Blog

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 dont 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 very simple yet amazing invention to keep your tea warm in the POT.

It would seem their popularity has waned since the invention of the tea bag which in turn meant less 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 history of the tea cozy is not too well documented, though It seems unlikely to me that they were used when teapots first originated as the pots were small and tea was very expensive.  When William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister in 1783 at the tender age of 24, he passed the Commutation Act which lowered the tax on tea, making tea more affordable and no doubt, the teapots bigger!

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

Read More

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 quality, but generally ‘Good Tea’ is a great investment.  Your return on that investment is a smooth and pungent flavor.  This depth and consistent flavor is very addictive, and after that, will result in multiple infusions of the leaf!

Life is too Short to Drink Bad Tea

Cheap Tea bag 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 to 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!

“Your 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 takes place.  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 tends to be 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.  I like the later steeps 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 am thinking 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 called Tea!

Cheers,
the Tea Lady

Who was Earl Grey?

Who was Earl Grey?

This This week one of our glorious customers ordered some Garden Grey Black Tea.  This is a tea we blend ourselves with organic lavender grown in the wilds of Tibet.  What an aroma!  While this is not one of our more popular teas, it did get me thinking about Earl Grey in general.

Earl Grey

Most tea lovers are familiar with this black tea.  One whiff of this tea reveals the distinctive aroma on the nose and in the cup.  This is a very traditional black tea with the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a very fragrant citrus fruit.

What about the man behind the tea?

Charles Grey

Charles Grey (1764-1845) descended from a long established Northumbrian family seated at Howick Hall. Educated at Eton, Trinity College and Cambridge.  He became the 2nd Earl of Grey and was a politician in the Whig party (Democrats), and became Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 22!  His first parliamentary address as PM was in 1787 and concerned a recent free trade agreement made with France.  He was involved in four years of political reform and the author of the Reform Bill of 1832 (which saw the reform of the House of Commons).  Grey had an enormous impact on the development of democracy in Britain, abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833.

The Whig historian T.B. Macauly wrote in 1841,

‘At an age when most of those who distinguish themselves in life are still contending for prizes and fellowships at college, he had won for himself a conspicuous place in Parliament. No advantage of fortune or connection was wanting that could set off to the height his splendid talents and his unblemished honour.’

Outside of his political achievements Earl Grey enjoyed the life!  He was said to be tall, slim and strikingly handsome, had 10 sons and 6 daughters with his wife.  He also fathered at least one illegitimate child!  Earl Grey enjoyed gallivanting around the country, breeding dogs, playing cribbage and also found time to have an affair with the Duchess of Devonshire.

Earl Grey the Tea

There are several tales as to how the tea was named after such a noble and colorful figure!  According to the most popular legend, a grateful Chinese Mandarin is partially responsible.  His son was rescued from drowning by one of the Earl’s men.  So, the Mandarin first presented the blend to the Earl in 1803.  This legend seems to have little basis in truth!  The Earl apparently did not set foot in China and the use of bergamot to scent tea was then unknown in China.  Jackson’s of Piccadilly claim they were the originators of the recipe, which was given to them by the Earl himself.

While the truth is not known, like the very popular Earl himself, this tea is one of the most well known flavored teas in the world.  Many people who I chat with over the years claim not to care for the very distinct flavor of Earl Grey.  However, I have found by offering samples of Earl Grey, that most people have never experienced a good quality, loose leaf tea.  The quality of both the tea and the bergamot is paramount!  Any deviation can result in an unpleasant tea with a residual taste on your palate.

Organic Loose Leaf teas
Loose Leaf Earl Grey

 

Also, consider an iced Earl Grey, (Me thinks the Earl would not approve!)  Delicious, so be sure to try for yourself especially cold brewed, as explained in a previous blog post.

When brewing a hot cuppa Earl Grey, we infuse for only 2 minutes or so.  We then enjoy multiple infusions from the same leaves.  It is the perfect accompaniment to tea sandwiches and cakes (Mmmm!) but just drinking alone is fine too.  ‘Gallivant’ with your Earl, and find your favorite way to enjoy.

Garden Grey

Along with the Garden Grey, we offer two version of Earl Grey Black tea.  One is our premium blend Earl Grey and we also offer an Organic Earl Grey.  Our Organic Earl Grey is the tea we offer in the silk tea sachets, and can be found served from nearly all of our serving partners.

You may be surprised to find you like Earl Grey tea, now that you know a bit about the man behind the tea.

Cheers,

Your Tea Team

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 time to go as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed, the grounds and homes are lovely and the many exhibits are fascinating. Read More

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 go have another cuppa’.

Peacocks Tea Room

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 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 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 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 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 a 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 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?

Lemon Curd Recipe

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

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, in addition 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.   In addition, Glynis blogged about this fruit and herb teThe Ra 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