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

‘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

A superb Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market with sunny skies and a slight, humidity free breeze.  Our sampling teas were also very special; Strawberry Smile green tea (perhaps why so many people were smiling Saturday morning), Nilgiri black tea and our Red Berries.   All make a nice cuppa for a Thanksgiving celebration.

This week’s action shot is of the Tea Paparazzi visiting our tea tent and admiring our Mable’s Rose Rooibos.  See the entire album at our Facebook page, Local Coffee + Tea – Tea Journey.

Sip Locally

The Tea Paparazzi


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

Lots of people at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday and most of you found us next to the Java Dawg Coffee Bus.  We like this spot because Java Dawg carries 6 of our teas available steaming hot, as well as our SRQ Collection of Coffees.  And Glynis returned after a few weeks in the UK, part of her ‘Tea Travels’.

Three great teas this week, our Red Hat Rooibos, Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling black tea and our Peach Paradise.  Local Coffee + Tea also brews Mote Beach Tea for Maggie’s Seafood every week for you to enjoy with one of Chef Doug’s creations.

Our Mote Beach Tea at Maggie's Seafood

Again, this week we offer $1 off packets of Red Hat Rooibos, Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling and Peach Paradise when purchased from our online shop.  And all orders over $40 ship at no charge.

Our picture of the day is a group of ladies, including Rebecca Morgan one of the Daughters of the American Revolution having fun at the market.  See our Facebook page for the entire album.

Sip Locally!

md

Whenever we sample Selby Select at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market it is a good day.  Selby Select is our best selling tea and was created to celebrate Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  Orange peel and trace yogurt blended with rooibos, Selby Select is a bit of sunshine in your cup.  Caffeine free sunshine!

We also sampled iced Earl Grey and a green tea from Kenya, Kosabei Plantation FAIR TRADE.  We posted Who is Earl Grey? earlier this week and here is a link to a earlier post about rooibos.   This week we will offer $1 off packet of all three teas; Selby Select, Earl Grey and Kosabei Plantation FAIR TRADE green tea for online purchases.  And all orders over $40 ship at no charge.

Picture of the day is Papa Peperonata, Adrian with his son Nico.  See our Facebook page for the entire album.

Papa Peperonata and Nico

We are off next Saturday so see you in September.  Sip Locally.

md

Most tea lovers are familiar with Earl Grey.  One whiff of this tea reveals the distinctive aroma on the nose and in the cup.  This is a very traditional black tea with the addition of oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a very fragrant citrus fruit.

What about the man behind the tea?

Earl Grey

Charles Grey (1764-1845) descended from a long established Northumbrian family seated at Howick Hall and was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.  He became the 2nd Earl Grey, was a politician in the Whig party (Democrats) and he became Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 22!  His first parliamentary address as PM was in 1787 and concerned a recent free trade agreement made with France, to which he was very opposed.  He was involved in four years of political reform, the author of the Reform Bill of 1832 (which saw the reform of the House of Commons) and had an enormous impact on the development of democracy in Britain, abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833.

The Whig historian T.B. Macauly wrote in 1841,

‘At an age when most of those who distinguish themselves in life are still contending for prizes and fellowships at college, he had won for himself a conspicuous place in Parliament. No advantage of fortune or connection was wanting that could set off to the height his splendid talents and his unblemished honour.’

Outside of his political achievements Earl Grey enjoyed the life!  He was said to be tall, slim and strikingly handsome, had 10 sons and 6 daughters with his wife and fathered at least one illegitimate child!  Earl Grey enjoyed gallivanting around the country, breeding dogs, playing cribbage and also found time to have an affair with the Duchess of Devonshire.

There are several tales as to how the tea was named after such a noble and colorful figure!  According to the most popular legend a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of the Earl’s men, first presented the blend to the Earl in 1803.  This legend seems to have little basis as the Earl apparently did not set foot in China and the use of bergamot to scent tea was then unknown in China.  Jackson’s of Piccadilly claim they were the originators of the recipe, which was given to them by the Earl himself.

While the truth is not known, like the very popular Earl himself, this tea is one of the most well known flavored teas in the world.  Many people who I chat with in the Carriage House Tea Room at Selby Gardens do not care for the very distinct flavor of Earl Grey. I have found by offering samples of Earl Grey, that most people have never experienced a good quality, loose leaf tea and the quality of both the tea and the bergamot is paramount! Any deviation can result in an unpleasant tea with a residual taste on your palate.

Loose Leaf Earl Grey

Contrary to my British tea drinking habits, I have become a fan of Iced Earl (Me thinks the Earl would not approve!)  Delicious, so be sure to try for yourself.  When brewing Earl Grey hot, I actually infuse for only 2 minutes and then enjoy multiple infusions from the same leaves.  It is the perfect accompaniment to tea sandwiches and cakes (Mmmm!) but just drinking alone is fine too.  ‘Gallivant’ with your Earl, and find your favorite way to enjoy.

Try our premium blend of Earl Grey from Local Coffee + Tea.  You may be surprised to find you like the Earl, now that you know a bit about the man behind the tea.

Cheers,

the TeaLady