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Tea Newsletter #3 – Better Teas, Better Spices

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Since the pandemic, sales on our web site have ticked up.  I suspect people are drinking more tea, with many new habits formed these past months. Firing up the kettle any time of the day is one of the healthiest habits you can have.

Better Teas

And if you are drinking more tea, the next logical step is to drink better tea.  We have many favorites, like Selby Select and Mote Beach Tea or Siesta Tea and Goji Green.  All will dazzle you and contribute to that newly formed habit.

If you are interested in learning about healthy teas, here is a post Glynis wrote a few years back and a more recent post about consuming goji berries every day.

Some of our more unusual teas include Lapsang Souchong (my personal favorite), our Young Pu Erh, or perhaps our Aronia Oolong with chokeberries and passion fruit.  Lots to explore in our online shop.

This uptick in sales does not cover the drop volume to our wholesale business.  So, if you can support our Serving Partners, thank you.

Better Spices

Like everyone else, we have been preparing more of our meals at home.  And in the spirit of drinking better tea, I am doing the same when it comes to the spices.   So, we are using better spices.  Better teas, better spices.

We have used a mortar and pestle for years to grind pepper and kosher salt.  And, we use a lot of fennel, especially on salmon.  Freshly ground fennel is Magic!!

And now, I have started using really good spices, and the difference is MASSIVE.  I have known about the Spice Trekkers (or Epices de Cru) for years.  I have even gifted sets of their blends, along with a mortar and pestle as my go-to wedding gift.  But like many gift buyers, I bought better for others than myself…

No more. I am hooked. My first order was for two different black peppers (Yupanqui and a Tellicherry) and fennel from Greece.  I also found a powerful Chinese Five Spice and a tangy Harissa.  I filmed an unboxing video, in case you are interested.  Better teas, better spices!

The company is based in Montreal, and they have a fantastic website filled with ‘spice stories.’  I really like the videos they created, especially for the Yupanqui black pepper from Ecuador. Very cool and hard to not order the works!!  Merci, Epices de Cru!

Better Teas Better Spices

My Sunday tea is Sweet Orange Mate while listening to Live from Here on NPR. I do miss Garrison, but the music Chris plays is much better. And Tom Poppa always makes me laugh.  I drink my cuppa (or mugga) Mate as hot tea.  And you may enjoy a recent blog post, “Is it Iced Tea or Ice Tea?”

Music

I had some fun reviewing Yusuf Cat Stevens ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ this summer.  I thought the remastered version was his new one.  Explained here.  ‘Tea for the Tillerman 2’ came out a few weeks ago.  The original was arguably one of the best albums ever, and 50 years later, we get another version by Yusuf Cat.  I’m working on the final post, but in the meantime, listen and enjoy.  Tea PairingOrganic Sarasotan Breakfast Blend “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.”

TV

We ping pong between Lovecraft Country and The Vow.  HBO is knocking it out of the park, though I don’t know which is weirder. John Oliver is back, and Fargo is waiting in the wings.  Tea Pairing – Organic Peppermint, for when your breath gets taken away!!

Podcast

My new favorite podcast is “It Was Said,”  A shortish show (45 minutes or less) where Jon Meachum covers a famous speech and provides a bit of context or historical perspective.  The Ronald Reagen episode was especially touching.  Tea Pairing – Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling, a serious black tea!

And lastly, a farewell to Pat Glass, Dianne’s Mom.  She passed away last month.  Pat was incredible, a true force in the Universe.  Glowing tributes here and here, and an obit with her many accomplishments. With Love!

As always, your comments are welcomed, and thanks for your support.

Your Local Tea Team

Tea Newsletter #2 – New Teas and Old Teas and Glynis

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Thanks for the wonderful response to our first newsletter.  Your comments and kind wishes are always welcome.  Thank you. 

Many of you asked after Glynis.  She is well and has been working at Selby Gardens in the Welcome Center.  She still helps with all adjustments to our tea line up, and she still drinks a lot of tea.  Lately, though, Glynis has been drinking ice tea.  Yes, Ice Tea!!  I can hear the collective gasp from those who have heard her opine about Hot Tea.  It is hot here in Sarasota, so she is making pitchers of Bertha Palmer Rooibos Iced.  

Also, our next blog post… Is it Ice Tea or Iced Tea?  Does anyone want to guess???

Others asked about some of our discontinued teas.  I’ll start with our new teas and then list our excuses:):)

New Teas

Island Mango Black – Created for the Gaugin exhibit at Selby.  So popular that we kept it. Black tea with mango and lime. 

Black Lemon Ginger – We needed a black tea with ginger and lemon, and we found it!  This is an excellent quality black tea, an OP (Orange Pekoe) from Sri Lanka.

Old Teas

* Black Coconut – We still get a bunch of requests each month for this tea. And we are still working on a replacement.

* Sparkling Pineapple White Tea – I liked this one too, but we did not sell enough to keep it.  Sorry!

* Flowers in the Factory – This was a tea created for the Warhol exhibit at Selby.  We used our Organic Red Berries tea, so the cool packet is not available, but the tea is!

Otherwise, our line up is the same, with  Goji Green Tea leading the way.  Our selection of Rooibos is going strong at 9, and that is not counting Chocolate Honeybush, our perennial best seller. 

Our other best seller is Mote Beach Tea, and we do contribute a portion of all sales of this caffeine-free gem back to Mote Marine Laboratory.  Here is a blog post, More about Mote, with details about the volunteer programs Michael is active with; Sea Turtles and Dolphins.  

Our Serving Partners offering Mote Beach Tea include;  Bean Coffeehouse, Cafe in the Park, Burns Court Cafe, Morton’s Bakery, Blue Dolphin Cafe, Breakfast House, Mojo Risin, AJ’s Kitchen, Mountain Comfort Coffee, Pastry Arts, Serving Spoon, State Street Eating House, Sunnyside Cafe, and The Reserve.  Please support these and any other local businesses you can.  Thank you.

We are always looking for tea connections out in the world.  Here are a few recent favorites…

Watching

Poldark – We binged this Masterpiece Classic on Amazon Prime.  Set in the 1790s in Cornwall.  Great drama and even more fabulous images of the Cornwall coastline.  Demelza and Ross don’t drink as much tea as port and sherry, but the 5 seasons was a great escape!

Listening

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou is an Ethiopian piano-playing nun, and she will be 97 in December.  I don’t recall how I came across her mellow sounds, but she is easy to listen to on Sunday mornings with a cuppa Yerba Mate.  Sweet Orange Mate is my favorite.  Her music is fantastic, and her story is even better.

Coverville is one of my favorite podcasts, offering themed cover songs & stories. Loved a recent Blondie Episode, especially ‘The Tide is High’ covered by Dakota Blonde – a country cover of a new wave song originally recorded as a reggae song!  No tea connection, but a great listen.

Reading

Summer thriller Camino Winds by John Grisham.  Not much tea involved, mostly cold beer and wine, but I look forward to a Grisham book every summer. 

As ever, we welcome your comments and thanks for your support.  

Your Local Tea Team

Sorori TEA Sisters Tea Review

Sorori TEA Sisters Review

A few of our teas have recently been reviewed by Sorori TEA Sisters Tea Review, a blog dedicated to reviewing teas.  We are sharing the reviews with you.  See what the tea professional and others are saying about teas from Local Tea Company.

Mable’s Rose Rooibos celebrates Mable Ringling and her rose garden at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Also, it is reviewed by Anne on October 20th.  Find it here.

Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea celebrates the arrival of Bertha Palmer in Sarasota 100 years ago was reviewed on October 22nd.  Find it here.

Mote Beach Tea celebrates the marine research conducted by Mote Marine Laboratories.  You will find the review by Anne on November 11th.  Find it here.   Besides, Glynis blogged about this fruit and herb tea in September, providing lots of details.  (click here)

Mote Beach Tea

For instance, you may have noticed all the teas reviewed are part of the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas.  We are adding to this collection, and we hope to keep delighting our customers.

In conclusion, hopefully, Sorori TEA Sisters Review will keep spreading the word about our teas.  We will keep updating this post as they do.  Hint, Hint…Selby Select is amazing.  Check it out, ladies.

Cheers,
md

Kombucha with Black Tea

Kombucha Black Tea

Welcome to the next installment of kombucha making,

It has been an eventful and exciting period since we last talked, and there are some things I need to share.  First, Kombucha making takes some patience and some structure!  Michael, are you listening?

Get Kombucha

After winging the first batch, I got serious and looked for some better guidelines. This led me to a site called getkombucha.com. Dave talks you through all stages in a mini-course, which is brilliant. (I really like the way he presents his experiences, funny too) I have bought a better container and followed measurements more precisely and am hoping for better results.

Pu-Erh Kombucha

The first batch (made with Pu-erh) was quite frankly a disaster and ended up down the sink, but I am ok with that. I will nail this kombucha making; after all, I am an expert with a regular cuppa tea. How difficult can it be???

The second batch (made with Kenya black tea) is now bottled and needs refrigerating before consumption. I learned that keeping the bottles out for 4 days helps build up some carbonation before you refrigerate.  (A colleague took a crafty sample yesterday and reported that it tasted fantastic! She now wants in on the action too.) I look forward to drinking this daily whilst waiting for the next batch to work its magic.

Kombucha with Black and Green Tea

Another batch, which I started at home, was made with a combination of black and green tea. I brewed for only 12 days. Most guidelines indicate between 7 and 14 days, and on sampling, I liked the taste, so I went for it. In 2 of the bottles, I dropped a piece of fresh ginger (another thing I learned was that fruits need to be added at this stage).

I look forward to drinking to see if I have a success story on my hands.  My goal is to continue the Kombucha chain now.

kombucha fermenting in a glass jar as part of a tea blog post from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Some important tips I want to share which may have contributed to my first failure are….

  • Do not cut down the sugar content (1 cup per 4-liter tea). The culture needs sugar to feed and grow,
  • Make sure the mixture is covered with a cloth or paper towel secured with an elastic band. It needs to breathe whilst keeping out the bugs. Or go to getkombucha.com for all the tips!
  • Just a word of warning, this kombucha making becomes somewhat of an obsession. You may find yourself very strangely watching your culture for any action. Is the SCOBY rising to the top or still on the bottom? How long do I have to wait till I taste?

BE PREPARED TO CATCH THE KOMBUCHA BUG!  Kombucha Black Tea

Cheers,
the TeaLady