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’.
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, but do you know what Guy Fawkes was notorious for besides drinking Yorkshire tea?
“Remember, remember the Fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.”
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, but his name lives on. Guy Fawkes Night is a festival in Britain remembering the Gunpowder Plot and the King’s survival. Read More
Happy New Year everyone! I hope your year has gotten off to a good start, but if not and you are feeling bunged up and burned out after a few weeks of 2011 then it’s time to get the kettle on and brew yourself some tea!
Where to start? There are many teas at Local Tea Company that we can recommend you drink at this time of year to restore your energy and vitality but I would like to concentrate today on Green Tea. Again, we have many varieties to choose from and the key is finding one that suits you. If you like the taste of a particular tea, the chances are you will drink more, so experiment till you find the tea for you.
There is a green tea you should take note of, Matcha is finely ground powdered green tea and is one of the healthiest beverages you can ingest. When you drink matcha you are ingesting the whole leaf rather than an infusion of the tea leaf.
Most of green tea benefits are gained from 2 components, a family of antioxidants called catechins which include EGCG (or epigallocatechin- 3 gallate) and an amino acid called L-Theanine. EGCG protects against cell damage that can result in disease. Several medical reports indicate that green tea has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. L-Theanine boosts the brain’s levels of alpha waves which in turn leads to greater mental focus and feeling of relaxation. There is evidence that theanine also counteracts any negative behavior of caffeine.
Matcha is said to contain 10 times the antioxidants of regular green tea and the same goes for L-Theanine content. If you cannot manage between 4 and 9 cups of regular green tea then have 1 or 2 cups of matcha every day.
Matcha can be served many ways, again find what works for you. I am a juicer so blend right into my daily serving of fresh juice. You can add to your water bottle, make an iced or hot latte with soy, almond or rice milk or simply drink a shot straight up. We offer a ceremonial grade of Matcha.
You can make ice cream too. Check out a previous post along with a recipe for green tea ice cream. Also, I have had customers tell me that they add matcha to their regular cuppa tea. Matcha is all good, so you need to start drinking matcha NOW.
There are some other traditional green teas you should know about. Goji Green contains the ‘superfruit’ gojiberry which also has powerful anti-oxidants.
Look out for my next blog which will include some of our herbal teas which also have healing properties. Time to put the kettle on, hope you are doing the same! Good health and happiness for 2011 and make sure you ‘take time for tea’.
Happy New Year Tea Lovers!
January is National Hot Tea Month and also the height of the “cold and flu season”. So what can you do to help prevent coming down with the cold and flu?
Drinking hot tea is sure to help you stay healthy.
There is plenty of research which indicates that theanine, an ingredient found naturally in tea, supports the immune system. A cup of tea contains an average of 20- 25 mg of theanine and drinking at least five cups per day will boost your natural resistance to infections.
Tea also contains flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds known for their antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, which scientists believe damage elements in the body and contribute to many chronic diseases.
There is also a herbal tea which has great properties in the war against cold and flu: Zingibar officinale the tart, knotty spice we know as ginger. The oils in ginger will create warmth in your body helping to fight infection as well as easing nasal and chest congestion. Ginger root makes a tea with nice clean notes and of course the familiar hot finish! Anti-inflammatory properties also make ginger a good sore throat remedy. A touch of honey or lemon makes an even more soothing tea when you are feeling unwell.
Why not go for a double dose of prevention and combine ginger with your favorite black tea or green tea such as Nilgiri or Pinhead Gunpowder. This is an invigorating infusion. I like to infuse the ginger root first (it needs at least 10 minutes steeping) and then add to the prepared tea. If you are living in a warmer climate like Florida (where we hardly notice it is winter!) and really do not want to drink hot tea, try serving this combo iced. It really is delicious.
While drinking tea may not keep you from getting sick this season, it can certainly help your odds of staying healthy. So do something good for your body and enjoy a hot cuppa every day! Have a Happy Hot Tea month and stay well.