Coffee and Tea Festival 2016

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My first time at the two day Coffee and Tea Festival was quite an experience. The Brooklyn Expo Center was packed with coffee and tea lovers eagerly awaiting the opportunity to sample teas and tea products from a wide array of vendors. It was a thrill to meet and imbibe with tea purists and innovators. I was able to geek out with tea legend Joseph Wesley and be dazzled by the sleek packaging and delectable teas from T2. I wasn’t able to speak with and sample every tea at the festival, but I made a damn good try. Here are some standouts.


First of all, I’m a sucker for good packaging. After speaking with the brother-in-law of the owner, I was completely drawn in by this tea company’s environmentally responsible mission.  The tea is single-sourced organic, the “tins” are made from recycled paper and the pyramid tea bags are made of 100% compostable corn silk.  I sampled the white tea. It was perfectly delicate and full bodied.

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Ippodo Tea

This company is serious about providing an authentic matcha experience. Crowds gathered as an experienced tea master repeatedly performed the Japanese tea ceremony when preparing samples of high-grade matcha.

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Dona Chai

Chai with an Upper East Side twist is the best way to describe the sleek packaging and the decadent taste of Dona Chai concentrate. The jet black apothecary styled bottle seems to more closely resemble a high end beauty serum than what I traditionally think of as tea packaging. This convenient powder is definitely for the new school of tea drinkers.

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Subtle Tea

Positioned like a craft beer company, these ice tea bottlers focus on creating exquisite taste by partnering black teas with fruit flavors. No mention of tea estates, hand picked varietals, or health benefits at this booth – just a couple of guys pouring cold tea from a beer tap. I found it to be refreshing on multiple levels.

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More thoughts from the 2016 Coffee and Tea Festival

I didn’t know what to expect at the Coffee and Tea Festival, but I was pleasantly surprised by tea vendors who were eager to converse with and educate the public not only about their brand but about tea in general.  Seeing Goliaths in the tea industry like David’s Tea sharing a booth wall with  Dandy Lion tea, a small local startup was inspiring and enlightening. The tea industry is open and beautiful and I’m excited to dive deeper into it.

To learn more about the Coffee and Tea Festival, visit

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