Coffee and Tea Newsletter
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coffee and tea festival

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2012-13 Regional Barista Competition Hosts Announced
New Jersey Coffee And Tea Festival to host
North East Regional

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the world's coffee authority and largest coffee trade association (, searches for the best, most skilled baristas from across the country at its 2012-13 annual Regional Barista Competitions. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is the governing body of the United States Barista Championship – the Licensed National Body for WCE (World Coffee Events).

SCAA's United States Barista Championship and Regional Competitions, through their focus on excellence, encourage and recognize professional achievement in the art and skill of espresso beverage preparation and service. At the Regional Competitions, baristas dazzle four sensory judges, two technical judges and one head judge as they prepare to serve four espressos, four cappuccinos and four signature beverages during a 15-minute race against the clock. A signature beverage is a highly innovative, freestyle espresso-based beverage created by the barista for the competition. For more information visit

Four of the five 2012-13 Regional Barista Competition Regional Hosts have been officially announced. In order to provide competitors, attendees and sponsors a greater opportunity to prepare and participate in SCAA’s Regional Barista Competitions, an earlier schedule has been planned for the 2012-2013 program with the North East Regional being held in early November and subsequent Regionals following shortly after. Exact dates for all 5 competitions will be announced in the coming weeks by the competition organizers.

The Hosts of the 2012-13 Regionals are as follows:
NERBC: November 2-4, 2012. Hosted by Dallis Bros.Coffee. To be held at the Coffee and Tea Festival in Atlantic City, NJ.
SERBC: Hosted by Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters in Atlanta, GA
NWRBC: Hosted by Dillanos Coffee Roasters, WA.
SWRBC: Hosted by Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, CA.

For more information visit

REAL SIMPLE Picks Best Iced Teas—Summer 2012

Whether you like your brew crisp and thirst-quenching or sweet and silky, one of these iced tea winners—chosen by Real Simple magazine from 74 contenders—will suit you to a tea.

Best Lightly Sweetened: Tazo Organic Iced Black Tea
Brisk, flavorful, and satisfying, this crowd-pleaser comes from—surprise!—the java aficionados at Starbucks (which also owns Tazo).

Best “Sweet”:  Sweet Leaf Organic Sweet Tea
This iconic southern take on tea is strong and sugary but never cloying. Happily, you don’t need to be below the Mason-Dixon Line to enjoy it: Just head to the grocery store.

Best Unsweetened:  Tejava Unsweetened Black Tea
Unsweetened teas can be harsh and tannic. But not this soft, smoky favorite made with hand-picked leaves from Indonesia.

Best Lemon:  Pure Leaf Iced Tea With Lemon
Like your tea with a little pucker? Give this icy refresher a try. Fresh and tangy, it stops just this side of tart, thanks to a welcome dash of sugar.

Best Peach: Snapple Peach Tea
Lush, juicy fruit flavor elevates this black- and green tea blend far above the syrupy, candy-like competition. Make it your new convenience-store go-to.

Best Green:  Honest Tea Classic Green Tea
Sure, it’s healthy—courtesy of all those antioxidants. But it’s also delicious: Think vibrant notes of green apple and mango.

For great tips, recipes, and more, visit  Subscribe today for $1.69 an issue. Click here for details. 

Brownie Brittle
Rich Brownie Taste with a Cookie Crunch

It was in 1992 that chef Sheila G. Mains, better known in the food business as Sheila G, took a treasured family recipe for fudge brownies and baked her way into a thriving business. You may even have tasted one of her rich, dense squares of heaven at some of our nation’s finest restaurants andthemeparks. So, where exactly did the inspiration for her scrumptious new snack brownie brittle come from?

Like many brownie aficionados, Sheila is particularly fond of the crispy edges. In fact, on many afternoons she would walk through the bakery gathering the brittle batter off the sides of the sheet pans as the brownies cooled in their racks. It had that same rich chocolate taste as the fudgy brownies, but with an amazing crunch. That started her wondering about how could she create a whole pan of crunchy edges?  Well, lucky for all of us, she figured it out!

When we received some samples here at the newsletter, the “test kitchen” began to swarm with staff chocoholics who quickly exclaimed delight in these deliciously crunch sweet treats.  And we are not alone in our love for Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle.  These flavorful crunchy delights have been favorably reviewed in newspapers and magazines across the country.  Brownie Brittle was also the National Confectioner’s Association’s 2012 “Most Innovative Products” award finalist, and winner of the Best Cookie Award at the 2011 Festival of Chocolate.

Brownie Brittle is all-natural, kosher, and a dream for those with worrisome peanut-allergies.  Also important to note:  an entire stack of Sheila G’s famous Brownie Brittle is 120 calories and 3 grams of fat—just about the same as a brownie square.  Now you can have your chocolate indulgence without all of the guilt.

And what’s better than a helping of Sheila G’s famous Original Brownie Brittle? A heaping, 1-pound mountain of that chocolate goodness—now flying off the shelves at all BJ’s locations nationwide and Costco locations in Texas!

“We’re thrilled to have our new 1-pound bag launch in so many club stores,” said Sheila G. Mains, CEO of Sheila G Brands and creator of Brownie Brittle. “We understand our product is breaking sales records in some stores and the reorders are coming in like crazy.  Even our Facebook fans are posting photos of themselves holding our new sized bag.  We just love this!” 

Perfect for dinner party desserts, weekend trips, beach days, or a quiet night at home with a cup of coffee or tea, Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle comes in three amazing varieties—we know because we tried them ALL—the best-selling Chocolate Chip, Traditional Walnut, and Toffee Crunch.

Sheila G’s Original Brownie Brittle launched on store shelves in April of 2011 and is now available in over 5,000 stores in the US, Canada, and Caribbean.  For more info or to order online at

Food Network Celebrity Chefs Join
Coffee And Tea Festival for Breakfast

Last month, some of the confirmed exhibitors for the upcoming Coffee and Tea Festival Atlantic City (November 3-4) gathered together to have breakfast with two celebrity chefs from the Food Network—Robert Irvine (Dinner:  Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, Restaurant:  Impossible) and Anne Burrell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Worst Cooks in America, Chef Wanted).

The producers of the Coffee and Tea Festival Atlantic City played host to Your Morning Cup, a special program which was one of the many star-studded events of the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival.

Featured exhibitors included:  New York Gourmet Coffee, Tavalon, Iconnell Spa, Dallis Bros. Coffee, TSalon, Hancha Tea, Tea Classics, Unique Coffee Roasters, Honest Tea, and Capital Teas.  Come see these and many others at the Coffee And Tea Festival Atlantic City, November 3-4 at Ballys Atlantic City.  Tickets on sale now.

North American Tea Championship:  Winners Announced

The North American Tea Championship (NATC) named 17 first-place winners in various categories during its Hot Tea evaluation for spring 2012, held July 30- Aug. 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the headquarters of World Tea Media, organizer of the event. The Championship is the only independent competition, judged by professional cuppers, to distinguish the highest quality and best tasting teas that are commercially available in the North American marketplace.

NATC Cupping Coordinator Mo Sardella, of The G.S. Haly Company, said, "The NATC Hot Tea competition for spring 2012 was a tremendous success, and continued the momentum of previous competitions. As the tea industry continues to grow and evolve, so does the quality and diversity of the teas that find their way to the NATC judges' table."

More than 200 teas were entered into the competition, and a team of experienced tea professionals methodically cupped each tea. Judges evaluated every submission via blind and organoleptic analysis, including leaf appearance, flavor, body, color, aroma, clarity, mouth feel and balance. An overall numerical value on a 100-point scale was then calculated based on the ratings of each characteristic, and winning teas were determined by rank. The North American Tea Championship Hot Tea Class is evaluated twice a year,  July for spring teas and February for fall teas.

"Unlike any other sector in the food and beverage industry, specialty tea offers the greatest diversity in origin, manufacturing styles, tradition and innovation," noted Sardella. "Furthermore, teas and herbs are some of the most subjectively appreciated beverages in the world. As the specialty tea industry continues to grow, it is more vital than ever for NATC to be known as the central source for quality tea evaluation and classification in North America."

NATC's Hot Tea spring 2012 harvest evaluation winners include (company, tea and category):

Chado-En DBA The Taste of Tea, Sakura Karigane Organic - Blended Green Tea

Teasource, Jasmine Silver Needle - Blended White Tea

Qtrade Teas & Herbs, Ceylon Orange Pekoe - Ceylon

Florapharm Tea USA LP, Organic Darjeeling "Jungpana" Wonder Muscatel - Darjeeling

International Tea Importers, Organic Pu-erh Tea - Dark Puer

Black Tusk Trading Co. Ltd, West Lake Dragonwell (Pre Qing Ming) - Dragonwell

Florapharm Tea USA LP, "Summer Passion" - Flavored Fruit Blends

Tea & Beyond Llc Dba Teagschwendner, Asian Pear - Flavored Green Tea

Dethlefsen & Balk Inc., Sunny Herbs No. 22948 - Flavored Herbal Blends

Qtrade Teas & Herbs, Bollywood Mango - Flavored White Tea

Silk Road Teas, Jinggu Grade One Mao Cha - Green Puer

Sipping Streams Tea Company, Imperial Matcha - Matcha

Osulloc, Osulloc Illohyang - Pan-Fired Green Tea

World of Tea - Le monde du thé Sencha, Maroyaka - Sencha

Qtrade Teas & Herbs, Verdant Summer - Steamed Green Tea

Marketspice, Six-Herb - Unflavored Herbal Blends

Teas Etc, Bai Mu Dan Superior Organic - White Tea

Notable Improvements & Surprises:  "In past NATC evaluations, the Puer category rarely exceeded judges' expectations of quality and variation as the category should reflect," shared Sardella. However, he noted that this year's offerings showed an eclectic range of puer, representing all sub-categories of the type—green and dark, loose leaf and compressed. "It seems evident that the increased demand for puer teas in the West has sparked demand for increased variety and enhanced quality out of Yunnan, China," he said.

"This year's Darjeeling entrants also showcased the ever-widening spectrum of creative, non-traditional outturns available to consumers," added Sardella. "And this year's White Tea category was by far the most surprising of the competition. Similar to Darjeeling with regard to boundary-pushing leaf styles, flavors and textures, the White Tea category represented the greatest diversity of manufacturing origins, including China, India, Sri Lanka, Hawaii, Malawi and Nepal. Also noteworthy, the Matcha tea category showed an overall improvement this year, as notably fresher and higher quality ceremonial-grade teas were represented this year than in years before."

According to Sardella, a topic discussed by judges at this evaluation—as well as at other NATC competitions—is the balance of tradition and innovation within specialty tea. "More non-traditional tea types and origins are being entered into once traditional categories, challenging the judges to further define tea types," he said. "Judges' interpretations of leaf appearance, flavor and mouth-feel, stirred up healthy discussion about the importance of creating a venue for both tradition and innovation for North American tea consumers. While this topic may be controversial to some, the NATC judges look forward to these discussions as they're much-needed in the tea industry, to understand and appreciate quality for what it is rather than what it is expected to be. Thus, the NATC remains a place where traditional tea standards and innovative non-traditional tea concepts can be judged through a common methodology—all in the pursuit of quality, balance and uniqueness."

A complete list of first, second and third-place winners, as well as details on the Championship, is available at The next North American Tea Championship takes place November 2012.

ET African Journeys and CoffeeTalk Magazine Partner
To Offer Ethiopia & The Birth of Coffee

Ethiopia is renowned as the birthplace of coffee.  More than fifteen million Ethiopian households are dependent on coffee for income. There are more than 1.2 million coffee farmers in the country, with 92% of the coffee produced by small-scale farmers. Ethiopians have cultivated coffee for more than 2,000 years with nearly 3,000 different coffee varieties. Ethiopian coffees are unforgettable, and a favorite among coffee connoisseurs. This dynamic destination will introduce travelers to the remarkable and colorful tribal communities in southern Ethiopia and numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites in the north that can boast 17 centuries of Christian tradition.

ET African Journeys, a provider of original African tours and safaris, and CoffeeTalk magazine will offer Ethiopia & The Birth of Coffee, an 11-night trip exploring Ethiopia’s historic coffee farms, markets and other sites cultivating, growing, processing and distributing the internationally popular beverage.  Coffee-loving travelers will learn about the origins of coffee with private tours of cooperative farms in Ethiopia’s Sidama and Yirgacheffe regions during harvesting season, while special seating at the Ethiopian Coffee Commodity Exchange gives travelers an insider’s understanding of the coffee trade.  Travelers will also visit the colorful Key Afer market and four Ethiopian tribal villages and see how coffee growth affects life in the region. Visits to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the cities of Gondar, Lalibela and Addis Ababba; and cruises on Lake Chamo and Lake Tana will give sightseers on the tour a sense of other aspects of Ethiopian culture, history, commerce, wildlife and religion.

Ethiopia & The Birth of Coffee departs on Friday, November 30th and is available for $6,399 per person based on double occupancy.  The tour package includes round-trip flight to Ethiopia, all four internal Ethiopian flights, two cruises, 11-night hotel stay, 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 12 dinners and more. To view the full itinerary or book a tour, please visit or call 800-662-5406.

Exhibitor kits now available! Click here to request info.