Blog

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.

Teapotty!

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company

Author unknown

Recently, we brought to your attention the Tea Cozy, and now we turn to the  TEAPOT!

Origins 

The teapot is a vessel for steeping loose tea leaves or herbal infusions.  Although the pot does not have as long a history as the leaf, its humble beginnings were also in China.

At first, tea was boiled in open pans.  Not until the Ming Dynasty did the idea of a covered pot became popular.  Those pots were small, and the tea was taken directly from the spout.  But they served their purpose well, keeping the flavor and allowing the steeping process to be repeated several times.  More about this later!

Towards the end of the 16th century, the Dutch started shipping cargoes of tea to Europe, and the teapot came along. The designs were mostly blue and white stoneware. Dutch potters started re-creating these designs, and by 1710, Germany began production in the Meissen factory, followed shortly after by production in France and England.

At that time in Colonial America, Boston became a center of silver production, which included the making of elaborate teapots. Two Dutch potters who settled in England established the pottery industry in Staffordshire, and it was some hundred years before they discovered the secret of making fine translucent pottery called porcelain. The teapot journey had begun!

In the eighteenth century, Josiah Spode is credited for creating the distinctive look of English China and famous names as Wedgewood, Worcester, Minton, and Derby.  All created such beautiful and elegant designs. Maybe you are lucky enough to have one in your collection!

Shapes and Sizes

Over the years, the size and shape of teapots have changed to suit tastes and fashions.  Now, of course, we can get any size or shape or material imaginable. From the finest china to stoneware to glass, basically, anything goes!  But which is the best style of the teapot?

I urge my customers to think carefully about their tea-drinking habits, as bigger is not necessarily better. The early Chinese method rings true for a reason. It seems that the majority of people, if they have a 6 cup pot, then they cannot resist making a full pot and maybe only take 1 serving!  You can stash the leftovers in the fridge for some Iced Tea (or Ice Tea.)

Whilst drinking that 1 serving, the remaining tea is becoming quite undrinkable unless you like major astringency! My advice is to make 1 serving and reinfuse the leaves for a second helping when you are ready, continuing till you have no flavor in your leaves…Multi-Steeping, not to be confused with Infusion Confusion.

If you were to decant the 6 cups of tea into another vessel upon completion of brewing, that would also be acceptable. The key is to gauge how much you will be drinking and brew accordingly. Choose a pot to match your drinking habits; life is too short to waste good tea!  Along with Life is too Short to Drink Bad Tea!

How to use a Teapot

How to make a nice pot of tea? In Yorkshire, they would say ‘take the pot to the kettle and not t’other way round.’   Warming the pot is so important!  Place the leaves in this inviting environment and they start to release their aroma. Stick your nose in the pot and inhale deeply.

All teas vary slightly in weight.  The general rule is one teaspoon per cup, and I add ‘one for the pot’ because my mum always did!  Steep for the recommended time or your preference and TAKE TIME TO ENJOY YOUR TEA.  Enjoy the first cup, and when you are ready, re-infuse your leaves, and don’t forget your tea cozy to keep the tea warm this time!

So, what’s your favorite teapot look like, or what would you like it to look like? I invite you to have some fun with us on Pinterest.

Here is my favorite teapot from the Yorkshire Dales!  And we have a wonderful Pinterest Board, TeaPotty, with heaps of Teapots.  Enjoy!

Tea Newsletter #3 – Better Teas, Better Spices

If someone forwarded this email to you, you need your own! 

Click here to subscribe.  And if you would like to unsubscribe, click here.

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

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?

“Iced tea may not have as much wisdom as hot tea,

but in summer better a cool and refreshed dullard

than a steamy sweat drenched sage –leave sagacity to the autumn”

Linda Solegato

 

One of our Serving Partners was revising their menu and asked me, “is it Iced or Ice Tea?”

Good question!  So I thought I would look into the matter.  This leads me to the quote above from Linda Solegato, which, in turn, lead me on a slight detour.

Steep Loose Leaf tea multiple times, we call if Multi-Steeping at Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Hot Tea

First, the quote.  Hot tea does evoke a sense of contemplation.  We are often gifted a few moments as the kettle boils water or the tea is steeping.  How many great ideas or other inspirations have come from these ‘Tea Times.’  Or what do you call these between times?

I know the time between the honk from the cab’s horn behind you and the light turning green is a New York minute.  Maybe I’ll get to that term in a future post, and until then, I’m going with Tea Time.

I expect many will respond with the same moments of reflection as we refresh ourselves with a tall glass of cold tea.  Yes, I am waiting to introduce the title term of this post for a bit of drama and SEO benefits.  So, is there wisdom in a cold cuppa?  I’ll leave that for yet another possible post.

Linda Solegato

The tangent I mentioned earlier came after a quick search about the author, Linda Solegato.  Who is Linda Solegato, and what other gems has she to share?  Linda is also credited with a few other non-tea blurbs,

“Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul.”

“When one of my plants dies, I die a little inside, too.”

“It’s so hot even my fake plants are wilting.”

But, who is this sage?  My search leads me to the QuoteGarden website and Terri Guillemets.  For some reason, unknown to my sleuthing, Linda Solegato is a pseudonym for Terri Guillemets.  She is a lifelong collector of quotes, and her site is fabulous.  I plan to return often for more tea quotes for future Sip Locally posts.

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?

But what about refreshing, cold tea.  Is it Ice Tea or Iced Tea?  That is the question.

I thought a simple search would determine the correct use.   And here is a fine time to admit my guilt in using both versions at Local Tea Company along the way. However,  I never thought to get to the bottom of this mild mystery.  Until now!

Grammarist and Merriam Webster both offer detailed and similar explanations.  Elocution.  Both cite ice cream, previously known as iced cream but adjusted for ease of pronunciation.  Merriam Webster goes a bit further (or farther)  with nods to Waxed Paper, Skimmed Milk, and Boxed Sets.  The tea world has not committed just yet.  So, both Ice Tea and Iced Tea are both acceptable and interchangeable.

History of Cold Tea

The world of iced tea is not that old.  The widely accepted story is of Richard Blechyden at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis.

Crowd at the 1904 World's Fair at St Louis for Local Tea Company

The tale goes, the tea merchant Blechyden had planned on promoting
his fine Indian loose leaf tea. The day was scorching hot, and nobody was
interested in his hot tea.  He took some ice from the iced cream
vendor next door and added it to all the drinks.  This idea proved to be a massive hit, and ice(d) tea was born.

French’s Mustard was also introduced at the same 1904 event, handy trivia knowledge put to good use a few weeks ago.  French’s Mustard was founded in my home town of Rochester, NY.  Throw in Long Island Iced Tea, which sounds better, and elocution rules again.

Statistics show 85% of Americans drink iced tea.  And in 2010, ice tea actually overtook the Brits in the tea-drinking stakes by consuming so much of the iced beverage!

Health Benefits of Ice(d) Tea

There is plenty of evidence about the great benefits of drinking tea. Tea contains high
levels of antioxidants called polyphenols, which attack the free radicals in our
bodies and stop them from harming our healthy cells.

Do we get more of those antioxidants from hot tea or iced tea? The overwhelming
evidence indicates that higher quality loose leaf tea provides the
most antioxidants (and much better flavor) whichever way you serve them. If you
are among the 65% that use tea bags, you might want to introduce loose tea
into your life and “think out of the bag.”

We think it is worth the small amount of time and effort to brew your iced tea with loose leaf at Local Tea Company.

Many of our Serving Partner clients use large tea sacs to make a gallon of ice(d) tea.  We call them bullets and use the large T-sac to contain the tea and one ounce of black or green tea to make a gallon.  A little more is required for fruit and herbal tisanes.

Cold Brew(ed) Ice(d) Tea

We have always liked the cold brew method.  That is, add cold water to loose leaf tea and leaving in the fridge overnight.   Try this method with some of the old tea bags you have in a drawer.  You will be amazed at the flavor, and a better idea than tossing them the next time you clean out your cupboard.

Ice Tea or Iced Tea?  It doesn’t matter according to the grammar gods.  It all comes back to our very own adage that I’ll turn into a quote here…

Find the tea you like and drink it. 

And drink it often. 

Tea is an incredibly healthy beverage and if you like the taste,

you will drink more of it.

Sign up for our Newsletter here, and please share this post on social media.  In our Newsletter #4 ‘Why Loose Leaf Tea is Better,’ we share a story from a customer who steeps her tea three times, two times using this Cold Brew method, and then she uses hot water for the last steep.

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

If someone forwarded this email to you, you need your own! 

Click here to subscribe.  And if you would like to unsubscribe, click here.

 

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

More about Mote

More about Mote Beach Tea

Yes, Mote Beach Tea is a delicious caffeine-free herbal fruit infusion.  One of our bestselling teas.

As a hot tea, you get a bit of tropical sweetness that can transport you to a hammock near the sea.  As an iced tea, Mote is both incredibly refreshing and wonderfully healthy.  No sugar added, powerfully hydrating, and with hibiscus being one of the ingredients, the tea is packed with vitamins and minerals.  And the red color is gorgeous.  You can learn more about Mote Beach tea from an earlier post here.

Mote Beach Tea is an herbal fruit infusion from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, florida and celebrates Mote Marine Laboratory

I want to share some details very dear to my heart about Mote Marine Laboratory.  You may know or suspect that we contribute a portion of sales of Mote Beach Tea as a charitable donation back to Mote.  Each quarter, I send a report detailing each of the forms we sell the tea in; Biodegradeable sachets, loose-leaf and 1 gallon Ice Tea bullets, and our two channels, online purchases, and sales to our Serving Partners.

Along with this report, I send a check.  And every quarter, about a week later, I get a letter from Mote thanking me for the donation and letting me know how much they appreciate our partnership.  I also get a sticker, the round blue logo with a shark in the middle.  I love getting those stickers, I love getting those letters, and I love working with Mote.  To a person, Mote is a group of the highest quality people, all passionate and committed to the world undersea. Read More

Tea Newsletter #1 – Remember Us?

Hello Tea lovers – Remember Us?

We are restarting our email newsletter after a bit of a break.  Yes, it has been more than 7 years, so more of a hiatus, but here we are.  

Remember Us?

First, if you would like to unsubscribe, click here.

You can expect an email every three or four weeks with updates and announcements about our teas. We will also share interesting tea-related products you might enjoy, with an inspiring tea quote to go with what we are listening to, watching, reading, and laughing about as we drink our tea.  

It’s good to be back!  And now, more than ever, the simple pleasures of a calming cuppa tea are crucial to our collective sanity.  Organic Peppermint works for us.  What tea do you turn to for comfort?

Who are you?

When last we sent our newsletter, Local Tea Co was busy sampling and selling our teas at the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens.  And, on Saturday, you could find our ‘Tea Tent’ at the Sarasota Farmers Market.  I HOPE you remember us.

Part of the reason we restarted this newsletter is that the Market restarted last weekend, after a few months off.  This return got us thinking about all the people we met and spent time with on Saturdays or at the Garden.  

We are no longer at the Market, and we left Selby Gardens as well.  You can find all the details in our History.  

What have we been doing?

We are now focused on our wholesale tea business.  We have a long list of Serving Partners that offer our wonderful teas.  And if you know of a cafe or restaurant that should be selling our teas, let them know about us.  

We also continue to sell out teas online.  And Michael has committed to improving his handwriting, though we have our doubts:):)

Our Tea Blog is more active these days, with a recent post about an Amy Tan quote.  And did you know Yusuf / Cat Stevens drinks his Breakfast Blend with a cardamom pod?

This ‘TeaMail’ newsletter was titled “Think out of the Bag,” as we are always promoting loose leaf tea.  We still promote loose leaf teas, though now offer 20 of our teas in biodegradable SOILON silk sachets. 

Our Pinterest Page is probably our most active social page. Have a look and please, follow, like, and comment on any of our pages.  

On Instagram and YouTube, we have a bunch of videos visiting our Serving Partners.  Have a look and a laugh. And we try to keep up on Facebook and Twitter.  What is your preferred social media platform?

As ever, we welcome your comments and thank you for your support.  

Your Local Tea Team

Amy Tan Tea

Drink Good Tea!

I take a few quick sips. “This is really good.” And I mean it. I have never tasted tea like this.. It is smooth, pungent and instantly addicting.

“This is from Grand Auntie,” my mother explains. “She told me ‘If I buy cheap tea, then I am saying that my whole life has not been worth something better.’

A few years ago she bought it for herself. One hundred dollars a pound.”

“Your kidding.” I take another sip. It tastes even better.

Amy Tan, The Kitchen God’s Wife

Image of Amy Tan, author of The Kitchen God's Wife
Amy Tan www.amytan.net

There is some truth to the above passage. You should drink good tea.  How much do you pay for tea?   I am not suggesting you need to pay 100 dollars a pound for good tea!  Price does not always guarantee the quality, but generally, ‘Good Tea’ is a great investment.  Your return on that investment is a smooth and pungent flavor.  This depth and the consistent flavor are very addictive, and after that, it will result in multiple infusions of the leaf!

Life is too Short to Drink Bad Tea.

Cheap Teabag tea is designed for one-time use!  I have heard tales of a second and even third infusion from a single tea bag.  What is the point of weak tea?  Drink good tea!

Not so with loose leaf tea.  You can certainly get great flavor from a second infusion, and with some teas, even a third infusion and beyond.  At Local Tea Company, we call this ‘multi-fusion’ or ‘multi-steeping.’  You might be interested in a previous blog post about this subject.

Many customers will only infuse or steep a pot or cup of tea once.  They then dispose of the leaves, hopefully in a compost bin.  Tea was an expensive commodity during my youth in Yorkshire, and from an early age, my mum always taught me how to get the most value from loose leaf tea!  Who would have thought that the term ‘multifusion’ would later describe this process?

Keep in mind these infusions were always at the same sitting. For instance, at least two cups were the norm in my childhood.  I have never had a problem drinking two cups or more.   If more than a cuppa poses a problem for you, then keep your leaves fresh by placing them in the refrigerator for use later the same day.  I do not advise keeping them beyond a day in case of spoilage.  Just drink more tea!

Drinking more tea is much easier when you have the right tea!

“You’re kidding,” said the Tea Lady.  Local Tea continues to make your ‘TeaLife’ better and better.

Book Cover for Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife

‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)

‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)

Let’s make this post ‘Tea for the Tillerman‘ Part 2.  And you can expect this to be a 3 – part blog post.  

Can someone tell me the difference between a release, remastered, and a re-recorded when it comes to musical albums?  Well, now, I know!

The new, RE-RECORDED album from Yusuf / Cat Stevens is scheduled for RELEASE on September 18th, 2020.  In my last blog post, Tea for the Tillerman – 50 years later, I had a wonderful time listening to the REMASTERED version of ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ while considering the album cover. 

Album art for remastered version of Tea for the Tillerman

However, I thought I was listening to the new RELEASE of the RE-RECORDED album, rather than the REMASTERED version of the original RELEASE.  The music sounded great to me, and arguably I was more focused on the cover album and the story.  

Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea

Well, I heard from a few readers, including Team Yusuf / Cat Stevens, in Dubai.  Thank you all for setting me straight! 

  1. The deer in the background is actually a woman—the same woman bringing the rain and mentioned in Tea for the Tillerman.  Obvious now when I look closer, but can you see a deer if you squint?
  2. Tillerman is a farmer or someone who tills the soil.  I thought as much, and it is nice to have the details confirmed.
  3. The tea in the Tillerman’s mug is an English Breakfast Blend. Prepared as Yusuf enjoys “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.”  That’s what is in his cuppa.
  4. Tillerman’s single front tooth refers to his (and Yusuf’s) love of sweet things. 

Cool, I gladly stand corrected!  And enlightened.  I always want to know how people take their tea for this Sip Locally blog.

As for the upcoming album due September 18th, there is new artwork.  Though, more accurate might be a revised or remastered album cover.  The obvious difference is the rich shade of blue connoting nighttime.  I’ll wait for the album to share my thoughts on the new cover art. The music will no doubt, guide my art inspiration. 

Besides, I have since learned the producer and nearly all of the musicians are back with Yusuf to rerecord the album.  Even cooler!

Album Cover art for Tea for the Tillerman 2 to be released September 18, 2020 by Yusuf Cat Stevens

Tea for the Tillerman Part 2 Album Art

Similarly, here is a nugget about the album

“50 years have passed and the Tillerman has returned back to Earth from his intergalactic adventures, only to discover the world is in need of love and friendship more than ever.  Always the optimist, he brews a magnificent tea, ready for those who want to join in creating a moment of calm.” 

A nice thought, any moment of calm in these turbulent times.

Thanks again, and stay tuned.

 

Tea for the Tillerman – 50 years later

Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea?

Yusuf / Cat Stevens released an updated version of ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ this month, adding 50 years of wisdom and maturity to the songs.

The songs sound great, Yusuf sounds great, and the lyrics of Tea for the Tillerman are so familiar they reflexively bring memories to mind.  But what struck me was my interest in the album cover.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

I listen to music, but I rarely have any interest in album, song, or track art.  Whatever it is called these days.  Was this some other instinct from long ago?

Actually, I remembered that Yusuf / Cat Stevens was not only a singer-songwriter 50 years ago, but also an illustrator.  So, I wanted to see what he sent out into the world with these songs.

Album Cover Art

I have not spent so much time examining an album cover in a very long time. Of course, “Tea” attracted me at first.  But what kind of tea?  Perhaps the lyrics offered some clues, so I listened to the familiar songs as I sought significance from the cover.

Remember, ‘tea’ also refers to the meal taken at the end of the day. Glynis and her husband taught me that term, and they still use ‘tea’ to refer to many of their meals.  Tea is more than Tea.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

But on the album cover, the ‘Tillerman’ has a teapot to go with his mug on the table. Then some milk and sugar, it seems.   Is the Tillerman waiting to be served his tea?

A tiller-man refers to a person steering a boat or a farmer tilling the soil.  Also, the person that steers the back of a fire truck or holds a ladder.

My guess with the deer in the background is either a farmer or this guy could be ferrying things across a river or lake. Perhaps this is how he is paid for his services?  Isn’t that how we are all compensated, with food and drink for the work we do?

Further, the hat seems less a farmer’s cap and more of a dock hand’s cap, with a feather of either massive significance or just something that was found along the way?

What’s in the Tillerman’s Cuppa?

So, what’s in his cuppa? With a full beard and worker’s boots, my guess is something black and strong. If you told me he was drinking herbal tea, I would scoff.

I consider this as I revise this post early in the morning, drinking my smoky lapsang souchong with steamed Oatly oat milk and local honey.  I bet that would get a scoff out of the Tillerman.

My guess is the milk is fresh from a morning milking. The ‘Big Guy’ could be lactose intolerant. Soaking oats, then straining them for a bit of creaminess with his tea, is not that far off or out of the question. What if he farms oats?

The giant sun is up, and so this is midday or late afternoon. With the kids climbing a tree, the tillerman looks happy. Are these his children? Perhaps his wife left the kids with him as she went about a chore.Subject of blog post, the original album cover for Tea for the Tillerman by Yusuf Cat Steves who also did the illustration.

The only thing I can’t explain is the gorgeous white tablecloth perfectly fitting the table. It seems like a special occasion, but I can’t make that fit.  I guess that it could have been easier for Cat to draw a covered table rather than trying to illustrate a seated Tillerman?

Or, what if the Tillerman has been working a nearby plot of land that may have been in his family for a few generations?  And recently, the acreage was purchased, retiring the laborer to a life of luxury.  And with silver in his beard, maybe he is looking after his grandkids?

That might explain the white tablecloth, and this is how he spends his days now.  He will be served ‘tea’ to go with his Darjeeling. Or if this is a cuppa green tea, I would guess an Organic Sencha rather than a fruited Goji Green or an Organic Strawberry Smile.

Tea for the Tillerman Lyrics

The album ends with a concise song I did not remember, ‘Tea for the Tillerman.’  A bit of a clue in the opening…

“Bring tea for the Tillerman,

Steak for the Sun

Wine for the woman who made the rain come…”

Okay, so a farmer waiting for his meal?

I have to do this more often. I really enjoyed gazing at this album art while listening to these classics.  The album cover for Tea for the Tillerman holds up as well as the music.

Thank you again, Yusuf / Cat Stevens