Coffee and Tea Newsletter: May 2010
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coffee and tea festival

cup for education

Chiapas Farms
Good for You. Good for the Farmer.

Upon returning from a trip to trip to Chiapas, Mexico, Sam Fairchild, an American businessman, was compelled and inspired to help the local farmers find a market for their many products in the United States. Chiapas Farms is the direct result of this desire to fill a gap in the supply of quality produce in the United States while at the same time addressing the dire economic issues facing the agriculturally-rich but economically-disadvantaged Mexican state of Chiapas. After studying the regional economy, it became evident that living conditions would not improve until landowners and farmers could receive greater and more stable income from their farming efforts.

The state of Chiapas is one of the most marginalized states in all of Mexico, infamous for being one of the states richest in natural resources, yet with one of the poorest populations in all of Mexico. This southern state is characterized by having one of the highest rural populations, the least developed health infrastructure, the lowest levels of income and education, and the highest malnutrition rates in Mexico.

By eliminating the "middle man" and selling directly to retailers, Chiapas Farms ensures that farmers make a higher profit margin from their crops. Even a few cents per pound can improve the quality of life of the farmers, their families and their communities. They also invest in farmer education which will continually improve quality, yield and also promote responsible stewardship of our Earth.

On the opposite end of the supply chain, U.S. customers are concerned about food safety and are making healthier food choices resulting in an increased need for quality produce. Conscientious consumers are also demanding more "fair trade," "organic" and "sustainably-produced" foods.

Chiapas Farms found it could satisfy the needs of both the farmer and customer in a way that could also provide a sustainable business model (easily summed up by their tag line “Good for You. Good for the Farmer.”). Since inception, they have established themselves as the premier distributor of produce and specialty items from Mexico.

One of the products being offered by Chiapas Farms is coffee. The humid and tropical climate of Chiapas makes this region of Mexico a highly-regarded producer of quality coffee.

4 out of 5 Stars!

Café de Chiapas: Whole Bean Dark Roast, Certified Organic

Smooth and bold. A dark roast without the lingering over-roasted bitterness sometimes associated dark roast coffee. Chocolately and nutty. Just delicious! $9.15/lb

Also available: Café de Chiapas: Whole Bean Medium Roast, Certified Organic. $9.15/lb


Summer Coolers
Celebrating National Iced Tea Month

It was a scorching hot summer day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St.Louis and festival attendees were uninterested in the hot tea that Richard Blechynden was serving. Attempting to salvage the day, he poured his brewed tea over ice, and the quintessential English tradition of “taking tea” was forever changed. Crediting the “invention” of iced tea to Richard Blechynden is the subject of great debate, but all might agree that his efforts helped to popularize this most refreshing and delicious elixir.

It's cool, refreshing, good for you, and so popular that an entire month has been set aside to celebrate…summer is here and so is National Iced Tea Month. “June’s National Iced Tea Month is a good time to drink up the many benefits of tea," says Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Council of the USA. “It’s tasty, refreshing, has zero calories and is chock full of healthbenefits, so it’s a terrific beverage choice. With a multitude of research suggesting that the substances in tea may help the body maintain healthy cells and tissues, contribute to heart health and keep your weight in check, why would anyone choose to drink anything else?”

In the southern US they make sweet tea, in Thailand it is called cha yen, and in Austria the refreshing drink is called “ice” tea, rather than “iced” tea. No matter what you call it, iced tea is a satisfying and refreshing beverage enjoyed the world over.

When you home brew your iced tea you can customize it to your particular preference—some like it sweet, others unsweetened, some prefer fruit infusions like blood oranges or summer peaches, others prefer just a simple lemon wedge or sprig of mint as a garnish. If you don’t homebrew, RTD (ready to drink) teas are a convenient and delicious way to enjoy iced tea. A trip to the convenience store or local supermarket will reveal dozens of brands—each offering something to appeal to the varying tastes of today’s iced tea drinking consumer.

Iced tea fun facts:

  • The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia, by Marion Cabell Tyree. This recipe calls for green tea. In fact, most sweet tea consumed during this time period was green tea. However, during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States, leaving consumers with tea almost exclusively from British-controlled India.
  • Today, if you ask for an “Arnold Palmer” you will be served a mix of iced tea and lemonade. It is named after its creator, golf legend, Arnold Palmer.
  • “Texas tea” in the Beverly Hillbilly’s theme song refers to oil--nothing to do with tea at all.
  • In 2003 Georgia state representative John Noel tried to pass a house bill making it mandatory for all restaurants to serve sweet tea. Mr. Noel insists it was an April Fools' Day joke but admits he wouldn’t mind if it became law.
  • The famous “long island iced tea” drink doesn’t contain any tea.
  • It has been more than 100 years since Blechynden’s cool idea and iced tea remains one of the America’s most beloved beverages.


Something Is Brewing...
And It's Not Coffee Or Tea...
2010 World Beer Cup Winners: Coffee Beers

More than 642 breweries from 44 countries and 47 U.S. states competed for the 2010 World Beer Cup, sponsored by the Brewers Association. In all more than 3,000 beers were entered in 90 different beer style categories. Brewers competed for recognition from this, the largest commercial beer competition ever held.

With more than 47 entries, the winners from the Coffee Flavored Beer Category are:

Dude! Where's My Vespa?
Rock Bottom Brewery – Arlington
Arlington, VA
Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery
Boulder, CO
Morning Bear
Devils Backbone Brewing Co.
Roseland, VA

FOODIE TIP: Coffee beers make great marinades—just perfect for pork or beef—imparts great rich flavor to your meat.


Coffee Ranks Among Top 10 Items We Can’t Live Without

Earlier this month, in an eye-opening US News & World Report story, finance columnist Rick Newman showcased the top ten items Americans just can’t live without, despite the troubled economy. It seems that we are willing to give up many basic conveniences (electricity, toilet paper) but not on some “can’t live without” luxuries.

According to Newman’s story, “the grueling recession that began in 2007 has upended American priorities, with frugality now considered a virtue for the first time in decades. Despite recent upticks in spending, retail sales remain lower than they were three years ago. Sales of homes, cars, and appliances have plunged. Shoppers have cut back on toilet paper and cigarettes, once thought recession-proof. Even porn sales are down. Thrift, it seems, has no boundaries.”

10 new American essentials have emerged as must-haves “reflecting changes in American society that go far beyond penny-pinching. Food, clothing and shelter have long been the most obvious staples. But data that’s finally rolling in as the recession winds down shows that we also require a bit of entertainment and a tasty beverage or two. Companionship is as important as ever—even if it’s not human.”

• Portable computers.
• High-speed Internet access.
• Smart phones.
• Education.
• Movies.
• TV.
• Music downloads.
• Pets.
• Booze.
• Coffee

Newman writes, “Americans have cut back on the $5 daily lattes. But they’re compensating by brewing more of their own coffee. About 56 percent of American adults drink coffee, a proportion that hasn’t changed over the last few years. But a recent survey by the National Coffee Association found that 86 percent of coffee drinkers make their own at home, up from 82 percent a year earlier.”

Click here to read the whole story at US News and World Report


Who Killed the
Darling Duke of Darjeeling?

Mystery Tea Parties Brew Success for Writer

For over five years Maxine’s Mystery Tea Parties have been providing laugh filled mystery theme tea party plans to customers across the nation.

Maxine’s love for tea parties, combined with her talent for writing and acting, led her to write her first tea party mystery five years ago. “Who Killed the Darling Duke of Darjeeling?” written for seven friends was such a success that it led to a business. There are now over twelve mystery tea party plans listed on the website

Each party plan provides everything a hostess needs to host her own tea party or luncheon. Humorous scripts, invitations, name tags and place cards along with easy to follow hostess instructions are included in the plans. Every guest is a suspect. Everyone gets a chance to guess who the culprit is at the end of each party plan.

Tea Rooms across the country feature mystery tea parties as special events, and some host them on a regular basis. Individuals have fun hosting the unique parties for friends and families. Red Hat gatherings, church groups, and clubs of every sort have enjoyed the mystery party plans. They have been successfully used as fund raisers for many organizations.

The mystery party plans can be downloaded from the website or ordered to be delivered by mail in a booklet form. They can be purchased at or by calling 951-301-7218.

Save The Date!
6th Annual
Coffee & Tea Festival:
February 19-20, 2011

coffee and tea festival

Exhibitor Kits Available Now!