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- Groovy Goods -
Trading in Higher Consciousness

The genesis of The Groovy Mind came from years of political and environmental activism and the desire to find a socially responsible means of support that would enable founders Nicke Gorney and Melanie Mitzner to further their commitment to these movements while supporting their art lives.

As a screenwriter, playwright and novelist, Melanie Mitzner has focused on social and psychological issues affecting cultures around the world. In addition to being co-owner of, she is also a contributor to Wine Spectator magazine and a blogger on wine.

Nicke Gorney has had critically acclaimed shows of abstract art and politically charged mixed media and photography in museums and galleries across New York and Long Island. For 16 years, she grew and distributed organic greens to fine restaurants, health food stores and gourmet markets, raising awareness of the nutritional value and environmental safety of organically grown produce.

Together they launched The Groovy Mind, in March of 2005, to further social and economic justice through sourcing, promoting and selling the very finest organic, Fair Trade and eco-friendly products. Products that break the cycle of poverty while protecting our natural resources.

“Our backgrounds encompass organic farming and distribution, political activism and culinary and wine experience. We combined these skills so style equals substance, to show that social justice and culinary excellence are not mutually exclusive,” said Mitzner. And while they would love to see organic Fair Trade go mainstream, they understand it will take small steps to make big changes.

“People can start by becoming educated about organic Fair Trade protocol and by insisting on those products online, in the market, in restaurants and at the office,” she added.

If more businesses and restaurants convert from conventional to organic Fair Trade, it can have a huge impact. “We have begun to see much progress on this front, more green business gift giving which stimulates both the gift giver as well as the recipient,” said Gorney. “It’s also exciting to see restaurants and offices take the plunge into the delicious world of roasted-to-order organic Fair Trade coffee and seasonally harvested organic Fair Trade tea. Once they start, they can’t go back.”

During the interview with the folks at The Groovy Mind, their mission became crystal clear. “Not all organic Fair Trade products are created equal,” Mitzner passionately stated. “There’s a huge difference in quality, just like their conventional counterparts.” She deliberately stressed the importance of finding “companies completely committed to seasonally harvested organic Fair Trade and not ones just offering a few products to ride the green, socially responsible wave. Consumers and business owners should look for companies that put a value on culinary excellence and not settle for anything less.”

Those fortunate enough to have sampled the coffees and teas from The Groovy Mind know their offerings are really quite superior. Luckily for The Groovy Mind’s consumer and retail customers, “trading in higher consciousness” clearly represents the character of The Groovy Mind. It’s not just a tag line but a personal commitment.

Groovy Coffee
Fair Trade coffee from The Groovy Mind is grown exclusively by Fair Trade co-ops that offer their members many benefits: fair wages, low interest loans, housing, healthcare, education and support environmental conservation. “Our Fair Trade partners not only support their families but also protect the environment by sheltering the land for migrating birds and regional wildlife,” said Mitzner.

“We searched for the most talented master roaster with exceptional skills who would slow roast to order in small batches to caramelize the beans and lock in the flavors of the beans’ origins and terroir,” she added. offers a variety of coffee from across the globe—surely even the most sophisticated palate will find a wonderful, varied, and worthy selection from which to choose.

Groovy Tea
Fragrant and aromatic teas from The Groovy Mind are fresh, seasonal and pure. They are grown and certified organic by progressive and socially responsible tea estates—those who guarantee a fair wage to their workers while supplying exceptional, high quality teas. Included among the variety of teas are artisan and limited edition teas, like the award-winning rare white tea from the oldest organic and biodynamic tea garden in Darjeeling, Organic Silver Tips. Other great treasures include green Organic Jade Rings, Organic Emerald Flower Power, a beautiful flowering green tea.

The Groovy Mind offers tea club and coffee club memberships in addition to a delicious selection of organic and Fair Trade chocolate and wonderful organic gourmet gift boxes. For coffee and tea lovers, the Buzz Eco Java and Transcendental Tea are two exceptionally groovy gifts. Visit to learn more about their offerings and be sure to bookmark their hip one-of-a-kind gourmet gift boxes perfect for the upcoming holiday season. What a wonderful way to impact the quality of lives of people around the world!

- Afternoon Tea -
Tips, Terms and Traditions
By Ellen Easton ©2006-2008 All Rights Reserved

Afternoon Tea authority Ellen Easton answers a few frequently asked questions, as excerpted from her latest book.

Q:  What is decanted tea and what does it mean if listed on a menu?
  Because the patron never sees the actual leaves in the teapot one should never feel that the quality of the tea is lacking or that the establishment may list one type of tea and then serve another.

First and foremost, you can be rest assured that a reputable venue would never list one type of tea and then serve another brand or one of lesser quality.

The reason the teas are steeped and decanted in the kitchen pantry is to insure that the actual tea is served at the correct brewing time for each blend. The strainer is used at table side to insure that no tea leaves escaped into the pot. The teapots each accommodate at least one cup, but as many as three cups of tea. The quality of the third cup is the same as the first when served decanted.

All blends do not have the same steeping time, yet all teapots need to be brought to the table at the same time. If the tealeaves were placed into the teapot with hot water poured over the leaves and then served to the guest, by the time the tea was strained at the table many of the blends would be ruined. The tea leaves would be stewing in the pot past the correct brewing times.

Adding hot water to a teapot filled with already brewed leaves is, in fact, incorrect.  An establishment that is too lazy to serve properly brewed tea and thinks that hot water poured over brewed leaves is good enough for a guest, doesn't think very much of the guest.

One should regard their guests so highly, that a second pot of freshly brewed tea is served instead of hot water poured over stewed leaves.

It is my understanding that from the earliest ancient Chinese customs, all tea was decanted before serving. To this day Asian food establishments serve all tea decanted.

Originally, in the 1840s, when the genre of afternoon tea was created by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, tea was served with loose leaf tea in a pot, the teapot was brought over to a kettle to be filled with the hot water.  The tea steeped and then, if served correctly, the entire pot of tea was decanted, through a strainer, into a second pot, leaf free.  The decanted pot of tea could then accommodate a tea cozy to keep the tea warm. Again, if a tea cozy is placed over a pot containing leaves, the leaves will stew.

Tea leaves left in a teapot past the correct brewing time releases tannins that cause the tea to become bitter.

Due to the physical logistics of most public spaces, it is not possible to use two individual teapots tableside to decant tea from one pot into another. Therefore, an industry approved, eco -bio friendly product called the T-sac can be used to contain the lose leaf tea while brewing. When the tea is brewed, the T-sac is removed, leaving properly brewed tea in the teapot. Again, as sometimes a leaf or two can escape into the pot, a strainer is used tableside.

Yes, many five star hotels, in past times, served teapots with the leaves left in the pots. It is not the correct way to serve good tea. In fact, with past complaints so plentiful and comments so negative about the stewed leaves, it is to the credit of any venue, now dedicated to the art of tea and it's proper service, if they have taken the steps to correct past service mistakes.

Q:  What do I do with my iced teaspoon if no saucer has been placed under the glass?
  Either place the iced teaspoon on the side of another plate or ask the server or hostess to remove the spoon from the table. Never leave the spoon in the glass, especially when actually drinking your tea. Despite what one may have read or heard otherwise, even when practiced with aplomb, there is never a correct time or good excuse for bad manners.

Q:  How can a venue insure the service of warm scones?
  The second course can be passed, Russian style. This is to insure that the scones are served warm. The scones would be cold if left sitting on the top tier of a tray.

In the 1800s, due to the kitchen being far away from where afternoon tea was served, the scones were placed on the top of a three-tier tray with a heated silver warming dome. The scones were consumed after the sandwiches and savories. Today, although the tops of the trays are dome shape, as you will notice, the three tier trays no longer have the warming domes.

About the Author:
Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea:  Tips, Terms and Traditions and Good $ense For $uccess™, a consultant to leading hotels and tearooms, including The Plaza and Lady Mendl's, is a speaker and designer of related products to the hotel, food service, retail and special event industries.

Afternoon Tea:  Tips, Terms and Traditions by Ellen Easton.  Reprinted with permission.  All Rights Reserved.  Ellen Easton ©2006-2008. 

TEA TRAVELS™, Wishing You Happy TEA TRAVELS!™ and Good $ense For $uccess™ are the trade marked property of Ellen Easton/RED WAGON PRESS;(212) 722-7981.


- Special Events In NYC -

Parents and grandparents know that consideration, respect and honesty, the basic principles of etiquette, start at home.

Join Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D., of The Emily Post Institute, and tea etiquette expert Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea:  Tips, Terms and Traditions, for a two-hour interactive workshop on the gift of good manners. Dr. Senning will talk to parents about the fundamentals of etiquette and share important tips for helping children to build and maintain relationships at different ages and stages. Ms. Easton will host a lovely five course afternoon tea and share interesting information on tea and the etiquette surrounding it.

Each attendee will receive a copy of Afternoon Tea: Tips, Terms and Traditions by Ellen Easton, The Gift of Good Manners By Cindy Post Senning and Peggy Post.

Date: November 07, 2008

Location: Lady Mendl's Tearoom
56 Irving Place, New York City, NY

Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D. and Ellen Easton



Just in time for holiday family gatherings! Children aged eight to twelve will learn the basic principles behind good manners as only The Emily Post Institute can teach them.

During this interactive two-hour workshop, Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D., great-granddaughter of Emily Post, or Peggy Post, great-granddaughter-in-law of Emily Post, will discuss appropriate table and everyday manners. Tea etiquette expert Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea:  Tips, Terms and Traditions, will teach children about tea time while the children enjoy a five course afternoon tea.

Each child will receive copies of The Guide to Good Manners for Kids By Peggy Post and Cindy Post Senning; Afternoon Tea: Tips, Terms and Traditions By Ellen Easton and a certificate.

Date: November 08, 2008

Location:Lady Mendl's Tearoom
56 Irving Place, New York City, NY

Requirements: For children aged 8 - 12 years

Cindy Post Senning, Ed.D. (or Peggy Post) and Ellen Easton

For information and reservations call Dawn at (802) 860-1814 or email using the subject line:  Ellen Easton - NYC tea seminar.

Visit for more information about the Emily Post Institute.

- The Coffee Filter Turns 100 -

It was 100 years ago, in the summer of 1908, that a German housewife named Melitta Bentz created the first paper coffee filter. She wanted to remove the bitter taste she associated with boiling loose grounds and find an alternative to the popular method of using linen to brew coffee. She thought that if she could pour boiling water over the grounds, but filter them out, the bitterness would be reduced.

The story tells of her ingenuity as she punctured holes in the bottom of a brass pot, lined it with blotting paper taken from the school books of her two sons, and thus created, in principle, the first coffee filter. The Imperial Patent Office in Berlin issued a patent to protect the invention as a utility model, and after some fine-tuning, in 1912 her now famous family started producing paper filters, and later, filter bags.

Now, more than a century later, the idea born from the vision of Melitta Bentz has morphed into a product still in use today. The company, Melitta, is now run by her grandchildren and markets coffee, filters, and machines branded with her name.

5 Great Alternative Uses for Coffee Filters:

  1. Strain wine from a bottle containing a broken cork—Put a filter over a carafe or decanter and pour the wine through the filter. The filter will trap any pieces of cork that were floating in the bottle.
  2. Chip-free fine china—Use coffee filters placed between the plates and cups when you stack your good china dishes to protect them from chips and scratches.
  3. Prevent soil from draining from flowerpots—For planting or repotting, put a coffee filter at the bottom over the drainage hole, then, add the soil. This will prevent the soil from spilling from the bottom of the pot, but permits proper water drainage.
  4. Keep your kids clean when eating ice pops—Simply slide the wooden stick of a child’s favorite ice pop through a coffee filter and you’ll have happy and sticky-free kids!
  5. Clean windows and glass—Use coffee filters as an emergency substitute for paper towels. They leave no lint or residue and can fit on your hand like a mitt.


- No Ordinary Bag Lady -
At Home Tea Parties Are Her Special-Tea

Based in Bohemia, NY, the Pleasures of Tea is owned and operated by Kristine Henderson, an entrepreneur who left her job in corporate America to pursue her passion in the world of tea. While her online shop at sells a variety of premium loose leaf tea, tea ware, scone mixes, and related tea-themed products, her specialty lies in creating informative, entertaining, and enjoyable in-home tea tasting parties.

Henderson, like many other trained and certified tea experts, believes that “preparing and drinking tea is a key element in creating a lifestyle that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and improves overall well-being.” After leaving her job as a training manager, she was able to follow her passion and launched The Pleasures of Tea in 2007. Her in-home parties allow the hostess to bring friends and family together for a relaxing and wonderful tea-tasting experience where they will learn about both the benefits of drinking tea and its proper preparation.

The staff here at the Coffee And Tea Newsletter recently had the pleasure of hosting an in-office tea party and found the mid-afternoon experience to be both educational and enjoyable. We prepared three different teas that afternoon, discussing each one in detail prior to the sampling. We shared stories about our favorite teas and took pleasure in taste-testing her quality recommendations.

Henderson takes great pride in creating a wonderful tea experience for each in-home party. She works with the host/hostess in advance to select five teas for tasting and comes prepared with her brewing equipment, teapots, and teacups in tow. She comes to the party prepared to deliver an informative presentation on tea—discussing its history, varieties, and health benefits—then leads the group in a tea tasting. The hostess may also prepare some of her delicious accompaniments to add to an enjoyable afternoon or evening. To learn more or to book a party, visit

For newsletter readers who live in the New York area, you can meet Kristine Henderson at one of the tea appreciation courses she will be teaching at different locations on Long Island. In the course you’ll learn the basics of black, oolong, green, and white teas and explore various teas from India (Assam, Darjeeling), China, Taiwan, Japan, and Sri Lanka. Other topics include: what is and is not tea; healthy compounds found in tea; health benefits of tea; how to properly prepare the different varieties of tea; tea lore and legends; and more. Participants will examine the loose leaf and taste the steeped infusions of some of the most exquisite teas in the world representing each of the varieties discussed. The four-hour course is split into two two-hour sessions and will be offered at the following locations:

Bayport-Bluepoint School District
Tuesdays 10/21 & 10/28
7:00 to 9:00 PM

Islip School District
Thursdays 10/23 & 10/30
7:00 to 9:00 PM

Connetquot School District
Mondays 11/10 & 11/17
7:00 to 9:00 PM

Hauppauge School District
Wednesdays 11/12 & 11/19
7:00 to 9:00 PM

Dowling Institute, Oakdale Campus
Saturdays 11/15 & 11/22
11:00 AM to 1:00PM

For more information about the tea appreciation classes, visit


Emma Lea’s First Tea Ceremony
Written By Babette Donaldson
Illustrated by Jerianne Van Dijk

Fans of the Emma Lea series will be delighted with this new addition. In this book, the third in a series about darling Emma Lea, Emma attends a traditional English tea party at her friend Janelle's home. Janelle's family has just returned from their vacation in London where they learned the history and etiquette of afternoon tea.

On the walk home from the party, Emma Lea tries to tell her friend Sam about manners and the proper way to drink tea. Sam isn't as interested as she thought he might be.

She begins to understand when Sam invites her to his house for a Japanese tea, Chanoyu. This way of tea is like nothing Emma Lea has experienced before—she even wore a kimono to have tea with Sam and his mother. Emma and her mother enjoyed tea, matcha cookies and learned about the important role tea has played in Japanese culture before Emma learned a very important lesson—there’s more than one way to have tea, the most special of all is having tea with your best friends.

Beautifully illustrated and tenderly written, it will fast become a favorite read—and would make a delightful gift as well. Includes a recipe for matcha mint cookies.

Emma Lea's First Tea Ceremony is the third storybook in the Emma Lea Series, which includes Emma Lea's First Tea Party and Emma Lea's Magic Teapot.

About the Author & Illustrator:
Babette Donaldson is the author and creator of the Emma Lea stories. She has a BA in Creative Writing and a BFA in Ceramic Art from San Francisco State University. She received her tea certification from the Speciality Tea Institute, the educational division of The Tea Council of the United States. She is currently the director of Tea Suite, a non-profit organization supporting art education.

Jerianne Van Dijk: has been an artist for over 30 years and her award-winning illustrations have graced calendars, greeting cards, product labels, posters, and books. She lives in Northern California.

Emma Lea’s First Tea Ceremony was published by Blue Gate Books in May 2008. $16.95. Hardcover. 104 pages. 11.2” x 8.6”. ISBN 978-0-9792612-2-0. For more information about this book or the Emma Lea series, visit

- Save The Date for 2009! -
4th Annual Coffee & Tea Festival: April 18-19, 2009

coffee and tea festivalMark your calendars and join us next year,
April 18-19, 2009 for the 4th Annual Coffee & Tea Festival: NYC!

For exhibitor information & booth reservations, contact



2009 Exhibitor Info Now Available



Coming in November....
The 2008 Holiday Gift Guide.

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