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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 Cozies of (P)interest

Tea Cozies

“And I want a tea cozy. I don’t know what a tea cozy is, but I want one!”

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy

I dont think Buffy is alone.  Many Local Tea Company customers and tea drinkers in general, do not know about tea cozies.  Or, they may have heard about Tea cozies but have never seen or used one!  They are a very simple yet amazing invention to keep your tea warm in the POT.

It would seem their popularity has waned since the invention of the tea bag which in turn meant less people used a teapot.  So, let’s try and get back on track, get the teapots back out, add some good loose tea and bring back the popularity of tea cozy!

Tea Cozies

Snail Tea Cozy posted in the Sip Locally Tea Blog of Local Tea Company in Sarasota, FloridaWe have been ‘Pinning’ tea cozies on our Pinterest page for many years.  Our Tea Cozies Board has 823 pins at last count!  I have added a few here, and check our Pinterest Page to see more.

The history of the tea cozy is not too well documented, though It seems unlikely to me that they were used when teapots first originated as the pots were small and tea was very expensive.  When William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister in 1783 at the tender age of 24, he passed the Commutation Act which lowered the tax on tea, making tea more affordable and no doubt, the teapots bigger!

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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 quality, but generally ‘Good Tea’ is a great investment.  Your return on that investment is a smooth and pungent flavor.  This depth and consistent flavor is very addictive, and after that, will result in multiple infusions of the leaf!

Life is too Short to Drink Bad Tea

Cheap Tea bag 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 to 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!

“Your 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, the problem was 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 the song 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 Tillermans 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 is a reference 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 obvous 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 inspiration of the art. 

In addition, 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 all of 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 tea pot 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 workmen 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, and 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. Seems like a special occasion but I can’t make that fit.  My guess is 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 very short 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

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #9 – Cafe Evergreen – Nokomis

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Cuppa Tea at Cafe Evergreen

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ”, now available from our YouTube Channel, we visit Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis where Tristan talks with us.

This is one of our favorite spots, especially after a soak at Warm Mineral Springs. The Beet Reuben is off the charts, and all of their food is creative, ecletic and delicious.

Breakfast is best known for the Evergreen Scrambler with tofu, quinoa, spinach, and more. They also offer a fresh pressed juice bar, along with wheatgrass and ginger shots.

For lunch, check out the the Evergreen Club sandwich, voted Best Vegetarian Sandwich in America by the Restaurant Hospitality Magazine!!  And the previously mentioned the Beet Reuben with roasted, pickled beets, house made sauerkraut and a chickpea thousand island dressing. Fantastic!!!

For dinner (or lunch) all the teas are organic, and Local Tea Company created a custom iced tea, Evergreen Peach.  Try it.  And all the hot teas are served as loose leaf teas in tea pots for the best tea expereince possible.  Tristand and his wife likes our Organic Strawberry Smile green tea.

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ’ 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 #9 Cafe Evergreen – Nokomis

Logo for Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis Florida

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #8 – The Overton Rosemary District Sarasota

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Cuppa Tea at The Overton

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ”, now available from our YouTube Channel we visit The Overton in the Rosemary District of Sarasota for a chat with owner Christian Hershman.

When we visited this week, the MTV reality show “Siesta Key” show was wrapping up filming. And, per usual The Overton had a buzz about it. The Overton is Americano, fast casual at its finest. Christian is a ground breaker and The Overton does it again.

The food is “On Trend” and eclectic, but more important, Delicious!!! They do things the Overton Way from the ‘Avo Toast’, thick cut bacon and a porridge along with many other breakkie favorites.

For later in the day, The Roadside Burger is probably the most popular with fresh ground beef by the Butcher Block. The Fries are available in beef tallow or olive oil and the list goes on…

Also, The Overton makes two styles of cold brewed iced teas, a Nitro and a Sparkling.  The Nitro is frothy with a thick foam.  The Sparkling is a bit bubbly, but not overwhleming.  Try them and let us know which on you like better!

 

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ’ 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 #8 The Overton in the Rosemary District Sarasota

The Overton Logo

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #7 – Pastry Arts on Main Street Sarasota

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Cuppa Tea at Pastry Arts

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in SRQ”, now available from our YouTube Channel we visit Main Street Sarasota and Pastry Arts to chat with owner Chip Beeman.

They have a extensive Tea Menu to go with a massive pastry case.  All pastries are made from scratch daily, with the espresso muffin most popular.  Pastry Arts also serves soups and sandwiches for lunch.  Chip is also the owner of Main Bar Sandwich Shop.

The walls are filled with the works from local artist Ron Genta, including a few pieces with the Local tea logo!  Pastry Arts is jammed on Saturday mornings during the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Stop by and enjoy the outdoor seating and watch Sarasota!!

Tea is featured most afternoons as perfect for a break from the office.  There is a bit of an afternoon rush when guests stop in for a cuppa and something sweet.  Spend some time out front with the rest of Sarasota

For each episode of ‘Cuppa Tea in SRQ’ 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 #7 – Pastry Arts on Main Street Sarasota

Pastry Arts Bakery and Sandwich Shop Sarasota

Cuppa Tea in SRQ #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village

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Cuppa Tea at Bean Coffeehouse

For this episode of “Cuppa Tea in Sarasota”, now available from our YouTube Channel we go back to the very beginning to where it all began.  The first location of Local Tea Company, and Local Coffee + Tea in the heart of Siesta Key Village for a cuppa tea at the Bean Coffeehouse

The shop, now known as the Bean Coffeehouse was opened in 2007 and you can read more about it in the history section of the Local Tea Co. website.  The interior is wildly colorful with many works by local artist Ron Genta.

For this Holiday episode we visit the Bean late in the day, just before closing to chat with Zach and his massive tea menu. They only serve loose leaf teas AND they have a great selection of retail tea packets available.

Where else can you find so many #Rooibos teas to pick from?

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 #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village

Logo for Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village Florida

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 just don’t find them as interesting as the ones I like.

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.

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

Great Britain found out about the smuggling and passed the Tea Act of 1773 lowering the price of tea.  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.

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.

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.

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 was thinking 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.

And the 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!