Coffee and Tea Newsletter
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coffee and tea festival

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Counter Culture Coffee Collaborates with the Avett Brothers Band to Offer St. Jude Project Coffee

Counter Culture Coffee, the beloved North Carolina-based roaster, is offering St. Jude Project coffee, in collaboration with The Avett Brothers, to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. Through Feb. 28, $10 from the $16 purchase price of each 12-ounce bag will go to help the hospital’s lifesaving work. Stunning artwork on the coffee’s packaging—designed by the band’s banjo player Scott Avett—depicts a portrait of St. Jude with his nickname “Thaddeus” splatter painted over it. Pacific Bag donated coffee bags for the project, and Logo Label Printing provided the labels at no charge. Sales of the coffee will help St. Jude continue to lead the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. 

The relationship with St. Jude began with The Avett Brothers’ bassist Bob Crawford, whose daughter, Hallie, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. After seeking the best treatment for Hallie, Crawford and his wife were days from traveling to a special hospital in Florida when they learned from their insurance company that it would not cover her treatment. Hallie is now undergoing treatment for brain cancer at St. Jude, where no family receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing and food. Now, the Avett family, band and incredibly supportive fans work together to support and raise money for St. Jude and to help share news of the hospital’s life-changing work.

The Avett Brothers have long been fans of Counter Culture Coffee, and the two groups joined together to launch St. Jude Coffee fundraising initiative and support this very important cause.

The St. Jude Project Coffee is warming and comforting, with notes of sweet chocolate and a smooth body. The coffee was born through Counter Culture’s La Frontera project, which works directly with small-scale farmers in Northern Peru who produce exceptional, delicious organic coffees. La Frontera means “the Border,” and all of the project’s coffees are from the mountainous northernmost border area of Peru. The coffee is available on Counter Culture’s website.


Rishi Tea Debuts Special Knit-Mesh Organic & Fair Trade Certified Tea Bags

Rishi, leading international purveyor of organic and Fair Trade Certified teas, introduces its first line of specialty tea bags for retail. Rishi is first to market with an innovative knit-mesh filter bag that imparts enhanced flavor, aroma and body over standard paper or silky/nylon tea bags. Debuting at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, Rishi Tea’s organic tea bags will highlight ingredients not seen elsewhere in the tea aisle with aims to set a new standard for gourmet quality in the tea bag market.

“We’re excited to introduce tea lovers to the fullest flavors and most aromatic, rich infusions they’ve ever experienced from a tea bag,” says Beau Bernstein, Director of Marketing, Rishi Tea. This new line offers a veritably epicurean approach to organic tea that the Specialty Tea market has been missing.”
Rishi Tea offers a new filter mesh material from plant-based resources that yields a far greater extraction ratio and infusion quality than any other tea bag. Paper and even fine mesh silky bag materials are too tightly woven and act as a barrier to the tealeaves’ infusion.

“We found a looser weave structure was needed to improve the overall tea bag experience,” says Joshua Kaiser, Founder and President, Rishi Tea. "Our teas, blends and herbals carry with them the taste of origin. They also embody a culinary approach to tea so we were excited to have brought to market a specially designed knit material that actually allows for a full, true infusion of flavor and aroma without any of the sensory hindrances posed by paper or nylon mesh tea bags.”
Rishi’s new line of tea bags are available in 15 count boxes, and feature ingredients not seen anywhere else in the tea aisle, from South & South East Asian turmeric root to organic Bordeaux varietal grape skins.

“The design and intention of the special knit bag we use was inspired by the strainers inside of handheld Japanese tea pots called Kyusu. A kyusu has a fairly wide mesh at the base of the spout with ample room inside the pot for tea leaves to unfurl and yield a balanced, full infusion. Rishi’s tea bags offer that level of quality and honor the artisan methods we and the farmers we collaborate with take,” says Bernstein.

Available in February, Rishi’s 16 organic tea bag flavors (priced at $8.99) will be availalble at select retailers and specialty gourmet markets nationwide:
Organic green teas: Jade Cloud, Jasmine Green, Tropical Green, Sencha, Green Tea Mint, Matcha Super Green. Black Teas: English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Masala Chai. Pu-erh teas:  Pu-erh Bordeaux, Chocolate Cinnamon. Herbal Teas:  Blueberry Hibiscus, Pacific Peppermint, Chamomile Medley, Turmeric Ginger. White Tea:  Peach Nectar.


Best Expresso Machine in 2014: Espresso Machine Reviews and Ratings by, the product reviews company, reported earlier this week that their recommendations for the best espresso machines in 2014 have been published on their website. The espresso machine reviews were based on several aspects essential to consumers which include quality of brew and durability to mention a few.

Vince Black, the spokesman for commented, "In a few circles the question of what is best espresso maker is heavily debated, steam driven espresso machines are the standard now. Of course those that say the quality of the coffee bean is most essential, have a point that is difficult to argue, but having a quality espresso machine ensures the end product is top notch all the time".

Each year the espresso machine reviews are conducted, the editorial team at concentrates on a few key features that are essential to consumers. Following an in-depth analysis the top choice for the best espresso machine went to DeLonghi EC702 Espresso Machine. The two separate water temperature controls and the ability to use pods or fresh ground espresso are what buyers like most about the DeLonghi EC702 Espresso Machine.

To read the full reviews and to see how the best espresso machines compare to each other, please visit online at: is the top rated shopper reviews website that is centered on delivering independent reviews of products and services. The professionals at rank each product based on a group of features that are important to the consumer purchasing the product or service. delivers an experience to the consumer which makes it easy to select which product is the best purchase according to what is important to them. There are hundreds of independent reviews of consumer-based products and services available on


A Cheese Tasting with Sartori -
Includes Espresso and Chai Cheeses
by Nora Donnelly

Sartori is a fourth-generation family owned company founded in 1939. With over 100 awards, medals, and ribbons at some of the most prestigious cheese contests and competitions around the world, Sartori continues to make their cheese in Wisconsin with local family milk and a family feeling that runs throughout the company. Heck, after trying their cheeses, we want to be part of their family too!

Sartori’s Facebook page states their mission as, “At Sartori, our mission and the reason we all come to work here each day is to make the Best Cheese In The World. Measuring ourselves against the finest cheesemakers around the world, our culture revolved around the desire to make the best cheese in the world, at every facility, everyday. To continually move toward the mission is a never ending journey, and requires an intense focus on quality and execution from every team member.”  We can tell Sartori has a love for their customers and a passion for artisan cheesemaking, and we wanted to experience the best of the best.

For our cheese tasting we decided to just try the cheeses on their own instead of pairing them with any specific foods and drinks, we wanted to experience the full flavor of the cheeses and nothing else. Although I must point out, on Sartori’s website they have an extensive and detailed pairing section that I’m sure would not have disappointed.

Here are the cheeses we tasted:

SarVecchio Parmesan - the best way to describe this cheese is crumbly perfection. With hints of lightly roasted caramel, this Parmesan is America’s most highly decorated Parmesan. When we tried to slice this cheese it fell apart in crumbles leaving us to pick the crumbs off the plate, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. The flavor was strong and rich, exactly what Sartori’s finest Parmesan should be.

Espresso BellaVitano - this creamy BellaVitano is hand rubbed in freshly roasted espresso. Before we even had time to put this cheese in our mouths the delicious scent of roasted espresso filled the room. We tasted this cheese both with and without the rind and could taste the espresso flavor in both. There was also somewhat of a crunch in the cheese from the roasted espresso that gave the cheese a delightful substance. Out of our 7 tasters, this was 3 of our favorites!

Chai BellaVitano - having avid tea drinkers in our tasting group, Chai BellaVitano had a few mouths to impress. The spiciness of Chai and creaminess of the BellaVitano couldn’t be more of a compliment. We could not taste the Chai flavor as quickly as we did with the strong roasted espresso but after letting the flavor set in, the Chai BellaVitano had a great flavor. The Chai was subtle and not overwhelming; needless to say it was our tea drinkers’ favorite.

Raspberry BellaVitano/  - this creamy creation is soaked in handcrafted Raspberry Tart ale with notes of ruby-red raspberries, hazelnut and brown butter flavors. One of our tasters could not put this cheese down. The sweetness of this cheese does not hit your taste buds until after you are done chewing, perhaps not even until you are done swallowing. The sweet aftertaste adds a fine distinction to this cheese that none of the previous cheeses had. It was almost like a complex dessert or candy experience that was unforgettable.

BellaVitano Gold - we found this cheese to be the “creamiest” of them all. It literally melted in our mouths! It has a rich nutty flavor with a hint of fruits and is inspired by traditional Italian farmstead cheese.  The website describes this cheese as “an award-winning style with hints of melted butter,” and they couldn’t have said it better. This cheese really let us experience the rich flavor that BellaVitano has without the addition of espresso or raspberries, and we truly appreciated it.

The fact that none of us had anything bad to say about any of the cheeses is not because we’re writing this article, but because there was literally nothing bad to say! The Sartori cheeses that we tried were truly amazing and I must say we were impressed. We cannot wait to go to the grocery store to try more. My fist picks, the Salsa Asiago and the Mediterranean Fontina! YUM!!

Along with wedges, ¼ , ½, and whole wheels Sartori also offers 3 varieties of shaved cheese blends as well as a gift basket:

The BellaVitano Gift Basket - $65.99, feat. five 4oz wedges – Balsamic, Espresso, Black Pepper, Raspberry, and Merlot BellaVitano.

To find out where you can purchase Sartori Cheese, or more information, please visit


ITO EN Launches Bottled Coffee Line

ITO EN has been brewing tea for 40 years but the firm also knows a thing or two about coffee.  Last month the Japanese company’s Brooklyn-based subsidiary introduced a ready-to-drink Jay Street Coffee line in 16.9 fl. oz. recyclable PETE 1 bottles. The coffee, in four flavors, sells for $2.49 a bottle.

“Similar to our TEAS’ TEA and Oi Ocha brands of fresh brewed ready-to-drink tea products, we developed the Jay Street Coffee brand to leverage our expertise in fresh brewed great tasting beverages,” says Jim Hoagland, Executive V.P. of Sales and Marketing for ITO EN (North America). Hoagland notes that “the ready-to-drink coffee category is growing at almost 20% per year and we believe that the combination of our state-of-the-art technology to freshly brew on all natural, shelf stable coffee in a lightweight PETE bottle will appeal to today’s active coffee lover.”

The Mocha, Latte and Vanilla flavors are 100% Arabica fresh brewed and blended with milk from dairy herds that have not been treated with rBST. The bottles depict a landmark water tower located atop of ITO EN’s 20 Jay Street building, a historic brownstone window and an iron wrought gate. The three new bottled coffees (Mocha, Latte and Vanilla) are a healthier alternative to the calorie-rich coffees on the market today. With only 180 calories per bottle, Jay Street Coffee is strong in character, but not overly sweet.

“We are excited to be launching a locally inspired beverage that was conceptualized in our offices on Jay Street,” says Rona Tison, Sr. Vice President of Corporate Relations. “We are proud to be part of the growing community and wanted to honor Brooklyn with this fun new coffee line.”

In 1987 ITO EN acquired Shimoko and Sons, Inc. makers of Aloha Maid Tropical Fruit Drinks, a line that now includes Royal Mills canned coffee, mocha and cappuccino premium iced coffees that are shelf-stable without the use of preservatives.


Workaholics Get A New Wake-up Brew From Two Rivers Coffee

Two Rivers Coffee® has launched its new line of single-serve K-Cup® Workaholic coffee blends, brewed especially for the committed career-chaser who likes his coffee like he likes his image—urban-edgy with a bold edge. The Workaholic coffee line launch coincides with the fourth season premier of the comedy series “Workoholics,” which premiered January 22nd on Comedy Central.

Two Rivers Coffee teamed up with Comedy Central to premier both Workaholics the coffee, and “Workaholics” the sitcom simultaneously; Two Rivers’ five aptly named brew flavors include:

Take It Sleazy, a potent light roast for an extra productive morning boost.
Let’s Get Weird, a surprisingly balanced and flavorful medium roast.
Fully Torqued, a bold, dark roast to soften the woodiest awakening.
Straight Grizzly, a honey vanilla roast, this sweet blend wakes the sleeping bear in no time.
Half-Christmas Blend, an extra-bold hazelnut roast makes getting up a festive affair all year.

Two Rivers Coffee is offering a 72-count Workaholics variety pack and other variations of all five flavors for a different Joe fix each morning.

“We’re always thinking out-of-the-box, and the opportunity to create the single-serve Workaholics coffee line to coincide with the fourth season premier of Comedy Central’s hit show “Workaholics” was one we couldn’t pass up,” says Two Rivers Coffee Vice President Steven Schreiber. “This is a great brand tie-in opportunity for us, and a fitting one for the show.

The fourth season of “Workaholics” airs Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. The single-camera scripted comedy features three friends, played by series creators Blake Anderson, Adam Devine and Anders Holm, who live, work and party together in Rancho Cucamonga.

For more information on the Two Rivers Coffee “Workaholic” line of single-serve K-cup coffees, visit the product website or the Two Rivers Coffee website.


Coffee And Tea Festival Returns to NYC:
Another Sold-Out Show Expected

The 9th Annual Coffee & Tea Festival New York City will be returning to the 69th Regiment Armory on March 22nd and 23rd. The festival is open to the public and trade.  It will include over 80 exhibitors and an impressive line-up of special programs.  Over 6,000 people attended the 2013 show and the 2014 show is trending to be a sell out as well.  Some of the biggest names in coffee and tea will be serving up tastings, plus free seminars and fee-based special events, including delectable pairings, cupping technique instruction, and creating tea-infused cocktails, will be offered.

Previously featured on the Food Network’s hit show Unwrapped, the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC, is excited to bring together some of the most well-respected men and women in the industry for an educational and entertaining weekend. Thomas Shu, founding member of Specialty Tea Institute and honorary “Ambassador of Taiwan Tea” will be presenting. Canadian award-winning author and international tea taster Kevin Gascoyne will be offering up his expertise on the history of black tea. Barista Guild Member Johnny Steverson will be offering coffee enthusiasts an exclusive seminar in being able to identify specialty coffee. Cynthia Gold, tea sommelier from Boston’s L ‘Espalier, has teamed up with SerendipiTea in what promises to be an exciting tea & cheese pairing presentation for enthusiasts of all levels.  

For more information or to purchase tickets to the event, visit

Limited exhibitor spaces remain, click here to request exhibitor information.