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.
Episode #1 – Oasis Cafe & Bakery
Episode #2 – Lila
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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. Here is a post with 5 Things to remember when Gifting Tea.
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.
Serve 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.
Local Tea Company
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.
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.
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
Mote Beach Tea
“Why beach tea?” we are asked when serving this delightful fruit infusion.
A quick sniff and a small sample of this tea will whisk you away to an exotic beach on a deserted island. Dreams of dolphins, manatee, and other tropical delights will soon follow. This is a tea you would definitely want to be stranded with on your imaginary beach paradise.
It is impossible to resist a tea with such wonderful dried fruits and flowers. Ingredients include pineapple, coconut, rosehips, and hibiscus blended with natural flavors of those fruits. There is no true tea, so Mote Beach Tea is caffeine-free, especially nice after dinner or before bed, and can be a “sweet tooth” substitute for dessert.
As we have done with our other fruit tisanes, let’s look in more detail at the ingredients of Mote Beach Tea.
(Cocus mucifera) A tropical fruit rich in protein and very rich in the taste department! I absolutely love all things coconut. The ‘tree of life’ in its various forms delivers lots of healthy fats and fiber. I found that coconut has all the benefits of other dietary fibers: –
It lowers the risk of heart disease, helps prevent cancer, improves digestive function, and helps regulate blood sugar. Coconut has 4 times the amount of fiber compared to oat bran. New research shows that coconut fats are absorbed directly by the liver.
(Ananas cosmosus) This ‘fruit of many blessings,’ good health, good fortune, and longevity. Pineapple tastes wonderful and has some outstanding health benefits. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which helps digest proteins, Vitamins C and B, and many essential daily minerals. The sugars in pineapple are easily digested, the fiber content is high, and your immune system will receive a boost in protecting you from illnesses. Pineapple also has anti-inflammatory properties.
(Malus domestica) Not quite as exotic as our first 2 ingredients. Never the less, Apple is an exceptional fruit that we perhaps take for granted due to the continuous abundance of choices year-round in our grocery store.
Apple contains anti-oxidants, flavonoids, and pectin. Pectin is a natural fiber (apples being the richest source) that has recently been shown to act against bad cholesterol, decrease colon cancer chances, and reduce high blood pressure. Quercetin, which is primarily found in Apples (and Black tea!), belongs to a group of plant pigments called flavonoids that help fight disease.
The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” still holds.
(Rosa canina) The beautiful hip is the fruit of the Wild Dog Rose and takes its name from its earliest use to remedy bites from ‘mad’ or ‘wild’ dogs.
There are more than 10,000 species of cultivated roses. However, the medicinal species are natives of Europe. The hips are the reddish colored coverings that grow around the real fruits for protection. For instance, this is the reason they are often called “false fruits.” The nutrient value is as rich as their color. Rose hips enhance the function of everything from your skin to your innermost being. After that, they contain an array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.
(Hibiscus sabdariffa) If you have been following our blogs, by now, you will have become very familiar with this little gem, which is used as an enhancer in many teas now. If you have missed our previous descriptions of this healthy and colorful addition, check out Sabdariffa Spritzer.
Also, you can receive benefits in other ways. After brewing Mote Beach Tea, why not just add the steeped fruit to your morning cereal, yogurt, or smoothie for more exotic goodness!
Mote Beach Tea was created to celebrate and honor the work conducted at Mote Marine Laboratory. The tea is sold in distinctive, resealable blue bags to maintain freshness. On the back of each packet is an overview of the mission of Mote Marine Laboratory.
Mote is one of the treasures of Sarasota. This tea is a crowd-pleaser at our tea tent at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. Kids love it, though parents often enjoy it even more.
We launched this tea at the Night of Fish, Fun & Fright at Mote. Come this year, Friday, Oct. 22, from 6:30 to 9 pm.
Peach Paradise Tea
Let’s continue with our iced tea series and look at another very popular tisane here at Local Tea Company. The same format is used to break down the featured ingredients. I hope you will appreciate the delicious blend of flavors and the health benefits provided with Peach Paradise.
I hope you will enjoy finding out these details and stories.
A beautiful all-natural fruit blended Tisane or fruit infusion made from peach and apple pieces, hibiscus blossoms, elderberries, rosehip peel, passion fruit, and sunflower.
This tree is native to China but grown in the Mediterranean states as well as the USA. The three largest producers are California, South Carolina, and Georgia. The peach blossoms are highly prized in Chinese culture, and the fruit is symbolic of long life. Due to its delicious taste and soft texture in ancient China, ‘peach’ was also slang for ‘young bride.’ It has remained in many cultures a way to define pretty young women, peachy or peachy keen. Low in calories and a good source of healthy carbohydrates, the peach contains important nutrients, antioxidants, flavonoids, and carotenoids (good for eye health).
Containing anti-oxidants, flavonoids, and pectin, a natural fiber, Apples are the richest source. Recently, Apples have been shown to act against bad cholesterol, decrease colon cancer chances, and reduce high blood pressure. Quercetin, which is primarily found in Apples (and Black tea), belongs to a group of plant pigment flavonoids that help fight disease.
The term ‘The Big Apple’ was coined by the touring jazz musicians of the 1930s. They used the slang expression ‘apple’ for any town or city; therefore, playing New York City was to play the big time.
The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw. But, adds great taste and health benefits when dried and added to tea. The citrus peel contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and powerful antioxidants. It belongs to a group of plant chemicals called flavonoids, which can lower LDL cholesterol levels.
A member of the mallow family, Hibiscus, brings a sweet mellow taste and harmony to this blend. Hibiscus is very popular to blend with other fruits and flowers because of the beautiful color of the infused sepals. It has a cooling effect on the body. Hibiscus is high in Vitamin C, also with calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and iron. In Folklore medicine, Hibiscus is said to reduce cholesterol and act as a mild diuretic.
Rose Hip Peel
From the Wild Dog Rose, which takes its name from its earliest use as a remedy for bites from ‘mad’ or ‘wild’ dogs. Estimated to be more than 10,000 cultivated roses, the medicinal species are natives of Europe. Rose hips are reddish colored coverings that grow around the real fruits for protection, and for this reason, they are often called “false fruits.” The nutrient value is as rich. Their color enhances the function of everything from your skin to your innermost being, containing an array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.
Prepare Peach Paradise using one teaspoon per 8 oz of water. Fruit tisanes release quite a lot of flavor, so experiment until you find your personal preference. Use boiling water and an infusion time of up to 12 minutes. Infuse the tea longer for more depth of flavor and color. Add the spent bits to yogurt for a bit a flavor and texture.
Try blending with our Nilgiri black tea for delicious iced tea. Don’t forget if you are placing over ice, increasing the amount of tea, or reducing the amount of water. Add a slice of succulent peach to finish and enjoy!
Organic Red Berries
I just returned from a holiday in Bermuda (which was really fantastic!. The heat and humidity greeting me on arriving back in Florida were hard to believe! For those of you who are struggling with some high temps right now, and probably for the rest of summer here in Florida, let’s cool off with some refreshing iced tea!
When we talk of iced tea, most people immediately think of black tea, but some great herbals or tisanes make refreshing, healthy beverages for all the family. We have some favorites at Local Tea Company, and I would like to share them with you during the coming weeks.
Organic Red Berries
Organic Red Berries is an all-natural blended Tisane or fruit infusion made from hibiscus flowers, elderberries, bilberries, grapes, and citrus peel. This tea has a distinct refreshing berry flavor and bright cherry liquor, which is perfect iced. Let’s break down the list of ingredients and look at the benefits they can provide us.
A member of the mallow family, Hibiscus, brings a sweet mellow taste and harmony to this blend. Hibiscus has become very popular to blend with other fruits and flowers because of the beautiful color of the infused sepals. It has a cooling effect on the body and is high in Vitamin C, also having some calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and iron. In Folklore medicine, Hibiscus is said to reduce cholesterol and act as a mild diuretic.
This is a wonderful fruit that strengthens your respiratory tract. Elderberry helps to remove phlegm and mucous from the lungs and fights and reduces inflammation. A strong respiratory system is your best defense against allergic reactions in the future. Elderberry contains high amounts of Vitamin C, and A can be used as a gargle for throat and tonsil infections or soothing coughs and colds. I collected Elderberries from the hedgerows as they make superb wine, and in fact, hot elderberry wine is actually an old English cold remedy.
(Ribes nigrum or ‘black ribes’)
The berry of this shrub, which is mainly found in Northern/Central Europe and Asia, is used for the astringent flavor. It has very high antioxidant levels, especially Vitamin C. It also features a rare nutrient called GMA or gammo linoleic acid. This is the Omega 6 essential fatty acid.
This is a favorite flavor of mine. Black currant juice was a very popular cordial during my childhood. The bush thrived in the English climate and became a huge Vitamin C source during World War 2. Oranges were impossible to find. The popularity continued, and the sweet-tart taste is still enjoyed in jams, jellies, and desserts to this day.
Not as well known in the USA, this fruit was banned in early 1900 as the plant co-hosted a fungus attacking the pines. Therefore potentially threatening the logging industry. The Federal ban was lifted in 2003, and black currants are now making a comeback in NY, Vermont, Connecticut, and Oregon.
The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw. But adds a great taste and health benefits when dried and added to tea. The citrus peel contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and powerful antioxidants that belong to a group of plant chemicals called flavonoids. They have the potential to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Rose Hip Peel
From the Wild Dog Rose, which takes its name from its earliest use as a remedy for bites from ‘mad’ or ‘wild’ dogs. Estimated to be more than 10,000 cultivated roses, the medicinal species are natives of Europe. The Rosehips are reddish colored coverings that grow around the real fruits for protection, and for this reason, they are often called “false fruits.” The nutrient value is as rich as their color. They enhance the function of everything from your skin to your innermost being, containing an array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.
When preparing Organic Red Berries, use 1 teaspoon per 8oz serving. Heat the water until boiling and steep for anything up to 12 minutes. You may find that 3 minutes is as long as you require this tea to infuse. The longer the tea infuses, the darker and stronger the liquor will become. It will never have the bitterness you associate with over infused tea leaves; remember this is a Tisane. You can double the quantity of tea or half the water and pour over ice to serve iced.
At Local Tea Company, we serve this tea hot around the Christmas holidays. It is really is delicious with a cinnamon stick added too.
Organic Red Berries is naturally caffeine-free and suitable for all ages. This tea makes a great healthy, colorful drink for children and will make great ice pops too! Try adding seltzer water and a slice of lime for a different twist, Hibiscus Spritzer. Let me know if you have a special creation using this blend.
Stay cool AND healthy with this amazing tea.
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.
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.
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.
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 Paradise, Organic 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.
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!
Also, follow us on Facebook at Local Tea Journey
Think out of the Bag
You may have noticed our new mantra, “THINK OUT OF THE BAG.” We have tried it on for a few weeks and think it may be time to provide some details about what we are trying to do at Local Tea Company.
During the course of a typical week, we sample teas to many visitors at Selby Gardens and the Downtown Farmer’s Market here in Sarasota. We talk tea and find many tea drinkers thrilled to engage us with their favorite tea tales. Yes, we love our job.
It comes as no surprise that many people use teabags. But shocking is how many people have never tasted loose leaf tea. Sad to think so many people are missing out on the wonderfully unique experience of loose leaf tea.
And so, “THINK OUT OF THE BAG” our campaign to encourage people to choose loose leaf tea in place of tea in tired old bags. The subheading is, “Loose leaf tea is fresher, hipper, and just darn better for you.” We intend to convert teabag users to loose leaf tea drinkers through tasting, educating, and advocating loose leaf tea one sip at a time.
There are several reasons to choose loose leaf over tea bag tea, and we offer them here. If you, our fellow tea lovers, have other reasons we failed to mention, please share…
There is absolutely no comparison. Most bag tea is the lowest tea grade (dust or fannings) that comes out of the production area. There are some exceptions, but generally, the tea is very small particles and holds little flavor. Every step in the processing of loose leaf tea is designed to enhance the flavor and taste.
There are also some exceptions, and just because you buy loose leaf tea does not mean it will be of excellent quality. We and all of our fellow tea enthusiasts search for teas with exceptional freshness, quality, and taste, and you should too. We call this our “tea journey.” Loose leaf tea allows you to examine, smell, listen, and sample for maximum quality.
Despite what you may assume when first exploring the loose versus teabag conundrum, loose is more economical. Teabags are created for one-time use! Nearly all loose leaf tea varieties should be steeped at least twice, and some loose leaf teas can be steeped many more times. Work out the math, and you will be surprised how little loose-leaf costs you per cup.
Loose leaf tea is perfect for brewing a pot of tea to share with others, the starting point for a meaningful conversation. Offering a cup of properly steeped loose leaf tea is a wonderfully kind gesture, hard for anyone to refuse.
Just think how much packaging and bits of string you would save!
Whilst you may still gain some health benefits from tea bags, you will gain many more from loose leaf tea. My theory is that you will like the taste better and want to DRINK MORE, giving yourself the gift of good health.
Lastly, and for us, one of the most important reasons to drink loose leaf tea is the sheer enjoyment it brings into your life. Brewing a pot of tea for one is relaxing and contemplative, watching such majesty. Sharing a pot of tea with a friend is a nod to a more civilised era. The leaves gracefully dance in your pot and tantalize your taste buds with their fresh and fragrant bouquet.
Make time in your life for loose leaf tea and join Local Tea Company in helping all tea lovers to “THINK OUT OF THE BAG.”
the tea lady
Sabdariffa Spritzer or Holiday Hibiscus
I had some hibiscus tea in the refrigerator, and whilst I love this tea on its own, I cannot drink that much of it. (and for those of you who don’t know me, I am a tea drinker!)
I thought hibiscus would help keep me cool with the summer heat and give me all the other goodies Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Riboflavin, and antioxidant Anthocyanin. Hibiscus really is a good package of benefits.
I also drink a lot of Seltzer water, so here is what I did. I filled my glass half full with Hibiscus tea, some ice, and topped off with Seltzer. A twist of lime is good too. There you have HIBISCUS SPRITZER!
What a beautiful drink, so refreshing, and I can drink lots more Hibiscus this way. If you want to go all-out, use a martini glass, it looks brilliant.
Sip on a healthy, vibrant, non-alcoholic cocktail. Holiday Hibiscus.
Cheers to me, dears.