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.
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.
Episode #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village
Our latest episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ” is now available from our YouTube Channel. We visit Cafe in the the Park in downtown Sarasota in Payne Park. Each episode 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.
Episode #3 – Cafe in the Park
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.
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 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 and every 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, a 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 gojiberries or any other subtle sweetness that brings out that cool wonderful green tea flavor. Yes, white teas too. Drink them!
Drink great rooibos teas. Drink a lot of rooibos. This is wonderful in the afternoon when there is no fear of caffeine stealing sleep from you. Drink Rooibos or Bush Tea when faced with solving a mystery ☺☺ This 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 a gorgeous jams and jellies. Drink a fabulous chamomile tea from Egypt and dream of Cleopatra or floating down the Nile.
Drink great fruit teas. Share them with a young person. Introduce a child to the joys of tea. Start with the anticipation of the kettle boiling, then take a moment to select a tea to fit the mood, watch when hot water meets tea leaves and the flavors release. This 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 the very first steps.
And then there is the perfection that are Mote Beach Tea or Little Monkey fruit teas. Make a cuppa 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 in to a great cuppa tea. Where the tea was plucked, how far it might have traveled, who else might be enjoying the exact 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 up 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 want you to 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 just have to be a bit creative about it. The story is available and there is joy to be had.
Serve a great cuppa tea in a fine piece of China, in a cup that needs a saucer. Take a moment and make it special. You will enjoy the experience even morel, 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
Tea is a wonderful way to show your love, appreciation, respect or that you are thinking about someone. Perhaps the universal gift, as age, gender, geography, time of year, relationship status or any other boundary can be crossed safely, without confusion. While the gift of tea can be personal, the truth is everybody has a tea they like or love, some just don’t know it yet.
We recently added a Tea of the Month program, either 3 months or 6 months. That got us thinking about “gifting” tea. Here are a few thoughts to consider when giving the gift of tea…
1. Caffeine or Herbal (caffeine-free)
Caffeine is an important consideration, especially sensitive as we are here in Florida. Caffeinated teas are a great way to begin the day or a superb lift in the late afternoon, but to the novice or the beginning tea drinker, caffeine can create problems. A wonderfully flavored black tea like our Organic Strawbango might not be the best tea to drink after dinner. I always ask the server for their home number, when ordering herbal or caffeine free beverages, so if I am awake at 2:30 in the morning, I know who to call. When in doubt, go with an herbal, rooibos or fruit tea. You can’t go wrong with our Organic Peppermint, Selby Select Rooibos or Siesta Tea (fruit tea)
2. Loose leaf tea or teabags
We are quite partial to loose leaf tea at Local Tea Co, tea lovers and experienced tea drinkers tend to prefer a loose leaf tea. The tea typically will be of a better quality, fresher and a much better value. It cost money for the convenience of bagging tea! Loose leaf teas also provides more flexibility in how much tea you might want to brew; tea for two or three or a big pot for your sewing circle. That said, teabags especially biodegradable ones we offer, SOILON sachets, are very convenient for anyone traveling or those interested in trying a new tea. Check out the many options of our tea samplers available in loose leaf or in sachets. If they don’t love the tea, it can always be served to guests when they come over for a cuppa.
3. Flavored tea or and pure blends
Would you rather a gift of Organic Sarasotan Breakfast blend (an unflavored pure blended tea) or our Organic Earl Grey (flavored with the oil of Bergamot), this may be the easiest comparison. Though there are so many spectacular blended teas from our Goji Green or Jasmine green tea with flowers to our Cochin Masala Chai or our many rooibos blends. What is better than a strong cup of pinhead gunpowder green tea or a pure Organic Sencha. Maybe a pot of our ruby Organic Red Berries that you can share with the kids or enjoy as an iced tea later in the day. Tough one, but that is why you are an expert gift giver, and you really can’t go too wrong!!
Is the gift for a serious tea drinker, someone loaded with tea accessories? Do they really need another tea ball with an elf Fob? Go with an expensive porcelain mug with painted flowers. Our cat mugs sold incredibly well at our Selby Gardens Tea Shop, and they still sell floral mugs in the Garden Shop. Or for a more modern gift, one of the newer steep-in-one traveling mugs. There are lots of options for tea lovers, and for the newbie just starting their tea journey, a box of tea bags or a few mesh balls of different sizes or tea spoons will spark a conversation. Or get them an inspired gift, maybe a bamboo tea basket and challenge them to figure it out! And there is also the whole category of things that can be added to tea that make for a wonderful gifts, honey or jams are always welcome.
Most important is not to overthink your gift. The person you are gifting is going to appreciate the gesture you are making, and the thought behind this gift. They will love it as much they love you. Find a clever and creative tea, we recommend our Mable’s Rose Rooibos or the tropical fruity Mote Beach Tea. Find a tea that has some meaning, or to be realistic, something that can easily be ‘Regifted’.
John Greene Webb and his family came to Spanish Point in 1867 where they established a homestead on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay. They planted citrus, sugar cane, vegetables and built a packing house to prepare their produce for market.
All of us who enjoy living in beautiful Sarasota owe much to the hardship John and his family must have endured. At Local Tea Company, we can think of no finer way to celebrate early settlers to Sarasota than with an amazing new herbal tea we have named Pioneer Tea and created for Historic Spanish Point.
Predominantly citrus, Pioneer Tea contains orange and tangerine pieces, blackberry and eucalyptus leaves, lemongrass, beetroot and carrot flakes, apple pieces and hibiscus flowers. Perfect for our climate and caffeine-free, Pioneer Tea makes a stunning iced tea but all you folks who have to brave cold weather for several months can enjoy sipping this tea hot too. (Think of us when you do!)
There are over 600 varieties of Orange (Sweet Orange is Citrus sinensis). Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) is another variety of citrus and both are certainly sweet, juicy and delicious ingredients in this tea. The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw but adds great taste when dried and added to tea.
Suitable for everyone, oranges are rich in calcium, phosphorous, potassium, citric acid and beta carotene. The Vitamin A they contain gives us healthy skin and mucous membranes!
The other ingredients in Pioneer Tea are all equally as sweet and delicious…
Blackberry leaves. (Rubus fructicosus) Steeped (sorry!) in ancient folklore the people of Medieval England believed blackberry would protect them from rheumatism, boils and blackheads! To do so meant creeping under the bush to gather fruit, but only at the right time of the moon! We do not suggest such extreme measures, simply drink the tea. Blackberry leaves bring flavor and harmony to this lovely tea.
Eucalyptus leaves. (Eucalyptus globulus, folium being the leaf) A native of Australia, the Eucalyptus tree is used to make the Digeridoo and is known as the ‘Fever Tree’ because of antimicrobial and bacteria fighting properties! The oil from the leaf is pungent and when taken in tea is recognized as being very effective in de-clogging the nose, fighting throat infections and washing out the mouth.
Lemongrass. (Cymbopogen citratus) Native to tropical climates like Florida, lemongrass lends a lemony taste to our tea along with some Vitamin C for added zest. I like to think of Lemongrass as bringing both harmony and aroma. Native to India, Lemongrass is used in Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve coughs and nasal congestion. Another valuable addition to our tea!
Beetroot. (Beta vulgaris) I was delighted to include beetroot in this tea as it is one of my favorites! Beetroot is full of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant which supports healthy heart and liver function, is good for blood pressure and cholesterol as well as containing lots of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, manganese, potassium and folic acid)
Carrot flakes. (Daucus carota) Another favorite, the carrot gets its characteristic bright orange color from beta carotene which our body can easily assimilate, store and convert to Vitamin A. Beta carotene is an antioxidant which fights damage caused by free radicals that can invade our bodies causing disease, also helping regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. A bonus benefit is improved hair, skin and nails!
I am sure you will agree that this is a delightful line up of ingredients and perfectly captures the zest for life which early pioneers must have possessed in plenty.
Spanish Point was later acquired by Bertha Palmer and Pioneer Tea is a lovely balance to our Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea, as well as a wonderful addition to our Celebrating Sarasota collection of teas. I hope you will take time to sip all our collection, visit Historic Spanish Point and celebrate the abundance of treasures we are so lucky to have here in Sarasota!
“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, with dolphins, manatee and other tropical delights. 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: – 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 lets look in more detail at the ingredients of Mote Beach Tea.
Coconut (Cocus mucifera) A tropical fruit rich in protein and very rich in the taste department! I absolutely love all things coconut and 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: –
Lower risk of heart disease, helps prevent cancer, improves digestive function and helps regulate blood sugar all with 4 times the amount of fiber compared to oat bran. New research shows that coconut fats are absorbed directly by the liver and not stored in fat cells thus producing energy and raising the body’s metabolism.
Pineapple (Ananas cosmosus) This ‘fruit of many blessings’, good health, good fortune and longevity. Pineapple also has a wonderful taste along with some outstanding health benefits. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which helps in the digestion of 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 protecting you from illnesses. Pineapple also has anti inflammatory properties.
Apple (Malus domestica) Not quite as exotic as our first 2 ingredients but never the less a very special fruit which 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 which is a natural fiber (apples being the richest source) that has recently been shown to act against bad cholesterol, decrease the chances of colon cancer and reduce high blood pressure. Quercetin which is primarily found in Apples (and Black tea!) belongs to a group of plant pigment called flavonoids that help fight disease.
The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was certainly established with good reason.
Rose Hip (Rosa canina) The beautiful hip is the fruit of the Wild Dog Rose and takes its name from its earliest use as a remedy for bites from ‘mad’ or ‘wild’ dogs.
It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 species of cultivated roses but the medicinal species are natives of Europe. The hips are the 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.
Hibiscus Blossoms (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 on this healthy and colorful addition check out Sabdariffa Spritzer.
You may not receive quite the list of benefits just drinking the tea so after brewing why not just add the steeped fruit to your morning cereal, yoghurt or smoothie for more exotic goodness!
Mote Beach Tea was created to celebrate and honor the work conducted at Mote Marine Laboratory. Available in distinctive, resealable blue bags to maintain freshness, on the back of each package is an overview of the mission of Mote Marine Laboratory.
Mote is one of the treasures of Sarasota, and the 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 last year at the Night of Fish, Fun & Fright at Mote. Come this year Friday Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 9pm.
We are excited to introduce a new tea from Local Tea Company, Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea honoring a pioneering Sarasota woman. A soothing herbal rooibos with licorice root, fennel, peppermint and lemon verbena, Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea is delicious hot or iced, and naturally caffeine-free. This tea is the newest addition to the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Tea introduced in November of last year.
When Mrs. Potter Palmer (Bertha Honoré Palmer), the well-traveled and powerful Chicago socialite, first set eyes on Sarasota in 1910, she proclaimed ‘Here is heaven at last’.
She soon owned 80,000 acres of what is now Sarasota County, operated a successful ranch, and made her graceful winter home and gardens at The Oaks on Historic Spanish Point.
Sarasota County celebrates the 2010 centennial of her arrival and honors the significant impact Mrs. Palmer made on our culturally rich and prosperous community. Please join us in raising a cuppa Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea to this incredible woman!
A birthday celebration is planned for Bertha Palmer the weekend of May 22nd with Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea served at various events.
Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea joins Selby Select, Mote Beach Tea, Mable’s Rose Rooibos and Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea in the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas available at online at www.LocalTeaCo.com
In our last blog post (Caffeine in Tea) we talked about caffeine and my stand on the benefits of drinking tea with caffeine. I have come to learn from listening and talking to many visitors at Selby Gardens and at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market that for some people it is impossible to drink caffeine, perhaps because of medications (therefore doctor’s instructions) or just a simple intolerance in the body.
So, where does that leave us?
At Local Tea Company we have many fruit and/or herbal infusions or Tisanes to choose from. There is simply no excuse not to drink great caffeine free tea these days.
Notice I said CAFFEINE FREE not de-caffeinated. Whilst not ‘true teas’ 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, flavor and reduced health benefits. The two traditional methods to decaffeinated tea use either ethyl acetate or carbon dioxide. Both are wet processes, so the dry leaves are moistened and then either rinsed with ethyl acetate and then drained, 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. In my opinion, the health benefits have been compromised and I seek teas with maximum health advantages. So, I turn to botanicals, that is herbal or fruit infusions also referred to as tisanes.
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a bush originating 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 as well as an herbal Rooibos to celebrate Bertha Palmer, pioneering Sarasota woman.
Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) is a definite favorite at Local Coffee + Tea especially for evening time. This is a very soothing and calming tea with a unique cedar or sandalwood flavor. Also, Chocolate Honeybush is a great option to satisfy the after meal cravings for something sweet.
Then there are the fruit infusions 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.
There really is a tea for all occasions and personal tastes. Try blending your very own caffeine free beverage 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
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 very special reasons to be excited about both giving and receiving of 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, enjoying every sip.
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 which is so simple, yet so complex, so cost effective and so 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 which were 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 for drinking some tea and feel the benefits. I drink to you and yours.
Cheers and all the best to everyone.
Our collection of teas celebrating the crown jewels of Sarasota is now complete. Check out our Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas. The line up includes Selby Select, Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea, Mote Beach Tea and Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea. >> We have since replaced the Mote with Siesta Tea.
All four teas are naturally caffeine-free, packed in distinctively colored resealable bags to maximize freshness and most importantly, they are DELICIOUS.
You will see the details below along with slogans we had fun writing. The overall idea is – Sarasota, That’s My Cuppa Tea
Selby Select – Juicy orange peel and yogurt pieces blended with rooibos for a dreamsicle finish. Created to honor Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a tropical oasis of orchids and other epiphytes. “Selby Select, because you can’t steep an orchid”
Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea – Rose petals and cherry blossoms infused in rooibos bursting with flavor. Mable Ringling created her beloved rose garden before starting on Ca d’Zan, the one of a kind estate at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, and with this tea we pay tribute to this mysterious woman. “Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea, if you liked John’s house, you’ll love Mable’s tea”
Mote Beach Tea – an exotic mix of fruits and herbs including rosehips, apple, hibiscus, pineapple and coconut for a tropical infusion. Created in honor of the research conducted at the Mote Marine Laboratory. “Mote Beach Tea, so delicious you’ll be jumping with our dolphins”
Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea – a rooibos with red and black currants for an amethyst inspired brew. This season marks the 40th year of fabulous performances at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, our gem by the bay. “Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea is one hot act that’s also great iced”
At Local Tea Company, our motto is Sip Locally and we are committed to three core principles; promoting local businesses, protecting local environments and celebrating local treasures. Visit Local Coffee + Tea at Siesta Key Village, Selby Gardens and every Saturday at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Sarasota.
Suport your local treasures and celebrate Sarasota one cup at a time.