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5 Reasons Why You Will Love Rooibos Tea

This article by Timothy Agnew was posted to his Health & Wellness blog and reposted here with permission.  

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!)

Consumed in southern Africa for centuries, rooibos tea has a growing fan base and enormous health benefits to go along with the eclectic flavor. Also known as a red or bush tea, rooibos tea uses leaves from a shrub called aspalathus linearis, often grown on the western coast of South Africa. While it uses the “tea” moniker, The South African Rooibos Council considers rooibos an herb, not a true tea. But don’t let that dissuade you from trying this marvelous beverage.
Like most tea, prepare rooibos tea by steeping the fermented leaves. In addition, the beauty of rooibos is the longer the steep, the more delicious the flavor in your cup (unlike black teas, which tend to get more bitter). Rooibos tea offers something for everyone. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of drinking this unique tea.  You will love Rooibos 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.

Tea Cozies of (P)interest

Tea Cozies

“And I want a tea cozy. I don’t know what a tea cozy is, but I want one!”

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy

I don’t think Buffy is alone.  Many Local Tea Company customers and tea drinkers, in general, do not know about tea cozies.  Or, they may have heard about Tea cozies but have never seen or used one!  They are a straightforward yet amazing invention to keep your tea warm in the POT.

It would seem their popularity has waned since the invention of the teabag, which in turn meant fewer people used a teapot.  So, let’s try and get back on track, get the teapots back out, add some good loose tea, and bring back the popularity of tea cozy!

Tea Cozies

Snail Tea Cozy posted in the Sip Locally Tea Blog of Local Tea Company in Sarasota, FloridaWe have been ‘Pinning’ tea cozies on our Pinterest page for many years.  Our Tea Cozies Board has 823 pins at last count!  I have added a few here, and check our Pinterest Page to see more.

The tea cozy history is not too well documented, though It seems unlikely that they were used when teapots first originated as the pots were small and tea was costly.  When William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister in 1783 at the tender age of 24, he passed the Commutation Act, which lowered the tea tax, making tea more affordable and, no doubt, the teapots bigger!

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Gladwell Tea Party Podcast

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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.

Gladwell Tempest in a TeaCup

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.

Revisionist History

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.

Patriots

Boston Tea Party Local Tea CompanyThe 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!

Drug dealers?  Okay, anything that makes tea dangerous is good for me. It makes Local Tea Company a bit more interesting!  And if you are interested, have a listen to this podcast.

Lapsang Souchong

I also learned about the Lapsang Souchong smokiness scandal, part of a ‘bro’ thing.  Full confession, I drink lapsang souchong most mornings with honey and oat milk.  And Rooibos most afternoons.

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.

Malcolm Gladwell

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.

Lapsang Souchong black tea from Local Tea Company

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 in SRQ #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s on East

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.

Teas at Selby House Cafe 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.

Cheers,

Episode #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s On East

Local Tea available from Michael's On East at Selby Gardens

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #3 – Cafe in the Park

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Cuppa Tea at Cafe in the Park

Our latest episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ” is now available from our YouTube Channel.  We visit Cafe in 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.

Cheers,

Episode #3 – Cafe in the Park

 

YouTube for Local Tea Co.

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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.

Please like, comment, and subscribe.  You will see the first 2 below, Oasis Cafe and Lila.

Cheers,

Episode #1 – Oasis Cafe & Bakery

Episode #2 – Lila

Life is too short to drink bad tea

Life is too short to drink bad tea.

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.

Life is too short to drink Cheap tea

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.  

Life is too short to drink cheap tea

Black 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.

Green Tea

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!

Rooibos Tea

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.  

Life is too short to drink cheap tea

Herbal Tea

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.

Fruit Tea

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.  

Life is too short to drink anything but great tea

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 Tea

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 Tea

Life is too short to drink cheap bad tea

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.

Life is too short to drink inexpensive teaServe 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.

Michael Duranko

Local Tea Company

5 Things to Consider when Giving the Gift of Tea

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, 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!!

4. Accessories

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.

5. Overthinking

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’.

Please visit www.LocalTeaCo.com or send us a note in the comments section and we will help you select a tea.
Thank you,
the tea team

Three Men in a Boat

Three Men in a Boat

A favourite book of mine offers an interesting quote or excerpt about tea.  I will share it with you.  Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome was first published in 1889 and was intended as a serious travel guide about a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.  However, it turned out to be a very humorous account detailing the adventures of the three friends Jerome, George Wingrave, and Carl Hentschel, along with a fictional dog called Montmorency!

Three Men in a Book Excerpt

When I read this excerpt today, it seemed so clever and witty, evoking powerful thoughts about the beverage I so love…. tea.  Enjoy.

‘It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs.  We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions.  After eggs and bacon, it says “Work!” After beefsteak and porter , it says “Sleep!”  Then, after a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup and don’t let it stand for more  than three minutes), it says to the brain, “Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming starts to the gates of eternity!”

Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat.

What type of tea does it take for you to rise and show your strength, be eloquent and deep or indeed spread your white wings of quivering thought?  It would have to be a good strong cup of Yorkshire Harrogate for me!  Here is an earlier post about Yorkshire.  Please share your comments and take time for tea.

Cheers,

the Tealady

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos Tea

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to write about Rooibos tea.  Maybe that is a good thing, though, as I have now reached a stage where my love of this tea is such that I cannot imagine life without it!

Rooibos

As an orthodox tea drinker, black teas, and mostly unflavored green teas, you will have heard me say many times that I love the taste of tea.  However, like many women before me, I seem to have reached an age where too much caffeine (even in my beloved tea!!) seems to be disruptive for my body.

Rooibos

Enter ROOIBOS (Aspalathus linearis), a broom-like shrub and member of the legume family found in a small area of the Western Cape Province of South Africa.  The word rooibos (pronounced Roy-boss) is Afrikaans for red bush and has been popular in South Africa for generations.

Rooibos has a huge following all over the world due to the many health benefits and Mama Ramotswe, a certain lady detective. Suppose you are one of the few people not to have seen or read the No 1 Ladies Detective series by Alexander McCall Smith then do so soon.  Like the tea, these books are compelling, very relaxing, and worthy of your time.

Bush Tea

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

So, what does Rooibos have to offer?  Rooibos has very high antioxidant levels (aspalathin). In fact, some claim that Rooibos has more antioxidants than green tea.  And I advise anyone not caring for green tea to drink Rooibos.  The tannin levels are low (responsible for causing astringency in true tea), and there is NO oxalic acid, which makes this tea good for anyone suffering from kidney stones.  Relaxing and restful, rooibos can assist with nervous tension, allergies, dermatological issues, and anti-spasmodic properties, making rooibos helpful for digestive problems.

In South Africa, rooibos is used to aid infants suffering from colic and is added to the baby’s bathwater (and yours) to soften the skin.  Research continues on possible anti-cancer properties, and I think we will hear more about the benefits of drinking Rooibos for some time to come.  Perhaps most important, you will find NOTHING about rooibos’ adverse effects, which is quite amazing!

Caffeine-Free

Rooibos is an herb and is NATURALLY caffeine-free, making it the perfect tea for my sleeping predicament.  This tea quite simply tastes and feels so good, and I have become a huge fan.  I have found many tea lovers dislike pure rooibos, though it blends so well with fruits and flowers.

At Local Tea Company, we have a wonderful collection of Rooibos teas.  Our best selling (of all our teas) is Selby Select, an orange peel and yogurt blend we created for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The list continues with Van Wezel with black and red currants (see post), Lemon Sunset with lemongrass and lemon peel, Bertha Palmer with licorice, peppermint, verbena, and fennel, and finally Mable’s Rose with cherry and rose.  I hope you agree that it is quite a line-up, and if you are an iced tea drinker, do not despair. All are beautiful iced!

One of our rooibos teas is especially nice to share with a loved one.  Sweet Sin combines raspberry with vanilla and is always popular around Valentine’s Day.

Sweet Sin Rooibos Tea

What a versatile and special tea this is, and if you haven’t discovered Rooibos already then, I hope you do so soon.

Cheers,
the TeaLady