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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

‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)

‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)

Let’s make this post ‘Tea for the Tillerman‘ Part 2.  And you can expect this to be a 3 – part blog post.  

Can someone tell me the difference between a release, remastered, and a re-recorded when it comes to musical albums?  Well, now, I know!

The new, RE-RECORDED album from Yusuf / Cat Stevens is scheduled for RELEASE on September 18th, 2020.  In my last blog post, Tea for the Tillerman – 50 years later, I had a wonderful time listening to the REMASTERED version of ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ while considering the album cover. 

Album art for remastered version of Tea for the Tillerman

However, I thought I was listening to the new RELEASE of the RE-RECORDED album, rather than the REMASTERED version of the original RELEASE.  The music sounded great to me, and arguably I was more focused on the cover album and the story.  

Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea

Well, I heard from a few readers, including Team Yusuf / Cat Stevens, in Dubai.  Thank you all for setting me straight! 

  1. The deer in the background is actually a woman—the same woman bringing the rain and mentioned in Tea for the Tillerman.  Obvious now when I look closer, but can you see a deer if you squint?
  2. Tillerman is a farmer or someone who tills the soil.  I thought as much, and it is nice to have the details confirmed.
  3. The tea in the Tillerman’s mug is an English Breakfast Blend. Prepared as Yusuf enjoys “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.”  That’s what is in his cuppa.
  4. Tillerman’s single front tooth refers to his (and Yusuf’s) love of sweet things. 

Cool, I gladly stand corrected!  And enlightened.  I always want to know how people take their tea for this Sip Locally blog.

As for the upcoming album due September 18th, there is new artwork.  Though, more accurate might be a revised or remastered album cover.  The obvious difference is the rich shade of blue connoting nighttime.  I’ll wait for the album to share my thoughts on the new cover art. The music will no doubt, guide my art inspiration. 

Besides, I have since learned the producer and nearly all of the musicians are back with Yusuf to rerecord the album.  Even cooler!

Album Cover art for Tea for the Tillerman 2 to be released September 18, 2020 by Yusuf Cat Stevens

Tea for the Tillerman Part 2 Album Art

Similarly, here is a nugget about the album

“50 years have passed and the Tillerman has returned back to Earth from his intergalactic adventures, only to discover the world is in need of love and friendship more than ever.  Always the optimist, he brews a magnificent tea, ready for those who want to join in creating a moment of calm.” 

A nice thought, any moment of calm in these turbulent times.

Thanks again, and stay tuned.

 

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

Logo for Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis Florida

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #8 – The Overton Rosemary District Sarasota

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Cuppa Tea at The Overton

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we visit The Overton in the Rosemary District of Sarasota to chat with owner Christian Hershman.

When we visited this week, the MTV reality show “Siesta Key” was wrapping up filming. And, per usual, The Overton had a buzz about it. The Overton is Americano, fast-casual at its finest. Christian is a groundbreaker, and The Overton does it again.

The food is “On Trend” and eclectic, but more important, Delicious!!! They do things the Overton Way from the ‘Avo Toast,’ thick-cut bacon, and porridge, along with many other brekkie favorites.

For later in the day, The Roadside Burger is probably the most popular with fresh ground beef by the Butcher Block. The Fries are available in beef tallow or olive oil, and the list goes on…

Also, The Overton makes two styles of cold-brewed iced teas, a Nitro and a Sparkling.  The Nitro is frothy with a thick foam.  The Sparkling is a bit bubbly but not overwhelming.  Try them and let us know which one you like better!

 

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 #8 The Overton in the Rosemary District Sarasota

The Overton Logo

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

Pu Erh Teas

Pu Erh Teas

When I got to work this morning (if you call going to Selby Gardens, sipping, talking tea all-day work!), I decided to crack open our Young Pu-erh.  Pronounced Poo-Air, a special broad-leaf tea, Pu’er tea takes its name from the Pu’er county in the Province of Yunnan of China.

This is not a tea I reach for often.  Maybe I should not call myself a dedicated tea drinker because of this.  Though I was given a newspaper article about an area called Menghai in China. NYTimes Jan 2009

Pu'Er Tea

Farmers and citizens got rich investing and selling the bricks of Pu-er tea produced in Menghai.  Some buyers promoted it as liquid gold.  When the value hit record levels, they dumped their stock and disappeared.  Now it is less than a 10th of the peak price.  The tea traders are no longer buying, leaving the farmers and citizens broke.

Pu er Black Tea

What is Pu er tea?   Let’s talk about this tea that people are willing to pay huge amounts of money for.  Pu Erh goes through an additional oxidation process, much like composting, where bacterial and fungal fermentation occurs.  Many refer to it as pu erh fermented tea.

The tea can then be aged for many years.  Aged Pu Erh tea leaves are often compressed into cakes or bricks.  Then the tea is wrapped in tissue paper to absorb moisture. The bricks are left to mature in dark, dry places, enhancing the already earthy flavor.

Pu Erh is said to lower cholesterol, cure hangovers, help with digestive problems, aid metabolism, and is low in tannins.  Our Young Pu Erh at Local Tea Company is loose rather than compressed.  The flavor is very pungent and earthy. With a deep inhale, the tea smells like a compost heap and looks like tar.  So, I know it’s going to be good for me! Pu'er Tea

How many Steeps?

I finish the first steep and continue with four more steeps.  The later steeps are better than the initial steep. I find a lovely sweet beet tasting dark golden liquor with the fourth and fifth steep.

By this time, late in the afternoon, I think Pu Erh should be brewed more often.  I should share samples with visitors to Selby Garden as well as the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  I’m not sure I would invest pots of money in Pu-erh, but it is definitely worth experiencing.  What a fascinating thing this drink is called Tea!

Cheers,
the Tea Lady

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 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 1736 or 1677, though his true birth date has never 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 🙂

Here is a post about how green tea can make you happier.

Questions

  • What green tea good for?  How much Green Tea is too much?  Drink more green tea that is the best advice!
  • Which Green tea is Best?  Our Goji Green tea is our most popular green tea.  We have many other flavored green teas that people love.  There are many green tea benefits.
  • Is green tea good for you?  Or, why is Green tea good for you?  A combination of antioxidants and L-Theanine make green tea one of the healthiest beverages you can consume.
  • Is green tea caffeinated?  Yes, there is caffeine in green tea.  Rather than drinking decaffeinated green tea, we suggest you try an herbal, fruit, or rooibos tea.  There will always be a bit of caffeine in decaffeinated tea, so beware!

Tea Caddy and George Harrison Quote

Tea Caddy George Harrison

‘I’m a tidy sort of bloke. I don’t like chaos.

I kept records in the record rack, tea in the tea caddy and pot in the pot box’

George Harrison 1943-2001

George Harrison

I found this quote from my favorite Beatle very amusing. I also share the sentiment, excluding the part about the pot of course!

The tea caddy is a favorite kitchen item from my childhood.  I have memories of opening our caddy and inhaling the rich smell of loose tea when Mum gave me me instruction to “put the kettle on and make a pot of tea”.

Tea Caddy

A TEA CADDY is a box, jar, canister, or other receptacle used to store tea.  The word is believed to have derived from ‘catty’, the Chinese pound.  The earliest examples that came to Europe were of Chinese porcelain in the shape of a ginger jar.  They had lids or stoppers and were most frequently blue and white.

Tea Caddy from Ming Dynasty

Later designs used a variety of materials with wood becoming  very popular. Tea was very expensive so the caddies were locked and the keys only available to the lady of the house.  In the late eighteenth and through the nineteenth century the caddies became even more elaborate often mounted in brass and delicately inlaid, with knobs of ivory, ebony or silver.

As the price of tea decreased toward the end of the nineteenth century, the use of lockable caddies declined.  Those precious tea leaves which had held pride of place in ornate boxes, and displayed on mantles and sideboards.  The Tea Caddy was replaced with cheaply produced tins and boxes stored in the kitchen.  That was the style of caddy you would find in our kitchen!

I still use several caddies in my kitchen today.  My favorite is fashioned from a tin which used to contain a British candy called Liquorice Allsorts. It makes an excellent tea caddy.

Do you have a favorite tea storage container?  Your comments are always welcome.  Tea Caddy George Harrison

Cheers,

Glynis Chapman

Pinhead Gunpowder and Guy Fawkes

Pinhead Gunpowder and Guy Fawkes

November 5th is the perfect time to talk about our Pinhead Gunpowder green tea. For me, this tea conjures up images of Guy Fawkes, a very celebrated and notorious fellow in Great Britain.  Born in Yorkshire, I am sure you have seen the mask below on Halloween or in the “V for Vendetta” movies or comic books.  Do you know what Guy Fawkes was notorious for besides drinking Yorkshire tea?

Guy Fawkes

“Remember, remember the Fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.”

Guy Fawkes

In 1605 a group of conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the House of Parliament by filling the cellar with explosives.  Known as the “Gunpowder Plot,” the conspirators wanted a Catholic King rather than the protestant King James I.  The plan did not work, and Guy Fawkes was captured, hung, drawn, and quartered for his part in the plot.  However, his name lives on.  Guy Fawkes Night is a festival in Britain remembering the Gunpowder Plot and the King’s survival.

Every year on 5 November, Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated with bonfires in towns across England.  Dummies, or “guys” are burnt atop the fires.  A great tradition we children anticipated with excitement was making the “guy” dummies a few days before the 5th. We carried the dummies around the village, shouting “penny for the guy.”  The quality of our ‘guy’ was determined by the number of pennies we collected.

Today, the Guy Fawkes mask is worn by protesters to demonstrate their commitment to a shared cause against the establishment, as was Mr. Fawkes’s intent.

Pinhead Gunpowder

 

Gunpowder Green Tea

And so to our pinhead gunpowder, a classic green tea from Zhejiang province in China is made from leaves rolled into small pellets that look like actual gunpowder.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people comment on this fascinating tea.  The tiny pellets transform, unfurling into graceful, dancing leaves.  If you have a glass teapot, enjoy the performance.

Gunpowder green tea is harvested in April, as this is the absolute best time of year for quality leaves.  The leaves are withered to reduce moisture content making them more pliable, steamed, rolled, and dried.  Although the individual leaves were formerly rolled by hand, most gunpowder tea is rolled by machines today.

After that, the highest grades are still rolled by hand.   This rolling process also renders the leaves less susceptible to any breakage and allows them to retain more of their flavor and aroma. You can determine the freshness of gunpowder green tea by the sheen of the pellets.  And the smaller, the better, as the size is associated with quality, hence the name pinhead.

Our Pinhead Gunpowder green tea brews darker than most green teas with a rich flavor and a slightly smokey finish.  I have enjoyed Pinhead straight up, infusing multiple times, but it can be brewed very successfully with ginger or peppermint and used as an iced tea.

I hope you enjoyed the gunpowder plot, and please do enjoy many infusions of this classic tea.

Cheers,

Glynis Chapman