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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.”

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 gojiberries 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 date of birth 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.”

Li Qing Yuen Local Tea Co Sarasota

He spent most of his life in the mountains collecting and selling ginseng, gojiberries 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 gojiberries could be found in the official reports, and I really don’t know what sitting like a tortoise might look like.

I am going to leave the story in our product page because I think our Goji Green tea is phenomenal.  As phenomenal as the legend of Li Qing Yuen.

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 this wonderful green tea, contemplate your secrets to a long life.  And then please share them with me 🙂

Who was Earl Grey?

This week one of our glorious customers ordered some Garden Grey Black Tea.  This is a tea we blend ourselves with organic lavender grown in the wilds of Tibet.  What an aroma!  While this is not one of our more popular teas, it did get me thinking about Earl Grey in general.

Most tea lovers are familiar with Earl Grey.  One whiff of this tea reveals the distinctive aroma on the nose and in the cup.  This is a very traditional black tea with the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a very fragrant citrus fruit.

What about the man behind the tea?

Earl Grey

Charles Grey (1764-1845) descended from a long established Northumbrian family seated at Howick Hall and was educated at Eton and Trinity College  and Cambridge.  He became the 2nd Earl of Grey, was a politician in the Whig party (Democrats) and he became Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 22!  His first parliamentary address as PM was in 1787 and concerned a recent free trade agreement made with France, to which he was very opposed.  He was involved in four years of political reform, the author of the Reform Bill of 1832 (which saw the reform of the House of Commons) and had an enormous impact on the development of democracy in Britain, abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833.

The Whig historian T.B. Macauly wrote in 1841,

‘At an age when most of those who distinguish themselves in life are still contending for prizes and fellowships at college, he had won for himself a conspicuous place in Parliament. No advantage of fortune or connection was wanting that could set off to the height his splendid talents and his unblemished honour.’

Outside of his political achievements Earl Grey enjoyed the life!  He was said to be tall, slim and strikingly handsome, had 10 sons and 6 daughters with his wife and fathered at least one illegitimate child!  Earl Grey enjoyed gallivanting around the country, breeding dogs, playing cribbage and also found time to have an affair with the Duchess of Devonshire.

There are several tales as to how the tea was named after such a noble and colorful figure!  According to the most popular legend a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of the Earl’s men, first presented the blend to the Earl in 1803.  This legend seems to have little basis as the Earl apparently did not set foot in China and the use of bergamot to scent tea was then unknown in China.  Jackson’s of Piccadilly claim they were the originators of the recipe, which was given to them by the Earl himself.

While the truth is not known, like the very popular Earl himself, this tea is one of the most well known flavored teas in the world.  Many people who I chat with over the years claim not to care for the very distinct flavor of Earl Grey.  I have found by offering samples of Earl Grey, that most people have never experienced a good quality, loose leaf tea and the quality of both the tea and the bergamot is paramount! Any deviation can result in an unpleasant tea with a residual taste on your palate.

Organic Loose Leaf teas
Loose Leaf Earl Grey

Also, consider an iced Earl Grey, (Me thinks the Earl would not approve!)  Delicious, so be sure to try for yourself especially cold brewed, as explained in a previous blog post.

When brewing a hot cuppa Earl Grey, we infuse for only 2 minutes or so, and then enjoy multiple infusions from the same leaves.  It is the perfect accompaniment to tea sandwiches and cakes (Mmmm!) but just drinking alone is fine too.  ‘Gallivant’ with your Earl, and find your favorite way to enjoy.

Along with the Garden Grey, we offer two version of Earl Grey Black tea, one is our premium blend Earl Grey and we also offer an Organic Earl Grey.  Our Organic Earl Grey is the tea we offer in the silk tea sachets and can be found served from nearly all of our serving partners.

You may be surprised to find you like the Earl, now that you know a bit about the man behind the tea.

Cheers,

Your Tea Team

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.  

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 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 and every 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

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, a 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 gojiberries or any other subtle sweetness that brings out that cool wonderful green tea flavor.  Yes, white teas too. Drink them!

Drink great rooibos teas.  Drink a lot of rooibos. This is wonderful in the afternoon when there is no fear of caffeine stealing sleep from you. Drink Rooibos or Bush Tea when faced with solving a mystery ☺☺  This 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

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 a gorgeous jams and jellies.  Drink a fabulous chamomile tea from Egypt and dream of Cleopatra or floating down the Nile.

Drink great fruit teas.  Share them with a young person.  Introduce a child to the joys of tea.  Start with the anticipation of the kettle boiling, then take a moment to select a tea to fit the mood, watch when hot water meets tea leaves and the flavors release.  This 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 the very first steps.  

Life is too short to drink anything but great tea

And then there is the perfection that are Mote Beach Tea or Little Monkey fruit teas.  Make a cuppa 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 in to a great cuppa tea.  Where the tea was plucked, how far it might have traveled, who else might be enjoying the exact 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 up 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.  

 

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 want you to 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 just have to be a bit creative about it. The story is available and there is 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.  Take a moment and make it special. You will enjoy the experience even morel, 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

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.

Matcha Powdered 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 Whisk

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.

Whisked Matcha

Enjoy some wonderful matcha today.

Cheers,
the Tea Team

Teetotalers to Tea Parties?

In 18th century England, tea was an expensive commodity, heavily taxed and a luxury for the rich. At that time coffeehouses were popular meeting places for social interaction where news and views were exchanged, though women were banned!  Because of escalating drunkenness of the working classes (gin and ale being their drinking options) it was decided to start serving tea to ‘persons of inferior rank’. Many new cafes and coffeehouses opened as alternatives to pubs and inns leading to the Temperance movement.

The Preston Temperance Society of 1823 was started in the north of England by Joseph Livesey to promote abstinence from alcoholic beverages.  The movement quickly spread throughout England and to the States. In the village where I was raised in Yorkshire, there was a hotel called the Temperance Hotel.  The picture above depicts Christian women in the New York promoting the movement . Read More

SRQ Collection of Coffees

We typically use this space to write about tea, but Local Coffee + Tea has created three new coffees we are very proud of and want to share with you.  Also, Glynis is on holiday in the UK (see post from Harrogate Yorkshire), and so she is not around to protect this sanctuary of tea from coffee contamination.  If you are a tea purist, please do not read any further.

We love Sarasota and have been searching for coffees that might capture the essence of this very special place.  We have found three and they make up our SRQ Collection of Coffees.  We have been brewing all three coffees at the Selby House Cafe at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and our Siesta Key shop with great results.  The collection includes Bee Ridge Blend, Siesta Decaf and Fruitville Flavored Coffee.  Here is a bit more about each of our new coffees…

Bee Ridge Blend

Bee Ridge Blend – Named after one of the main thoroughfares in Sarasota, Bee Ridge is a bold, breakfast style coffee with a bright, natural sweetness.  A very drinkable coffee and especially delicious with a drop of honey.  Medium city roast.

Siesta Decaf – Siesta Decaf is a decaffeinated Colombian coffee and will not interfere with those afternoon naps in a hammock on Siesta Key.  Medium acidity for a rich, balanced and smooth taste.

Siesta Key Decaf Coffee

Fruitville Flavored – A perfect blend of fruit and nut flavors for a slightly sweet treat.  Named after an important street in Sarasota running from near the bay to the bush, and was formerly lined with citrus orchards.

Fruitville Flavored Coffee

All three coffees are locally roasted by Java Dawg Coffee and available every Saturday at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market from the Java Dawg Coffee bus as well as their shop at 4615 Tamiami Trail  in Sarasota.

You can purchase any or all of the SRQ Collection of Coffees from our online shop, www.SipLocally.com.  And now back to the tea!

md

Tea Quote – Three Men in a Boat

 

A favourite book of mine offers an interesting quote or excerpt about tea, and I would like to 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!

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!”  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 a earlier post about Yorkshire.  Please share your comments and take time for tea.

Cheers,

the Tealady

Toast and Tea

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

This is a very easy recipe and method to follow.  You will need preserving jars which have been sterilized in boiling water.  I put the lemons in 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 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 mixture thickens.  (It may seem like 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

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

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

Most of us have no problem with chocolate being included, reason or not!  At Local Tea Company we cannot offer chocolate eggs or bunnies but a very special tea we call Chocolate Honeybush.

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 and if you smelled and tasted this version you might agree!

You will find us this weekend serving and delighting our customers with Chocolate Honeybush in the Carriage House Tea Room at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and 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!) but if you are not local then visit our online shop to stock up on your Easter supplies and be sure to share with all your friends too.

With good wishes to you all for the Easter holiday.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Pear Mu Tan

I am glad to announce that here at Local Tea Company we have added another tea to our Organic cultivation varieties.

Pear Mu Tan is a White tea grown in Fujian Province, China.  White teas are surrounded by folklore and mystique heralded from ancient China when this delicate tea was proclaimed by Emperors as “the culmination of all that is elegant”

White teas are the least processed of all the categories of tea.  The newest leaves are carefully picked when they have a silvery appearance which comes from the hair or ‘hao’.  They are lightly withered which turns them into an artists palate of hues, ranging from silver to green to brown and results in 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 a Pear tea and 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” and is produced from a variety of 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 so is a perfect partner for White tea.  To compliment the pear, there are dried apple pieces, mango cubes and marigold blossoms which results in shimmering golden liquor with a lingering fragrance and sweet, fresh mellow taste.  This is a truly beautiful 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 now as 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 anticancer properties, is heart healthy, has a calming (anti-sagging!) and detoxifying effect on the skin and the ability to strengthen our immune system.  An added 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 that 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 and therefore have been able to drink later into the day.   See how it works for you!

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