I stopped by for some tea (not the shady kind) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at the 12th annual Coffee and Tea Festival. Caffeine addicts from across the city swarmed the Brooklyn Expo Center to have the finest tea and coffee from over 75 industry pros and pioneers. I've been going to the festival for the last 3 years and am always pleasantly surprised that I never get tired (*pun intended) of the exhibitors.
While you always have your major players (the Capital Teas, Harney & Sons, Teapigs, Wandering Bear Coffee and Cafe Grumpy) but there are always the new kids on the block that want to strut their stuff. Full disclosure, I am partial to a cuppa tea than a cup of joe. Here are some that got me hooked:
1. Craft Tea Guy
The Craft Tea Guy's booth had such a relaxing, chill vibe; turns out so do their teas! Born from alternative hangouts where Mike, the tea guy, would put on a warm record and brew a tea and herb blend from his latest travels around the world. Craft Tea has a way of blending roots, wild shrubs, herbs, and teas like kava kava, damiana, holy basil, hibiscus, jasmine pearls, and chamomile. My favorite was Graffi-Tea and a cold brew of Class Cat. While each tea blend is an art piece in itself, each tin is designed by quirky, taleneted illustrators and artists!
2. Turmeric Teas
Turmeric Teas is a Toronto-based tea company specializing in organic, loose leaf tea with turmeric root. Turmeric has been one of the hottest superfoods in the last few years, but has been a staple in South Asian cuisines and home remedies. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which has been studied and found to have anti-inflammatory benefits, aids in your body's natural liver detox system, can improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and may protect against chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. They have 4 turmeric blends that energize, relax, cool off, or warm up. My favorites were the warming Winter (Ginger Tea with Turmeric) and cleansing/calming Dusk (Lemongrass Tea with Turmeric)
3. Bee Raw Honey
Though not a coffee or tea, honey is tea's best friend! Bee Raw Honey had an array of tall, clear cylindrical 1960s-esque jars of raw, unfiltered, single varietal regional honey. Showcasing distinct flavors of each region and wild floral sources, there is a honey for everyone. My personal favs were the Colorado Sweet Yellow Clover and California Sage Honey. Check out their website for their favorite coffee and honey pairing sets too!
4. Zest Tea
Love the quality of a tea and the energizing boost from coffee? Well Zest Tea is absolutely for you! Zest Tea has managed to isolate caffeine and add it to your favorite tea blends to deliver to same flavor of a tea bag with as much caffeine as a cup of joe! I just want to fall into a bed of the Blue Lady full of black tea, orange, lemon and hibiscus!
5. Organic Pumpkin Seedmilk by Jnana Organics I have a nut allergy, so I am always ready to try nut-free, dairy alternatives. To my surprise, pumpkin seedmilk was a milk I didn't know I was missing! It has a very mild nut-like flavor with a creamy texture, but is also a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and antioxidants zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, and Vitamin E! Stop by your local Irving Farm Coffee Roasters on your next caffeine run!