Note: This is the first in a series of blogs on the science of tea. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)
1. Loaded with Antioxidants
For anyone concerned with a healthy lifestyle, rooibos is loaded with powerful stuff. Aspalathin and nothofagin are two vital antioxidants designed to boost your immune system and protect your body against all types of diseases (especially diabetes). Rooibos contains polyphenols, flavonols, flavonoids, and dihydrochalcones. These protective compounds have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimutagenic qualities. Polyphenols are organic chemicals known for their antioxidant capabilities. Flavonoids can help lower the risk of coronary heart diseases. This study suggests that regularly drinking organic red rooibos tea provides anti-inflammatory support, and the Sloan Kettering Institute suggests rooibos slows tumor growth.
2. Improves Heart Health
Since rooibos tea is anti-inflammatory in nature, the tea is a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. This helps regulate blood pressure and boost heart health. Many studies confirm the protective cardiovascular effects of red rooibos tea. Quercetin, another powerful antioxidant found in rooibos tea, helps prevent many heart conditions. It also promotes an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and inhibits LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from binding to arteries and blood vessels’ walls.
3. Managing Diabetes
Aspalathin, one of the antioxidants found in rooibos tea, has several unique traits. The Rooibos Council found that aspalathin in rooibos tea can help balance blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and glucose absorption by muscles, and boosts insulin secretion from the pancreas. Above all, rooibos has a dramatic protective effect on diabetes.
4. Skin Care
Because of the richness in antioxidants, vitamin D, and the array of minerals (zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and more) present in the tea, roobios is a dynamic force on the skin. Its anti-inflammatory components help with acne, eczema, and rashes, as it helps neutralize free radicals. And it makes you look beautiful!
5. Caffeine Free
Rooibos tea is completely caffeine-free and is the perfect choice for patients who have insomnia and for those who need to keep caffeine low in their diet. Similarly, a cup of rooibos tea just before bedtime can help you sleep better (and maybe enhance your dreams). You will love Rooibos tea.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a truly healthy lifestyle tea, this strong and delicious tea has many benefits. Where to buy rooibos tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose leaf teas. They also offer 9 diverse blends of rooibos and so many others.
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.
Episode #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village
Gladwell Tea Party Podcast
I listen to podcasts. A lot of podcasts, but most current events, politics, comedy, and golf. Gladwell Tea Party Podcast.
The first podcast I ever listened to was Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” in 2015. My friend, Matt Turck, turned me on to podcasts, actually taking my phone from me while we were at the Corner Bistro in NYC, and downloading Gladwell’s first episode that had launched that very day. Thanks, Matt.
My preference is the long-form interviews, especially while driving my Tea Wagon around Sarasota. Always on the lookout for new podcasts, though I don’t usually listen to podcasts about Tea. There are a bunch. I don’t find them as interesting as the ones I like. And I read a lot of Tea Blogs, as well.
I’ve moved on from Revisionist History. I still subscribe but don’t really listen. That is until I noticed ‘Tempest in a Teacup.’ I read the overview and then listened. Fantastic!
Gladwell tells his tale, in this case revisiting the Boston Tea Party. The episode was released on July 4, and while I am a bit behind, I learned a few things…
The ‘Tea Party’ was actually the culmination of a colonial drug war. And the colonial drug of choice was tea. Really?? I always thought the Patriots dumped tea into Boston Harbor to take a stand against taxation without representation. Not so, says Gladwell.
The Patriots were smuggling tea from China into the colonies. This ‘Bohea Tea’ was cheaper and turned into a profitable business by undercutting the British taxed tea.
Great Britain found out about the smuggling and passed the Tea Act of 1773, lowering tea prices. This was not good for biz. So, the Patriots dressed up as Mohawk Indians and dumped the British taxed tea into the harbor. As the Canadian Gladwell points out, our Founding Fathers were a criminal enterprise, drug dealers defending their turf. Cool!
Apparently, lapsang has become popular with guys, and the smokier, the better. As a result, tea companies have been upping the smokiness of lapsang souchongs. And, in the opinion of Tony Gebely of Tea Epicure, ruining lapsangs by over smoking them.
Gladwell, also a lapsang drinker and unaware of the scandal, was deemed part of the problem by Gebely. Thanks, Malcolm. Tea Epicure is a wonderful tea blog that rates “the world’s most exciting teas” and goes deep into the tea world. Thanks, Tony.
Our lapsang souchong has a subtle smokiness and not nearly as smoky-tasting as it smells in the tin. And there is a great story about the origin of lapsang or caravan tea posted in our Lapsang Souchong product description.
More disclosure, I thought I might like a smokier version for my morning lapsang. This podcast stopped me in my tracks. I don’t. I believe our lapsang has gotten any smokier over time? But please tell me if you think it has.
Anyway, an interesting podcast having to do with tea as the colonial drug of choice and over smoked lapsang souchong that I thought I would share here.
Gladwell Tea Party Podcast
And the Sip Locally Tea Journey continues. Since this Gladwell Tea Party Podcast post, I have started drinking Lapsang Souchong most mornings with honey and steamed oat milk. And Revisionist History is out with Season Five!
Cuppa Tea at Selby House Cafe
For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in Sarasota,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we go back to our roots. We visit the Selby House Cafe at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. for a cuppa tea at the Selby House Cafe.
The cafe is now operated by Michael’s on East, and they do a fantastic job and serve an incredible cuppa tea!!! Selby Select Rooibos, Secret Garden Green, and Little Monkey fruit tea, to name a few, and we are always creating new tea for the annual garden exhibitions. Previously art from Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, and Paul Gauguin has been on display at Selby Gardens.
The annual holiday Lights in Bloom celebration starts December 14, and when we visited, the gardens were humming in anticipation. Millions of lights in the trees, Santa Claus, reindeer games, live music, and much more.
Local Tea Company previously operated a tea shop, the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens, and the cafe. It is always nice to come home for a visit.
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 #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s On East
YouTube for Local Tea Co.
We are having fun with our new “Cuppa Tea in SRQ” YouTube Channel. Check out this series visiting our wholesale Serving Partners in and around Sarasota. We find the owner and have a ‘video visit’ with them.
It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.
Episode #1 – Oasis Cafe & Bakery
Episode #2 – Lila
Life is too short to drink bad tea.
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.
Loose Leaf Tea
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 the 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 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, 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 goji berries, or any other subtle sweetness that brings out that cool wonderful green tea flavor. Yes, white teas too. Drink them!
Drink great rooibos teas. This is wonderful in the afternoon when there is no fear of caffeine stealing sleep from you. When faced with solving a mystery, drink Rooibos, or Bush Tea 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 gorgeous jams and jellies. Drink a fabulous chamomile tea from Egypt and dream of Cleopatra or floating down the Nile.
Drink great fruit teas. Please share them with a young person. Introduce a child to the joys of tea. Start with the kettle boiling’s anticipation, then take a moment to select a tea to fit the mood, watch when hot water meets tea leaves, and the flavors release. This is 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 very first steps.
And then there is the perfection that is Mote Beach Tea or Little Monkey fruit teas. Make a cuppa of 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 into a great cuppa tea. Where the tea was plucked, how far it might have traveled, who else might be enjoying the 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 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 was hoping you could 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 have to be a bit creative about it. The story is available, and there is a joy to be had.
Serve a great cuppa tea in a fine piece of China, in a cup that needs a saucer. Please take a moment and make it special. You will enjoy the experience even more 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
5 Things to Consider when Giving the Gift of Tea
Tea is a wonderful way to show your love, appreciation, respect, or that you are thinking about someone. Perhaps the universal gift, like 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 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 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, 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 tea bags
We are quite partial to loose leaf tea at Local Tea Co. Tea lovers, and 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! 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 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 Oil of Bergamot)? This may be the easiest comparison. 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 tea lovers’ options, and for the newbie just starting their tea journey, a box of tea bags or a few mesh balls of different sizes or teaspoons 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 wonderful gifts; honey or jams are always welcome.
Most important is not to overthink your gift. The person you are gifting will appreciate the gesture you are making and the thought behind this gift. They will love it as much as 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 be realistic, something that can easily be ‘Regifted.’
Pear Mu Tan
Pear Mu Tan. I am glad to announce that we have added another tea to our Organic cultivation varieties here at Local Tea Company.
Pear Mu Tan is a White tea grown in Fujian Province, China. White teas are surrounded by folklore and mystique heralded from ancient China. Emperors proclaimed this delicate tea as “the culmination of all that is elegant.”
The least processed of all tea categories, white is is natural. The newest leaves are carefully picked when they have a silvery appearance from the hair or ‘hao.’ They are lightly withered, which turns them into an artist’s palette of hues. From silver to green to brown, the results are a light, fluffy mixture of leaf pieces that yield a subtle and delicate flavor.
I had been asked several times about Pear tea. After using this tea for several days in my travel mug, I knew we had to have it! This type of White tea is known as Pai Mu Tan, which means “white peony.” The tea is produced from various tea bush called chaicha, so it seemed natural to name this tea Pear Mu Tan.
There is evidence that Pear has been used as a food since prehistoric times. In other words, a perfect partner for White tea. To complement the pear, there are dried apple pieces, mango cubes, and marigold blossoms. Besides, the shimmering golden liquor has a lingering fragrance and sweet, fresh mellow taste. This is a lovely tea, both dry and infused.
Please note, this tea is organically cultivated but has not pursued the requirements to be designated ORGANIC.
White teas are becoming very popular. They are considered to be the most beneficial of all teas for their health benefits. With more antioxidants than black or green tea, white tea has anti-cancer properties. We have read that the tea is heart-healthy, has a calming (anti-sagging!) and detoxifying effect on the skin, and the ability to strengthen our immune system. A bonus is that it tastes so good!
There are debates aplenty about the amount of caffeine in white teas. Could it be that as the tea is made from young leaves, they contain the most concentrated amount of caffeine? The fact that we infuse for less time and at a lower temperature may mean less caffeine is released…and so on. We may never know the exact reason, and it really does not seem to matter too much!
In my experience, I have found White tea VERY agreeable to my body function. I do not seem to get as overheated or troubled with the caffeine content. Therefore, I have been able to drink later into the day. See how it works for you!
In conclusion, Pear Mu Tan is a tea that really keeps on giving and certainly wears the title ‘the culmination of all that is elegant’ very well.
Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea
Well, I can guarantee one thing there will be no diamonds in my house for Valentine. My husband would be quick to tell you that he does not need one special day in the year to reinforce his love for me – his excuse not to buy diamonds? There may be a chance of chocolates or flowers, but it is more likely to be something simple, like sitting down together for a pot of tea.
Bet you didn’t know Yorkshire men were so romantic! But I confess this is a man who knows the way to my heart for sure.
I cannot think of a nicer way to celebrate our love than the process of taking tea together. Like most people these days, we have conflicting schedules, and taking time to sit together, slow down and enjoy a spot of tea is an extraordinary gift.
What will we drink? My husband loves White tea, so perhaps we will start our celebration with a little White Mischief. Mischievous by name and by nature, this tea will represent our diamonds! If you have ever smelled guava, you know the skin has a chocolate-like aroma, so when you put the tea in a warm pot, the smell is tantalizing. Use water that is not quite boiling and infuse for 2 minutes only, but make more infusions from the same tea infusing for 4 minutes, 6 minutes, etc., until no flavor is left. Not only is the taste fantastic but such good value too!
Next, we will drink Chocolate Honeybush, and this will represent Chocolates in our Valentine celebration! Honeybush is one of our favorite herbal teas, and this tea is full of romance with hints of chocolate, roses, and a good dose of caramel. Delightfully indulgent, the chocolate and caramel blend so well with Organic Honeybush for a delicate flavor and without the calories. Drink away without having to worry, yummy.
Sweet Sin Rooibos
For our finale, we will drink some Sweet Sin Rooibos, and this will represent our Roses! You may have read in a previous blog what an impact Rooibos now has on my life, but it is also a tea we drink together throughout the year, so it is perfect for our celebration of love.
A simple, yet stunning blend of rooibos, roses, vanilla, and dried raspberries, this tea blooms with a perky fruitiness, is not too sweet yet has a soft and romantic finish.
And the moral of my tale? You really don’t need to have diamonds, chocolates, or flowers to show your love for each other. Give each other the gift of time enjoying tea together. May you continue to celebrate your love throughout the year, and as I often say, TAKE TIME FOR TEA. Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea
Honeybush Tea or Cyclopia intermedia is indigenous to the cape of South Africa. I like to think of it as a sort of cousin to Rooibos!
Like Rooibos, we make an herbal tea with a pleasant, mildly sweet taste. Honeybush Tea is very popular at the Local Tea Company Carriagehouse at Selby Gardens. We offer 2 varieties; Organic Honeybush and Chocolate Honeybush. You should try both, especially if you are looking for a caffeine-free substitute for ‘true tea’ (Camellia sinensis). For instance, I drink honeybush as a complement to my tea drinking habits!
Like most teas, honeybush history can be traced back to Dutch and British trading. Established in 1652, Cape Town was a supply base for the Dutch East India Company. They traded in Indian tea and Southeast Asian spices.
Botanists began cataloging the Cape region’s rich flora, and the honeybush plant was noted in botanical literature. The native Khoisan or Bushmen treated coughs and other upper respiratory symptoms associated with infections with honeybush tea.
The honeybush plant is a shrub of the Fabaceae family and grows in the fynbos botanical zone. Bound by mountains, this narrow region is along the coast. Fynbos is Dutch for ‘fine-leaved plants’ and is characterized by woody plants with small, leathery leaves. The honeybush plant is easily recognized from the sweetly scented, bright yellow flowers and needle-like leaves.
Besides great taste, a sort of woodsy, cedar-like flavor, Honeybush has some extraordinary health benefits. Pinitol is a modified sugar present in the leaves of some legume plants. This is an expectorant and helps with coughs and phlegm. Pinitol can also lower blood sugar levels and may increase the effects of insulin.
Honeybush is under consideration as a treatment for diabetes! It would be good to have something so natural to help with such a prevalent disease. I have read Pinitol helps with acid reflux. We have a few customers who have reported relief drinking honeybush. The flavones and isoflavones of honeybush are similar to those in soy, another leguminous plant. And used to treat menopausal symptoms. That covers quite a lot of the population who should be drinking this tea!
Prepare Honeybush tea like you prepare all other teas or herbal infusions. Use boiling water and infuse for as long as you want, though at least several minutes. The lack of caffeine makes honeybush especially suited for nighttime consumption. The tea has a reputation as a calming beverage. However, I love drinking honeybush at Local Tea Company, too! The tannin content is very low, so that you will find honeybush, a mild, soft, and very drinkable tea.
And did I mention there is a chocolate version? Chocoholics love our Chocolate Honeybush. Please do not expect a cup of hot chocolate. Rather a delicate aroma of chocolate with a definite caramel aftertaste along with a bit of floral balance from the added rose petals. Desert without the calories, SPECTACULAR!
Some customers drink both versions of honeybush with milk. I find a bit of local honey (from the Sarasota Farmer’s Market) brings out a natural sweetness in Organic Honeybush, and when iced is very thirst-quenching. The Chocolate Honeybush seems to be more popular as a hot drink.