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Traditionally, the marketplace for loose leaf tea drinkers in the United States has been limited.Although loose leaf tea was extremely popular in colonial times, the consumption of loose leaf tea gradually changed and recently the American market for tea has been generally confined to iced tea and tea in bags.Loose leaf tea was introduced to America at the same time of introduction to Europe. As early as 1650 Dutch traders were active in the tea trade and Peter Stuyve...

Tea Drinking In The United States

Tea Drinking In The United StatesTraditionally, the marketplace for loose leaf tea drinkers in the United States has been limited.Although loose leaf tea was extremely popular in colonial times, the consumption of loose leaf tea gradually changed and recently the American market for tea has been generally confined to iced tea and tea in bags.Loose leaf tea was introduced to America at the same time of introduction to Europe. As early as 1650 Dutch traders were active in the tea trade and Peter Stuyvesant, as an early governor of the New York colony, brought the first tea to New York. Loose leaf tea was so popular in colonial New York that at one time the small colony consumed more loose leaf tea than all of England. This popularity was equally evident in the other colonies.Gradually however, the American tea market changed. America made two unique contributions to the tea world in the form of iced tea and the tea bag and both were invented in the early 1900s. Presently, 80% of the tea consumed in the United States is iced tea and of the remaining 20% of tea consumption, most is consumed in the form of bagged tea.There is growing resurgence of demand for loose leaf tea in the United States however, driven by a greater awareness of the health benefits and quality of the loose leaf tea experience. As demand increases, new opportunities arise for the entrepreneur who wishes to market and sell loose leaf tea.The total number of loose leaf tea products and annual volume and value levels within the U.S. have reached record levels. In fact, 2003 sales levels of loose leaf tea sold in the U.S. reached nearly $1.1 billion, representing an increase of 15% over total retail volume sold in 2002. Total sales of all types of teaconventional and specialtyproducts sold in the U.S. topped $5.1 billion in 2003 with virtually all of the volume and value growth being derived from value-added, loose leaf teas.The 5th Edition of the Tea is Hot Report, which is published annually by Sage Group International, Seattle, WA, forecasts tea sales will reach $10 billion by 2010. This conclusion is based largely on the projected demands of American baby boomers, who are increasingly embracing loose leaf tea as their primary daily beverage. In 1990, annual sales of all specialty and conventional tea in the U.S. totaled less than $1 billion. For much of the last five years tea-based beverage products made from and packaged as conventional tea have been experiencing flat or declining sales in the face of mounting cannibalization of the category from new age drinks specialty coffee and soda pop, while most loose leaf tea categories are experiencing double-digit growth, primarily in U.S. natural foods supermarkets. Annual sales growth of 15% or even higher has been common for many loose leaf tea lines between 2000 and 2004, especially those offering certified organic, chai, green and functional tea beverages.The key factor in this rapid growth and demand however, is quality. Loose leaf tea is all about quality and only those tea companies that maintain consistent product quality will grow along with the market.

Alternative Brews For Your Coffee Machines

Alternative Brews For Your Coffee Machines

A number of coffee loving nationalities, along with coffee snobs worldwide will let you believe that straight and black is the only way to consume this fashionable drink. All I can say is that they dont know what they are missing out on. The vast possibilities for coffee drinkers today means there is a different taste and combination for every possible mood and occasion. We should start with coffee blends. Far from sticking to one bean to produce a single flavor, blenders invent fantastic combinations that can be a real treat to the palate. In Indonesia, Sumatran and Papua New Guinean beans are combined to produce a distinctive, rich brew. Sumatran beans are also combined with Columbian to create a dark roast with a slightly smoky taste. Introducing flavoring to your coffee can improve even the blandest of roasts. To sweeten a bitter or acidic brew try almond, vanilla or cherry flavoring. Certain syrups produce seasonal style coffees, such as gingerbread, ideal around thanksgiving and Christmas. Melting chocolate into your coffee to create mocha has become very popular and the type of chocolate and coffee chosen can make a huge difference to the overall effect. The Yemeni roast, combined with dark chocolate, makes a really exotic blend, while a lighter effect can be achieved with an American roast and a little milk chocolate. Combining coffee with cocoa beans before you make the drink is another popular method for those coffee lovers with a sweet tooth. If an alcoholic addition to your coffee is your preference, there are a wide variety of spirits and liqueurs to be used either as an addition or an accompaniment to your drink. A good whiskey can be combined with black coffee and brown sugar, and topped with cream to produce the perfect Irish coffee. Creamy liqueurs such as Baileys and Amarillo can be added to sweeten your drink. The Italian grappa is a popular accompaniment to an espresso, and can be drunk separately or added to the brew itself. Rum, brandy and amaretto can each be added to various coffee blends to give a heady effect. Some of the more adventurous types of coffees available include frozen cappuccinos, perfect to give you that caffeine lift on a hot day, Macadamia and chocolate flavoring that upsets the assumption that a nutty taste is coffee shows poor quality, and mint, raspberry or coconut coffees, that dont taste much like coffee at all! So with all the options to choose from, it is hard to see how the coffee snobs maintain their mantra that straight and black is the only way to go. Admittedly you will not be able to make many of these varieties with your one cup coffee makers, and they may not be available from the coffee machines in the office, but a little experimentation at home or in your local caf can make coffee drinking a really pleasurable experience.

Brewing Beer

Brewing Beer

Beer drinkers see a pint of beer as a magical golden brew. Many have said that it's surely the Nectar of the Gods. In reality, most beers are based on a basic four-ingredient recipe, and undergo a simple brewing process before bringing joy to the parched bar patrons of the world.Beer is created using a basic mixture of water, hops, malted barley and yeast. Depending on the type of beer being brewed, taste enhancements such as flavourings and sugar will be added. Starches are also incorporated into the beer so that sugars will easily ferment during the brewing process. The fermented sugars add body and flavour, while increasing the alcohol content.WaterBeer is mainly composed of water, so the source of the water and its characteristics has an important effect on the character of the beer. Many beer styles were influenced by the characteristics of water in the region. Some beer makers claim that spring water or mountain water create their unique flavour and body. Understanding the effects of water minerals can be complex, but basically soft water is suited to light brews, where hard water is more suitable for dark beers.HopsSince the seventeenth century, hops have been used as a popular bittering agent in beer. Adding hops is important, as the bitterness helps to counteract the sweetness of the malts. Hops also contribute a variety of aromas ranging from herbal to citrus. The bitterness in beer is generally measured using the International Bitterness Units scale. Hops also provide an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.MaltEvery beer requires malt in its basic recipe. Brew masters can choose to use malted oats, rye, wheat or rice, but malted barley is most commonly used. Malted barley has high amylase content, and a digestive enzyme that helps break the starches down into sugars. The choice of malts depends heavily on what grains are cultivated locally. To create malt the grains are soaked in water, allowed to germinate, then dried in a kilt. As grain is malted, naturally occurring enzymes work to gradually convert starches into fermentable sugars.YeastYeast is a living microorganism that creates fermentation. The brew master will choose from different strains of yeast, depending on the type of beer produced. Yeast helps metabolize sugars extracted from the grains, and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide as a result. Before the functions of yeast were fully understood, beers were fermented using wild or airborne yeasts. Today there is a variety of yeasts available, with ale yeast and lager yeast being most commonly used.Clarifying agentMany brewers prefer to add one or more clarifying agents to beer, but are not required to publish these agents as "ingredients". Isinglas, bentonite, gelatin finings and Irish moss powder are all commonly used as clarification agents. Isinglas is a gelatinous substance obtained from the swim bladders of fish, so if you're concerned about consuming animal products, be sure to ask of detailed content information from the brewer of your preferred beer.Next time you pour yourself a cold pint, stop to consider the careful choice of ingredients and the lengthy brewing process that were involved in creating your little glass of heaven. Raise a toast to your brew master, and leave your car keys at home.

Making Great Coffee Takes Skill

Making Great Coffee Takes Skill

Making good coffee isnt as simple as just setting your coffee machine. Making bad coffee is much easier to make, but if you want the best cup of coffee then you need to take care of certain things before you pour the first drop.If you want the best brew then make sure you have cold water in your machine. Dont use water that is hot or has been boiled already, if you want even superior results than use cold water that has been filtered or is bottled. If your home has old pipes and nasty tasting water than this can further affect the taste of your coffee. If your town has a lot of chlorine in the water or if it is very hard this can also affect the taste of your coffee.The temperature of the water is key to the brewing process. 195 to 205 degrees is the best temperature to make sure that your coffee is brewed properly. If the water is too hot it can cause the coffee to be bitter, but if it is too cold then it wont absorb the flavor properly from the coffee grounds. Try Bunn Coffee Makers for a product that has great temperature levels.If you are pressing your coffee then wait until the second after it boils to use your water. If you pre-heat your coffee pot this can also help in terms of using an automatic machine to get the same effect. Pour hot water into the pot and the dump out the water before you start brewing to get the temperature just right.Make sure the grind you are using is right using your coffee maker. There is no one coffee bean grind that is good for everything. You should choose a grind based on whether you are using a press pot or an automatic coffee pot. You want to grind your beans for 10 seconds for a press pot, but for an electric machine you will want to grind the beans for 15-20 seconds. Try Bunn Coffee Makers if you are looking for that just right machine for a great brew.

Coffee-So Darn Expensive

I always cringe when that is the first question from a restaurateur, and my response is always the same - "Is price more important than taste"? Consider the following - restaurants usually sell a cup of coffee for about one dollar. And when they pay $6.00 per pound for coffee, their cost per cup is about ten cents, (which means their profit is ninety cents). So the difference in their profit between $6.00 per pound and $3.00 per pound is the incredible sum of five cents per cup. However, the real difference will be in the taste of the coffee. The taste difference is even greater with coffee brewed in an espresso machine since an espresso machine is an amplifier. It will highlight a really good coffee, but conversely, it will also amplify any faults with that coffee. Remember, espresso is not a type of bean, but is a method of brewing coffee. Espresso coffee is tightly packed (7 grams), through which hot water (198 degrees F) is forced at high mechanical pressure (132 psi). The resultant one and a half fluid ounces is the elixir known as espresso, and many countries could be conquered before 9:00 am if their population were to be deprived of this magic "elixir"! A commonly mistaken thought is that coffee used in espresso machines should be dark roasted - WRONG! When beans are darkly over-roasted, all the oils come to the surface giving the impression that the roasted coffee has been coated with grease. These oils contain much of the flavor of the coffee and when brought to the surface by over-roasting, they will be lost when handled, stored, and of course, when they are ground. Since coffee is really "cooked" three times, (the first during roasting; second when ground since the grinder creates heat; and thirdly when brewed), over-roasting will produce a bitter/burnt taste when brewed as an espresso. Let me return to my original point as to why better coffee beans cost more. Coffee beans are an agrarian product, and like all crops they are subject to climate, soil, and growing and harvesting methods. Coffee plants that are treated better will produce a better crop. Coffee harvested by hand will produce a higher quality product. A mechanical harvester only goes through once plucking ripe and unripe berries simultaneously. Manual harvesting takes place over a period of time and the pickers only pluck the ripe fruit, avoiding the unripe berries.Sorting takes place at the plantation AND at the roaster. The better the sorting, the better the coffee. This process begins with the removal of stones (which can ruin your grinder), branches, leaves, poisonous spiders, (just joking, I think), and continues with the removal of broken, misshapen, and bad beans. This is critical since a broken or misshapen piece could roast quicker than the other beans, and will affect the quality of the finished batch. Blending must take place after roasting. Different batches of beans from different plantations and countries will roast at different times and temperatures. Throwing different green beans together will result in some beans being under-roasted while others are burnt. Expert blending (or cupping as it is known) of roasted beans will ensure the best and most consistent flavor. Packing the perfectly roasted and blended beans will ensure that you are sold the product in peak condition. Coffee begins to oxidize and lose its flavor and aroma as soon as the roasting process is finished. It's essential that the coffee is packed in lightproof and airproof bags that have been nitrogen flushed and/or vacuum packed. The bag should also have a unilateral valve to allow carbon dioxide to escape. From the rambling monologue above, it's easy to see that short-cuts can be made to the coffee preparation process, but quality will only cost a few pennies more per cup. And remember - your coffee may be the last item that your customer tastes before leaving your restaurant.

Expensive Tea - The Real Story

So people keep asking me about expensive tea. I'm not sure why, it could be some cosmic coincidence, the higher powers sense that the subject in general is a source of frustration to me. Truth be told, it's probably a good thing that I get a chance to share some facts and shed light on the issue, but it also serves as a constant reminder that we're so far behind the rest of the world - in our knowledge of this most incredible of beverages.On to the point of the story - what's the deal with "expensive tea" ?First and foremost, 95% of all tea is highly inexpensive. That percentile encompasses most of the 'higher end' of the available harvests, some truly amazing rich and complex flavors out there for your drinking pleasure. Compared to most other luxury consumables like cigar and fine wine (yes, I do keep bringing up those two as relative reference), tea is CHEAP. Let's look at an example, to illustrate my point: a pound of tea for $160. It's something I recently sampled (quite good, too), and someone had commented on the rather large price tag. Well, once you break down the actual cost per cup, that high end $160 per-pound-tea is actually a stunning deal! With a good quality loose leaf tea, you get anywhere from two to five infusions from the very same leaves (on a short side note here: don't let the leaves dry, keep them in warm water to re-infuse). Three grams of leaves suffice for an 8 oz. cup. So that makes for a net cost of less than one dollar per cup for one infusion, or under 20 cents per infusion if you were to do five. In either case this beats the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee or a glas of fine wine any day! Consider the many things going into the production of some of these teas, that's a serious bargin. Check out the story on orthodox tea manufacturing, for example!All things considered, a cup of high end tea may cost you less than a can of soda!Along with the low expense, you get to experience a range of complex flavors, explore thousand year old traditions, and benefit from many health side benefits associated with some teas. How can you beat it?All that said, this story wouldn't be complete without mentioning that other five percent of tea. It's not something you're likely to ever encounter, unless you are familiar with a rather small circle of tea afficionados with access to these harvests. Some elusive Japanese black tea can cost in excess of $1,000 per pound (if you are fortunate enough to find the real deal, and have them agree to send you some), and there are entire lines specializing on stratospherically high end tea with prices in excess of $200 per ounce. The kicker here is that you as the 'average Joe' may not even be able to buy these, as they are often spoken for long before the season's pickings are finished drying at the plantation. Now THAT is expensive tea, and one may argue about the additional flavor benefits you actually gain from spending that sort of money. I hope this little story helps with your understanding of this fine product, now go out and buy some great tea!

Summary

Traditionally, the marketplace for loose leaf tea drinkers in the United States has been limited.Although loose leaf tea was extremely popular in colonial times, the consumption of loose leaf tea gradually changed and recently the American market for tea has been generally confined to iced tea and tea in bags.Loose leaf tea was introduced to America at the same time of introduction to Europe. As early as 1650 Dutch traders were active in the tea trade and Peter Stuyve...