Caffeine fanatics once again flocked to Greenpoint this weekend. How different is this from any other weekend? Well these weren’t your normal Brooklynites/hipsters taking a stroll out for their morning cold brew; it was the annual Coffee and Tea Festival! Just like last-year it was tea-lover’s heaven (sorry coffee lovers)! Now before the coffee Nazis come at me, don’t get me wrong I love a nice cold brew on a hot summer day, but the rest of the year, I’m partial to the tea leaf brews!
While I stopped by my favorite tea vendors (David’s Tea, Harney & Sons, teapigs., and MissTea), there were a few new-comers I tried out:
1. Ippodo Tea
Of the many matcha served, by far the best was from Ippodo Tea. The specialist in Japanese green tea, they were whisking fresh samples of matcha using traditional bamboo spoon, whisk and ladle. Matcha is finely ground green tea leaves, with a smoother caffeine curve than coffee---no caffeine jitters here! It has a slighty bitter taste, but its earthy notes warm you up. Speaking of warming up, they also served a roasted green tea--Iribancha (Kyobancha)! Yup, roasted green tea leaves gave the green tea a uniquely smoky flavor.
Before you turn your nose at the latest food, hipster drink, give this “mushroom tea” a try first. For those who don’t know, kombucha is a fermented drink, made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. I am a total skeptic in foods with health claims, especially kombucha. It claims all the following health benefits: probiotic for gut health, aid digestion, anti-cancer, full of B-Vitamins, and the list goes on and on. Despite all these health claims, there is no sufficient evidence to prove these benefits. In fact there are some studies that prove it may be harmful for elderly or individuals with compromised immune systems. Nevertheless, I will say I like the taste. Its bubbly, slightly acidic flavor is a break from plain water. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t drink anything other than water and tea, it gives me a bubbly option. I especially loved the ginger & lemon, cayenne cleanse and the apple—perfectly crisp and effervescent on the tongue!
If Leslie Knope existed in real life, I would be her. (Re: Parks and Rec for those who don’t know this great woman!) My love for waffles even rivals Miss Knope’s! But I digress. Waffatopia was a new vendor, serving packaged liege waffles. A traditional Belgian waffle, but not the fluffy type we are familiar with. Instead of a batter, the liege waffle is a yeast risen dough with pearl sugar which provides a beautifully caramelized crust. I bought every flavor. But my favorite was the Maple Bacon—gotta love that salty sweet!
4. Owl’s Brew—White and Vine
You already know I love Owl's Brew (re: Coffee & Tea Festival 2015 when I first met them!) tea mixers for cocktails! They are freshly brewed and ready to pour, just mix with your favorite liquor, beer, wine or seltzer and you're good to go! Its my favorite for dinner parties, really impresses the guests! Owl's Brew came out with a new flavor White & Vine and I am loving it! Fresh white tea with pomegranate, lemon and watermelon juice. A perfect reminder that spring is here and summer is on its way!