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.
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
Easter Wishes with Chocolate Honeybush
“The Spirit of Easter is all about Hope, Love and Joyful living.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
High Tea or Afternoon Tea?
Our sister company, Local Catering, has seen an increased interest in tea parties at Selby Gardens. There was an intimate wedding last month. I hear the term “High Tea” used as a reference, when, in fact, “Afternoon Tea” is a more accurate description.
I will attempt to explain the differences between “High Tea” and “Afternoon Tea.” I will share a bit of history on how these very different meals got their specific titles.
“High Tea” does not refer to fancy sandwiches and small cakes served with elegant table settings. Rather, a meal served in working-class households as the main meal of the day, usually early evening.
Similarly, at the height of Victorian times, lower and middle-class families could only afford one meal per day. Served at the end of the working day, the meal typically consisted of bread and cheese, potatoes, vegetables, maybe cold meat and pickles, for the more affluent, fish. Black tea would be served along with the food. This is the meal most families would now refer to as dinner.
For instance, growing up, this was the main meal at the house and was called “tea.” Today, I still refer to our evening meal as tea. Often asking myself, “What are we having for tea today?” As I am more sensitive to caffeine, we will drink Rooibos or Honeybush or other herbal tea.
Why is this meal known as “High Tea”? Above all, the meal is served on a dining table, in contrast to the much lower table on which “Afternoon Tea” is served.
Anna, Duchess of Bedford
Credit goes to Anna, Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) for creating “Afternoon Tea.” The evening meal was often served after 8 pm, and the Duchess would get a ‘sinking feeling’ (low blood sugar levels associated with hunger!) in the afternoon hours. She instructed her staff at Belvoir Castle to make up small sandwiches and cakes. Anna invited friends for tea and conversation. The meal was served on lower tables in the drawing-room, allowing for intimate conversation. The tradition of “Afternoon Tea” is still prevalent.
There are many variations of “Afternoon Tea” with small sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream. Typically, a huge variety of teas are available. “Tea” can be a sophisticated, dressy, and special occasion or a simple, casual, and relaxed meal at the end of the day.
In conclusion, whichever “Tea” you choose, the idea remains a wonderful way to spend quality time with friends or loved ones, enjoying some food and conversation. We should all do this more often!
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
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.
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.
If you have no tea lovers in your life, then give yourself the gift of tea. YOU deserve it!
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.