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Cami to Chamomile

Cami to Chamomile

Someone asked me about Chamomile tea.  This herbal blend is not one of my favorite teas; however, I wanted to find out why it is such a popular beverage.

Well, I found some information that has really piqued my interest.  I might even be contemplating adding it to the pot!

The Chamomile plant (Matricaria recutita) is native to Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region.  I found a long history of use for this mild botanical.  Most interesting, it’s safe to use for long periods of time without any adverse effects.  Be sure to consult your doctor.

Close up picture of Organic Egyptian Chamomile from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Science Daily cites a study where researchers found over a 2 week period; chamomile tea drinkers experienced increased anti-bacterial activity in their urine.  In simple terms, this means that chamomile can boost your immune system and fight illness.  The study also found an increase in amino acids helping to alleviate muscle spasms and relax nerves.

Chamomile can help people suffering from stress, spasms, and cramps.  Others found relief from intestinal discomfort and the reduction of gas.  Therefore, drink chamomile tea after meals to alleviate these symptoms.

Will I convert to drink Chamomile tea?  Perhaps, now that I know more about this lovely herbal tea.

The Tea Lady

Are you Spellbound?

Are you Spellbound?

While sampling our iced Earl Grey, a customer told me she had read that Bergamot was bad for you.

How can the most popular flavored tea in the world possibly have an unhealthy ingredient for you?  I wanted to prove that theory very wrong and found some interesting facts. Though, I’ll tell you about our iced Earl Grey later.

Bergamot is small, pear-shaped citrus native to southeast Asia.  Now it is commercially grown in Calabria, Italy. The fruit thrives on the Calabrian coast and is the symbol of the region. Like most citrus, I am sure it makes excellent marmalade.  My Key Lime marmalade would be hard to top, but I digress.

Bergamot is used in half of all women’s perfumes.  And Bergamot is used in aromatherapy to treat depression and aid digestion.  I couldn’t find much negative press.

Extract from the bergamot plant was used in sunscreens but was banned in 1995.  Bergamot blocked the absorption of potassium in the intestines.  Why would it be used as a digestive aid then?

I found that various North American plants of the mint family are also called bergamot due to their fragrance. One was used to make a beverage by the American Indian Oswego tribe.  In the 18th century, colonists drank this ‘tea’ during their boycott of British teas!  We won’t get into that now, though!

The worst info I found was that Bergamot had been used in Witchcraft. Maybe it cast a spell on all those people who think it is the best-tasting tea ever! Are you spellbound?

Cheers,
The Tea Lady

Tea Party for 110

Tea Party for 110

On Sunday dawned the day I served tea to the biggest tea party I have ever been involved with! This was definitely a first in my tea journey.

The occasion was to celebrate and give thanks to the Associates of Selby Gardens, all 110 of them and a bunch of tea lovers to boot! Not only that, they wanted the “Champagne of tea” Darjeeling. We selected a beautiful tea from the Tukdah Estate, which was the first flush TGFOP. I could not mess this one up!

Tea Party Prep

So, my dilemma. How to serve the perfect tasting, piping hot cup of tea to all these people? How much to make?  What time to start brewing?  When it boils down to it (sorry!), you just have to replicate what you do best when making tea for two. So that is just what I did, along with some helpers, of course.

I got together all the containers (one of these was a Silver Samovar, which looked fabulous) we were using.  I weighed the tea in correct proportions and got the kettles boiling! We steeped the leaves twice, first for 3 mins and second for 6 mins.  In my experience, this gives a well-balanced taste. It took one and a half hours to complete the process.

Tea Party Service

We delivered the tea to another building (no easy fete over the brick paving’s in the garden).  Then we decanted the hot tea into very nice Silver teapots owned by some of the Associates. The tables were served tea as the guests were invited to the buffet table. Each server came back for more and more tea!

It was a brilliant feeling seeing all those people slurping Darjeeling.  Sorry, Selby Associates don’t slurp, but you know what I mean.  We had plenty for everyone and very little leftover tea.

It was great to receive such good comments and no negatives. Then you start to ask yourself, why did I worry so much?

“If you say you can, you will” is a great motto.  And one which is working well for me this month, stir in a little love, and you have the perfect cups of tea.

So, if you are planning a BIG tea party, call yours truly.

The Tea Lady

Tea Class at Selby

Tea Class at Selby

February 2009 certainly got off to a busy start in my tea world!  Tea Class at Selby.

Last Thursday, we had our first Tea Appreciation course at Selby Gardens as part of the Sarasota County Adult Learning Education Program. From the second floor of the Payne Mansion with a wonderful view of Sarasota Bay, the sun dazzled on the water and shining on the Ringling Bridge.

Does this sound amazing? It was!

The picture-perfect tea morning, bright and sunny but on the cool side for us wimps in Florida.

I had 16 lovely ladies attend. (Come on, you tea-loving guys, there must be some of you out there!) During our 90 minutes together, we tasted 6 different teas; 2 black, 2 green, and 2 herbals. We discussed the origin, processing, preparation, and health benefits of each tea. There was time for lots of questions and some lively discussion about brewing the perfect cuppa.

I must not forget to thank my excellent cha walla Michael, who served the tea in true airline stewardess fashion! In Indian families, ‘cha walla’ is used as a term of endearment to encourage a fellow family member to make the tea. Also, a term used in the film “Slumdog Millionaire” for the hero Jamil Malik but not with the same endearment!

As ladies are wont to do, the ladies then proceeded to our Tasting Room to sample 3 more teas.

We had 3 more ladies attend during the afternoon and had an “unplugged version” of the same class. Very up close and personal but just as much fun. A brilliant start to the month.

Watch this space, we are planning more Tea Appreciation and other Tea associated classes in the coming months, and it would be great to have you join us.

Cheers,
The Tea Lady

Holy Basil Tea

Holy Basil Tea

At our booth at the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market, someone asked for Holy Basil tea. I was not familiar with this tea and did some research that you may find interesting.

Holy Basil, or the Tulsi plant, is called ‘Holy’ and is an important symbol in the Hindu religion. Tulsi means “the incomparable one,” and the plant is worshiped morning and evening.  No Hindu household is considered complete without a Tulsi plant.

Holy Basil Tea or Tulsi

Apart from the religious significance of Holy Basil, the plant has many medicinal benefits. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is termed “the elixir of life” as it promotes longevity.  In other words, the tea has antioxidants to boost the body’s ability to fight nasty free radicals that can cause disease and aging. It is also an adaptogen that helps the body fight stress by balancing the mind, nerves, and emotions and maintains the respiratory tract’s health.

Initially, I was curious why this customer wanted this tea.  I understood the importance of this tea when I learned about the spiritual nature of Holy Basil.  I am thrilled to know a bit more about another aspect of this beverage we love called tea.

Here is a recent post about 5 reasons you will love Rooibos tea.  Like Holy Basil, Rooibos is caffeine-free with a plethora of health benefits.

Cheers,
The Tea Lady

Local Tea Company 

Local Tea Company promotes local products and services, protects local environments, and celebrates local treasures. Great things start at the local level.  Therefore, it is no surprise our motto is “Sip Locally.”

Three times more money is injected into the local economy when people buy from local businesses rather than national chains.  Local businesses put their money back into the local economy.  Above all, both employees and vendors contribute to a cycle of support that strengthens a community.  Sip Locally.

Our locally inspired, loose leaf teas celebrate Sarasota.  For example, our most popular tea, Selby Select, is inspired by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  In addition, Selby was our home base from 2007 until 2016.  We have created teas celebrating other parts of Selby Gardens, including our Little Monkey Fruit Tea and our Secret Garden Green Tea.

Sip Locally

Other locally inspired loose leaf teas include…

We created a tea for the Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Meyers.  You will love the sweetness of our Edison Ford Fruit Tea.  Local Tea Company organized the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas.  We are working on more clever creations of loose leaf tea blends.

Join us in practicing “Sip Locally” throughout our community.  We love Sarasota, and we love sharing our community with the many visitors we meet every day.  In conclusion, we appreciate all the support, and we will continue working hard to contribute to our local community.