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Tea Newsletter #5 – Supporting Local, Thank you

Supporting Local, Thank you

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Happy Holidays Tea Lovers

Last week was Small Business Saturday and then Cyber Monday.  We had record sales at our online shop.  I am massively grateful and sincerely appreciate all the support AND the many kind notes received with your orders.

This year more than ever, supporting local businesses is vital.  And it’s wonderful to see so many people finding clever ways of support.

Before we opened in 2007, we established our three operating tenets

  • Buy local products and services, 
  • Celebrate local treasures,
  • Protect local environments.

We still use these ideals for how we operate today.  And, while no tea is grown in Sarasota, we consider our teas ‘locally inspired.’

Thank you for supporting our Serving Partners.  This month I am thrilled to add three new locations offering our teas; Cheesecake CutieCremesh Coffee & Bakery, and Vernona Gourmet.  While you have every reason to doubt my neutrality, all of our Serving Partners are the BEST!

Onto the Holidays in Sarasota…

Places

The Selby House Cafe is one of our Serving Partners; they sell a lot of our tea at Selby Gardens.  What is better than walking around this botanical waterfront oasis with a hot cuppa?

Lights in Bloom starts on December 12th when Selby Gardens is transformed into a holiday celebration.  The Bromeliad Tree is lit, so grab a cuppa and enjoy the splendor!
Tea Pairing – Selby Select Rooibos was our first locally inspired tea and still our best seller.

Sip Locally Tea Blog – recent posts

5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea

The Time of Year for Chai

GIY – Grow it yourself

I found this article about creating your own Herbal Tea Garden filled with great tea details, and the wonderful quote below.
Tea Pairing – Organic Egyptian Chamomile

                     “We often think that drinking anything without caffeine is innocuous,
but herbal tea has power.”         Timothy d’Offay

Places

Recently, Dianne and I visited The Ringling Museum to check out the Kabuki exhibit.  Fantastic.

Every visit to Ringling is special.  The Gallery with the enormous Rubens is my favorite spot in Sarasota, absolutely transportive.  It feels like Firenze!

We revisited the Japanese Tea Room, then walked to and along the waterfront near the Ca d’Zan, back past the newly filled wading pool and the Mable’s Rose Garden.  We are lucky to have this treasure in Sarasota.
Tea Pairing – I’m going with the Big Top Tea, and next time we’ll go into the Circus exhibits.

TV

Every version of Fargo is a blend of suspense and odd humor.  Always a twist and filled with surprises.
Tea Pairing – Pinhead Gunpowder Green Tea a dangerous-sounding tea!

Books

It is a short one, but I started ‘The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle’ this week.  Growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian because of both Dr. Doolittle and James Herriot’s books.  And now I sell tea!
Tea Pairing – Little Monkey or DragonFruit Green Tea!  Both good choices:):)

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

Your Local Tea Team

Healthy Living Tea

Healthy Living Tea

I subscribe to a healthy living magazine each month and look forward to reading wellness articles. Over recent months, I have noticed how the features of tea and the benefits of drinking tea have started to increase, which is great to see. This month, two Local Tea Company favorite herbs mentioned, which prompted me to share a bot more detail about both here.

The first is Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa), which makes an amazing iced tea with lovely red color and unique, bright, tart taste. Research tells us that this tea is said to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin C but is best know for the cooling effect drinking this tea has on your body.

Hibiscus

Imagine that, a natural body refrigerant which came in very handy this summer at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market! It is perfect when garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.  I have written a lot about Hibiscus in this blog, including last summer, but we have a picture!!

Boil four cups of water and infuse with ½ cup of leaves. Leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes. If you leave for longer, the liquor becomes darker and more flavorful. Leave to cool before pouring over ice. (Be careful when working with Hibiscus as it may stain).

The second herb is Organic Egyptian Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), known for its gentle caressing nature.  We offer a Fair Trade Chamomile grown in the Nile River Valley.  I had written about Chamomile in an earlier post (Cami to Chamomile) when I was not a fan.  I have really grown to not only appreciate but truly enjoy my “cami,” and I hope you do as well.

Egyptian Chamomile

A warm tea of chamomile flowers is floral and rich. Chamomile calms, cools, and tranquilizes to help you fall asleep naturally. Not only can you drink as a tea, but you can also use it as a gentle spritzer on your skin or in your bath water as Chamomile relaxes tension in your muscles and softens the skin. For you blondes out there, Chamomile will highlight your hair when used as a rinse!

For the spritzer, use a tablespoon of dried flowers per 8 ounces of water. Cool before pouring into a spray bottle or soak a clean cloth in the liquor and use it as a cooling compress.

These are two beautiful tea treats for your body and soul.  Stay well with Hibiscus and Chamomile.  Healthy Living Tea

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

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

Cami to Chamomile

Cami to Chamomile

Someone asked me about Chamomile tea.  This herbal blend is not one of my favorite teas; however, I wanted to find out why it is such a popular beverage.

Well, I found some information that has really piqued my interest.  I might even be contemplating adding it to the pot!

The Chamomile plant (Matricaria recutita) is native to Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region.  I found a long history of use for this mild botanical.  Most interesting, it’s safe to use for long periods of time without any adverse effects.  Be sure to consult your doctor.

Close up picture of Organic Egyptian Chamomile from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Science Daily cites a study where researchers found over a 2 week period; chamomile tea drinkers experienced increased anti-bacterial activity in their urine.  In simple terms, this means that chamomile can boost your immune system and fight illness.  The study also found an increase in amino acids helping to alleviate muscle spasms and relax nerves.

Chamomile can help people suffering from stress, spasms, and cramps.  Others found relief from intestinal discomfort and the reduction of gas.  Therefore, drink chamomile tea after meals to alleviate these symptoms.

Will I convert to drink Chamomile tea?  Perhaps, now that I know more about this lovely herbal tea.

The Tea Lady