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It Shouldn’t be This Difficult

I’ll admit it, in the morning, I am an iced tea drinker. Of course, coffee has its time and place (for me, that’s just around 4:00pm, when my eyes can’t seem to stay open or a cup of decaf with dessert), but during my commute to work, I look forward to the refreshing boost of a freshly brewed (unsweetened) iced tea.

Living and working in New York City, there certainly is no shortage of various cafes, bagel shops and delis for me to purchase my morning brew. You’d think I would find a place who makes iced tea to my liking and become a repeat customer...simple as that. But my quest for the perfectly brewed, consistent beverage is beyond challenging at this point - it’s nearly impossible. One place has an awful habit of oversteeping their tea, causing the bitterness to overpower any flavor that should otherwise be present. Basically unpalatable and definitely unfavorable. Another place barely steeps their tea, resulting in a “tea flavored water” beverage with an odd taste and color to match. This watered down version is only worsened with the addition of the ice, and by the time the summer sun begins its meltdown, I’m left with cold water with barely any evidence of tea. Finally, I find a shop who does it just right. Cold, refreshing, strong but not too strong...”I must come back here tomorrow,” I remind myself, only to find that the very next day, their recipe must have been altered and the product no longer achieves my ultimate satisfaction. The solution is easy: test ALL the products that are made in your store. Once you settle on the perfect iced tea recipe (including tea (or teabag) to water ratio, brewing time and ice cube effects, teach this recipe to all employees and make sure it is duplicated day after day. After all, consistency is key.

As I had mentioned before, my beloved iced tea is only rivaled by my passion for good coffee, whether it be my afternoon pick me up or the ideal ending note to a wonderful meal. No longer afraid of sub-par decaf coffee, I can sip a delicious Ethiopian with my cheesecake and still rest easy that night. As the decaf sector evolves and expands, it’s improved quality is gaining attention. For more on decaf updates and trends, see our article on page 14.

Alexis Rubinstein
Editor-in-Chief



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Tea & Coffee - July, 2010

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