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Valentine’s Day with Tea

“That’s one of the things I look forward to about an evening like this.  Someone to drink tea with at the end of it.  For all I know, the whole point of civilization is to provide one with someone to drink tea with at the end of an evening”.

Aurora Greenway

Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  We hope you plan on drinking tea with someone this evening, Valentine’s Day with Tea!  At Local Tea Company, we have two exceptional teas with which we celebrate our loved ones – Sweet Sin Rooibos and Chocolate Honeybush.  Both are packed full of romantic flavors, and both are naturally caffeine-free herbal infusions.  Perfect for drinking in the evening.  You may recall an earlier Valentine’s Day post, “A Time for Tea,” that Glynis made a few years back.  What tea has the most caffeine?

Sweet Sin Rooibos

Sweet Sin is a South African Rooibos tea blended with raspberry and rose petals. Rooibos is becoming more and more popular as tea drinkers discover the unique taste, excellent health benefits, and versatility.

How to pronounce Rooibos?  Or, what is the proper pronunciation for Rooibos?  We say ROY – BOSS.

Image of Sweet Sin Rooibos tea from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Sweet Sin is fantastic served as a hot tea but equally useful as an iced tea.  Maybe garnish with a rose today?  We have a previous post about Rooibos tea and a more recent guest post titled “5 reasons you will LOVE Rooibos Tea” if you want to refresh your memory on where this herb is grown, how it is produced, and the tea’s excellent health benefits.

If you have not yet read any of Alexander McCall Smith’s books about the No.1 Ladies Detective, then do look them up and enjoy tales of Mme Ramwotse solving cases whilst drinking Rooibos tea. I am sure she would drink this tea with her husband to celebrate Valentine’s day with Tea.  What tea has the most caffeine?

Chocolate Honeybush

Chocolate Honeybush is also from South Africa, and although Honeybush is a ‘bush’ tea, the plant is a different species. This tea is blended with rose petals, chocolate flakes, and caramel pieces.

Close up image of Chocolate Honeybush from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.Above all, this tea is perfect for ‘Chocoholics’ and ‘Romantaholics,’ and is very yummy served hot and very able to satisfy a sweet tooth without all the calories!  Not quite as healthy as the original Organic Honeybush, but Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to indulge.

Whatever you do today, wherever you are, I hope you have someone special to share tea with at the end of the day. Therefore, taking tea together is very civilized, especially with ‘love’ in the air. Enjoy.

Tea Newsletter #4 – Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better

Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better

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Hello Tea Lovers

It may be late in the year for Iced tea (or Iced tea.)  Even here in Sarasota, we have the windows open, and it’s great sleeping weather. But I have a story I want to share with you about Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better.

Debbie S is a long time customer who uses our Organic Sarasotan Breakfast Tea to make ice tea. I recently connected with her, and she told me she steeps her tea THREE times, with outstanding results.

Cold Brew Iced Tea

She makes large tea bags using the Tea Sacs #4 – Large and 38g of tea.  In the first batch, she uses the  ‘Cold Brew‘ method; a gallon of cold water in a sealed container, with the Tea Sac in the fridge overnight.

For the next batch, a second steep in cold water, but this time she leaves the container in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Debbie told me the tea is a little bit lighter, but it’s still a nice cup of tea.

For the third steep, she uses the same tea sac in a large bowl and hits it with a quart of boiling water.  She lets the tea steep until it cools, adds cold water to make it a gallon, and then puts it in the fridge.

Debbie is a creature of habit and drinks tea all day long.  My preference is hot tea, and I like a bit of variety.  Above all, this is just one reason why loose leaf tea is so much better. In this case, so much more economical than tea bags.  Debbie is an inspiration to anyone, everyone who wants to get the most out of their tea.  It is possible, and I thought it was interesting to share it here.  Thanks, Debbie.

Tea Station at Home

We have a tea shelf loaded with tea options at our home, and then near the kettle, we keep the teas we are drinking most often.  I found this article about creating a tea station at home ( or a coffee station) with tons of details and good ideas.

The author is Lorena Roma, and the article is at Porch, a company focused on helping people take better care of their homes.  Pretty cool, and I hope you find this helpful.

 

Correction to Last Month’s Newsletter

Thank you for the emails telling me ’Live from Here’ got canceled. Drag!  I need a whole new Sunday Tea routine.

Netflix

I am a sporadic viewer of the Great British Baking Show, but I found ‘Biscuit Week’ to be especially ”Tea Focused”  I don’t bake at all, but the show grabs me with the characters and the vocabulary.  I love the way the brits turn a phrase.  Hilarious, and they don’t take themselves too seriously, even in competition.

Enter Rowan.  He laughs his way through a few episodes, stopping for a cuppa amidst the chaos.  For the ‘Showstopper’ challenge, many contestants created variations of tea services made from biscuits. Clever.  However, I still have a few episodes to go.
Tea Pairing – Chocolate Honeybush with store-bought biscuits.

Places

Faith Stewart-Gordon, the owner of the Russian Tea Room, has died. She was 88.  Obit here.  Fun Fact – Madonna was a coat A decorative glass teacup used in the Think Out of the Bag monthly Newsletter by Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.check clerk and was fired for slipping her demo tapes to guests.  Stewart-Gordon had a goal “to make the restaurant look the way people remembered it, not the way it was.”  RIP, and I raise a cuppa Lapsang Souchong in a decorative glass teacup in her memory.

 Sip Locally Tea Blog – recent posts

5 reason you will love Rooibos Tea

Teapots for TeaParties – Teapotty

Books

I am reading ‘Titan’ by Ron Chernow. My ‘big book’ for the year from the author who wrote Hamilton. I don’t see a rap version of this story about John D Rockefeller, but then again, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius.
Tea pairing – Organic Earl Grey with a splash of Oat milk.

GolfToons

I play more golf since the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens closed.  GolfToons is a side hustle I’ve been working on with Dianne’s brother, Marty.  Have a look, and please pass along to any golfers you know.  Or, you can subscribe and Laugh at the Agony!
Tea Pairing – Organic Strawbango Mushed up words that sound funny!

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

Your Local Tea Team

Tea Newsletter #2 – New Teas and Old Teas and Glynis

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Thanks for the wonderful response to our first newsletter.  Your comments and kind wishes are always welcome.  Thank you. 

Many of you asked after Glynis.  She is well and has been working at Selby Gardens in the Welcome Center.  She still helps with all adjustments to our tea line up, and she still drinks a lot of tea.  Lately, though, Glynis has been drinking ice tea.  Yes, Ice Tea!!  I can hear the collective gasp from those who have heard her opine about Hot Tea.  It is hot here in Sarasota, so she is making pitchers of Bertha Palmer Rooibos Iced.  

Also, our next blog post… Is it Ice Tea or Iced Tea?  Does anyone want to guess???

Others asked about some of our discontinued teas.  I’ll start with our new teas and then list our excuses:):)

New Teas

Island Mango Black – Created for the Gaugin exhibit at Selby.  So popular that we kept it. Black tea with mango and lime. 

Black Lemon Ginger – We needed a black tea with ginger and lemon, and we found it!  This is an excellent quality black tea, an OP (Orange Pekoe) from Sri Lanka.

Old Teas

* Black Coconut – We still get a bunch of requests each month for this tea. And we are still working on a replacement.

* Sparkling Pineapple White Tea – I liked this one too, but we did not sell enough to keep it.  Sorry!

* Flowers in the Factory – This was a tea created for the Warhol exhibit at Selby.  We used our Organic Red Berries tea, so the cool packet is not available, but the tea is!

Otherwise, our line up is the same, with  Goji Green Tea leading the way.  Our selection of Rooibos is going strong at 9, and that is not counting Chocolate Honeybush, our perennial best seller. 

Our other best seller is Mote Beach Tea, and we do contribute a portion of all sales of this caffeine-free gem back to Mote Marine Laboratory.  Here is a blog post, More about Mote, with details about the volunteer programs Michael is active with; Sea Turtles and Dolphins.  

Our Serving Partners offering Mote Beach Tea include;  Bean Coffeehouse, Cafe in the Park, Burns Court Cafe, Morton’s Bakery, Blue Dolphin Cafe, Breakfast House, Mojo Risin, AJ’s Kitchen, Mountain Comfort Coffee, Pastry Arts, Serving Spoon, State Street Eating House, Sunnyside Cafe, and The Reserve.  Please support these and any other local businesses you can.  Thank you.

We are always looking for tea connections out in the world.  Here are a few recent favorites…

Watching

Poldark – We binged this Masterpiece Classic on Amazon Prime.  Set in the 1790s in Cornwall.  Great drama and even more fabulous images of the Cornwall coastline.  Demelza and Ross don’t drink as much tea as port and sherry, but the 5 seasons was a great escape!

Listening

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou is an Ethiopian piano-playing nun, and she will be 97 in December.  I don’t recall how I came across her mellow sounds, but she is easy to listen to on Sunday mornings with a cuppa Yerba Mate.  Sweet Orange Mate is my favorite.  Her music is fantastic, and her story is even better.

Coverville is one of my favorite podcasts, offering themed cover songs & stories. Loved a recent Blondie Episode, especially ‘The Tide is High’ covered by Dakota Blonde – a country cover of a new wave song originally recorded as a reggae song!  No tea connection, but a great listen.

Reading

Summer thriller Camino Winds by John Grisham.  Not much tea involved, mostly cold beer and wine, but I look forward to a Grisham book every summer. 

As ever, we welcome your comments and thanks for your support.  

Your Local Tea Team

Easter Wishes with Chocolate Honeybush

Easter Wishes with Chocolate Honeybush

“The Spirit of Easter is all about Hope, Love and Joyful living.”

-Anonymous

Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  This is the most important holiday in all of Christianity.  As with Christmas, various folk customs and pagan traditions have become a standard part of this holy holiday over the centuries.  Some include Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter baskets of candy, and CHOCOLATE.  There are many stories about the connection of eggs (re-birth) and bunnies (originally hares actually and a symbol of new life in ancient times).  Above all, I am not sure how the chocolate connection came about.

Most of us have no problem with chocolate being included, reason or not!  We cannot offer chocolate eggs or bunnies at Local Tea Company, but we call Chocolate Honeybush an exceptional tea.

Chocolate Honeybush

Honeybush is an herbal infusion or ‘tisane’ grown in the Langkloof Mountains of South Africa.  Read more from a previous post on Honeybush to learn all about this lovely tea.

Some might say that Honeybush is not complete without the addition of those chocolate and caramel pieces.  Similarly, if you smell and taste this version of honeybush, you might agree!

This weekend, you will find us serving and delighting our customers with Chocolate Honeybush in the Carriage House Tea Room at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  And on Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  We can guarantee plenty of love and joy too.

Please join us if you can for a chocolate celebration (without the calories!).  If you are not local, then visit our online shop to stock up on your Easter supplies.  Be sure to share your Easter Chocolate Honeybush with all of your friends.

With good wishes to you all for the Easter holiday.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Honeybush Tea

Honeybush Tea

Honeybush Tea or Cyclopia intermedia is indigenous to the cape of South Africa.  I like to think of it as a sort of cousin to Rooibos!

Like Rooibos, we make an herbal tea with a pleasant, mildly sweet taste.  Honeybush Tea is very popular at the Local Tea Company Carriagehouse at Selby Gardens.  We offer 2 varieties; Organic Honeybush and Chocolate Honeybush.  You should try both, especially if you are looking for a caffeine-free substitute for ‘true tea’ (Camellia sinensis).  For instance, I drink honeybush as a complement to my tea drinking habits!

Organic Honeybush

Like most teas, honeybush history can be traced back to Dutch and British trading.  Established in 1652, Cape Town was a supply base for the Dutch East India Company.  They traded in Indian tea and Southeast Asian spices.

Botanists began cataloging the Cape region’s rich flora, and the honeybush plant was noted in botanical literature. The native Khoisan or Bushmen treated coughs and other upper respiratory symptoms associated with infections with honeybush tea.

Organic Honeybush

The honeybush plant is a shrub of the Fabaceae family and grows in the fynbos botanical zone.  Bound by mountains, this narrow region is along the coast. Fynbos is Dutch for ‘fine-leaved plants’ and is characterized by woody plants with small, leathery leaves. The honeybush plant is easily recognized from the sweetly scented, bright yellow flowers and needle-like leaves.

Honeybush

Besides great taste, a sort of woodsy, cedar-like flavor, Honeybush has some extraordinary health benefits.  Pinitol is a modified sugar present in the leaves of some legume plants.  This is an expectorant and helps with coughs and phlegm. Pinitol can also lower blood sugar levels and may increase the effects of insulin.

Honeybush is under consideration as a treatment for diabetes! It would be good to have something so natural to help with such a prevalent disease. I have read Pinitol helps with acid reflux.  We have a few customers who have reported relief drinking honeybush.  The flavones and isoflavones of honeybush are similar to those in soy, another leguminous plant.   And used to treat menopausal symptoms. That covers quite a lot of the population who should be drinking this tea!

Prepare Honeybush tea like you prepare all other teas or herbal infusions. Use boiling water and infuse for as long as you want, though at least several minutes. The lack of caffeine makes honeybush especially suited for nighttime consumption.  The tea has a reputation as a calming beverage.  However, I love drinking honeybush at Local Tea Company, too!   The tannin content is very low, so that you will find honeybush, a mild, soft, and very drinkable tea.

Chocolate Honeybush

And did I mention there is a chocolate version? Chocoholics love our Chocolate Honeybush.  Please do not expect a cup of hot chocolate. Rather a delicate aroma of chocolate with a definite caramel aftertaste along with a bit of floral balance from the added rose petals.  Desert without the calories, SPECTACULAR!

Chocolate Honeybush

Some customers drink both versions of honeybush with milk.  I find a bit of local honey (from the Sarasota Farmer’s Market) brings out a natural sweetness in Organic Honeybush, and when iced is very thirst-quenching.  The Chocolate Honeybush seems to be more popular as a hot drink.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Caffeine-Free Tisanes or Infusions

Caffeine-Free Tisanes or Infusions

In our last blog post (Caffeine in Tea), we talk about caffeine and my opinion regarding the benefits of drinking tea with caffeine. I have learned from listening and talking to many visitors at Selby Gardens and the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Some people can’t drink caffeine, perhaps because of medications (therefore doctor’s instructions) or just a simple intolerance in the body.

So, where does that leave us?

Decaf or caffeine-free tisanes

At Local Tea Company, we have many fruit and/or herbal infusions or Tisanes to choose from. There is no excuse for not drinking great caffeine-free tea these days.

Selby Select Rooibos from Local Coffee + Tea

Notice I said CAFFEINE-FREE, not de-caffeinated. Because there is no ‘true tea’ made from Camellia sinensis, there is no caffeine to be removed.  De-caffeinated tea must go through a process to remove the caffeine that naturally occurs in tea leaves.   And no method removes 100% of the caffeine, so the beverage still has up to 5% caffeine content.

I try to stay away from the process of removing caffeine from tea for two reasons.  The flavor suffers, and the health benefits are reduced.

The two traditional methods to decaffeinate tea use either ethyl acetate or carbon dioxide.  Both are a ‘wet process,’ so the dry leaves are moistened.  The wet leaves are then rinsed with ethyl acetate and dried, or under high pressure with carbon dioxide and evaporated.  Upon drying, the flavor is reabsorbed into the leaves.

Rooibos

There is still uncertainty about how these methods alter the polyphenols and the antioxidant properties in tea.  Above all, the health benefits have been compromised, and I seek teas with maximum health advantages.  So, I turn to botanicals, herbal or fruit infusions, also referred to as tisanes.

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a bush from the Western Cape province of South Africa.  Rooibos has an impressive list of vitamins and minerals and is therefore packed with anti-oxidants.  I like to say Rooibos works against ATB or ‘all things bad.’  Great hot or iced, I enjoy Rooibos in the late afternoon or evenings.

Local Tea Company carries 8 unique Rooibos teas and is our most popular category.  Selby Select is our ‘home tea’, and we have added an Organic Red Rooibos and an herbal Rooibos to celebrate Bertha Palmer, a pioneering Sarasota woman.

Chocolate Honeybush from Local Coffee + Tea

Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) is a definite favorite at Local Tea Co., especially for evening time. This tea is very soothing and calming with a unique cedar or sandalwood flavor.  Also, Chocolate Honeybush is a great option to satisfy the after-meal cravings for something sweet.

After that, there are the fruit infusions or caffeine-free tisanes like Peach ParadiseOrganic Red Berries, or Mote Beach Tea (created to honor Mote Laboratories here in Sarasota), Vibrant and refreshing beverages all, especially iced.  Excellent alternatives to sodas or other sweet beverages, especially for children.

Herbs like Egyptian Chamomile, the best-loved sleepy tea, Ginger Root, the world’s most used spice, or my personal favorite, Hibiscus.  See why in a blog post from last summer.

Herbals

In conclusion, there really is a tea for all occasions and personal tastes. Try blending your very own caffeine-free tisanes with some of these amazing teas. If you discover a winner be sure to let us know so we can share!

Cheers,
The TeaLady

Also, follow us on Facebook at Local Tea Journey

The Gift of Tea

The Gift of Tea

At Local Tea Company, we have a great selection of tea to suit many different tastes. Some of our holiday favorites are listed at the end of this post with links to our online shop. Whatever your gift choice, I believe there are many extraordinary reasons to be excited about both giving and receiving TEA

  • The anticipation of opening the packet and discovering the appearance of the leaf,
  • Inhaling the special aroma that loose tea releases,
  • Watching the magic of leaves dancing in the pot,
  • The delicious color and flavor in the cup,
  • Sitting down, letting go of all the stress in your body (which we seem to create in great quantities, especially at this time of the year!),
  • And finally, Life is too short to drink bad tea.

Gift Tea

Making tea is an act to be shared with someone special, presented to a group of friends, or enjoyed completely alone. I cannot think of any other item that is so simple, yet so complex, cost-effective, and enjoyable. You are also giving the gift of health and well being to your loved ones.  Here is a post with 5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea.

If you have no tea lovers in your life, then give yourself the gift of tea. YOU deserve it!

Holiday Teas

Some of our holiday favorites include Chocolate Honeybush, Organic Red Berries, and Cochin Masala Chai. For a more relaxing tea, perfect for evenings, there is Organic Honeybush. Also, check out the “Celebrate Sarasota” gift deal, 4 herbal teas inspired by Local Treasures: Selby Gardens, Van Wezel, Ringling Museum, and Siesta Key Beach.

On behalf of all at Local Tea Company, I would like to wish all our tea followers a Very Merry Christmas and a TEArrific New Year. We appreciate your business and hope you continue to enjoy our teas in 2010.

No matter where you are or what you are planning to do during this special season, please make time to drink some tea and feel the benefits. I drink to you and yours.

Cheers and all the best to everyone.

Tea Lady

Tea Reviews – Wow!!!

Tea Reviews – Wow!!!

We have been submitting our teas to a few web sites that review teas. Basically, a panel of tea enthusiasts brews tastes and reviews teas, and then post comments and opinions.

At Local Tea Company, we are confident that our teas are of great quality and have an exceptional taste, but it is always good to hear what your peers have to say, right? This is what they do, taste A LOT of tea.

We were a bit reluctant, uncertain just how we might compare teas from the industry giants or the specialty tea companies. Well, we are happy to report here that Local Tea Company is holding our own and even impressing some folks.

We were very excited to hear the comments and, of course, would like to share them with you. Not that we are bragging you understand, but if you have not experienced these teas, check out what they are saying and please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.

Drumroll Please!!!

Goji Green – “One of the best green teas in the world”  Buy Goji Green

Organic Strawberry Smile…”The aroma of the leaves is also extremely strong and juicy, making your mouth water before you even taste the tea! The perfect drink on a summer’s day!”  Buy Organic Strawberry Smile

Chocolate Honeybush…”My roommate, who isn’t a tea drinker, even commented on how good it smelled”  Buy Chocolate Honeybush

Sweet Orange Mate… “nice, mellow mate base, which leaves a slightly smoky note in the fragrance and taste”  Buy Sweet Orange Mate

Selby Select…”The aroma of the dried leaves is extremely strong and smells just like freshly squeezed orange juice!”  Buy Selby Select

Thank you for allowing us to enjoy this moment of glory.

Congratulations to us!!!

We have submitted other teas and will continue to keep you posted. If you need more information, please visit our website or send an e-mail to talk about tea.

The Tea Lady