JULY 2020


Trending: Virtual Events

While many of us are still working from home and sheltering in place due to COVID19, most of us would agree that we’ve almost exhausted all the binge-worthy tv shows on our must-watch list and are looking for something fun to do, things that bring us joy and keep us safe.  The answer:  virtual tastings and educational seminars.  The producers of the Coffee and Tea Festival have pivoted from live tasting events to creating a fantastic online series of events.

As virtual events become the “norm”, we’re seeing them pop up and offer a variety of options celebrating a variety of topics.  Here are our picks, a few of the upcoming virtual events being produced by the team at the Coffee and Tea Festival.  The first few events, held earlier this month, exceeded expectations and were thoroughly enjoyed by all. 

6/28 Gaiwan Brewing: Mastering the Technique, hosted by Mansa Tea

7/19 Historic Tea Tasting: Experience the Essence of England, hosted by Michael Harney from Harney & Sons

7/26 Black Tea Guided Tasting, hosted by Brooklyn Tea


CLICK HERE for more details on these virtual events and to stay up-to-date by checking the constantly updating list for more virtual events.


Devils River Whiskey Adds Cold Brew Blend To Wake Up Your Spirit

Devils River Whiskey, maker of premium small batch whiskeys, launches Devils River Coffee Bourbon Whiskey, a San Francisco World Spirits Competition Gold Medal winner and a rich, smoky addition to their family of whiskies.

When it comes to popular drinks, coffee and whiskey score pretty high up on the list. So what do you get when you combine them in one bottle? A heavenly fusion of flavors and the makings of an instant classic.

"We believe coffee and whiskey are natural companions. Both have intense character and intricate processes," says Mike Cameron, co-founder and Distiller of Devils River Whiskey. "We decided to take on the challenge of marrying these two beverages into one sinfully smooth whiskey. With our emphasis on quality and technique, they're a match made in bourbon whiskey heaven."

The Texas based team chose a local San Antonio coffee roastery with standards to match its own meticulous distilling process. All of the beans are "fair trade" and come responsibly sourced from Columbia, Brazil and Honduras.

"After trying a variety of roasting styles, we found that the dark Vienna Roast best compliments our whiskey, adding another layer to its deep flavor profile," states Cameron. "The Vienna Roast is the most difficult roast to achieve on a consistent basis, so of course we had to take on the challenge. Besides being darker, richer and more aromatic, this blend has a full body that features caramel, citrus and berry notes with a rich, satisfying finish."

But the team at Devils Whiskey didn't stop there. To further enhance the flavor of their Coffee Bourbon, they opted for a cold brew process. "During our research we discovered hot brewing forces the flavor from the bean, but cold brew likes to take its own sweet time," says Devils River Whiskey Vice President of Marketing, Eric Hundelt. "We steep our Devils River Bourbon with the dark roasted Vienna coffee beans for at least 24 hours at a low temperature to bring out the smooth, sweet flavor cold brew coffees are known for."

As if adding a jolt of java to a world-class whiskey isn't enough, the Coffee Bourbon is then naturally infused with 100% blue weber agave nectar to mellow the finish and add a touch of sweetness. The result: a perfectly balanced, premium drinking experience.

Already awarded Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this Coffee Bourbon can be enjoyed like any traditional whiskey – neat, on the rocks or in your favorite cocktail.  Because Devils River is a high rye bourbon, the coffee flavor is perfectly balanced by the spicy notes in our whiskey. The natural oils from the dark roasted coffee beans give our whiskey a creamy mouthfeel.

"The gold medal our Coffee Bourbon won at this year's San Francisco World Spirits Competition was a great honor to receive prior to the launch of this expression," says John Potts, Devils River Whiskey Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "It supported the hundreds of hours of research, planning and work that went into making this idea a reality."

At 80-proof, you can enjoy Devils River Coffee Bourbon Whiskey like any traditional whiskey: neat, on the rocks or in your favorite cocktail. Natural oils from the dark roasted beans provide a creamy mouthfeel, while touches of dark chocolate and spice permeate its understated coffee flavor. Soft on the palate, this high rye bourbon has a warm, soothing and perfectly balanced finish.

Its subtle coffee aroma balanced with caramel, smoke and a touch of fruit, makes Devils River Coffee Bourbon Whiskey a great cocktail companion. Here are a few great recipes!

Click here for more delicious recipes.  Devils River Whiskey is now available in the following 29 states: TX, CA, LA, OK, AR, CO, NE, KS, MO, WI, IL, IN, KY, TN, GA, SC, FL, MD, ME, NJ, RI, MA, NY, CT, AL, NC, PA, DC, and NV.


Sweet-Hart Deal!

Superstar comedian Kevin Hart is investing in Detroit beverage maker Nailah Ellis and Ellis Island Tea.  Ellis Island Tea is an all-natural beverage, handcrafted from a recipe inspired by Ellis’s Jamaican great-grandfather, who came to America through Ellis Island more than 100 years ago. Made with real herbs, including hibiscus, Ellis Island Tea is rich, red, smooth and flavorful.

The story always matters to Hart. An artist and an author, Hart knows an audience looks for truth and a way to connect. So, when Ellis introduced him to her family tea, he was intrigued.

The tea’s history and Ellis’s own backstory of starting with nothing at the age of 20, brewing tea in her mother’s kitchen and selling it from the trunk of her car around Detroit resonated with Hart. Hart’s own story is one of resilience and perseverance – working small clubs and honing his craft for years before becoming a bankable star who commands $10 million-plus a movie.

“There were a lot of people pulling for Nailah,” said Hart, who was impressed by the Detroiter’s determination and hustle. “Her name just kept coming up and coming across my radar. So, I figured there had to be something to it.”

Ellis won BET’s Queen Boss business competition and her company’s growth has been chronicled in national media, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, MSNBC, The Financial Times, The Root 100 and Black Enterprise. Accolades and awards have poured in, but Ellis has always focused on building a business that endures.

Today, Ellis has her own Detroit beverage production facility and is the largest Black female beverage manufacturer in the United States. Her tea is an emerging national brand sold by retail giants Sam’s Club and Costco and airport concessioners across the country.

Hart’s investment comes at a critical time – Ellis Island Tea will be rolling out in Walmart this month and will soon debut in Target and CVS. With Hart’s backing, sleek new packaging, competitive pricing, and new e-commerce options, Ellis expects rapid growth.

Ellis has always given a nod to the man who inspired the recipe for Ellis Island Tea – her Jamaican Great-Grandfather Cyril Byron.  “Cyril’s story is one of a true risk taker. He came here with nothing but his dreams,” Ellis said. “He went on to become a head chef on Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line and then the owner of Byron Caterers, one of the most successful Black-owned catering businesses in the Bronx.”    

Cyril was an optimist, an activist, an entrepreneur and a pragmatist, she said. When he passed down his tea recipe for future generations, Cyril said ‘This recipe is to be sold, not told.’

Hart also is a big believer in building for the future. The soon-to-be father of four has said that “You’re supposed to set up for the next generation…if you’re not doing that, you’re not doing your part.”

Ellis takes that seriously as well. She is building upon the dreams of her ancestors, hoping to pass on a legacy to her two young daughters. She’s also proud to be providing jobs for Detroiters like herself.  “We all need opportunity,” she said. “I’ve been given mine and now I’m paying it forward and providing that for others.”  www.ellisislandtea.com


Dunkin' JOY Run to Support Health and Hunger Relief for Children

At a time when many people are seeking fun, new ways to stay in touch with friends and family and stay active, the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation today announced its first-ever Dunkin' JOY Run. The virtual program kicks off on August 1 and invites Dunkin' fans across the country to run or walk throughout the month of August. All funds raised for the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation through the Dunkin' JOY Run will be directed to health and hunger organizations supporting children in underserved communities.

Founded in 2006, the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 organization powered by Dunkin’ and the generosity of our franchisees, partners, employees and guests. Their mission is to provide the simple joys of childhood to kids battling hunger or illness.

Beginning today, runners and walkers can register to participate in the Dunkin' JOY Run at www.bringjoy.org. Participants who register at the Dunkin' Runner level will receive a Dunkin' JOY Run t-shirt, as well as the opportunity to see their picture displayed on one of Dunkin's hometown billboards in Boston this year. Additionally, the first 50 registrants will receive Dunkin' inspired good sunglasses and the first 1,000 registrants will receive a virtual swag bag with coupons from Saucony, Crocs and BARK. All registrants will receive digital photo filters and gifs so they can share their progress on social media during the month.

Dunkin' JOY Run participants can fundraise to support the Foundation and receive incentives for their fundraising achievements, with no minimum fundraising requirement to participate. Participants can create a personal fundraising page and fundraise as individuals, join a team, or start a team. As they hit fundraising levels, participants will become eligible to receive Dunkin' shoelaces, hats, coffee mugs and sweatshirts – with the top fundraising individual receiving free coffee for a year donated by Dunkin'.

"While America runs on Dunkin', this virtual race is a way to keep America runnin', all for a good cause," said Kari McHugh, Executive Director of the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation. "This year has been unlike any other and has only strengthened our commitment to the communities and families we serve. We're looking forward to getting out there and running to raise funds for health and hunger relief for children in underserved communities."

During registration, runners and walkers can choose a running club and set a mileage goal based on their level of commitment.

Dunkin' Runner ($65): For runners or walkers who set a goal of completing 100 miles in the month of August. This group will be eligible for incentives as they hit fundraising and mileage goals.

Original Brew Crew ($35): For people of all abilities. This group is eligible for fundraising incentives.

Munchkins® Milers ($10): For younger walkers and runners.

To learn more about the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation, and find additional details about the Dunkin' JOY Run, visit www.bringjoy.org.


How to Do Cold Brew at Home

Ask any mom of school-aged children for their recipe for cold brewed coffee and they would probably unanimously say, oh it’s easy...

A Mom’s Cold Brew Coffee Recipe: 
Step 1:  Have Kids
Step 2:  Make Coffee
Step 3:  Forget You Made Coffee
Step 4:  Drink it Cold

… that’s not really how it’s done, but making delicious iced coffee at home is pretty easy.  Just ask the pros at the Food Network who offer these simple instructions.

Especially if you get your joe at a coffee shop, you're bound to rack up quite the tab for your daily fix of the good stuff.  Luckily, it's easy to make iced coffee at home, proving that "cold-brew" is more than just another buzzword; it's actually the best way to get your refreshing caffeine buzz, as long as you have a little patience.  To achieve the smoothest, least acidic (and best) iced coffee at home, go the cold-brew at home route.

Steps for perfect cold-brew iced coffee (serves 2):

1. Stir 1 cup medium-grind coffee and 1 1/2 cups room-temperature water in a bowl.
2. Cover and let sit for 12 to 24 hours.
3. Stir, then strain through a mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter (it might drip for up to an hour). 
4. To serve, mix the coffee concentrate with an equal amount of cold water or milk over ice. Or refrigerate the concentrate for up to 3 days.


Dirty Chai: Take a Sip of This Hot New Beverage

Our favorite cuppa never ceases to evolve. Talking of the latest, India’s much-loved beverage, tea, gets a ‘dirty’ twist. #DirtyChai has been trending on social media lately, with tea addicts relishing yet another avatar of their caffeine fix. Joyeeta Chakravorty from The Times of India recently reported on this new trend and offers this information and instructions for making your dirty chai at home.

“I would describe ‘dirty chai’ as a combination of tea and coffee, ensuring a goodness of both. It can work wonders in terms of keeping one relaxed through a hectic day,” says Sandeep Kalra, Executive Chef at a hotel in Bengaluru. This chai is said to bring in the goodness of both worlds in your cup, with a dash of aromatic spices. For Chef Sandeep, the trick is to dry roast and ground the masalas, and store them in an air-tight jar. His mix includes cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon sticks and a few strands of saffron.

BUT HOW HEALTHY IS THIS TEA? Commenting on whether or not ‘dirty chai’ is good for health, health coach and nutritionist Preety Tyagi says, “This new blend is basically masala chai with an espresso shot added to it. Separately, both these varieties contain high amounts of caffeine, and the new concoction makes it double. Mostly consumed to help stay energized, ‘dirty chai’ cannot really be considered a health drink. Having said that, the spice mix added in the tea can help in keeping the stomach clear as well as improve digestion. The cinnamon and cardamom are also good for our oral and gut health. However, I would advise having this tea in small amounts only.”

Chef Sandeep Kalra’s recipe

2 tbsp green cardamom
¾ nutmeg
1 ½ tsp cloves
1 ½ tsp black pepper
6 large cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp saffron
(Dry roast these spices, ground them and store the powder in an air-tight jar. This could last for about a week)

Make your regular milk tea with about 30 gm of ground ginger, around 10 freshly plucked tulsi leaves and a little sugar. Before straining the tea, add half a teaspoon of this masala in the strainer. You get a smoother masala tea. To this, add a 60 ml shot of coffee powder (1/4 tsp + 60 ml water). Alternatively, you can add 30 ml of Italian espresso. Top it up with milk froth. Milk dissolved with a little condensed milk works even better. Enjoy you ‘dirty chai’ in a 300 ml glass mug.
To make ‘dirty chai latte’ at home, brew 8 ounces of strong black tea for 3-5 minutes in boiling water with a tea bag or 1-2 teaspoons of tea leaves. Add 1 or 2 shots of espresso and 1-2 tablespoons of chai masala, heat milk and add it to your taste. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top, if desired.