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

cup for education

Coffee Bags Upcycled by Artist Alison Seiler

Coffee and upcycling…good for you and good for the environment. Thanks to Back Alley Chic artist and designer Alison Seiler, now it is oh, so stylish too!

“I stumbled into my business by surprise,” states Ms. Seiler, owner of Back Alley Chic.  It was her daughter's request for Costa Rican beach totes for her destination wedding guests that sparked her interest in upcycling burlap sacks. “After I made her 36 unique totes, I wanted to make more. I was hooked on burlap.”

Today Back Alley Chic offers large totes, handbags, crossbody bags, aprons, pillows and placemats. Most of her designs are based on the best use of the graphics on the burlap. “When I sort thru a new batch of coffee sacks, I'm inspired by the possibilities of what they'll turn into. I love pairing them with vibrant fabrics, giving each item I create its own personality,” shared Seiler.

By upcycling, she keeps cool coffee sacks from being tossed in the trash, reducing environmental impact, saving trash from the landfill.   She designs, cuts, and makes all the products in her South Jersey studio. The name "Back Alley Chic" is a nod to my hometown where backyard alleys were filled with treasures that were always reused and repurposed.

Seiler also donates a portion from every item sold to the ALS Association to help find a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease. Donations are made in memory of her mother who instilled her passion for sewing at the young age of 7.   When you purchase a Back Alley Chic product, you help reduce landfill waste and join Alison and her family's fight against this devastating disease.

Because burlap looks better on YOU than in a landfill.  See all the amazing products offered at


The Republic of Tea Donates Over $500,000 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Republic of Tea, leading purveyor of premium teas,  has just surpassed the $500,000 donation mark to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) with sales from its Blueberry Green Superfruit™ Tea. The Republic of Tea currently donates $1 from the sale of each full-size tin and $0.36 from the sale of each traveler’s tin directly to PCF. Earlier this month, The Republic of Tea’s donations were reported at  $531,187.47.

“The Republic of Tea is a role model for corporate stewardship,” comments  Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “One of the major reasons we treasure this relationship is The Republic of Tea’s enduring support of young, innovative scientists.”

PCF is committed to accelerating ground-breaking research in prostate cancer. The Foundation has brought about many of the recent scientific advances in prostate cancer research leading to better therapies. The funds received from The Republic of Tea allow scientists to explore treatment methods to lengthen and save lives. PCF identifies and invests in the most promising research programs—projects that other organizations may deem “high-risk,” but offer the greatest reward in terms of improved detection, enhanced quality of life, and higher survival rates.

“With one out of every seven American men diagnosed with prostate cancer, we’re honored to help further the efforts of the leading Foundation in prostate cancer research,” says Ron Rubin, Minister of Tea. “It is our goal that our Blueberry Green Tea continues to encourage men and their families to sip for change and provide hope for healthier, longer lives.”

The Republic of Tea’s gluten-free, sugar- free Blueberry Green Tea offers the experience of freshly plucked green tea and juicy, succulent blueberries - the USDA Human Nutrition Center has ranked blueberries number one in antioxidant activity. The tea, which is an ideal way to help raise awareness for the Foundation (especially during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September), is available in select specialty food retailers throughout the U.S., online at, via mail order catalog, and by calling 800.298.4TEA(832). For more information about The Republic of Tea’s partnership with PCF, please visit:


The Coffee Filter: History & Household Uses

It was more than 100 years ago, in the summer of 1908, that a German housewife named Melitta Bentz created the first paper coffee filter. She wanted to remove the bitter taste she associated with boiling loose grounds and find an alternative to the popular method of using linen to brew coffee. She thought that if she could pour boiling water over the grounds, but filter them out, the bitterness would be reduced.

The story tells of her ingenuity as she punctured holes in the bottom of a brass pot, lined it with blotting paper taken from the school books of her two sons, and thus created, in principle, the first coffee filter. The Imperial Patent Office in Berlin issued a patent to protect the invention as a utility model, and after some fine-tuning, in 1912 her now famous family started producing paper filters, and later, filter bags.

Now, more than a century later, the idea born from the vision of Melitta Bentz has morphed into a product still in use today. The company, Melitta, is now run by her grandchildren and markets coffee, filters, and machines branded with her name.

5 Great Alternative Uses for Coffee Filters:

  1. Strain wine from a bottle containing a broken cork—Put a filter over a carafe or decanter and pour the wine through the filter. The filter will trap any pieces of cork that were floating in the bottle.
  2. Chip-free fine china—Use coffee filters placed between the plates and cups when you stack your good china dishes to protect them from chips and scratches.
  3. Prevent soil from draining from flowerpots—For planting or repotting, put a coffee filter at the bottom over the drainage hole, then, add the soil. This will prevent the soil from spilling from the bottom of the pot, but permits proper water drainage.
  4. Keep your kids clean when eating ice pops—Simply slide the wooden stick of a child’s favorite ice pop through a coffee filter and you’ll have happy and sticky-free kids!
  5. Clean windows and glass—Use coffee filters as an emergency substitute for paper towels. They leave no lint or residue and can fit on your hand like a mitt.


Edible White Lace Rosettes Doilies
From SweetDejaVu

Be prepared for your guests or customers to be thoroughly impressed…and you have
Ogden, Utah’s ETSY artist SweetDejaVu to thank!

SugarVeil is a new NOVELTY within the confectionery world.  It is flexible edible lace that has endless possibilities in decorating purposes.  This doily has a creamy, melt-on-the-tongue, not-too-sweet, pleasant flavor.

Surprise your guests with a sophisticated and delicate embellishment on homemade dessert, refresh the look of your famous cookie or cupcake, hot chocolate, chocolate mousse SugarVeil Lace can be placed on top of a butter-cream (crusted or not), chocolate ganache, or poured or rolled fondant covered cake.

It can float on the surface of freshly made cup of coffee... it will melt within 2 minutes, just enough time to enjoy the look of it!

All items in this etsy store are handmade and are the result of schooling and lots of experience practicing different techniques.  According to the Etsy site, all items are edible (unless noted in the description) and are made from ingredients such as Gum Paste, Royal Icing, Chocolate Dough, Wafer Paper, Color Flow, Gelatin, Sugar itself, and other edible embellishments.


3 Coffee Cocktails To Mix Up Now—Before Summer Ends
From Fox News Magazine and the Cooking Channel’s Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark

Make the most of the last few weeks of summer with these simple and creative coffee cocktails…compiled by the folks at Fox News Magazine.

While the idea of downing a steaming mug of java during a sweltering day may sound like the worst idea, hear us out.  Since August happens to be National Coffee Month — a beloved observance for bean lovers— and it's also the perfect excuse to drink up an iced coffee with a little extra kick.

Cooking Channel television personalities and best friends Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark love entertaining guests during the steamy months, and to celebrate National Coffee Month, they’ve come up with some tasty, boozy brews to jump-start any special occasion (e.g. happy hour, the weekend, tonight). And while coffee cocktails aren’t exactly a new concept (hello Irish Coffee), now is the perfect time to shake things up with some sweet, refreshing, and downright delish chilled joe. 

“Treat coffee like a spirit,” Ward and Hardstark told us. “Coffee in a cocktail lends such wonderful complexity — especially the light smoke of the roasted beans and the slightly tannic notes — it’s a shame to water them down. In mixology, a stirred cocktail is one made from all liquor, like a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned.”

“To preserve the richness of the spirits, you wouldn’t shake these kinds of cocktails over ice. It would dilute them,” they add. “Instead, stir them with a bar spoon and strain into a glass, with or without a big ice cube. The espresso alone is so robust and flavorful … espect the espresso and it will reward you with rich flavor–and a little caffeine buzz.”

For proof you can still enjoy your coffee after 5 p.m. (generously spiked, that is), Ward and Hardstark shared three simple cocktail recipes to awaken your taste buds:

Limoncello Iced Latte
“This playful cocktail brings that sweet tartness of limoncello together with coffee, and trust us, your Sunday brunches just went next-level delicious,” they say.

  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier

  • 1 oz. Villa Massa Limoncello

  • 2 ½ oz. coffee (the ladies used Nescafé Dolce Gusto)

  • splash of cream

  • whipped cream

Preparation:  Pour limoncello and Grand Marnier into glass coffee cup or mug, over ice. Top with coffee and cream, stir well, then garnish with whipped cream.

Amaro Amore
“Amaros are Italian herbal liqueurs, rich and syrupy, bitter and sweet with deep herbaceous aromas,” they explain. “We made this stirred drink and it turned out to be a perfect balance between the snap of the rye in the whiskey and the herbal sweet notes from the amaro. The slightly bitter and chocolatey espresso marries those flavors together, cuts the sweetness, and gives it complexity. And a Luxardo cherry is like a maraschino's sophisticated older sister, so make sure you use these classy, dark red berries instead the garish red ones you see at dive bars.”
“This cocktail would be perfect for sitting in a leather club chair after dinner, talking about your guests’ world travels,” they add. “Or the latest ‘Real Housewives’ episode.”

  • 1 ½ oz. rye whiskey or bourbon

  • ¾ oz. Averna amaro

  • ½ oz. chilled espresso (the ladies used Nescafé Dolce Gusto)

  • 1 Luxardo cherry

Preparation:  Add first three ingredients to a tall glass or shaker. Add ice. Stir with a long spoon (don’t shake). Strain into a glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Orange You Glad It’s Got Tequila?
This powerful spirit from Mexico isn’t just for shots. Ward and Hardstark insist the deep, woodsy flavor of reposado tequila, in particular, is further heightened with a touch of zesty orange liqueur. However, one extra ingredient is key: “The espresso has a smokey complexity and when stirred over ice and garnished with an orange peel," they say.

  • 1 ½ oz. reposado tequila

  • ¾ oz. orange liqueur

  • ¾ oz. chilled espresso (the ladies used Nescafé Dolce Gusto)

  • 1 orange peel

Preparation:  Add all ingredients, except orange peel, in a tall glass or cocktail shaker. Add ice. Stir with a long spoon (don’t shake) for 30 seconds to a minute, and strain into an up glass. Garnish with a strip of orange peel, spiraled inside the glass.
More info: and


AriZona® Beverages Debuts Epicurean Inspired
Oak Brewed Tea

Once again, AriZona Beverages is introducing a beverage industry first.  Defining a new category, AriZona Oak Reserve will be the first tea steeped with real American Oak, to hit the market. After a family trip to Napa where the Vultaggio’s toured wineries, the owners were fascinated by the Oak barrel aging process and wondered what that same process would bring to tea.  The result: a refreshing new artisanal iced tea with the subtle complexity of a barrel-aged brew. 

AriZona Oak Reserve is 100% natural, brewed with American Oak Chips and is available in three flavors: Unsweetened, Lightly Sweetened and Lemon. Unsweetened contains zero calories per serving and connoisseurs will love its sophisticated tea notes and smooth oaky finish. Lightly Sweetened and Lemon are only 30 calories per serving and contain a harmonious combination of subtle sweetness from honey, cane sugar and pure maple sugar.

Oak Reserve stays true to theme with a one-of-a-kind oak barrel inspired bottle. Attention to detail was priority; from the wood appearance down to the wax seal and small rivets along the bottle. The line will be available first in the NY metro-area and will roll out nationally throughout the year. The suggested retail price is $1.75 - $2.00 per 20.5oz bottle.  For more information on AriZona Oak Reserve #AZOakTea or any other AriZona product, please visit