Coffee and Tea Newsletter
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coffee and tea festival

cup for education


As we close out the last issue of the Coffee And Tea Newsletter for the year, we like to go back and review past issues to discover which stories generated the mostinterest, were clicked on most often, and generated the most feedback. Below you will find reprints of our most popular stories of 2013. We want to take this time to thank all of our readers, advertisers, and supporters for helping to make this year another great one. If you have product you would like us to consider for review or have some exciting news to share, please contact us.

We wish you all a wonderful new year filled with all great things.


10 Things We Love About the Keurig Vue

While any coffee maker is only as good as the coffee you put into it, we were thrilled to test-drive the new Keurig VUE to see what all the hype was about.  We set it up the Keurig Vue V700 model in our “test kitchen” and asked users to rate their overall experience and leave comments. 
Here are the top ten reasons why we LOVE the new Keurig Vue.

  1. Brews stronger—you can now select coffee strength to match your preferred taste.

  2. Brews various temps—this machine offers a variety of brewing temps which can be managed by the type of beverage you are brewing (coffee/tea/cocoa).

  3. Easy to use—much like all the Keurig brewers, this one is no exception.

  4. Customize your size—from a 6 oz. cup to a 12 oz. travel mug. 

  5. Variety.  Lots of good coffees (and some teas) are available in the special VUE packs, including Green Mountain, Caribou Coffee, Barista Prima.

  6. Specialty drinks--can create frothy café-style beverages include lattes.  While this won’t replace a latte from your favorite coffeehouse, it is a tasty home-brewed treat.

  7. Flip top lid option for filling water reservoir.

  8. Programmable touchscreen is easy to program, easy to read, and easy to use.

  9. VUE packs are recyclable.  After use, peel back foil cover and recycle #5 plastic pack (you can compost the filter and coffee grinds too).

  10. When your coffee is finished brewing, you get a digital reminder to “ENJOY” your coffee when the word “ENJOY” lights up on the control panel.  Nice greeting on a hectic morning.

The Keurig Vue V700 model sells for $179.99 at  Other models are available and prices vary.  Most Keurig Vue packs are sold in 16 count boxes and sell for less than $11.  For more information about the Keurig Vue machines and packs, visit  Makes a great holiday gift!


Fashionista Tea

What happens when a former television producer and Emmy Award nominee blends her two life-long passions—tea and fashion?  You get Fashionista Tea—a delicious gourmet tea line!

The FashionistaTea Collection is sourced from small tea growers from around the world to assure the freshest and best possible ingredients. The line consists of all organic teas and botanicals and Fair Trade Tea wherever possible, which promotes fair wages for workers, helps to protect against land loss and promotes environmentally friendly processes for producers and their families.

The line currently includes eight different varieties, including:
Organic Basic Black
Organic Creamy Earl Grey
Organic Fashionista Blend
Organic Green Pomegranate
Organic Masala Chai
Organic Orange Chamomile
Organic White Tip Jasmine
And our HOLIDAY GIFT PICK:  Chocolate Rooibos (shown right)
All are available as loose tea or in sachets.


A unique feature of the collection is the custom crafted biodegradable silk pyramid sachets with a tea tag of a leopard print stiletto heel making its debut.  More stylish tags will follow similar to fashion collections keeping the line fresh, collectible, current and ever-changing. This couture-inspired tag displayed over a tea cup not only allows for a visual experience but automatically becomes a conversation piece.


The Top 11 Coffee Roaster in the Nation,
As Voted by Super-Serious Coffee Nerds

Reported By Dan Gentile,

The history of American coffee's broken down into three distinct waves: Folgers in your cup, Starbucks on your block, and a new crop of artisan roasters building brands based on sustainability, quality, and really, really cute packaging.

So to pick the crema (coffee term, not a typo) of the crop, we pulled together a cast of the nation's most notable coffee writers and shop owners to pick their 11 favorite roasters and tell us why they're so buzzed about them. The illustrious cast includes Bill Walsh (Pure Coffee Blog), Jordan Michelman (, Brian Jones (Dear Coffee I Love You), Kelly Stewart (Roast Magazine), Chris Cusack (Down House), Sean Henry (Houndstooth), Sarah Allen (Barista Magazine), Joshua McNeilly (Black Black Coffee), and Greg Martin (Urban Bean).

Once the ballots had been cast, we tallied the votes (10 points for #1, 9 for #2...) and ranked the roasters to decide once and for all which brand is The Best Part Of Wakin' Up.

Handsome Coffee

(tie) 10. (19 points) Handsome Coffee Roasters (Los Angeles)

The supreme bean: San Vicente (Honduras)
The scoop: Handsome's warm atmosphere and on-site roasting earned them LA Weekly's 2013 award for best coffee shop. Their good-looking beans are broken down into two categories (comfort and adventure), and ship one day after roasting for the freshest cup possible.
From the judges: "Handsome formed from a team of big names in the world of specialty coffee with lots of experience and knowledge to transfer into something new. They added fresh variety and energy to the LA coffee scene after forming in 2011 and haven't slowed down since." - Brian Jones, Dear Coffee I Love You

Klatch Coffee

(tie) 10. (19 points) Klatch Coffee (San Dimas, CA)

The supreme bean: Ethiopian Kochere Grade 1
The scoop: The chemical engineer behind Klatch chooses only the top 1% of beans and built his customer base by giving each patron a mug with their name on it.
From the judges: "Aside from the most excellent honor of coming out of San Dimas, CA, Klatch serves up a great cup of coffee that often rates high on the minds of coffee elite. With several great awards and a bubbling staff, Klatch is a wondrous caffeinated asset. Having had them out West and in my home, I've greatly come to appreciate their fine skills." - Bill Walsh, Pure Coffee Blog

Dogwood Coffee

9. (23 points) Dogwood Coffee (Minneapolis)

The supreme bean: Neon Espresso (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Brazil)
The scoop: With a coffee that tastes so bright they recommend wearing BluBlockers while you're brewing it, Dogwood takes their sourcing and roasting seriously, but checks pretentious posturing at the door.
From the judges: "We've been with Dogwood for three years and they continuously excel at roasting, sourcing, and deliciousness. Also they have really attractive employees that are also amazing baristas." - Greg Martin, Urban Bean Coffee (Minneapolis)

Four Barrel Coffee

8. (24 points) Four Barrel Coffee (San Francisco)

The supreme bean: El Salvador Montanita Single Origin
The scoop: Neither of this roaster's two coffee shops have Wi-Fi or power outlets, a move aimed to encourage a more social environment/the use of smartphones.
From the judges: "You cannot discount education in coffee, and Four Barrel describes their coffees more thoroughly than any other roaster I've seen, from growing conditions to processing method descriptions to amazing taste descriptions." - Joshua McNeilly, Black Black Coffee (Denver)

Verve Coffee Roasters

7. (26 points) Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz)

The supreme bean: Kochere (Ethiopia)
The scoop: Working on a vintage 1965 Probat UG 15 roaster made in Germany (... so the beans always roast on time), Verve's attention to detail earned them the award for best overall roaster at the 2013 Good Food Awards.
From the judges: "A relative newcomer to the specialty coffee scene, Verve is big stuff after a quick six years. Owners Colby Barr and Ryan O’Donovan are persnickety about everything, from buying practices to staff and wholesale training, to demanding nothing but the prettiest build-outs of its cafés and roasteries." - Sarah Allen, Barista Magazine

PT's Coffee

(tie) 5. (29 points) PT's Coffee(Topeka, KS)

The supreme bean: Elida Estate Natural (Panama)
The scoop: PT's started in 1994 as a small coffee shop whose aspirations snowballed from the simple goal of an amazing cup of coffee into a full-scale roasting operation that's earning them serious accolades from the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
From the judges: "Great coffees at a great price. They're like that $15 bottle of wine that always delivers." - Sean Henry, Houndstooth Coffee (Austin, TX)

Heart Roasters

(tie) 5. (29 points) Heart Roasters (Portland)

The supreme bean: Kenya Gichathaini
The scoop: Heart's a one-shop micro-roaster that starts with green beans (not that type of green beans) and processes them in the lightest method possible in order to preserve the delicate flavors.
From the judges: "Back in 2009, when these guys first came out, I tried like crazy to get them to ship to me, but they couldn't. I had to go to Portland to try it, and it was insane. They ship regularly now, and I highly recommend their coffee." - Chris Cusack, Down House (Houston)


4. (32 points) Intelligentsia (Chicago)

The supreme bean: Black Cat Espresso (Brazil, Costa Rica)
The scoop: The Chi-town institution has also put down roots in Los Angeles and NYC, spreading their caffeinated gospel with top-notch beans whose bags detail everything from the roast date to growing elevation.
From the judges: "Intelligentsia's collaborative spirit extends past its doors and out into the coffee-growing world. Everything that the company does is with the belief that treating people and the land with care will yield outstanding quality in every cup." - Kelly Stewart, Roast Magazine

Madcap Coffee

3. (40 points) Madcap Coffee (Grand Rapids, MI)

The supreme bean: Oktoberfest (Ethiopia, Costa Rica)
The scoop: Madcap's known for their meticulous design and a unique varietal series in which they source eight different types of beans from the same farm.
From the judges: "Madcap may not come from a large metropolitan area, but they push forward with unique varietal series and Sunday tasting experiences. They've also got a stellar brand, one of my favorites, by renowned designers Chuck Anderson and Seth Herman." - Brian Jones, Dear Coffee I Love You

Stumptown Coffee

2. (43 points) Stumptown (Portland)

The supreme bean: Hair Bender (Latin America, East Africa, and Indonesia)
The scoop: The dudes behind Stumptown established it in 1999 and promptly began the biz traveling six months out of the year in pursuit of the greatest beans in the world. They've since expanded to 10 shops across the nation, and pride themselves on not only their roasts, but also their ability to intelligently discuss stoner metal with their customers.
From the judges: "Stumptown can legitimately claim a degree of authorship over the current specialty coffee zeitgeist. Their sourcing and well-rounded armada of offerings are second to none, and their cold brew may well take over the world." - Jordan Michelman,

Counter Culture

(48 points) Counter Culture Coffee (Durham, NC)

The supreme bean: Ndaroini (Kenya)
The scoop: Counter Culture got its rep by pioneering sustainable coffee practices such as less ecologically damaging shade-growing techniques and releasing yearly transparency reports, presumably on overhead projectors. They back up their do-gooding with complex flavors that have won them the World Brewers Cup two years in a row.
From the judges: "A solid roaster with a growing presence up and down the East Coast, Counter Culture tends to be a certifying badge of quality at the coffeehouses that serve them. Add into the picture their regional presence, training centers, and educational opportunities, and you have a great asset in Counter Culture." - Bill Walsh, Pure Coffee Blog

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Red Rose® Tea Introduces Real Tea Premium
Liquid Water Enhancer

Red Rose Tea last month introduced its first-ever Real Tea premium black tea liquid water enhancers made from pure tea leaves with no dyes or artificial coloring. The concentrated form of flavored black teas is available in the following blends: Black Tea, Earl Grey and Blackcurrant Raspberry. They are sold at select U.S. retailers and online.

“Studies have shown that away-from-home tea consumption of tea has been growing by at least 10 percent a year for a decade,” said Tom Schuler, senior brand manager of Red Rose Tea. “Red Rose Real Tea offers convenient, portable tea blends to fit the growing demand.”

Red Rose Real Teas combine high-quality tea with traditional, all-natural flavors. They are also lightly sweetened, containing only five calories per serving, which is one squeeze of the concentrated tea per an 8-ounce glass. In addition, mixing is not required.

“Red Rose Tea lovers will like the new mess-free bottles and the ability to enjoy Real Tea in both cold and hot water,” said Schuler. “The teas answer the call for more convenience and can be shared easily with friends and family. They provide the perfect on-the-go, quick, refreshing drink. Plus, one bottle can be used to make a glass of tea once or multiple times throughout the month.”

The Red Rose Real Teas will retail at approximately $4.49 for a 48-milliliter bottle, which makes 24 servings. Visit to find a retailer near you or to purchase the Red Rose Real Teas online.


Professional Tea Blending Training in Historic Montreal

Master Tea Blender Brigitte Horrenberger from Bordeaux France with over 30 years of experience in tea and tea blending and Wolfgang Boehmer, engineer and well known flavor chemist from the USA will be leading a highly professional Certified Tea Blending Training  Level 1 at the Maison Christian Faure, one of North America’s Top Pastry Schools nestled at Place Royale in historic Old Montreal.

Students will be dazzled by the beautiful surroundings, the enchanting teas, spices, flowers, aromas and fragrances for studying the art and Science of tea Blending during 3 days starting November 29, 2013 and will learn the professional techniques for both traditional tea blends as well as signature

ITEI Certified Tea Blending Training Level 1 is composed of two parts. The first part of the training, a 3-Day Comprehensive class starts on Friday November 29, 2013, held on-site at the fabulous Pastry School, Maison Christian Faure in Old Montreal. Québec.  During the 3 days, students will dive into the wonderful Tea Blending mysteries with leading industry experts; they will be working in a lab environment with various tea blends and formulations.  During this interactive and dynamic class students will be guided and supervised to ensure proper tea blending techniques usage. They will be exploring the many facets of the art and the science of tea blending.  On day 3, students leave empowered with the special experiences and the Tea Blending expertise gained. Along with an ITEI Certified Tea Blending Training Part 1 Completion Form.  Pursuing Part 2 of this training is not mandatory if students are not aiming for Certification.

Part 2 of the Certified Tea Blending Training Level 1 involves distant learning, tea blending experiments and essays during 8-Weeks starting a week after completing Part 1.  Online group teleconference sessions are made available to share experiences and get the trainers feedback and guidance.  Upon completion of the required Essays and Tea Blending experiments of Part 2, students will have a Final exam. Graduates successfully completing the training will be awarded a Certificate of Completion of Level 1 and an ITEI Certified Tea Blender Lapel Pin for their accomplishment.

For additional information, contact Sylvana. P. Levesque, ETEI Executive Director, at (514) 246-3232 or email to: