Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's tea time for fans of Jerry Garcia


From Mercury News:

It's tea time for fans of Jerry Garcia
JOHN ROGERS
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - As leader of the band that helped give birth to psychedelic music, Jerry Garcia's name was often associated with fans of leafy herbal substances.

Now the legendary Grateful Dead guitarist has five such herbal blends named after him and, even better, these are legal.

The first batch of J. Garcia Artisan Teas are expected to make their debut at premium tea shops and gourmet food stores next week, said Marideth Post, spokeswoman for The Republic of Tea. The blends, licensed by the estate of Garcia, who died in 1995, are already available through the Novato, Calif., company's Web site.

Post said a portion of the profits are being given to DrawBridge, a charity that provides art supplies for children in homeless shelters.

"I think Jerry would be very pleased by this," said Dennis McNally, Garcia's longtime friend and Grateful Dead biographer.

Although best known for his music, Garcia was also a well respected abstract artist who created hundreds of works in watercolor, pencil, ink and other forms. One of his illustrations adorns each tin of tea.

The teas are named with a bit of whimsy that pays tribute to the artist. "Morning Brew," for example, takes its name from "Morning Dew" a song the Grateful Dead often performed. "Shady Grown," a blend of Brazilian and South African teas, is derived from "Shady Grove" a bluegrass album Garcia recorded.

Then there is "Magic Herb Blend," a tea that pays tribute to a band that during its early years was known to perform while under the influence of magic herbs.

"We had a little bit of fun with 'Magic Herb Tea,'" Post said with a laugh.

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