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

cup for education

Dukale's Dream - Journey to the Birthplace of Coffee
In Select Theaters June 5

In 2009, actors Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborra-lee Furness, traveled to Ethiopia as ambassadors for World Vision Australia, one of the world's largest humanitarian aid organizations. As longtime donors, the Jackmans wanted to visit a World Vision community development project to see how rural communities were being empowered to eradicate poverty.

While in the Yirgacheffe region, Hugh met a 27 year-old coffee farmer named Dukale, working to lift his family out of poverty. Spending time on Dukale's farm, Hugh learned first-hand about the value of fair trade coffee and clean cookstove technology. By utilizing shade grown farming practices and limiting reliance on fossil fuels, Dukale was able to create a bio-farm with a zero carbon footprint and resounding health implications for his family. Additionally, his wife, Adanesh, who traditionally collected firewood for the family’s energy needs, now had time to focus on other income generating opportunities while their children pursued an education.

As a gesture of their new friendship, Dukale invited Hugh to plant some coffee seedlings on his farm -- Hugh accepted and named two trees after his own children, Oscar and Ava. Hugh was so inspired by his experience with Dukale, that he made a promise to advocate on behalf of farmers in developing countries and pledged to only drink fair trade coffee. At the end of his trip, Hugh visited the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange in Addis Ababa to see how coffee is traded on the global market. While watching the coffee prices fluctuate, Hugh found himself rooting for the prices to go up in order to benefit hard working coffee farmers.

Upon his return home to New York City, Hugh was invited to speak at United Nations Climate Week where he made an impassioned plea to world leaders to provide support for farmers like Dukale in developing countries. However, after his UN speech, Hugh still felt that there was more he could do and began talking to people in his neighborhood and at local coffee shops about the impact of fair trade coffee on the environment and the lives of the growers. He came to understand that something as simple as a cup of coffee had the potential to reduce global poverty through the choices consumers made in the United States. After sharing his newfound insights and experiences in Ethiopia with a friend in the restaurant business, Hugh decided the best way for him to have a direct impact on poverty reduction was to start a coffee company in order to trade directly with the growers. In 2011, Hugh launched Laughing Man Coffee & Tea to provide a marketplace for farmers like Dukale to sell their goods to consumers across the U.S.

Years later, the coffee trees Hugh and Dukale planted started to bear fruit. Dukale increased production on his farm, hired more local workers, and re-invested his profits to purchase additional land. Adanesh now runs a successful cafe in their village and their eldest child, Elias, is on track to become the first family member to graduate high school. Hugh’s coffee company, Laughing Man, recently partnered with one of the world's largest purchasers of fair trade coffee to distribute their products all over the world. As part of his ongoing commitment, Hugh contributes 100% of his profits to the Laughing Man Foundation, which he created to support educational programs, community development and social entrepreneurs around the world.  Click here to purchase or find out more.



Fine Wine Grape Skin Tea from The Republic of Tea

The Sonoma Teas collection represents a new concept in an herbal tea blend.  The appreciation of Sonoma County’s renowned vineyards has been previously relegated only to wine enthusiasts.  With the introduction of this new tea collection, everyone can now enjoy a refreshing beverage that showcases the best qualities and flavors from fine wine grape skins.

Free of caffeine, alcohol, and calories, Sonoma Teas are a wonderful alternative to high calorie soft drinks and sugary juices.  The fine wine grape skins used in the Sonoma Teas collection also contain antioxidants, which contribute to a diverse and healthy diet.  Similar to wine, the offerings in the Sonoma Tea collection impart unique and identifying characteristics.

Sonoma Chardonnay – Reminiscent of a vacation in a glass, Sonoma Chardonnay Iced Tea has a base of Sonoma Chardonnay fine wine grape skins infused with tropical pineapple and sweet peach notes.

Sonoma Rosé – Sonoma Rosé Iced Tea is a sophisticated sipper made from Sonoma Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc fine wine grape skins married with ripe strawberries and crisp red apples resulting in a light and floral finish.

Sonoma Cabernet – Sonoma Cabernet Iced Tea brings a festive infusion of Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon fine wine grape skins with sweet, juicy oranges and the deep berry note of black currants. Skip the wine goblet and pour into a big, tall glass to enjoy this refreshing berry blend.

In the Coffee and Tea Newsletter “test kitchen” we tried the Sonoma Rosé.  Overall, light and refreshing.  Would make a delicious thirst-quenching drink on a hot summer day—maybe serve/enjoy with a fruit garnish—pulling out the fruit flavors used in each variety to enhance the grape skins.

Sonoma Teas utilizes fine wine grape skins sourced from WholeVine, a new line of wholesome offerings with all-natural ingredients from fine wine vineyards in and around Sonoma County.  Founded by Barbara Banke of Kendall Jackson Family Estates and partner Peggy Furth, WholeVine shares The Republic of Tea’s commitment to sustainability and is dedicated to helping the fine wine industry reduce its environmental footprint by generating new uses for vineyard byproducts.

The Sonoma Teas collection is packaged in steel tins that keep the teas fresh for two years.  Each tin contains six pouches of tea that produce six quarts or 24 servings.   Priced at just $7.99, Sonoma Teas are an affordable luxury for entertaining friends and family.  In line with The Republic of Tea’s commitment to sustainability and natural materials, each tea pouch is made with unbleached fibers and do not include any unnecessary paper tags, strings or staples.  Sonoma Iced Teas are now available for purchase on


Coffee Gives Me Superpowers
An Illustrated Book about the Most Awesome Beverage on Earth - by Ryoko Iwata

“So much fun to flip delivers lots of aha moments and lots of laughs.  It proves that we should not take our coffee so seriously, but partake in it often.  This would make a great gift for the coffee addict in your life.”
–Coffee And Tea Newsletter

For coffee lovers and those who love them, Coffee Gives Me Superpowers is a fun, graphic design-centered book focused on one of the world's most addictive and beloved substances--coffee.

If coffee is the foundation of your food pyramid, then this is your book. Inspired by Ryoko Iwata's popular website, I Love Coffee (, Coffee Gives Me Superpowers is overflowing with infographics and fun, interesting facts about the most awesome beverage on earth.  The book includes the most popular pieces on the site, such as "Your Brain on Beer vs. Coffee," "10 Coffee Myths," "The Best Time of Day to Drink Coffee (According to Science)," and "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Caffeine," plus 25 percent new, original material that is available only in this book.

Ryoko Iwata is a Japanese coffee-lover living in Seattle. When she's caffeinated, she creates and writes infographics, facts, quizzes, and other fun visual stuff about coffee, and sometimes sushi, on her Web site, I Love Coffee.

$9.99.  Format: Hardcover – Nonjacketed. Dimensions: 8.3 x 8.2. ISBN: 9781449460839. Publication Date: 4/7/2015. Pages: 96.  Available at and other booksellers.

ENTER TO WIN: Visit the Coffee and Tea Festival Facebook page to enter.  Click here. No purchase necessary.  Contest ends June 5, 2015.  Winner will be randomly selected and will be announced on Facebook.  Thanks to the Coffee and Tea Festival & Andrews McMeel Publishing for sponsoring this fun contest.  


Celebrating National Iced Tea Month in June!

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 health benefits, 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?”

According to the Tea Association of the USA, approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced and over the last ten years, Ready-To-Drink Tea (RTD) has grown more than 15 fold. In 2012, Ready-To-Drink sales were conservatively estimated at $4.8 billion and this trend continues in 2013.

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.


Home Brewing: Cold Brewed Coffee

In the warmer months, many people look for an alternative to their usual hot coffee, but there are a few other benefits to cold-brewing coffee at home according to Jacqui at Small World Coffee.

First of all, it’s easy: a little measuring, a little waiting, and you’ll have a pitcher of coffee that will last for up to a week.  Secondly, and more significantly, cold-brewed coffee is much lower in acidity than traditionally brewed coffee.  This makes it an excellent alternative for coffee drinkers who are sensitive to acidity – either as a matter of personal preference, or upon the doctor’s recommendation!

With the right tools and some preparation, you can stock your fridge with cold-brewed coffee to enjoy as the summer approaches!

Tools You’ll Need:
.25 lbs. (113g) specialty coffee
40 oz. purified water
A large pitcher or vessel for storage
Coffee filters

Get Started:
Grind your coffee coarsely, for a percolator *
Mix the coffee into the water, and steep 18-24 hours in the refrigerator
Strain the steeped mixture through coffee filters, removing the grinds

This cold-brew recipe yields roughly 40 oz. of double-strength coffee extract.  Depending on your taste, you can mix it with milk, water, or serve it over ice.  If you prefer hot coffee but are seeking a cup that’s lower in acidity, you can add water and heat it for a smoother, classic cup of joe.

* Do not grind your coffee until you are ready to brew.  Grinding in advance drastically alters the freshness of the coffee, and therefore, the quality of your final cup.   If you can avoid pre-grinding, you should!


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