Coffee isn’t just a hashtag on social media — it’s an outright online phenomenon (peep these analytics for coffee if you don’t believe us). With that many likes, The Coffee & Tea Festival at the Brooklyn Expo Center was a crowded event, featuring 60 exhibitors and drawing fans of both divinely-caffeinated beverages.
Australian companies were a significant presence at the event, with Williamsburg’s Toby’s Estate featuring the best coffee at the festival. It can be challenging to pull a beautiful shot under the pressure of a horde of people and an unfamiliar environment, much less 50 in a row, and Toby’s delivered with the El Faldon from Colombia, a sweet concoction with notes of brown butter and marmalade.
Tea seemed to outweigh coffee in vendor numbers, with companies like T2 from Australia popping in with rooibos and honeybush to enlighten the American palate.
One very cool company, Ajiri Tea, is set on using profits for education. 100 percent of Ajiri’s profits support orphan education. Ajiri means “to employ” in Swahili, and Ajiri is employing Kenyan women to make its intricately-crafted, lovely teaboxes.
Chai Diaries, meanwhile, dropped their blooming tea balls into lovely glass teapots over tea lights and sold chocolate chai and coconut rooibos chai.
Misstea featured airtight, cork-capped glass bottles of Red Vanilla, Red Chai Vanilla, and Chai Masala, and the accessories to brew properly.
For good measure, kombucha even made an appearance with Health-Ade Kombucha featuring several unique flavors, including Ginger Lemon, Pink Lady Apple, and Cayenne Cleanse.
Vendors at the event were more than happy to chat with festivalgoers about the history of their teas, and even show them how to brew a pot.
Coffee and tea complements like honey and chocolate were not neglected. Haute Chocolate peddled some delicious, beautiful little pieces of the world’s other most addictive substance, and featured a cinnamon chipotle bar. Companies like Taste Artisanal Market featured cinnamon honey and ginger turmeric honey.
Bee Raw featured state varietals like Maine Wild Raspberry and New York Aster — all 100 percent raw.
Workshops included “Afternoon Tea Made Easy” by Lorna Reeves of TeaTime Magazine, “Turkish Coffee: From Bean to Cup” by Sila Asa from the Turkish Cultural Center, “What is Specialty Coffee?” by Aaron Owens of Toby’s Estate, and “Think Outside the Tea Cup” by Annelies Zijderveld of Steeped.