Showing posts with label Coffee and Tea Festival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coffee and Tea Festival. Show all posts


Coffee, Tea, and Me

A couple weekends ago I was invited back to the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival, which I've been privileged to attend now for 4 straight years. It was weird being back in the 69th Regiment Armory twice in one week for yet another food/drink event, but that wasn't going to stop me from having an awesome time.

Walking in to the armory, you're suddenly warmed by the aroma of, well mostly coffee because let's face it, tea doesn't really have that much of a standard smell. Weaving through the aisles, I found myself trying all sorts of new brews and learning a heck of a lot. As someone who goes against the norm and doesn't actually drink that much coffee, I'm constantly befuddled by all the different coffee mechanisms and varieties.

NYC Coffee and Tea Festival 2013
Our first stop was Cafe Mami, which was serving Puerto Rican coffee from a thatched roof hut! People were flocking to this booth and it took two walk-bys to finally get a taste. It was good, but honestly a bit too strong for my taste. A few tables down was Harney & Sons, which I discovered at my first ever Coffee and Tea Festival. Since then I've become a bit of a Harney & Sons nut, and my desk drawer currently holds 3 different tins of their tea -- pomegranate oolong, English breakfast, green tea with thai flavors, and white peach.

Cafe Mami Puerto Rican Coffee was mobbed!
Harney & Sons, one of my favorite tea purveyors
Two drinks in and I was already ready for some sweets. Good think Kilwins was giving away chocolate and peanut butter fudge samples!

Kilwins Fudge
The next coffee booth was my favorite of the festival. Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co., based on long island, was sampling their signature roast in two different manners, French press and Chemex. Everyone has seen a French press before, but I wasn't really sure why someone would choose one manner of brewing over another. While the coffee was the same, the sample brewed in the French press was strong and delicious. However, I then tried what was made in the Chemex and that tasted almost like pure hot water. Supposedly the filters used in the Chemex absorb most of the oils, which I guess some people like, but I know now that I'm a French press fan.

Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co.
As a honey fanatic, I was very happy to see so many honey purveyors at the festival. One of my favorites was Bumbleberry Farms Heritage Select Honeys, mostly because of their salted caramel honey sauce -- amazing stuff people!

Selection from Bumbleberry Farms
Next I tried some coconut chai from Chai Diaries and more honey from Bee Raw, which was sampling totally raw unfiltered honey (you know the white stuff that looks kind of gross but is actually super delicious).

Chai Diaries
Bee Raw Honey
Speaking of things that look weird, have you ever tried aloe drink? We likened Ralph & Charlie's pomegranate aloe drink almost to bubble tea, but rather than bubbles, smaller seed like things. As you can tell, I'm having a really hard time describing it, but it was rather refreshing. Not sure I'd drink more than a small cup though.

Ralph & Charlies Aloe Drinks
Another favorite from the festival was my sample from PRESSTEA. Instead of steeping tea with the traditional tea bag or loose leaf style, these guys actually press tea leaves to make the hot beverage a la coffee. They will be opening their first Manhattan storefront on 7th Avenue soon and I'd highly recommend you go check them out.

Vitamix demoed at the coffee and tea festival and, honestly, they stole the show regardless of having absolutely nothing to do with caffeinated drinks. We stood there for a good ten minutes watching Mr. Vitamix liquify a few vegetables to make tortilla soup (the friction from the speed of the blades actually heats whatever is inside the blender, crazy right?!). Although I couldn't reach my hand out in time for a sample, I did get a sample of the non-dairy "ice cream" he made in a matter of 30 seconds using a handful of cashews, cocoa powder, agave nectar and ice. Sorry I don't have a picture of it because it was gone in even less time than it took to make. Seriously, if I had $500 to blow, I would pick up one of these puppies. I think the mesmerized crowd that stood around me would agree.

Vitamix Demo
Our last stop was the illy booth (for a second time). Their cold bottled coffee drinks really are delicious!

illy cold bottled coffee drinks
So how was your experience at the Coffee & Tea festival? Did you make it to any of the presentations or try any of the same things I did? Did you walk out feeling like you could conquer the world and/or bounce off the walls?


Care For A Hot Beverage?

After haphazardly attending last year's NY Coffee and Tea Festival, this year at least I knew what to be excited for. In preparation, I went hungry and definitely decaffeinated.

First stop, the classroom for a lesson in entertaining with afternoon tea with expert Ellen Easton. To be honest, these breakout sessions last year were the gold mine for food samples and since this seminar was sponsored by Walker's shortbread, I was sold. I learned a couple of neat factoids in this session. Namely, did you know that when serving scones, you should put the cream on first and then the jam to best prevent everything from sliding off? Also, black tea is black because the leaves are oxidized! Ok, maybe not so exciting to everyone, but when the event volunteers brought out trays of desserts, I'm pretty sure the room was at full attention. We were each given a cute and colorful little petit fours, a Walker's shortbread cookie and an Almondina biscuit. 

Ellen Easton leading the seminar

Our plate of goodies!

When the seminar ended, I decided it was time to find some caffeine! As I toured the show, I found Harney & Sons. I discovered this brand for myself last year at this show and fell in love. Unfortunately they weren't giving away samples to take home this time, but if I were you, I'd go out and try some of their Pomegranate Oolong.

Next I tried something a bit unusual. A bright green elixir, Matcha sort of reminded me at first of Naked Juice's Green Machine. I was told that it's made from ground up tea leaves, but it's strained so you don't get any chalky-ness or grit. I'm not sure I'd want to drink it all day, but it's refreshing and with such a verdigree, how could it not be healthy?

Other highlights included Turkish coffee from the Turkish Cultural Center, mini lemon meringue pies from Bite Size Pies, Peet's coffee courtesy of the Ing Direct Cafe and catching a performance from some of the cast of Coffee the Musical - yes it actually exists!

By far the most popular place to be was at the Aroma Cafe booth. The brand new cafe with outposts in Soho and the Upper West Side was one smart cookie to book this show. People were flocking to the Aroma booth like New Yorkers in the morning to bodegas. It was mobbed. I took some time browsing their tea selection and nibbling on some chocolates before convincing myself to join the down-the-hall line for a fresh made cappuccino, latte, mocha or espresso. Even though I waited probably a good twenty minutes, I'm glad I did because that cappuccino was the best thing I had to drink throughout the entire event.

The Aroma Cafe Booth
Aroma's tea selection
The barista making my drink
Doesn't the design make you enjoy drinking it that much more?
I'm pretty sure I buzzed out of there after doing one more lap around the event space to make sure I didn't miss anything. Unfortunately I was too late to get a goody bag so I can't tell you what was in them, but they were big and probably wonderful. Next year I'll be sure to get there earlier. 

Did you go? What did you like best about the festival?


AWESOME GIVEAWAY: Coffee and Tea Festival Admission

Some say you can't be a New Yorker without some sort of caffeine addiction. Well, I have managed two and half years without one, but I do like my coffee and my tea. So I'm planning on indulging in a little caffeine goodness over President's Day weekend at the annual Coffee and Tea Festival.

Featuring purveyors and fellow hot drink fiends from all over, this festival is sure to be a blast. Last year, I sampled all sorts of goodies, which was perfect for a blustery winter weekend. It was at this festival that I became obsessed with Harney & Sons teas and scooped up a bunch of samples to take home. The schedule also includes lectures, demos and classes that are included with your admission. I remember attending a tea-infused desserts session complete with good-portioned samples for all. Lastly, the first 1,000 to attend each day will receive a goodie bag!

The event runs Saturday-Sunday February 19-20 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the 7West Event space located at 7 West 34th Street. You can buy your tickets here

Good news! I have three pairs of admission passes to giveaway to my lucky readers! You have four easy ways to enter and each comment counts as an entry. Make sure to include your email in your comments so that I can get a hold of you if you win:

1) REQUIRED - Follow this blog by clicking on the button on the right panel and leave a comment below letting me know you did so.

REQUIRED - Leave a comment below letting me know why you want to go to the Coffee and Tea Festival, who you will bring and how you heard about this contest.

3) Follow me on Twitter @yaelleah and leave a comment below letting me know you did so.

4) Tweet or blog about this event and let me know with a comment below with a link to your tweet or blog.

A winner will be chosen using on Friday 2/4. You have until Friday 2/4 at 12 p.m. EST to enter the contest. The winner must be able to attend the event on 12/19 or 12/20. Good luck!

The winners have been chosen! Congratulations Kika, Caroline and Colette! They were the 13th, 17th and 19th commenters and win two passes each to the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival. Hope you enjoy! Thanks to everyone else who entered!