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Tea Newsletter #6 – Green Tea vs Covid 19

Green Tea v Covid

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Happy 2021 Tea Lovers

Tea always seems to be in the news, especially in the first part of the year.  After all, January is National Hot Tea Month, so we have been…drinking a lot of hot tea.  How about you?  What’s in your cuppa?

Green Tea v Covid

Also, in the news, Green Tea fights Covid?  Really??  A research study from North Carolina State University says maybe.   While you are waiting for your vaccination, why not put some green tea in a teapot?  For an added boost, matcha!  We wrote about the many benefits of Matcha powdered green tea here, and Glynis shared a recipe for Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream here.  What tea is good for a sore throat?

Places

Chef Tony at the grill in the Suncoast Cafe at the Venice Airport in a tea blog post from Local Tea Company.This is not news, but if you are ever near the Venice Airport, be sure to visit the SunCoast Cafe in the terminal.  Chef Tony braises his pork for 13 hours and then compiles the best Cuban sandwich in my world.  They serve our teas, but you really have to go for the Cuban with rice and beans.

The cafe is busy and always has reggae music playing in the open kitchen.  There is a Bob Marley quote on the grill hood, and people really do fly in from all over for lunch at the SunCoast Cafe.  You should too.

Tea Quotes

At the end of Dr. Doolittle, I found this quote and thought it was of special ‘tea’ interest.  The last line in the book reads…

“You know, there’s always something rather attractive in the bad weather in England-
when you’ve got a kitchen-fire to look forward to…
Four o’clock!
Come along-we’ll just in nice time for tea.”

Hugh Lofting

Books

While we are on quotes, I loved ‘Steal Like an Artist’ by Austin Kleon, filled with quotes and inspirations.  Here is one I liked from Salvatore Dali, and if you are ever near Tampa, be sure to visit The Dali Museum.

“Those who do not imitate anything produce nothing.”
Salvator Dali

Next on my list for 2021 is the Queen’s Gambit novella by Walter Tevis.
Tea Pairing – I suggest Roasted Mate; all of our yerba mates bring out the cleverness in me and gives me a boost in the afternoon.

Sip Locally Tea Blog

Green Tea Fights Covid? – Green Tea v Covid 19.  What tea is good for a sore throat?

Cremesh Coffee & Bakery – New Serving Partner in Bradenton

Green will Make you Happier (Guest Post by Tim Agnew)

Lights in Bloom at Selby Gardens 

Watching 

I did NOT know there was a remake of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ when I mentioned James Herriot’s book in my last Newsletter.  And, yes, I am enjoying the show very much!  The accent reminds me of another Yorkshire lass:):)  I’ll let Glynis pair a tea in the next newsletter.

Listening – Podcast

The podcast LBJ‘s War is a bit dry but a welcome escape.  The last trip I took before the Pandemic was to Austin, Texas.  An unexpected connection to Austin Kleon, who also lives in Austin!  Anyway, we visited the LBJ Presidential Library, my only visit to any Presidential library.  Very cool.
Tea Pairing – Something sweet, probably Sweet Sin Rooibos (also ideal for Valentine’s Day!) and probably iced tea or ice tea.

Listening – Music

I found Lloyd Cole on Twitter and have been listening to his Spotify Channel.  A blast from the past, I hadn’t really thought about him or The Commotions in many years. East Lansing’s most important musical duo, Kwi-J, introduced me to Lloyd Cole’s music in the ’80s.  Cole is now a golfer and maybe the next subscriber to GolfToons?  He sells his handwritten lyrics. I think?
Tea Pairing – I’m going with Pioneer Tea, a blend of citrus, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and sweetened with beetroot and carrot flakes.  Very unique, and so, also, a nod to Dali.

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

Your Local Tea Team

Cold Brewing Loose Leaf Tea

Cold Brewing Loose Leaf Tea

Cold Brewing Loose Leaf Tea.  In Florida, we never really experience the depth of winter weather that the rest of the US must endure. Consequently, we continue drinking iced tea all year round. According to the USA Tea Council, 85% of Americans choose to drink their tea iced, so there is still much-iced tea drunk this time of year.

As Hot Tea month comes to an end, I want to share a great way to make iced tea that works really well for us at Local Tea Company. We think you will love it too.

Cold brewing loose leaf tea is simple and yields consistent results with little effort involved. This method of brewing is for true teas. It may work for some herbals, but our experience is not a suitable method for making iced Rooibos as this requires hot water to release flavor.

Jasmine Green tea makes a wonderfully floral iced tea.

Please do not limit yourself to a particular tea: we cold brew black, oolong, green and white tea with equally good results. You may be surprised at an Earl Grey, and even our Lapsang Souchong is excellent cold brewed.

Cold Brewing Tea

Let’s get started.

  1. Good water always makes a difference. If your local water is heavily contaminated with chlorine, this will affect the final taste. Choose filtered water for the best results.
  2. Quality loose leaf tea will give you the best taste, but this is also a good way to use tea bags you have had in your pantry for too long. Life is too short to drink lousy tea, so mix and match and use it!
  3. Next, you will need some T Sacs. Put your tea in the T SAC, but don’t pack it too full to allow room for infusion and flavor to release. Use a second T SAC rather than overpacking. A tea maker such as the Timolina or Magic Filter works exceptionally well.
  4. The quantity of tea will depend on your personal preference but as a guide. We use 30gm or around 1 oz of tea per gallon. This works out to a teaspoon for 8-10oz of water if you are making a smaller quantity. We suggest you try different measurements and times to achieve the taste you like the best.
  5. Fill a sealed container with cold water and place the T sac with the tea in cold water, and then straight into the refrigerator for a period of 10-18 hours or longer. The tea will be deeper in color and flavor if infused for a longer time. Take the tea out of the water after 24 hours as we have found leaving the tea in the container will cause the tea to spoil faster.

Slow and Gentle

This slow, gentle process results in a much smoother, naturally clear, clean, and sweet-tasting tea that will last for 3 days. Do not be tempted to keep your tea too long and risk the possibility of spoilage. We are confident this is unlikely to happen as you will love the taste so much you will want to drink more!

Make up a gallon right now, and enjoy it tomorrow.

And in our Newsletter #4 Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better, we share a story from a customer who steeps her tea three times, two times using this Cold Brew method, and then uses hot water for the last steep.

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

Cochin Masala Chai

Cochin Masala Chai

January is National Hot Tea Month, and all over the country, we are experiencing some chilly weather, even here in Florida.  As everyone is much more appreciative of the benefits of drinking a nice hot cuppa, I can think of no better way to celebrate hot tea month than drinking the hottest of teas, Masala Chai.  Here is a post Time of the Year for Chai Tea.

Chai

Chai is the generic word for tea in much of the World. The British adopted the word as slang, and ‘cha’ or ‘char’ became the meaning of a teacup.   So what is true Masala Chai?

This beverage from the Indian subcontinent is made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic spices and herbs.  The traditional process of making chai involves actively boiling the tea leaves over sustained heat with spices.  While there are many variations of preparation today (some not too good either!), there are four components that remain true to chai tea’s original idea.

Chai starts with black loose leaf tea.
  1. Strong black tea, usually Assam, but can be Ceylon. The loose leaf tea is strong, so spices and sweeteners do not overpower the flavor.
  2. Sweetener, usually white sugar, palm, or coconut sugars. A large quantity is required to bring out the flavor of the spices. You can use honey or agave also. Condensed milk can be used, which also adds sweetness.
  3. Milk, usually whole milk for richness, but alternatives like Soy can be used. 1/4 to 1/2 parts are required.
  4. Spice, usually warm spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn, and cloves, with cardamom being the predominant flavor. Other possible additions are nutmeg, rose, licorices root, almond, and saffron.

Cochin Masala Chai

At Local Tea Company, we offer an outstanding Cochin Masala Chai, authentic and gives a warm traditional flavor. It bears the name of a busy port, which also has a long history in trading spices. We like to drink it without anything added and have been sampling our chai in the Tea Room at Selby Gardens, and probably one of these Saturdays at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Go ahead and try the different options and see which one you like the best.  Then put your feet up, stay warm with a cup of Cochin Masala Chai and celebrate Hot Tea month!

Cheers,
the TeaLady