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coffee and tea festival

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2014: ESPRESSO GOES TO SPACE

“An espresso coffee is what I miss most aboard the International Space Station,” is a comment heard repeatedly for 13 years from the Italian astronauts working in the International Space Station.  Earlier this month, Lavazza and Argotec in conjunction with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) announce their project to create ISSpresso, the first capsule-based espresso system able to work in space, will bring Lavazza’s authentic Italian espresso onto the upcoming International Space Station mission called, the Futura Mission (launch date scheduled for: November 23, 2014).  Air Force Captain Samantha Cristoforetti, of the European Space Agency will be on board and will be the first Italian woman to go into space as well as the first astronaut in history to drink espresso while in orbit.

The ISSpresso machine – taking its name from the International Space Station (ISS) where it will be installed – is the first capsule-based espresso system to work in space conditions where the principles regulating the fluid dynamics of liquids and mixtures are very different from those typical on Earth. Argotec, the Italian engineering company specialized in the design of aerospace systems and European leader in the preparation of healthy and nutritious foods for in-space consumption, and Lavazza, the historic “made in Italy” coffee brand created this technological and engineering jewel that will deliver a perfect espresso in weightless environment. It was selected by the Italian Space Agency to be used aboard the ISS, which is open to public and private partnership projects and activities to be carried out by the ISS.

“Italian coffee is a beverage without borders,” comments Giuseppe Lavazza, Vice President of Lavazza, “and we have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time. Indeed, as far back as ten years ago we launched the espresso into orbit artistically with the photographs shot by Thierry Le Gouès and our Mission to Espresso calendar.  At the time this may have looked like a work of science fiction but was actually just a vision of the future. Today we are in a position to overcome the limits of weightlessness and enjoy a good espresso — the indisputable symbol of authentic Italy culinary products — on board the International Space Station. We are proud to have worked on this major project with Argotec, through the Lavazza Innovation Center, our division dedicated to research and product innovation: a scientific and engineering challenge which we hope will improve the living and nutrition quality of astronauts engaged on long missions.”

David Avino, Managing Director of Argotec states “Our aerospace engineers, alongside Lavazza’s experience as a leader in capsule extraction systems, have designed a new-concept coffeemaker, which is safe for the astronauts and able to function in microgravity conditions.  This is an ultra high-tech project which has led to innovative solutions, applicable with immediate returns on Earth as well. ISSpresso is a technological challenge that meets very stringent requirements, imposed by the Italian Space Agency, in terms of technical functionality and safety.

In addition to the engineering aspect, Argotec is also taking care of the European astronauts’ nutrition. Food provides an important psychological support and being able to enjoy a good Italian espresso may be just the right way to finish off the menu designed especially for each astronaut, helping him or her to feel closer to home.”

Delfina Bertolotto, Head of the Human Spaceflight Unit of the Italian Space Agency adds: “ISSpresso is a perfect example of the way ASI's decision to make ISS national usage rights available to public-private partnership initiatives can result in a valorisation of public resources for technological, economic, and social objectives. The ASI will bring ISSpresso aboard the ISS, thanks to bilateral cooperation agreements with the NASA, as it shares with the project partners the objective of improving the quality of life of ISS astronauts, as well as the astronauts who will take part in future long interplanetary exploration missions. At the same time, we are also proud to contribute to the promotion of the image and spreading of the made in Italy brand at international, or better ‘space’ level.”

A coffee break in space. A prototype of the space coffee machine is currently being tested at Argotec’s laboratories and all the necessary functional and safety checks are being carried out to launch ISSpresso into orbit with the Futura Mission crew, one of whom is the Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. From a psychological standpoint the ‘corner café’ will be the hub for socializing on board the Station, a venue for getting together, chatting and relaxing: an aspect that should not be ignored in missions that keep the astronauts away from home for many months in a very challenging environment. The innovative capsule system will also be able to prepare regular espresso as well as caffè lungo and hot beverages, such as tea, infusions and broth, so that food can be rehydrated.

Extra-terrestrial technology. Every the smallest detail of ISSpresso is designed to respond to a scientific and engineering challenge.  In fact, studies conducted to create the machine have allowed Argotech and Lavazza to tackle the principles of physics and fluid dynamics, including the difficulty of handling liquids within space’s high pressure and high temperatures environment. For example, the plastic tube carrying the water inside a normal espresso machine has been replaced with a special steel tube designed to withstand pressure of more than 400 bar. The machine is so complex that it weighs about 20 kilograms since there are back-ups of all the critical components (for safety reasons) in accordance with the specifications agreed upon with the Italian Space Agency.

ISSpresso represents a technologically high-value project which, besides adding variety to the astronauts’ menu, will help improve our understanding of the principles of fluid dynamics and conditions in microgravity. Some of the solutions adopted have led to international patents, which will be useful both for future space missions and immediate terrestrial use.

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John Harney, Specialty Tea Pioneer, Passes

John Harney, 83, of Salisbury, CT passed away on June 17th. He was the loving husband of Elyse Harney. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children: John Junior, Michael, Elyse, Keith and Paul. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Kathleen, Alexander, Emeric, Bertram, Beckett, Griffin, John, Brittany, Finnigan, Mallory and Mason. The family has requested that anyone so inclined, in lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Marine Corps Scholarship Fund, 909 N. Washington Street, Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314.

“Over the years, Coffee and Tea Festival attendees have enjoyed the opportunity to meet Mr. Harney,” said Lynda Calimano, VP of Marketing & Media at event producer, Starfish Junction.  “When someone who drinks tea from Harney & Sons gets to meet THE Mr. Harney, it is a memorable experience—an experience the consumer attendees at the festival would not likely experience otherwise,” added Calimano pictured here with John and Michael Harney at the 2013 Coffee And Tea Festival NYC.

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Best Iced-Coffee Drinks at the Supermarket
From the Staff at Consumer Reports

Tired of dropping $4 to $5 on a Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks? Well, Consumer Reports has some good news:  the ready-to-drink options available at the supermarket are a lot easier on the wallet—and some of them are pretty tasty, too. Several of the brands they evaluated tout protein or lower-calorie content on their labels, but according to Consumer Reports, those claims don’t always tell the whole story.

Here’s what they found from a close look at eight supermarket mocha coffee drinks:

The calories in these drinks—up to 180 in 9½ ounces—predominantly come from milk (or cream) and sugar. In some cases, you’d get almost as much of the sweet stuff as you would in a can of soda. For instance, a 12-ounce can of cola has 40 grams of sugars. A 9½-ounce bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino Mocha has 31 grams, or almost 8 teaspoons. Even if you take the natural sugars in milk into account, you’re still getting approximately 6 teaspoons of added sugar in the coffee drink. There are lower-sugar options that hover around 100 calories; some of them contained artificial sweeteners.

Starbucks Frappuccino Mocha, Starbucks Frappuccino Mocha Light, and Bolthouse Farms Mocha Cappuccino supplied at least 20 percent of your daily needs for calcium. Bolthouse boasts that its product has 7 grams of protein, but that hardly gives it an advantage over the others; most range from 3 to 6 grams per serving. Plus it’s packed with 28 grams of sugars. By comparison, a 3½-ounce container of Chobani Bite coffee with dark chocolate chips Greek yogurt has 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of sugars.

There’s no need to spend more at a coffee chain to satisfy your iced-java craving. And if you choose carefully, you won’t do too much damage to your waistline, either. Starbucks Discoveries Caffè Mocha rated Very Good and has just 120 calories. International Delight Iced Coffee Mocha Light is the least expensive and received a Good rating.

For more information or to subscribe to Consumer Reports,visit:  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm

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WikiHow to Reuse Tea Bags

You can get extra use out of teabags after your cup of tea - but only if you are willing to do so. You can reuse the teabag, but after the first cup it will start to lose it's flavor and strength. But if you think teabags are only used in the drink, there's plenty of other uses for them!

  • Use teabags on your puffy eyes. Warm or cold teabags can help refresh your eyes whether they're achy, tired or puffy.

  • Reduce plantar warts. Plantar warts can be treated with teabags because of the tannin in the tea. On the affected area, place a warm wet teabag for 10-20 minutes, and then leave it to dry naturally. If you repeat this for a couple of days, hopefully the wart will go.

  • Give yourself a facial. Facials can be expensive, but you can make one at home... using tea. Place a brewed tea bag into a bowl of hot water. Then position your head over the bowl, and then put a towel over your head to keep the steam in. It will leave your face glowing and radiant!

  • Soothe burns and nicks from razors by applying a wet teabag to the skin.

  • If you have sunburn, a bruise, stings or bites, or a cold sore you can put a damp tea bag onto the area and it will help to soothe the skin.

  • If you have a big, dirty, greasy dish that seems impossible to clean, leave it overnight with hot water and a few brewed teabags. They will help break down the grease.

  • Clean dark leather shoes by wiping a wet, brewed teabag onto the surface of the shoe.

  • Control odors around the house with teabags. Put some used teabags in a bowl and place inside a smelly fridge. Leave overnight, remove the teabags and be left with the much nicer smell of tea!

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Top Tips for Cleaning Your Spice and Coffee Grinders
From Food52

Cleaning a spice grinder can feel like a torturous chore, though — so many nooks and crannies from which to rescue tiny bits of flavor! And if you don’t clean it, you subject yourself to cooking with just one spice, or jumbling together odd combinations, and dealing with bits of months-old flavor dust.
Luckily, according to Food52, to clean your spice grinder, all you need is a bit of rice. This goes for coffee grinders, too, and is especially useful if you value your craft coffee and don’t want any stale grinds in tomorrow’s cup.

Here’s how to clean an electric grider swiftly, so you can switch from cardamom to cumin with no risk of cross-contamination. After all, variety is the spice of life.

First: Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup rice into your spice grinder (or coffee grinder), then grind it for about a minute, until it looks like dust. The rice bits will both dislodge residual spices and absorb their fragrant oils, eliminating all traces of flavor.
Dump out the rice-sand, and then wipe out the remaining rice-dust with a clean, damp cloth. Make sure to mind all of the nooks and crannies; being thorough is worth it here.
And just like that, you have a sparkly new spice grinder (or coffee grinder), ready to go to town on your peppercorns.

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Jade Ring Tea

What is it? A treat for the eye and the palate, jade ring tea is a beautiful handmade artisan tea. Jade green tea leaves are wrapped around a rod shaping them into rings which, when brewed, unravel into a full slender leaf. The tea yields a delicate yet robust jasmine flavor. This tea is also known as nu er huan – little girl rings.

How is it made? The rings are made by rolling the rich jade green leaves around rods. Once the rings are formed, the tea is then separated into mesh trays and placed in a heated drier. In between each tray of tea rings, a mesh tray of freshly picked jasmine flowers is placed. The drier gently blows warm air through the tea and the blossoms, allowing the tea to gently absorb the scent of the flowers. In the morning the trays are removed, and the process repeated for up to 6 nights. The rings are then re-fired to remove any moisture absorbed from the blossoms.

How to brew?

  • Start with your favorite spring or filtered water. Heat the water to between 160 F and 180 F.
  • Use a teaspoon (3g) for a 6oz serving. Please note, for denser teas this is about 1 teaspoon; for larger-leaf teas this could be up to 2 tablespoons.
  • Steep for 1-3 minutes. Experiment with steeping times, amount of tea and water temperature to personalize your tea experience. Rely on taste, not color. Lengthen subsequent steeping times for additional infusions.

Where to purchase? This tea can be purchased at local specialty teashops and online sellers. Prices vary.

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