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Valentine’s Day with Tea

“That’s one of the things I look forward to about an evening like this.  Someone to drink tea with at the end of it.  For all I know, the whole point of civilization is to provide one with someone to drink tea with at the end of an evening”.

Aurora Greenway

Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  We hope you plan on drinking tea with someone this evening, Valentine’s Day with Tea!  At Local Tea Company, we have two exceptional teas with which we celebrate our loved ones – Sweet Sin Rooibos and Chocolate Honeybush.  Both are packed full of romantic flavors, and both are naturally caffeine-free herbal infusions.  Perfect for drinking in the evening.  You may recall an earlier Valentine’s Day post, “A Time for Tea,” that Glynis made a few years back.  What tea has the most caffeine?

Sweet Sin Rooibos

Sweet Sin is a South African Rooibos tea blended with raspberry and rose petals. Rooibos is becoming more and more popular as tea drinkers discover the unique taste, excellent health benefits, and versatility.

How to pronounce Rooibos?  Or, what is the proper pronunciation for Rooibos?  We say ROY – BOSS.

Image of Sweet Sin Rooibos tea from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Sweet Sin is fantastic served as a hot tea but equally useful as an iced tea.  Maybe garnish with a rose today?  We have a previous post about Rooibos tea and a more recent guest post titled “5 reasons you will LOVE Rooibos Tea” if you want to refresh your memory on where this herb is grown, how it is produced, and the tea’s excellent health benefits.

If you have not yet read any of Alexander McCall Smith’s books about the No.1 Ladies Detective, then do look them up and enjoy tales of Mme Ramwotse solving cases whilst drinking Rooibos tea. I am sure she would drink this tea with her husband to celebrate Valentine’s day with Tea.  What tea has the most caffeine?

Chocolate Honeybush

Chocolate Honeybush is also from South Africa, and although Honeybush is a ‘bush’ tea, the plant is a different species. This tea is blended with rose petals, chocolate flakes, and caramel pieces.

Close up image of Chocolate Honeybush from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.Above all, this tea is perfect for ‘Chocoholics’ and ‘Romantaholics,’ and is very yummy served hot and very able to satisfy a sweet tooth without all the calories!  Not quite as healthy as the original Organic Honeybush, but Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to indulge.

Whatever you do today, wherever you are, I hope you have someone special to share tea with at the end of the day. Therefore, taking tea together is very civilized, especially with ‘love’ in the air. Enjoy.

Cremesh Coffee and Bakery

Tomorrow is the opening day for Cremesh Coffee and Bakery.  Find Cremesh Bakery in the plaza next to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Florida.

I have known Chef Pavel for over 10 years. I believe he was put on this earth to bake.  He has finally created the bakery he has been dreaming about for a very long time.
Watch Out!!!!!

Pavel and his wife Tracy add to their popular and authentic Cremesh European Restaurant nearby.  Pavel Hasenohrl is a Master Baker, and his bread and desserts will go fast, so go early.

You will find locally roasted coffee from Banyan Coffee  Co.  And, made-from-scratch muffins, pies, brownies, and scones will be available fresh from the oven.  For lunch, they will offer a selection of sandwiches and soups.  And, of course, you can expect other secrets from the Chef Pavel archives!Cool red floor at Cremesh Coffee and Bakery in Bradenton

Before I mention the Tea Menu at Cremesh Coffee and Bakery, check out the floor!!!
And here is a review in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and here is a review in Neal Finelli’s Taste Dining & Travel.
The Teas offered include Sarasotan Breakfast Blend, Organic Earl Grey, Goji Green Tea, Organic Peppermint Herbal Tea, Selby Select Rooibos, and Mote Beach tea.   Yes, a portion of all Mote Tea sold supports the operating budget for Mote Aquarium.

Enjoy!

5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea

5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea is a repost with updates and additions.

After spending Thanksgiving at my Aunt’s home, I found a neglected tea cabinet that I immediately corrected.  The details are irrelevant, other than to say I started from Square 1.

As I put together a list of teas, I realized it might help others thinking about gifting tea for the holidays.  You can find the actual list at the bottom of ‘5 Things to remember when Gifting Tea.’

5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea

As a gift, tea is a wonderful way to show your love, appreciation, respect, and that you are thinking about someone. That is the point of any gift.  While the gift of tea can be personal, everybody has a tea they love. Some just don’t know it yet!!!

Here are a few thoughts to consider when giving the gift of tea…

A script of Thank you used in the Sip Locally Tea Blog by Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.

1. Caffeine or Herbal (caffeine-free)

Which tea has the most caffeine, or what tea has the most caffeine?  We hear that all the time.  Caffeine is an important consideration. Caffeinated teas are a great way to begin the day or a superb lift in the late afternoon, but caffeine can create problems for the novice or the beginning tea drinker.

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 at a restaurant, so if I am awake at 2:30 AM, I know who to call.

When in doubt, go with a caffeine-free herbal, rooibos, or fruit tea. You can’t go wrong with our Organic Peppermint, Selby Select Rooibos, or Siesta Tea (fruit tea).

For my ‘Thank You’ gift, I went with a mixture of both—a few blacks, a few greens, and then an equal number of caffeine-free teas. And here is a post about how green tea can make you happier.

2. Loose leaf tea or tea bags

We are quite partial to loose-leaf tea at Local Tea Company. Experienced tea drinkers tend to prefer loose leaf tea. The tea typically will be of better quality, fresher, and a much better value. It cost money for the convenience of bagged tea!Close up picture of the Green Tea Sampler from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Loose-leaf teas also provide 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 the 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 sachets. If they don’t love it, the tea can always be served to guests.

I noticed a box of tea sacs during my visit, so I’ll send both loose-leaf teas and teas in sachets. 

3. Flavored tea or pure blends

Would you rather a gift of Organic Sarasotan Breakfast blend (an unflavored, blended tea) or our Organic Earl Grey (flavored with Oil of Bergamot)? This may be the easiest comparison.  Flavored tea or pure?

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 on the pure side of the discussion?  Maybe a pot of our 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!!

For my gift, I erred on the side of abundance and included both.

4. Accessories

Is your gift for a serious tea drinker, someone loaded with tea accessories? Do they really need another tea ball with an elf fob?

There are ‘heaps’ of options.  For the newbie just starting their tea journey, a box of tea sacs or a few mesh balls of different sizes 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 wonderful gifts; honey or jams are always welcome.

Another void during my visit was honey?  So,  I included a bottle from Sarasota Honey Company.  Yes, this is quite a gift!!!

5. Overthinking

Clever image of people hugging and regifting used by Local Tea Company in their Sip Locally Tea Blog about giving the Gift of Tea.Most important is not to overthink your gift. The person you are gifting will appreciate the gesture you are making.  Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Find a clever and creative tea. Find a tea with some meaning, or be realistic, something that can easily be ‘Regifted.’

I will be back for another visit in February and plan to take a tea inventory!  Here is my complete list of the gift I sent yesterday.  The total cost before shipping was $99.

    1. Organic Sarasotan Breakfast Blend (Loose-leaf)
    2. Organic Earl Grey (Sachets)
    3. Island Mango Black (Loose-Leaf) … Cochin Masala Chai would have worked here as well.
    4. Organic Sencha Green Tea (Loose-Leaf)
    5. Goji Green (Sachets)
    6. Mote Beach Tea (Sachets)
    7. Selby Select Rooibos (Sachets)
    8. Organic Peppermint (Loose-Leaf) … Organic Egyptian Chamomile was considered!
    9.  Raw Wildflower Honey from Sarasota Honey Company

***I threw in some printed GolfToons for their cartoon-littered fridge!

Please visit www.LocalTeaCo.com or send us a note in the comments section of 5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea, and we will help you select tea gifts.

Tea Newsletter #3 – Better Teas, Better Spices

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Since the pandemic, sales on our web site have ticked up.  I suspect people are drinking more tea, with many new habits formed these past months. Firing up the kettle any time of the day is one of the healthiest habits you can have.

Better Teas

And if you are drinking more tea, the next logical step is to drink better tea.  We have many favorites, like Selby Select and Mote Beach Tea or Siesta Tea and Goji Green.  All will dazzle you and contribute to that newly formed habit.

If you are interested in learning about healthy teas, here is a post Glynis wrote a few years back and a more recent post about consuming goji berries every day.

Some of our more unusual teas include Lapsang Souchong (my personal favorite), our Young Pu Erh, or perhaps our Aronia Oolong with chokeberries and passion fruit.  Lots to explore in our online shop.

This uptick in sales does not cover the drop volume to our wholesale business.  So, if you can support our Serving Partners, thank you.

Better Spices

Like everyone else, we have been preparing more of our meals at home.  And in the spirit of drinking better tea, I am doing the same when it comes to the spices.   So, we are using better spices.  Better teas, better spices.

We have used a mortar and pestle for years to grind pepper and kosher salt.  And, we use a lot of fennel, especially on salmon.  Freshly ground fennel is Magic!!

And now, I have started using really good spices, and the difference is MASSIVE.  I have known about the Spice Trekkers (or Epices de Cru) for years.  I have even gifted sets of their blends, along with a mortar and pestle as my go-to wedding gift.  But like many gift buyers, I bought better for others than myself…

No more. I am hooked. My first order was for two different black peppers (Yupanqui and a Tellicherry) and fennel from Greece.  I also found a powerful Chinese Five Spice and a tangy Harissa.  I filmed an unboxing video, in case you are interested.  Better teas, better spices!

The company is based in Montreal, and they have a fantastic website filled with ‘spice stories.’  I really like the videos they created, especially for the Yupanqui black pepper from Ecuador. Very cool and hard to not order the works!!  Merci, Epices de Cru!

Better Teas Better Spices

My Sunday tea is Sweet Orange Mate while listening to Live from Here on NPR. I do miss Garrison, but the music Chris plays is much better. And Tom Poppa always makes me laugh.  I drink my cuppa (or mugga) Mate as hot tea.  And you may enjoy a recent blog post, “Is it Iced Tea or Ice Tea?”

Music

I had some fun reviewing Yusuf Cat Stevens ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ this summer.  I thought the remastered version was his new one.  Explained here.  ‘Tea for the Tillerman 2’ came out a few weeks ago.  The original was arguably one of the best albums ever, and 50 years later, we get another version by Yusuf Cat.  I’m working on the final post, but in the meantime, listen and enjoy.  Tea PairingOrganic Sarasotan Breakfast Blend “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.”

TV

We ping pong between Lovecraft Country and The Vow.  HBO is knocking it out of the park, though I don’t know which is weirder. John Oliver is back, and Fargo is waiting in the wings.  Tea Pairing – Organic Peppermint, for when your breath gets taken away!!

Podcast

My new favorite podcast is “It Was Said,”  A shortish show (45 minutes or less) where Jon Meachum covers a famous speech and provides a bit of context or historical perspective.  The Ronald Reagen episode was especially touching.  Tea Pairing – Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling, a serious black tea!

And lastly, a farewell to Pat Glass, Dianne’s Mom.  She passed away last month.  Pat was incredible, a true force in the Universe.  Glowing tributes here and here, and an obit with her many accomplishments. With Love!

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

Your Local Tea Team