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Valentine’s Day with Tea

“That’s one of the things I look forward to about an evening like this.  Someone to drink tea with at the end of it.  For all I know, the whole point of civilization is to provide one with someone to drink tea with at the end of an evening”.

Aurora Greenway

Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  We hope you plan on drinking tea with someone this evening, Valentine’s Day with Tea!  At Local Tea Company, we have two exceptional teas with which we celebrate our loved ones – Sweet Sin Rooibos and Chocolate Honeybush.  Both are packed full of romantic flavors, and both are naturally caffeine-free herbal infusions.  Perfect for drinking in the evening.  You may recall an earlier Valentine’s Day post, “A Time for Tea,” that Glynis made a few years back.  What tea has the most caffeine?

Sweet Sin Rooibos

Sweet Sin is a South African Rooibos tea blended with raspberry and rose petals. Rooibos is becoming more and more popular as tea drinkers discover the unique taste, excellent health benefits, and versatility.

How to pronounce Rooibos?  Or, what is the proper pronunciation for Rooibos?  We say ROY – BOSS.

Image of Sweet Sin Rooibos tea from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida

Sweet Sin is fantastic served as a hot tea but equally useful as an iced tea.  Maybe garnish with a rose today?  We have a previous post about Rooibos tea and a more recent guest post titled “5 reasons you will LOVE Rooibos Tea” if you want to refresh your memory on where this herb is grown, how it is produced, and the tea’s excellent health benefits.

If you have not yet read any of Alexander McCall Smith’s books about the No.1 Ladies Detective, then do look them up and enjoy tales of Mme Ramwotse solving cases whilst drinking Rooibos tea. I am sure she would drink this tea with her husband to celebrate Valentine’s day with Tea.  What tea has the most caffeine?

Chocolate Honeybush

Chocolate Honeybush is also from South Africa, and although Honeybush is a ‘bush’ tea, the plant is a different species. This tea is blended with rose petals, chocolate flakes, and caramel pieces.

Close up image of Chocolate Honeybush from Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.Above all, this tea is perfect for ‘Chocoholics’ and ‘Romantaholics,’ and is very yummy served hot and very able to satisfy a sweet tooth without all the calories!  Not quite as healthy as the original Organic Honeybush, but Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to indulge.

Whatever you do today, wherever you are, I hope you have someone special to share tea with at the end of the day. Therefore, taking tea together is very civilized, especially with ‘love’ in the air. Enjoy.

Tea Newsletter #6 – Green Tea vs Covid 19

Green Tea v Covid

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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?

Places

Chef Tony at the grill in the Suncoast Cafe at the Venice Airport in a tea blog post from Local Tea Company.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.

Tea Quotes

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…
Four o’clock!
Come along-we’ll just in nice time for tea.”

Hugh Lofting

Books

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.”
Salvator Dali

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.

Sip Locally Tea Blog

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)

Lights in Bloom at Selby Gardens 

Watching 

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

How Green Tea Makes You Happier

‘How Green Tea makes you Happier’ is written by Timothy Agnew was posted to his Health & Wellness blog and reposted here with permission.  

Note: This is part of a series of posts on the science of tea. Learn why it’s good for you, and all about the myriad kinds of tea (we love tea!)

Green Tea Makes You Happier?

An image of green tea in a glass vial on a dark countertop used in the Blog Post How Green Tea will make you Happier by Tim Agnew for the Sip Locally Tea Journey by Local Tea Company in Sarasota, Florida.

Over 158 million Americans will drink tea on any given day, and it’s obviously the go-to-beverage when plain water won’t do. Among those 158 billion tea consumers are green tea aficionados. While only 15% are green tea drinkers, its growth is outpacing all other tea forms, with a 60% increase in consumption since 2004. Why the crazy growth? Well, green tea has a lot to make you happy about.

A Diverse History

Green tea was discovered in its greenest form over five thousand years ago. While stories vary, some versions of leaf’s history have a flower magically falling into a teacup. In contrast, another has an Emperor chewing a leaf, imaging how delicious it would be steeped in water. The most important book to set the record straight was Cha Jing, or Tea classic, written around 600 AD. The book detailed exactly how a cup of green tea should be made and how it should be served. Today, green tea is prepared in the same way (or should be), and drinking it has multiple health benefits. Green tea is the result of semi-oxidized leaves from camellia Sinensis. Flavors and aromas vary greatly depending on the season of harvest, country of origin, and method used to process. According to the Local Tea Company, flavored green teas are especially popular, where the best-sellers are Goji Green, Organic Strawberry Smile, and Acerola Green Tea. They offer 13 other green teas.

Feel the Power

Green tea is more than just a hydrating beverage that tastes great. The green tea plant contains a bevy of powerful compounds that make it into every cup. Rich in polyphenols (compounds great at reducing inflammation in the body), green tea is a cancer-fighting champion. Green tea also contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is one of the most powerful compounds in green tea. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other cellular protections. Together, these substances help reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals play a large role in aging and many types of diseases. The benefits of green tea are numerous, so it’s worth adding to your diet.

Perhaps the best news (and one that may make you happiest) is that green tea accelerates fat burning and boosts metabolic rate. Look at any weight loss supplement, and you will see green tea on the label; that’s because green tea is a dynamo for assisting weight loss programs.

Brain Protection

 

But let’s not leave out our most important organ, the brain. With an increase in brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the brain needs protection, too. The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of dementia, a common neurodegenerative disorder in older adults. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in animal studies, possibly lowering the risk of dementia and memory loss.

Green tea consumption worldwide is growing, not only for its wonderful taste but for its endless health benefits. And as science backs up these benefits, it will only grow in popularity. Try to choose a higher caliber green tea brand, as some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive amounts of fluoride.

What’s the best green tea? A great source is the Local Tea Company, featuring locally inspired loose leaf teas. Try their diverse blends of green tea 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!

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.   Here is a post from Lights in Bloom 2020 at Selby Gardens.

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

Earl Grey for Picard

Earl Grey for Picard

 

Picard Earl Grey!  “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot… and whoever this ‘Earl Grey’ fellow is, I’d like a word with him..”

-Jean Luc Picard, Star Trek The Next Generation

 

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.

Sip Locally

Other locally inspired loose leaf teas include…

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.

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

Tea Rubbed Pulled Pork

Tea Rubbed Pulled Pork

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about a video?   Check this one out titled, “The Making of Tea Rubbed Pulled Pork.”

Tea Rubbed Pulled Pork

Local Tea Company collaborated with Local Catering and Chef Maryna to create a wonderful pulled pork creation.  The secret ingredient is using our Lapsang Souchong black tea.

This Fall, Selby Botanical Gardens hosted the Garden Music Series under the banyans.  Our pulled pork sandwich may have stolen the show, selling out each week as we doubled the batch.  We may not wait until the Spring Music Series, so visit Selby Gardens and ask for the next chance to try this unique blend of tea and porcine.

Tea Rubbed pulled pork using lapsang souchong tea
Lapsang Souchong

Some interesting tales about Lapsang Souchong can be found on our product page.  We have also tried this smoky tea iced with very positive results.  This is not an everyday tea, but on a chilly afternoon with a good book and a comfy chair near a fireplace, Lapsang Souchong is your tea.

Cheers,
The TeaLady

 

Lapsang Souchong

Lapsang Souchong Black Loose Leaf Tea from the Fujian Province in China.  This tea is a large, bold, full-bodied whole leaf with a smoky flavor from drying over pinewood fires.

After that, this special smoked black tea from Fujian Province in China has a very distinctive flavor and aroma. The term “souchong” means sub-variety. This is a sub-variety of black tea from the Wuyi Mountains, where thick pine forests and heavy mists provide ideal environments for growing top-quality tea.

In conclusion, legend claims that the smoking process was discovered by accident.  An army unit (during the Qing dynasty!) camped in a tea factory filled with leaves waiting to be processed. When the workers returned, it was too late to follow the usual procedures.  So, they dried the leaves over open pinewood fires to hasten the process and created the sensational tea we know as Lapsang.