“What part of confidante has that poor teapot played ever since that kindly plant was introduced among us.
Why myriads of women have cried over it for sure!

Nature meant very kindly
when she made the tea plant;

and with a little thought, what a series of pictures and groups the fancy may conjure up and assemble
’round the teapot and cup.”

William Makepeace Thackeray

 

Art and Tea go together well, andwith thisin mind we are very excited about our newest tea, CreativiTea. The dictionary defines ‘Creativity’ as “theabilitytotranscendtraditionalideas,rules,patterns orthelike, tocreatemeaningfulnew ideas,forms,methods, and/or interpretations.” Deep.

And now Local Coffee + Tea transcends the traditional with CreativiTea. A caffeine-free, sugar free fruit and herbal blend created for the 2012 Sarasota Chalk Festival,the most important contemporary street painting venue in the world taking place in Sarasota starting October 28th to November 6th in Burns Square. Last year the Chalk Festival attracted the most renowned artists in the field of street painting with over 500 artists participating and approximately 200,000 guests attending the week-long event. Big.

Do not miss the scenes that will unfold on Pineapple Ave, the imagination, the skill and talent as artists create fascinating scenes before your eyes by artists from around the globe. This art form is far from traditional and will question what you think you are seeing. The few pictures included here barely capture the sense of awe and delight you get from seeing the creations for yourself. And this year hundreds of other artists will participate in “Going Vertical”, an array of artistic expressions in the form of dance, poetry, opera, acting, magic, and much more. Fun.

The Chalk Festival is a local treasure and is an obvious addition to our “Celebrating Sarasota Collection of Teas” There is no charge to attend the Sarasota Chalk Festival and the event is organized by a non-profit with a massive team of volunteers. Free.

Just like the pavement on Pineapple Ave, CreativiTea comes in a blackbag and once opened, contains a fusion of colors and ingredientsreminiscent of the many colors available to Chalk Festival artists. Sultanas, apple pieces, mango cubes, lemongrass, rose hips, rose petals, hibiscusblossoms, orange peel, carrot peel, stinging nettle leaves, sweet mulberry leaves, cornflower, mallow and marigold blossoms, safflower and finally rosebuds. Glorious.

CreativiTea will be sampled and served at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market in October, as well as at the Chalk Festival to quench thirsts and supply artists and spectators alike with energy, enrichment andinspiration. Or attend the “Going Vertical” Party on October 4th at Sarasota Architectural Salvage for a cuppa CreativiTea.

Enjoy our blend of Art and Tea and see you at the 2012 Sarasota Chalk Festival.

Cheers,

the Tea Lady

 

We are very excited to introduce the Tea Maker Cozy from Local Coffee + Tea.

If you love tea, you probably use or know of the various gravity style tea makers. Some are called Perfect Tea Makers or Magic Tea Makers, and they are wildly popular and available from nearly every tea shop. These Tea Makers all work the same way, loose leaf tea goes in the vessel with hot water, and after steeping the tea comes out the bottom. We love them and use one everyday at our Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens.

Now you can keep your Tea Maker hot as your tea steeps with our Tea Maker Cozy. The Tea Maker Cozy is available in two patterns at the moment, with many more on the way. Our Tea Maker Cozy fits both the 16oz and the 32oz Tea Makers. There is a securing flap near the bottom that comes off with ease so you can add more water for your second infusion. As we like to say, our Tea Maker Cozy will make your tea maker truly PERFECT!!!

Here are a few pictures of the Brown and Blue pattern as well as a Brown and Gold pattern. Visit our Carriagehouse Tea Room or our Tea Tent at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.

What I like best about the Tea Maker Cozy is keeping my second steep hot, or the third or the fourth. As readers of this blog know well, loose leaf tea should be steeped multiple times, Multi-Steeping or “Multi-Fusion” from an earlier post. Throw your natty tea bags away after the first cup, but not your loose leaf tea. Add more water to the pot, the flavor of quality loose leaf tea evolves the longer the leaves steep. This is one of the many joys of loose leaf, especially if you are frugal like me. Though, many tea drinkers prefer the second or third steep to the first steep, as the taste tends to be smoother.

As you may recall from my post on Tea Cozies, theproblem is the water in the tea maker cools as the first cup is enjoyed. Traditional tea cozies keep tea pots warm, but do notsnuglyfit Tea Makers. So we share the Tea Maker Cozy and solve one more tea dilemma. Enjoy!

The TeaLady

 

I found this most appropriate on Friday the 13th. This list came from Denise at Uniquely Tea, a wonderful tea related blogthat brings all of us at Local Coffee + Tea joymost every day. Also, posted in the Loose Leaf Tea Review Daily. Enjoy!!!

  1. To stir the pot counter clockwise will stir up trouble,
  2. To make tea stronger than usual indicates a new friendship,
  3. To spill a little tea while making it is a lucky omen,
  4. If the lid is accidentally left off the teapot, you may expect a stranger bringing bad news,
  5. To put milk in your tea before sugar is to cross the path of love, perhaps never to marry,
  6. Two teaspoons, accidentally placed together on the same saucer, points to a wedding or a pregnancy,
  7. If two women should pour from the same teapot, one of them will have a baby within the year,
  8. Tea spilling from the spout of the teapot while being carried indicates a secret will be revealed,
  9. Undissolved sugar in the bottom of your teacup means that there is someone sweet on you,
  10. If the tag falls off the teabag while it’s in your cup, you will lose something within a week,

Cheers,

the TeaLady

 

If you follow this blog or our posts on Facebook, you will have seen many references to the Carriagehouse Tea room, the Selby House Cafe and the many events and activities that take place at “the Gardens” andyou will have read much about the tea we love so much, Selby Select. This is where we base our tea operation, actually where our tea business was born. For those reasons alone “The Gardens” are aspecial place for all of us at Local Coffee + Tea, but I would like to share more about thislocal treasure, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Selby Gardens is the legacy of William and Marie Selby, and is dedicated to the study of epiphytes. A visit finds orchids and bromeliads presented in peak bloom in the conservatory as well as throughout the bayfront settinghanging from the trees or growing in clever nooks over 14 acres. There are many other treasures here from the majestic Banyans, the many exotic flowering trees, bonsai, koi pond, a butterfly garden, succulents and the list goes on. The serene setting offers incredible views of Sarasota Bay. Guests stroll, members return often to their favorite spots, and volunteers make it all possible offering their time, energy and passion.

Just last week we were treated to a rare bloom of the giant corpse flower, Amorphophallus titanum from Indonesia, which last bloomed 7 years ago. The massive purple bloom is reminiscent of a Dale Chihuly glass art. We are surprised often with smaller miracles blooming throughout the garden every day.

Amorphophallus titanum

Selby Gardens is an idyllic spot for weddings or other celebrations, and there are many events we look forward to throughout the year, here are a few…

  • Lights in Bloom is the annual light show held in evenings in December and ushers in the holiday season in Sarasota. A glorious tree of bromeliads is lit with a ceremony each year. The entertainment changes each evening and the experience is wonderfully festive.
  • The Garden Music Series takes place in the Spring and in October every year. There is no better place in Sarasota to enjoy music on Sunday afternoon than under the Banyans. A range of entertainers make each week unique, and many do not miss a Sunday.
  • Tropical 4th of July Celebrationis next week and offers an awesome venue to view the fireworks over Sarasota bay, along with a live band, face painting,a bounce house for the kids, and an All-American cookout put on by Local Catering, our sister company.

All of us at Local Coffee + Tea consider ourselves lucky to be able to come here everyday. The Gardens are also an appropriate home for our teas, as you will remember; Camellia sinensis is a botanical. Selby Garden feeds the soul, and we offer tea in case you get thirsty!

I invite you to visit Selby Gardens and consider a membership. Make Selby your personal garden like so many of our friends have done since 1975. If you can’t make it for a visit anytime soon, make a nice cuppa Selby Select and remember your last visit.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

 

Once again we are thrilled to release our Boat Tea to celebrate the 28th annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival. A local tradition with a long list of events starting on June 23rd and concluding with a fireworks display over Sarasota Bay on the evening of July 4th.

Local Coffee + Tea will be donating at least 20% of all revenue generated by Boat Tea to the event beneficiary, the Suncoast Charities for Children. This special charity has been serving children with special needs since 1985 and has constructed $14 Million in facilities with a combined total of 73,000 square feet. The Suncoast Charities for Children provides funding towards the maintenance of these facilities, allowing non-profit agencies to focus funds on programs and services.

Caffeine free and sugar free, Boat Tea is a fruit and herb tisane with apple, peaches, hibiscus, rosehips and elderberries. This tea makes boats go faster and safer. So, drink lots of Boat Tea!!

Each packet contains 2oz of loose leaf Boat Tea for $10 and can make more than 25 cups of tea. Boat Tea will be available from all our shops and online, as well as the Shrimp and Lobster Festival at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday, June 30th. Here is a link to the official event schedule for the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival.

Enjoy this wonderful tea and join in this awesome festival of events benefiting a wonderful charity.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

 

Celebrations get under way this week to mark the 60 years reign of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. My mum was a true Royalist and so as kids we always avidly watched and participated in everything Royal. My interest has continued and I therefore can’t help but find myself already excited to hear from family about all the planned activities in the UK, especially the street parties! I am sure we will get to see some coverage of events on TV so we too can celebrate The Queen and her amazing reign.

We are far away from all those planned events, but here at Local Coffee + Tea we are not only celebrating The Queens dedication to her country, we have created a tea in her honor, our new Tea Jubilee Green Tea. But first, a bit about my Queen.

The Queen came to the throne on 6th February 1952 on the death of her father King George at the tender age of 23! The Coronation took place on 2nd June 1953. To celebrate the Jubilee and coinciding with the Coronation date there will be a national holiday weekend in the UK. The only other monarch to achieve 60 years of reign was Queen Victoria.

The Queen's Coronation 1953

One of the most anticipated events features the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant when up to a thousand boats will muster and The Queen will lead one of the largest flotillas ever seen on the Thames in a specially constructed barge featuring a throne and huge coat of arms! A festival in London’s Battersea Park celebrates design, music, art, film, fashion and food from the past 60 years which all sounds really fun.

The Royal Barge

Must tell you about this… on 4th June there will be a Jubilee Picnic in the Palace grounds before a concert in the evening. Chef Blumenthall will tickle the taste buds of 10,000 people (wow!!) with a Diamond Jubilee Chicken (a twist on coronation chicken) AND Lapsang Souchong tea smoked salmon!!! That sounds like one that Local Catering should try! A Strawberry Crumble will follow from Strawberries grown on The Queens Sandringham Estate. I would so love to experience that picnic with a cuppa Strawberry Smile or Strawbango Black. (previous Strawbango post)

A street party in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee!

Thousands of beacons will be lit around the world to commemorate The Queens 60 year reign over the UK and the Commonwealth (which includes 54 independent member countries, 15 of which are Realms where The Queen is Head of State). Finally on 5th June a service of thanksgiving will be held at St Pauls Cathedral followed by a procession back to Buckingham Palace and an appearance on that famous balcony.

So, how do we follow that? The only way we know how is to drink lots of tea, especially our Tea Jubilee Green Tea. A ‘right royal tea’ as they would say in Yorkshire, featuring a sencha green tea, orange, almond and caramel. Tea Jubilee ices well and is very special hot, a true Diamond in our collection of teas.

Please join all of us at Local Coffee + Tea in celebrating this truly historic occasion. Raise your tea cups to Queen Elizabeth II.

A Diamond Jubilee Portrait

Cheers,

The TeaLady

 

“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 haswanedsince the invention of the tea bag whichin 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 teaand bring back the popularity oftea 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 passedthe 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, silkfabrics 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 anoldtea 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. Thuscreating the first knitted tea cozy!

During my childhood in Yorkshire, we always had a tea cozy onour pot (even though many times the teapot sat on the hearth in front of the fire). We had an assortment of different designs asmy 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 alsowipe-ablein case of spills. We have lovelyspring designs which coordinate with many different teapots and 2 sizes to fitmost teapots.

I have one that Janie made and also a knitted one that my Aunty Dinah made andwouldn’tbe without them, they are truly part and parcel of having a goodpot of tea. If you haven’t yet discovered thetea 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

 

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 the2nd 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 freeblend 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 theperfect time of year for this tisane, as one of the main flavors is Strawberry! The abundance of thisveryFlorida berry (Fragaria ananassa) is such a joy to see at the Sarasota Farmers Marketwhere 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 featurein ‘Simply Sarasota Tea’ is the flavor of Citrus limonorlemon. The lemon is world famousfor its culinaryuses and certainlyadds character to this tea.

Apple (Malus domestica)is found in many of our fruit teas butwe make no excuse as the fruitadds 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 colorfrom 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 flowerCalendula 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

 

TeaLady at Edison Ford Winter Estates

You may have seen my earlier post about the newest tea from Local Coffee + Tea, the Edison Ford Fruit Tea created to celebrate the beautiful winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford at the Edison Ford Winter Estates. Recently I had relatives visiting from Yorkshire and decided to take a day trip south to the Edison Ford Winter Estatesin Fort Myers. If you readmy blogs you know I like to share mytea experiences with you (England, Northern Michigan, South Carolina Tea Plantation)and as thisone is on my own doorstep, I just have to share. A ‘one tank trip’not to be missed!

Bougainvillea

We had a simply beautiful day, blue skies and a nice breeze blowing from the Caloosahatchee river. The grounds were spectacular with a riot of Bougainvillea, fruit trees starting to blossom and many variety of palm trees. We stood in awe of an immense banyan tree, certainly one of the largestI have ever seen, even larger than the ones at Selby Gardens.

My favorite place in the garden was an area by the swimming pool called ‘The Tearoom’ where Mrs. Mina Edison used to entertain guests. I could so imagine them all seated in this tiled area with the breeze from the river, sipping Edison Ford Fruit Tea which is a delicious blend of citrus, pineapple, mango and calendula [pot marigold petals] and is evocative of the ‘fruit teas’ often served to family and guests.
Both the Edison and Ford houses have large covered patios surrounding them where you are shaded from the sun, and the breeze from the river keeps you cool as you enjoy the furnished rooms on display. I especially enjoyed the dining area of the Edison house where there is evidence of a love of tea, a collection of teacups belonging to the family. Delightful!
In the museum there are so many wonderful pictures of the family and guests enjoying these two magnificent winter homes andsurroundings.You can really linger overthe manydisplays and presentations and we all found ourselves captivated in a journey back in time.
Our visit was a great success and if you are from thisarea of paradise, then you should visit soon. For those of you who are more than ‘one tank’ away (especially in colder climes!) and cannot visit I hope you will take the opportunity of picking up some tea online.
As always, my wish is that you willtake some time for teaand enjoyEdison Ford Fruit Tea. Let the tea take you back in time, you will not be disappointed!
Cheers,
the Tealady

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