coffee and tea December 2008
coffee and tea festival
coffee and tea festival

Whodunit Fun For Tea LoversI-Tea Wands

Used Tea Bags Lift Women From Poverty

Frostea Treats for Adults

No Ordinary Bag Lady

Groovy Goods

2008 Coffee Of The Year Winner

coffee and tea festival

ito en




fresh cup mag

tay tea

cup for education

bad ass coffee


local wine events


chopsticks ny

92 y

- Year In Review -


Each year we sample many coffees and teas from around the world in our newsletter “test kitchen”.  When we first had the idea to select the best coffees and teas for the year-end issue of the newsletter, we never imagined it would be so difficult.    Sampling and debating, we finally narrowed it down.  The noteworthy coffees and teas that didn’t make this short list will be represented in upcoming newsletter articles so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

groovy mind

XXX from The Groovy Mind

Organic.  Fair Trade.  Shade Grown.  Dark Roast.  An uncommonly complex, rich and spicy Indonesian blend with an emphasis on Ethiopia Yirgacheffe’s smooth mellow, slightly floral flavor and the dark chocolate essence of East Timor. This rich bodied coffee has a sweet citrus fragrance with a soft medium acidity.


serendipteaBolivian Organic Black Tea from SerendipiTea

Hailing from pristine family-owned gardens on the high slopes of the Yungas just hours north of La Paz, where the Andes meet the Amazon basin, this tea is certain to gather momentum & garner fans far & wide.  What a special treat it when we were invited in the early Spring to sample this outstanding tea with SerendipiTea’s owner , Linda Villano.  This makes our list not just for the a-m-a-z-i-n-g tea, but for the experience of sharing tea with friends as well.

cafe la paz

Café La Paz

Hailing from the Chiapas region of Mexico is an instant and delicious version of the traditional café de olla called Café La Paz. Easy to prepare and a delight to the senses, if you can boil water you will find delight in this decadent instant beverage. While some may shy away from this because it is an instant coffee, they will quickly become a fan with the first sip of this satisfying, 100% natural, innovative coffee blended with brown sugar cane and cinnamon.

Lychee White from Choice Organic Teas

lycheeThis delicate Fair Trade and Organic white tea is harvested in the lush foothills of South India and delivers an aromatic blend of lychee fruit and osmanthus flowers for just a hint of sweetness. This satisfying tea really comes alive as the delicate leaves unfurl in the fully biodegradable pyramid bag to render a light and delicious treat.

omomaEuropean Dark Roast, El Salvador, from Omoma Coffee

El Salvador offers the three key ingredients necessary for making, what many would call, the best cup of coffee in the world: high altitude, rich volcanic soil, and a climate that is the perfect combination of rain and sun. For more than 50 years, Omoma Coffee, a company rich in family tradition and excellence in coffee production, has enjoyed well-deserved recognition for their superior coffee.  The world famous Pacamara (strictly high grown) bean, which is the staple crop of Omoma Coffee, is known internationally for its bold yet well-balanced flavor.

impImperial Gold from Harrisons & Crosfield

Classic English tea merchants Harrisons & Crosfield offer this black tea that has been hand plucked from tea bushes in India and Africa.  It is skillfully selected and blended to exacting British quality standards by Harrisons & Crosfields’s London tea buyers. Their artistry and craftsmanship are evident in every cup of this superb tea. This traditional English tea has a hearty and robust tea flavor that will be appreciated by anyone that loves traditional British tea.


kenyanKenyan Peaberry Wango Estate from Caranda

This premium Kenyan Peaberry comes from the Wango Estate.  Under normal conditions, a coffee tree will produce cherries with two seeds, which will be processed to become the coffee beans we all know and love.  But sometimes, the cherries will produce only one bean, known as a peaberry. The peaberry, which is slightly smaller than the normal coffee bean, is packed with more concentrated flavor. It is no wonder that this coffee made the list.

tay teaBetter Than Sex from Tay Tea

The most sought-after tea at the 2008 Coffee And Tea Festival NYC, this Rooibos tea blended with organic farm-grown peppermint, marigold petals, and bits of Belgian dark chocolate was created by artisanal tea blender Nini Ordoubadi of Tay Tea. Totally satisfying and uniquely delicious, the taste of this tea is almost mystical, some might say magical.


Kohana Blend from Kohana Coffee

Delicate and mild, this smooth and delicious coffee is, no wonder, the company’s signature and best-selling coffee.  It combines light, medium and dark roasted beans (including their special dark Hawaii Select) to create this award-winning coffee that won over our palates. The slow roasting philosophy of Kohana captures each bean’s unique flavor to combine into pure satisfaction with every sip.

Organic White Peony from Andao Tea

Bai Mudan or White Peony as it is referred to in English, is one of China’s classic white teas, and this one from Andao really delivers.  This tea’s pale blonde infusion reveals sweet, almond like tones with no signs of astringency or bitterness. Andao’s White Peony tea is low in caffeine and 100% organic.


Top Stories of 2008
A Recap of the Most Read Articles of the Year

(just in case you missed one…)


- Cup o’ Joe for a Soldier -
Americans Rally to
Show Support

“No one should have to drink bad coffee; especially our soldiers.” That’s what the people at the Bad Ass Coffee Company were thinking when they launched their “Buy a Cup O’ Joe for a Soldier” program in early 2007. The Bad Ass Coffee Company has been matching up soldiers with willing donors from all around the world and have, to date, sent over 5,000 pounds of coffee to American servicemen and servicewomen stationed overseas.

cupojoe“Sometimes when the soldiers sit and have a cup of coffee it is the only reprieve they get,” said Connie Alexakos, VP Marketing at Bad Ass Coffee. “The response to the soldier program has been overwhelming. People have been so generous and the soldiers so appreciative,” she added.

The wonderful folks at the Bad Ass Coffee Company have made the donation process quick and easy. For just a few minutes of your time and a few dollars from your pocket, you’ll bring some joy to a soldier who has given so much for America’s freedom.

Here’s how it works. Everyday, US soldiers stationed around the world visit the Bad Ass Coffee Company website and request a 1 lb. bag of coffee. To satisfy these requests, donors go to the site and purchase a 1 lb. bag of Hawaiian Blend Coffee for $11.95. The coffee is then sent to the soldier at their base overseas—Bad Ass Coffee Company pays for shipping. At the time of purchase, a donor may elect to have their contact information passed on to their soldier or they may wish to remain anonymous—the choice is theirs. Many donors do hear back from the soldiers via email and find it very gratifying.

To become a donor or to learn more about this amazing program, visit or click on the banner below.


- ZEN™ And the Art of the -
Sophisticated Cocktail

As cultural influences from Asia continue to influence Western palates and the cocktail culture expands to include exotic herbs and interesting new flavors, a zendistinctive, new spirit is making its mark. ZEN™ Green Tea Liqueur, a unique blend of the finest Japanese green tea leaves, premium herbs and natural flavors is the first super-premium green tea liqueur ever introduced in America.

The fresh and original taste of ZEN Green Tea Liqueur, which is primarily derived from the ceremonial Japanese Green Tea, results from the use of the finest ingredients available. The perfection of the final product is the result of time-honored Japanese traditions of quality and craftsmanship combined with a modern sense of elegance and style.

ZEN is primed to meet the growing demand of today’s sophisticated cocktail culture –consumers who have enjoyed a few cosmos or apple martinis but are searching for the next cool cocktail concoction. ZEN draws you in with its distinctive green color, unique flavor and pleasing aroma that stands up well chilled straight, on the rocks, or mixed. With an alcohol content of 20 percent, ZEN Green Tea Liqueur is light and refreshing. Some of New York City’s top bartenders have developed ZEN cocktail recipes, included among them: the ZENtini (a twist on the martini) and the ZENito (a twist on the mojito).

ZEN uses carefully selected Kyoto green tea leaves of the highest grade grown by one of the most famous producers of fine teas in Japan, Marukyu-Koyama-En, which has been cultivating tea for more than 300 years. Infusing neutral spirits with whole and ground green tea leaves, ZEN is then blended with lemongrass and other herbs and natural flavors according to a propriety recipe to achieve its unique flavor.

The introduction of ZEN marks the creation of a new spirits category in the U.S. “Green tea is one of the fastest-growing drinks in America today,” said Shin Adachi, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Suntory International Corp. In recent years, green tea has crossed over from “Asian specialty” to the mainstream, with green tea products from soft drinks and ice cream to chewing gum. Suntory has already been marketing several green tea liqueurs in Japan, but developed ZEN especially for the U.S. market and tailored it to suit the American palate.

ZEN is stylishly packaged in a tall, elegant 750ml bottles priced at around $29.99. For more information and more great recipes visit:


-Recycled Coffee Bags -
Saving the Planet With Style

Peter Grimm Headwear is one of the fastest growing headwear companies in the country. Maybe you’ve seen the impressive designs adorn the heads of celebrities like Eva Longoria or Bono.

Now, Peter Grimm Headwear has gone eco-friendly with the launch of the new Green Grimm line featuring four Drifters (Cowboy Hats) and two Fedoras. The hats are created using coffee bean bags from the local coffee brew masters.

- Who Killed the Darling Duke -
of Darjeeling?

Whodunit Fun For Tea Lovers

Maxine's Mystery Tea Party creations provide everything you need to host a murder mystery party for your family and friends. In this tea party game everyone has a role to play, a unique identity, and a script—but only one of the participants is guilty!

Designed to accommodate 8 guests, a humorous script, with costume suggestions, is sent along with the invitation to each guest (it is not necessary to memorize the script). Fancy Frou Frou, Devon Shire, and Earlene Grey are joined with Lady Tipton, CEO of the Tipton Tea Co., Rose T. Cups, Paris Hall, and Lacy Frills. Each tells of their relationship with the dastardly Duke and their motive for doing him in. But of course, each one pleads their innocence. At the end of the party, a vote is taken to determine who had the most convincing motive. They then receive their "just rewards", a gift from the hostess.

The program comes complete with hostess instructions, invitations, place cards and nametags. The place cards are numbered, so each knows when to tell their story. Here’s a new, fun, interactive party that your guests will love. $24.50 (plus shipping and handling.)

- I-Tea Wands -
Taste The Magic

Convenient and delicious, I-Tea wands are pencil-shaped, disposable, high-tech tea diffusers. They have a built-in mechanical filtration system that keeps the bitter components in the wand while releasing the essence that produces a richly flavored, lavishly fragrant brew. This cutting-edge, revolutionary design eliminates the need for teaspoons and minimized dripping.

Making I-Tea is as easy as 1-2-3!
1. Dip the I-Tea wand in a cup of boiling water.
2. Stir to desired concentration.
3. Remove I-Tea wand and enjoy a delicious cup of premium Ceylon tea.

Don’t let the easy of brewing mislead you to think that you have to sacrifice quality for convenience. I-Tea Wands are filled with only the finest Single Estate Premium Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka packed at the point of origin. Visit for more information. Watch for the three new flavors coming this fall.

- Used Tea Bags Lift Women -
From Poverty

The artists from Original T-Bag Designs live in an informal settlement located in Mandela Park, South Africa, just outside of Cape Town. Their homes are nothing more than bits of tin and wood nailed together and they have had no formal schooling. But what they do have is grit, imagination, talent, and a desire to make a better life for their families. Leading them on their self-improvement journey is Jill Heyes.

tbagAfter suffering a brain aneurysm at the age of 35, Jill Heyes, an art teacher was just lucky to be alive.  Not long after Jill’s struggle and recuperation, her husband’s job transferred him from England to South Africa. So, with her two small children in tow, the family was now on their way to a new life in a new country.

Driving through town on the way to her beautiful new home, Jill was shocked by the poverty she witnessed and was determined to do something to help. Thelma, a neighbor's maid, saw an opportunity for additional work when Jill and her family moved into the neighborhood.  Jill wanted to help Thelma, not by hiring her to clean, but by teaching her a craft to market and sell.  Thelma gathered five women and started meeting weekly with Jill at the community center.  The group started working with paper mache, moving on to potato printing, and finally, after three years, to creating crafts with used tea bags. Original T-Bag Designs was created!

tbagUsed tea bags come from individuals and groups from all around the world—most come from South Africa where drinking a cup of tea is a ritual that takes place about five times every day.  The bags are then dried in the African sun, emptied of their leaves and carefully ironed. Finally, each tea bag is painstakingly hand-painted with warm shades of bronze, gold, silver, and black—colors that celebrate African culture. 

Finally, the group gathers together to assemble the finished products to create greeting cards, notepads, journals, ornaments, candles, coasters, trinket boxes, and tea light holders. They'll make special designs by request, but ordinarily they just paint "what is in our heads". 


One of the artisans, Nomsa, recently earned enough money from painting tea bags to move from an inadequate shack to a solid new house. Nomsa said, “The most wonderful thing in the world is hearing the rain on the roof and knowing that my children are warm and dry.”

tbag“Everyone earns a very good daily wage,” says Heyes. “We can see the difference in many of their lives as they begin to gain confidence and have pride in themselves.”

The original group of five artists now numbers 23 and supports 125 people. They still make the coasters and greeting cards but continue to expand their offerings. They recently finished a private commission for Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy. They hope to open an on-site teashop where tourists can visit while they paint; eventually, they plan for other craft groups to work at the location.

To learn more or to place an order, visit

- Frostea Treats for Adults -
Runaway Hit at NYC Fancy Food Show

The staff of Wise Acre, Inc., traveled from their small coastal town of Blue Hill, Maine to New York City to introduce their unique frozen treats to attendees at the Fancy Food Show held earlier this summer…and what a reception they received!

Wise Acre's Frostbites™ and Frosteas™, are all-natural frozen treats, sweetened only with unrefined sweeteners such as wild honey or organic maple syrup. Frosteas contain organic, freshly brewed teas, such as: Jasmine Green Tea Delight, Cool Your Jets —an herbal tea mix of Chamomile, Lemon Balm, & Spearmint, and the rich and highly-caffeinated Yerba Mate from South America.

Two years ago, Wise Acre's president, Jim Picariello, started his fledgling business out of his kitchen and delivered his frozen treats to a small handful of co-ops and a farmers market. Since then Wise Acre has exploded into east coast distribution by United Natural Foods and Sure Winner Foods, and early acceptance into east coast chains such as Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Hannaford Supermarkets. "We're currently working on the midwest," Jim said, "the west coast is only a few years away."

Wise Acre Frostbites and Frosteas are packaged frozen in plastic sleeves and enjoyed 'squeeze up' style just like the ice pops you enjoyed as a kid, and sell in stores for around $1.49 each. When asked why aren't Frostbites and Frosteas found unfrozen on grocery shelves, Jim answered, "oh, you mean next to the shelf-stable ice cream? Our ingredients are fresh, without preservatives, and immediately frozen."

The official mottos of Wise Acre are: "No Fruit!" and "It must taste great in gin or vodka". By using natural sweeteners such as honey and maple, which are subtly different from season to season and from harvest to harvest, every freshly brewed batch of Frosteas and Frostbites is an exploration and discovery of unique deliciousness.

The exhibit halls of the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC’s Jacob Javits Center were just buzzing about these new products. Attendees were amazed at the quality of the products, the innovative idea, and they way it took them back to happier and carefree days of yore. Get your hands on one of these frozen treats! Find out more at:

- No Ordinary Bag Lady -
At Home Tea Parties Are Her Special-Tea

Based in Bohemia, NY, the Pleasures of Tea is owned and operated by Kristine Henderson, an entrepreneur who left her job in corporate America to pursue her passion in the world of tea. While her online shop at sells a variety of premium loose leaf tea, tea ware, scone mixes, and related tea-themed products, her specialty lies in creating informative, entertaining, and enjoyable in-home tea tasting parties.

Henderson, like many other trained and certified tea experts, believes that “preparing and drinking tea is a key element in creating a lifestyle that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and improves overall well-being.” After leaving her job as a training manager, she was able to follow her passion and launched The Pleasures of Tea in 2007. Her in-home parties allow the hostess to bring friends and family together for a relaxing and wonderful tea-tasting experience where they will learn about both the benefits of drinking tea and its proper preparation.

The staff here at the Coffee And Tea Newsletter recently had the pleasure of hosting an in-office tea party and found the mid-afternoon experience to be both educational and enjoyable. We prepared three different teas that afternoon, discussing each one in detail prior to the sampling. We shared stories about our favorite teas and took pleasure in taste-testing her quality recommendations.

Henderson takes great pride in creating a wonderful tea experience for each in-home party. She works with the host/hostess in advance to select five teas for tasting and comes prepared with her brewing equipment, teapots, and teacups in tow. She comes to the party prepared to deliver an informative presentation on tea—discussing its history, varieties, and health benefits—then leads the group in a tea tasting. The hostess may also prepare some of her delicious accompaniments to add to an enjoyable afternoon or evening. To learn more or to book a party, visit


- Groovy Goods -
Trading in Higher Consciousness

The genesis of The Groovy Mind came from years of political and environmental activism and the desire to find a socially responsible means of support that would enable founders Nicke Gorney and Melanie Mitzner to further their commitment to these movements while supporting their art lives.

As a screenwriter, playwright and novelist, Melanie Mitzner has focused on social and psychological issues affecting cultures around the world. In addition to being co-owner of, she is also a contributor to Wine Spectator magazine and a blogger on wine.

Nicke Gorney has had critically acclaimed shows of abstract art and politically charged mixed media and photography in museums and galleries across New York and Long Island. For 16 years, she grew and distributed organic greens to fine restaurants, health food stores and gourmet markets, raising awareness of the nutritional value and environmental safety of organically grown produce.

Together they launched The Groovy Mind, in March of 2005, to further social and economic justice through sourcing, promoting and selling the very finest organic, Fair Trade and eco-friendly products. Products that break the cycle of poverty while protecting our natural resources.

“Our backgrounds encompass organic farming and distribution, political activism and culinary and wine experience. We combined these skills so style equals substance, to show that social justice and culinary excellence are not mutually exclusive,” said Mitzner. And while they would love to see organic Fair Trade go mainstream, they understand it will take small steps to make big changes.

“People can start by becoming educated about organic Fair Trade protocol and by insisting on those products online, in the market, in restaurants and at the office,” she added.

If more businesses and restaurants convert from conventional to organic Fair Trade, it can have a huge impact. “We have begun to see much progress on this front, more green business gift giving which stimulates both the gift giver as well as the recipient,” said Gorney. “It’s also exciting to see restaurants and offices take the plunge into the delicious world of roasted-to-order organic Fair Trade coffee and seasonally harvested organic Fair Trade tea. Once they start, they can’t go back.”

During the interview with the folks at The Groovy Mind, their mission became crystal clear. “Not all organic Fair Trade products are created equal,” Mitzner passionately stated. “There’s a huge difference in quality, just like their conventional counterparts.” She deliberately stressed the importance of finding “companies completely committed to seasonally harvested organic Fair Trade and not ones just offering a few products to ride the green, socially responsible wave. Consumers and business owners should look for companies that put a value on culinary excellence and not settle for anything less.”

Those fortunate enough to have sampled the coffees and teas from The Groovy Mind know their offerings are really quite superior. Luckily for The Groovy Mind’s consumer and retail customers, “trading in higher consciousness” clearly represents the character of The Groovy Mind. It’s not just a tag line but a personal commitment.

Groovy Coffee
Fair Trade coffee from The Groovy Mind is grown exclusively by Fair Trade co-ops that offer their members many benefits: fair wages, low interest loans, housing, healthcare, education and support environmental conservation. “Our Fair Trade partners not only support their families but also protect the environment by sheltering the land for migrating birds and regional wildlife,” said Mitzner.

“We searched for the most talented master roaster with exceptional skills who would slow roast to order in small batches to caramelize the beans and lock in the flavors of the beans’ origins and terroir,” she added. offers a variety of coffee from across the globe—surely even the most sophisticated palate will find a wonderful, varied, and worthy selection from which to choose.

Groovy Tea
Fragrant and aromatic teas from The Groovy Mind are fresh, seasonal and pure. They are grown and certified organic by progressive and socially responsible tea estates—those who guarantee a fair wage to their workers while supplying exceptional, high quality teas. Included among the variety of teas are artisan and limited edition teas, like the award-winning rare white tea from the oldest organic and biodynamic tea garden in Darjeeling, Organic Silver Tips. Other great treasures include green Organic Jade Rings, Organic Emerald Flower Power, a beautiful flowering green tea.

The Groovy Mind offers tea club and coffee club memberships in addition to a delicious selection of organic and Fair Trade chocolate and wonderful organic gourmet gift boxes. For coffee and tea lovers, the Buzz Eco Java and Transcendental Tea are two exceptionally groovy gifts. Visit to learn more about their offerings and be sure to bookmark their hip one-of-a-kind gourmet gift boxes perfect for the upcoming holiday season. What a wonderful way to impact the quality of lives of people around the world!

- 2008 Coffee Of The Year Winner -

Colombia’s C.I. Racafe & CIA S.C.A received the greatest honor as it reached the highest level of coffee supremacy, taking the Gold Award for having the world’s best specialty coffee. C.I. Racafe & CIA S.C.A. beat out more than 120 other coffee producers taking top honor in the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) 2008 Roasters Guild Coffee of the Year Competition. The event took place at the SCAA annual conference in Minneapolis, MN, earlier this year.

During the competition, expert SCAA cuppers evaluated and ranked the world's finest specialty coffees. More than 30 experienced judges selected the winning coffee by cupping, or thoroughly evaluating the scent and taste of each coffee sample. The judges specifically assessed six distinct attributes of the coffee samples, including: fragrance, aroma, taste, flavor, aftertaste and body.

Cupping is a systematic method of evaluating the aroma and taste of coffee and is used by growers, buyers and roasters to evaluate the quality and flavor profile of coffee. To properly gauge the taste of the hot beverage, the judges slurped and swirled a soupspoon-sized portion evenly over their palate, then spit out the sample without swallowing. By saturating as many sensory nerves as possible, cupping participants are better able to evaluate a coffee sample.

2008 Coffee of the Year Results ( Top 10):
1. C.I. Racafe & CIA S.C.A., Colombia
2. Hacienda La Esmeralda, Panama
3. Volcafe Specialty Coffee, Ethiopia
4. Sidama Coffee Farmers, Co-Op Union, Ethiopia
5. San Rafael Pacun/ Cafetalera El Tunel S.A., Guatemala
6. Agropecuaria Salfar S.A./ San Sebastian, Guatemala
7. Agoga Plantation Limited, Papua New Guinea
8. Finca La Ilusion-Cafe de El Salvador, El Salvador
9. Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, Colombia
10. San Jose Ocana, Guatemala

For more information about the winning coffee, visit


Dear Reader,
As 2008 draws to a close, we want to thank all of our readers and advertisers for an amazing year.  Our subscriber base is up significantly this year and we’ve accepted many international subscribers in 2008 as well.  The Coffee And Tea Newsletter is now being read in over 50 countries/territories from around the world. 
We wish all our readers a new year that is filled with peace and prosperity.  We look forward to bringing you more great stories of innovation and interest in the coming year.

Happy Holidays,
Lynda Calimano, Publisher

- Save The Date for 2009! -
4th Annual Coffee & Tea Festival: April 18-19, 2009

coffee and tea festivalMark your calendars and join us next year,
April 18-19, 2009 for the 4th Annual Coffee & Tea Festival: NYC!

For exhibitor information & booth reservations, contact

2009 Exhibitor Info Now Available