I don’t drink a lot of tea, but I just got back from the New York Coffee & Tea Festival where I sipped my way around each booth at the 69th Regiment Armory building. The coffee presence was pretty lackluster, with Toby’s Estate and Path holding it down as the only two exceptions (both serving enjoyable Colombians). Tea ruled the day at the majority of booths.

Walking around, I was struck by the branding at Joseph Wesley Tea, a Detroit based tea company whose identity was designed by (now defunct) Foundry. Their booth easily stood out in a room full of visual identities that hue mostly toward earth tones and ’90s computer graphics. By the time I contorted my way through the packed room to reach their table, I was rewarded with something more than eye-candy.

The tea they were sampling was crisp, sweet, and eye-opening. Briefly chatting with the man behind the company, I instantly recognized the passion of a true believer genuinely interested in the quality  of their product, which is refreshing at events like these where many of the booths are home to frazzled staff just trying to manage the hordes of people clamoring for freebies, or PR hustlers that’ll tell you anything.


I picked up a tin of the Keemum Congfu:

“There are only three Chinese black teas that ever receive consideration as being a “classic” Chinese tea. One of those is the famed Tangyang Congfu created by the tea masters in the Tangyang Village of China’s Fujian province. We partnered with these famous tea growers and producers to bring you Joseph Wesley’s Black Tea No. 5. This stunningly complex and varied tea has all the characteristics of an outstanding Keemun black tea: tightly rolled leaves, crystalline auburn/red liquor, sugary aroma and an unforgettably sweet taste that grows in complexity the more it is steeped.”

The first brew I made delivered on this, with a strong, sweet, grainy flavor and layers of nuance that emerge as it cools to room temperature. I’m looking forward to trying different steeping times and temperatures, infusing a little diversity into my usual coffee routine!

Joseph Wesley Teas are available for sale on their website in 50g tins that range from $10-15.


Also at the festival, and tangentially related to tea – these raw honeys from Bee Raw were pretty amazing. I would have eaten them with a spoon if they’d given me one.





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