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‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)

‘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.  

Can someone tell me the difference between a release, remastered, and a re-recorded when it comes to musical albums?  Well, now, I know!

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. 

Album art for remastered version of Tea for the Tillerman

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! 

  1. 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?
  2. Tillerman is a farmer or someone who tills the soil.  I thought as much, and it is nice to have the details confirmed.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Album Cover art for Tea for the Tillerman 2 to be released September 18, 2020 by Yusuf Cat Stevens

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.

 

Tea for the Tillerman – 50 years later

Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea?

Yusuf / Cat Stevens released an updated version of ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ this month, adding 50 years of wisdom and maturity to the songs.

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.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

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.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

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?

So, what’s in his cuppa? With a full beard and worker’s boots, my guess is something black and strong. If you told me he was drinking herbal tea, I would scoff.

I consider this as I revise this post early in the morning, drinking my smoky lapsang souchong with steamed Oatly oat milk and local honey.  I bet that would get a scoff out of the Tillerman.

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.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

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

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 an 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 the 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

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #4 – Second and Seed

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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.

Cheers,

Episode #4 – Second and Seed

Second and Seed CBD Apothecary

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #3 – Cafe in the Park

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Cuppa Tea at Cafe in the Park

Our latest episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ” is now available from our YouTube Channel.  We visit Cafe in the Park in downtown Sarasota in Payne Park.  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.

Cheers,

Episode #3 – Cafe in the Park

 

YouTube for Local Tea Co.

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YouTube for Local Tea Co.

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

Earl Grey for Picard

Earl Grey for Picard

“Tea, Earl Grey, Hot… and whoever this ‘Earl Grey’ fellow is, I’d like a word with him..”

-Jean Luc Picard, Star Trek The Next Generation

 

Who was Earl Grey?

Who was Earl Grey?

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 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.  Very different from Rooibos.

Garden Grey

Along with the Garden Grey, we offer two versions 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

Life is too short to drink bad tea

Life is too short to drink bad tea.

Life is too short to drink bad tea

 

I like this quote.  When I went to find someone to attribute this quote to, I couldn’t find anybody, so I’m claiming it for myself.  That may be right, wrong, maybe morally questionable, but the truth is, life is way too short to drink bad tea.  And there is no reason to drink bad tea when so many great options exist everywhere.  

Loose Leaf Tea

Perhaps the quote should be, “Life is too short to drink anything except loose leaf tea”  Loose tea is the better tea, fresher, and allowing for the best flavor, the deepest, resonant, complex, and any other word you can think of to describe the awesome flavor.  There are superb teas in bags or sachets. Seek them out and stop drinking bad tea.  The difference is immense.

Life is too short to drink Cheap tea

Tea is an emotional beverage.  What other drink conjures memories, alters moods, and makes you a better person.  Yes, there is a similar quote, “Life is too short to drink bad wine,” but tea is healthy and can be drunk every day.  And you should drink tea every day.  We all want to extend our time on this planet and get the most out of each day.  So drink tea and drink great tea.

Motivating?   I’m not sure. Perhaps I’m just trying to get to the end of this blog post. But how about this?

“Make the most of every day”  I won’t try to claim credit for this adage, but if you are going to drink the world’s most popular beverage after water, make the most of it and drink a great tea.  

Life is too short to drink cheap tea

Black Tea

Drink great black teas—a robust, strong Assam or Darjeeling with a splash of fresh almond milk or a rich cream.  Drink a great breakfast blend like our Organic Sarasotan Breakfast Blend, Or a mild, sweeter Nilgiri. Or, if you want more flavor, spicy chai might be the perfect option.  I almost forgot to mention Oolongs!  Especially our ‘milky smooth’ Dung Ding Oolong.

Green Tea

Drink great green teas—Froth a pinch of a matcha green tea, or gently steep a pure Organic Sencha.  Add a touch of flavor, maybe strawberry or goji berries, or any other subtle sweetness that brings out that cool wonderful green tea flavor.  Yes, white teas too. Drink them!

Rooibos Tea

Drink great rooibos teas.  This is wonderful in the afternoon when there is no fear of caffeine stealing sleep from you. When faced with solving a mystery, drink Rooibos, or Bush Tea is not only a lovely, mild flavor. Rooibos takes on other flavors like vanilla and orange peel (Selby Select) or Lavender or Rose (Mable’s Rose Rooibos).  Drink Honeybush and Chocolate Honeybush, and the list goes on.  

Life is too short to drink cheap tea

Herbal Tea

Drink great herbal teas, peppermint, Yerba Mate, or hibiscus or tulsi.  I just saw this weekend that Roselle blossoms were available at the Sarasota farmers market.  They are they’re blooming in Florida, and they make incredible tea as well as gorgeous jams and jellies.  Drink a fabulous chamomile tea from Egypt and dream of Cleopatra or floating down the Nile.

Fruit Tea

Drink great fruit teas.  Please share them with a young person.  Introduce a child to the joys of tea.  Start with the kettle boiling’s anticipation, then take a moment to select a tea to fit the mood, watch when hot water meets tea leaves, and the flavors release.  This is called the ‘Agony of the Leaf’ what does it conjure in your imagination. Heat the mugs with hot water while you wait for all the flavor to extract, and then pour two mugs full and blow cool air over your brew.  

Start a young person on a tea journey, drinking tea as a part of a ritual, after dinner, before bed, in the morning, later in the day.  There are so many opportunities to drink tea. This ‘Tea Journey’ will last a lifetime, and you will be responsible for the very first steps.  

Life is too short to drink anything but great tea

And then there is the perfection that is Mote Beach Tea or Little Monkey fruit teas.  Make a cuppa of either of these herbal gems before you go to bed. I promise you that your dreams will be finer, they’ll be sweeter, and your sleep will be deeper and richer and better.  I can’t promise that your dreams will come true, but a great cuppa tea can bring hope.

Share Tea

Share that idea with everyone, a life of sound sleep and fantastical dreams.  You are never too old to begin a ‘Tea Journey.’ And what a wonderful community to be a part of, drinkers of great teas!

Appreciate all that goes into a great cuppa tea.  Where the tea was plucked, how far it might have traveled, who else might be enjoying the same cup at this same moment.  How many years or decades or centuries have people been drinking this same tea. Or how much progress has been made in heating the water.  Before electricity, 200 years ago or 2000 years ago, how did they boil water? What was the mug like or bowl or the cup? There is much to consider in a simple cup of tea.

And be sure to steep your tea for the correct time.  Not too short, robbing yourself from a fully expressed cuppa.  And not too long, for the bitterness or astringency might distract from the beautiful flavors intended for you.  

Give Tea

Life is too short to drink cheap bad tea

Give the gift of tea.  Nothing can be so easy to share, so thoughtful, so considerate for either a tea lover experienced in drinking great tea or introducing someone to your favorite tea.  Tea elevates the idea of a gift to a new level.

Yes, I was hoping you could buy my teas, and we have plenty of options for you.  But find a new place to buy tea, a wonderful loose leaf tea. You will recall the moment later when you are drinking or serving this tea.  Tea comes with its own story. You have to be a bit creative about it. The story is available, and there is a joy to be had.

Life is too short to drink inexpensive teaServe a great cuppa tea in a fine piece of China, in a cup that needs a saucer.  Please take a moment and make it special. You will enjoy the experience even more or help someone else feel special.  That’s where this big thought started, with living your life to the fullest. Life is too short and so find the moments, the joys to extract a bit more than you may have expected.  Surprise someone, delight them. Give that gift or treat yourself. You deserve it.

So drink up. Life is too short to drink bad tea.

Michael Duranko

Local Tea Company