Tea Quotes


“And I want a tea cozy. I don’t know what a tea cozy is, but I want one!”

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I dont think Buffy is alone, I find many tea drinkers who visit our Carriagehouse Tea Room at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens do not know what a tea cozy is, or they may have heard about them but never seen or used one!  They are a very simple yet amazing invention to keep your tea warm in the POT.

It would seem their popularity has waned since the invention of the tea bag which in turn meant less people used a teapot. So, let’s try and get back on track, get the teapots back out, add some good loose tea and bring back the popularity of tea cozy!

The history of the tea cozy is not too well documented, though It seems unlikely to me that they were used when teapots first originated as the pots were small and tea was very expensive.  When William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister in 1783 at the tender age of 24, he passed the Commutation Act which lowered the tax on tea, making tea more affordable and no doubt, the teapots bigger!

Anna Duchess of Bedford, who is credited with inventing afternoon tea, would have needed a tea cozy to keep her tea warm while exchanging news and gossip of the day.  A cold pot of tea would have cut the party short.  There are many antique tea cozys from this era with elaborate brocade, silk fabrics and intricate embroidery skills.

The tea cozy was used in North America in the same period. The Philadelphia Inquirer noted in October of 1892 that the tea cozy enjoyed a ‘sudden and unexpected rise in public favor’ among women who hosted tea parties.

The cozy flourished during the late 19th century appearing in many households but became less elaborate in time. There is an old tea tale which tells of a farmer who inadvertanly threw his wollen hat over the teapot returning much later to find his tea was still warm. Thus creating the first knitted tea cozy!

During my childhood in Yorkshire, we always had a tea cozy on our pot (even though many times the teapot sat on the hearth in front of the fire). We had an assortment of different designs as my mum was good at needlework and knitting but the ones with bobbles were always the most memorable, especially when many colors of wool were incorporated as shown in this picture. 

At Local Coffee + Tea, we have our very own tea cozy maker.  Janie Childers is a ‘Local’ and makes a variety of tea cozy with beautiful insulated fabrics to keep your tea nice and warm. Jane’s tea cozy is also wipe-able in case of spills. We have lovely spring designs which coordinate with many different teapots and 2 sizes to fit most teapots.

I have one that Janie made and also a knitted one that my Aunty Dinah made and wouldn’t be without them, they are truly part and parcel of having a good pot of tea. If you haven’t yet discovered the tea cozy, waste no more time, you will wonder how on earth you managed without one!

Also, we are now on Pinterest and have created a board for Tea Cozies.  Please pin your favorite Tea Cozy pictures or ‘like’ or comment on the tea cozy pictures we have pinned on our board.

Cheers,

The TeaLady

What is the most wonderful thing for people like myself who follow the Way of Tea? The “oneness” of host and guest created through meeting heart to heart and sharing a bowl of tea.

Soshitsu Sen, Japanese of Tea

What is the most wonderful thing for a tea enthisiast like myself? Gathering a group of like-minded people who share the same enthusiasm and passion for continued learning of all subjects relating to TEA!

Our first Tea Class of 2012 showcased 6 teas from Local Coffee + Tea, in the serene setting of Selby Gardens.  The group explored each tea using all our senses; sight, scent, touch and taste, examining both the dry leaves as well as the tea leaves after steeping.

Dry leaves - Pear Mu Tan white tea

Dry leaves - Pear Mu Tan white tea

Each tea came from a different growing region of the world, and after a discussion about the origin and processing, we covered the correct way to brew a proper cuppa.  We end with a review of the many health benefits for each tea.

Here are the teas that we ‘sniffed’ and ‘sipped’ from Local Coffee + TeaPear Mu Tan, Festivi-Tea, Strawbango Black, Cochin Masala Chai, Chocolate Honeybush and Selby Select Rooibos.

You may be familiar with many of these teas from earlier posts…

Tea Class at Selby Gardens

Tea Class at Selby Gardens

If you missed this class, then do not despair! The next two classes are set for March 16th and April 10th.  Register online and learn more here.

Class starts at 10am and is a wonderful activity for a friend or spouse.  Be ready for  a hands-on experience, and bring your questions.

Hope you will be my guest next time and join me to ‘sip a bowl of tea’ and have a ‘heart to heart’ about this amazing beverage we all love so much- TEA.

Cheers,

The TeaLady

Many of life’s failures are from people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

 Thomas Edison

Edison and Ford shaking hands

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal

Henry Ford

These two quotes say much about these two incredible men who are remembered in our community at the beautiful Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. If you have not visited yet, I urge you to take time to go as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed, the grounds and homes are lovely and the many exhibits are fascinating.

When you visit you will also find the latest from Local Coffee + Tea, the Edison Ford Fruit Tea.  An exotic blend of fruits growing in the gardens of the Edison Ford Winter Estates, including mango, pineapple and assorted citrus.  A natural fruit tisane with no caffiene, the Edison Ford Fruit Tea was released before the holiday season and has been very popular with visitors.

The tea is now being brewed and sampled most days as part of the tour.  You will find packets of the Edison Ford Fruit Tea available for sale along with a lovely selection of teapots and other tea accessories.

Edison Ford Winter Estates

Local Coffee + Tea is thrilled to celebrate one more of our suncoast local treasures.  As we say, Sip Locally.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

‘The naming of teas is a difficult matter,

It isn’t just one of your everyday games—

Some might think you mad as a hatter

Should you tell them each goes by several names.

For starters each tea in this world must belong

To the families Black or Green or Oolong;

Then look more closely at these family trees—-

Some include Indians along with Chinese.”

T.S. Elliot, The NAMING OF CATS with liberties taken by Local Coffee + Tea :>

The naming of our latest tea was very difficult too and you have every right to think the name was taken straight from a T.S. Elliot book!  We are very excited to announce STRAWBANGO BLACK in time for the Holiday season and we know you will love this blend as much as we do.

STRAWBANGO BLACK is an organically cultivated black tea from the mountains of Sri Lanka.  Not only do we have a splendid tasting black tea, but two of our favorite Florida fruits are added for the perfect amount of exotic sweetness!  Scattered between the juicyness, you will find delicate Calendula blossoms.  A truly beautiful and aromatic tea.

Have you guessed what those fruits might be?  Strawberry and Mango of course, two fruits made for each other.

We are already planning to serve lots of this tea hot and iced both at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market and in the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens.  Also, I will be featuring STRAWBANGO BLACK in my tea class on December 13th.

Join us in celebrating this exceptional tea with a ‘bang’!  Gift yourself, a friend, or a member of your family with some loose leaf tea and celebrate the Holidays in style.

Cheers,

The TeaLady

‘I’m a tidy sort of bloke. I don’t like chaos. I kept records in the record rack, tea in the tea caddy and pot in the pot box’

-George Harrison 1943-2001

I found this quote from my favorite Beatle very amusing. I also share the sentiment, excluding the part about the pot of course!

The tea caddy was a favorite kitchen item from my chilhood and I have memories of opening our caddy and inhaling the rich smell of loose tea when Mum gave me me instruction to “put the kettle on and make a pot of tea”.

A TEA CADDY is a box, jar, canister, or other receptacle used to store tea.  The word is believed to have derived from ‘catty’, the Chinese pound.  The earliest examples that came to Europe were of Chinese porcelain in the shape of a ginger jar.  They had lids or stoppers and were most frequently blue and white.

Tea Caddy from Ming Dynasty

Later designs used a variety of materials with wood becoming  very popular. Tea was very expensive so the caddies were locked and the keys only available to the lady of the house. In the late eighteenth and through the nineteenth century the caddies became even more elaborate often mounted in brass and delicately inlaid, with knobs of ivory, ebony or silver.
As the price of tea decreased toward the end of the nineteenth century the use of lockable caddies declined.  Those precious tea leaves which had held pride of place in ornate boxes on mantles and sideboards in refined drawing rooms were relegated to cheaply produced tins and boxes that were stored in the kitchen.  That was the style of caddy you would find in our kitchen!
We have a few tea tins at Local Coffee + Tea as well as a few decorative cardboard tea caddies.  I still use several caddies in my kitchen today, one which is fashioned from a tin which used to contain a favorite British candy called Licquorice Allsorts. It makes an excellent tea caddy.
Do you have a favorite tea storage container?  Your comments are always welcome.
Cheers,

November 5th is the perfect time to talk about our Pinhead Gunpowder.  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, but do you know what Guy Fawkes was notorious for besides drinking Yorkshire tea?

Guy Fawkes

“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, but 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 open air fires or 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 the intent of Mr. Fawkes.

Pinhead Gunpowder

And so to our pinhead gunpowder, a classic green tea from Zhejiang province in China, made from leaves rolled into small pellets which look like actual gunpowder.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people visiting the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens 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 the month of 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, then steamed, rolled and dried.  Although the individual leaves were formerly rolled by hand, today most gunpowder tea is rolled by machines, though 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 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 slight smokey finish.  I have enjoyed Pinhead staright up, infusing multiple times but it can be brewed very succesfully with both ginger or mint and used as an iced tea.

I hope you enjoyed the gunpowder plot and please do enjoy many infusions of this classic tea.

Cheers,

the TeaLady


George Orwell taking time for tea

“All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little
stronger with each year that passes”.

We answer a lot of tea questions at Local Coffee + Tea, and the most popular inquiry is about what makes for a good cup of tea?  This tea quote is taken from an essay published in the Evening Standard in 1946 by the English author George Orwell.  He directed his keen wit and passion for clarity in language to the topic of the perfect cup of tea.

Orwell identified 11 points which he regarded as ‘golden’ and whilst I risk an overly lengthy post, it would not seem right to leave any one of them out when each is so witty and so relevant to the last detail, though I have risked a touch of editing.  Enjoy…

  • First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea.  China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it.  One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it.  Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’, invariably means Indian tea.
  • Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware.
  • Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.
  • Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones.  All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.
  • Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot.  No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful.  Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.
  • Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about.  The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours.  Some people add that one should only use water
    that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.
  • Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.
  • Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type.  The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.
  • Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.
  • Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain
    there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable.  This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.
  • Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar.  I know very well that I am in a minority here.  But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavor of your tea by putting sugar in it?  It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt.  Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter.  If you sweeten
    it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.  Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away.  To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

(The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell)

Cheers, the TeaLady

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