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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A favourite book of mine offers an interesting quote or excerpt about tea, and I would like to share it with you.  Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome was first published in 1889, and was intended as a serious travel guide about a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.  However, it turned out to be a very humorous account detailing the adventures of the three friends Jerome, George Wingrave and Carl Hentschel along with a fictional dog called Montmorency!

When I read this excerpt today, it seemed so clever and witty, evoking powerful thoughts about the beverage I so love…. tea.  Enjoy.

‘It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs.  We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions.  After eggs and bacon, it says “Work!” After beefsteak and porter , it says “Sleep!”  After a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup and don’t let it stand for more  than three minutes), it says to the brain, “Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming starts to the gates of eternity!”

Jerome K. Jerome, Three men in a Boat.

What type of tea does it take for you to rise and show your strength, be eloquent and deep or indeed spread your white wings of quivering thought?  It would have to be a good strong cup of Yorkshire Harrogate for me!  Here is a earlier post about Yorkshire.  Please share your comments and take time for tea.

Cheers,

the Tealady

I have just returned from a wonderful vacation in the beautiful Northern Michigan.  It was my first visit and I enjoyed seeing the lakes, countryside and flora particular toMichigan, which is so different from Florida.  The lilac was in full bloom and I couldn’t get enough of it!

As always, tea was on the menu and I searched for an establishment where I could indulge my passion away from Local Coffee + Tea.  After researching online, I found only one option in our vicinity which was called the Good Hart and Soul Tea Room.  The tea room takes its name from a small village, Good Hart which is situated by the Tunnel of Trees on the cliffs of Lake Michigan.  Sounds idyllic? It was a haven of peace and serenity which I would like to share.

Good Hart & Soul Tea Room

The tea room was part of Primitive Images Rustics , an amazing log cabin that the owner Ceci Bauer transported from Canada and rebuilt in this location.  Filled with a treasure trove of rustic furniture and collectibles it was delightful to browse.  In a bright room at the rear was an area devoted to all things tea where Grahame and I met Jessica from Texas!  Only her third day of working, she presented the tea menu with confidence and knowledge.

It was not easy to choose from the great selection of teas!  Jessica offered the lids of the storage canisters so we could appreciate the bouquet of several teas before I decided on Jasmine Pearl and Grahame on Mandarin Citrus White.  To accompany tea we had scones and jam, which was made from local cherries of course!

We took a small table on an outdoor patio where we sat in dappled sunshine, surrounded by beautiful trees, listening to the birds sing and watching chipmunks play hide and seek.  This was so…very relaxing, and a perfect setting for the excellent cuppa that Jessica served.  A teapot each was maybe a little ambitious!  Alas, I have never been known to leave a good pot of tea, so I enjoyed the moment and drank every drop!  I tried to capture some of the ambience in this photo

Our Tea

Being fans of ‘all things local’ it was great to find the delicious scones were from a local bakery called Crooked Tree Breadworks (Petoskey) and the Cherry Bomb jam from a local company called Wee Bee Jammin (Manistee)  The tea was from a local supplier in the Traverse City area some of which are blended with local herbs and flowers.

Nobody else joined us for tea (early part of June is low season) for which we were grateful as this only enhanced our experience at the very aptly named Good Hart and Soul.  Thank you to Jessica and Lindsey for the lovely service and if you are ever in this area of Harbor Springs be sure to visit this delightful tea room.

Cheers, the TeaLady

“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 am glad to announce that here at Local Coffee + Tea we have added another tea to our Organic cultivation varieties.

Pear Mu Tan is a White tea grown in Fujian Province, China.  White teas are surrounded by folklore and mystique heralded from ancient China when this delicate tea was proclaimed by Emperors as “the culmination of all that is elegant”

White teas are the least processed of all the categories of tea.  The newest leaves are carefully picked when they have a silvery appearance which comes from the hair or ‘hao’.  They are lightly withered which turns them into an artists palate of hues, ranging from silver to green to brown and results in a light fluffy mixture of leaf pieces that yield a subtle and delicate flavor.

Pear Mu Tan White Tea

I had been asked several times about a Pear tea and after using this tea for several days in my travel mug, I knew we had to have it!  This type of White tea is known as Pai Mu Tan which means “white peony” and is produced from a variety of tea bush called chaicha, so it seemed natural to name this tea Pear Mu Tan.

There is evidence that Pear has been used as a food since prehistoric times so is a perfect partner for White tea.  To compliment the pear, there are dried apple pieces, mango cubes and marigold blossoms which results in shimmering golden liquor with a lingering fragrance and sweet, fresh mellow taste.  This is a truly beautiful tea both dry and infused.

Please note, this tea is organically cultivated but has not pursued the requirements to be designated ORGANIC.

White teas are becoming very popular now as they are considered to be the most beneficial of all teas for their health benefits.  With more antioxidants than black or green tea, white tea has anticancer properties, is heart healthy, has a calming (anti-sagging!) and detoxifying effect on the skin and the ability to strengthen our immune system.  An added bonus is that it tastes so good!

Travel Tea Mug

As I mentioned, I have been using my travel mug (see earlier post on Traveling Tea Makers) to brew Pear Mu Tan and used water at only 190 degrees.  Be careful not to have the water too hot as it tends to make the tea more astringent on the first infusion.  I have continued to infuse this tea many times (Multi-Steeping) during the day and found it very thirst quenching and so easy to drink.

There are debates aplenty about the amount of caffeine in White teas; could it be that as the tea is made from young leaves that they contain the most concentrated amount of caffeine? The fact that we infuse for less time and at a lower temperature may mean less caffeine is released…and so on.  We may never know the exact reason and it really does not seem to matter too much!

In my experience I have found White tea VERY agreeable to my body function.  I do not seem to get as overheated or troubled with the caffeine content and therefore have been able to drink later into the day.   See how it works for you!

Pear Mu Tan is a tea that really keeps on giving and certainly wears the title ‘the culmination of all that is elegant’ very well.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

How could you not be excited about the prospect of a Royal Wedding?  They don’t come around that often and  we pin all our hopes for a lasting and loving relationship for this lovely young couple.

I plan to lose myself for a day of pomp and circumstance surrounding Prince William (Wills to some!) and the beautiful Kate Middleton (only a middle class girl!)  We could not resist jumping on the Royal bandwagon at Local Coffee + Tea and have created a tea to celebrate the occasion aptly named Royal-Tea.

If you are already sick of all the hoopla (like my husband!) then sit and make yourself a cup of this stately and sophisticated tea, a perfect marriage between green sencha and bancha, orange pieces, slivers of almonds and cream caramel. Tea and fruits fit for a Royal table I think.

The tea, like the Royal couple brings together two different backgrounds.

Chinese sencha (‘Sen’ meaning green and ‘cha’ meaning tea or ‘infused tea’) is a style of green tea normally produced in Japan but here we have a perfect unison between Chinese leaf and Japanese style.

After harvest, the leaves are heated in a wok to prevent oxidation giving the leaves a slightly mellower ‘roasted’ flavor and characteristic thin, cylindrical shape which results in a very light, refreshing and uplifting tea less vegetal in flavor than those produced in Japan.

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

The peel of citrus fruit is bitter and not very appetizing when raw but adds great taste and health benefits when dried and added to tea, and it tastes delicious.

Cream caramel is a tasty ‘concoction’ of sugar and fats which are dried and added to enhance this tea.  I try to bring you teas with only all natural ingredients, but sometimes Royal exceptions must be made!

Almonds are something I try to eat all year round for their healthy heart benefits (they contain monounsaturated fats which are good fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol).

In Ayurvedic medicine, almonds are considered a nutrient for the brain and nervous system and said to induce high intellectual level and longevity. I knew there was a reason I liked them so much! They pair very well with oranges too.  and Walnut adds to the ‘nuttiness’ of our tea.

Back by popular demand!

If you are reading this description and thinking this all sounds familiar, you may have enjoyed this tea over the holidays.  Festivi-Tea was created to celebrate Lights in Bloom at Selby Gardens.  And we have brought it back to celebrate another holiday, a Royal Wedding!

Whatever the name of this tea, enjoy April 29th and celebrate in true Royal fashion with a good cuppa Royal-Tea.

Please join me in wishing Prince William and Kate a long and happy life together.

Cheers,

The Tea Lady

Honeybush or Cyclopia intermedia is indigenous to the cape of South Africa and I like to think of it as a sort of cousin to Rooibos!  Like Rooibos, we make an herbal tea with a pleasant, mildly sweet taste.  Honeybush is very popular here at the Local Coffee + Tea Carriagehouse at Selby Gardens, and we are pleased to offer 2 varieties; Organic Honeybush and Chocolate Honeybush.  I urge you to try them if you are looking for a substitute for ‘true’ tea (Camellia sinensis), though I use honeybush as a compliment to my tea drinking habits!

Organic Honeybush

Like most of the teas, honeybush has a history traced back to the trading of the Dutch and British. Cape Town was established in 1652 as a supply base for the Dutch East India Company trading in Indian tea and Southeast Asian spices. Botanists were soon cataloging the rich flora of the Cape region and the honeybush plant was noted in botanical literature. The native KhoiSan or Bushmen used a tea made from honeybush to treat coughs and other upper respiratory symptoms associated with infections.

The honeybush plant is a shrub of the Fabaceae family and grows in the fynbos botanical zone, a narrow region along the coast bound by mountains. Fynbos is Dutch for ‘fine leaved plantsis’ and is a vegetation type characterized by woody plants with small leathery leaves. The honeybush plant is easily recognized by its sweetly scented, bright yellow flowers and needle-like leaves.

Honeybush

Besides great taste, a sort of woodsy, cedar-like flavor, Honeybush has some very special health benefits.  Pinitol is a modified sugar found in the leaves of several legume plants and as an expectorant, it helps with coughs and phlegm. Pinitol can also lower blood sugar levels, and may increase the effects of insulin.  I have read honeybush is being considered as a drug for diabetes! It would be good to have something so natural to help with such a prevalent disease. I have also read that Pinitol helps with acid reflux and we have a few customers who have reported relief drinking honeybush.  The flavones and isoflavones of honeybush are similar to those in soy, another leguminous plant, and have been used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. That covers quite a lot of the population who should be drinking this tea!

Honeybush tea is prepared like all other teas or herbal infusions. Use boiling water and infuse for as long as you want, though at least several minutes. The lack of caffeine makes honeybush especially suited for nighttime consumption and has a reputation as a calming beverage, but I love drinking honeybush while at Local Coffee + Tea, too!   The tannin content is very low, so you will find honeybush a mild, soft, and very drinkable tea.

And did I mention there is a chocolate version? Chocoholics love our Chocolate Honeybush.  Please do not expect a cup of hot chocolate, rather a delicate aroma of chocolate with a definite caramel aftertaste along with a bit of floral balance from the added rose petals.  Desert without the calories, SPECTACULAR!

Chocolate Honeybush

Some customers drink both versions of honeybush with milk.  I find a bit of local honey (from the Sarasota Farmer’s Market) brings out a natural sweetness in Organic Honeybush and when iced is very thirst quenching.  The Chocolate Honeybush seems to be more popular as a hot drink.

Cheers, the TeaLady