I cannot believe it has taken me so long to write about Rooibos tea. Maybe that is a good thing, though, as I have now reached a stage where my love of this tea is such that I cannot imagine life without it!
As an orthodox tea drinker, black teas, and mostly unflavored green teas, you will have heard me say many times that I love the taste of tea. However, like many women before me, I seem to have reached an age where too much caffeine (even in my beloved tea!!) seems to be disruptive for my body.
Enter ROOIBOS (Aspalathus linearis), a broom-like shrub and member of the legume family found in a small area of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The word rooibos (pronounced Roy-boss) is Afrikaans for red bush and has been popular in South Africa for generations.
Rooibos has a huge following all over the world due to the many health benefits and Mama Ramotswe, a certain lady detective. Suppose you are one of the few people not to have seen or read the No 1 Ladies Detective series by Alexander McCall Smith then do so soon. Like the tea, these books are compelling, very relaxing, and worthy of your time.
So, what does Rooibos have to offer? Rooibos has very high antioxidant levels (aspalathin). In fact, some claim that Rooibos has more antioxidants than green tea. And I advise anyone not caring for green tea to drink Rooibos. The tannin levels are low (responsible for causing astringency in true tea), and there is NO oxalic acid, which makes this tea good for anyone suffering from kidney stones. Relaxing and restful, rooibos can assist with nervous tension, allergies, dermatological issues, and anti-spasmodic properties, making rooibos helpful for digestive problems.
In South Africa, rooibos is used to aid infants suffering from colic and is added to the baby’s bathwater (and yours) to soften the skin. Research continues on possible anti-cancer properties, and I think we will hear more about the benefits of drinking Rooibos for some time to come. Perhaps most important, you will find NOTHING about rooibos’ adverse effects, which is quite amazing!
Rooibos is an herb and is NATURALLY caffeine-free, making it the perfect tea for my sleeping predicament. This tea quite simply tastes and feels so good, and I have become a huge fan. I have found many tea lovers dislike pure rooibos, though it blends so well with fruits and flowers.
At Local Tea Company, we have a wonderful collection of Rooibos teas. Our best selling (of all our teas) is Selby Select, an orange peel and yogurt blend we created for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The list continues with Van Wezel with black and red currants (see post), Lemon Sunset with lemongrass and lemon peel, Bertha Palmer with licorice, peppermint, verbena, and fennel, and finally Mable’s Rose with cherry and rose. I hope you agree that it is quite a line-up, and if you are an iced tea drinker, do not despair. All are beautiful iced!
One of our rooibos teas is especially nice to share with a loved one. Sweet Sin combines raspberry with vanilla and is always popular around Valentine’s Day.
What a versatile and special tea this is, and if you haven’t discovered Rooibos already then, I hope you do so soon.
Pioneer Tea – Historic Spanish Point
John Greene Webb and his family came to Spanish Point in 1867. They established a homestead on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay. They planted citrus, sugar cane, vegetables and built a packing house to prepare their produce for market.
John Greene Webb
All of us who enjoy living in beautiful Sarasota owe much to the hardship John and his family must have endured. We can think of no finer way to celebrate early settlers to Sarasota than with an amazing new herbal tea at Local Tea Company. We created Pioneer Tea to celebrate Historic Spanish Point.
Predominantly citrus, Pioneer Tea contains orange and tangerine pieces, blackberry and eucalyptus leaves, lemongrass, beetroot and carrot flakes, apple pieces, and hibiscus flowers. Perfect for our climate and caffeine-free. Pioneer Tea makes a stunning iced tea.
Besides, all you folks who have to brave cold weather for several months can enjoy sipping this tea hot too. (Think of us when you do!)
There are over 600 varieties of Orange (Sweet Orange is Citrus sinensis). Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) is another variety of citrus, and both are certainly sweet, juicy, and delicious ingredients in this tea. The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw. However, it adds great taste when dried and added to tea.
Suitable for everyone, oranges are rich in calcium, phosphorous, potassium, citric acid, and beta carotene. Vitamin A they contain gives us healthy skin and mucous membranes!
The other ingredients in Pioneer Tea are all equally as sweet and delicious…
(Rubus fructicosus) Steeped (sorry!) in ancient folklore, the people of Medieval England believed blackberry would protect them from rheumatism, boils, and blackheads! To do so meant creeping under the bush to gather fruit, but only at the right time of the moon! We do not suggest such extreme measures; drink the tea. Blackberry leaves bring flavor and harmony to this lovely tea.
(Eucalyptus globulus, folium being the leaf) A native of Australia, the Eucalyptus tree, is used to make the Digeridoo. Eucalyptus is known as the ‘Fever Tree’ because of antimicrobial and bacteria-fighting properties! The oil from the leaf is pungent and, when taken in tea, is recognized as very effective in de-clogging the nose, fighting throat infections, and washing out the mouth.
(Cymbopogen citratus) Native to tropical climates like Florida, lemongrass lends a lemony taste to our tea along with some Vitamin C for added zest. I like to think of Lemongrass as bringing both harmony and aroma. Native to India, Lemongrass is used in Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve coughs and nasal congestion. Another valuable addition to our tea!
(Beta vulgaris) I was delighted to include beetroot in this tea, as it is one of my favorites! Beetroot is full of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant which supports healthy heart and liver function is good for blood pressure and cholesterol as well as containing lots of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, manganese, potassium, and folic acid)
(Daucus carota) Another favorite, the carrot, gets its characteristic bright orange color from beta carotene, which our body can easily assimilate, store and convert to Vitamin A. Beta carotene is an antioxidant which fights damage caused by free radicals that can invade our bodies, causing disease, also helping regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. A bonus benefit is improved hair, skin, and nails!
I am sure you will agree that this is a delightful lineup of ingredients and perfectly captures the zest for life, which early pioneers must have possessed in plenty.
Bertha Palmer later acquired Spanish Point, and Pioneer Tea is a lovely balance to our Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea, as well as a wonderful addition to our Celebrating Sarasota collection of teas. I hope you will take time to sip all our collection, visit Historic Spanish Point, and celebrate the abundance of treasures we are so lucky to have here in Sarasota!
Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea
We introduce a new tea called Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea. This tea is an herbal rooibos with licorice root, fennel, peppermint, and lemon verbena. Delicious hot or iced, this rooibos is naturally caffeine-free. We add this tea to the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas.
For instance, when Mrs. Potter Palmer (Bertha Honoré Palmer) first set eyes on Sarasota in 1910, she proclaimed, ‘Here is heaven at last.’
She came to own more than 80,000 acres of what is now Sarasota County. Also, Palmer operated a successful ranch and made her winter home at The Oaks on Historic Spanish Point.
Sarasota County celebrates the 2010 centennial of her arrival. All are invited to honor the significant impact Mrs. Palmer made to our culturally rich community. Please raise a cuppa Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea to this incredible woman!
Bertha Palmer Centennial Tea joins Selby Select, Mote Beach Tea, Mable’s Rose Rooibos, and Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea in the Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas. In conclusion, all of these teas are available at www.LocalTeaCo.com
The Gift of Tea
At Local Tea Company, we have a great selection of tea to suit many different tastes. Some of our holiday favorites are listed at the end of this post with links to our online shop. Whatever your gift choice, I believe there are many extraordinary reasons to be excited about both giving and receiving TEA…
- The anticipation of opening the packet and discovering the appearance of the leaf,
- Inhaling the special aroma that loose tea releases,
- Watching the magic of leaves dancing in the pot,
- The delicious color and flavor in the cup,
- Sitting down, letting go of all the stress in your body (which we seem to create in great quantities, especially at this time of the year!),
- And finally, Life is too short to drink bad tea.
Making tea is an act to be shared with someone special, presented to a group of friends, or enjoyed completely alone. I cannot think of any other item that is so simple, yet so complex, cost-effective, and enjoyable. You are also giving the gift of health and well being to your loved ones.
If you have no tea lovers in your life, then give yourself the gift of tea. YOU deserve it!
Some of our holiday favorites include Chocolate Honeybush, Organic Red Berries, and Cochin Masala Chai. For a more relaxing tea, perfect for evenings, there is Organic Honeybush. Also, check out the “Celebrate Sarasota” gift deal, 4 herbal teas inspired by Local Treasures: Selby Gardens, Van Wezel, Ringling Museum, and Siesta Key Beach.
On behalf of all at Local Tea Company, I would like to wish all our tea followers a Very Merry Christmas and a TEArrific New Year. We appreciate your business and hope you continue to enjoy our teas in 2010.
No matter where you are or what you are planning to do during this special season, please make time to drink some tea and feel the benefits. I drink to you and yours.
Cheers and all the best to everyone.
We completed our collection of teas celebrating the crown jewels of Sarasota. Check out our Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas. The line up includes Selby Select, Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea, Mote Beach Tea, and Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea. >> We have since replaced the Mote with Siesta Tea.
All four teas are naturally caffeine-free, packed in distinctively colored resealable bags to maximize freshness, and most importantly, they are DELICIOUS.
Here are the details, along with slogans. We laughed at writing them. The overall idea is – Sarasota, That’s My Cuppa Tea.
Selby Select – Juicy orange peels and yogurt pieces blended with rooibos for a dreamsicle finish. Created to honor Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a tropical oasis of orchids and other epiphytes. “Selby Select, because you can’t steep an orchid.”
Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea – Rose petals and cherry blossoms infused in rooibos bursting with flavor. Mable Ringling created her beloved rose garden before starting on Ca d’Zan, the one of a kind estate at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. We pay tribute with this tea to this mysterious woman. “Mable’s Rose Rooibos Tea, if you liked John’s house, you’ll love Mable’s tea.”
Mote Beach Tea – an exotic mix of fruits and herbs including rosehips, apple, hibiscus, pineapple, and coconut for a tropical infusion. Created in honor of the research conducted at the Mote Marine Laboratory. “Mote Beach Tea, so delicious you’ll be jumping with our dolphins.”
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea – a rooibos with red and black currants for an amethyst inspired brew. This season marks the 40th year of fabulous performances at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, our gem by the bay. “Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea is one hot act that’s also great iced.”
At Local Tea Company, our motto is ‘Sip Locally.’ We are committed to three core principles; promoting local businesses, protecting local environments, and celebrating local treasures. In conclusion, visit Local Coffee + Tea at Siesta Key Village, Selby Gardens, and every Saturday at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Sarasota.
Support your local treasures and celebrate Sarasota, one cup at a time.
Van Wezel Anniversa-Tea
On Wednesday evening, the lineup of this season’s performers was announced. In addition to a signature dessert by Michael’s On East and our stunning Rooibos blend with black and red currants. Tony Bennett is the big star headlining the 40th Anniversary party on January 5th.
Local Tea Company samples and sells this tea at performances this season. We will serve the caffeine-free tea at selected events for sponsors and patrons. This tea is available at our shops in Siesta Key Village and Selby Gardens, on Saturday mornings at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, and online at www.LocalTeaCo.com
The response to the iced version is very positive. However, it’s hard to compete with cold pinot grigio on a gorgeous summer evening at the bayfront. Special thanks to Julia Mays for spreading the word all evening long. In conclusion, thanks to the entire team at the Van Wezel, who quickly put the details together.