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Health & Fitness How did Tea come about?
Loose Leaves featured at Fall Tea for North Grey Women's Institute Oct 25, 2008
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Interesting Holiday Teas
What makes a country girl from Tara decide to open a little shop filled with teas from around the world? "To me," says Loose Leaves' owner Joleen Nickel, "tea is one of those things from a bygone era that you can actually sit down, relax and enjoy." You might say I had an epiphany while in Spain," laughs Nickel. "I saw people who lived an entirely different lifestyle. They aren't in a hurry, they sit outside and watch people and the world go by. It was then I decided to make a change in my own life." That change was to return to Southampton and open Loose Leaves & Skin Care where, today, tea lovers can obtain teas from around the world.
For those who are only familiar with the regular English and Oriental green teas, Nickel offers a tea tasting experience each week. "There is a huge difference between loose leaves and a tea bag," explains Nickel, "and all my teas come with an explanation of how to prepare them and what benefits they have.
After considerable research, I knew that I wanted to offer teas that were rare in the area. I have black teas, green teas and white and green blends." From the mountains of Africa, there is rooibos (roy-bus) naturally decaffeinated red bush tea and from Japan is the Matcha powder.
"This has become so incredibly popular in the cities," says
Nickel, "that people are mixing it in smoothies. It has a natural
caffeine, unlike coffees, so that energy levels don't fluctuate. It's an
energy tea and, from all the materials written and that I've read, it's
been shown that teas have extensive anti-oxidant properties." "I also
can't believe the young people who are turning to tea as the drink of
choice," says Nickel. "We even have teenagers come in and request very
different teas and who are willing to try teas from other parts of the
In addition to hundreds of teas, Loose Leaves also carries a wide assortment of skin care lines. "People don't realize that we have some of the most incredible soaps and creams made right here in the area and the Province," points out Nickel. From Boathouse Soap Works in Port Elgin, she carries handmade soaps and skin care items, such as soap petals and travel soap in a tin. "One of the best lines I've seen for new mothers is the Glow Store line of herbal bath products and creams," Nickel adds. "I'm also excited that I have been able to acquire Bean's Home Stock hand soaps and lotions and dish soap.
This is a line that Nicole Kidman has endorsed and that is used in gift baskets to the stars." According to Nickel, "Part of making a life change is to realize that we, especially as women, are all connected. In trying to maintain that connection, one of the products that we carry is African tea bag art made by women in African villages. All the money goes to those women to improve education and health and their communities as a whole.
Part of the philosophy of Loose Leaves is to help empower women." Joleen's hint for the day - "Never pour boiling water on green tea leaves. It results in a very bitter tasting tea!"