I am very excited to introduce the latest creation from Local Coffee + Tea, and a very special tea we created for the Junior League of Sarasota called ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’.  With this tea we celebrate the 2nd Annual Simply Sarasota Kitchen and Garden Festival April 13th through 15th.  The Kitchen and Garden Festival offers a variety of events including a Kitchen Tour, a Marketplace, a Celebrity Luncheon with the Royal Chef Darren McGrady, a Gourmet Beer Dinner and a Garden Tea Party featuring ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’.  Also part of the festivities is a tea class I will be teaching on both Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.  More details can be found from the Junior League of Sarasota web site.

The Junior League of Sarasota does so many wonderful projects for our community and at least $2 of every packet sold will go to the Junior League, so I thank you in advance for your support.

Simply Sarasota Tea

Now let me tell you a bit more about ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’, a caffeine free and sugar free blend of fruits and herbs such as strawberry, orange peel, apple, hibiscus petals and calendula.  Simply Sarasota Tea’ is excellent both hot or iced, and as we like to say about many of the teas from Local Coffee + Tea, puts a little bit of Sarasota in your cuppa.

This is the perfect time of year for this tisane, as one of the main flavors is Strawberry!  The abundance of this very Florida berry (Fragaria ananassa) is such a joy to see at the Sarasota Farmers Market where the tables are laden with punnets and the fragrance tantalizes us!  We celebrate the great strawberry flavor in this tea along with our very popular green tea, Strawberry Smile.

Another Florida favorite and a prodominant feature in ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’ is the flavor of Citrus limon or lemon. The lemon is world famous for its culinary uses and certainly adds character to this tea.

Apple (Malus domestica) is found in many of our fruit teas but we make no excuse as the fruit adds such great flavor and benefits. Containing anti-oxidants, flavonoids and pectin, a natural fiber of which apples are the richest source, and has recently been shown to act against bad cholesterol, decrease the chances of colon cancer and reduce high blood pressure. Quercetin, is also found in apples (and Black tea!), and belongs to a group of plant pigment flavonoids that help fight disease.

Another Florida fruit included in ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’ is Orange Citrus Peel. The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw, though adds great taste and health benefits when dried and added to tea. Citrus peel contains vitamins, minerals, fiber and powerful antioxidants that belong to a group of plant chemicals called flavonoids, which have the potential to lower LDLcholesterol levels.

Hibiscus Flowers (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a member of the mallow family and it brings a sweet mellow taste, harmony and wonderful color from the infused sepals. It has a cooling effect on the body and is high in Vitamin C also having some calcium, niacin, riboflavin and iron. In Folklore medicine Hibiscus is said to reduce cholesterol and act as a mild diuretic. We know Dr Oz is a big fan of Hibiscus, so it has to be good. Right?  We offer hibiscus petals and love to blend them with our ginger root, but that is another post.

We have another amazing fruit, the Rosehip peel (Rosa canina) from the Wild Dog Rose which takes its name from its earliest use as a remedy for bites from ‘mad’ or ‘wild’ dogs. Rosehips are reddish colored coverings that grow around the real fruits for protection and for this reason they are often called “false fruits”. The nutrient value is as rich as their color and they enhance the function of everything from your skin to your innermost being, containing an array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.

2nd Annual Simply Sarasota Kitchen & Garden Festival

Lastly we have the flower Calendula officinalis or pot marigold included in ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’. The petals of ‘Pot Marigold’ will raise your spirit and cheer your heart adding splendid golden color to this caffeine free fruit blend.

I suspect the most popular way to serve this tea will be iced, and while I am not a fan of adding sugar to any teas, I must tell you a pinch certainly boosts the exotic flavor!  Like our Tea Wiz and Mote Beach Tea, ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’ will certainly raise your spirit but most importantly cool you and quench your thirst before, during and long after the 2nd Annual Kitchen and Garden Festival presented by the Junior League of Sarasota.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

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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

“BREAD AND WATER CAN SO EASILY BE TOAST AND TEA’

This is a lovely quote (author unknown) that came to mind this morning.  I was actually making some Lemon Curd at the time but I also had a visitor in the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens that told me he would not drink tea because his mother always made him have toast and tea when he was sick!  Of course she would, mothers know what is good for you.

I also felt sorry for him!  Toast and Tea is a custom most of us have such good feelings about and I for one can sample this pairing at any time of day.  There is nothing as simple or as tasty as toast and tea, unless you add a little lemon curd that is!

Lemons are in abundance here at the moment and as they keep arriving by the bagful at my house I just keep churning out the Lemon Curd!  I got myself a cup of jasmine tea and Lemons at the ready.  Want to have a go too?

This is a very easy recipe and method to follow.  You will need preserving jars which have been sterilized in boiling water.  I put the lemons in same water as it makes the juice release easier.  I usually double up the recipe, but to make one batch you will need:

Juice and Rind of 1 lemon (I have been adding rind of an extra lemon too!), 2 eggs, 2oz unsalted butter, and 3oz sugar.

  1. Place sugar and rind in large bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs and lemon juice together.  Add to bowl.
  3. Cut butter into small chunks.  Add to bowl.
  4. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until butter melts and whisk lightly over heat until mixture thickens.  (It may seem like mixture is never going to thicken but it will.)

Place in jar and refrigerate.

It tastes delicious and is so worth the effort.  I love giving to friends and of course, the suppliers of all my Lemons!  Lemon Curd is also the perfect accompaniment to scones, so maybe next time we will make scones.

I recommend putting on the kettle and making a pot of Yorkshire tea and sit down to enjoy some toast and tea.  Mmmm!

Cheers,

The TeaLady

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 just 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.

Rooibos

Enter ROOIBOS (Aspalathis 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 as well as Mama Ramotswe, a certain lady detective.  If 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.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

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 with colic and is added to baby’s bath water (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 the adverse effects of rooibos, which is quite amazing!

Rooibos is an herb and is NATURALLY caffeine free, which makes 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 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 too share with a loved one.  Sweet Sin combines raspberry with vanilla and is always popular around Valentine’s Day.

Sweet Sin Rooibos Tea

What a versatile and special tea this is and if you haven’t discovered Rooibos already then I hope you do so soon.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your year has gotten off to a good start, but if not and you are feeling bunged up and burned out after a few weeks of 2011 then it’s time to get the kettle on and brew yourself some tea!

Where to start?  There are many teas at Local Tea Company that we can recommend you drink at this time of year to restore your energy and vitality but I would like to concentrate today on Green Tea.   Again, we have many varieties to choose from and the key is finding one that suits you.  If you like the taste of a particular tea, the chances are you will drink more, so experiment till you find the tea for you.

There is a green tea you should take note of,  Matcha is finely ground powdered green tea and is one of the healthiest beverages you can ingest.  When you drink matcha you are ingesting the whole leaf rather than an infusion of the tea leaf.

Matcha Green Tea

Most of green tea benefits are gained from 2 components, a family of antioxidants called catechins which include EGCG (or epigallocatechin- 3 gallate) and an amino acid called L-Theanine.   EGCG protects against cell damage that can result in disease.   Several medical reports indicate that green tea has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.   L-Theanine boosts the brain’s levels of alpha waves which in turn leads to greater mental focus and feeling of relaxation.  There is evidence that theanine also counteracts any negative behavior of caffeine.

Matcha is said to contain 10 times the antioxidants of regular green tea and the same goes for L-Theanine content.  If you cannot manage between 4 and 9 cups of regular green tea then have 1 or 2 cups of matcha every day.

Matcha can be served many ways, again find what works for you.  I am a juicer so blend right into my daily serving of fresh juice.  You can add to your water bottle, make an iced or hot latte with soy, almond or rice milk or simply drink a shot straight up.  We offer a ceremonial grade of Matcha.

Green Tea Ice Cream

You can make ice cream too.  Check out a previous post along with a recipe for green tea ice cream.  Also, I have had customers tell me that they add matcha to their regular cuppa tea.  Matcha is all good, so you need to start drinking matcha NOW.

There are some other traditional green teas you should know about.  Goji Green contains the ‘superfruit’ gojiberry which also has powerful anti-oxidants.

We offer unflavored green teas including  Pinhead Gunpowder and our classic Jasmine green tea is very delicate.  Our very popular Organic Strawberry Smile make those cups of tea go down really easy!

Look out for my next blog which will include some of our herbal teas which also have healing properties.  Time to put the kettle on, hope you are doing the same!  Good health and happiness for 2011 and make sure you ‘take time for tea’.

Cheers,

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 www.selby.org) and visit the Local Tea Company  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

John Greene Webb and his family came to Spanish Point in 1867 where 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 Webb

All of us who enjoy living in beautiful Sarasota owe much to the hardship John and his family must have endured.  At Local Tea Company, we can think of no finer way to celebrate early settlers to Sarasota than with an amazing new herbal tea we have named Pioneer Tea and created for 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 but 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 but adds great taste when dried and added to tea.

Suitable for everyone, oranges are rich in calcium, phosphorous, potassium, citric acid and beta carotene. The Vitamin A they contain gives us healthy skin and mucous membranes!

The other ingredients in Pioneer Tea are all equally as sweet and delicious…

Blackberry leaves. (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, simply drink the tea. Blackberry leaves bring flavor and harmony to this lovely tea.

Eucalyptus leaves. (Eucalyptus globulus, folium being the leaf)  A native of Australia, the Eucalyptus tree is used to make the Digeridoo and 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 being very effective in de-clogging the nose, fighting throat infections and washing out the mouth.

Lemongrass. (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!

Beetroot. (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)

Carrot flakes. (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!

Apple and Hibiscus have been covered in previous posts for Peach Paradise and Mote Beach Tea.

I am sure you will agree that this is a delightful line up of ingredients and perfectly captures the zest for life which early pioneers must have possessed in plenty.

Bertha Palmer

Spanish Point was later acquired by Bertha Palmer 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!

Cheers,

The TeaLady