Mendo Talk

How to Make Great Iced Tuber Tonic April 02 2016

Here in California, it's starting to warm up and we're starting to think about iced drinks. I have found a way to easily have plenty of Tuber Tonic on hand for both iced and hot drinks.

Fill a large pot with a gallon and a half of water and 7 Tablespoons of Tuber Tonic, and then boil it for at least two hours (long enough to cook it down to a quart and a half of tea). If you like sweet tea, you can add 1/4C organic agave or the sweetener of your choice before you begin to boil it down. Many people like it straight.

The result is a delicious base that you can use with water (hot or cold), sparkling water or juice for a delicious iced drink or mixer. Use about 1/4 C Tuber Tonic per Cup of water.

Now you can drink your turmeric in a delicious, refreshing beverage that can easily replace sodas or caffeinated drinks. You still get a lift, but it won't keep you awake.


How To Make Tuber Tonic November 16 2015

Tuber tonic is made of roots, bark and berries! Boil it!

Place 2 Tbsp Tuber Tonic in 1 Quart water, bring it to a rolling boil. Turn your heat down and simmer for two minutes. Strain as you pour it out. It keeps well in a thermos, or can be reheated easily. You can refill the water and boil it again, another two times.

Tuber Tonic is 100% Organic Herbal Tea, made with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, elderberries and black pepper. It's delicious and good for you, especially if you boil it.


Big Changes to Mendocino Tea Company July 29 2015

Tuber-Tonic

Tuber Tonic, with all it's deliciousness (is that a word?) and it's healthy attributes, will be dominating the web site from now on. The original blend, which features turmeric, ginger, elderberry, cinnamon and black pepper will head the page.

Many more creations will be added over time. The first, Super Tuber Tonic (double turmeric for those who need it more than the other ingredients) is already there as well. I have been studying spices and herbs and creating more regularly. Some to look for in the future are: Tulsi Tuber Tonic, Uber Tuber Tonic (with Black Cumin Seed), Tuber Tonic Express (with a lovely Darjeeling added for a bit of caffeine), and Tropical Tuber Tonic (with Hibiscus, which makes a fantastic Iced Tea).

Your old favorites like Mendocino Sunrise and Mendocino Sunset, will still be on the page, but will be more in the background. We strive to keep the page easy to use when you are ordering, but will also use it for a more prominent blog, and interesting facts, articles and pages that we would like to share.

Please share your thoughts with us, we are looking forward to hearing from you!

 


Sip Tea While I Tell You A Story July 28 2015


One of the reasons that I am such a great believer in organic food and drink, and good health in general is that I wasn't always like this. Here in Mendocino in the seventies, I ran a nightclub, of sorts, called Toad Hall.

We had a wonderful time, with great music, hard drinking and too many drugs (let's be honest here), and some of us survived to tell about it to this day.

Mostly, no one cared, and it was a part of Mendocino that was not talked about with anything but disparaging tones. If you live long enough, though, people become curious and want to know what happened, so here we are.

I spoke about Mendocino in the seventies and Toad Hall last Sunday at the Kelley House Museum here in town, and I remember lots of great stories, many more than I could tell in an hour or two. I have decided that they should be shared. Here's one of my favorites:

I used to arrive at The Toad (nickname) late, and pull in directly in front of the front door, always in a hurry. In those days I drove an old pink Volvo sedan. My friend Michael's dog was in the back seat, I left my purse in the front seat, as usual, and the keys in the ignition.

It was a regular night: loud,raucous, smoky and dusty; with lots of folks drinking a bit too much for their own good. I did notice one couple having quite an argument in the middle of the evening and the wife storming out, but din't think much about it.

At about 2:30 am, after we had cleaned up a bit and shut things down, Michael went to let his dog out of the car. He came back and said, "Where did you park the car?" It was gone, aparently with the dog and my purse still in it.

I called the Fort Bragg police to report the missing car (and dog) and was told there was probably not a chance in Hell that I would see it again. I said, "Are you kidding? It's a pink Volvo...how hard could it be?" 

I went to bed, and got a call about 8:00 the following morning from the police department. They said, "We've found your car in an empty lot in town. We put the keys under the mat, your purse is still on the front seat, and we gave your dog some water."


Tuber Tonic June 05 2015

Check out the new Tuber Tonic video!


Farmers Market Blend Beginnings January 23 2015

I began making Farmers Market Blend tea many years ago when I actually went to the local Farmers Market to sell my tea. The rules there were that vendors could only sell those things that they grew. So I made a blend out of herbs and flowers that grew in my yard.

I have a great profusion of Lemon Balm and many kinds of mint growing in my yard, and I love roses, especially the fragrant ones, so that became the base of my homegrown tea. I bought a dehydrator, and dried the flowers and herbs as I picked them.

The tea was a combination of Lemon Balm, Mint, Raspberry Leaves, Blackberry Leaves, Nettle Leaves, Pineapple Sage and Stevia Leaf. I would pick those herbs that grew best according to the time of year, and dehydrated them. Then I mixed the herbs together and added whatever flowers I had.

There are lots of colorful, edible flowers beside roses that grow in profusion at different times of year. We have Roses, Calendula, Viola, Pansies, Fuchsias, Nasturtiums, Lavender and Honeysuckle to name a few.

The Herbal Infusion was always different, always delicious and always beautiful. It became quite popular. Then I realized that I was having trouble keeping up with demand, and there seemed to be no way I could make enough tea to keep for winter and early spring. So I made a blend that included not only those herbs and flowers that I could grow, but a number of ingredients that I could buy organically and knew to be especially healthy. That blend, and the healthy aspect of those ingredients will be the subject of another blog.

It's fun to think about how some of the Mendocino Tea Company's blends came into being.

The Edge of the Western World January 05 2015


We got up before dawn, made tea and rushed down to the edge of the western world to watch the moon set this morning. My husband is a real estate broker and has a listing that is thirty five acres overlooking the bluffs and the ocean, so we went there, The moon was obscured by clouds, but we caught a stunning sunrise, saw a gaggle of geese, and made two dogs ecstatically happy.

We took pictures, enjoyed our tea, and came home. Life is good.


Homemade Winter Herbal Infusions January 03 2015

We live in the Pacific Northwest, so these ideas for homegrown infusions will mostly work for our area, but they can give you ideas about what you can grow, or gather, wherever you are for the future. The best way to have delicious infusion materials available is to gather herbs and flowers that appeal to you all year long and dehydrate them, pack them in jars and store them in a dark, cool, dry place or you can reuse the black bags that our tea comes in, and just store them in a cool place.

Since it is winter now, I will concentrate on things that can be gathered and used today. Try:
Fir Needles
Lemon Balm
Blackberry Leaves
Strawberry Leaves
Candy Cap Mushrooms
Calendula Flowers
Mint or Sage

I even found some Roses, but I know it's something special and unusual this time of year. Rose Petals are always wonderful in herbal infusions, they add color and flavor.


Once you gather these things, you can make your infusions with the fresh herbs, or dehydrate them and keep them for later. If you can, I recommend that you use a dehydrator, but if not, you can try putting in the oven at the lowest setting for a short period of time spread out on a cookie sheet.

Happy Blending!


Mendocino Winters January 02 2015


The Holiday Season is over and it's really winter now. Sometimes it's dark outside all day long and our wood heat barely gets the house warm; then we have to back it up with an electric heater. We have cold winters here on the Mendocino Coast. It isn't cold in the classic way, with ice, snow and deep frosts, but it often rains and cold winds blow. Storms wipe our electricity out, and it's a good time to stay inside. I have grown fond of our winters.

When I moved here from Southern California, I had the wrong clothes and footwear for our weather, and I hated it. I never felt warm and dry unless I was in bed under lots of covers or I had just come out of the sauna.

My husband was fond of taking long mushroom walks in the woods, and while I thought they were beautiful and other worldly, I always came home soaked to the skin and cold. It wasn't until years later when I discovered how delicious they were and how to identify them that I was able to appreciate mushroom walks. By that time I had the right clothing and warm waterproof boots.

During that time, nearly fifty years ago, I discovered the true value of herbal tea. While I had always loved hot cider, I hadn't had much in the way of herbal tea. I started learning about the warming teas, especially those made with ginger, and began experimenting with them. In those days, I often added alcohol to the tea drinks. Now I find the tea to be enough.

I still take mushroom walks. Mushrooms are a staple for us in the fall and into the winter during wet years. I love finding them, it feels like an Easter Egg Hunt to me. Then I get to come home with my bounty to cook up something delectable. My friend Alison Gardner has just released a wonderful cookbook called The Wild Mushroom Cookbook, and I recommend it. She has thought of lots of things to do with mushrooms that never occurred to me. She has even invented a Candy Cap Chai that we will be adding to our tea on our website www.mendocinotea.com soon.

I encourage you to find ways to love your winters. I know it's cold and miserable outside, but it's marvelous to have time to discover the goodness inside. Winter is the time of year when we can enjoy the smallest things, like a good cup of tea, hot soup, jigsaw puzzles and board games. I hope you find your small joys now too.

Don't Diet, Start Anew December 30 2014

Yes, I put some weight on over the holidays, too, but I want you to consider that it is a First World problem, and one that we can work with without compromising our health. Dieting can often cause you to gain more weight in the long run, because your body will become convinced that it is starving, and will hang onto each calorie in a most efficient way, which will mean that when you go back to regular eating, you will put the weight that you lost back on, plus some.

Try cutting back on desserts first, just a little each day, and be mindful of every bite, so that you can really enjoy it. If you are paying attention to the fact that you are eating, you will automatically eat less. Use tea (Wuyi Oolong is good) to help boost your energy and curb your appetite. Have tea and just a nibble of something great for your break instead of a whole piece of a baked goodie. Find someone who might want to share your goodie with you. As we move toward spring, the desire for baked good and sweets will automatically fall away if you are paying attention.

Think of yourself in a loving way, and remember that you put that extra weight on to help stave off the winter cold, not because you are a bad person. Starting a New Year out by beating yourself up is probably a bad idea, so listen to your body, and whenever it wants vegetables, go for it. Buy yourself a new juicer for the New Year and juice up green vegetables and fresh fruit once a day. Be sure and use organic fruits and vegetables. Drinking a big glass of juice with chia seeds added is a great way to start your day, and will automatically curb your appetite for the rest of the day.

I have just gotten a new slow cooker, and am making soups in the morning to enjoy for dinner. It's easier to prepare healthy food in the morning and soup feels like just the right thing on a cold evening. If you have that juicer, you can add some vegetable juice to that soup to boost your vitamin content. Keep thinking about boosting your body's health by putting as many vitamins and minerals in it as you can, and you can't go wrong.

Instead of dessert, have a cup of herbal tea, with a big spoon of honey. You will satisfy your sweet tooth, and you will have put some nutrients and healthy herbs and spices in your body. You will also sleep better having had a cup of herbal tea than you will having had a rich dessert.
I write a lot of these things so I will remember them, too. Healthy feels better than anything and looks better too!

Holidaze December 16 2014

What is it about the holiday season that makes my brain shut down almost altogether? I start baking and humming Christmas carols even though I haven't eaten baked goods for months. I start craving peppermint and buying candy and cookies. I can't seem to get anything practical done. I just want to decorate, do jigsaw puzzles, sing carols, think nice thoughts and stare into the fire.

Fortunately for me, I have tea to fall back on, and I remember to satisfy some of my cravings with teas like white peppermint and chai. I'm working on a new blend of ginger, turmeric, elderberry, cinnamon, and maybe pepper that will counteract some of the ill effects of my poor eating choices. Hopefully I can get it out to you by January. Meantime, I'm trying it out on my family. They seem to like it.

I've recently been reading about the healthy effects of drinking cinnamon and honey together. I'm all for that, and I recommend that you add extra cinnamon and honey to your tea. With all the rain this year, it's dark most of the time. Bright tastes and bright scents seem to make things better during the darker times.

However this time of year affects you, I wish you the best.

Organic (Tea and Food) December 03 2014

I'm a stickler for true organic products. I refuse to use those that list "natural ingredients" and call their products "organic". In fact, I suppose I am just a teeny bit fanatical. Now you have to hear how it was in my day. We didn't have to choose between commercial and organic. It was all just food, but we did prefer growing our own, and saving our seeds so that our crops improved every year and the plants could grow stronger as they adapted to our environment.

I believe that every living thing thrives best in a natural environment, even if it is introduced from elsewhere and forced to adapt to new conditions, the plant will either adapt or die. As a gardener, I only grow those plants that will thrive without being babied. I was working with permaculture before I knew there was a word for it. My yard is a naturalist's dream, but, I digress, more on gardening later.

What has happened to this world? I buy a lot of my food at our local farmer's markets, and know most of the vendors. Few farmers can afford to have certified organic farms, but I know the people and trust them. Certification isn't the thing, trust is. What happened to trust? Truly, because marketing has become so unscrupulous and so rampant in our society, it's hard to trust anyone any more. Ok, that's the end of my rant for the day. More soon.

‘TIS THE SEASON December 01 2014

Well, the cooler weather finally rolled into the Mendocino Coast and with it some much-needed rain storms.  This time every year,  I find myself reaching for a hot cup of tea a lot more often.  Because I don’t want to get too caffeinated, I look to the herbals.  Our HERBAL CHAI is always been a favorite in our house, with its tasty blend of warming ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.  The hearty rooibos base makes for a very satisfying cup on a cold day. VANILLA ROOIBOS is my wife’s favorite. She brews it with brown sugar and this year, added some whipped cream –leftovers from making a Thanksgiving persimmon pudding.  Wow!  An instant (caffeine-free) addiction!

I also caught my first cold of the season. Sunny day so I put on a light jacket ( didn’t wear a hat) took the dog to the beach.  Well, a chilly wind  blowing from the East got me……. “You should have brought a hat,” my wife told me when I got home. Anyhow,  I turned to my two faithful remedies: CINNABERRY and GINGER-LEMON teas. Delicious and soothing on the throat! Certainly ‘tis the season for holiday cheer and warming herbal teas and….don’t forget your hat and gloves!


Festivities November 30 2014

If you are like me, you have a steady stream of friends and family traipsing thorough your house from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. While it's fun and I welcome them, it's also exhausting and almost impossible to keep my house in order.
Here are some things that I have found to be a big help:
Put all your tea or coffee making supplies in one place, including cups and spoons, so that you are preparing and cleaning up in one area.
Keep your sink and the area around it as clear as possible so that you don't feel overwhelmed.
Put things away and wipe down your bathroom sink and swish out your toilet once a day, so you don't have to deal with any kind of build-ups.
Bake when you can, if you can, or have some kind of healthy snack available to share, or make chocolates and keep them in an air-tight container for unexpected guests (recipe to follow).
If you have a hot pot or carafe, make up some CinnaBerry or Ginger Lemon tea early and you will have it readily available for yourself and any guests all day
These are things that have come to me as I clean up after Thanksgiving. I'm sure there will be more. I am one of those people who would prefer to be always creating, and never cleaning up the mess made in the process. Over the years, I've had to figure out ways to help me overcome that.
The first Thanksgiving dinner I cooked was in 1966, the first year that we came to Mendocino. It was a lot harder then, but I was only twenty one and had a lot of energy.

Making Homemade Ginger/Turmeric Ale October 16 2014

I love ginger ale, and now it's almost impossible to find anything in the store that isn't really bad for you, so here is a solution:

First you make a Ginger Bug: Fill a quart jar 3/4 full of water, then add about 1/4 Cup (or more) fresh grated ginger root, and add 1/4 Cup of organic sugar to that. Cover and leave n a safe place. Each day add 1T grated ginger and 1T sugar for three or four days, until you can see bubbles rising to the top. Once that happens, your Ginger Bug is ready to make Ginger Ale. If you don't have time to use it the very day you see bubbles, it's OK, just keep feeding it every day until you can.

To make the actual ale, put 1/2 gallon water in a pot, grate 1/3 cup (or more) fresh turmeric root into the water, and add 1/2 cup organic white sugar and 1/2 cup organic agave ( it can be all sugar if you are one of those people who don't like agave), and boil for about three to five minutes. Set this aside and allow it to cool back to room temperature.

Once your mixture is cool, add the Ginger Bug and the juice from four limes or lemons or the juice from 2 grapefruit (this is my favorite). I use whatever citrus fruit is in season or cheapest. Your drink is now ready to pour.

Pour the mixture into soda bottles that have swing tops or tight fitting screw top lids. Allow the bottles to sit at room temperature for two to four days (depending on the temperature of the room, or until they make a fizz sound when you uncap one of them (you can put the cap back on, the carbonation will rebuild. Refrigerate right away once they are fizzy. They are ready to drink once they are cold, and will keep for at least a week ( I don't know beyond that because mine always disappears by then).

Once you are used to making soda this way, you can begin to vary it. I have made it with Mendocino Grey and CinnaBerry so far, but as it gets colder, I think I will try making it with Chai or Herbal Chai as well.

 


Road Trip! October 13 2014

I'm driving to Santa Barbara with my son and a friend of his from Australia tomorrow. We will stop on the other side of San Francisco and have lunch with another friend of his who I have known for about twenty five years, since they were in High School together. We are going to spend some time with my brother, who lives on the top of a mountain above Santa Barbara.

On Saturday I'll be going to a mini-reunion in the Santa Ynez Valley, where I went to High School. For years I avoided reunions, thinking that I had nothing in common with the people with whom I attended High School. I wish I had gone to all of the reunions now. Regardless of experience, backgrounds or political affiliation, people are amazing and wonderful, and it's fun to watch them grow and change.

Enough about all that. I actually started this blog because I wanted to point out how much fun it is to travel with high quality tea. Before I go on a trip, I put enough tea for one cup into a number of open-ended tea bags. Then whenever we stop, I ask for a cup of boiling water, or ask for a cup of tea without the tea, and have fabulous tea as a treat. It's easy, fun, and takes up almost no room in your bags. I recommend it.


Tea For All Seasons October 12 2014

I used to think that there were certain seasons that I disliked, notably Winter. As I have grown older, that has changed. Now that I have become intimately engaged with each season, as each one arrives I welcome it whole heartedly. I do believe that there are five seasons, though. They run like this throughout the year: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Holiday.

There are things to love in each season, and as each one rolls around, I think, "This one is my favorite." Then as the season ends, I start to think longingly about the approach of the next one.

I have lots of friends who are no longer fond of the Holiday Season, but I still love it. I have a few teas that I drink almost exclusively over the holidays, and some that I only offer at that time because they are labor intensive and I think they taste best when the weather is very cold and we are mostly stuck inside.

I think one of the reasons I can continue to enjoy a season that has been taken over by commercialism is that I live in such a rural area it's easy for me to ignore the rest of the world and continue to carry on my own traditions. For me the holidays are all about baking, making wreaths (we live in an area where there are lots of fir trees), decorating with ornaments that have been collected over generations, wood fires, and Chai that has been simmered on the stove for awhile leaving the house smelling like...well, smelling like the Holidays.

Last year I made a new tea for the Holidays called Coastal Comment and gave it away to all my friends and family. It was such a great hit, I have to make it again, and will offer it for sale for a short time. It's made with fresh orange zest, which I mix in and it infuses the tea with a wonderful scent and taste. I haven't made it yet this year, but as the cold weather approaches, it's calling me.

 


Making Tea October 07 2014

Not to be confused with Tea Infusion Instructions, which has yet to be written here, but can be found all over the internet, this is about the joy of making tea. As with all things, making tea is a personal process.

We are led to belive that there is something complicated, even mystical, about making the perfect pot of tea. There are so many kinds of tea ceremonies. There are special pots, cups, infusers, and teas, it all seems tremendously complicated, but really, it isn't.

Experiment, experiment. Start by putting one Tablespoon of your tea, whatever kind it is, in a pot, and pour not quite boiling water over it. `In a couple of minutes (or less) pour it into your cup, straining it as you pour it out. Taste it and if it's too weak, pour it back in your pot and sttep it longer, if it's too strong, add water.

Try infusing it a second time, you will get another (sometimes better) cup of tea. Boil your water for the second infusion and steep it longer. Multiple infusions will give you many more cups per ounce of tea, and the enjoyment of the changing character of the tea.

There are meny more tips, Watch here for them.


The struggle for transformation October 06 2014 1 Comment

As you can see, we have created an all new website. It has been a long journey to get here. I love the new look, and have trouble and emotional attachments to our old look, as well.

The old logo and labels were a source of great pride for me. I have lived in Mendocino for nearly fifty years, now and for forty five of those years, I was great friends with a talented artist named John Chamberlin. 

John was a cartoonist, sign painter and musician. He painted most of the signs that graced Mendocino for about twenty years or more. He printed most of the posters that we used to advertise music and public events. So when I wanted a lebel for my new tea company in 2003, of course I went to John.

John died last year, and with him, alarge part of the old Mendocino that I loved so much, but I am now convinced that I have held on too long, and that I need to move the Mendocino Tea Company forward, so that more people can and will enjoy it, and so that I can retire.

 


Slow Living With Attitude May 01 2014

 Welcome to Mendocino Tea Company's wacky but creative blog, where I will share:

  • Great Recipes and Ideas (often using tea, but not always).
  • Unique Insights
  • Ideas for using and processing herbs and flowers
  • Conversations about gardening (because it is my passion).
  • Observations about ADHD (because I deal with it).
  • Home Remedies and discoveries.
  • Anecdotes about wild animals and pets (because they are a large part of my world).
  • Information about healing foods.
  • Encouragement and recipes for juicing fruit and vegetables (because tea isn't the only thing that can make you healthy.)

That is the list as I see it today. I make juice in the mornings often, and will share the ingredients, so that you will be making your own soon. Today the juice was Kale, Celery, Cucumber, Beet, Apple, and Coconut Water, with Chia Seeds added after the juice was made.

If you shop at farmers markets or buy your fruits and vegetables fresh, this is a great way to use up those that are beginning to wilt, or those little bits that are left over after a meal. 

Please send me comments and suggestions, I would love to get some conversations going.