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Gladwell Tea Party Podcast

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Gladwell Tea Party Podcast

I listen to podcasts.  A lot of podcasts, but most current events, politics, comedy, and golf.  Gladwell Tea Party Podcast.

The first podcast I ever listened to was Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” in 2015. My friend, Matt Turck, turned me on to podcasts, actually taking my phone from me while we were at the Corner Bistro in NYC, and downloading Gladwell’s first episode that had launched that very day. Thanks, Matt.

Gladwell Tempest in a TeaCup

My preference is the long-form interviews, especially while driving my Tea Wagon around Sarasota.  Always on the lookout for new podcasts, though I don’t usually listen to podcasts about Tea.  There are a bunch. I don’t find them as interesting as the ones I like.  And I read a lot of Tea Blogs, as well.

Revisionist History

I’ve moved on from Revisionist History.  I still subscribe but don’t really listen.  That is until I noticed ‘Tempest in a Teacup.’  I read the overview and then listened. Fantastic!

Gladwell tells his tale, in this case revisiting the Boston Tea Party. The episode was released on July 4, and while I am a bit behind, I learned a few things…

The ‘Tea Party’ was actually the culmination of a colonial drug war.  And the colonial drug of choice was tea.  Really??  I always thought the Patriots dumped tea into Boston Harbor to take a stand against taxation without representation.  Not so, says Gladwell.

Patriots

Boston Tea Party Local Tea CompanyThe Patriots were smuggling tea from China into the colonies.  This ‘Bohea Tea’ was cheaper and turned into a profitable business by undercutting the British taxed tea.

Great Britain found out about the smuggling and passed the Tea Act of 1773, lowering tea prices.  This was not good for biz.  So, the Patriots dressed up as Mohawk Indians and dumped the British taxed tea into the harbor. As the Canadian Gladwell points out, our Founding Fathers were a criminal enterprise, drug dealers defending their turf.  Cool!

Drug dealers?  Okay, anything that makes tea dangerous is good for me. It makes Local Tea Company a bit more interesting!  And if you are interested, have a listen to this podcast.

Lapsang Souchong

I also learned about the Lapsang Souchong smokiness scandal, part of a ‘bro’ thing.  Full confession, I drink lapsang souchong most mornings with honey and oat milk.  And Rooibos most afternoons.

Apparently, lapsang has become popular with guys, and the smokier, the better. As a result, tea companies have been upping the smokiness of lapsang souchongs. And, in the opinion of Tony Gebely of Tea Epicure, ruining lapsangs by over smoking them.

Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell, also a lapsang drinker and unaware of the scandal, was deemed part of the problem by Gebely.  Thanks, Malcolm.  Tea Epicure is a wonderful tea blog that rates “the world’s most exciting teas” and goes deep into the tea world.  Thanks, Tony.

Our lapsang souchong has a subtle smokiness and not nearly as smoky-tasting as it smells in the tin.  And there is a great story about the origin of lapsang or caravan tea posted in our Lapsang Souchong product description.

Lapsang Souchong black tea from Local Tea Company

More disclosure, I thought I might like a smokier version for my morning lapsang.  This podcast stopped me in my tracks. I don’t. I believe our lapsang has gotten any smokier over time?  But please tell me if you think it has.

Anyway, an interesting podcast having to do with tea as the colonial drug of choice and over smoked lapsang souchong that I thought I would share here.

Gladwell Tea Party Podcast

And the Sip Locally Tea Journey continues.  Since this Gladwell Tea Party Podcast post, I have started drinking Lapsang Souchong most mornings with honey and steamed oat milk.   And Revisionist History is out with Season Five!

 

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s on East

Cuppa Tea at Selby House Cafe

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in Sarasota,” now available from our YouTube Channel, we go back to our roots.  We visit the Selby House Cafe at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. for a cuppa tea at the Selby House Cafe.

The cafe is now operated by Michael’s on East, and they do a fantastic job and serve an incredible cuppa tea!!!  Selby Select Rooibos, Secret Garden Green, and Little Monkey fruit tea, to name a few, and we are always creating new tea for the annual garden exhibitions.  Previously art from Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, and Paul Gauguin has been on display at Selby Gardens.

Teas at Selby House Cafe at Selby Gardens

The annual holiday Lights in Bloom celebration starts December 14, and when we visited, the gardens were humming in anticipation.  Millions of lights in the trees, Santa Claus, reindeer games, live music, and much more.

Local Tea Company previously operated a tea shop, the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens, and the cafe.  It is always nice to come home for a visit.

Each episode of Cuppa Tea in Sarasota, we do a ‘Video Visit’ with one of our Serving Partners.  It’s short, it’s light and above all, tries to be funny.

Please subscribe and after that, let us know what you think.

Cheers,

Episode #5 – Selby House Cafe by Michael’s On East

Local Tea available from Michael's On East at Selby Gardens

Pu Erh Teas

Pu Erh Teas

When I got to work this morning (if you call going to Selby Gardens, sipping, talking tea all-day work!), I decided to crack open our Young Pu-erh.  Pronounced Poo-Air, a special broad-leaf tea, Pu’er tea takes its name from the Pu’er county in the Province of Yunnan of China.

This is not a tea I reach for often.  Maybe I should not call myself a dedicated tea drinker because of this.  Though I was given a newspaper article about an area called Menghai in China. NYTimes Jan 2009

Pu'Er Tea

Farmers and citizens got rich investing and selling the bricks of Pu-er tea produced in Menghai.  Some buyers promoted it as liquid gold.  When the value hit record levels, they dumped their stock and disappeared.  Now it is less than a 10th of the peak price.  The tea traders are no longer buying, leaving the farmers and citizens broke.

Pu er Black Tea

What is Pu er tea?   Let’s talk about this tea that people are willing to pay huge amounts of money for.  Pu Erh goes through an additional oxidation process, much like composting, where bacterial and fungal fermentation occurs.  Many refer to it as pu erh fermented tea.

The tea can then be aged for many years.  Aged Pu Erh tea leaves are often compressed into cakes or bricks.  Then the tea is wrapped in tissue paper to absorb moisture. The bricks are left to mature in dark, dry places, enhancing the already earthy flavor.

Pu Erh is said to lower cholesterol, cure hangovers, help with digestive problems, aid metabolism, and is low in tannins.  Our Young Pu Erh at Local Tea Company is loose rather than compressed.  The flavor is very pungent and earthy. With a deep inhale, the tea smells like a compost heap and looks like tar.  So, I know it’s going to be good for me! Pu'er Tea

How many Steeps?

I finish the first steep and continue with four more steeps.  The later steeps are better than the initial steep. I find a lovely sweet beet tasting dark golden liquor with the fourth and fifth steep.

By this time, late in the afternoon, I think Pu Erh should be brewed more often.  I should share samples with visitors to Selby Garden as well as the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  I’m not sure I would invest pots of money in Pu-erh, but it is definitely worth experiencing.  What a fascinating thing this drink is called Tea!

Cheers,
the Tea Lady

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

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

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

Tea and Relaxation

Tea and Relaxation

August 15th is National Relaxation Day, and we are celebrating at Local Tea Company!

It seems that stress has become a major part of every day in all of our lives, and we have forgotten how to relax. Stress is also leading to more obesity, heart problems, and blood pressure, to name a few.

Stress

I have a niece visiting from England, and it is apparent even in the young, she is 15 years old! It may not manifest in the same way as in adults.  However, never the less, they seem to HAVE TO fill their day with one thing after another and no longer know how to ‘live in and enjoy the moment’ or RELAX.

For me, there is no better way to help mind and body cope than to enjoy a cup of tea (or several in my case!). That is exactly what I am doing at this moment whilst said niece and husband visit Busch Gardens.

Tea

There are excellent reasons why tea has such good stress-relieving properties. All teas made from Camellia sinensis, black, oolong, green, and white tea contain a unique and special amino acid called L-Theanine. Researchers have found that L-Theanine appears to play a role in the formation of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA.  This blocks the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, promoting a state of calm relaxation.

Here is how it works! L-Theanine enters your body through the bloodstream but will also trigger the alpha brain waves, relaxation brain waves.  This gives us a sense of well-being and improved mood. This combines with the caffeine to release sustained energy, focus, and mental clarity. It was this amazing phenomenon that first attracted Buddhist monks to drinking the beverage thousands of years ago. They were able to remain alert but felt relaxed enough to meditate for very long periods of time.

L-Theanine

L- Theanine’s chemical effect on our brain and body is not the only reason tea is one of the best-known remedies for relaxation. The whole process of preparing the water, warming the pot, the tantalizing aroma from the fresh leaves, the anticipation of the first sip, and the flavor in the mouth all relax our senses. Even if you are an iced tea drinker, you have involved those senses in preparing your tea. You may decide to enjoy your tea alone or share it with loved ones or friends.

Whichever tea or whatever way you choose to take your tea is not really important, take time to do it!  Tea and Relaxation

Cheers,
TeaLady

Caffeine-Free Tisanes or Infusions

Caffeine-Free Tisanes or Infusions

In our last blog post (Caffeine in Tea), we talk about caffeine and my opinion regarding the benefits of drinking tea with caffeine. I have learned from listening and talking to many visitors at Selby Gardens and the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Some people can’t drink caffeine, perhaps because of medications (therefore doctor’s instructions) or just a simple intolerance in the body.

So, where does that leave us?

Decaf or caffeine-free tisanes

At Local Tea Company, we have many fruit and/or herbal infusions or Tisanes to choose from. There is no excuse for not drinking great caffeine-free tea these days.

Selby Select Rooibos from Local Coffee + Tea

Notice I said CAFFEINE-FREE, not de-caffeinated. Because there is no ‘true tea’ made from Camellia sinensis, there is no caffeine to be removed.  De-caffeinated tea must go through a process to remove the caffeine that naturally occurs in tea leaves.   And no method removes 100% of the caffeine, so the beverage still has up to 5% caffeine content.

I try to stay away from the process of removing caffeine from tea for two reasons.  The flavor suffers, and the health benefits are reduced.

The two traditional methods to decaffeinate tea use either ethyl acetate or carbon dioxide.  Both are a ‘wet process,’ so the dry leaves are moistened.  The wet leaves are then rinsed with ethyl acetate and dried, or under high pressure with carbon dioxide and evaporated.  Upon drying, the flavor is reabsorbed into the leaves.

Rooibos

There is still uncertainty about how these methods alter the polyphenols and the antioxidant properties in tea.  Above all, the health benefits have been compromised, and I seek teas with maximum health advantages.  So, I turn to botanicals, herbal or fruit infusions, also referred to as tisanes.

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a bush from the Western Cape province of South Africa.  Rooibos has an impressive list of vitamins and minerals and is therefore packed with anti-oxidants.  I like to say Rooibos works against ATB or ‘all things bad.’  Great hot or iced, I enjoy Rooibos in the late afternoon or evenings.

Local Tea Company carries 8 unique Rooibos teas and is our most popular category.  Selby Select is our ‘home tea’, and we have added an Organic Red Rooibos and an herbal Rooibos to celebrate Bertha Palmer, a pioneering Sarasota woman.

Chocolate Honeybush from Local Coffee + Tea

Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) is a definite favorite at Local Tea Co., especially for evening time. This tea is very soothing and calming with a unique cedar or sandalwood flavor.  Also, Chocolate Honeybush is a great option to satisfy the after-meal cravings for something sweet.

After that, there are the fruit infusions or caffeine-free tisanes like Peach ParadiseOrganic Red Berries, or Mote Beach Tea (created to honor Mote Laboratories here in Sarasota), Vibrant and refreshing beverages all, especially iced.  Excellent alternatives to sodas or other sweet beverages, especially for children.

Herbs like Egyptian Chamomile, the best-loved sleepy tea, Ginger Root, the world’s most used spice, or my personal favorite, Hibiscus.  See why in a blog post from last summer.

Herbals

In conclusion, there really is a tea for all occasions and personal tastes. Try blending your very own caffeine-free tisanes with some of these amazing teas. If you discover a winner be sure to let us know so we can share!

Cheers,
The TeaLady

Also, follow us on Facebook at Local Tea Journey

Caffeine in Tea

Caffeine in Tea

Caffeine

The debate about the amount of caffeine in tea compared to coffee has been ongoing and does not seem likely to stop any time soon. There are many conflicting reports about dry weight versus brewed, water temp, steeping time, etc. We know for certain that there is caffeine in tea, and reports all agree that most caffeine is found in black tea.

Harrogate Yorkshire Black Tea

Should you be drinking tea with caffeine? Scientific studies to date have also been contradictory.  There is no conclusive evidence that caffeine causes or exacerbates illness or medical conditions.

I am going to share my theory on the subject. This is my personal view and what we share with our visitors at Local Tea Company, where we showcase teas WITH caffeine.

Caffeine is naturally found in the leaves of camellia sinensis, giving the plant a built in defense system deterring insects from eating the leaves due to the bitter taste of caffeine.

Caffeine in Tea

However, not all caffeine is equal! I am a great advocate of caffeine in tea because the leaf also contains another extraordinary component.  L- Theanine is an amino acid that works in conjunction with caffeine to provide your body with a powerhouse of benefits.

Caffeine alone will enter your bloodstream very quickly and stimulate the beta brain waves (fight or flight!). In tea, the L-Theanine follows right behind to stimulate the alpha brain waves (relaxation!), effectively canceling out any negative behavior of caffeine alone. In conjunction, the process unfolds slowly, giving you relaxed alertness that will last for several hours.  Think of the monks alert but calm and imagine what might happen if they drank coffee all day.

L-Theanine also creates lots of energy (which in turn helps burn calories!). Tea should be used as part of a healthy lifestyle.  To achieve the best results, but I can certainly say it has worked for me. Drink a cuppa for some energy.

Tea Day

Here is how my tea day unfolds…..

I like to drink tea with caffeine throughout the day, usually starting with black during the early morning—something bold like Yorkshire Harrogate.  Later the I switch to a more gentle green tea like Goji Green.  I have found that black tea is not good for me late in the day unless I want to stay awake all night! Of course, we have some amazing caffeine free teas.  Yes, caffeine-free is not de-caffeinated.  This is a good topic for my next post.

Flowering Pomegranate Green Tea

We are all different and metabolize caffeine at different rates.  So work on what is right for your body and lifestyle—no need to despair when an alternative is required.  So let’s drink ‘true tea’ as often as our bodies will allow and enjoy the benefits of this amazing beverage.

Cheers,
the TeaLady

Harrogate Yorkshire Tea

Harrogate Yorkshire Tea

You may be familiar with or have heard about Yorkshire Pudding, even Yorkshire Terriers, but did you know Yorkshire has a TEA?

Harrogate

It is immensely fitting that Harrogate, a small town in Yorkshire, North England, should have a tea named after. It would help if you now wondered why that might be so, and of course, I will tell you.

First, Harrogate is known for the quality of its water. Good water is, of course, the main ingredient in a good cuppa tea! Harrogate is home to many ancient wells, the

Tewit Well Harrogate

most famous being Tewit Well, discovered by Sir William Slingsby during the 1700s. Slingsby believed the water had powerful healing properties, able to cure just about anything.

The Wells

The wells became an attraction, and visitors flocked to ‘take the waters’ at Harrogate, turning the small town into a Spa destination. This, in turn, created a proliferation of tea shops, the most famous being Betty’s. To this day, a town visit is not complete without stopping at Betty’s for tea and some exceedingly good cakes. Tea served in Harrogate certainly has a delicious taste.

Bettys Cafe Harrogate

Second, and the most fitting reason Harrogate has a tea named after it is because this is my home town! This is where my love of tea and my tea journey first began. My mum could ‘sup some tea’ as they say in Yorkshire and as a family, we did plenty of tea drinking. There was not a single occasion that did not call for a cuppa, and all visitors to our home were welcomed with a good cup of tea and some homemade cake or biscuits.

I learned my tea-making skills at an early age, and my passion for tea has never wavered. In fact, it continues to grow. My life is very different now, but each new day starts with a cup of Harrogate tea, taking me back to those times in the Yorkshire town. Thanks, mum. This is certainly a special tea from a special town. Be sure to share Harrogate Yorkshire tea with all your visitors.

Yorkshire

At Local Coffee + Tea, our Harrogate Yorkshire Tea is a blend of Orange pekoe and Broken Orange pekoe tea from 3 growing regions in China, Kenya, and India. The style of this tea is blended to make a good strong brew with some astringency. You may like to steep your tea for 3 minutes or much longer. Of course, I drink the traditional Yorkshire way with milk. I also use some agave nectar, but it tastes great without—what a great way to start your day refreshed and full of Yorkshire energy.

Cheers,
the TeaLady