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Tea to Ease your Mind and Body

Sarasota Magazine included Local Tea Company in a recent ’round up’ of things you can do to Ease your Mind and Body as part of their ‘Self Care’ series.

Logo for Sarasota Magazine in Sarasota Florida

The author, Heather Dunhill, picked our Bertha Palmer Rooibos and the category of Green Teas.  We suggest any of our green teas for the combined effect of calming alertness. She references Buddhist monks who drink tea all day long, striving to balance a relaxed, calm mind.

Here is a post about Green Tea Makes you Happier and a post about a research study on Green Tea fighting Covid.  More reasons to drink Green Tea in addition to a tea to ease your mind.

A tea to ease the mind and body, a close up image of Bertha Palmer Rooibos tea from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Similarly, for Rooibos, we offer nine (9) varieties with a range of flavors.  Rooibos offers many health benefits and is caffeine-free so that it can be enjoyed at any time of your day.  Here is a recent post, Five  Reasons you will Love Rooibos, by Tim Agnew.  The article also tackles How to pronounce Rooibos.  Or, what is the proper pronunciation for Rooibos?  We say ROY – BOSS.

Other parts to the pieces include DogStreet Cookies from DogStreet Photo, a CBD Balm from the Skin and Body Bar,  Lavender bath salts from Blue Mercury, and a Weighted Blanket from Ravi.  With a Cuppa, a wonderful collection for your ‘Self Care’ Sunday or any day of the week.

Thank you, Sarasota Magazine and Heather Dunhill.

Bertha Palmer Rooibos tea picture from the side and very close by Local Tea Company
Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea

 

 

 

Green Tea fights Covid?

Green Tea Fights Covid?  Can green tea really help you fight off Covid? 

A university study says, Yes, maybe.

An image of two bunches of Green tea that has chemical compounds effectively blocked an important SARS-CoV-2 enzyme according to NC State Univ report cited by Local Tea Co.
Green tea has chemical compounds that effectively blocked an important SARS-CoV-2 enzyme. Photo courtesy of De-Yu Xie, NC State University.

Green Tea to the rescue!

North Carolina State University released a study on November 30th presenting research on certain chemical compounds found in specific foods that seem to ‘inhibit’ the virus causing Covid.  And, you guessed it, Green tea showed the most promise.      

Green tea can ‘bind to and block’ the function of specific enzymes (or protease) in the coronavirus, slowing down or inhibiting replication.  

“If the virus can’t replicate, the virus will die,” said Dr. De-Yu Xie, a plant and microbial biology professor who led the study. 

The flavanoids and catechins unique to green tea are also present in muscadine grapes, cacao powder, and dark chocolate.  

The study explored how the main protease (Mpro) in the SARS-CoV-2 virus reacted when confronted with chemical compounds known to have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Think of the Mpro as having a ‘pocket’ filled with the chemical compounds.  

Green Tea and the muscadine grapes successfully inhibited the replication function of the Mpro, while cacao powder in dark chocolate reduced the activity by about half.  

Covid Vaccine is coming; Green Tea is here!

While the vaccine is on the way, and long lists and lines are forming.  Let’s table the discussions about when or who it will help, side effects, and potential risks.  Instead, why not explore natural methods of protecting yourself from the virus?

Drinking green tea is always a good idea, and especially during the cold and flu season.  Now, more than ever, green tea is an effective booster of your body’s immune system.  Add ‘superfruit’ goji berries or antioxidant-rich strawberries found in our Goji Green or Organic Strawberry Smile green tea blends.   Green Tea Fights Covid!

So, Wear a mask!  Wash your hands!  Social distance for others!  And Drink green tea!   

A link to the complete study is here.  We have recently had a few posts on green tea, Making you Happier, and what happens if you Drink This Tea Every Day.  What tea is good for a sore throat?

How Green Tea Makes You Happier

‘How Green Tea makes you Happier’ is written by Timothy Agnew was posted to his Health & Wellness blog and reposted here with permission.  

Note: This is part of a series of posts on the science of tea. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)

Green Tea Makes You Happier?

An image of green tea in a glass vial on a dark countertop used in the Blog Post How Green Tea will make you Happier by Tim Agnew for the Sip Locally Tea Journey by Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.

Over 158 million Americans will drink tea on any given day, and it’s obviously the go-to-beverage when plain water won’t do. Among those 158 billion tea consumers are green tea aficionados. While only 15% are green tea drinkers, its growth is outpacing all other tea forms, with a 60% increase in consumption since 2004. Why the crazy growth? Well, green tea has a lot to make you happy about.

A Diverse History

Green tea was discovered in its greenest form over five thousand years ago. While stories vary, some versions of leaf’s history have a flower magically falling into a teacup. In contrast, another has an Emperor chewing a leaf, imaging how delicious it would be steeped in water. The most important book to set the record straight was Cha Jing, or Tea classic, written around 600 AD. The book detailed exactly how a cup of green tea should be made and how it should be served. Today, green tea is prepared in the same way (or should be), and drinking it has multiple health benefits. Green tea is the result of semi-oxidized leaves from camellia Sinensis. Flavors and aromas vary greatly depending on the season of harvest, country of origin, and method used to process. According to the Local Tea Company, flavored green teas are especially popular, where the best-sellers are Goji Green, Organic Strawberry Smile, and Acerola Green Tea. They offer 13 other green teas.

Feel the Power

Green tea is more than just a hydrating beverage that tastes great. The green tea plant contains a bevy of powerful compounds that make it into every cup. Rich in polyphenols (compounds great at reducing inflammation in the body), green tea is a cancer-fighting champion. Green tea also contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is one of the most powerful compounds in green tea. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other cellular protections. Together, these substances help reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals play a large role in aging and many types of diseases. The benefits of green tea are numerous, so it’s worth adding to your diet.

Perhaps the best news (and one that may make you happiest) is that green tea accelerates fat burning and boosts metabolic rate. Look at any weight loss supplement, and you will see green tea on the label; that’s because green tea is a dynamo for assisting weight loss programs.

Brain Protection

 

But let’s not leave out our most important organ, the brain. With an increase in brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the brain needs protection, too. The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of dementia, a common neurodegenerative disorder in older adults. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in animal studies, possibly lowering the risk of dementia and memory loss.

Green tea consumption worldwide is growing, not only for its wonderful taste but for its endless health benefits. And as science backs up these benefits, it will only grow in popularity. Try to choose a higher caliber green tea brand, as some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive amounts of fluoride.

What’s the best green tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose leaf teas. Try their diverse blends of green tea and so many others.

5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea

5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea is a repost with updates and additions.

After spending Thanksgiving at my Aunt’s home, I found a neglected tea cabinet that I immediately corrected.  The details are irrelevant, other than to say I started from Square 1.

As I put together a list of teas, I realized it might help others thinking about gifting tea for the holidays.  You can find the actual list at the bottom of ‘5 Things to remember when Gifting Tea.’

5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea

As a gift, tea is a wonderful way to show your love, appreciation, respect, and that you are thinking about someone. That is the point of any gift.  While the gift of tea can be personal, everybody has a tea they love. Some just don’t know it yet!!!

Here are a few thoughts to consider when giving the gift of tea…

A script of Thank you used in the Sip Locally Tea Blog by Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.

1. Caffeine or Herbal (caffeine-free)

Which tea has the most caffeine, or what tea has the most caffeine?  We hear that all the time.  Caffeine is an important consideration. Caffeinated teas are a great way to begin the day or a superb lift in the late afternoon, but caffeine can create problems for the novice or the beginning tea drinker.

A wonderfully flavored black tea like our Organic Strawbango might not be the best tea to drink after dinner. I always ask the server for their home number when ordering herbal or caffeine-free beverages at a restaurant, so if I am awake at 2:30 AM, I know who to call.

When in doubt, go with a caffeine-free herbal, rooibos, or fruit tea. You can’t go wrong with our Organic Peppermint, Selby Select Rooibos, or Siesta Tea (fruit tea).

For my ‘Thank You’ gift, I went with a mixture of both—a few blacks, a few greens, and then an equal number of caffeine-free teas. And here is a post about how green tea can make you happier.

2. Loose leaf tea or tea bags

We are quite partial to loose-leaf tea at Local Tea Company. Experienced tea drinkers tend to prefer loose leaf tea. The tea typically will be of better quality, fresher, and a much better value. It cost money for the convenience of bagged tea!Close up picture of the Green Tea Sampler from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Loose-leaf teas also provide more flexibility in how much tea you might want to brew; tea for two or three or a big pot for your sewing circle.

That said, teabags, especially the biodegradable ones we offer, SOILON sachets, are very convenient for anyone traveling or those interested in trying a new tea.

Check out the many options of our tea samplers available in loose-leaf or sachets. If they don’t love it, the tea can always be served to guests.

I noticed a box of tea sacs during my visit, so I’ll send both loose-leaf teas and teas in sachets. 

3. Flavored tea or pure blends

Would you rather a gift of Organic Sarasotan Breakfast blend (an unflavored, blended tea) or our Organic Earl Grey (flavored with Oil of Bergamot)? This may be the easiest comparison.  Flavored tea or pure?

There are so many spectacular blended teas from our Goji Green or Jasmine green tea with flowers to our Cochin Masala Chai or our many rooibos blends.

What is better than a strong cup of pinhead gunpowder green tea or a pure Organic Sencha on the pure side of the discussion?  Maybe a pot of our Organic Red Berries that you can share with the kids or enjoy as an iced tea later in the day.

Tough one, but that is why you are an expert gift-giver, and you really can’t go too wrong!!

For my gift, I erred on the side of abundance and included both.

4. Accessories

Is your gift for a serious tea drinker, someone loaded with tea accessories? Do they really need another tea ball with an elf fob?

There are ‘heaps’ of options.  For the newbie just starting their tea journey, a box of tea sacs or a few mesh balls of different sizes will spark a conversation.

Or get them an inspired gift, maybe a bamboo tea basket, and challenge them to figure it out! And there is also the whole category of things that can be added to tea that make wonderful gifts; honey or jams are always welcome.

Another void during my visit was honey?  So,  I included a bottle from Sarasota Honey Company.  Yes, this is quite a gift!!!

5. Overthinking

Clever image of people hugging and regifting used by Local Tea Company in their Sip Locally Tea Blog about giving the Gift of Tea.Most important is not to overthink your gift. The person you are gifting will appreciate the gesture you are making.  Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Find a clever and creative tea. Find a tea with some meaning, or be realistic, something that can easily be ‘Regifted.’

I will be back for another visit in February and plan to take a tea inventory!  Here is my complete list of the gift I sent yesterday.  The total cost before shipping was $99.

    1. Organic Sarasotan Breakfast Blend (Loose-leaf)
    2. Organic Earl Grey (Sachets)
    3. Island Mango Black (Loose-Leaf) … Cochin Masala Chai would have worked here as well.
    4. Organic Sencha Green Tea (Loose-Leaf)
    5. Goji Green (Sachets)
    6. Mote Beach Tea (Sachets)
    7. Selby Select Rooibos (Sachets)
    8. Organic Peppermint (Loose-Leaf) … Organic Egyptian Chamomile was considered!
    9.  Raw Wildflower Honey from Sarasota Honey Company

***I threw in some printed GolfToons for their cartoon-littered fridge!

Please visit www.LocalTeaCo.com or send us a note in the comments section of 5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea, and we will help you select tea gifts.

Teapotty!

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company

Author unknown

Recently, we brought to your attention the Tea Cozy, and now we turn to the  TEAPOT!

Origins 

The teapot is a vessel for steeping loose tea leaves or herbal infusions.  Although the pot does not have as long a history as the leaf, its humble beginnings were also in China.

At first, tea was boiled in open pans.  Not until the Ming Dynasty did the idea of a covered pot became popular.  Those pots were small, and the tea was taken directly from the spout.  But they served their purpose well, keeping the flavor and allowing the steeping process to be repeated several times.  More about this later!

Towards the end of the 16th century, the Dutch started shipping cargoes of tea to Europe, and the teapot came along. The designs were mostly blue and white stoneware. Dutch potters started re-creating these designs, and by 1710, Germany began production in the Meissen factory, followed shortly after by production in France and England.

At that time in Colonial America, Boston became a center of silver production, which included the making of elaborate teapots. Two Dutch potters who settled in England established the pottery industry in Staffordshire, and it was some hundred years before they discovered the secret of making fine translucent pottery called porcelain. The teapot journey had begun!

In the eighteenth century, Josiah Spode is credited for creating the distinctive look of English China and famous names as Wedgewood, Worcester, Minton, and Derby.  All created such beautiful and elegant designs. Maybe you are lucky enough to have one in your collection!

Shapes and Sizes

Over the years, the size and shape of teapots have changed to suit tastes and fashions.  Now, of course, we can get any size or shape or material imaginable. From the finest china to stoneware to glass, basically, anything goes!  But which is the best style of the teapot?

I urge my customers to think carefully about their tea-drinking habits, as bigger is not necessarily better. The early Chinese method rings true for a reason. It seems that the majority of people, if they have a 6 cup pot, then they cannot resist making a full pot and maybe only take 1 serving!  You can stash the leftovers in the fridge for some Iced Tea (or Ice Tea.)

Whilst drinking that 1 serving, the remaining tea is becoming quite undrinkable unless you like major astringency! My advice is to make 1 serving and reinfuse the leaves for a second helping when you are ready, continuing till you have no flavor in your leaves…Multi-Steeping, not to be confused with Infusion Confusion.

If you were to decant the 6 cups of tea into another vessel upon completion of brewing, that would also be acceptable. The key is to gauge how much you will be drinking and brew accordingly. Choose a pot to match your drinking habits; life is too short to waste good tea!  Along with Life is too Short to Drink Bad Tea!

How to use a Teapot

How to make a nice pot of tea? In Yorkshire, they would say ‘take the pot to the kettle and not t’other way round.’   Warming the pot is so important!  Place the leaves in this inviting environment and they start to release their aroma. Stick your nose in the pot and inhale deeply.

All teas vary slightly in weight.  The general rule is one teaspoon per cup, and I add ‘one for the pot’ because my mum always did!  Steep for the recommended time or your preference and TAKE TIME TO ENJOY YOUR TEA.  Enjoy the first cup, and when you are ready, re-infuse your leaves, and don’t forget your tea cozy to keep the tea warm this time!

So, what’s your favorite teapot look like, or what would you like it to look like? I invite you to have some fun with us on Pinterest.

Here is my favorite teapot from the Yorkshire Dales!  And we have a wonderful Pinterest Board, TeaPotty, with heaps of Teapots.  Enjoy!

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?

“Iced tea may not have as much wisdom as hot tea,

but in summer better a cool and refreshed dullard

than a steamy sweat drenched sage –leave sagacity to the autumn”

Linda Solegato

 

One of our Serving Partners was revising their menu and asked me, “is it Iced or Ice Tea?”

Good question!  So I thought I would look into the matter.  This leads me to the quote above from Linda Solegato, which, in turn, lead me on a slight detour.

Steep Loose Leaf tea multiple times, we call if Multi-Steeping at Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Hot Tea

First, the quote.  Hot tea does evoke a sense of contemplation.  We are often gifted a few moments as the kettle boils water or the tea is steeping.  How many great ideas or other inspirations have come from these ‘Tea Times.’  Or what do you call these between times?

I know the time between the honk from the cab’s horn behind you and the light turning green is a New York minute.  Maybe I’ll get to that term in a future post, and until then, I’m going with Tea Time.

I expect many will respond with the same moments of reflection as we refresh ourselves with a tall glass of cold tea.  Yes, I am waiting to introduce the title term of this post for a bit of drama and SEO benefits.  So, is there wisdom in a cold cuppa?  I’ll leave that for yet another possible post.

Linda Solegato

The tangent I mentioned earlier came after a quick search about the author, Linda Solegato.  Who is Linda Solegato, and what other gems has she to share?  Linda is also credited with a few other non-tea blurbs,

“Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul.”

“When one of my plants dies, I die a little inside, too.”

“It’s so hot even my fake plants are wilting.”

But, who is this sage?  My search leads me to the QuoteGarden website and Terri Guillemets.  For some reason, unknown to my sleuthing, Linda Solegato is a pseudonym for Terri Guillemets.  She is a lifelong collector of quotes, and her site is fabulous.  I plan to return often for more tea quotes for future Sip Locally posts.

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?

But what about refreshing, cold tea.  Is it Ice Tea or Iced Tea?  That is the question.

I thought a simple search would determine the correct use.   And here is a fine time to admit my guilt in using both versions at Local Tea Company along the way. However,  I never thought to get to the bottom of this mild mystery.  Until now!

Grammarist and Merriam Webster both offer detailed and similar explanations.  Elocution.  Both cite ice cream, previously known as iced cream but adjusted for ease of pronunciation.  Merriam Webster goes a bit further (or farther)  with nods to Waxed Paper, Skimmed Milk, and Boxed Sets.  The tea world has not committed just yet.  So, both Ice Tea and Iced Tea are both acceptable and interchangeable.

History of Cold Tea

The world of iced tea is not that old.  The widely accepted story is of Richard Blechyden at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis.

Crowd at the 1904 World's Fair at St Louis for Local Tea Company

The tale goes, the tea merchant Blechyden had planned on promoting
his fine Indian loose leaf tea. The day was scorching hot, and nobody was
interested in his hot tea.  He took some ice from the iced cream
vendor next door and added it to all the drinks.  This idea proved to be a massive hit, and ice(d) tea was born.

French’s Mustard was also introduced at the same 1904 event, handy trivia knowledge put to good use a few weeks ago.  French’s Mustard was founded in my home town of Rochester, NY.  Throw in Long Island Iced Tea, which sounds better, and elocution rules again.

Statistics show 85% of Americans drink iced tea.  And in 2010, ice tea actually overtook the Brits in the tea-drinking stakes by consuming so much of the iced beverage!

Health Benefits of Ice(d) Tea

There is plenty of evidence about the great benefits of drinking tea. Tea contains high
levels of antioxidants called polyphenols, which attack the free radicals in our
bodies and stop them from harming our healthy cells.

Do we get more of those antioxidants from hot tea or iced tea? The overwhelming
evidence indicates that higher quality loose leaf tea provides the
most antioxidants (and much better flavor) whichever way you serve them. If you
are among the 65% that use tea bags, you might want to introduce loose tea
into your life and “think out of the bag.”

We think it is worth the small amount of time and effort to brew your iced tea with loose leaf at Local Tea Company.

Many of our Serving Partner clients use large tea sacs to make a gallon of ice(d) tea.  We call them bullets and use the large T-sac to contain the tea and one ounce of black or green tea to make a gallon.  A little more is required for fruit and herbal tisanes.

Cold Brew(ed) Ice(d) Tea

We have always liked the cold brew method.  That is, add cold water to loose leaf tea and leaving in the fridge overnight.   Try this method with some of the old tea bags you have in a drawer.  You will be amazed at the flavor, and a better idea than tossing them the next time you clean out your cupboard.

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?  It doesn’t matter according to the grammar gods.  It all comes back to our very own adage that I’ll turn into a quote here…

Find the tea you like and drink it. 

And drink it often. 

Tea is an incredibly healthy beverage and if you like the taste,

you will drink more of it.

Sign up for our Newsletter here, and please share this post on social media.  In our Newsletter #4 ‘Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better,’ we share a story from a customer who steeps her tea three times, two times using this Cold Brew method, and then she uses hot water for the last steep.

Tea Cozies of (P)interest

Tea Cozies

“And I want a tea cozy. I don’t know what a tea cozy is, but I want one!”

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy

I don’t think Buffy is alone.  Many Local Tea Company customers and tea drinkers, in general, do not know about tea cozies.  Or, they may have heard about Tea cozies but have never seen or used one!  They are a straightforward yet amazing invention to keep your tea warm in the POT.

It would seem their popularity has waned since the invention of the teabag, which in turn meant fewer people used a teapot.  So, let’s try and get back on track, get the teapots back out, add some good loose tea, and bring back the popularity of tea cozy!

Tea Cozies

Snail Tea Cozy posted in the Sip Locally Tea Blog of Local Tea Company in Sarasota, FloridaWe have been ‘Pinning’ tea cozies on our Pinterest page for many years.  Our Tea Cozies Board has 823 pins at last count!  I have added a few here, and check our Pinterest Page to see more.

The tea cozy history is not too well documented, though It seems unlikely that they were used when teapots first originated as the pots were small and tea was costly.  When William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister in 1783 at the tender age of 24, he passed the Commutation Act, which lowered the tea tax, making tea more affordable and, no doubt, the teapots bigger!

Sign up for our Newsletter here, and please share this post on social media.

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‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)

‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)

Let’s make this post ‘Tea for the Tillerman‘ Part 2.  And you can expect this to be a 3 – part blog post.  

Can someone tell me the difference between a release, remastered, and a re-recorded when it comes to musical albums?  Well, now, I know!

The new, RE-RECORDED album from Yusuf / Cat Stevens is scheduled for RELEASE on September 18th, 2020.  In my last blog post, Tea for the Tillerman – 50 years later, I had a wonderful time listening to the REMASTERED version of ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ while considering the album cover. 

Album art for remastered version of Tea for the Tillerman

However, I thought I was listening to the new RELEASE of the RE-RECORDED album, rather than the REMASTERED version of the original RELEASE.  The music sounded great to me, and arguably I was more focused on the cover album and the story.  

Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea

Well, I heard from a few readers, including Team Yusuf / Cat Stevens, in Dubai.  Thank you all for setting me straight! 

  1. The deer in the background is actually a woman—the same woman bringing the rain and mentioned in Tea for the Tillerman.  Obvious now when I look closer, but can you see a deer if you squint?
  2. Tillerman is a farmer or someone who tills the soil.  I thought as much, and it is nice to have the details confirmed.
  3. The tea in the Tillerman’s mug is an English Breakfast Blend. Prepared as Yusuf enjoys “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.”  That’s what is in his cuppa.
  4. Tillerman’s single front tooth refers to his (and Yusuf’s) love of sweet things. 

Cool, I gladly stand corrected!  And enlightened.  I always want to know how people take their tea for this Sip Locally blog.

As for the upcoming album due September 18th, there is new artwork.  Though, more accurate might be a revised or remastered album cover.  The obvious difference is the rich shade of blue connoting nighttime.  I’ll wait for the album to share my thoughts on the new cover art. The music will no doubt, guide my art inspiration. 

Besides, I have since learned the producer and nearly all of the musicians are back with Yusuf to rerecord the album.  Even cooler!

Album Cover art for Tea for the Tillerman 2 to be released September 18, 2020 by Yusuf Cat Stevens

Tea for the Tillerman Part 2 Album Art

Similarly, here is a nugget about the album

“50 years have passed and the Tillerman has returned back to Earth from his intergalactic adventures, only to discover the world is in need of love and friendship more than ever.  Always the optimist, he brews a magnificent tea, ready for those who want to join in creating a moment of calm.” 

A nice thought, any moment of calm in these turbulent times.

Thanks again, and stay tuned.

 

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

Gladwell Tea Party Podcast

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Gladwell Tea Party Podcast

I listen to podcasts.  A lot of podcasts, but most current events, politics, comedy, and golf.  Gladwell Tea Party Podcast.

The first podcast I ever listened to was Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” in 2015. My friend, Matt Turck, turned me on to podcasts, actually taking my phone from me while we were at the Corner Bistro in NYC, and downloading Gladwell’s first episode that had launched that very day. Thanks, Matt.

Gladwell Tempest in a TeaCup

My preference is the long-form interviews, especially while driving my Tea Wagon around Sarasota.  Always on the lookout for new podcasts, though I don’t usually listen to podcasts about Tea.  There are a bunch. I don’t find them as interesting as the ones I like.  And I read a lot of Tea Blogs, as well.

Revisionist History

I’ve moved on from Revisionist History.  I still subscribe but don’t really listen.  That is until I noticed ‘Tempest in a Teacup.’  I read the overview and then listened. Fantastic!

Gladwell tells his tale, in this case revisiting the Boston Tea Party. The episode was released on July 4, and while I am a bit behind, I learned a few things…

The ‘Tea Party’ was actually the culmination of a colonial drug war.  And the colonial drug of choice was tea.  Really??  I always thought the Patriots dumped tea into Boston Harbor to take a stand against taxation without representation.  Not so, says Gladwell.

Patriots

Boston Tea Party Local Tea CompanyThe Patriots were smuggling tea from China into the colonies.  This ‘Bohea Tea’ was cheaper and turned into a profitable business by undercutting the British taxed tea.

Great Britain found out about the smuggling and passed the Tea Act of 1773, lowering tea prices.  This was not good for biz.  So, the Patriots dressed up as Mohawk Indians and dumped the British taxed tea into the harbor. As the Canadian Gladwell points out, our Founding Fathers were a criminal enterprise, drug dealers defending their turf.  Cool!

Drug dealers?  Okay, anything that makes tea dangerous is good for me. It makes Local Tea Company a bit more interesting!  And if you are interested, have a listen to this podcast.

Lapsang Souchong

I also learned about the Lapsang Souchong smokiness scandal, part of a ‘bro’ thing.  Full confession, I drink lapsang souchong most mornings with honey and oat milk.  And Rooibos most afternoons.

Apparently, lapsang has become popular with guys, and the smokier, the better. As a result, tea companies have been upping the smokiness of lapsang souchongs. And, in the opinion of Tony Gebely of Tea Epicure, ruining lapsangs by over smoking them.

Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell, also a lapsang drinker and unaware of the scandal, was deemed part of the problem by Gebely.  Thanks, Malcolm.  Tea Epicure is a wonderful tea blog that rates “the world’s most exciting teas” and goes deep into the tea world.  Thanks, Tony.

Our lapsang souchong has a subtle smokiness and not nearly as smoky-tasting as it smells in the tin.  And there is a great story about the origin of lapsang or caravan tea posted in our Lapsang Souchong product description.

Lapsang Souchong black tea from Local Tea Company

More disclosure, I thought I might like a smokier version for my morning lapsang.  This podcast stopped me in my tracks. I don’t. I believe our lapsang has gotten any smokier over time?  But please tell me if you think it has.

Anyway, an interesting podcast having to do with tea as the colonial drug of choice and over smoked lapsang souchong that I thought I would share here.

Gladwell Tea Party Podcast

And the Sip Locally Tea Journey continues.  Since this Gladwell Tea Party Podcast post, I have started drinking Lapsang Souchong most mornings with honey and steamed oat milk.   And Revisionist History is out with Season Five!