Thursday, February 25, 2010

New York Coffee and Tea Festival 2010


Ever since attending last years event, I have been looking forward to the New York Coffee and Tea Festival. I missed Saturday due to a work related catastrophe but made sure that I got there for Sunday. I have say that this year’s show was even better. The new venue was larger and better laid out than last year. I guess this event has also become quite popular because the crowd was noticeably larger. The first stop for me was the Korean tea ceremony demonstration by Yoon Hee Kim. It was truly breathtaking as always. Where else would you be lucky enough to see such a beautiful ceremony performed by a true master?

I also enjoyed her second seminar of the day, which was about deconstructing the tea ceremony for application to every day life. It was enlightening and informative while also inspiring me to apply what little bits of ceremony I can to my daily tea drinking. I loved that she used the example of paper cups, tea bags and a water cooler since that is often by situation at work.

Next I hopped from booth to booth. I love how coffee smells but I cannot stand the taste so that made it a bit easier to weed through the many exhibitors. I’m not a very pushy person so I avoided booths that were overly busy or crowded and came back to them after making my rounds. The Tea Set was very popular. So much so that by the time I got around to making a purchase, they were out of the tea I wanted! He kindly offered to ship one to me instead. I was excited to see Fang Gourmet Tea there. I have yet to make the trek to their Flushing store but the teaware that they had for sale certainly made me want to. I picked up a flyer for their pottery making class, which looks like great fun. When I do make the trip I plan to pick up a travel tea set.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend money, which of course didn’t happen but I didn’t spend too much. At Tavalon, I picked up a jar of Jasmine Dream along with a jar of their famously delicious gummy bears. At The Tea Set, I bought a tin of their coconut flavored oolong. My last and I think best purchase was from Shapna Tea. It started as a student project but I have a feeling it will grow into much more than that. Shapna donates 40% of its profits back to the farmers in Bangladesh that grown their tea. This helps villagers buy their own land, become self-sufficient, and eradicate poverty. A truely worth cause and the tea is great to boot! Not only that but I got a 12oz tin for $19.99 and it came with a free strainer.

The last seminar  of the day was the ever popular Tea Cocktails demo with Chris Cason of Tavalon. I always enjoy his presentations because they are both informative and funny. I couldn’t believe how simple it is to create a tea infused cocktail. I don’t drink often but the next time I do, I will be sure to give it a try. I do think they should have planned the sampling at the conclusion a bit better. I made sure to duck out of the room before the mad rush for free booze began.

All in all I had a great time and I am already looking forward to next years festival. If you’ve never been to this event and are local to NYC then it is definitely worth the trip.