The other week, 60 exhibitors from around the globe were pouring samples of their finest coffees and teas at the eighth annual Coffee and Tea Festival in Manhattan.
Being a tea fanatic, I was in heaven sampling different loose leaf blends (some mixed with beer!) and fabulous honeys from Bee Raw and nearby bee farms. Guests also got to try tea-infused beauty products, buy the latest in tea accessories like this Snap N'Go clip and learn how to give back with each tea purchase thanks to Ajiri Tea.
Ajiri Tea, makes Kenyan Black Tea, and gives 100 percent of its profits to support orphan education in western Kenya. In Kenya, it is especially difficult for women to find employment. However, the word "Ajiri" means "to employ" in Swahili and the company does just that, it employs women in Africa to make their labels using banana bark, thus supporting a sustainable cycle of community employment and education. Bravo, I'll drink a cuppa to that!
Another eye opener came from Karen, the owner and queen beekeeper at Bumble Berry Farms' in Pennsylvania, who explained that honey never goes bad. She says that even once the honey starts to crystallize, just put the bottle in boiling water to liquify the honey again. Who knew? All those years I've been throwing away my honey bear bottles once they turned thick like that.
As soon as I entered the show though, I couldn't help but notice a particularly large line queuing at the Capital Teas booth. I soon figured out what the line was for though. They were mixing Beer + Tea and giving out samples. Yup, beer with tea mixed in to enhance the flavor and character of the tea. Now, your beer can be sweeter, creamier, loaded with antioxidants, less filling and with a touch of caffeine (with some varieties).
Although people have been mixing tea in their cocktails since the 1800s, this is the first time I had ever heard of such a thing with beer. This tea merchant sells beer-enhancing tea sachets just for this purpose. Available in 10 flavors, each in a convenient six-pack foil bag to preserve freshness. Simply place one tea sachet in a tall glass, fill with beer and cold brew for five minutes.You can leave the tea in your beer longer than that though for even more flavor. Alternatively, you may place a tea sachet inside a beer bottle or can.
Captial Teas recommends these perfect beer & tea pairings. One bag for each bottle or can of beer.
- Stella Artois (or other lager) + Cream Earl Grey Black
- Corona + Genmaicha
- Bud Light + Organic Monk's Blend
- Miller Light + Royal Wedding Tea
- Blue Moon + Cherry Blossom Rose Organic
- Heineken + Provence Rooibos Organic
- Red Stripe + Invigorating Mint Mate
But why stop at beer? Here are some other cocktail recipes infused with tea.
The Coffee and Tea Festival will be heading to Atlantic City next, but the date has yet to be announced.