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Summertime Tea

Filed under: Drinks
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photos by Meghan Phelan

It’s summertime, and there’s nothing more refreshing than a chilled glass of iced tea. Knowing how to prepare homemade iced tea is both inexpensiveand useful, especially if you’re averse to buying sugary bottled teas from the convenience store.

As fresh and diverse as coffee, there are six types of tea grown all over the world: black, oolong, green, yellow, white, and post-fermented, or pu-ehr. Although each type has a flavor all it’s own, you might be surprised to know that tea leaves come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis.

When preparing homemade tea, loose-leaf tea is preferable to tea bags. Loose-leaf tea generally consists of flavorful, whole tea leaves as opposed to tea bags, which contain smaller tea leaves and tea dust. Blue Mountain Coffees on Elmwood has a nice selection of loose-leaf teas, as well as tea hardware, including teapots and teacups. Condrell’s in Kenmore, in addition to being a candy and ice cream parlor, also has a good selection of loose-leaf teas. Not surprisingly, their teas are flavored to smell and taste like delicious treats, such as lemon soufflé and caramel apple. Condrell’s has convenient scent jars next to their loose-leaf teas so customers can experience the tea’s flavor before buying it.

100_3898For tea connoisseurs, TeaLeafs in Williamsville stocks over 220 kinds of loose-leaf teas, ranging from fun, fruity blends like “Sweet Watermelon Oolong,” “Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose,” and “Magic Moon,” to luxurious and rare selections like “Jasmine Pearls,” “Golden Monkey,” and “Mandarin Black Pu-erh.” There’s also a selection of organic teas and tea hardware, including rare cast iron and Chinese Yixing clay teapots. Comparable to a tea boutique, TeaLeafs sells all the necessary teatime ritual tools.

For a fun, tea twist at summer parties, pick up some of TeaLeafs’ “Owl’s Brew” tea blends. These blends are specifically made to mix with alcohol for unique cocktails. TeaLeafs offers three different “Owl’s Brew” blends: the “Classic,” a blend of English Breakfast tea and lemon peel, the “Black & Pink,” a blend of Darjeeling tea, strawberries, lemon peel, and hibiscus, and the “Coco-Lada,” a sweet and spicy twist on the classic Pina Colada, that contains a blend of black teas, traditional chai spices, coconut, and pineapple.

Once you have the proper teas and tea hardware, you can enjoy making both hot and iced tea. Here’s an easy, two-step iced tea recipe to try at home:

STEP 1: Follow the tea’s brewing instructions, but use twice the amount of tea.

STEP 2: Once the tea is finished brewing, pour the hot tea over ice, and wait for it to chill. By using twice the amount of tea, the tea’s natural flavor won’t be diluted once the ice is added. If you want the flavor of the tea to be stronger, just add more tea leaves rather than steeping the tea longer. Over-steeping tea will only give your drink a strong, bitter flavor.

Ice Tea - Glass and Pitcher

Another old-fashioned, summertime tea treat that’s easy to make at home is “sun tea.” Just fill up a pitcher with filtered water, throw in your favorite tea, cover the pitcher with plastic wrap, and then leave it out in the sun for a few hours. The flavor of sun tea is mellower than hot tea poured over ice since sun tea takes a few hours (as opposed to minutes) to infuse its flavor into the water.

A healthy alternative to soft drinks, iced coffee, and other sugary beverages, tea is rich in antioxidants and can be one of the healthiest, flavorful beverage choices you can make!

– by Adelina Simpson & Meghan Phelan


Intune Music & Arts Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized

This Saturday, a team of Buffalo natives will be returning to their roots after living in different cities throughout the USA to host the first-ever “Intune Music & Arts Festival” at Island Park in Williamsville. Opening at 11:00am, the festival will feature live music, food trucks, a farmer’s market, beer and wine gazebo, and lifestyle workshops throughout the day.

The creative quintet running IM&AF are Max Silver, Amanda Gutierrez, Pierce Flaherty, Juliana Pastoriza, and Sarah Gutierrez. They arrived at the idea for the lifestyle festival when their outgoing and creative friend, Zack Yambor, passed away in early January. The group hopes the festival will enable young adults to become “in tune” with themselves through a variety of workshops and music in a conducive environment.

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They collaborated online and through their connections still at home in organizing the festival. Some workshops will be taught by their friends, such as a culinary workshop by David Murphy from Carmelo’s Restaurant in Lewiston. Other workshops will focus on topics like nutrition, acupuncture, music production, screen-printing, and yoga.

Local favorites like Lloyd Taco Truck, Ashker’s Juice Bar & Bistro, and Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream will serve food throughout the day. From 6:00-9:30pm, local beer will be on sale from Flying Bison Brewing Company in addition to hard cider from Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany, and organic wine from Yellow+Blue in Pennsylvania.

And what’s a festival without the music? There will be a main stage in the park where both local and international acts will be playing from 11:30am to 10:00pm, including performances by Bertioga, Steel Keyes and Brass, and the Brooklyn-based electronic duo Break Science (who recently played at Bonnaroo and Red Rocks) at 8:45pm.

Tickets: $20 pre-sale available here, $30 at the door


The Bavarian Nut Roasting Company

Filed under: Desserts & Sweets, Drinks

If you’ve taken a walk down Elmwood recently, you might have caught a sugary whiff of cinnamon and vanilla. What you smelled was a 200-year-old German recipe wafting from Dan Desrosiers’ new Elmwood shop, The Bavarian Nut Company.

Desrosiers, a Montreal native, opened the Elmwood shop five weeks ago, but the nut roasting company has been around for twenty years, originally located in Clarence. Around town, especially at festivals such as Taste of Buffalo, they are best known for their traditional Bavarian nut recipe that involves a unique glaze of cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla that is available on almonds, pecans, and cashews.

Cinnamon glazed pecans roasting.

Cinnamon glazed pecans roasting.

The company also sells pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, and trail mix in a variety of specialty roasts, including Buffalo, Cajun, and cinnamon glazed dipped in chocolate. While some roasters add flour to the copper kettle as the nuts roast, since nuts are sold by weight, Desrosiers stressed that the Bavarian Nut Company doesn’t add flour, and so the nuts are gluten-free.

Owner Dan Desrosiers with a fresh batch of cinnamon glazed pecans.

Owner Dan Desrosiers with a fresh batch of cinnamon glazed pecans.

Evolving to serve the foot traffic on Elmwood, the company now also sells bubble tea, with varieties such as honeydew, avocado, and taro. They also have fruit teas including guava, green apple, passion fruit, and mango flavors. And, if the German nuts and Taiwanese drinks still don’t satiate cosmopolitan tastes, the shop now also sells French macaroons received directly from Parisian cafes.

The nut shop, open from 1:30pm until about 7:00pm or later, as summer traffic progresses, offers alternative finger food for walking down the Elmwood strip. The nuts come in a cone, or in Nutcracker tins for special occasions, and are an easy, light snack to munch on, especially during summer.

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Address822 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo  14222