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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

Yerba Mate – The Drink of the Gods

Yerba Mate – The Drink of the Gods

Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a small tree native to the subtropical Atlantic forests of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. This evergreen member of the holly family was introduced to modern civilizations by the indigenous Guarani.  For instance, the mate drink is brewed from the dried leaves and stems.  Yerba Mate is consumed by millions of South Americans as a healthful alternative to coffee.

Taste

What does this drink taste like?  Well yerba mate lives up to its name ‘cup herb’.  The flavor is very herby or vegetal/grassy but can be very agreeable if made correctly!  Water must NOT be boiling as this can cause bitterness.  Steaming hot is quite sufficient.  This is what Michael drank most Saturday mornings at the Local Tea Company tent at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.

Yerba Mate tea Tree
Yerba Mate Tree

How to drink Yerba Mate?

The traditional way to drink the infusion is from a hollowed out gourd through a straw called a ‘bombilla’, a reusable straw!  A yerba mate tea set.  The ritual is a common social practice shared with friends and carrying a set of rules.  Usually one person, the host will prepare yerba mate and refill the cup. The gourd is passed around in a clockwise circle and then re-brewed many times. You will say ‘gracias’ and return the gourd to your host only when you have had sufficient!  I talk to many visitors who have enjoyed this experience when traveling in South America.

Yerba Mate tea in Gourd with Bombilla
Yerba Mate in Gourd with Bombilla

I am a fan of our Organic Green Mate, pure clean.  And I have tried to persuade others at the Selby Gardens Welcome center to join me, but my work continues.

Another option is our Roasted Mate.  The leaves are toasted which imparts a slight roasted taste.  The leaf is dark and tastes almost coffee-like, and is a good choice if you are trying to ‘kick’ the coffee habit!

Michael prefers our Sweet Orange Mate, a blend of green and roasted mate along with some citrus and licorice which tends to soften the ‘herbi-ness’ a little. As a reult, you will receive a surge of energy and mental clarity which really gets you on the right track and sets you up for the day!

Health Benefits

Above all, this drink plays a role in many legendary tales.  First discovered centuries ago by the indigenous people in South America, Yerba Mate has become revered as the ‘drink of the gods.’  People survived drought and famine drinking this tea.  Yerba Mate can enhance health, vitality, and longevity and is now becoming an alternative to coffee in many other areas of the world.   This well balanced stimulant has 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids and is high in antioxidants.

Mate has some amazing qualities which make it a whole body tonic. The stimulation comes to us via 3 components called Xanthine Alkaloids: – Caffeine, Theophylline and Theobromine (found in chocolate!).  This mighty combination along with minerals to support the nervous system and B vitamins to relax the muscles produce a balanced and long lasting physical and mental stimulation!

You may find comments about Yerba Mate having ‘more anti oxidants than green tea.’  Let’s just say Mate contains ‘abundant anti oxidants’ and is low in tannins,  You can brew this tea very strong without any bitterness which also makes it easier on the stomach.  Along with a massive burst of energy, Mate will curb your appetite, raise your metabolism and burn calories i.e. loose weight.  Sounds easy if all you have to do is drink Yerba Mate.

As with all teas you can change the experience to suit you.  People always ask how to make yerba mate without a gourd?  Brew your yerba mate drink your favorite way, whether in your favorite tea pot or a Travel Mug or a Tea Maker or a T sac.  Give it a try and let us know what you experience.

Gracias.,

Tea Team

Tea Reviews – Wow!!!

Tea Reviews – Wow!!!

We have been submitting our teas to a few web sites that review teas. Basically, a panel of tea enthusiasts brews tastes and reviews teas, and then post comments and opinions.

At Local Tea Company, we are confident that our teas are of great quality and have an exceptional taste, but it is always good to hear what your peers have to say, right? This is what they do, taste A LOT of tea.

We were a bit reluctant, uncertain just how we might compare teas from the industry giants or the specialty tea companies. Well, we are happy to report here that Local Tea Company is holding our own and even impressing some folks.

We were very excited to hear the comments and, of course, would like to share them with you. Not that we are bragging you understand, but if you have not experienced these teas, check out what they are saying and please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.

Drumroll Please!!!

Goji Green – “One of the best green teas in the world”  Buy Goji Green

Organic Strawberry Smile…”The aroma of the leaves is also extremely strong and juicy, making your mouth water before you even taste the tea! The perfect drink on a summer’s day!”  Buy Organic Strawberry Smile

Chocolate Honeybush…”My roommate, who isn’t a tea drinker, even commented on how good it smelled”  Buy Chocolate Honeybush

Sweet Orange Mate… “nice, mellow mate base, which leaves a slightly smoky note in the fragrance and taste”  Buy Sweet Orange Mate

Selby Select…”The aroma of the dried leaves is extremely strong and smells just like freshly squeezed orange juice!”  Buy Selby Select

Thank you for allowing us to enjoy this moment of glory.

Congratulations to us!!!

We have submitted other teas and will continue to keep you posted. If you need more information, please visit our website or send an e-mail to talk about tea.

The Tea Lady