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

cup for education

Coffee & Tea Festival NYC: March 23-24

Starfish Junction Productions, producer of the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC, is putting the final touches on the 8th annual Coffee & Tea Festival:  NYC which will be held on March 23-24, 2013 at the 69th Regiment Armory located at 68 Lexington Ave. (between 25th and 26th streets), New York, NY 10010. The event is open to the public and the trade. The 2012 festival sold out in advance of opening day and it “looks like we will have another sell-out for this year,” said Kristyn Noren, event manager.  Information about the 2013 Coffee & Tea Festival NYC, including event programming lineup, is available at the event website:

“More than 75 exhibitors make this our biggest show yet,” said Noren.  Attendees will be able to enjoy coffee and tea samples from a variety of artisanal purveyors and “we are thrilled with the guest speakers we’ve assembled for this year’s show,” added Noren.  Many of the programs are free and some require advance tickets and a small materials fee to attend. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

11:30AM - Guide to Tea (Presented by: Michael Harney, Master Tea Blender, Harney & Sons)
12:30PM - Coffee: Seed to Cup (Presented by: Byron Holcomb, Coffee Director, Dallis Bros. Coffee)
1:30PM - Ellen Easton’s Master Class: Afternoon Tea for Fun or Profit (Presented by: Ellen Easton.  Sponsored by Three Tarts, Walkers Shortbread, and Boston International)
3:00PM - Coffee Brewing Methods (Presented by: Evan Closson, Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company. Sponsored by Aerobie AeroPress and Chemex)
4:00PM - Starting a Tea/Coffee Business (Moderated by: Gail Gastelu Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of The Tea House Times and Producer of

12:00PM - Honey for Tea (Presented by: Zeke Freeman, Owner, Bee Raw Honey) - $10
3:00PM - Tea Infusions & Enhancers for the Perfect Cocktails (Presented by: Peter Martino, CEO and Co-Founder, Capital Teas.  Sponsored by:  Capital Teas) - $15

Sunday, March 24, 2013

11:30AM - Ethiopian Coffee & Culture: Celebrating the Coffee Ceremony (Presented by: Elias Gurmu, Owner, Buunni Coffee)
1:00PM - The Health Aspect of Tea & Coffee (Presented by: Kevin Gascoyne, Owner, Camellia Sinensis, Canada)
3:00PM - Tea is Life…Tea is Energy: Experience the Chinese Tea Ceremony (Presented by: Haiyan Grzelak, Chinese Tea Master and Guzheng Musician)

12:00PM - Taste Science: How to Use the Biology of Taste and Smell to Create Perfect Pairings
(Presented by: Dr. Virginia Utermohlen-Lovelace MD, Associate Professor at Cornell University, and Renée Senne, Chef de Cuisine and Culinary School Director).  Sponsored by Taste Science) - $15
2:30PM - Coffee & Chocolate: A Tale of Two Beans (Presented by: Enzo Cacace & Vincenzo Farina, Co-Owners of Black Owl Coffee) - $10

Tickets are $20 each and include sampling from our international lineup of coffee and tea exhibitors as well as attendance at select classes/seminars/demos.  A small additional fee (varies) is applied to specialty event programming (ticket availability and seating is limited).  Advanced purchase of tickets is strongly recommended.  Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC website:  Goodie bags will be distributed to the first 1500 attendees each day. 

Weaver’s Coffee & Tea Continues to Support the Fight Against Breast Cancer with Seasonal Launch

Wild Card Roasters, LLC an artisan coffee roasting company, continues to support breast cancer research funding for local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education, breast cancer screening and treatment with the seasonal launch of Astral Blend™ & Decaf Astral Blend™ coffees under their Weaver’s Coffee & Tea brand.

The incredible cherry blossom, which blooms in the spring, was chosen as the inspiration for Astral Blend’s label.  The first buds of this flower herald the change in season, as does Astral Blend, which is offered February through May, then again in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Using his unique style, John Weaver, master roaster and president of Coffee & Tea hand-roasts Astral Blend using 100% Fair Trade Certified™ and Certified Organic coffees. “I first crafted Astral Blend in 2011 to honor my mother and all the women in my life”, said Weaver.   Giving back to the community while doing something I love is just amazing.  Astral Blend is best described as sweet, smooth and a little sassy — just like most of the women in my life!”

Perfecting Astral Blend means paying close attention to the specific balance between aroma, flavor, acidity and body.  Weaver works completely by hand (his roasters are entirely mechanical) so he can truly control the time, temperature and load size of each batch of coffee he roasts. “Hand-roasting coffee is my passion and each year I look forward to creating Astral Blend because I get to do something I love, roast coffee, and at the same time support non profit organizations."

“Astral Blend is just a glimpse into John’s amazing thirty-three year coffee journey,” said Michael Brown, CEO of Wild Card Roasters.  “It is a proud tribute to the women in his life, but also to the astral influences which aligned him with his mentors, Alfred Peet and Sal Bonavita.  John’s teachers taught him about roasting coffee, but they also taught him about life, and living it to the fullest.”

Weaver’s Astral Blend and Decaf Astral Blend coffees are available across the United States at gourmet grocery and specialty stores, at Northern California Whole Foods Markets, Weaver’s Coffee & Tea Café in San Rafael, CA, and online at

Honest Tea Looks to Make a Splash With New Kids Line

Extending its reach in the kids’ beverage category, Honest Tea has introduced Honest Splash, a new line of 70-calorie juice drinks. In a statement, Honest Tea called the products an “evolution of the Honest Kids brand” that is designed for older children. Honest Splash will be sold exclusively at Target from mid-March until the end of June, when the drinks will roll out to other retailers.

Packaged in 12 oz. resealable plastic bottles, Honest Splash contains 30-31 percent juice and, like Honest Kids, is sweetened with organic fruit juice as opposed to added sugar. Honest Splash comes in three varieties – Berry Good Lemonade, Goodness Grapeness and Super Fruit Punch – and sold as individual single serve bottles and 6-packs, which have a suggested retail price of $5.49.

With the addition of a second line of kids’ drinks, Honest Tea is undoubtedly aiming to build upon the windfall success of Honest Kids, which with the company launched in 2007 and now accounts for over one-third of its total business. Honest Tea noted that Honest Splash meets the American Beverage Association’s School Beverage Guidelines for High Schools, a significant point of marketing amid growing concerns about highly sweetened drinks linked to rising rates of obesity among children.

“Honest Splash is a great fit for older kids, or kids on the go, who need the convenience of a larger, re-closable container,” Honest Tea co-founder and TeaEO Seth Goldman said in the statement. “It still meets the needs of parents who want to provide lower-sugar beverages.”

SCAA Launching Coffee Taster Certification Program

The Specialty Coffee Association of America recently announced plans to launch a Coffee Taster Certification program as part of its professional development curriculum. The program, which the SCAA says will “focus on sensory analysis from a broad perspective,” will be introduced to the public at the group’s upcoming Symposium and Expo, April 11-14 in Boston.

Slated to officially launch at the 2013 Boston SCAA Event, the Coffee Taster Certificate Program will provide comprehensive education and training that will encapsulate the entire scope of sensory analysis including green coffee, production roast tasting and espresso tasting.  This program has been designed to not only complement Coffee Quality Institute’s (CQI) Q Coffee System, which licenses Q Graders to grade green coffee and signifies an independent confirmation of specialty quality coffee, but also allow for an expanded understanding and level of expertise for all coffee professionals focused on product quality and tasting assurance. David Roche, CQI’s Executive Director comments “CQI’s international Q Graders help coffee sectors locate specialty coffees at origin and improve coffees that have the potential to meet specialty standards. The effect is a common language between buyers and sellers that draws attention to specialty coffees while creating an infrastructure that provides producers greater opportunities to enter the marketplace and to increase their economic viability. SCAA’s new CTC program complements our objective to provide comprehensive professional development for coffee professionals.”

In November of 2012 the SCAA conducted an electronic Tasting Analysis Job Survey. The survey results largely confirmed the need for the development of this certificate program. More than 87% of the respondents declared that they perform an official cupping or taste test weekly, 64% of them daily. Of a list of 29 sensory analyst tasks, all of them were considered important or critical by more than 50% of those surveyed. The top five tasks were considered critical or important by more than 90% of the respondents. Based on this feedback, the SCAA created the CTC program to provide additional pathways for sensory education and strengthen the industry as a whole by supporting the pivotal profession of Coffee Taster. This program is another facet of the SCAA’s multi-disciplined approach to supporting the supply chain, products and processes that make up the specialty coffee industry.

Many current SCAA students already inside of the SCAA certificate curriculum, including those who have achieved licensed Q grader status through CQI, will discover that they may have already completed many of the required courses towards achieving this new certificate.  “The launch of this Certificate is a natural progression of the SCAA Professional Development suite” states SCAA Director of Professional Development Ellie Hudson-Matuszak.  “Our certificates are built around training coffee professionals for the on-the-job environment in order to contribute to business success.   By pursuing and earning this certificate, coffee professionals demonstrate competence in specific knowledge and skills that are valuable to employers when looking to fill positions or promote existing employees.”

Sustainable Coffees Recognized for High Quality at the Rainforest Alliance Cupping

Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms in Kenya, Peru and Colombia earned top scores at the Rainforest Alliance’s Cupping for Quality, held at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Lab in Long Beach, California. This marks the tenth year that the Rainforest Alliance has hosted coffee cuppings to recognize farmers for their hard work producing high quality, sustainable coffees.

A total of 51 coffees from nine origins were submitted to the December event, including the first-ever sample from Malawi. The highest score -- 87.1 points -- went to the Ndumberi Factory, a cooperative of smallholder farmers located in the Kiambu region of Kenya. Through Rainforest Alliance certification, the cooperative has adopted a systemized approach to training, which has improved the sustainability and quality of its production. Ndumberi is also unique in having its own wet mill with a cupping lab, allowing cooperative members to analyze quality and focus on quality control in tandem with sustainable production.

More than 90 percent of the samples received scores above 80, the threshold for specialty coffee categorization according to the SCAA cupping protocol. This indicates that sustainable farming practices can contribute to the production of high-quality beans that brew a better tasting cup of coffee. Rainforest Alliance certification requires the adoption of a holistic set of standards that address social, environmental, and economic issues on farms.

“It’s very gratifying to see that sustainability and ever-improving quality can go hand-in-hand,” said Stephen Leach, cupper and Global Coffee Procurement Manager at Maranatha Import Export, which owns both the Gloria Jeans and It’s A Grind brands . “On farms that follow the principals of Rainforest Alliance certification, I have seen greater attention paid at every step along the way to produce green coffee. Quality, by default, improves.”

“The cupping is a great conduit for feedback to the farmers. I am happy to see that the trend upward in cup quality has continued year over year,” added Jeff Chean, cupper and Founder of Groundwork Coffee, a specialty and organic roaster based in Los Angeles.

The top ten scoring coffees:

Full results from the December 2012 Cupping for Quality can be found via the following link:

A panel of 15 expert cuppers, representing North American coffee importers, roasters, and retailers, evaluated the profile of each coffee according to aroma, acidity, uniformity and balance. Samples were roasted and prepared by Ted Vautrinot and Shawn Anderson of Kean Coffee and Andrew Phillips of Rose Park Roasters.

The cupper team:

  1. Shawn Hamilton, Java City, Lead Cupper
  2. Jorge Quintanilla, Allegro of Whole Foods Markets
  3. Adam Kline, Atlantic Specialty
  4. Michael Boyd, Boyd’s
  5. David Pohl, Farmer Brothers
  6. Jeff Chean, Groundwork
  7. Yesenia Villota, InterAmerican
  8. Jay Isais, International Coffee & Tea/Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
  9. Ted Vautrinot, Kean Coffee
  10. Steve Leach, Maranatha Import Export/Gloria Jeans
  11. Catie Leach, Maranatha Import Export/Gloria Jeans
  12. Nathalie Gabbay, RGC
  13. Andrew  Phillips, Rose Park Roasters
  14. Katie Gilmer, Sustainable Harvest
  15. Heydy Manotas, Zephyr Green Coffee

This was the most successful Rainforest Alliance Cupping yet,” said Maya Albanese, event hostess and associate of sustainable agriculture at the Rainforest Alliance. “In our tenth year of hosting these events, we’ve seen the quality of the cups and the enthusiasm of top national coffee cuppers increase dramatically. The Rainforest Alliance Cupping has become one of the best vehicles in this market for showcasing coffee farms that have worked hard to adhere to strict sustainability criteria and improve the quality of their crops.”

The Rainforest Alliance developed its Cupping for Quality program in 2003 to demonstrate the link between sustainable farming and cup quality. Cuppings take place twice per year to accommodate the various coffee harvest cycles around the world. Coffees from Central and South America will be evaluated in March during the Spring Cupping event. The top ten scorers for both cuppings will be awarded at the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Coffee breakfast event at 7:30am on Friday April 12th, 2013 at the annual SCAA Exposition in Boston, Massachusetts.  

Artisan-made, Slow Batch-crafted Figo! Organic Gelato To Debut Near You

Figo! Organic Gelato, a super premium, USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO gelato line made by Boulder Homemade Inc., will soon be available in leading natural foods stores and supermarkets in the Rocky Mountain region, and the company is positioning the new organic gelato brand for national distribution in Spring 2013.

As part of a strategic national launch, Figo! Organic Gelato will debut its sophisticated, seven-flavor, slow batch-crafted organic gelato line to buyers and media at Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products industry trade show, held March 7-11, 2013, in Anaheim, California.

Made in the authentic, traditional style using recipes created under the guidance of a master Italian gelato maker, Figo!, which means ‘cool’ in Italian, is slow-batch churned by Italian crafted machinery. The ten-gallon Italian-made machines use a proprietary slow-churn process to create an ideal mixture of low air and butter fat, which lends to the gelato’s smooth, creamy and rich texture while creating under one-tenth of a percent of product waste, and a lower fat, premium product.

Figo! Organic Gelato is USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO, gluten free and egg free.

Boulder Homemade’s commitment to sustainability is a driving force in its premium ingredient selection, manufacturing and packaging processes. The company sources certified organic milk from Colorado dairies, and handcrafts its organic ice cream and gelato products in a zero waste, wind-powered facility. In addition, Figo! Organic Gelato comes in BPA-free packaging.

“Each of our unique flavors contains finely tuned ingredient combinations to create a symphony of flavor. Each ingredient is crucial to the overall flavor profile that we feel creates a standout product for the marketplace,” explains Scott Roy, CEO and President of Boulder Homemade Inc., which got its start in 1992 as a regional super premium ice cream manufacturer and retailer in Boulder, Colorado.

Figo! Organic Gelato will offer seven distinctive flavor varieties appealing to a modern taste palate: Salted Caramel Café made with real caramel; Chocolate Duet, a blend of cocoa powder and molten chocolate; Chocolate Peanut Butter; Coconut Almond Chip; Cool Limone made with fresh lemon juice and zest; Pure Pistachio; and Vanilla Trio—a blend of Tahitian, Madagascan and Bourbon vanillas.

Look for Figo! Organic Gelato in your area soon.