around that often and  we pin all our hopes for a lasting and loving relationship for this lovely young couple.

I plan to lose myself for a day of pomp and circumstance surrounding Prince William (Wills to some!) and the beautiful Kate Middleton (only a middle class girl!)  We could not resist jumping on the Royal bandwagon at Local Coffee + Tea and have created a tea to celebrate the occasion aptly named Royal-Tea.

If you are already sick of all the hoopla (like my husband!) then sit and make yourself a cup of this stately and sophisticated tea, a perfect marriage between green sencha and bancha, orange pieces, slivers of almonds and cream caramel. Tea and fruits fit for a Royal table I think.

The tea, like the Royal couple brings together two different backgrounds.

Chinese sencha (‘Sen’ meaning green and ‘cha’ meaning tea or ‘infused tea’) is a style of green tea normally produced in Japan but here we have a perfect unison between Chinese leaf and Japanese style.

After harvest, the leaves are heated in a wok to prevent oxidation giving the leaves a slightly mellower ‘roasted’ flavor and characteristic thin, cylindrical shape which results in a very light, refreshing and uplifting tea less vegetal in flavor than those produced in Japan.

Bancha or the ‘common’ green tea in Japan is harvested from the second flush of leaves in late summer/autumn. The larger leaf gives a very mellow flavor and contains less caffeine.

The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw but adds great taste and health benefits when dried and added to tea, and it tastes delicious.

Cream caramel is a tasty ‘concoction’ of sugar and fats which are dried and added to enhance this tea.  I try to bring you teas with only all natural ingredients, but sometimes Royal exceptions must be made!

Almonds are something I try to eat all year round for their healthy heart benefits (they contain monounsaturated fats which are good fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol).

In Ayurvedic medicine, almonds are considered a nutrient for the brain and nervous system and said to induce high intellectual level and longevity. I knew there was a reason I liked them so much! They pair very well with oranges too.  and Walnut adds to the ‘nuttiness’ of our tea.

Back by popular demand!

If you are reading this description and thinking this all sounds familiar, you may have enjoyed this tea over the holidays.  Festivi-Tea was created to celebrate Lights in Bloom at Selby Gardens.  And we have brought it back to celebrate another holiday, a Royal Wedding!

Whatever the name of this tea, enjoy April 29th and celebrate in true Royal fashion with a good cuppa Royal-Tea.

Please join me in wishing Prince William and Kate a long and happy life together.

Cheers,
The Tea Lady

Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea

Tis the season of Love which brings to mind Diamonds, Chocolates and Roses for most people?

Well, I can guarantee one thing there will be no diamonds in my house for valentines.  My husband would be quick to tell you that he does not need one special day in the year to reinforce his love for me – his excuse not to buy diamonds?  There may be a chance of chocolates or flowers but it is more likely to be something simple, like sitting down together for a pot of tea.

Bet you didn’t know Yorkshire men were so romantic!  But I confess this is a man who knows the way to my heart for sure.

I cannot think of a nicer way to celebrate our love than the process of taking tea together.  Like most people these days we have conflicting schedules and taking time to sit together, slow down and enjoy a spot of tea is a very special gift.

White Mischief

What will we drink?  My husband loves White tea, so perhaps we will start our celebration with a little White Mischief.  Mischievous by name and by nature, this tea will represent our diamonds!  If you have ever smelled guava, you know the skin has a chocolate-like aroma so when you put the tea in a warm pot the smell is tantalizing.  Use water that is not quite boiling, and infuse for 2 minutes only, but make more infusions from the same tea infusing for 4 minutes, 6 minutes, etc. until no flavor is left.  Not only is the taste fantastic but such good value too!

Next, we will drink Chocolate Honeybush and this will represent Chocolates in our Valentine celebration!  Honeybush is one of our favorite herbal teas and this tea is full of romance with hints of chocolate, roses and a good dose of caramel.  Delightfully indulgent the chocolate and caramel blend so well with Organic Honeybush for a delicate flavor and without the calories.  Drink away without having to worry, yummy.

Chocolate Honeybush

For our finale, we will drink some Sweet Sin Rooibos and this will represent our Roses!  You may have read in a previous blog what an impact Rooibos now has on my life but it is also a tea we drink together throughout the year, so is perfect for our celebration of love.

Sweet Sin Rooibos

A simple, yet stunning blend of rooibos, roses, vanilla and dried raspberries this tea blooms with a perky fruitiness, is not too sweet yet has a soft and romantic finish.

And the morale of my tale?  You really don’t need to have diamonds, chocolates or flowers to show your love for each other.  Give each other the gift of time enjoying tea together.  May you continue to celebrate your love throughout the year, and as I often say, TAKE TIME FOR TEA.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Honeybush

Honeybush or Cyclopia intermedia is indigenous to the cape of South Africa and I like to think of it as a sort of cousin to Rooibos!  Like Rooibos, we make an herbal tea with a pleasant, mildly sweet taste.  Honeybush is very popular here at the Local Tea Company Carriagehouse at Selby Gardens, and we are pleased to offer 2 varieties; Organic Honeybush and Chocolate Honeybush.  I urge you to try them if you are looking for a substitute for ‘true’ tea (Camellia sinensis), though I use honeybush as a compliment to my tea drinking habits!

Organic Honeybush

Like most of the teas, honeybush has a history traced back to the trading of the Dutch and British. Cape Town was established in 1652 as a supply base for the Dutch East India Company trading in Indian tea and Southeast Asian spices. Botanists were soon cataloging the rich flora of the Cape region and the honeybush plant was noted in botanical literature. The native KhoiSan or Bushmen used a tea made from honeybush to treat coughs and other upper respiratory symptoms associated with infections.

The honeybush plant is a shrub of the Fabaceae family and grows in the fynbos botanical zone, a narrow region along the coast bound by mountains. Fynbos is Dutch for ‘fine leaved plantsis’ and is a vegetation type characterized by woody plants with small leathery leaves. The honeybush plant is easily recognized by its sweetly scented, bright yellow flowers and needle-like leaves.

Honeybush

Besides great taste, a sort of woodsy, cedar-like flavor, Honeybush has some very special health benefits.  Pinitol is a modified sugar found in the leaves of several legume plants and as an expectorant, it helps with coughs and phlegm. Pinitol can also lower blood sugar levels, and may increase the effects of insulin.  I have read honeybush is being considered as a drug for diabetes! It would be good to have something so natural to help with such a prevalent disease. I have also read that Pinitol helps with acid reflux and we have a few customers who have reported relief drinking honeybush.  The flavones and isoflavones of honeybush are similar to those in soy, another leguminous plant, and have been used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. That covers quite a lot of the population who should be drinking this tea!

Honeybush tea is prepared like all other teas or herbal infusions. Use boiling water and infuse for as long as you want, though at least several minutes. The lack of caffeine makes honeybush especially suited for nighttime consumption and has a reputation as a calming beverage, but I love drinking honeybush while at Local Tea Company, too!   The tannin content is very low, so you will find honeybush a mild, soft, and very drinkable tea.

And did I mention there is a chocolate version? Chocoholics love our Chocolate Honeybush.  Please do not expect a cup of hot chocolate, rather a delicate aroma of chocolate with a definite caramel aftertaste along with a bit of floral balance from the added rose petals.  Desert without the calories, SPECTACULAR!

Chocolate Honeybush

Some customers drink both versions of honeybush with milk.  I find a bit of local honey (from the Sarasota Farmer’s Market) brings out a natural sweetness in Organic Honeybush and when iced is very thirst quenching.  The Chocolate Honeybush seems to be more popular as a hot drink.

Cheers,
the TeaLady