Blog

The Time of Year for Chai Tea

Cochin Masala Chai

The cooler weather is here, and people are starting to order chai tea.  We wrote about Chai Tea in a blog post a while back (here is a link) and thought it was time for an update.  I was reminded that January is National Hot Tea Month, so I am getting a jump on that important holiday!

Our Serving Partners offering our Cochin Masla Chai include the following; Cafe in the Park, Oasis Cafe, Burns Court Bistro, The Breakfast House, The Bean Coffeehouse, Pastry Arts, The Selby House Cafe at Selby Gardens, and Morton’s Gourmet Market.  Thank you for supporting local businesses.

Thanksgiving is next week, and a cuppa Chai before or after your meal might keep everyone awake for the Football games or the Dog Show!  This is the time of year for Chai Tea.

Time for Chai Tea

Chai is the generic word for tea in much of the World. The British adopted the word as slang, and ‘cha’ or ‘char’ became the meaning of a teacup.   So what is true Masala Chai?

This beverage from the Indian subcontinent is made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic spices and herbs.  The traditional process of making chai involves actively boiling the tea leaves over sustained heat with spices.  While there are many preparation variations today (some not too good either!), there are four components that remain true to chai tea’s original idea.

  1. Strong black tea – usually Assam, but can be Ceylon. The loose leaf tea is strong, so spices and sweeteners do not overpower the flavor.
  2. Sweetener, usually white sugar, palm, or coconut sugars. A large quantity is required to bring out the flavor of the spices. You can use honey or agave also. Condensed milk can be used, which also adds sweetness.
  3. Milk, usually whole milk for richness, but alternatives like Soy, Almond, and Oat can be used. 1/4 to 1/2 parts are required.
  4. Spice, usually warm spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn, and cloves, with cardamom being the predominant flavor. Other possible additions are nutmeg, rose, licorice root, almond, and saffron.

Cochin Masala Chai

At Local Tea Company, we offer an outstanding Cochin Masala Chai, authentic and warm traditional flavor. It bears the name of a busy port, which also has a long history in trading spices.

We like to drink it without anything added, though I admit to having caught the Oat Milk craze.  Other options include Almond Milk, Soy, and good old-fashioned milk.

Go ahead and try a few different options and see which one you like the best.  Then put your feet up, stay warm with a cup of Cochin Masala Chai, and celebrate the holidays!

 

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

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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

5 Things to Consider when Giving the Gift of Tea

5 Things to Consider when Giving the Gift of Tea

Tea is a wonderful way to show your love, appreciation, respect, or that you are thinking about someone. Perhaps the universal gift, like age, gender, geography, time of year, relationship status, or any other boundary, can be crossed safely, without confusion. While the gift of tea can be personal, the truth is everybody has a tea they like or love. Some don’t know it yet.

We recently added a Tea of the Month program, either 3 months or 6 months.  That got us thinking about “gifting” tea.  Here are a few thoughts to consider when giving the gift of tea…

 

1. Caffeine or Herbal (caffeine-free)

Caffeine is an important consideration, especially sensitive as we are here in Florida. Caffeinated teas are a great way to begin the day or a superb lift in the late afternoon, but caffeine can create problems for the novice or the beginning tea drinker. A wonderfully flavored black tea like our Organic Strawbango might not be the best tea to drink after dinner. I always ask the server for their home number when ordering herbal or caffeine-free beverages, so if I am awake at 2:30 in the morning, I know who to call. When in doubt, go with an herbal, rooibos, or fruit tea. You can’t go wrong with our Organic Peppermint, Selby Select Rooibos, or Siesta Tea (fruit tea)

2. Loose leaf tea or tea bags

We are quite partial to loose leaf tea at Local Tea Co. Tea lovers, and experienced tea drinkers tend to prefer loose leaf tea. The tea typically will be of better quality, fresher, and a much better value. It cost money for the convenience of bagged tea! Loose-leaf teas also provide more flexibility in how much tea you might want to brew; tea for two or three or a big pot for your sewing circle. That said, teabags, especially the biodegradable ones we offer, SOILON sachets, are very convenient for anyone traveling or those interested in trying a new tea. Check out the many options of our tea samplers available in loose-leaf or sachets. If they don’t love the tea, it can always be served to guests when they come over for a cuppa.

3. Flavored tea or and pure blends

Would you rather a gift of Organic Sarasotan Breakfast blend (an unflavored pure blended tea) or our Organic Earl Grey (flavored with Oil of Bergamot)? This may be the easiest comparison. There are so many spectacular blended teas from our Goji Green or Jasmine green tea with flowers to our Cochin Masala Chai or our many rooibos blends. What is better than a strong cup of pinhead gunpowder green tea or a pure Organic Sencha. Maybe a pot of our ruby Organic Red Berries that you can share with the kids or enjoy as an iced tea later in the day. Tough one, but that is why you are an expert gift-giver, and you really can’t go too wrong!!

4. Accessories

Is the gift for a serious tea drinker, someone loaded with tea accessories? Do they really need another tea ball with an elf Fob? Go with an expensive porcelain mug with painted flowers. Our cat mugs sold incredibly well at our Selby Gardens Tea Shop, and they still sell floral mugs in the Garden Shop. Or, for a more modern gift, one of the newer steep-in-one traveling mugs.  There are lots of tea lovers’ options, and for the newbie just starting their tea journey, a box of tea bags or a few mesh balls of different sizes or teaspoons will spark a conversation. Or get them an inspired gift, maybe a bamboo tea basket, and challenge them to figure it out! And there is also the whole category of things that can be added to tea that make for wonderful gifts; honey or jams are always welcome.

5. Overthinking

Most important is not to overthink your gift. The person you are gifting will appreciate the gesture you are making and the thought behind this gift. They will love it as much as they love you. Find a clever and creative tea. We recommend our Mable’s Rose Rooibos or the tropical fruity Mote Beach Tea. Find a tea that has some meaning or be realistic, something that can easily be ‘Regifted.’

Please visit www.LocalTeaCo.com or send us a note in the comments section, and we will help you select a tea.
Thank you,
the tea team

Cochin Masala Chai

Cochin Masala Chai

January is National Hot Tea Month, and all over the country, we are experiencing some chilly weather, even here in Florida.  As everyone is much more appreciative of the benefits of drinking a nice hot cuppa, I can think of no better way to celebrate hot tea month than drinking the hottest of teas, Masala Chai.

Chai

Chai is the generic word for tea in much of the World. The British adopted the word as slang, and ‘cha’ or ‘char’ became the meaning of a teacup.   So what is true Masala Chai?

This beverage from the Indian subcontinent is made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic spices and herbs.  The traditional process of making chai involves actively boiling the tea leaves over sustained heat with spices.  While there are many variations of preparation today (some not too good either!), there are four components that remain true to chai tea’s original idea.

Chai starts with black loose leaf tea.
  1. Strong black tea, usually Assam, but can be Ceylon. The loose leaf tea is strong, so spices and sweeteners do not overpower the flavor.
  2. Sweetener, usually white sugar, palm, or coconut sugars. A large quantity is required to bring out the flavor of the spices. You can use honey or agave also. Condensed milk can be used, which also adds sweetness.
  3. Milk, usually whole milk for richness, but alternatives like Soy can be used. 1/4 to 1/2 parts are required.
  4. Spice, usually warm spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn, and cloves, with cardamom being the predominant flavor. Other possible additions are nutmeg, rose, licorices root, almond, and saffron.

Cochin Masala Chai

At Local Tea Company, we offer an outstanding Cochin Masala Chai, authentic and gives a warm traditional flavor. It bears the name of a busy port, which also has a long history in trading spices. We like to drink it without anything added and have been sampling our chai in the Tea Room at Selby Gardens, and probably one of these Saturdays at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Go ahead and try the different options and see which one you like the best.  Then put your feet up, stay warm with a cup of Cochin Masala Chai and celebrate Hot Tea month!

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Cloudy tea in the sunny summer?

Cloudy tea in the sunny summer?

Summer is here!  Cloudy Ice Tea

In case you have not visited us at the Sarasota downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, we have had some stunning teas available.  Logo for Sarasota Farmers Market in Florida

White Mischief – a beautiful China tea which is flavored with Guava,

Cochin Masala Chai – a very traditional, authentic chai which has superb iced,

Selby Select – another bush tea honoring Selby Gardens with juicy orange peel and a creamy finish ($1 off in August at our online shop),

Organic Strawberry Smile – strawberry, lychee, rosehips, and jasmine blended to perfection with a Sencha style green tea. (also $1 off in August at our online shop)

Every week we brew three teas and make them available for samples or for sale iced to beat the heat as you shop locally.

If you are making iced tea using our premium loose leaf teas, do not be alarmed if your iced tea goes cloudy.  This is a natural occurrence due to the high flavonoid/polyphenol levels in the tea. Your tea will still taste delicious!  Don’t worry about cloudy ice tea.

Happy sipping, and don’t forget to ‘sip locally.’

Cheers,
the tea lady