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

cup for education


Earlier this week, DAVIDsTEA, a fast-growing branded beverage company offering a differentiated selection of proprietary loose-leaf teas, pre-packaged teas, tea sachets and tea-related gifts and accessories proudly announced their partnership with ME to WE—an innovative social enterprise that supports the work of charity partner Free The Children. By joining this global movement, the company hopes to empower people with their everyday consumer choices.

DAVIDsTEA, in collaboration with ME to WE, has created a collection of ME to WE tea and tea-related accessories to contribute to creating a better world. Available at, all DAVIDsTEA locations across North America, and, every purchase of DAVIDsTEA product from the ME to WE collection will contribute to giving clean water to a child in a developing community in Kenya. Why Kenya? By building wells, giving access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation, Free the Children directly gives back to one of the biggest tea producing countries in the world.

“Everyone at DAVIDsTEA is so excited to be working with ME to WE, and we are inspired by the positive impact we can have in developing communities in Kenya. Our goal for the collaboration is to provide a source of clean water for people in these communities. As a tea company, the issue of clean water is close to our hearts, and we feel this is a meaningful initiative for DAVIDsTEA to be part of,” said David Segal, Co-founder and Brand Ambassador of DAVIDsTEA. “We are proud to support an organization like ME to WE whose values and mission we truly believe in.”

“We are impressed by ME to WE as a social enterprise, and are thrilled to help make an impact by empowering both our staff and our consumers to take part in this initiative,” said Sylvain Toutant, President and CEO of DAVIDsTEA. “This collaboration symbolizes how we at DAVIDsTEA can continue to infuse people’s lives with joy, one sip of tea at a time.”

DAVIDsTEA’s new ME to WE collection will include a co-branded travel mug and an exclusive new ME to WE tea with pineapple, hibiscus, figs and cranberries. This fruity, all-natural blend is a caffeine-free treat that should be popular with tea lovers of all ages. Each purchase will help to bring clean water to those in need by contributing to Free The Children’s sustainable development work in Kenya. As part of ME to WE’s Track Your Impact initiative, all products come with a code for buyers to track exactly where and how their purchase has made an impact.

“At ME to WE, we believe that creating a better world starts with our everyday choices,” says Roxanne Joyal, ME to WE CEO. “We’re so excited to be partnering with DAVIDsTEA on this initiative, which will make such an incredible difference to our partnered communities in Kenya. Clean water allows girls to go to school instead of collecting water for their families, and it means entire families can stay healthy. By purchasing DAVIDsTEA’s products from the ME to WE collection, you’re making a lasting and meaningful difference with your purchase. Tea for two becomes clean water for all!”


Café Grumpy Presents Latte Art Throwdown

New at the Coffee and Tea Festival this year, Café Grumpy will be hosting a Latte Art Throwdown and you’re invited to compete or witness the crowning of the 2016 champion. With many of the slots in 32-person bracketed single elimination competition already filled, local baristas have their eye on the prize and will be putting on quite a show. 

The quest for the best means that baristas from the northeast are busy practicing their latte masterpieces for next month’s tourney, hoping to take home the first place cash prize.  Rules and registration information can be found at the event website.  Click here.


Coffee and Tea Festival Announces Seminar
Lineup for March Event

The 11th Annual Coffee and Tea Festival NYC will take place next month, another sell-out is expected.  In addition to the coffee and tea tastings offered by the incredible collection of exhibitors, “the free and fee-based programming has always been something that the attendees rave about, and this year’s lineup is our best yet,” said Kristyn Dolan, event manager at show producer, Starfish Junction.

As part of the admission ticket, attendees are invited to enjoy a variety of free seminars on the main stage.  This year’s lineup includes a variety of great speakers on a variety of coffee and tea related topics, including:

Afternoon Tea Made Easy
Presented By: Lorna Reeves, Editor of TeaTime Magazine

Want great ideas for your next tea party? Lorna Reeves, editor of TeaTime magazine, will share expert tips and techniques for an enjoyable teatime. You’ll learn how to craft a magnificent menu, set a beautiful table, and much, much more to make your teatime celebrations truly memorable.

50 Shades of Cold Brew: Fun Recipes and Uses for Cold Brew Coffee
Presented By:Ben Gordon, Co-Founder of Wandering Bear Coffee

The cold brew category has exploded over the past year, and is now on the tipping point of becoming “mainstream.” But huge segments of the coffee-drinking population still don’t know what cold brew is, what makes it special, or how they should work it into their coffee routine.

In this seminar, learn about cold brew coffee and the product’s versatility. The staff from Wandering Bear Coffee will walk attendees through some of their favorite uses and recipes, including cold brew cocktails, cold brew smoothies, and more. They’ll also prepare some recipes in front of the audience, and come prepared with others, for people to enjoy.

Turkish Coffee: From Bean to Cup
Presented By: Sila Asa, Event Coordinator at the Turkish Cultural Center

Understanding coffee is not complete, until you have learned how to prepare Turkish coffee. In this seminar, open to all attendees of the festival, the Turkish Cultural Center will demonstrate the method of making Turkish coffee and discuss the unique texture and taste of the coffee. From the long-handled pots made from copper and brass (known as a cezve or ibrik) to the uniquely very fine grind (almost like confectioner’s sugar), the preparation of Turkish coffee is quite distinctive.

Think Outside the Tea Cup & Cook with Tea
Presented By: Annelies Zijderveld, Author of Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea

As the second most enjoyed beverage around the world, tea has its legions of satisfied sippers. But, did you know you could also use tea to add a flavorful accent to familiar foods you cook and bake? Join author of cookbook, Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea for a lively discussion and tempting tasting of tea-infused foods. You will leave with several tips at your fingertips to start cooking with tea right away.

Beyond Organic – Biodynamic
Presented By: Robert Flam, Brand Owner of Jailhouse Coffee

Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. First developed in the early 1920’s based on spiritual insights and practical suggestions of Austrian writer, educator, and social activist, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, biodynamics embraces a holistic view of nature. It is by definition organic, but it also involves biodiversity and astronomy. Food is grown and harvested in accordance with lunar cycles. In this seminar, learn how Jailhouse Coffee developed the first complete line of biodynamic coffee in the market and what it means to be biodynamic in today’s modern world. Biodynamics is about working with nature, not against it, and making the most of the land with minimal cost impact.

Attendees of this seminar will see a video presentation of a working biodynamic farm and also of Camocim Estate where Jailhouse Coffee sources its biodynamic coffee. Plus, enjoy the great taste of “Deep Valley” biodynamic coffee!

Matcha and More:  The Green Tea Traditions of Japan
Presented By: Tomoko Honda of Ippodo Tea Co.

Learn about the allure and depth of character of Japanese green tea from the legendary Kyoto-based tea company, Ippodo. In this seminar, tea expert Tomoko Honda will give an introduction to Japanese green tea and discuss the green tea traditions of Japan. She will also talk about the three keys to preparing Japanese tea and demonstrate how everyone can properly prepare matcha at home. This seminar also includes a screening of Matcha: an Ippodo Story, the award-winning short film which beautifully documents the company’s rich history and family heritage. 

For a small additional materials fee, attendees are invited to secure their spot for a more intimate, more in-depth seminar led by industry pros and innovators.  Advanced purchase is required and seating at each of these seminars is very limited, many sell out in advance of event day.  Special seminars include:

Brewing Fundamentals: Making a Great Cup of Coffee at Home
Presented By: Sarah Leslie, Wholesale Educator & SCAA Specialized Lead Instructor of Irving Farm Coffee Roasters
Participation Fee: $12/participant

Brewing a great cup of coffee at home can be a daunting task. Thankfully, we're here to help! This hour and a half brewing intensive is designed to lay the foundation for achieving optimum flavor balance in coffee brewing. Irving Farm’s instructors will provide students with hands-on experience preparing coffee with the Kalita Wave and evaluating brewed coffee’s flavor. This seminar will cover all the basics of coffee brewing, including: determining the correct coffee to water ratio, selecting the appropriate grind size, pouring techniques, and which equipment is necessary for a great cup of coffee.

The Mysterious World of Aged Tea: Pu er, Liu Bao, Liu An…
Presented By: Kevin Gascoyne, Tea Taster of Camellia Sinensis
Participation Fee: $12/participant

Tea Taster Kevin Gascoyne takes us back to the source with this workshop on aged tea. Discover historical aspects, the ‘Famous Mountains’, the old tea trees, the traditional processing methods and the health benefits of this ancient family of tea. Follow the recent history of the massive rise in popularity of Pu Er at the end of the 20th century and learn more about the ideal conditions for maturing your favorite teas. Participants of this class will have the ability to taste several aged teas.  For tea enthusiasts with mid-level knowledge.

The Importance of Forest Grown Tea: Hawaii Exclusive
Presented By: Dr. Cam Muir of University of Hawaii & Eliah Halpenny of Big Island Tea
Participation Fee: $10

In this seminar, attendees will be led through a discussion of why growing tea in a complex forest is more ecologically sustainable and why it is better for tea quality. This correlation is important information as more tea is being grown in the United States. The experience and strategy of transforming a commercial lettuce farm into a cloud forest including tea will be shared along with mistakes made and lessons learned.  Current research in the effects of different environments on tea gene expression and how that affects tea leaf quality will also be included. At the conclusion of the seminar, participants will be walked through a cupping of Hawaii grown, hand-selected, and processed green and black tea.  Participants will also get to sample Hawaiian Mamaki tea, which is considered a tea native to Hawaii.

Tea Blending Workshop
Presented By: Linda Villano, Owner/Co-Founder of SerendipiTea
Sponsored By: SerendipiTea
Participation Fee: $15

Spend an afternoon blending teas, fruits, florals, spices and herbs with Linda Villano, co-founder/owner of NY-based SerendipiTea. During the hands-on workshop basic guidelines will be covered on tea blending and by the end of the program all in attendance will have created their very own blended teas or tisanes. Two kraft bags will be provided for each member but do bring other containers as there may be enough ingredients to make additional blends.  For tea enthusiasts of all levels. 

Tea Course Fast Track
Presented By:
Gail Gastelu, Producer of
Sponsored By:
Participation Fee: $245
Duration:  4 Hours

Profit from TEA – Learn about tea this year! In four hours, your business will learn how to incorporate tea into its food and beverage offerings. This seminar provides all of the knowledge you need to get started right away.

Tea Course Fast Track includes:

Tea 101- Learn about Camellia sinensis (tea!) What is it? Where is it grown? How is it harvested? How do you get it (loose or bagged)?

Tea Experience - Taste and compare white, green, oolong, and black teas to understand differences. Learn proper brewing techniques and how to serve.

Tea Uses & Health Benefits - Learn how to incorporate tea into your business. Tea Success- Learn how to successfully market tea and tea events to draw new customers.

Tea Trends - Learn what is trending in the tea industry and how to stay on top. Tea Resources- Learn how to find suppliers, additional education, associations, and more.

BONUSES: All attendees receive a flash drive with additional rea ding, eBooks, resources, and special offers worth more than the class fee. Taste and compare teas and leave with your own tea cupping set. Tea Course Fast Track ticketholders receive access to the Coffee & Tea Festival with their ticket purchase that day. This course is ideal for members of the trade or interested individuals looking to add tea to their business; high knowledge level.

Tea Course is produced by The Tea House Times (a bi-monthly publication connecting businesses and consumers since 2003). The online program is considered continuing education as running a successful business necessitates continual learning, reading, watching the news, and connecting with others in the industry. Members/students are worldwide and many have been successfully continuing their education from the comfort of their own computers since 2008. Over 200 topics, tea market reports, tea trends, tea news, 24/7 access, and weekly updates ensure continuing education.

About Gail Gastelu:
Gail Gastelu is owner/publisher of The Tea House Times, producer of Tea Course and Tea Course Fast Track, co-owner of Tea Etiquette Certified and frequent presenter at tea and/or coffee shows nationwide. Connecting businesses and consumers since 2003, her passion and drive is to help tea businesses grow by providing many services beneficial to the tea industry. The publication, news, education, hosted blogs, special features, and resources may be found by visiting website. Gail recently created the nationwide #DrinkTea Campaign with the Tea Council of the USA. Gail currently serves on the Tea Association of the USA's Specialty Tea Institute Advisory Board and over the years has been an officer or advisory board member to several associations, trade shows, and organizations.



New Grounds Food, creator of CoffeeBar, an all-natural energy bar infused with a full cup of fair-trade coffee, recently announced the arrival of two new organic, vegan and gluten-free CoffeeBar flavors, Caramel Macchiato and Coconut Mocha.

The brainchild of Northeastern University undergraduates Ali Kothari and Johnny Fayad, the idea for CoffeeBar began when the now college juniors were freshman business students and in desperate need of finding an on-the-go and nutritious way to enjoy both their coffee and breakfast before early morning classes. In 2013, after many hours of dorm room experimentation and countless trial batches, Kothari and Fayad’s coffee-infused energy bar was created.

Now, almost a year after New Grounds Food’s wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, in which the co-founders reached their goal of $10,000 in 15 hours and raised $45,000 in total, the company is excited to introduce two new product flavors to be sold alongside their original Mocha Latte CoffeeBar. Beginning this month, coffee lovers can enjoy CoffeeBar’s Caramel Macchiato, offering a sweet hint of caramel, and Coconut Mocha, which lends an island-inspired, nutty chocolate flavor.

“The public response we’ve received on our concept of “eating your coffee” has far exceeded our expectations, and we’re thrilled to be able to add two, new delicious flavors to the CoffeeBar family,” said New Grounds Food Co-Founder Ali Kothari. “We look forward to sharing our bars and helping people meet the demands of a busy lifestyle!”

Manufactured in Spokane, Washington, CoffeeBar is artfully crafted utilizing the finest all-natural ingredients, like cashews, almond butter, dates and chia seeds, all of which can be found in your pantry – not a laboratory! Boasting a combination of protein, fiber, and natural caffeine with real coffee, CoffeeBar is organic, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. New Grounds Food sources CoffeeBar’s most important ingredient, fair-trade coffee, from the non-profit organization, Chain Collaborative, which facilitates social, environmental, economic and quality-focused initiatives in coffee-dependent communities. Through this partnership, New Grounds Food is able to support members of the non-profit’s robust network, including its Vermont-based affiliate, Planting Hope, which has programs to support migrant coffee-pickers and their families in Nicaragua. If New Grounds Food sells 2.5 CoffeeBars a day, they are able to keep one more child in Nicaragua out of the fields and in school for another day. To date, the company has helped 30+ students stay in classes for an entire year.

New Grounds Food invites coffee lovers to eat their coffee and enjoy its new flavors for on-the-go energy and nutrition. CoffeeBar is available for purchase in three bar sample packs and 12 bar boxes on


10 Interesting Facts About Tea

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea. Our friends at the Food Network pulled together this great list of tea tidbits.

10 interesting facts that you might not know about tea:

1. The word tea comes from the Chinese T’e, which was the word in the Amoy dialect for the plant from which tea leaves came. In Mandarin, the word was ch’a, which is where the words char and chai are derived from.

2. Tea (except herbal teas, which are not really tea at all) is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea, green tea and oolong tea are all made from leaves plucked from the same tea bushes, but they undergo different processes to provide specific styles of beverage. Black tea is allowed to ferment, oolong is semifermented and green tea is unfermented. White tea is also unfermented and comes from the same bush, but is taken from the unopened buds of the tea bush.

3. Chinese legend tells us that Emperor Shen Nong first discovered tea in 2737 B.C., when leaves from the tea bushes fell into water his servants were boiling to purify. It was at first considered a tonic, however, and used for medicinal purposes only.

4. Tea is believed to have arrived in Europe thanks to a Portuguese Jesuit priest named Jasper de Cruz. He visited China in 1590 when Portugal was granted trading privileges with the country and was allowed to bring some of the plants he discovered with him when he returned home.

5. Until the 19th century, nearly all tea was grown in China and its major export partner was Great Britain. As trade with China became more difficult, the British began to look for other areas to cultivate tea including regions of India (Assam and Darjeeling) and Africa (Kenya) and managed to begin cultivation by illegally smuggling plants out of China. These “new” areas remain some of the biggest producers of tea to this day.

6. Not surprisingly, China is still the biggest producer of tea and supplies nearly 29 percent of the world’s total, with India coming in a close second. You may be surprised by some of the other countries in the top 10 list with Iran, Vietnam, Turkey and even Argentina making appearances.

7. Though the Chinese grows the most tea, they are not the biggest consumers. At least not per capita. That would be the United Arab Emirates, whose citizens drink nearly 14 pounds of the stuff every year, putting them ahead of Morocco and Ireland residents. We Brits come in seventh and the United States ranks a lowly 69th in the top 100. Between us all, however, we manage to drink more than three billion cups a year, making tea the second-most-consumed beverage behind water.

8. It was the American Thomas Sullivan who accidentally invented the teabag when he sent out samples in small silk pouches to customers in 1904. They did not know to empty the contents into the pot and added everything including the silk container. Sullivan saw this as an opportunity and began making ready-to-use tea bags out of gauze. Nowadays, the teabag is the by far the most popular way to make tea, with over 96 percent of the tea drunk in the United Kingdom being made in this fashion.

9. Though drinking all of the different types of tea is considered to be beneficial to one’s health, it is green tea that has the best reputation as a super food. Various studies have shown that drinking green tea may well be helpful in the fight against heart disease, certain forms of cancer and diabetes as well as a valuable tool in the battle to lower cholesterol. Although some of the findings are disputed, few doctors would disagree that a cup of green tea every day does you good.

10. The most expensive tea in the world is grown in the mountains of Ya’An in the Sichuan province of China. Workers fertilize the tea bushes using the waste from local pandas whose bodies take in only a small amount of nutrients from the food they eat. The tea costs the equivalent of around $200 for a small cup.


Irish Coffee – Not Just for St. Patrick's Day!

Irish Coffee is internationally famous and a favorite after dinner drink throughout the world. It was invented at Foynes, a small town in the West of Ireland, and compared to Irish whiskey, its history is relatively recent. 

According to the Ireland Whiskey Trail, Foynes was an airbase near Limerick, in fact it was the main airport for Flying Boats between America and Europe. By 1940, the airport was handling many passengers, including many American VIPs from the world of politics and Hollywood. Weather conditions along the West coast of Ireland can be notoriously bad, and often what was supposed to be just a stopover for refueling turned into an overnight stay.

In 1942 a new restaurant opened under the responsibility of a young Irish chef, Joe Sheridan.  Sheridan was tasked with the catering for the many important passengers passing through Foynes, hoping to present a very positive image of Ireland and its people to the world.

One winter night, in 1942, a flight left Foynes for Botwood in Newfoundland and then on to New York. After several hours of battling a storm, the pilot decided to turn back to Foynes - which was unfortunately not an unusual occurrence. As always, the restaurant was informed to prepare food and drink, as passengers would be cold and tired.

Joe Sheridan decided to prepare something special to warm the passengers up. He brewed dark, rich coffee, added in some Irish whiskey, a little brown sugar and floated freshly whipped cream on top of each cup. The story goes that there was a hushed silence as people drank this brew for the first time. "Hey Buddy," said a surprised American passenger, "is this Brazilian coffee?" "No," said Joe, "that's Irish Coffee."

The coffee was such a success that Joe made it a regular part of the menu in Foynes. Irish Coffee may never have become an international success, had the travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, not brought the recipe back to Jack Koeppler, a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco. They attempted to recreate it, but without much success. Apparently, the cool cream on top kept sinking. Undeterred, Joe Koeppler travelled to Ireland to learn the correct way to make it. As fate would have it, by 1945 the era of the Flying Boat was coming to an end and Foynes closed in order to make way for landplanes. A new airport was opened on the other side of the Shannon Estuary - Shannon International Airport. Joe Sheridan, then working in Shannon, took his famous drink to the new airport and worked there until 1952, when the Buena Vista Cafe offered him a position.  Joe is still fondly remembered in Shannon and the story of Irish Coffee is commemorated in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.


A Perfect 10!
Dunkin Donuts Names Top Brand, Again!

This month, Dunkin' Donuts marks a decade of distinction for providing guests with a superior customer experience, as the 2016 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index® recognizes Dunkin' Donuts as a top brand for consumer engagement in the out-of-home coffee category. This is the tenth consecutive year Dunkin' Donuts has earned this honor. Dunkin' Donuts also leads the packaged coffee category in customer loyalty for the fourth year in a row.  

The 20th annual national survey conducted by brand loyalty and engagement consultancy Brand Keys identifies brands that are best able to engage consumers by meeting or exceeding their expectations, which creates loyal customers. Brand Keys' Customer Loyalty Engagement Index recognizes the brands that receive the highest loyalty and engagement assessments and surpass competitors for "delighting" customers. In the coffee restaurant and packaged coffee categories, consumer preferences were based on consistently meeting customer expectations for taste, quality, service and brand value.

According to Chris Fuqua, Vice President of Dunkin' Donuts Brand Marketing & Global Consumer Insights & Product Innovation, "Our guests are loyal to Dunkin' Donuts because of the many ways we work to give them an unsurpassed guest experience. We make our entire menu available all day, and offer our guests more than 25,000 different ways to customize their favorite coffee any way they like it. We've launched digital technologies like mobile ordering and delivery that make it even more convenient for people to run on Dunkin', and we continue to grow our DD Perks Rewards program. On behalf of our dedicated Dunkin' Donuts' franchisees and crew members who consistently provide our guests with fast and friendly service all day long, we are honored to be recognized by Brand Keys for customer loyalty for the tenth year in a row."

"Dunkin' Donuts has earned a #1 ranking in customer loyalty and engagement for 10 years in a row in an increasingly competitive category. Clearly their quality products and consistent service are contributing to a recipe for long-term success," said Robert Passikoff, President of Brand Keys.

Dunkin' Donuts is America's favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, selling more than 1.9 billion cups of Hot and Iced coffee and Espresso-based beverages per year. The brand's beverage offerings include high-quality, freshly-brewed Hot and Iced Coffees, along with Espresso, Cappuccino and Lattes, and the recently introduced Macchiato. All Dunkin' Donuts menu items are always available any time of day, and guests are encouraged to customize their favorite food and beverages. Dunkin' Donuts' packaged coffee is the perfect way to enjoy the delicious taste of Dunkin' Donuts coffee at home, any time. Available in flavors such as Original Blend, Dunkin' Decaf® and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Dark Roast. Dunkin' Donuts' packaged coffee is available at participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in a 16-oz. bag.

Dunkin' Donuts continues to reward loyal customers through its DD Perks® Rewards program, achieving 4.3 million members. With DD Perks, guests already earn five points for every dollar they spend on qualifying purchases at Dunkin' Donuts when they pay using an enrolled Dunkin' Donuts Card, either plastic or via the Dunkin' Mobile® App. Once a member accrues 200 points, he or she receives a coupon for a free, any-size beverage of their choice, redeemable at participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants. DD Perks members also receive a coupon for a free, any-size beverage upon enrollment and on their birthday. To enroll in DD Perks, download the Dunkin' Mobile App or visit  To learn more about Dunkin' Donuts, visit


Tickets on sale now!

New Festival Announced!