Ocean Spray Launches Brew, a Superfruit Juice with Cold Brew Coffee

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., the agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 farmer families, recently introduced Ocean Spray Brew, a first-of-its kind hybrid drink made with real fruit juice and cold brew coffee. With its nearly 90-year old, iconic Ocean Spray® brand, the cooperative is relentlessly driving innovation to accelerate Ocean Spray’s evolution toward health and wellness.  The launch of Brew builds on a pipeline of innovation coming from the cooperative, bolstering its mission of connecting farms to families for a better life by delivering a new beverage that is both nutritious and provides natural energy.  Brew marks yet another expansion for Ocean Spray into a new category of coffee, and Ocean Spray will continue to drive future growth opportunities for the cooperative this year.

Ocean Spray® Brew will be available in two flavors, Cranberry Lemonade with Cold Brew Coffee and Cranberry Blueberry with Cold Brew Coffee. Brew features 100% Colombian Coffee, with each 8 oz serving containing 40 milligrams of naturally sourced caffeine from green coffee beans, which is equal to a 1/2 cup of coffee. In addition, Brew contains antioxidant vitamin C, as well as vitamin B and real fruit juice, with no added sugar, no preservatives, and no artificial flavors or colors.

“Consumers are looking for natural ways to increase their energy, and Ocean Spray® Brew provides an option to reap other health benefits while having their caffeine. We’re bringing together the benefits of both health and energy in a delicious and innovative way,” said Rizal Hamdallah, Chief Global Innovation Officer at Ocean Spray. “Brew is another example of Ocean Spray’s commitment to accelerate innovation and focus on building a health and wellness portfolio as part of our farmer-owned cooperative’s transformation.”

Ocean Spray® Brew will be on-shelf nationwide this month in Target, Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, Albertsons, Vons, and Safeway, and will continue to expand to more stores throughout the year.  www.OceanSpray.com


Well, Hello There, Lover Boy!

Loverboy is the first sparkling hard tea on the market. It is a naturally sweetened, gluten-free sparkling hard tea founded by entrepreneur and reality TV Star Kyle Cooke – best known for BRAVO TV’s Summer House.  Cooke created the brand with Co-Star and fiancé Amanda Batula, integrating the startup journey into the reality show.  Night Shift Distributing recently announced their new partnership.

Loverboy provides a hard seltzer-like product, but with higher quality ingredients and the familiar flavor of an iced tea. The craft beverage is gluten-free and keto-friendly, contains zero sugars or artificial flavors, and features a perfect balance of organic brewed tea, botanicals, and monk fruit. As consumer demand for health-conscious beverages grows, Loverboy ensures a refreshing guilt-free sipping experience in three (3) varieties: White Tea Peach, Hibiscus Pom and Lemon Iced Tea. With only 90 calories 0g sugar and 4.2 % ABV per can, drinkers can sip Loverboy all day (and night) with no regrets.

“In recent years, there has been more pressure than ever to deliver quality food and beverage experiences that simultaneously please the health-conscious consumer and cater to those with dietary goals and restrictions,” explains Kyle Cooke. “Before the introduction of hard seltzer, the alcohol industry was relatively behind in satisfying demand for those seeking a ‘better-for-you’ drink. Loverboy relieves this pent-up consumer demand with a lightly carbonated hard tea that won’t weigh you down – literally and figuratively.”

As a Manchester, MA native and MBA graduate of Babson College, Cooke is thrilled to expand Loverboy’s presence to his home market. Like Night Shift, Loverboy is a brand built on family, friendship and entrepreneurial spirit. Summer House Co-Star and fiancé Amanda Batula serves as the brand’s Creative Director, designing Loverboy’s packaging as an extension of Kyle’s personality: colorful, social and playful in nature. In Season 4 of Summer House, Co-Star Carl Radke joins the team to spearhead brand partnerships and sales.

The partnership between Loverboy and Night Shift started when Night Shift Co-Founder & President Rob Burns slid into Cooke’s direct messages on Instagram upon learning about Loverboy on the latest season of Summer House.

With the mantra “Good Times, No Regrets” Lover Boy has zero sugar, zero guilt and is only 90 calories.  It is available in 3 flavors:
Hibiscus Pom:  Organic hibiscus is steeped and brewed like a tea, paired with tangy pomegranate, and topped off with a squeeze of lime juice.  It is sweetened it with monk fruit to give you a perfect balance of flavors.
Black Tea Lemon:  Organic brewed black tea is infused with zesty lemon juice and finished with a subtle kick of ginger. It’s lightly sweetened with monk fruit to satisfy your tastebuds without the calories of sugar.
White Tea Peach:  Organic brewed white tea is perfectly paired with juicy peach and a soothing hint of lavender. It’s sweetened with monk fruit, and balanced by a touch of lemon.


Eco-Friendly Zero Carbon Coffee Delivers 10X Carbon Reduction

Zero Carbon Coffee (ZCC) announced it has signed the Climate Neutral Pledge for net-zero emissions, becoming the first coffee company to offer coffee lovers a direct way to improve sustainability. Every sale removes carbon emissions from the atmosphere – a 12 oz bag of Zero Carbon Coffee is worth 100 lb of avoided carbon. ZCC's products provide corporations, the hospitality industry, and individuals a quantifiable means to increase their environmental commitment through coffee drinking, without compromise to flavor and quality.

The Climate Neutral Pledge is the new sustainability standard for Corporations. ZCC is delivering on the pledge by purchasing carbon offsets from verified partners to plant trees, provide efficient cookstoves, and accelerate socially responsible farming practices. ZCC is the first and only coffee brand to take the pledge, joining a cohort of over 50 brands including MiiR, Allbirds, Kickstarter, and Peak Design.

Driven by their passion for coffee and sustainability, H.G. Chissell, Reuben Villagomez, and Kimberly McGrath founded ZCC to enable major consumers of coffee a direct means of reducing their carbon footprint.

H.G. Chissell has been working for years with his organization, Advanced Energy Group, to help U.S. cities achieve ambitious carbon neutrality goals by 2050. A critical metric is per capita emissions - the amount an individual generates through daily habits and consumption choices. 

"For cities to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, individuals must take action to reduce their carbon footprint," said Chissell. Villagomez, a seasoned expert in specialty coffee and roasting, saw this as a perfect inroad for an impact-focused coffee brand. "Based on my expertise in private label coffee roasting for cafe clients, I knew I wanted to launch my own, focused on creating positive change through expressive, perfectly roasted coffees," said Villagomez.

ZCC intends to become a 100% direct-trade only roaster within the first year of operation. Villagomez highlights, "We're building a network of relationships with carbon-neutral farms that produce award-winning coffees and uphold the highest standards of environmental stewardship. Many of our partners, such as Aquiares (Costa Rica) and Daterra (Brazil), are recognized internationally for their leadership in agroforestry and sustainable farming practices. ZCC's purchasing strategy ensures that producing partners can make continued investments in sustainability and quality."

McGrath said, "Addressing climate change through purchasing decisions makes strong economic sense when weighed against how resource and manufacturing costs will rise should we not act responsibly."   To learn more visit: www.zerocarboncoffee.com #wakeuptheworld


How to Make Your Own Tea Blends: 10 DIY Recipes

Simple Loose Leaf Tea Company offers some great advice and instruction for anyone who wants to try their hand at blending their own tea, creating their own signature blend.  Do you want to try something outside of the usual tea shop assortment? The folks at Simple Loose Leaf Tea Company say that making your own real tea or herbal tea blends has never been easier. Blending is not only easy, but it gives you the opportunity to experiment with flavors and create those you enjoy the most.

The benefits of blending your own tea

With only 1-2 different pure teas and herbs, flowers and spices you can create numerous blends and enjoy different tea each day. Changing only one or two ingredients can change a tea from calming to invigorating. Blending is good for enhancing the flavor of tea you don’t necessarily enjoy, but would like to drink because of the health benefits. You can find most of the ingredients for blending in health food stores or even grow your own herbs, collect flowers or dry fruit. This way you can reduce the risk of drinking tea with sweeteners or artificial flavors sometimes hidden in blends.

The Basics of Blending

Every blend uses one ingredient as a base. This is usually a pure real teas or dried herbs that connect all flavors together. Fresh flavors of mint, spearmint, lemongrass and tangy and sour lemon, hibiscus and strawberries are great for summer teas, while spices make perfect warming winter teas. Black and rooibos teas blend well with sweet ingredients, and green tea with sour, fruity and fresh ingredients.

10 DIY Recipes for Your Own Tea Blends

Simple Loose Leaf Tea Company offers 10 DIY recipes to make your own tea blend. You can use these recipes as guidelines and a starting point for blending. The amount of leaves used in recipes is enough for 2-3 infusions, depending on the recipe. Their recipes include the most common herbs, fruit and spices, for very easy blending. Every herb, fruit and spice is different, so it’s important to adjust the amounts to best suit your taste. Intensity of ingredients will depend on the type, quality, storing conditions, etc. They suggest blending small amounts and trying them first.

Rose Breakfast Blend:  Breakfast blends are usually a mix of stronger and lighter teas in the ratio that gives a recognizable breakfast tea flavor. The most common teas in breakfast blends come from India and Sri Lanka, although teas from other countries are now used as well. For the traditional Breakfast Blend, use Darjeeling and Assam tea. This tea is perfect with milk.

2 teaspoons of Darjeeling tea (Namring Estate Darjeeling)
3 teaspoons of Assam tea (Organic Assam)
½ – 1 teaspoon of rose buds
Extra tip: Add guarana powder for an extra caffeine boost.

Tropical Pu’erh:  If you want to drink pu’erh because of the benefits but don’t quite enjoy the pure flavor, you can easily create your own blend with the flavor that you like the most. Our recommendation is coconut pu’erh because it blends well with the earthly flavor of ripe pu’erh. Adjust the ratio to suit your taste. You can exclude candied fruit and add coconut only.

2 spoons of Pu’erh tea
1 teaspoon of candied pineapple
1 teaspoon of candied mango
1 teaspoon of shredded coconut
Fast blending: Blend pu’erh tea with your favorite fruit tea.

White Spice tea:  Light flavor of white tea blends well with tangy and spicy notes. Peppercorns are a great choice for adding a spicy note and dried strawberries give a tangy and sweet layer to light and delicate flavor of Bai Mu Dan. This tea contains caffeine.

2 spoons of Pai Mu Tan
½ teaspoon of peppercorns
1 teaspoon of dried strawberries
A pinch of safflower
Extra tip: Do not use flavors and herbs with a strong taste for blending with white tea.

Apple Pie Herbal tea:  Sunday dessert in a liquified form? Yes, please. Apple Pie herbal blend has rooibos as a base because of its natural sweet flavor. Besides, this dessert should be suitable for children as well, so we wanted to leave out teas with caffeine. It’s easy to blend and makes a cup of tea with a delightful sweet and lightly tangy taste.

2 spoons of Rooibos tea
1-2 teaspoon of dried apple
1 inch of cinnamon stick
½ inch of vanilla pod
Extra tip: Add white chocolate drops for a creamier and sweeter tea.

Minty Sencha:  This minty blend is great both hot and cold, but for the ultimate summer refreshment use cold brewing technique to make an iced tea. For an extra kick add some dried spearmint leaves.

1 teaspoon dried lemongrass
1 teaspoon of dried mint
2 spoons of Chinese Sencha Green
Extra tip: Add fresh cucumber to the jug or teapot when cold-brewing. Chinese sencha is better choice for blending than Japanese sencha.

Chamomile Herbal:  If you are looking for a calming tea without a caffeine that you can drink in the evening, chamomile is the best herb to use. All the herbs in this blend offer calming and soothing properties, especially for the stomach problems. This blend is best hot.

2 spoons of dried chamomile
½ teaspoon of dried licorice root
1 teaspoon of dried ginger root
Extra tip: For a more potent sleepy time tea replace ginger with valerian root.

Refreshing Hibiscus:  Crimson color and refreshing tangy and fresh taste make this herbal blend one of the best summer drinks you can blend yourself. It’s great both hot and cold.

2 spoons dried hibiscus
1 teaspoon of mint leaves
1 teaspoon of lemongrass
Extra tip: This tea is great both hot and cold.

Upgraded Earl Grey:  Earl Grey, the classical blend beloved by many tea drinkers, you can easily upgrade by adding a pinch of lavender flowers or rose petals. Be careful not to use too much flowers as they will ruin the taste. Both lavender and rose petals have a dominant scent and flavor and should be used in small amounts to add just an extra layer to your blend.

2 teaspoons of regular Earl Grey tea (or feel free to use one of the nontraditional blends and enhance them with more ingredients)
A pinch of Lavender or rose petals
Extra tip: Add safflower for an extra note.

Homemade Chai:  The beauty of chai tea is that you can customize your recipe until you get the flavor you truly enjoy. Chai is always made with a black tea base, preferably with stronger Assam tea, milk and a blend of different spices. Crush the spices in a mortar and blend with black tea.

3-5 spoons of Assam black tea
1 teaspoon of dried ginger
½ teaspoon of peppercorns
2 inches of cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of cardamom
1 teaspoon of cloves
Extra tip: Add star anise, nutmeg, cocoa shells or vanilla to your blend. Adjust the ratio of spices to black tea leaves to create lighter or stronger taste.

Herbal Chocolate: Liquid chocolate in the healthiest way will satisfy your chocolate needs, especially during rainy cool days. Use boiling water to brew Herbal Chocolate tea to melt the chocolate drops.

1 teaspoon of chocolate drops
2 spoons of pure Rooibos tea
½ – 1 inch of vanilla pod
½ teaspoons of cocoa shells
Extra tip: Turn this blend to an After Eight tea by adding a pinch of dried mint leaves. Replace rooibos with Yunnan Black tea if you want a stronger flavor and tea with caffeine. Make it in a latte style for extra creaminess.

If you decide, after looking through the article and recipes, that it is just a whole lot easier to buy tea already blended, check out the offerings from Simple Loose Leaf Tea Company


Top 5 Coffee Trends for 2020

Gourmesso, an online retailer for all your coffee needs, has put together their list of what they believe will be the top 5 coffee trends for this year.  Those, like us, who follow the industry news, read the newest reports, and peruse new blogs/articles will most likely agree with the trends outlined by the group at Gourmesso.   Here’s what to watch for in 2020.

1. More Natural Tasting Coffee
In the Western world and in emerging markets, the use of natural ingredients in the production of beverages such as coffee takes on greater importance. This aspect is considered essential for the final consumer, who perceives the product not only as a drink, but as an experience for the senses.

A combination of exotic flavors and diverse textures are associated with high product quality. So not only are coffee retailers choosing a more natural grain, but they are also playing around with flavor combinations that can enhance the user experience.

2. Bio-Friendly Coffee Alternatives 
The increase of environmental conscience in the recent years has awakened the need for coffee retailers to reduce their carbon footprint, thus implementing resources in developing technology that will help them achieve that goal.

Gourmesso is one of those companies.  Clearly an issue important to the Gourmesso team, “we feel proud to see Glorybrew, our Keurig-compatible coffee capsules, have such an amazing response within our audience due to the fact that the capsules are indeed compostable.”  They are also very proud because in our endless research we were able to produce our first compostable Nespresso machine compatible pod, which will be launched at the end of 2019.  Other coffee retailers have begun their journey in trying to develop eco-friendly coffee to the final consumer. “This is a trend we know will only grow more with time,” Gourmesso states.

3. Sustainable and Certified Coffee
By including more organic processes in the production of various varieties of coffee, a better image of the industry and greater confidence among consumers is achieved. Therefore, the requirement of certifications to ensure that it is a natural and socially and environmentally responsible product is becoming increasingly common, especially in countries in North America and Europe. Having them is an added value that influences the purchase decision of the importer and the end customer.

Note:  Gourmesso is Fairtrade certified, which means it has been produced to fair trade standards by fair trade organizations, that strive on respecting coffee producer labor and establishing fair and transparent trading partnerships.

4. Coffee Capsule Machines in More Homes and Office Spaces
With the boom that Nespresso has seen in recent years, purchasing a coffee capsule machine has become a growing trend as well. It began as a very exclusive niche, but now, it has taken the average coffee consumer market by storm, flooding office spaces and more kitchens than the plague.

Not only are these machines stylish but are very convenient for those of us who are always on the go. More and more people are joining this trend and we do not see it going anywhere but up, because the market now has so many affordable options to choose from.

Western Europe and North America are markets where these machines are most common. In fact, online sales of 'pods' in these markets are strong, because consumers can sign up for monthly plans that include capsule replenishment.

5. Coffee Consumption in Youth Grows
The best reflection of this trend can be seen in Asian countries. In China, for example, a market that has shown huge potential in the last 5 years, the main coffee consumers are among the ages between 20 and 30. This generation has been impacted by social media, specially Instagram, their preferred platform.  Among the most popular Instagram hashtags are #CoffeeLovers and #Coffee, and it would not surprise you if you saw at least one coffee cup pic a day, when you scroll through your timeline.

Also, coffee houses that congregate young people are becoming more and more popular, thus backing up this trend’s continuous growth for the upcoming year.

Keep on the lookout for these and the other possibilities for the coffee market around the world. Gourmesso hints that beauty line products which incorporate coffee as their main ingredient is a continuing trend.  “Due to its huge potential to take over a large chunk of the market,” they will continue to follow this one closely as well.  Visit Gourmesso and see all the great products they have to offer. 


How to Arrange a Tea Tasting Party

A tea tasting party is a great fun and a way to get to know different types of teas with a group of friends. Host an authentic tea tasting party by involving certain traditional elements, but add your own flair to the event.  wikiHow offers these tips for an educational and entertaining afternoon with friends.

  1. Create a theme for your tea tasting party. A tea tasting party could be a fun way to celebrate a marriage, birthday or "just because". By following a theme for your party, you can make it even more special. Suitable themes that still focus on the tasting aspect include: floral garden, Japanese, Russian, tropical, winter wonder, Southern style and Moroccan. Each of these themes could easily incorporate a range of tea varieties for tasting.
    • Fantasy themes are also a great choice. For example, if you are a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, try a “Mad Hatter” tea party for a bit of an edge.
    • The time of day may influence your theme. For example, mid- to late-morning could be brunch, mid- to late-afternoon could be an early light dinner, etc.

  2. Consider where you'll hold the tea party. During the colder months, it will have to be indoors or in the morning room/conservatory. For warmer weather, the garden provides more opportunities, from the patio to the rose garden or herb patch. If you'd rather hold the party out of your house, try renting a room in a suitable clubhouse, hotel or restaurant, keeping an eye on your budget of course.
    • Your choice of where to hold the tea party will also be determined by your ability to boil the water for tea (and keep it warm). If you hire a place, check that they'll do this for you, or provide a space for you to do it.
    • Think about whether you'll need helpers; if you're hosting and serving, it can be a bit hectic. Friends or family may be willing to do some of the organizing and tea serving with you.

  3. Send out invitations to your tea tasting party. Handwritten is nicest, it has something in keeping with the centuries-old art of tea drinking. Let guests know that this is a tea tasting party, and not just an ordinary tea party.
    • If you would like to specify any special arrangements, such as dressing up, bringing anything, etc., add this to your invitation.
    • Use your imagination for making the invitations. Anything from vintage postcards to teabags attached to a card will work well.

  4. Choose the teacups, cutlery and other accompaniments. Use your best teacups where possible––fine bone china or high-quality teacups are best. If you don't have any, visit a secondhand or thrift store and purchase an eclectic set of old but beautiful teacups. Even though they may not match, the fact that they have a history and have been chosen for their prettiness will make for a great vintage tea party theme in keeping with the tea drinking spirit. Some of the things you'll likely need include:
    • Teapots: You'll need a teapot per each type of tea.
    • Teacups: As mentioned above, the best quality you can find. For Chinese or Japanese tea tasting, you'll need to use the appropriate non-handled small teacups made in China or Japan (visit local Asian grocery stores for stock).
    • Heatproof glasses: For Moroccan mint tea or for fresh herbal teas, if serving.
    • Tea strainers: Find pretty ones in good condition, or purchase new ones (they're usually inexpensive).
    • Milk jugs, sugar pots: Choose ones of good quality.
    • Teaspoons: The prettier, the better. Polish up that silver!
    • Dainty cake or dessert plates: For the food accompanying the tea (if any).


  5. Select the tea varieties. The type of tea that you'll use will depend on the theme (if you have one) or on your own preference. It does pay to be a bit daring and throw in some tea varieties that are new to you, as you may be surprised to discover new flavors that please you and your guests. Consider offering teas from various regions and kinds to make the party extra interesting.
    • Visit a store dedicated to selling tea. Browse through the varieties on offer, chat with the salesperson about their opinions and try a few samples if possible.
    • Read about different tea varieties. You can find a lot of information in books and online, as people have devoted much time to writing about drinking tea.
    • See the brief rundown of major tea varieties set out below for more help.

  6. Organize the tea for tasting. Include a wide variety of tea, with a minimum of six tea varieties for tasting. Use tea leaves, not teabags for the best taste and impact.
    • Six different teas may be the norm for a tea tasting party, however you can go with four or even eight depending on the crowd and the amount of time. Like a wine tasting party the idea is to soak in and appreciate the tea so, while you want to provide guests with enough tea to savor, you want them to have enough gastronomical room to accompany each flavor.
    • Decide how you'll present the tea. Teas will need to be in a serving container, usually a teapot (or a thermal drink container). Display ideas might include lidded mugs (see image for concept) or bowls of tea with tea leaves on small square plates.
    • Clearly label and provide background information about each tea. In some cases, providing a bowl of the original tea leaves can be helpful for tasters to see the original tea and smell it in its dry state.
    • Using your background research on the tea you're serving, let your guests know about the tea’s origin. It can also be fun to share information about the tea's health properties, historical tidbits of interest and any other fun facts.
    • Provide each guest with a quarter cup sample of each tea.

  7. Offer food and sweeteners for tea. Although including honey or sugar may considered to be somewhat sacrilegious by some tea drinkers, it’s always a good idea to provide condiments and some food during a tea tasting party.
    • Offer nearly every kind of sweetener including artificial for diet-conscious guests. Instead of sugar or sweetener in small packets consider a bowl of sugar cubes, honey in a tiny honey pot or a bowl of sugar with a dainty spoon.
    • Have trays of small, delicate sandwiches and cookies displayed on tables. Sugar wafer cookies and scones are considered to be traditional sweets for a tea tasting party. Also, cucumber or watercress sandwiches may be a lovely addition to your party. Keep the snacks light in order to maintain focus on the main attraction––the tea.
    • Don't forget to place pitchers of ice water and glasses on each table. Even though tea is not as heavy as wine, provide enough ice water for your guests in the event they want to clean their palate.
    • Some tea drinkers enjoy a slice of lemon with their tea. Leave some slices of lemon on a pretty plate, with some dainty tongs for selecting.


  8. Hold a quick tea tasting class. For fun, instruct your guests on proper tea drinking etiquette. While you may not be having tea with the Royals, knowing proper English-influenced (or Southern-style) tea etiquette can be a fun way to host your tea tasting party.
    • Show your guests how to hold the teacup correctly. Cups with handles should be held with the thumb at the six o'clock position and the index and middle fingers at the twelve o'clock position. When tea drinkers use their pinkie it’s raised slightly in the air for balance.
    • Show your guests how to use the teaspoon. Instead of rapidly stirring your tea in a circular motion, tea drinkers should carefully move their spoon gently through the tea in a wave motion before placing the spoon on the saucer.
    • Demonstrate how to serve tea. Traditionally, tea is typically served with milk, not cream. However, in the event of a tea tasting party you should instead just serve it plain so guests can appreciate the tea’s true essence. Note that the method of serving tea changes depending on the cultural angle you're taking; for example, Japanese and Chinese tea serving ceremonies tend to be more elaborate than those of the English tea serving. Read up on the style you're planning to introduce.
    • Explain the proper way to drink tea. Proper ladies and gentlemen never slurp or chug their tea. Instead it should be delicately sipped and savored.

  9. Have guests rate the teas. Ask guests to rate the tea on small index cards. Help your guests describe the tea by providing questions on each index card such as, “what did the tea smell like, describe the color, how did the tea taste and did the smell and appearance match the flavor?” Hold a discussion at the end to see which teas rated the most highly.
    • If you like, send guests home with sample packs of the teas that they tasted during the party. If you have the time, add some notes on the tea varieties to further their knowledge.

Source: www.wikiHow.com