Selva Grill will soon be opening their second location at the University Town Center, after nearly 20 years on Main Street in downtown Sarasota. They opened in 2004.
The new space will be larger with indoor and outdoor seating. We have only seen pictures of the interior, a warm and inviting environment similar to the Main Street location. The many favorite Peruvian-inspired dishes and craft cocktails will be offered at the new spot, along with their eclectic tea menu.
One change we are happy to report is the addition of Mote Beach Tea. We are thrilled to share the fantastic news. It seems like a good time to share a bit of the history between Local Tea Company and the Selva Grill not covered in our history. And we are long overdue for a fresh Sip Locally Tea Journey blog post!
Selva Grill was our first wholesale client. They helped Local Tea to start selling our loose leaf teas to restaurants and cafes in the Sarasota area.
It all started back in 2010 or maybe 2009 when a bright young woman came into our Siesta Key Shop (now the Bean Coffeehouse.) She mentioned that she wanted to improve the tea experience where she worked. I remember her telling me, “Just like in the kitchen, we are always trying to improve every aspect of the dining experience.” She was a hostess at Selva Grill and a Tea Lover!
Her thought was that after an exceptional meal at one of the best restaurants in Sarasota, “why not offer quality loose leaf teas rather than common tea bags that anyone could find at Publix?”
She went on to say that guests order from an extensive wine list and then ports or sherries, but they did not have anything comparable for kids or those not drinking alcohol. She believed that diners at Selva Grill expected a better tea experience. Adding, “We want the last experience to be memorable, and if that is tea, it should be exceptional.”
Without any formal program in place, we discussed options for herbal and caffeinated teas. We created a Tea Menu with a balanced selection to match the breadth of the Selva Grill menu. The Tea Menu was printed and laminated at Blue Line and delivered a few days later.
And, “¡eso!” Local Tea Company had a wholesale customer. There have been a few changes over the years as Selva Grill continues to evolve.
Mote Beach Tea
Adding Mote Beach Tea to their Tea Menu is one example. Especially since the new Mote Aquarium broke ground nearby at Nathan Benderson Park. And with every purchase of Mote Beach Tea, a portion is donated to the operating budget for Mote Laboratory and Aquarium.
Our Mote Beach Tea is a beautiful caffeine-free tropical tea for those not familiar with this fabulous herbal tea. Five ingredients blended to perfection include rosehips, hibiscus, apple, coconut, and pineapple. You can learn more about our partnership with Mote in the post More about Mote.
So, check out the NEW Selva Grill when it opens in May. Be sure to linger over a fine cuppa tea. And thank you for supporting all of our Serving Partners and the many local, independent restaurants in Sarasota.
Green Tea v Covid
If someone forwarded this email to you, you need your own!
Happy 2021 Tea Lovers
Tea always seems to be in the news, especially in the first part of the year. After all, January is National Hot Tea Month, so we have been…drinking a lot of hot tea. How about you? What’s in your cuppa?
Green Tea v Covid
Also, in the news, Green Tea fights Covid? Really?? A research study from North Carolina State University says maybe. While you are waiting for your vaccination, why not put some green tea in a teapot? For an added boost, matcha! We wrote about the many benefits of Matcha powdered green tea here, and Glynis shared a recipe for Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream here. What tea is good for a sore throat?
This is not news, but if you are ever near the Venice Airport, be sure to visit the SunCoast Cafe in the terminal. Chef Tony braises his pork for 13 hours and then compiles the best Cuban sandwich in my world. They serve our teas, but you really have to go for the Cuban with rice and beans.
The cafe is busy and always has reggae music playing in the open kitchen. There is a Bob Marley quote on the grill hood, and people really do fly in from all over for lunch at the SunCoast Cafe. You should too.
At the end of Dr. Doolittle, I found this quote and thought it was of special ‘tea’ interest. The last line in the book reads…
“You know, there’s always something rather attractive in the bad weather in England-
when you’ve got a kitchen-fire to look forward to…
Come along-we’ll just in nice time for tea.”
While we are on quotes, I loved ‘Steal Like an Artist’ by Austin Kleon, filled with quotes and inspirations. Here is one I liked from Salvatore Dali, and if you are ever near Tampa, be sure to visit The Dali Museum.
“Those who do not imitate anything produce nothing.”
Next on my list for 2021 is the Queen’s Gambit novella by Walter Tevis.
Tea Pairing – I suggest Roasted Mate; all of our yerba mates bring out the cleverness in me and gives me a boost in the afternoon.
Green Tea Fights Covid? – Green Tea v Covid 19. What tea is good for a sore throat?
Cremesh Coffee & Bakery – New Serving Partner in Bradenton
Green will Make you Happier (Guest Post by Tim Agnew)
I did NOT know there was a remake of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ when I mentioned James Herriot’s book in my last Newsletter. And, yes, I am enjoying the show very much! The accent reminds me of another Yorkshire lass:):) I’ll let Glynis pair a tea in the next newsletter.
Listening – Podcast
The podcast LBJ‘s War is a bit dry but a welcome escape. The last trip I took before the Pandemic was to Austin, Texas. An unexpected connection to Austin Kleon, who also lives in Austin! Anyway, we visited the LBJ Presidential Library, my only visit to any Presidential library. Very cool.
Tea Pairing – Something sweet, probably Sweet Sin Rooibos (also ideal for Valentine’s Day!) and probably iced tea or ice tea.
Listening – Music
I found Lloyd Cole on Twitter and have been listening to his Spotify Channel. A blast from the past, I hadn’t really thought about him or The Commotions in many years. East Lansing’s most important musical duo, Kwi-J, introduced me to Lloyd Cole’s music in the ’80s. Cole is now a golfer and maybe the next subscriber to GolfToons? He sells his handwritten lyrics. I think?
Tea Pairing – I’m going with Pioneer Tea, a blend of citrus, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and sweetened with beetroot and carrot flakes. Very unique, and so, also, a nod to Dali.
As always, your comments are welcomed, and thanks for your support.
Your Local Tea Team
Note: This is the first in a series of blogs on the science of tea, and here is a post about how green tea can make you happier. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)
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
What tea has the most caffeine? Or, which tea has the most caffeine? 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.
Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company
Recently, we brought to your attention the Tea Cozy, and now we turn to the TEAPOT!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Siesta Key Coffee
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.
Episode #6 – Bean Coffeehouse in Siesta Key Village
Tea Quote from Sir Arthur Wing Pinero
British Actor, dramatist & Stage Director
(24 May 1855 – 23 November 1934)
Local Tea Company promotes local products and services, protects local environments, and celebrates local treasures. Great things start at the local level. Therefore, it is no surprise our motto is “Sip Locally.”
Three times more money is injected into the local economy when people buy from local businesses rather than national chains. Local businesses put their money back into the local economy. Above all, both employees and vendors contribute to a cycle of support that strengthens a community. Sip Locally.
Our locally inspired, loose leaf teas celebrate Sarasota. For example, our most popular tea, Selby Select, is inspired by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. In addition, Selby was our home base from 2007 until 2016. We have created teas celebrating other parts of Selby Gardens, including our Little Monkey Fruit Tea and our Secret Garden Green Tea.
Other locally inspired loose leaf teas include…
- Mote Beach Tea was created for Mote Marine Laboratory.
- Mable’s Rose Rooibos celebrating Mable Ringling’s Rose Garden at The Ringling.
- Van Wezel’s Anniversa-Tea for the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.
- Siesta Tea for the Best Beach in the World.
- Lido Tea for the home of St. Armands Circle.
We created a tea for the Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Meyers. You will love the sweetness of our Edison Ford Fruit Tea. Local Tea Company organized the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas. We are working on more clever creations of loose leaf tea blends.
Join us in practicing “Sip Locally” throughout our community. We love Sarasota, and we love sharing our community with the many visitors we meet every day. In conclusion, we appreciate all the support, and we will continue working hard to contribute to our local community.
5 Things to Consider when Giving the Gift of Tea
Tea is a wonderful way to show your love, appreciation, respect, or that you are thinking about someone. Perhaps the universal gift, like age, gender, geography, time of year, relationship status, or any other boundary, can be crossed safely, without confusion. While the gift of tea can be personal, the truth is everybody has a tea they like or love. Some don’t know it yet.
We recently added a Tea of the Month program, either 3 months or 6 months. That got us thinking about “gifting” tea. Here are a few thoughts to consider when giving the gift of tea…
1. Caffeine or Herbal (caffeine-free)
Caffeine is an important consideration, especially sensitive as we are here in Florida. Caffeinated teas are a great way to begin the day or a superb lift in the late afternoon, but caffeine can create problems for the novice or the beginning tea drinker. A wonderfully flavored black tea like our Organic Strawbango might not be the best tea to drink after dinner. I always ask the server for their home number when ordering herbal or caffeine-free beverages, so if I am awake at 2:30 in the morning, I know who to call. When in doubt, go with an herbal, rooibos, or fruit tea. You can’t go wrong with our Organic Peppermint, Selby Select Rooibos, or Siesta Tea (fruit tea)
2. Loose leaf tea or tea bags
We are quite partial to loose leaf tea at Local Tea Co. Tea lovers, and experienced tea drinkers tend to prefer loose leaf tea. The tea typically will be of better quality, fresher, and a much better value. It cost money for the convenience of bagged tea! Loose-leaf teas also provide more flexibility in how much tea you might want to brew; tea for two or three or a big pot for your sewing circle. That said, teabags, especially the biodegradable ones we offer, SOILON sachets, are very convenient for anyone traveling or those interested in trying a new tea. Check out the many options of our tea samplers available in loose-leaf or sachets. If they don’t love the tea, it can always be served to guests when they come over for a cuppa.
3. Flavored tea or and pure blends
Would you rather a gift of Organic Sarasotan Breakfast blend (an unflavored pure blended tea) or our Organic Earl Grey (flavored with Oil of Bergamot)? This may be the easiest comparison. There are so many spectacular blended teas from our Goji Green or Jasmine green tea with flowers to our Cochin Masala Chai or our many rooibos blends. What is better than a strong cup of pinhead gunpowder green tea or a pure Organic Sencha. Maybe a pot of our ruby Organic Red Berries that you can share with the kids or enjoy as an iced tea later in the day. Tough one, but that is why you are an expert gift-giver, and you really can’t go too wrong!!
Is the gift for a serious tea drinker, someone loaded with tea accessories? Do they really need another tea ball with an elf Fob? Go with an expensive porcelain mug with painted flowers. Our cat mugs sold incredibly well at our Selby Gardens Tea Shop, and they still sell floral mugs in the Garden Shop. Or, for a more modern gift, one of the newer steep-in-one traveling mugs. There are lots of tea lovers’ options, and for the newbie just starting their tea journey, a box of tea bags or a few mesh balls of different sizes or teaspoons will spark a conversation. Or get them an inspired gift, maybe a bamboo tea basket, and challenge them to figure it out! And there is also the whole category of things that can be added to tea that make for wonderful gifts; honey or jams are always welcome.
Most important is not to overthink your gift. The person you are gifting will appreciate the gesture you are making and the thought behind this gift. They will love it as much as they love you. Find a clever and creative tea. We recommend our Mable’s Rose Rooibos or the tropical fruity Mote Beach Tea. Find a tea with some meaning or be realistic, something that can easily be ‘Regifted.’
Pinhead Gunpowder and Guy Fawkes
November 5th is the perfect time to talk about our Pinhead Gunpowder green tea. For me, this tea conjures up images of Guy Fawkes, a very celebrated and notorious fellow in Great Britain. Born in Yorkshire, I am sure you have seen the mask below on Halloween or in the “V for Vendetta” movies or comic books. Do you know what Guy Fawkes was notorious for besides drinking Yorkshire tea?
“Remember, remember the Fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.”
In 1605 a group of conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the House of Parliament by filling the cellar with explosives. Known as the “Gunpowder Plot,” the conspirators wanted a Catholic King rather than the protestant King James I. The plan did not work, and Guy Fawkes was captured, hung, drawn, and quartered for his part in the plot. However, his name lives on. Guy Fawkes Night is a festival in Britain remembering the Gunpowder Plot and the King’s survival.
Every year on 5 November, Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated with bonfires in towns across England. Dummies, or “guys” are burnt atop the fires. A great tradition we children anticipated with excitement was making the “guy” dummies a few days before the 5th. We carried the dummies around the village, shouting “penny for the guy.” The quality of our ‘guy’ was determined by the number of pennies we collected.
Today, the Guy Fawkes mask is worn by protesters to demonstrate their commitment to a shared cause against the establishment, as was Mr. Fawkes’s intent.
Gunpowder Green Tea
And so to our pinhead gunpowder, a classic green tea from Zhejiang province in China is made from leaves rolled into small pellets that look like actual gunpowder. It never ceases to amaze me how many people comment on this fascinating tea. The tiny pellets transform, unfurling into graceful, dancing leaves. If you have a glass teapot, enjoy the performance.
Gunpowder green tea is harvested in April, as this is the absolute best time of year for quality leaves. The leaves are withered to reduce moisture content making them more pliable, steamed, rolled, and dried. Although the individual leaves were formerly rolled by hand, most gunpowder tea is rolled by machines today.
After that, the highest grades are still rolled by hand. This rolling process also renders the leaves less susceptible to any breakage and allows them to retain more of their flavor and aroma. You can determine the freshness of gunpowder green tea by the sheen of the pellets. And the smaller, the better, as the size is associated with quality, hence the name pinhead.
Our Pinhead Gunpowder green tea brews darker than most green teas with a rich flavor and a slightly smokey finish. I have enjoyed Pinhead straight up, infusing multiple times, but it can be brewed very successfully with ginger or peppermint and used as an iced tea.
I hope you enjoyed the gunpowder plot, and please do enjoy many infusions of this classic tea.
Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea
Well, I can guarantee one thing there will be no diamonds in my house for Valentine. My husband would be quick to tell you that he does not need one special day in the year to reinforce his love for me – his excuse not to buy diamonds? There may be a chance of chocolates or flowers, but it is more likely to be something simple, like sitting down together for a pot of tea.
Bet you didn’t know Yorkshire men were so romantic! But I confess this is a man who knows the way to my heart for sure.
I cannot think of a nicer way to celebrate our love than the process of taking tea together. Like most people these days, we have conflicting schedules, and taking time to sit together, slow down and enjoy a spot of tea is an extraordinary gift.
What will we drink? My husband loves White tea, so perhaps we will start our celebration with a little White Mischief. Mischievous by name and by nature, this tea will represent our diamonds! If you have ever smelled guava, you know the skin has a chocolate-like aroma, so when you put the tea in a warm pot, the smell is tantalizing. Use water that is not quite boiling and infuse for 2 minutes only, but make more infusions from the same tea infusing for 4 minutes, 6 minutes, etc., until no flavor is left. Not only is the taste fantastic but such good value too!
Next, we will drink Chocolate Honeybush, and this will represent Chocolates in our Valentine celebration! Honeybush is one of our favorite herbal teas, and this tea is full of romance with hints of chocolate, roses, and a good dose of caramel. Delightfully indulgent, the chocolate and caramel blend so well with Organic Honeybush for a delicate flavor and without the calories. Drink away without having to worry, yummy.
Sweet Sin Rooibos
For our finale, we will drink some Sweet Sin Rooibos, and this will represent our Roses! You may have read in a previous blog what an impact Rooibos now has on my life, but it is also a tea we drink together throughout the year, so it is perfect for our celebration of love.
A simple, yet stunning blend of rooibos, roses, vanilla, and dried raspberries, this tea blooms with a perky fruitiness, is not too sweet yet has a soft and romantic finish.
And the moral of my tale? You really don’t need to have diamonds, chocolates, or flowers to show your love for each other. Give each other the gift of time enjoying tea together. May you continue to celebrate your love throughout the year, and as I often say, TAKE TIME FOR TEA. Valentine’s Day – A Time for Tea