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

cup for education

Held in conjunction with the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC

Level I: Foundation Series
Foundations of Tea: Level One

As the first course in STI’s expanding education and certification program, Foundations of Tea: Level One will provide attendees with a strong understanding of the 5 basic tea types and the two traditional styles of orthodox tea production used to create them. Topics also include the essential components of teas, where and how teas are grown, the stages of processing and what differentiates the different types andclassifications of tea. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste representative samples of each of the 5 tea types, discuss tea steeping methods and examine the basic characteristics of different teas.

Level II: Foundation Series
Foundations of Tea: Level Two

Building on the essential groundwork presented in Level One, Foundations of Tea: Level Two will examine CTC tea production and manufacture, as well as blending, flavoring and scenting, and introduction to sensory evaluation of teas. Also included is an introduction to the principles of grading and naming teas by country of origin. This seminar will allow attendees to examine and taste 5-6 pairs of teas as they are guided through the basics of a comparison cupping of the 5 tea types.

Professional Series Level III:
Professional Cupping and Sensory Evaluation
Professional Series Level 3:

Professional Cupping and Sensory Evaluation Cupping involves a more scientific approach to evaluating teas, as opposed to tasting for pure enjoyment and appreciation. It is an organized, focused examination of tea by comparison and contrast. Learning to cup teas is one of the most valuable skills a tea professional can develop. This seminar introduces us to the methodologies, universally accepted standards and consistent procedures that professionals use every day.


Hangover Helping Green Tea From San Francisco’s Vital Tea Leaf

Curing a hangover has never tasted so good. Vital Tea Leaf, the popular San Francisco tea bar, offers hangover help with their Blue People Ginseng Oolong Tea. The premium tea relieves uncomfortable hangovers with its blend of green tea antioxidants and ginseng. Blue People Ginseng Oolong is one of Vital Tea Leaf’s best selling and best tasting natural energy drinks.

“The gang had gone to SF for a weekend of debauchery and by Saturday morning, it had caught up to me,” said Vital Tea Leaf customer Ted G. “By the time I left [Vital Tea Leaf], the hangover had settled to a dull roar and I have been drinking tea every day since. By the way, there is absolutely no pressure to buy anything here. Many people came, drank, and left without paying a dime. The proprietors are equally friendly to all.”

Vital Tea Leaf’s Blue People Ginseng Oolong tea is high mountain green tea blend with ginseng powder from Taiwan. It carries a very strong sweet aftertaste, and is very aromatic and mellow. Along with relieving hangovers, the tea is used for increasing energy and focus. The tea is fermented and coated with high quality ginseng powder, making it an excellent way to kick start a morning.

Vital Tea Leaf owner Ming explained that green tea also contains many medicinal properties. The tea can be used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, help diabetes, and to detox the body. Vital Tea Leaf offers Blue People Ginseng Oolong tea both in store and online at $30 per four ounces. Taking a “leaf” out of the wine bar book, Vital Tea offers a pleasing setting, complimentary tastings and knowledgeable staff to make medicinal recommendations. Sipping green tea in San Francisco has never tasted (or felt) better.

For more information about Blue People Ginseng Oolong tea or any of Vital Tea Leaf’s products, visit them on the web at


Authentic Teas
Bringing a Taste of Armenia to the World’s Gourmet Tea Drinkers

Today tea enthusiasts everywhere can experience ancient Armenian tea culture as Authentic Teas begins distribution of its wild-crafted herbal teas, organically harvested and prepared in the highlands of the Caucasian mountains. Authentic Teas is a new boutique tea company working directly with indigenous tea crafters to bring a taste of Armenia to the world.

David Richardson, CFO of Authentic Teas, points out the purity of their teas and the way Authentic Teas operates makes them unique. “Unlike conventional tea producers, our Authentic Teas are grown and sustainably harvested in the wild; free of chemicals or environmentally harmful production methods.” Harvesting and blending is done entirely by hand, using traditional methods that have been followed for thousands of years. The result, says Richardson, “is an outstanding tea experience unparalleled by any other tea in the market.”

Tea drinkers want to know more than just a name brand, they want to know the story behind their favorite indulgences so Authentic Teas uses its website to showcase the story of the people and the ancient tea culture of Armenia. “As an avid tea drinker, I was captivated with the story of Armenian tea,” says Richardson. Herbs like oregano, thyme, Linden flowers and mint grow wild in the Armenian highlands.

Tea crafting takes place in indigenous village areas, where most of the economic benefits are returned to local artisans, helping ensure that a lifestyle and culture grounded in two thousand years of tradition continues. Authentic Teas supplier and master tea artisan, Dr. Armen Mehrabyan, pointed out that the harvest and tea preparation is carried out under the strictest observation of Armenian traditions. “We follow the tea crafting practices found in ancient Armenian manuscripts,” he explains.

Richardson notes that tea preferences are rapidly shifting. As consumers develop more sophisticated tea palates, demand is growing for healthful, high-quality tea experiences. “Armenian tea, with its millennia of tea crafting excellence, offers the perfect match for consumers wanting an unforgettable tea steeped in authenticity and purity.” Authentic Teas offers four teas that are USDA certified organic while two more are made with 95% organic ingredients. To learn more, visit


Low Acid Coffee a
Hit With Consumers

Puroast Low Acid Coffee is the number one choice for coffee consumers that desire a coffee that is both easy on the stomach and great tasting. This latest addition to the coffee aisle in supermarkets has hit it big with consumers. Since 2008, Puroast® Low Acid Coffee has enjoyed annualized double digit growth in select retail distribution. Coffee drinkers with stomach ailments such as acid reflux, heartburn and GERD are the target consumer for low acid coffee products.

A study published in Tea & Coffee Journal cites 35-40 million Americans, or about 1 out of every 4 coffee drinkers, have decreased their coffee consumption because of stomach discomfort. Puroast® CEO Kerry Sachs says this is more than a niche market opportunity. “Our market success is explained by the large number of consumers looking for a quality solution,” says Sachs and adds, “Puroast® is the first product on the market that satisfies their need for gourmet flavor and symptom relief.”

The company developed an all natural, proprietary process that reduces acid by 70% while preserving the flavor and aroma sought by the gourmet coffee consumer. Puroast® believes low acid coffee is the next major category in the coffee sector and they are poised to dominate the market. “We think low acid coffee will ultimately exceed decaf as a category,” says company President Jim Sachs, “Puroast® is already outselling decaf in some of our key accounts, and this is with only limited promotion”.

And regarding decaf, Puroast® is sponsoring research aimed at learning whether caffeine is a primary source of stomach irritation. “We believe that a large number of coffee drinkers have mistakenly switched to decaf to solve their stomach irritation,” says CEO Sachs. Puroast® conducted studies with Dr. Arthur Euler, a research gastroenterologist that has worked on the development of antacid remedies including Zantac®, to investigate the effects of acid on coffee consumers and will now add decaf to this analytical regime.

The size of the coffee market suggests low acid coffee will move into other segments. “We’ve concentrated our product launch in supermarkets, but this is changing,” says Jim Sachs. “There’s a lot of interest in Puroast® and we’ll be selling in new markets beginning this year,” he adds, including into retail gourmet coffee shops where the company expects to announce a venture with a leading chain “very soon”.

Puroast® is available in supermarkets throughout the US and online at


Rainforest Alliance Certification Grows
New South African Rooibos Farms Added

The Rainforest Alliance recently announced that a group of South African farms growing rooibos—also known as red bush tea--have earned Rainforest Alliance certification. In addition to being a first for this crop type, the farms are also the first to become Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM in South Africa.

The farms in Zeekoevlei Grootport and Driefontein produce rooibos for Rooibos Ltd, whose marketing arm in the USA is Herbal Teas International. The rooibos range carrying the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal is now available in all major supermarkets throughout Europe and North America.

“Because rooibos is a new crop for the Rainforest Alliance certification program, and we have not worked in South Africa previously, this is a real milestone for us,” said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance. “By reaching out to new territories, the Rainforest Alliance’s certification program continues its important growth and further ensures the protection of our fragile environment and the livelihoods of farmers around the globe.”

Rooibos is already known for its health benefits—relieving digestive illness and promoting healthy skin, teeth and bones. Consumers can now be reassured that it is also healthy for the environment. Farms that achieve Rainforest Alliance certification have met the environmental, social and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). The SAN standards cover ecosystem conservation, worker rights and safety, wildlife protection, water and soil conservation, agrochemical reduction, decent housing, and legal wages and contracts for workers.

“Increasingly, consumers from all over the world want to know that the products they purchase are produced in a way that supports people, profit and the planet, said Martin Bergh, managing director of Rooibos Ltd. “Independent certification authorities such as the Rainforest Alliance reassure consumers that rooibos has been produced in a way that benefits the environment as well as the lives of the farmers and their workers. People who buy Rainforest Alliance Certified rooibos will know that the farmers who produced these products are not exploiting their laborers, and that they taking good care of their land and follow sound business principles to ensure a sustainable future.”

For more information, visit


A Product We Love!
Mango Oolong Tea

Health conscious beverage drinkers have started a trend toward drinks with less sugar and lighter taste profiles. Bottled teas are a nourishing alternative to highly sweetened sodas and beverages. The new flavors from ITO EN (our favorite is the Mango Oolong) will suit anyone interested in combining a variety of tea flavonoids, antioxidants, and other benefits of tea with the taste of a lightly sweetened beverage. The five (5) new flavors are:


These ready-to-drink teas are packaged in plastic (PETE1) Bottles, which can be recycled, or made into egg-packs, fiber, tote bags, clothing, furniture, carpet or other items. In fact, recycled PETE bottles are even used to make uniforms for ITO EN sales force in Japan. Reducing packaging has always been a central goal for ITO EN, achieving amazing results by continuously reducing the bottle's mass. This year, the individual bottles are lighter by 0.16g than last year. A distinct leader in this regard, the bottle is one of the lightest in the beverage industry. By choosing plastic bottles over glass, the company has been able to ship more tea in individual shipping trucks, resulting in savings in fuel expenses and emissions.


Coffee Talk: The Game!

Co-invented by Richard C. Levy and Gary Carlin, Coffee Talk is the perfect blend of fast fun and interacting with opponents.

Turn over a “Topic Card” and then everyone has 45 seconds to write down whatever they can think of in relation to the topic; topics range from New York City to Jay Leno to Google to Las Vegas. When time is up, players move their coffee beans up their respective containers (boards) based on the number of original ideas they had.

Want to change a topic? “Cream it” and move on. Want the other players to accept your offbeat answers? Sweeten them up with a “Sugar Packet”... and you score. It is a latte of fun in a striking coffee bag package. For 2 or more players, ages teen to adult. Ideal for game night!

Contents: 300 Topics, 10 Instant Coffee Cards, 12 Sugar Packets, 12 Creamer Packets, 6 Coffee Beans, 6 Individual Coffee Cup Scoring Boards, 6 Score Pads and a 45 second Sand Timer. $14.99. Click Here for more info and/or to purchase Coffee Talk.


Dr. Drip Coffee
Perfectly Portable

Founded by the father and son team, Mark and Jesse Gordon, the Gordon Grade Coffee company was born out of a love of brewed coffee and a head for business. By combining their backgrounds, industry know-how and adding a dash of innovation, Dr. Drip came to life. With the development of their simple, single cup brewing system and eliminating the need for expensive equipment “we believe we have just what the Doctor ordered, an earth friendly, portable single serving brewing system that delivers a delicious cup of 100% Arabica coffee with just eight ounces of hot water,” said Jesse Gordon.

With Dr. Drip your discards are 100% recyclable and biodegradable. Moreover, the filters and grounds of Dr. Drip can also be composted with ease. Whether you are at the office, traveling or just in the mood for instant coffee (without the instant taste) tear open a packet and let the intoxicating aroma that escapes from the pouch take you straight to your happy place. To make, simply perch the filter atop your favorite mug and slowly pour hot water over the grounds and watch as a steamy and delightful cup of coffee is prepared before your very eyes.

While Dr. Drip coffee does provide instant gratification, it bears no relation to “instant” coffee. Dr. Drip brews a rich, delicious cup of coffee available anytime, anywhere, but certainly not at any expense. Dr. Drip is currently “prescribing” these four 100% Arabica bean blends:

  • The Organic Tonic: A 100% USDA-Certified Organic blend
  • The Ultimate Pick Me-Up: A dark roasted Sumatra blend for the truly bold and brazen
  • The Double Daily Remedy: Our premium signature blend is the answer to all that ails you
  • The Decaf Energizer: Ain’t no misnomer and resounding proof that there’s more to love than just the caffeine buzz

Each package contains 5 single cup drip packs and sells for $8.99.

Come see the folks from Dr. Drip at the upcoming Coffee And Tea Festival NYC (Feb. 25-26, 2012). If you can’t wait (or want to pick up a Dr. Drip blend for a holiday gift for the coffee lover in your life) visit