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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!

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Amy Tan Tea

Drink Good Tea!

I take a few quick sips. “This is really good.” And I mean it. I have never tasted tea like this.. It is smooth, pungent and instantly addicting.

“This is from Grand Auntie,” my mother explains. “She told me ‘If I buy cheap tea, then I am saying that my whole life has not been worth something better.’

A few years ago she bought it for herself. One hundred dollars a pound.”

“Your kidding.” I take another sip. It tastes even better.

Amy Tan, The Kitchen God’s Wife

Image of Amy Tan, author of The Kitchen God's Wife
Amy Tan www.amytan.net

There is some truth to the above passage. You should drink good tea.  How much do you pay for tea?   I am not suggesting you need to pay 100 dollars a pound for good tea!  Price does not always guarantee the quality, but generally, ‘Good Tea’ is a great investment.  Your return on that investment is a smooth and pungent flavor.  This depth and the consistent flavor are very addictive, and after that, it will result in multiple infusions of the leaf!

Life is too Short to Drink Bad Tea.

Cheap Teabag tea is designed for one-time use!  I have heard tales of a second and even third infusion from a single tea bag.  What is the point of weak tea?  Drink good tea!

Not so with loose leaf tea.  You can certainly get great flavor from a second infusion, and with some teas, even a third infusion and beyond.  At Local Tea Company, we call this ‘multi-fusion’ or ‘multi-steeping.’  You might be interested in a previous blog post about this subject.

Many customers will only infuse or steep a pot or cup of tea once.  They then dispose of the leaves, hopefully in a compost bin.  Tea was an expensive commodity during my youth in Yorkshire, and from an early age, my mum always taught me how to get the most value from loose leaf tea!  Who would have thought that the term ‘multifusion’ would later describe this process?

Keep in mind these infusions were always at the same sitting. For instance, at least two cups were the norm in my childhood.  I have never had a problem drinking two cups or more.   If more than a cuppa poses a problem for you, then keep your leaves fresh by placing them in the refrigerator for use later the same day.  I do not advise keeping them beyond a day in case of spoilage.  Just drink more tea!

Drinking more tea is much easier when you have the right tea!

“You’re kidding,” said the Tea Lady.  Local Tea continues to make your ‘TeaLife’ better and better.

Book Cover for Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife

Pu Erh Teas

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

Pu'Er Tea

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! Pu'er Tea

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!

Cheers,
the Tea Lady

Visit Edison Ford Winter Estates

A visit to Edison Ford Winter Estates? 

TeaLady at Edison Ford Winter Estates 

 

You may have seen my earlier post about the newest tea from Local Tea Company. The Edison Ford Fruit Tea created to celebrate the beautiful winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford at the Edison Ford Winter Estates.  Recently I had relatives visiting from Yorkshire and decided to take a day trip south to the Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  If you read my blogs you know I like to share my tea experiences with you (England , Northern Michigan, South Carolina Tea Plantation.) This one is on my own doorstep, I just have to share.  A ‘one tank trip’ not to be missed! Read More

Edison Ford Winter Estates Fruit Tea

Edison Ford Winter Estates Fruit Tea

Many of life’s failures are from people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

 Thomas Edison

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal

Henry Ford

Edison and Ford shaking hands

 

These two quotes say much about these two incredible men.  They are remembered in our community at the beautiful Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. If you have not visited yet, I urge you to take the time to go as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed, the grounds and homes are lovely, and the many exhibits are fascinating.


You will also find the latest from Local Tea Company, Edison Ford Fruit Tea, when you visit.  An exotic blend of fruits growing in the gardens of the Edison Ford Winter Estates, including mango, pineapple, and assorted citrus.  A natural fruit tisane with no caffeine, the Edison Ford Fruit Tea is very popular with visitors.

You will find packets of the Edison Ford Fruit Tea available for sale in the gift shop.  They also have a lovely selection of teapots and other tea accessories.

Edison Ford Winter Estates

Local Tea Company is thrilled to celebrate one more of our SunCoast local treasures.  As we say, Sip Locally.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

Scones. Jam or cream 1st?

Scones Jam or cream 1st

Grahame and I have just come back from England.  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 have another cuppa.’

Peacocks Tea Room

Our first tea outing was planned, 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 too much food to finish.  This was all washed down with copious amounts of tea (we all chose different ones!) served in individual teapots.

Afternoon Tea

During afternoon tea (an earlier post explains the difference between high tea), we debated 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 I have never really thought about changing the habit of a lifetime of scone eating.  However, this new routine totally changed the taste experience, and I loved it.  Grahame really enjoyed it too!  Let us know which way you like your scone: scones Jam or cream 1st.  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

Three Men in a Boat

Three Men in a Boat

A favourite book of mine offers an interesting quote or excerpt about tea.  I will share it with you.  Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome was first published in 1889 and was intended as a serious travel guide about a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.  However, it turned out to be a very humorous account detailing the adventures of the three friends Jerome, George Wingrave, and Carl Hentschel, along with a fictional dog called Montmorency!

Three Men in a Book Excerpt

When I read this excerpt today, it seemed so clever and witty, evoking powerful thoughts about the beverage I so love…. tea.  Enjoy.

‘It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs.  We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions.  After eggs and bacon, it says “Work!” After beefsteak and porter , it says “Sleep!”  Then, after a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup and don’t let it stand for more  than three minutes), it says to the brain, “Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming starts to the gates of eternity!”

Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat.

What type of tea does it take for you to rise and show your strength, be eloquent and deep or indeed spread your white wings of quivering thought?  It would have to be a good strong cup of Yorkshire Harrogate for me!  Here is an earlier post about Yorkshire.  Please share your comments and take time for tea.

Cheers,

the Tealady

Toast and Tea

Toast and Tea

“BREAD AND WATER CAN SO EASILY BE TOAST AND TEA’

 

Tea Quote

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 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?

Lemon Curd Recipe

This is a straightforward recipe and method to follow.  You will need preserving jars that have been sterilized in boiling water.  I put the lemons in the 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 a 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 the mixture thickens.  (It may seem like the 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

Sorori TEA Sisters Tea Review

Sorori TEA Sisters Review

A few of our teas have recently been reviewed by Sorori TEA Sisters Tea Review, a blog dedicated to reviewing teas.  We are sharing the reviews with you.  See what the tea professional and others are saying about teas from Local Tea Company.

Mable’s Rose Rooibos celebrates Mable Ringling and her rose garden at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Also, it is reviewed by Anne on October 20th.  Find it here.

Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea celebrates the arrival of Bertha Palmer in Sarasota 100 years ago was reviewed on October 22nd.  Find it here.

Mote Beach Tea celebrates the marine research conducted by Mote Marine Laboratories.  You will find the review by Anne on November 11th.  Find it here.   Besides, Glynis blogged about this fruit and herb tea in September, providing lots of details.  (click here)

Mote Beach Tea

For instance, you may have noticed all the teas reviewed are part of the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas.  We are adding to this collection, and we hope to keep delighting our customers.

In conclusion, hopefully, Sorori TEA Sisters Review will keep spreading the word about our teas.  We will keep updating this post as they do.  Hint, Hint…Selby Select is amazing.  Check it out, ladies.

Cheers,
md

Pioneer Tea – Historic Spanish Point

Pioneer Tea – Historic Spanish Point

John Greene Webb and his family came to Spanish Point in 1867.  They established a homestead on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay. They planted citrus, sugar cane, vegetables and built a packing house to prepare their produce for market.

John Greene Webb

All of us who enjoy living in beautiful Sarasota owe much to the hardship John and his family must have endured.  We can think of no finer way to celebrate early settlers to Sarasota than with an amazing new herbal tea at Local Tea Company.  We created Pioneer Tea to celebrate Historic Spanish Point.

 

Citrus

Predominantly citrus, Pioneer Tea contains orange and tangerine pieces, blackberry and eucalyptus leaves, lemongrass, beetroot and carrot flakes, apple pieces, and hibiscus flowers.  Perfect for our climate and caffeine-free.  Pioneer Tea makes a stunning iced tea.

 

Besides, all you folks who have to brave cold weather for several months can enjoy sipping this tea hot too. (Think of us when you do!)

There are over 600 varieties of Orange (Sweet Orange is Citrus sinensis).  Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) is another variety of citrus, and both are certainly sweet, juicy, and delicious ingredients in this tea. The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw.  However, it adds great taste when dried and added to tea.

Suitable for everyone, oranges are rich in calcium, phosphorous, potassium, citric acid, and beta carotene. Vitamin A they contain gives us healthy skin and mucous membranes!

The other ingredients in Pioneer Tea are all equally as sweet and delicious…

Blackberry leaves

(Rubus fructicosus)  Steeped (sorry!) in ancient folklore, the people of Medieval England believed blackberry would protect them from rheumatism, boils, and blackheads! To do so meant creeping under the bush to gather fruit, but only at the right time of the moon!  We do not suggest such extreme measures; drink the tea.  Blackberry leaves bring flavor and harmony to this lovely tea.

Eucalyptus leaves

(Eucalyptus globulus, folium being the leaf)  A native of Australia, the Eucalyptus tree, is used to make the Digeridoo.  Eucalyptus is known as the ‘Fever Tree’ because of antimicrobial and bacteria-fighting properties! The oil from the leaf is pungent and, when taken in tea, is recognized as very effective in de-clogging the nose, fighting throat infections, and washing out the mouth.

Lemongrass

(Cymbopogen citratus)  Native to tropical climates like Florida, lemongrass lends a lemony taste to our tea along with some Vitamin C for added zest. I like to think of Lemongrass as bringing both harmony and aroma. Native to India, Lemongrass is used in Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve coughs and nasal congestion. Another valuable addition to our tea!

Beetroot

(Beta vulgaris)  I was delighted to include beetroot in this tea, as it is one of my favorites! Beetroot is full of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant which supports healthy heart and liver function is good for blood pressure and cholesterol as well as containing lots of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, manganese, potassium, and folic acid)

Carrot flakes

(Daucus carota)  Another favorite, the carrot, gets its characteristic bright orange color from beta carotene, which our body can easily assimilate, store and convert to Vitamin A. Beta carotene is an antioxidant which fights damage caused by free radicals that can invade our bodies, causing disease, also helping regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. A bonus benefit is improved hair, skin, and nails!

Apple and Hibiscus have been covered in previous posts for Peach Paradise and Mote Beach Tea.

Spanish Point

I am sure you will agree that this is a delightful lineup of ingredients and perfectly captures the zest for life, which early pioneers must have possessed in plenty.

Bertha Palmer

Bertha Palmer later acquired Spanish Point, and Pioneer Tea is a lovely balance to our Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea, as well as a wonderful addition to our Celebrating Sarasota collection of teas.  I hope you will take time to sip all our collection, visit Historic Spanish Point, and celebrate the abundance of treasures we are so lucky to have here in Sarasota!

Cheers,
The TeaLady