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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!

Tea Newsletter #3 – Better Teas, Better Spices

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Since the pandemic, sales on our web site have ticked up.  I suspect people are drinking more tea, with many new habits formed these past months. Firing up the kettle any time of the day is one of the healthiest habits you can have.

Better Teas

And if you are drinking more tea, the next logical step is to drink better tea.  We have many favorites, like Selby Select and Mote Beach Tea or Siesta Tea and Goji Green.  All will dazzle you and contribute to that newly formed habit.

If you are interested in learning about healthy teas, here is a post Glynis wrote a few years back and a more recent post about consuming goji berries every day.

Some of our more unusual teas include Lapsang Souchong (my personal favorite), our Young Pu Erh, or perhaps our Aronia Oolong with chokeberries and passion fruit.  Lots to explore in our online shop.

This uptick in sales does not cover the drop volume to our wholesale business.  So, if you can support our Serving Partners, thank you.

Better Spices

Like everyone else, we have been preparing more of our meals at home.  And in the spirit of drinking better tea, I am doing the same when it comes to the spices.   So, we are using better spices.  Better teas, better spices.

We have used a mortar and pestle for years to grind pepper and kosher salt.  And, we use a lot of fennel, especially on salmon.  Freshly ground fennel is Magic!!

And now, I have started using really good spices, and the difference is MASSIVE.  I have known about the Spice Trekkers (or Epices de Cru) for years.  I have even gifted sets of their blends, along with a mortar and pestle as my go-to wedding gift.  But like many gift buyers, I bought better for others than myself…

No more. I am hooked. My first order was for two different black peppers (Yupanqui and a Tellicherry) and fennel from Greece.  I also found a powerful Chinese Five Spice and a tangy Harissa.  I filmed an unboxing video, in case you are interested.  Better teas, better spices!

The company is based in Montreal, and they have a fantastic website filled with ‘spice stories.’  I really like the videos they created, especially for the Yupanqui black pepper from Ecuador. Very cool and hard to not order the works!!  Merci, Epices de Cru!

Better Teas Better Spices

My Sunday tea is Sweet Orange Mate while listening to Live from Here on NPR. I do miss Garrison, but the music Chris plays is much better. And Tom Poppa always makes me laugh.  I drink my cuppa (or mugga) Mate as hot tea.  And you may enjoy a recent blog post, “Is it Iced Tea or Ice Tea?”

Music

I had some fun reviewing Yusuf Cat Stevens ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ this summer.  I thought the remastered version was his new one.  Explained here.  ‘Tea for the Tillerman 2’ came out a few weeks ago.  The original was arguably one of the best albums ever, and 50 years later, we get another version by Yusuf Cat.  I’m working on the final post, but in the meantime, listen and enjoy.  Tea PairingOrganic Sarasotan Breakfast Blend “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.”

TV

We ping pong between Lovecraft Country and The Vow.  HBO is knocking it out of the park, though I don’t know which is weirder. John Oliver is back, and Fargo is waiting in the wings.  Tea Pairing – Organic Peppermint, for when your breath gets taken away!!

Podcast

My new favorite podcast is “It Was Said,”  A shortish show (45 minutes or less) where Jon Meachum covers a famous speech and provides a bit of context or historical perspective.  The Ronald Reagen episode was especially touching.  Tea Pairing – Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling, a serious black tea!

And lastly, a farewell to Pat Glass, Dianne’s Mom.  She passed away last month.  Pat was incredible, a true force in the Universe.  Glowing tributes here and here, and an obit with her many accomplishments. With Love!

As always, your comments are welcomed, and thanks for your support.

Your Local Tea Team

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 lead 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.  So often we are 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 horn of the cab 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 are found as we refresh oursleves with a tall glass of cold tea.  Yes, I am waiting to introduce the title term of this post for a bit of drama, as well as 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 lead me to the QuoteGarden website and to by Terri Guillemets.  For some reason, unknown to my sleuthing, Linda Solegato is a pseudonoym for Terri Guillemets.  She is a life long 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 similiar explanations.  Elocution.  Both cite ice cream, previously known as iced cream but adjusted for ease of pronounciation.  Merriam Webster goes a bit furter (or farther)  with nods to Waxed Paper, Skimmed Milk and Boxed Sets.  The tea world has not made a commitment 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 just 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 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 provide 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”

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

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 like 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 old 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.

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More about Mote

More about Mote Beach Tea

Yes, Mote Beach Tea is a delicious caffeine-free herbal fruit infusion.  One of our bestselling teas.

As a hot tea, you get a bit of tropical sweetness that can transport you to a hammock near the sea.  As an iced tea, Mote is both incredibly refreshing and wonderfully healthy.  No sugar added, powerfully hydrating and with hibiscus being one of the ingredients, the tea is packed with vitamins and minerals.  And, the red color is gorgeous.  You can learn more about Mote Beach tea from an earlier post here.

Mote Beach Tea is an herbal fruit infusion from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, florida and celebrates Mote Marine Laboratory

I want to share some details very dear to my heart about Mote Marine Laboratory.  You may know or suspect that we contribute a portion of sales of Mote Beach Tea as a charitable donation back to Mote.  Each quarter, I send a report detailing each of the forms we sell the tea in; Biodegradeable sachets, loose-leaf and 1 gallon Ice Tea bullets, and our two channels, online purchases, and sales to our Serving Partners.

Along with this report, I send a check.  And every quarter, about a week later, I get a letter from Mote thanking me for the donation and letting me know how much they appreciate our partnership.  I also get a sticker, the round blue logo with a shark in the middle.  I love getting those stickers, I love getting those letters, and I love working with Mote.  To a person, Mote is a group of the highest quality people, all passionate and committed to the world undersea. 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

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #9 – Cafe Evergreen – Nokomis

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Cuppa Tea at Cafe Evergreen

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ”, now available from our YouTube Channel, we visit Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis where Tristan talks with us.

This is one of our favorite spots, especially after a soak at Warm Mineral Springs. The Beet Reuben is off the charts, and all of their food is creative, ecletic and delicious.

Breakfast is best known for the Evergreen Scrambler with tofu, quinoa, spinach, and more. They also offer a fresh pressed juice bar, along with wheatgrass and ginger shots.

For lunch, check out the the Evergreen Club sandwich, voted Best Vegetarian Sandwich in America by the Restaurant Hospitality Magazine!!  And the previously mentioned the Beet Reuben with roasted, pickled beets, house made sauerkraut and a chickpea thousand island dressing. Fantastic!!!

For dinner (or lunch) all the teas are organic, and Local Tea Company created a custom iced tea, Evergreen Peach.  Try it.  And all the hot teas are served as loose leaf teas in tea pots for the best tea expereince possible.  Tristand and his wife likes our Organic Strawberry Smile green tea.

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ’ 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.

Cheers,

Episode #9 Cafe Evergreen – Nokomis

Logo for Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis Florida

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #8 – The Overton Rosemary District Sarasota

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Cuppa Tea at The Overton

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ”, now available from our YouTube Channel we visit The Overton in the Rosemary District of Sarasota for a chat with owner Christian Hershman.

When we visited this week, the MTV reality show “Siesta Key” show was wrapping up filming. And, per usual The Overton had a buzz about it. The Overton is Americano, fast casual at its finest. Christian is a ground breaker and The Overton does it again.

The food is “On Trend” and eclectic, but more important, Delicious!!! They do things the Overton Way from the ‘Avo Toast’, thick cut bacon and a porridge along with many other breakkie favorites.

For later in the day, The Roadside Burger is probably the most popular with fresh ground beef by the Butcher Block. The Fries are available in beef tallow or olive oil and the list goes on…

Also, The Overton makes two styles of cold brewed iced teas, a Nitro and a Sparkling.  The Nitro is frothy with a thick foam.  The Sparkling is a bit bubbly, but not overwhleming.  Try them and let us know which on you like better!

 

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ’ 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.

Cheers,

Episode #8 The Overton in the Rosemary District Sarasota

The Overton Logo

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #7 – Pastry Arts on Main Street Sarasota

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Cuppa Tea at Pastry Arts

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ”, now available from our YouTube Channel we visit Main Street Sarasota and Pastry Arts to chat with owner Chip Beeman.

They have a extensive Tea Menu to go with a massive pastry case.  All pastries are made from scratch daily, with the espresso muffin most popular.  Pastry Arts also serves soups and sandwiches for lunch.  Chip is also the owner of Main Bar Sandwich Shop.

The walls are filled with the works from local artist Ron Genta, including a few pieces with the Local tea logo!  Pastry Arts is jammed on Saturday mornings during the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Stop by and enjoy the outdoor seating and watch Sarasota!!

Tea is featured most afternoons as perfect for a break from the office.  There is a bit of an afternoon rush when guests stop in for a cuppa and something sweet.  Spend some time out front with the rest of Sarasota

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ’ 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.

Cheers,

Episode #7 – Pastry Arts on Main Street Sarasota

Pastry Arts Bakery and Sandwich Shop Sarasota

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village

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Cuppa Tea at Bean Coffeehouse

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in Sarasota”, now available from our YouTube Channel we go back to the very beginning to where it all began.  The first location of Local Tea Company, and Local Coffee + Tea in the heart of Siesta Key Village for a cuppa tea at the Bean Coffeehouse

The shop, now known as the Bean Coffeehouse was opened in 2007 and you can read more about it in the history section of the Local Tea Co. website.  The interior is wildly colorful with many works by local artist Ron Genta.

For this Holiday episode we visit the Bean late in the day, just before closing to chat with Zach and his massive tea menu. They only serve loose leaf teas AND they have a great selection of retail tea packets available.

Where else can you find so many #Rooibos teas to pick from?

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.

Cheers,

Episode #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village

Logo for Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village Florida

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We are having fun with our new “Cuppa Tea in SRQ” YouTube Channel.  Check out this series visiting our wholesale Serving Partners, in and around Sarasota.  We find the owner and have a ‘video visit’ with them.

It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.

Please like, comment and subscribe.  You will see the first 2 below, Oasis Cafe and Lila.

Cheers,

Episode #1 – Oasis Cafe & Bakery

Episode #2 – Lila