Archive for February, 2011

 

Tis the season of Love which brings to mind Diamonds, Chocolates and Roses for most people?

Well, I can guarantee one thing there will be no diamonds in my house for valentines. My husband would be quick to tell you that he does not need one special day in the year to reinforce his love for me – his excuse not to buy diamonds? There may be a chance of chocolates or flowers but it is more likely to be something simple, like sitting down together for a pot of tea.

Bet you didnt know Yorkshire men were so romantic! But I confess this is a man who knows the way to my heart for sure.

I cannot think of a nicer way to celebrate our love than the process of taking tea together. Like most people these days we have conflicting schedules and taking time to sit together, slow down and enjoy a spot of tea is a very special gift.

White Mischief

What will we drink? My husband loves White tea, so perhaps we will start our celebration with a little White Mischief. Mischievous by name and by nature, this tea will represent our diamonds! If you have ever smelled guava, you know the skin has a chocolate-like aroma so when you put the tea in a warm pot the smell is tantalizing. Use water that is not quite boiling, and infuse for 2 minutes only, but make more infusions from the same tea infusing for 4 minutes, 6 minutes, etc. until no flavor is left. Not only is the taste fantastic but such good value too!

Next, we will drink Chocolate Honeybush and this will represent Chocolates in our Valentine celebration! Honeybush is one of our favorite herbal teas and this tea is full of romance with hints of chocolate, roses and a good dose of caramel. Delightfully indulgent the chocolate and caramel blend so well with Organic Honeybush for a delicate flavor and without the calories. Drink away without having to worry, yummy.

Chocolate Honeybush

For our finale, we will drink some Sweet Sin Rooibos and this will represent our Roses! You may have read in a previous blog what an impact Rooibos now has on my life but it is also a tea we drink together throughout the year, so is perfect for our celebration of love.

Sweet Sin Rooibos

A simple, yet stunning blend of rooibos, roses, vanilla and dried raspberries this tea blooms with a perky fruitiness, is not too sweet yet has a soft and romantic finish.

And the morale of my tale? You really dont need to have diamonds, chocolates or flowers to show your love for each other. Give each other the gift of time enjoying tea together. May you continue to celebrate your love throughout the year, and as I often say, TAKE TIME FOR TEA.

Cheers, the TeaLady

 

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 Farmers 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

 

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 babys 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 Coffee + Tea we have a wonderful collection of 9 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 Red Hat with pomegranate and cranberry, Van Wezel with black and red currants (see post), Lemon Sunset with lemongrass and lemon peel, Bertha Palmer with licorice, peppermint, verbena and fennel(see post here and here), Patriot Tea with elderberries and lavender (see post), Mables Rose with cherry and rose and finally an un-oxidized version Organic Green Rooibos. 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 havent discovered Rooibos already then I hope you do so soon.

Cheers,

the TeaLady

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