This weekend Greenpoint was flocked by hundreds of people waiting to get into the Brooklyn Expo Center for their caffeine fix. This wasn’t a popular coffee shop, it was the long-awaited Coffee and Tea Festival celebrating its 10th Anniversary showcasing over 60 tea and coffee exhibitors from across the country and world!
Now for New Yorkers, many of whom have caffeine coursing through their veins at any given time of the day, this was a coffee and tea fanatic’s dream! While there were a handful of coffee companies representing (like the cold-brew Wandering Bear Coffee and endless flavored coffee from NY Gourmet Coffee), teas were still the majority brewing! There were standard offerings, your black teas, green teas and white teas, there were a lot of beautiful herbal tea infusions, matcha, chai blends and some pretty innovative coffee-tea hybrids!
Blooming Tea at Waterfall Teas
Matcha at Teapigs
Tibetan Tea from SerendipiTEA
Organic Tea Satchels from Bare Tea Co
Some of the innovative and beautiful displays were of the blooming teas (intricately hand packed and tied loose teas that little bloom and unravel in a pot of hot water) of Waterfall Tea, offered samples (flavors: lychee, mango, guava and peach) which were delicately sweet and fresh. Another stand out were the companies offering matcha tea lattes (matcha is finely ground green tea leaves), which have steadily rising as the newest super-tea “chai latte.” Teapigs and Bare Tea Company (who also offer gorgeous organic tea sachets—favorite was the apple meadow!) offered bright green lattes with steamed milk that is slightly sweet and filled with antioxidants! A perfect shot of pastel green to welcome spring (despite the snow-filled actual first day of Spring last Friday March 20th!) One stand-out was the pu erh tea (aged. compressed, black tea) from SerendipiTEA, offering an authentic Tibetan tea recipe using milk, salt and butter. Incredibly warming inside and out, Sunam made with her family (interestingly said her family would drink this with salty foods to cut through the salt!)
While these match lattes have been on trend lately, the chai latte isn’t going anywhere. There was an overwhelming number of companies offering their own blend of chai, some who are local—mixing up spices and tea right here in Brooklyn! Chai Mookie offered a simple brew of just spices (no tea!) rich with black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and fennel! They do also have chai blends of their spices and teas! Dona Chai is another chai blender right here in Brooklyn, although offering a chai tea concentrate ready to milk with milk at your leisure! The cold-pressed handcrafted batch uses fresh ginger, vanilla bean, cinnamon, green cardamom, black peppercorns, loose-leaf black tea and lightly sweetened with sugar and a touch of molasses!
Some interesting innovative coffee were represented as well! Tavern on the Green Café International touted offering “The World’ Healthiest Coffee” with their Tavern Columbian Reishi Arabica Coffee, which harnesses the immune-boosting powers (beta glucans) from the ancient Asian Reishi Mushroom and infuses it into the coffee beans. The result: a naturally sweet, not bitter cup fresh from the pot! While I am not promoting the health benefits or claims, this was an interesting cup of coffee! Javazen offers a blend for both coffee and tea-lovers (like myself!) One of their classic blends include organic coffee, cacao nibs and green tea! But decaf-ers don’t fret, they also have a decaf blend with rooibos tea, goji berries, honeybush tea and vanilla!
But tea and coffee isn’t only for morning and stress relief! A handful of vendors offered tea infusions for cocktails! The popular Owl’s Brew (located right here in Manhattan) serves tea mixers crafted for cocktails! Freshly brewed with real, whole spices, fruits and herbs, they go perfectly with all spirits, wine and beer! The Pink and Black (a blend of Darjeeling black tea, hibiscus, lemon peel, strawberry and agave) with bourbon got me hooked!
Surprisingly the coffee and tea haven did not put me in a state of coffee-overload! It did leave me in a state of duress trying to pick my favorites! Stay tuned for my top coffee and tea picks!
Although I did have a non-tea/coffee pick for honey! From Taste Artisanal Market, one of their locally infused honeys from Pennsylvania: Calabrian Chile Honey, sweet earthy honey has a subtle kick from the chile. The Spiced Chai Honey had great warmth too!