2011 Coffee & Tea Festival NYC Event Highlights
The 6th Annual Coffee And Tea Festival, held earlier this month in New York City, once again delivered an educational and entertaining celebration of these two beloved beverages. With record attendance, an all-time high for the show, consumers, area retailers, and the media packed the aisles at 7WEST to learn about and sample some of the best coffees and teas from around the world.
Photos by Karl Mischler
An international lineup of coffee and tea exhibitors delivered an exceptional opportunity to taste many quality beverages. International stand-outs included O-Cha and the World Green Tea Association from Japan, Pan American Grain which introduced festival attendees to their Café Mami from Puerto Rico, Jalima Coffee (Mexico), Giraldo Farms Coffee (Colombia), Japanese green tea specialists from Den’s Tea, Fang Gourmet Tea (China) and Hancha Tea (Korea).
Major players from the U.S. coffee and tea marketplace included Melitta, Harney & Sons Fine Teas, Tavalon, Pete’s Coffee & Tea, Tay Tea, Unique Coffee Roasters, Shapna Coffee and Tea, Cheryl’s Tea, Entenmann’s Coffee, QTrade Teas & Herbs, Sara’s Tea Caddie, Teesa’s Garden, T Salon, Hortissimo, and Aroma Espresso Bar (who made probably 1,000 cappuccinos and espressos over the course of the 2-day festival). One of the more popular booths at the show was Runa, who was so busy on Saturday that they “had to make an extra trip to our warehouse on Saturday night to restock! Ohhh the life of a booming start-up company”. (read blog here)
Those with a sweet tooth were delighted to see Bite Size Pies, Chocolate Nation, Taste of Crete, Pacari Ecuadorian Organic Chocolates, and Taste of Home Bakery who made the trip from Bellmore, New York.
Serving up a song (and a smile) were the folks from COFFEE: THE MUSICAL set to open on Broadway later this year.
Attendees were thrilled to see the return of some of the special presenters including Yoon Hee Kim, Marcela Zuchovicki, Chef Melody McGinley Whitelaw, Donny Raus, Chris Cason, and Ellen Easton, who, after speaking on Afternoon Tea, offered her standing-room-only crowd delicious treats from Walkers Shortbreads, Almondina, and Devine Delights.
New this year at the Festival was the Ultimate Barista Challenge. To the roar of a standing room only crowd all day, both days, local baristas competed in head-to-head battles in a variety of caffeine-laden categories hoping to dethrone reigning champion Mike Love. Barista Amanda Ventresca, of Cafe Grumpy was awarded finalist for the Latte Art Challenge. Showcase demonstrations included Latte Art and Espresso Cocktail by Ultimate Barista Mike Love and Best of Brew table side coffee presented by UBC Creator Sherri Johns. Interactive audience members enjoyed the espresso 'perfect shot' and 'impromptu coffee quiz' winning nice prizes from emcee Danny Johns.
Also new this year was the addition of the Specialty Tea Institute certification courses held in conjunction with the NYC Festival. Congratulations to the more than 30 graduates from the Level 1 and Level 2 course. For more information about the STI certification courses, visit www.teausa.org
One hundred tea lovers, tea enthusiasts and special guests were in attendance Saturday evening for a special event focusing on Chinese tea and tradition hosted by The Tea Gallery and The Mandarin’s Tea Room. It was a wonderful evening and special treat to be in the company of Michael Wong and Tim Tsu, two well-known and admired tea masters. Dae Yoo of The Tea Gallery gave a wonderful introduction to Chinese tea and its history.
A noticeable presence of volunteers—more than 100 in all sporting the official event t-shirt—were on hand to assist exhibitors, register guests, assist presenters, and welcome visitors. “We could not have pulled off an event of this size without the assistance we receive from our volunteers,” said Joe Chierchie, one of the event producers. “It is great to see so many volunteers return year after year. Our volunteers this year were just amazing,” he added.
As in years past, the exhibitors and attendees came out in support of the event charity, Cup for Education. The money raised at the event will go to help fund some of the worthy programs sponsored by Cup for Education with a mission to help poor rural coffee communities of Central and Latin America build schools within their communities, and assist in providing them with teachers and the basic tools needed to educate the future generations of coffee farmers.
Earl Grey-Infused MarTEAni
750ml bottle Vodka (recommended: TRU Vodka) (or Gin)
2 heaping tablespoons of Tavalon’s Earl Grey Reserve
1.5 oz (small jigger) Earl Grey-infused Vodka
1.5 oz (small jigger) Meyer Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed), if unavailable any fresh squeezed lemon juice will do
1.5 oz (small jigger) simple syrup
splash ginger ale
lemon wheel (garnish)
First, add tea leaves directly into vodka bottle, cover and shake vigorously to distribute evenly. Allow to “steep” for 30 minutes (no longer, or else the tannins, the bitter stuff, will start to come out), then strain.
Combine Earl Grey-infused vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 15 seconds to fully incorporate.
Strain into a chilled martini glass and add a splash of ginger ale and garnish with lemon wheel.
Reprinted with permission. www.tavalon.com
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