Cheese Tea – New Trend You Never Knew You Wanted

How do you take your tea? With cream? Sugar? How about some cheese? That’s right: Cheese Tea is the latest food craze. Also known as Heytea, the cheese tea trend started in Taiwan and China, says the Washington Post—and now, you can officially get it in Newtown, too.

You are thinking: Those are two words that do not go together. Cheese and Tea! But we’re not talking Humboldt Fog or Camembert here. The cheese used in cheese tea is cream cheese — a little  sweet and a little salty — combined with sweetened cream. It forms a tall, frothy head at the top of the beverage, sort of like whipped cream.  The teas are often matcha, black and fruity. They’re reminiscent of bubble tea, which has made its way into mall food courts across America.

Because those pastel green cups of matcha look so pretty, and because they require the commitment of waiting in line, cheese tea is a status food, like the Cronut once was. To try one is not mere curiosity about a new beverage. It is a social signifier: It means you think you are a person with interesting taste, with disposable income, and the kind of lifestyle that permits you to casually wait in long lines for tea.  So naturally, people are Instagramming the hell out of these. Many of the photos tagged with #cheesetea are selfies of people with frothy mustaches, because shops tell customers not to use straws, so they can taste both flavors of the drink at the same time.

The drink has been popping up in US over the last couple of years, and a cult following has been steadily growing. But if you still can’t get into the idea of pairing cheese with your tea, then perhaps the next evolution will strike your fancy.

According to Conde Nast Traveler, the original Taiwanese recipe involved powdered cheese, but Café Xpresso has swapped that for real cream cheese, vanilla and cream.

Shops in Taiwan and China are both credited for starting the cheese tea fad, and some Chinese cheese tea shops command lines 75 people long. It spread to Singapore, Hong Kong and other large Asian cities before it came to New York and California via the bubble tea chain Happy Lemon a shop that specializes in the beverage, among others. 

“It’s the melted cream cheese with whipping cream, vanilla and a little bit of salt that gives it the sweet and savory taste. So, the taste of the cheese is really subtle,” according to Bob Schlump, owner of Café Xpresso.  He recommends that first-timers start with a floral tea base for the mildest flavor before moving toward the shop’s other offerings, which also include green, black, and matcha teas. 

Stirring the drink is discouraged because it mixes the two layers, and you may end up tasting nothing but tea. Bob Schlump, owner of Café Xpresso in Newtown, said that he recommends popping off the lid and drinking from the side of the cup. “When you drink this way, you can feel two layers of taste — cheese followed by tea,” he said.

 

How This Entrepreneur Started Nutshell, Fashion’s Favorite Snack Food

Originally appeared in Huff Post  06/27/2017 Updated Jul 03, 2017

 

Nutshell Founder Will D’Agostino went from Wall Street professional to nut bar enthusiast  and he doesn’t miss the cobble-stoned corporate life one bit. After embarking on many hiking and skiing excursions, Will became disappointed with the limited food options that were healthy, energizing and good. In pursuit of the perfect snack food that took over hundreds of hours in the kitchen to create, followed by various taste testing sessions, Nutshell’s nuts, seeds and fruit bars were born in March of 2016. Currently, Nutshell is sold in cafes, like Café Xpresso,  and natural markets around the Tri- State area. The handmade nut bars with oats in the ingredients are the latest on-the-go food that won’t ruin the insides of your purse. In this very special, “Person of Interest,” we talked to the founder of Nutshell about switching careers and making a living off his passion. Go inside the conversation:

What is Nutshell?

Will D’Agostino: Nutshell is a new, real-food company that is focused on providing nutritional snacks in a fundamentally different way than what is currently available. Nutshell’s core beliefs – highest quality ingredients, the freshest bar on the market and a true balance between taste and nutrition – guide us in creating an organic, vegan and gluten-free bar that tastes much more like a fresh baked good with the nutritional benefits of the best ingredients on Earth.

Why did you decide to quit your day job to make NUT bars?

I’ve always been a big skier and hiker; I’d bring energy bars on these adventures, but they were never satisfying. I always thought there must be something better out there. When I became frustrated that new bars kept coming to market without much improvement from previous versions, I decided this was something I could attempt. Once I determined the fundamental missing link – freshness – and saw what the juice community was moving towards, I decided that this would be my differentiator. So far it has proven to set us quite apart.

Was it scary at first?

I’m in the camp of believing that if something is not a little scary, it’s not going to help you grow as a person. I understand that not everyone is seeking out that scare factor, but I do believe most people that reflect on their life will quickly hand pick the times they were scared and overcame that fear as one of their greatest achievements. So yes, parts were and still are scary, but I have a lot of support around me from friends and family, and I chose an opportune moment in my life to take the leap.

Are you a good cook?

Although I don’t have a traditional culinary background, I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I’ve never called myself a “good cook”, but I like everything I’ve ever made. I’m a big fan of wacky food combinations, so I like to experiment.

What was the tasting process like?

I started with my friends and family. We put together tasting parties, big and small. I received a lot of great feedback that spurred me to keep perfecting and creating new flavors. From there, the tasting and recipe improvements continued through my first summer at farmers markets in Connecticut which continue today.

What are the main ingredients?

We use organic Almonds, Puffed Quinoa and Brown Rice Syrup in every bar. Almonds are the most nutritionally beneficial nut, Puffed Quinoa – a gluten-free grain – provides a little crunch and some added protein, and Brown Rice Syrup is our binder, which we chose for several reasons. It is organic, gluten-free and vegan, made up of complex glucose molecules that absorb slowly and evenly throughout the body. It also has an earthy/nutty flavor that keeps the bar from tasting too sweet. On top of these main ingredients, we add different nuts, fruits, seeds and spices to get our 5 flavors.  As you can imagine we can get pretty creative with our flavors since it’s all about freshness and doesn’t need to be preserved to live on a shelf.

What do people think of Nutshell bars?

At first glance, some people assume they are going to experience the same type of bar they have had many times before. Once people try the bar, they are typically blown away. Most comments are along the line of “Wow, this is actually good and really fresh”. It has become obvious that many people do not hold nutrition bars to high standards/ as a good tasting product. Our bars are softer, yet are ingredients are lightly chopped, leaving a lot of that desired crunchiness. The freshness alone provides a completely new experience from the bars on the market. The Nutshell recipe? Add in the highest quality ingredients and ditch all the fillers like oats and puffed rice – our customers are continually impressed and asking for more.

What’s the goal in the next year?

Our goal in the next year is to be in cafés, natural markets, delis and many other small businesses across the US. These businesses are constantly adapting to provide customers with their ever-changing appetites, and we hope to help them offer a truly outstanding product that they can in-turn offer their customers. We don’t see ourselves sitting on grocery store shelves as our product relies on freshness. We will continue to seek partners that believe in our product and have a similar mission. Meanwhile, we will grow our online store, and we have a few new flavors and product lines that are in testing phases. Our wrapper is biodegradable, and we hope to have the full packaging compostable by end of year as well. Nutshell is on a mission to deliver the freshest nut bar in a thoughtful way and lessen our impact on the earth.

What advice can you give aspiring young people to follow their dreams?

Get disciplined and organized. Take your current situation and make it as disciplined and organized as you can. Build that muscle memory now, because you will need it in the future. Completing daily lists, keeping a journal, clean inboxes, a healthy lifestyle. These are things you

can work on before taking any kind of leap and will make doing so that much easier. I also try to mediate. When starting your own business, it becomes everything you do, see and think about – it’s good to take a moment to reset and breathe in order to see things clearly again.

Premium Syrups from the French Alps

Café Xpresso partners with 1883 Maison Routin because our commitment to offering best-in-class products. 1883 premium syrups are made from the purest ingredients on the market, but more importantly the syrups consistently out-cut competitors in blind tastings. While well-known though out Europe, Asia, and South America for high quality products and authentic flavor, 1883 is a relatively smaller brand in the US. American coffee drinkers are ready for a premium line of syrups, so this is just another way we differentiate our coffee and tea drinks with 1883 syrups on our menu.

For more than 130 years, 1883 Maison Routin has strived to demonstrate its expertise in the field of beverage flavoring. Created in the heart of the French Alps, 1883 premium syrups benefit from an exceptional natural environment, one favorable to preserving aromas, and bringing flavors to life. 1883 believes every flavor should be as true to scent as it is to taste, and in doing so, it becomes like a sonnet to the palate.

Purity serves as the foundation for the high Taste quality of a syrup: the purity of the water, of the raw ingredients, and of the flavor play in concert to enhance the tasting experience. The syrups are made from natural cane sugar and not a long list of chemicals.

From the alpine town of Chambéry, 1883 supplies coffee and cocktail professionals around the world and with a heritage of craftsmanship, commits to flavor authenticity, purity of taste, and aromatic intensity which is achieved through the selection of the best ingredients., with perfect consistency in every country.

One of their newest flavors is Elderflower and Colin, barista and café manager, created an interesting Elderflower iced tea with it that our guests have been loving. Café Xpresso’s holiday drink selections include a Gingerbread Man Latte which is a mix of several 1883 flavors and is over the top with whipped cream. We also have a Caramel Popcorn espresso drink that will make you think you’re munching caramel popcorn.

1883 Syrups are more than just flavorful syrups. They offer an elevated drinking experience with bold aromas and paired with our fresh espresso, coffee and teas create a taste sensation in your mouth.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a delicious bubbly probiotic tea that dates to ancient China. It is raw, non-alcoholic and made by fermenting sweet tea with a live kombucha culture. The culture of bacteria and yeast (known as a SCOBY) that is critical in brewing kombucha, is what transforms sweet tea into a beverage with completely different properties, and not just in taste.

At Café Xpresso, we are featuring Cross Culture Kombucha which is made and bottled locally in Danbury, CT. They use organic loose-leaf teas, filtered water, organic cane sugar and live Kombucha cultures. There are no preservatives used. The live cultures found in Cross Culture Kombucha are loaded with beneficial probiotics, vitamins and antioxidants.

Kombucha is said to improve digestive health, support a healthy immune system, assist with
detoxification, improve bone health and provide an energy boost and mood-lifting affect without
caffeine. It is low in sugar, only 5 grams per 8 oz serving.

Kombucha gives your body what it needs to detoxify and rebalance and is LOADED with: B vitamins, probiotics, antioxidants, Vitamin C, healthy acids (such as lactic, gluconic, acetic, amino), and glucosamines. Kombucha provides all these in a form that is easy for your body to assimilate. Kombucha improves digestive health, supports a healthy immune system, assists with detoxification, improves joint health, and provides an energy boost and mood-lifting without caffeine.

When it comes to kombucha, less is more according to Cross Culture. If you are not accustomed to kombucha or to probiotics and fermented foods at all, it is suggested to starting out with 4 – 8 oz on an empty stomach 2 times a day followed by plenty of water to flush the toxins.  Over time, you can increase the amount. The caps Cross Culture uses are high quality double sealed conical caps that allows you to reseal the bottle and retain carbonation better than you would expect.
So come & try some for yourself!

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