December 2010

I am ashamed to admit that I did not realize G. WIZ was actually an abbreviation for Gulf Coast Wonder and Imagination Zone, an interactive science museum right here in Sarasota. And I have called Sarasota my home for over 10 years.

G.WIZ in Sarasota, Florida

And now we have Tea. WIZ. I am more familiar with this Zone!

This is our latest addition to our Celebrating Sarasota collection of teas and is going to be a big hit with science buffs and tea lovers alike! A cheerful blend of fruits and flowers, Tea. WIZ contains pineapple, mango, orange, tangerine and strawberry pieces with safflower and marigold blossoms. Tea. WIZ is naturally caffeine free and packed with vitamins for a delicious brain drink. Featured in a clear packet so you can see all the juicy, fruity bits before opening! Are your taste buds working already?

As always when I research ingredients for new teas I find interesting tidbits along the way which I love to share. You might want to skip this and get right down to drinking some Tea. WIZ and that is OK with me!

Tea. WIZ

Ananas comosus or Pineapple is the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation. I thought this was interesting being in such a specialized bromeliad location as we are! Pineapple is such a popular fruit because of its wonderful sweet-sour taste, a protein digesting enzyme called bromelain and high amounts of Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C.

In Tea. WIZ, Pineapple is the perfect accompaniment to copious amounts of Mangifera indica or Mango. This tropical fruit was first imported into American colonies in the 17th century and is widely used in cuisine. Mango is rich in essential vitamins and minerals but in Tea. WIZ we are more concerned with the amazing taste! I have searched for a Mango tea for some time now and I am so glad I waited for this one, as it is the best I have ever tasted.

Another popular fruit here in Florida is Fragria ananassa or Strawberry, with a characteristic aroma and brightness, this popular berry blends perfectly with mango, pineapple, orange and tangerine.

Flowers are always a great addition to tea and here we have Carthamus tinctarius L. or Safflower which is one of humanity’s oldest crops! From the same family as sunflower, safflower extract was used to dye the wrappings of mummies, more importantly the wrappings of Tutankhamen.

Another flower included in Tea. WIZ is Calendula officinalis or Marigold. The petals of ‘Pot Marigold’ will raise your spirit and cheer your heart. Both add splendid golden color to this caffeine free fruit blend.

We have served Tea. WIZ mostly iced to accommodate our younger visitors, at Selby Gardens and the Sarasota Farmer’s Market, but it has hit the spot with all those ‘young at heart’ too! During the winter months we will be serving Tea. WIZ hot as well. Brain drinks are necessary for any age, and any time of the year. Tea Wiz is guaranteed to interact with your sense either way, you will not be disappointed.


The TeaLady


I want to share with you a new tea created for the “Lights in Bloom” holiday celebration at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  Every year Selby Gardens comes alive with brilliant lights, festive displays and a spectacular Christmas tree made of bromeliads.  Guests stroll through a magical garden filled with sparkling lights, live holiday music, and children’s activities.

Lights in Bloom

Festivi-Tea will conjure up all your favorite yummy smells and tastes of this time of year.  A blend of sencha and bancha green tea with dried orange, cut almonds and cream of caramel, perfect for any evening, especially a night at Lights in Bloom.

Sencha (‘Sen’ meaning green and ‘cha’ meaning tea or ‘infused tea’) is a style of tea.  Harvested leaves are heated in a wok to prevent oxidation giving the leaves a slightly mellower ‘roasted’ flavor and characteristic thin, cylindrical shape.

Bancha, or ‘common’ green tea is harvested from the second flush of leaves in late summer/autumn. The larger leaf gives a very mellow flavor and contains less caffeine.

Then we have the Holiday factor!  Citrus peel, for me is synonymous with Christmas. I remember when I was a little girl how thrilled I was to get a bag of Oranges in my Christmas stocking. Oranges were expensive and hard to come by in the heart of Yorkshire and were such a special treat! The peel of citrus fruit can be bitter and not very appetizing, but adds great flavor and health benefits when dried and added to tea.

Almonds are something I try to eat all year round for their healthy heart benefits (they contain monounsaturated fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol) and almonds conjure more Christmas memories.  We always had nuts in the shells and it was difficult to eat many as they were so hard to crack open.  My sister and I usually lost interest after a short while, but we had such fun and very rosy cheeks from sitting by a roaring fire!

Cream of Caramel is a very tasty ‘concoction’ of sugars and milk, dried and added to enhance this tea. I try to bring you teas with all natural, healthy ingredients, but sometimes exceptions must be made at this is the time of year.

Festivi-Tea is easy to drink with subtle notes of all the ingredients as well as a smooth finish. Best hot, I think, though we have sampled iced Festivi-Tea at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market with wonderful results.

Please join us at Selby Gardens this year for Lights in Bloom starting December 17th (details at and visit the Local Coffee + Tea Carriage House to see our complete selection of tea and tea accessories.

I hope you enjoy Festivi-Tea as much I have enjoyed sharing my Christmas past with you.

Happy Holidays,

The TeaLady