Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company
Recently, we brought to your attention the Tea Cozy, and now we turn to the TEAPOT!
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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!
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.
‘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.
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.
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!
- 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?
- Tillerman is a farmer or someone who tills the soil. I thought as much, and it is nice to have the details confirmed.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Episode #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s On East
Cuppa Tea at Second and Seed
Our latest episode of “Cuppa Tea in Sarasota” is now available from our YouTube Channel. We visit Second & Seed, a CDB Apothecary in downtown Sarasota. They offer a ‘nitro charged,’ CBD infused iced tea using our Organic Strawbango Black Tea. Magic!!!
Each episode, 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.
Episode #4 – Second and Seed
Pu Erh Teas
When I got to work this morning (if you call going to Selby Gardens, sipping, talking tea all-day work!), I decided to crack open our Young Pu-erh. Pronounced Poo-Air, a special broad-leaf tea, Pu’er tea takes its name from the Pu’er county in the Province of Yunnan of China.
This is not a tea I reach for often. Maybe I should not call myself a dedicated tea drinker because of this. Though I was given a newspaper article about an area called Menghai in China. NYTimes Jan 2009
Farmers and citizens got rich investing and selling the bricks of Pu-er tea produced in Menghai. Some buyers promoted it as liquid gold. When the value hit record levels, they dumped their stock and disappeared. Now it is less than a 10th of the peak price. The tea traders are no longer buying, leaving the farmers and citizens broke.
Pu er Black Tea
What is Pu er tea? Let’s talk about this tea that people are willing to pay huge amounts of money for. Pu Erh goes through an additional oxidation process, much like composting, where bacterial and fungal fermentation occurs. Many refer to it as pu erh fermented tea.
The tea can then be aged for many years. Aged Pu Erh tea leaves are often compressed into cakes or bricks. Then the tea is wrapped in tissue paper to absorb moisture. The bricks are left to mature in dark, dry places, enhancing the already earthy flavor.
Pu Erh is said to lower cholesterol, cure hangovers, help with digestive problems, aid metabolism, and is low in tannins. Our Young Pu Erh at Local Tea Company is loose rather than compressed. The flavor is very pungent and earthy. With a deep inhale, the tea smells like a compost heap and looks like tar. So, I know it’s going to be good for me!
How many Steeps?
I finish the first steep and continue with four more steeps. The later steeps are better than the initial steep. I find a lovely sweet beet tasting dark golden liquor with the fourth and fifth steep.
By this time, late in the afternoon, I think Pu Erh should be brewed more often. I should share samples with visitors to Selby Garden as well as the Sarasota Farmer’s Market. I’m not sure I would invest pots of money in Pu-erh, but it is definitely worth experiencing. What a fascinating thing this drink is called Tea!
the Tea Lady
Drink this tea every day and look like this?
On the label of Goji Green tea from Local Tea Company, after sharing the ingredients and describing the subtle sweetness of this glorious tea, the label states, “live a long healthy life drinking this tea.”
Li Qing Yuen
Recently someone asked me about the phrase. I mentioned the story of the Chinese herbalist Li Qing Yuen who was said to have consumed goji berries daily and lived to the age of 252. I smiled after sharing these minor details and moved on with my day. Later, I thought about the idea of living that long, and it got me thinking more about this story. What would I look like at 250 years old?
His birth year was either 1736 or 1677, though his true birth date has never actually been confirmed. Li Qing Yuen was born in the Sichuan province, in Qijiang County. He was an apprentice to elders who gathered herbs in the mountains. He went on to have a military career and then returned to life as an herbalist on Snow Mountain.
A New York Times article from 1930 mentions Imperial Chinese Government records from 1827 congratulating Li Qing Yuen on his 150th birthday. And then again in 1877 on his 200th birthday! An earlier correspondent reported many older men in his village claimed their grandfathers knew Li Qing Yuen as a grown man when they were boys.
The 1933 Time Magazine article asked for his secrets to a long life. Li Qing Yuen is quoted as saying,
“Keep a quiet heart,
Sit like a tortoise,
Walk sprightly like a pigeon, and,
Sleep like a dog.”
He spent most of his life in the mountains collecting and selling ginseng, goji berries, and other herbs. Along with his diet, Li Qing Yuen mentions drinking rice wine as another secret. He claimed to have survived 23 wives and had more than 150 children. He died in Kai County in May of 1933. His 24th wife said he died of natural causes.
No mention of a daily dose of goji berries could be found in the official reports, and I really don’t know what sitting like a tortoise might look like.
I will leave the story on our product page because I think our Goji Green tea is phenomenal. As phenomenal as the legend of Li Qing Yuen.
Goji Green Tea
Enjoy Goji Green as a hot tea to start your day, or as a refreshing iced tea (or try it as a Cold-Brewed Tea) as it is served most days as Secret Garden Green Tea at the Selby House Café operated by Michael’s on East at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
While you are savoring a cuppa of this wonderful green tea, contemplate your secrets to a long life. And then please share them with me 🙂