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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

Drink this tea every day and look like this?

Drink this tea every day and look like this?

On the label of Goji Green tea from Local Tea Company, after sharing the ingredients and describing the subtle sweetness of this glorious tea, the label states, “live a long healthy life drinking this tea.”

Li Qing Yuen

en Tea Local Tea Co

Recently someone asked me about the phrase.  I mentioned the story of the Chinese herbalist Li Qing Yuen who was said to have consumed goji berries daily and lived to the age of 252.  I smiled after sharing these minor details and moved on with my day.  Later, I thought about the idea of living that long, and it got me thinking more about this story.  What would I look like at 250 years old?

And so, I dug a bit deeper into Li Qing Yuen and found this picture, along with more details.  I made myself a cuppa Goji Green and my smile returned as I read on.

His birth year was either 1736 or 1677, though his true birth date has never actually been confirmed. Li Qing Yuen was born in the Sichuan province, in Qijiang County.  He was an apprentice to elders who gathered herbs in the mountains.  He went on to have a military career and then returned to life as an herbalist on Snow Mountain.

A New York Times article from 1930 mentions Imperial Chinese Government records from 1827 congratulating Li Qing Yuen on his 150th birthday.  And then again in 1877 on his 200th birthday!  An earlier correspondent reported many older men in his village claimed their grandfathers knew Li Qing Yuen as a grown man when they were boys.

The 1933 Time Magazine article asked for his secrets to a long life.  Li Qing Yuen is quoted as saying,

“Keep a quiet heart,

Sit like a tortoise,

Walk sprightly like a pigeon, and,

Sleep like a dog.”

Goji berries

Li Qing Yuen Local Tea Co Sarasota

He spent most of his life in the mountains collecting and selling ginseng, goji berries, and other herbs. Along with his diet, Li Qing Yuen mentions drinking rice wine as another secret.  He claimed to have survived 23 wives and had more than 150 children.  He died in Kai County in May of 1933.  His 24th wife said he died of natural causes.

No mention of a daily dose of goji berries could be found in the official reports, and I really don’t know what sitting like a tortoise might look like.

I will leave the story on our product page because I think our Goji Green tea is phenomenal.  As phenomenal as the legend of Li Qing Yuen.

Goji Green Tea

Enjoy Goji Green as a hot tea to start your day, or as a refreshing iced tea (or try it as a Cold-Brewed Tea) as it is served most days as Secret Garden Green Tea at the Selby House Café operated by Michael’s on East at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Goji Green Tea Local Tea Co Sarasota SRQ

While you are savoring a cuppa of this wonderful green tea, contemplate your secrets to a long life.  And then please share them with me 🙂

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

Matcha Powdered Green Tea

Matcha Powdered Green Tea

We are very excited to feature two very special teas on the Local Tea Company menu, both are Matcha powdered green teas.  We have a ceremonial grade matcha and an organic matcha, both in 30 gram tins.

Vibrant Matcha Powdered Green Tea on a red lacquered table next to a cuppa matcha green teaMatcha Green Tea

There is no tea that is as celebrated or as famous as Matcha (powdered green tea). The tea first appeared in Japanese tea manuals sometime during the 12th century, making it one of the country’s most ancient varieties and used in the Japanese tea ceremony for centuries. It was believed by the ancient Japanese that tea was a gift of the heavens and held great restorative and spiritual power on earth. The development of the tea ceremony or Chanoyu began as a way for people to show and appreciate reverence to this power and was practiced by the Buddhist monks who drank the tea for meditative properties during long religious ceremonies.

From the unique way the tea is produced, to the important place it still holds in the cultural life of Japan this celebrated tea has taken on a whole new power and meaning throughout the rest of the tea drinking world.

So what makes Matcha so special?

This greenest of green teas is a beverage where the LEAVES are consumed, not strained like other teas. You will actually drink 100% of the polyphenol nutrients contained in the leaf, giving Matcha the label of healthiest natural beverage in the world today. Along with the nutrients, you will receive a good dose of energy for wakefulness combined with lots of amino acids for relaxation. A truly great combination of ingredients which we can all benefit from today. I think those Buddhist monks were very smart in recognizing the power of this tea!

Matcha green tea in a bowl with a matcha whisk on a small plate, both on a red lacquered surface.

Processing Matcha Green Tea

The vibrant, emerald green color of the powder is attributed to some very careful cultivation. The Gyokuro Japanese tea plant variety is shaded by bamboo mats several weeks prior to plucking. This forces the plant to produce more chlorophyll and results in a supple, rich green leaf. The youngest, tender shoots are then hand plucked, steamed and dried. All stems and veins are removed before the leaves are stone ground into a fine powder which resembles talc.

Fortunately there are no demands on us today to drink the tea only in a ceremonial manner. Matcha can be enjoyed many ways such as cold brewed, hot using water or made into a latte type beverage with regular milk or any of the alternatives.  In an earlier post, I experimented with Matcha Green Tea ice cream and it was fab.

However, there are some rules for enjoying the tea when preparing hot. Sift the powder through a strainer to prevent any lumps when water is added. Water should be used when around 180 degrees. If boiled, then it should sit for 2-3 minutes. This allows for immediate consumption when the tea is at peak flavor.

In order to brew in a ceremonial manner you will require a bowl, bamboo scoop and whisk.

1.  Warm your bowl and cup.

2.  Prepare whisk by soaking tip in boiled water for about 10 seconds.

3.  Pour out water and dry bowl. Add 2 scoops of Matcha powder.

4.  Add 2oz water.

5.  Submerge any loose bits floating on surface.

6.  Whisk briskly back and forth until surface becomes frothy.

7.  Consume immediately.

A white tea cup with vibrant matcha powdered green tea next to a matcha whisk

Enjoy some wonderful matcha today.

Cheers,
the Tea Team

An ode to tea

An Ode to Tea

When the world is at odds,

And the mind is at sea,

Then cease the useless tedium,

And brew a cup of tea.

_

There is magic in it’s fragrance,

There is solace in it’s taste;

And the laden moments vanish,

Somehow into space.

_

And the world becomes a lovely thing!

There’s beauty as you see;

All because you briefly stopped,

To brew a cup of tea.

                                              -Author unknown

No need to add any further sentiments to this ode. The words so sweetly sum up the importance of taking time for tea!  An Ode to Tea

Cheers,

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

Toast and Tea

Toast and Tea

“BREAD AND WATER CAN SO EASILY BE TOAST AND TEA’

 

Tea Quote

This is a lovely quote (author unknown) that came to mind this morning.  I was actually making some Lemon Curd at the time, but I also had a visitor in the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens that told me he would not drink tea because his mother always made him have toast and tea when he was sick!  Of course, she would; mothers know what is good for you.

I also felt sorry for him!  Toast and Tea is a custom most of us have such good feelings about, and I, for one, can sample this pairing at any time of day.  There is nothing as simple or as tasty as toast and tea unless you add a little lemon curd, that is!

Lemons are in abundance here at the moment, and as they keep arriving by the bagful at my house, I keep churning out the Lemon Curd!  I got myself a cup of jasmine tea and Lemons at the ready.  Want to have a go too?

Lemon Curd Recipe

This is a straightforward recipe and method to follow.  You will need preserving jars that have been sterilized in boiling water.  I put the lemons in the same water as it makes the juice release easier.  I usually double up the recipe, but to make one batch, you will need:

Juice and rind of 1 lemon (I have been adding rind of an extra lemon too!), 2 eggs, 2oz unsalted butter, and 3oz sugar.

  1. Place sugar and rind in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs and lemon juice together.  Add to bowl.
  3. Cut butter into small chunks.  Add to bowl.
  4. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until butter melts and whisk lightly over heat until the mixture thickens.  (It may seem like the mixture is never going to thicken, but it will.)

Place in jar and refrigerate.

It tastes delicious and is so worth the effort.  I love giving to friends and, of course, the suppliers of all my Lemons!  Lemon Curd is also the perfect accompaniment to scones, so maybe next time we will make scones.

I recommend putting on the kettle and making a pot of Yorkshire tea, and sit down to enjoy some toast and tea.  Mmmm!

Cheers,
The TeaLady

Easter Wishes with Chocolate Honeybush

Easter Wishes with Chocolate Honeybush

“The Spirit of Easter is all about Hope, Love and Joyful living.”

-Anonymous

Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  This is the most important holiday in all of Christianity.  As with Christmas, various folk customs and pagan traditions have become a standard part of this holy holiday over the centuries.  Some include Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter baskets of candy, and CHOCOLATE.  There are many stories about the connection of eggs (re-birth) and bunnies (originally hares actually and a symbol of new life in ancient times).  Above all, I am not sure how the chocolate connection came about.

Most of us have no problem with chocolate being included, reason or not!  We cannot offer chocolate eggs or bunnies at Local Tea Company, but we call Chocolate Honeybush an exceptional tea.

Chocolate Honeybush

Honeybush is an herbal infusion or ‘tisane’ grown in the Langkloof Mountains of South Africa.  Read more from a previous post on Honeybush to learn all about this lovely tea.

Some might say that Honeybush is not complete without the addition of those chocolate and caramel pieces.  Similarly, if you smell and taste this version of honeybush, you might agree!

This weekend, you will find us serving and delighting our customers with Chocolate Honeybush in the Carriage House Tea Room at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  And on Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  We can guarantee plenty of love and joy too.

Please join us if you can for a chocolate celebration (without the calories!).  If you are not local, then visit our online shop to stock up on your Easter supplies.  Be sure to share your Easter Chocolate Honeybush with all of your friends.

With good wishes to you all for the Easter holiday.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Pear Mu Tan

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.”

White Teas

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.

Pear Mu Tan White Tea

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.

Organic

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.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Honeybush Tea

Honeybush 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!

Organic Honeybush

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.

Organic Honeybush

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.

Honeybush

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.

Chocolate Honeybush

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!

Chocolate Honeybush

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.

Cheers,
the TeaLady