Food & Drink

EVENT: Coffee and Tea Festival 2014 [NYC]

by Jenna Wilson

This past weekend saw the triumphant return of the 9th annual Coffee and Tea Festival in NYC. Held in the 69th Regiment Armory on Saturday and Sunday, the sold-out event brought together more than 80 local and national coffee and tea purveyors showcasing their products and serving up samples for thousands of attendees. Booths filled with different teas and coffees lined the entire Armory, along with food stands including Alchemy Creamery, a vegan ice cream shop, Moon River Bakery and Salazon Chocolate Co. offering their popular eats throughout the day.

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Some vendors incorporated impromptu demonstrations at their booths, while informational seminars occurred throughout the weekend on different coffee and tea topics. Industry experts presented seminars on a wide range of topics including coffee and tea pairings, Taiwanese Tea 101, identifying specialty coffee, and even a presentation on infusing tea into cocktails to make the perfect drink. Cynthia Gold, a tea sommelier from Boston based L’Espalier, hosted a tea and cheese pairing seminar, Jo Johnson hosted a tea and chocolate pairing talk, and Aislinn Cullen demonstrated how to pair coffee with different brewing methods, to name a few.

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Throughout the festival, coffee and tea exhibitors were intertwined allowing a mix of both as you walked through the aisles. The vendors went all out in decorating their booths in order to give a visual insight into their company and to entice the crowds to try their samples. Pounds of coffee bags lined the tables ready to be bought, while tea pots in every form stewed ready to be tried. Companies like David’s Tea showcased their flavors both in their raw form and after it was brewed to show how the flavors develop once the tea steeps. Samples of David’s newest tea, the Blue Lagoon, were available and was a crowd favorite. The tea incorporates a mix of blueberries, pineapples and lemongrass for a refreshing and unique flavor that arrived just in time for spring.

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Although most of the coffee vendors brewed their regular roast coffee, some brought their own espresso machines for small samples of espresso based drinks. Toby’s Estate, a Brooklyn based company, had their own machine set up and poured samples of cappuccinos and americanos, while also incorporating some coffee art. These lines tended to be longer since the drink takes more time to make on the spot, but it was a nice change to the regular samples of the brewed coffee.

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The booth that saw the most traffic and interest by far, had to be for HiLine Coffee, a NY based company offering a new take on coffee capsules for Nespresso machines. Which each cup individually brewed, the line for this sample went around the corner was at least 30 people deep at a time. The interest level for the company was high as many people were interested to see how they could make enjoying espresso at home much easier while still supporting a local business.

The festival packed in two days of coffee and tea samples, multiple seminars and tons of unique flavors. Don’t worry if you missed out on the two day extravaganza though, you can still get your caffeine fix when the festival hits Philly in November for another exciting weekend celebrating the best in coffee and tea.

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