Coffee and Tea Newsletter
coffee and tea festival
coffee and tea festival

cup for education

Ajiri Tea Company Expands into Coffee

Ajiri Tea Company is excited to introduce Ajiri Coffee. Known for its rich burgundy undertones, and pleasant notes of citrus and berry, this Kenyan AA is among the world’s finest. These complex and vibrant flavors work together to create a powerful cup. And at Ajiri they are working toward a powerful goal: to create employment and education for women and orphans in Kenya.

Ajiri Coffee is committed to employing women in Kenya to design and handcraft each label out of dried banana bark. 100% of the profits then go back to pay school fees for orphans. “We are thrilled to launch a new product that will employ more women and send more orphans to school,” says Kate Holby, VP of Sales and Marketing for Ajiri Tea Company. Ajiri Coffee was met with great enthusiasm and support at the recent Specialty Coffee Association of America trade show in Boston.

Known for its rich burgundy undertones and pleasant notes of citrus and berry, Kenyan coffee is among the world's finest. These complex and vibrant flavors work together to create a powerful cup. Each purchase of Ajiri Coffee, available in one-pound boxes (ground and whole bean) for $17, is directly promoting community development in Kenya. For info or to purchase, visit


Tea-riffic Ice Cream Takes Home Multiple Awards
from CSFA

The CT Specialty Food Association (CSFA) held it’s twelfth Product Awards Competition last month at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, CT. One hundred eighty-four specialty food items from Connecticut-based manufacturers were entered into 35 categories, with hopes of receiving the prestigious honor of CSFA Product Award Winner 2013.

A panel of 20 judges consisting of local media personalities, food writers, chefs from the CT Department of Agriculture’s Farm-to-Chef Program, and wine specialists scored products on overall taste/flavor, texture, aroma, and appearance/color. Each judge was assigned to specific categories, responsible for evaluating an average of approximately 30 different products.

Categories included breads, cheese, CT Grown, dessert, gluten-free, ice cream, jam, organic, pasta sauce, salad dressing, savory condiments, snack food, and many others.   “It is always amazing to see the variety of high quality foods and beverages made by producers right here in Connecticut,” said Tricia Levesque, CSFA Director. “This competition showcases the best of the best in the state. Each year we seem to find new entrepreneurs looking to showcase the outstanding products they produce. The products all lend themselves to special occasions, treats, or an everyday meal. They also make wonderful gifts. There is always something for everyone.”

“Purchasing products from Connecticut companies helps to fuel our local economy and create jobs here in our state, which is very important given today’s economy,” Ms. Levesque continued. “It really is a win-win for everyone – consumers get the best quality foods available and Connecticut companies stay strong.”

If you were able to join in the fun at the Coffee And Tea Festival NYC, held earlier this year, you saw the long lines of attendees waiting to try Tea-fiffic Ice Cream.  “Everyone was raving about the ice creams made from tea,” said Coffee and Tea Festival NYC producer Kristyn Noren.  “Everywhere I went at the show there was a buzz about this ice cream, so I’m not surprised at all to learn that they took top honors at the regional show,” added Noren.   The makers of Tea-riffic iced cream took home 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place honors in the ice cream category for their London Mist, Masala Chai, and Ginger Matcha flavors.

Consumers looking for CT specialty food products can visit and ask for them at local markets and grocers.  CSFA is a subdivision of the CT Food Association and is a non-profit organization that represents small food businesses based in the state. To learn more, visit


Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

Coffee grounds are an excellent garden helper when directly applied or used in compost. They have a 20 to 1 ratio of nitrogen to carbon, which makes them ideal for helping grow plants such as tomatoes. Here are a few ways to use them in your garden.

Add to the compost. Coffee grounds are able to speed up the decomposing process in compost. Add two teaspoons of lime for every 5 kilograms of coffee grounds. Don't use more than a quarter of the heap as coffee grounds and keep the size of the heap small.

Add grounds to plants that need a pH between 3.0 and 5.0. The addition of coffee grounds to hydrangeas is good for blue blooms. Blueberries, cranberries, and citrus fruits also like coffee added to their soil. Other coffee-loving plants include camellias, gardenias, rhododendrons, and vireyas.

When adding coffee grounds directly to your garden as a mulch and soil conditioner, add a pinch of lime. This ensures that the pH is adequately balanced.

Coffee grounds can also be used to deter pests. Slugs and snails are not fond of coffee grounds sprinkled around plants.



Hibiscus Tea

If you are ready to try hibiscus tea, you may wonder how to prepare it.

1 teaspoon (5ml) dried hibiscus flowers
1 cup (237ml) boiling water
Honey or other suitable sweetener, to taste

Put the dried hibiscus flowers into the teapot.

Pour the boiling water into the teapot, on top of the flowers.

Leave the tea to steep for 5 minutes.

Strain the tea. If your teapot does not have a filter or mesh, pour the tea through a tea strainer to catch the flowers.

Sweeten the tea with honey or any other sweetener, as wished. It is now ready for serving.



Coffee Consumption Jumps by 5%,
83% of Americans Say They Drink Coffee

In their 2013 report overall coffee consumption jumped by five percentage points this year, according to the NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) market research study. With this increase, 83% of the U.S. adult population now drinks coffee. At the same time, daily consumption remained strong and steady at 63%, while those who drink coffee at least once per week was up slightly to 75%.

Past-day coffee consumption among Hispanic-Americans again outpaced that of other Americans, further affirming data identified last year when NCA began tracking ethnic consumption. Seventy-six percent of adult Hispanic-Americans said they drank coffee yesterday, 13 percentage points ahead of the total population. By comparison, 47% of African-Americans and 64% of Caucasian-Americans said they drank coffee yesterday.

In other NCDT data, the single-cup brewing format continues to grow steadily: 13% of the U.S. population drank a coffee made in a single-cup brewer yesterday. This is up from just 4% in 2010. By contrast, past-day consumption of a coffee made in a drip coffee maker has dropped to 37% from 43% over the same period. Awareness of single-cup brewers reached 82%, up by 11 points from last year, while ownership has grown to 12% from 10% last year.

Gourmet Coffee

Consumption of gourmet coffee beverages remained strong and steady, with nearly one third (31%) of the population partaking each day. At the same time, consumption of traditional coffee was off by seven percentage points to 49% versus 56% in 2012.

Among Hispanic-Americans, past-day consumption of gourmet coffee beverages towered above that of other groups at 44% versus 30% for Caucasian-Americans and 25% among African-Americans. The differential carried through when gourmet coffee beverages were broken out into its components: for espresso-based beverages the corresponding breakout was 24% among Hispanic-Americans, 10% among Caucasian-Americans and 12% among African-Americans, while for gourmet varieties of traditional coffee, 23% among Hispanic-Americans, 20% among Caucasian-Americans and 13% among African-Americans.

Volatile Youth

Younger consumers also showed more affinity for espresso-based beverages than their elders, with 16% of those 18-39 drinking them in the past day compared with just 6% of those 60+. However, overall daily consumption of coffee by younger consumers appears to have dropped. Among those 18-24, daily overall coffee consumption fell to 41% from 50% last year, and for those 25-39 to 59% from 63%. However, the 2013 figures are more consistent with levels in earlier years, suggesting that this year's decline indicates volatility in these segments rather than softening. Conversely, overall daily consumption of coffee among those 60+ rose to 76% from 71% last year, and for those 40-59 to 69% from 65% in 2012.

Digging deeper, the 60+ group appears to favor gourmet varieties of traditional coffee, with daily consumption up to 24% from 19% last year. For those 25-39, conversely, the corresponding figures dropped to 18% from 26% last year. For non-gourmet traditional coffee, daily consumption remained essentially steady for those 60+, but fell among those 18-24, moving from 27% to 17% this year.

National Coffee Drinking Trends

NCA's National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) study has been conducted annually by NCA since 1950. It is the longest available statistical series of consumer drinking patterns in the U.S. The study engaged a nationally representative sample of 2,840 people 18 and older. Respondents are selected from an online panel with ethnic breakouts aligned proportionately with the makeup of the U.S. population. Respondents complete the survey online in English or Spanish at their choosing. Data was collected mid-January through mid-February 2013 with daily quotas to ensure a balanced mix of days of the week.

Part of the NCA Market Research Series, the NCDT is joined by additional studies with distinct foci that expand the breadth and depth of actionable market intelligence available to the industry to propel strategic planning and product development. Coffee and Ethnicity takes a deep dive into the distinctions in coffee consumption habits among U.S. ethnic groups. Reflecting the proportional makeup of the U.S. population and engaging both English and Spanish questionnaires, this study examines consumption patterns among Hispanic-Americans, further broken down by levels of acculturation and countries of origin, as well as African-Americans. The Single-Serve Format: Evolving Perceptions, Continued Growth takes a deep dive into trends, behaviors and attitudes surrounding consumer adoption of the single-cup format.

The National Coffee Association of U.S.A, Inc. (NCA), established in 1911, is the leading trade organization for the coffee industry in the United States. NCA is the only trade association that serves all segments of the U.S. coffee industry, including traditional and specialty companies. A majority of NCA membership, which accounts for over 90% of U.S. coffee commerce, is comprised of small and mid-sized companies and includes growers, roasters, retailers, importer/exporters, wholesaler/suppliers and allied industry businesses. NCA offers a wide array of services, focusing on market and scientific research, domestic and international government relations, issues management and public relations, and education. The NCA's core purpose is to champion the well-being of the U.S. coffee industry within the context of the world coffee community. Visit for additional information about NCA and the world of coffee.


Tea Apprentice Certification Course™

The Canadian Tea Masters Association and the American Tea Masters Association recently announced a new training platform for novice tea drinkers, the Tea Apprentice Certification Course™.  It is an intense, experiential program of learning containing all of the educational requirements an individual needs for achieving the Certified Tea Apprentice™ designation.  The course is open to 10 registrants and consists of two parts:

Part 1:  3-day – Comprehensive Tea Apprentice Course™
Consists of 3-days of in-person, on-site instruction by a Certified Tea Master at a training location. The first training will be held in Montreal, Canada, at the Hotel Sheraton Laval from July 5th - 7th.  During this part of the training, registrants will be totally immersed in unique and intense sessions involving accelerated learning and training, along with real-life practice sessions preparing and serving many different teas. Other dates and locations will be announced shortly.

This is a great way for novice tea drinkers to get started serving as a tea apprentice. Registrants will receive the core skills, structures, taste-testing protocols, philosophy, and first-hand experience, all at one time.

Part 2:  Apprentice Internship at a Tea Establishment
This part of the training begins a week after the conclusion of the 3-day – Comprehensive Tea Apprentice Course. It is focused on integrating and expanding what was learned during the first part. Registrants will be working as an intern at a tea establishment of their choice for a cumulative total of 24-hours.

The Internship involves hands-on experience in an established tea environment in the registrant's home area. This portion of the training assures expanding one's practice in a supportive learning environment in the real tea world allowing skills to build and knowledge of tea to expand.

Upon completion, the Association will follow up with the manager of the establishment to obtain feedback on the registrant's experience and knowledge of tea, their acquired skill-set, professionalism, attitude, customer service skills, and more.

The Tea Apprentice Certification Course is designed for and will benefit restaurant, hotel, and tea business owners and managers, tea aficionados, industry suppliers, and others who wish to incorporate tea apprentice skills into their daily lives or current profession.

Enter the tea apprenticeship world following the first 3-days of training with all the tools, confidence and support needed. The program has been designed to make sure that one's experience as a new tea apprentice is filled with all the information, knowledge, and support needed to start an internship.

Once the internship is completed and all requirements are met, graduates will be honored with the Certified Tea Apprentice™ designation and a Certificate of Completion.

Tuition for the complete program is US$995. To register, visit


Click here to see photos of the SOLD OUT 2013 show!

Click here to request info about the 2014 show.