Friday, April 18, 2008

Coffee & Tea Festival: Misc.

Today's post: Coffee & Tea Festival miscellanea I haven't covered already.

Cup for Education is doing some great not-for-profit work in coffee-producting regions. It reminded me of a tiny, independent version of The CHAI Project in India. Starbucks' Tazo and Mercy Corp. joined up for the CHAI Project in India, and it is currently the largest not-for-profit agency in the country. I wonder when this type of program will spread to other tea-producing regions.

Ceylon Treasures had some cool handmade elephant-covered metal tea caddies from Sri Lanka. (Due to a very strange experience with a Ganesh statue in San Francisco and my visit to India last summer, elephants are one of my very favorite animals.)

There were Himalayan Salt Crystal Lights at the Festival. They don't directly relate to coffee or tea, but I found it interesting that they were there because Urbana Cityspa & Teabar (where I used to manage the teabar and still hold events sometimes) carried them.

The Hudson Healing Wisdom School had a long line for tea leaf readings the whole time. I wish I hadn't waited for the line to die down, as I missed my chance for a reading. Oh, well. Maybe next year!

Harshita Designs had some lovely block- and screen-printed textiles with tea motifs (leaves, pots, etc.). The georgette and charmeuse were very good quality and the colors were very vibrant. (My textiles background leaves me thinking it was dyed with acid dye.)

Tay Tea's "Better than Sex" rooibos blend was a big hit again this year. With a name like that, everyone made sure to stop by and try it. Although I don't usually sweeten my tea, I was a big fan of Tay's saffron rock candy. Yum!

Tea and alcohol seemed to be matched often. Between the Coffee & Tea Infused Cocktails, Chris Cason's remarks on the future of tea drinks, and Zen Green Tea Liquor (by the Japanese company that makes Midori), it was well-represented. I'm looking forward to seeing where this trend takes us.

Tea Classics/Hancha Tea focused on Korean tea, which is much bigger on the West coast than it is here in NYC. They also put on several demos of the Korean tea ceremony. Although traditional Korean "teas" are usually tisanes (herbal), there are some fantastic Korean green teas produced in Korea. It is my hope that they will be more readily available in the US soon.

Georgia's Bakeshop (located here in NYC) had some fantastic sweets (French macaroons, mini walnut souffles, etc.). I took a few home with me, and I can't wait to visit their shop!

Harrisons & Crossfield had a variety of types of tea in both pyramid and flat bags. I was saddened to see that they are one of the (way too) many companies carrying pomegranate white tea. I am so over this trend. When will it end?!?!

SerendipiTea carried a variety of tea blends (City Harvest was a favorite, and a portion of the proceeds go to City Harvest), tea soaps, Bodum pots (I love their designs), and Amai cookies (Amai's tea/bake house just won Time Out's "Best New Tearoom" award!). Cool.

Don't forget to celebrate Earth Day over the weekend and on the 22nd. Do something more sustainable--plant something, buy organic/local, try an alternate means of transit, or . . .

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