March 2010

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

It is immensely fitting that Harrogate a small town in Yorkshire, North England should have a tea named after it. You should now be wondering why that may be so, and of course I will tell you.

First, Harrogate is known for the quality of its water. Good water is of course the main ingredient in a good cuppa tea! Harrogate is home to many ancient wells, the most famous being Tewit Well discovered by Sir William Slingsby during the 1700’s. Slingsby believed the water had powerful healing properties, able to cure just about anything.

Tewit Well Harrogate

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

Bettys Cafe Harrogate

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

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

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


the TeaLady


Konnichiwa  (Kon-ee-chee-wa) or Hello

I wanted to share some notes about the Asian Cultural Festival that took place a few weeks ago at Selby Botanical Gardens here in Sarasota.

Local Tea Company sponsored Tea Ceremonies again this year on Saturday, February 27th.  Kim Pham, owner of the Kaleisia Tea Lounge in Tampa again presented 3 traditional ceremonies in the Great Room.  Also on display was a magnificent collection of Kimonos presented by the Manatee Sarasota Kimono Club.

The stage was set! And then it RAINED and rained all morning. It was so disappointing after all the excitement and preparations. However, the show goes on.

All the attractions that were due to take place outdoors were then moved to the same room. That meant I got to see the Japanese drummers, which was very energetic (and loud!). This was followed by a martial arts demonstration.

Our first ceremony was Gongfu Cha, the Chinese Tea Ceremony.  Kim talked during the ceremony guiding visitors through the relevance of each movement. For more details about the whole ceremony visit our post from last year. Everyone was intrigued and eager to taste samples that Kim offered.

Sampling after the Gongfu Chinese Tea Ceremony

Next was Chanoyu, the Japanese Tea Ceremony which I was honored to take part in. If you have never seen this ceremony let alone take part in one, it is truly breathtaking.

Kim briefed me prior to commencing the ceremony as there is no conversation during the ceremoy. I bow, enter the set and kneel. It is customary to eat a sweet first which has been prepared for the guest.  Kim enters in a traditional kimono dress and prepares the tea in very quiet, small movements. This is such a meditative part of the ceremony and it was wonderful to be so still and in the moment despite the large room filled with people watching.  I drank the delicious matcha and Kim reversed all her movements before leaving the ceremony area. I then followed. Visitors had the opportunity to ask questions.  Again, more details from our blog post last year.

Chanoyu Japanese Tea Ceremony

Our last ceremony was Panyaro, the Korean Way of Tea. Kim was adorned in a truly beautiful pink and turquoise ceremonial dress. By this time the weather had improved, the sun came out and most of the visitors went out into the garden. The few remaining were enchanted, including 2 members of our audience that Kim included in the ceremony.

Panyaro Korean Way of Tea

I would like to thank all the visitors who came to celebrate with us at the ceremonies.

Despite the weather it was a lovely day and an experience I look forward to repeating next year.


The Tea Lady

Local Tea Company has created a new Green Tea and we are asking for your help with the name.

Name That Tea

Try a sample of this delicious sencha–style loose leaf green tea with cherry blossoms & rose petals, then let us know how much you like the tea and what you think we should call the brew.

The to-be-determined prize will be unbelievable. You can submit entries at our Tea Tasting Room at Selby Gardens, at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning or at our Facebook Page “Local Coffee + Tea—Tea Journey”

Entries will be accepted through March 31st and the winning name will be announced on April 1st.

Thanks for playing “Name That Tea”