Coffee or Tea, Anyone?

BY: PAMELA STERN

On March 10th and 11th, the scents and aromas that came out of the Brooklyn Expo Center were amazing! People came from all over to experience the Coffee & Tea Festival.

This festival may have been called the Coffee & Tea but, there was so much more. There were stands handing out varieties of facial scrubs to try, waffles, ice cream, chips with a variety of hot sauces, bread with tomato garlic oil, homemade honey to go with the varieties of tea of course and all sorts of coffee from hot coffee to ice coffee!

Kayanna D (from Bedsty) was invited to come to this festival by her friend, Elyssa Garcia ( from Manhattan). They came to the Coffee and Tea Festival and could not wait to try all of the types of tea. Elyssa faithfully comes every year to this and enjoys trying the different types and varieties of tea. “I also came to support my friends who are here today with their company, Brooklyn Tea.” Kayanna usually likes to indulge in matcha tea and green tea and could not wait to visit the different stands and drink some new types of tea.

Jamila McGill and Alfonso Wright are the owners of Brooklyn Tea, which has been out for about a year now. How and why did they decide to create their own company? “Alfonso started serving tea to his mom when he was three years old,” said McGill. This couple decided instead of going bar hoping, they would go tea hoping. “This is how we started to critique different types of tea. We then decided to start making our own tea,” said McGill.

Among the exhibitors was Wise Ape Tea Company, who introduced two of their new tea blends at this festival, Orange Dreamsicle and Coconut Warrior. Orange Dreamsicle is a blend of orange and cream tea and Coconut Warrior is a coconut turmeric anti-inflammatory tea.

Wise Ape Tea believes in giving back and ten percent of the profits from each of these new tea blends is donated to an organization (Wise Ape’s “Chocolate Hustle’s ten percent goes to the National Brain Tumor Society; Orange Dreamsicle’s ten percent goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; and Coconut Warrior’s ten percent goes to the Warrior Angels Foundation). This shows how Wise Ape Tea contributes to three different non-profit organizations.

There were many different types of exhibitors, BAI who makes tea and water graciously gave out cans of their Sparking Antioxidant Infusion Gimbi Pink Grapefruit, Super Coffee handed out samples of their ice-cold coffee, Teatulia showcased their organic teas, Bee Raw not only had samples of tea but also a variety of honey to go with the delicious tea. One of the exhibitors was The Catcher in the Tea, this is a cool item to have for those tea aficionados, it is a TEATRAP which is recyclable and disposable receptacle that attaches to the tea drinkers cup which holds the used teabag until it is ready to be discarded or reused.

My personal three favorite teas were: Tea Industries (hot tea), Teavana (ice tea) and by far my favorite was PeKant Pear tea (ice tea). Each of these had very different distinct tastes, perhaps it was the variety of flavors.

Jessica Grusz and Jessica Colmenarez came from New Jersey to attend this festival for the first time. “I am a huge coffee aficionado and I also like tea. I came here today to try the different types of coffee,” said Grusz. Not knowing what to expect she got to try so many different types of coffee. “This was so much fun! I didn’t realize that there is so much that you can do with coffee,” exclaimed Colmenarez. Both agreed that Sail Away Coffee Co. was their favorite. Sail Away is a cold brewed coffee. While trying the different types of coffee and teas, there was also food to purchase, there were cookies, donuts, and sandwiches.

Photo by Pamela Stern