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5 Reasons Why You Will Love Rooibos Tea

This article by Timothy Agnew was posted to his Health & Wellness blog and reposted here with permission.  

Note: This is the first in a series of blogs on the science of tea. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)

Consumed in southern Africa for centuries, rooibos tea has a growing fan base and enormous health benefits to go along with the eclectic flavor. Also known as a red or bush tea, rooibos tea uses leaves from a shrub called aspalathus linearis, often grown on the western coast of South Africa. While it uses the “tea” moniker, The South African Rooibos Council considers rooibos an herb, not a true tea. But don’t let that dissuade you from trying this marvelous beverage.
Like most tea, prepare rooibos tea by steeping the fermented leaves. In addition, the beauty of rooibos is the longer the steep, the more delicious the flavor in your cup (unlike black teas, which tend to get more bitter). Rooibos tea offers something for everyone. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of drinking this unique tea.  You will love Rooibos tea.

1. Loaded with Antioxidants

For anyone concerned with a healthy lifestyle, rooibos is loaded with powerful stuff. Aspalathin and nothofagin are two vital antioxidants designed to boost your immune system and protect your body against all types of diseases (especially diabetes). Rooibos contains polyphenols, flavonols, flavonoids, and dihydrochalcones. These protective compounds have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimutagenic qualities. Polyphenols are organic chemicals known for their antioxidant capabilities. Flavonoids can help lower the risk of coronary heart diseases. This study suggests that regularly drinking organic red rooibos tea provides anti-inflammatory support, and the Sloan Kettering Institute suggests rooibos slows tumor growth.

2. Improves Heart Health

Since rooibos tea is anti-inflammatory in nature, the tea is a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. This helps regulate blood pressure and boost heart health. Many studies confirm the protective cardiovascular effects of red rooibos tea. Quercetin, another powerful antioxidant found in rooibos tea, helps prevent many heart conditions. It also promotes an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and inhibits LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from binding to arteries and blood vessels’ walls.

3. Managing Diabetes

Aspalathin, one of the antioxidants found in rooibos tea, has several unique traits. The Rooibos Council found that aspalathin in rooibos tea can help balance blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and glucose absorption by muscles, and boosts insulin secretion from the pancreas. Above all, rooibos has a dramatic protective effect on diabetes.

4. Skin Care

Because of the richness in antioxidants, vitamin D, and the array of minerals (zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and more) present in the tea, roobios is a dynamic force on the skin. Its anti-inflammatory components help with acne, eczema, and rashes, as it helps neutralize free radicals. And it makes you look beautiful!

5. Caffeine Free

Rooibos tea is completely caffeine-free and is the perfect choice for patients who have insomnia and for those who need to keep caffeine low in their diet. Similarly, a cup of rooibos tea just before bedtime can help you sleep better (and maybe enhance your dreams).  You will love Rooibos tea.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a truly healthy lifestyle tea, this strong and delicious tea has many benefits. Where to buy rooibos tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose leaf teas. They also offer 9 diverse blends of rooibos and so many others.

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 the quality, but generally, ‘Good Tea’ is a great investment.  Your return on that investment is a smooth and pungent flavor.  This depth and the consistent flavor are very addictive, and after that, it will result in multiple infusions of the leaf!

Life is too Short to Drink Bad Tea.

Cheap Teabag 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 in 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!

“You’re 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, eclectic, and delicious.

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

For lunch, check out 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!!!

All the teas are organic for dinner (or lunch), 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 teapots for the best tea experience possible.  Tristan and his wife like 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

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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

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

Drink this tea every day and look like this?

Drink this tea every day and look like this?

On the label of Goji Green tea from Local Tea Company, after sharing the ingredients and describing the subtle sweetness of this glorious tea, the label states, “live a long healthy life drinking this tea.”

Li Qing Yuen

en Tea Local Tea Co

Recently someone asked me about the phrase.  I mentioned the story of the Chinese herbalist Li Qing Yuen who was said to have consumed goji berries daily and lived to the age of 252.  I smiled after sharing these minor details and moved on with my day.  Later, I thought about the idea of living that long, and it got me thinking more about this story.  What would I look like at 250 years old?

And so, I dug a bit deeper into Li Qing Yuen and found this picture, along with more details.  I made myself a cuppa Goji Green and my smile returned as I read on.

His birth year was either 1736 or 1677, though his true birth date has never actually been confirmed. Li Qing Yuen was born in the Sichuan province, in Qijiang County.  He was an apprentice to elders who gathered herbs in the mountains.  He went on to have a military career and then returned to life as an herbalist on Snow Mountain.

A New York Times article from 1930 mentions Imperial Chinese Government records from 1827 congratulating Li Qing Yuen on his 150th birthday.  And then again in 1877 on his 200th birthday!  An earlier correspondent reported many older men in his village claimed their grandfathers knew Li Qing Yuen as a grown man when they were boys.

The 1933 Time Magazine article asked for his secrets to a long life.  Li Qing Yuen is quoted as saying,

“Keep a quiet heart,

Sit like a tortoise,

Walk sprightly like a pigeon, and,

Sleep like a dog.”

Goji berries

Li Qing Yuen Local Tea Co Sarasota

He spent most of his life in the mountains collecting and selling ginseng, goji berries, and other herbs. Along with his diet, Li Qing Yuen mentions drinking rice wine as another secret.  He claimed to have survived 23 wives and had more than 150 children.  He died in Kai County in May of 1933.  His 24th wife said he died of natural causes.

No mention of a daily dose of goji berries could be found in the official reports, and I really don’t know what sitting like a tortoise might look like.

I will leave the story on our product page because I think our Goji Green tea is phenomenal.  As phenomenal as the legend of Li Qing Yuen.

Goji Green Tea

Enjoy Goji Green as a hot tea to start your day, or as a refreshing iced tea (or try it as a Cold-Brewed Tea) as it is served most days as Secret Garden Green Tea at the Selby House Café operated by Michael’s on East at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Goji Green Tea Local Tea Co Sarasota SRQ

While you are savoring a cuppa of this wonderful green tea, contemplate your secrets to a long life.  And then please share them with me 🙂

Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea

Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea

Tis the season of Love, which brings to mind Diamonds, Chocolates, and Roses for most people?

Well, I can guarantee one thing there will be no diamonds in my house for Valentine.  My husband would be quick to tell you that he does not need one special day in the year to reinforce his love for me – his excuse not to buy diamonds?  There may be a chance of chocolates or flowers, but it is more likely to be something simple, like sitting down together for a pot of tea.

Bet you didn’t know Yorkshire men were so romantic!  But I confess this is a man who knows the way to my heart for sure.

I cannot think of a nicer way to celebrate our love than the process of taking tea together.  Like most people these days, we have conflicting schedules, and taking time to sit together, slow down and enjoy a spot of tea is an extraordinary gift.

White Mischief

White Mischief

What will we drink?  My husband loves White tea, so perhaps we will start our celebration with a little White Mischief.  Mischievous by name and by nature, this tea will represent our diamonds!  If you have ever smelled guava, you know the skin has a chocolate-like aroma, so when you put the tea in a warm pot, the smell is tantalizing.  Use water that is not quite boiling and infuse for 2 minutes only, but make more infusions from the same tea infusing for 4 minutes, 6 minutes, etc., until no flavor is left.  Not only is the taste fantastic but such good value too!

Chocolate Honeybush

Next, we will drink Chocolate Honeybush, and this will represent Chocolates in our Valentine celebration!  Honeybush is one of our favorite herbal teas, and this tea is full of romance with hints of chocolate, roses, and a good dose of caramel.  Delightfully indulgent, the chocolate and caramel blend so well with Organic Honeybush for a delicate flavor and without the calories.  Drink away without having to worry, yummy.

Chocolate Honeybush

Sweet Sin Rooibos

For our finale, we will drink some Sweet Sin Rooibos, and this will represent our Roses!  You may have read in a previous blog what an impact Rooibos now has on my life, but it is also a tea we drink together throughout the year, so it is perfect for our celebration of love.

Sweet Sin Rooibos

A simple, yet stunning blend of rooibos, roses, vanilla, and dried raspberries, this tea blooms with a perky fruitiness, is not too sweet yet has a soft and romantic finish.

And the moral of my tale?  You really don’t need to have diamonds, chocolates, or flowers to show your love for each other.  Give each other the gift of time enjoying tea together.  May you continue to celebrate your love throughout the year, and as I often say, TAKE TIME FOR TEA.  Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Astringency in Tea

Astringency in Tea

When we offer samples of tea at Selby Gardens or the Sarasota Farmer’s Market, many people respond with, “I don’t like the taste of tea.”  Our standard cheeky response is, “Because you have never tasted our tea?”

After probing a bit, people describe the bitter taste of tea.  The root cause is typically oversteeping, which is why we are so specific with steep times at Local Tea Company.  Loose leaf tea offers so much flavor, and when prepared incorrectly, will become astringent.

What causes astringency in tea?

Astringency

Astringency is that dry, puckering sensation that follows a sip of strong tea, an assertive red wine, or a bite into not quite ripe fruit.  Tannins are responsible. They are polyphenols or natural defensive compounds that actually help deter bacteria and fungi growing on the tea leaf. The sensation of astringency is caused by the ‘tanning’ of the proteins in the mouth’s saliva and mucous membranes.  Besides, this causes the surface tissues actually to contract and reduce lubrication.

Tannins

Tannins tend to get some bad press because they are often confused with tannic acid.  However, tannic acid is derived from oak leaves and is used for tanning leather!  When I was young, I remember well the threats from Dad that I would “get a good tannin if I misbehaved.”   I guess this is the source of the phrase? In other words, and to set the record straight, I do not have a leathery bottom now.  The threat served its purpose, and I am always a good girl!

The Camellia sinensis tannins found in loose leaf tea are responsible for the wonderful flavor and color in tea.  After that, a little astringency is nice, giving your drink some body and briskness (I love that word!) and cleansing your palate after eating. That’s why a cuppa always tastes so good after dinner.  You will find tannins very evident in green tea and especially black tea if steeped too long.

I will let you on to a little secret, though you may already know about if you drink your tea like the Brits.  If you add milk to the tea, the tannins attack the milk’s proteins rather than those in your mouth, and you have a less astringent taste.

Last but not least, Tannins are said to keep bad bacteria out of your mouth and help impede dental cavities.  In conclusion, celebrate Hot Tea Month and make your Dentist happy by drinking lots of tea!

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Hot Tea Month

Hot Tea Month

Happy New Year and Happy Hot Tea Month!

January is National Hot Tea Month and also the height of the “cold and flu season.” So what can you do to help prevent coming down with the cold and flu?

Drinking hot tea is sure to help you stay healthy.

Research

There is plenty of research that indicates that theanine, an ingredient found naturally in tea, supports the immune system. A cup of tea contains an average of 20- 25 mg of theanine, and drinking at least five cups per day will boost your natural resistance to infections.

Tea also contains flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds known for their antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, which scientists believe damage elements in the body and contribute to many chronic diseases.

There is also a herbal tea with great properties in the war against cold and flu: Zingibar officinale, the tart, knotty spice we know as ginger. The oils in ginger will create warmth in your body, help fight infection, and ease nasal and chest congestion. Ginger root makes a tea with nice clean notes and, of course, the familiar hot finish! Anti-inflammatory properties also make ginger a good sore throat remedy. A touch of honey or lemon makes an even more soothing tea when you are feeling unwell.

Why not go for a double dose of prevention and combine ginger with your favorite black tea or green tea such as Nilgiri or Pinhead Gunpowder. This is an invigorating infusion. I like to infuse the ginger root first (it needs at least 10 minutes of steeping) and then add to the prepared tea. If you live in a warmer climate like Florida (where we hardly notice it is winter!) and really do not want to drink hot tea, try serving this combo iced. It really is delicious.

Local Tea Company offers a wonderful dried ginger root from Thailand and an Organic Fair Trade Chamomile from Egypt.

Hot Tea Month

While drinking tea may not keep you from getting sick this season, it can certainly help your odds of staying healthy. So do something good for your body and enjoy a hot cuppa every day! Have a Happy Hot Tea month and stay well.

Cheers,
the TeaLady