The Sixth Annual Coffee & Tea Festival Steamed Up Success
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 04:02 PM | Bonnie Gleicher
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Last Saturday, Joonbug's cup runneth over with coffee, tea, and juices; our hands and tummies filled with salted chocolate and flavored honey samples. It was a very good day.

Featuring such esteemed companies as Aroma, Tavalon, Peet's Coffee & Tea, and Honest Tea, this year's festival attracted hordes of people, all reaching for that tantalizing taste of some of the top beverage brands nationwide.

Competition brewed in the next room at the Ultimate Barista Challenge; before a panel of judges and an audience, contestants attempted to beat the clock while creating and stirring caffeinated concoctions. Two rooms over, lecturers discussed the origins of various teas, the tradition of Afternoon Tea, and the art of home roasting.

Surprisingly, the most memorable aspect of the festival's offerings was not the coffee and tea, but rather the assortment of treats and alternative beverages that were also featured. See below for the festival's biggest hits:

  • The Chocolate Nation: Joonbug's favorite, this online company sells domestic and artisanal chocolate made by 22 chocolatiers nationwide- and it's absolutely delicious. Just a tiny square of the truffle fudge with french sea salt will transport you to a Parisian seaside town, with an umbrella, lemonade and a two-piece suit. But who wants just one tiny square? Order more at http://www.thechocolatenation.com.
  • Honest Tea's Moroccan Mint Green Tea: This drink is the answer to your summer thirst. With its robust mint chill and restorative green tea taste, this low-calorie tea replenishes and satisfies long after that last sip.
  • Ralph & Charlies: Want a juice that's irresistibly fresh, healthy and actually contains real fruit? Take just one look at Ralph & Charlie's pulpy juices and you know this is simply authentic. Choose from nine flavors, such as carrot juice, carrot cranberry, and ruby red grapefruit and pomegranate and you're guaranteed to be refreshed and vitamin and fiber-fueled, all day long. Available at Fairway, Whole Foods and various other distributors. http://ralphandcharlies.com
  • Tay's "Better than Sex"-flavored Tea: An amber-colored vanilla rooibos tea, this drink was uniquely infused with peppermint and bits of dark chocolate. With its chocolate aftertaste and lingering peppermint chill, the question of whether it lives up to its name is still up for debate.www.taytea.com
  • Red Bee Honey: If your sweet tooth constantly wrestles with its healthy counterpart, then this artisanal honey company is your only solution. Red Bee's harvest honeys come from unique nectar sources, such as pumpkin patches and fields of juicy blackberries. This revolutionary approach yields such tantalizingly unique flavors as wild raspberry, apple blossom, pumpkin blossom and even alfalfa. Honey-infused skin products are also available. Visit the homepage to order.

See you at next year's festival!

Tags: Daily Bites, honey, healthy, joonbug, culinary, first course, new york, tea, coffee, caffeine, juice, chocolate, aroma, tavalon, peet's s coffee and tea, honest tea, ultimate barista challenge, the chocolate nation, honest tea's moroccan mint green tea, ralph & charlies, red bee honey, coffee and tea festival, Tay tea, flavor