Tea Customs Around the World: It’s Not Just Another Drink

Tea Customs Around the World - It's Not Just Another DrinkIn all of its many iterations, tea is the second most consumed drink in the world behind water. Whether it’s black, herbal, chai or green tea, the beverage that so many consider their favorite is consumed in practically every country on the planet.

The most fascinating thing about tea is that it is not just another drink. In many countries, there are ancient traditions that go along with every cup. Following those traditions is as important to the enjoyment of tea as flavor and aroma. Below are just a few examples.

India – Tea in Clay Cups

Although India is not considered the birthplace of tea, it is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tea. Tea is so popular here that you can buy it just about anywhere – in train stations, on street corners, and in every market. Furthermore, people prefer to drink their tea out of clay cups made of local soil in the belief that residue from the soil is key to giving the tea a unique, local flavor.

China – The Tea Experience

If you want to experience traditional Chinese tea, be prepared for a long, participatory ritual of preparation and brewing. When the tea is ready, it will be served by filling cups arranged in a circle using a continuous pouring motion that does not stop until every cup is full. Then, cradle your cup in your hands and slowly take in the taste and aroma through a series of delicate sniffs and sips.

Britain – Afternoon Tea

We usually associate tea in Britain with the exercise of afternoon tea. Believe it or not, this custom was not introduced until the mid-1840s. Today, the tradition continues with a mild and flavorful tea served in mid-to-late afternoon along with a selection of small sandwiches and cakes. It has been said that the best place to enjoy afternoon tea is in a quiet garden.

Malaysia – Pulled Tea

Malaysia’s favorite tea drink is known as ‘teh tarik’ (pulled tea). It is a rather frothy mixture with a unique texture resulting from the way the ingredients are mixed. There is actually an art form to doing this. Tea masters put all of the ingredients in a glass mug to start. Then, they swiftly transfer the mixture to a second glass mug, continuing back and forth for some time. The process exposes the mixture to cool air which creates the drink’s frothiness.

United States – Tea for Health

The tea culture in the United States is just emerging. As such, we do not really have any tea customs as yet. The closest we come to custom is the fact that most of us who drink tea do so for health reasons. We are replacing sugary drinks, coffee and alcohol with something that is perceived to be much better for us.

Here at Galaxie, we offer a full range of teas along with our coffees and other beverages. Feel free to ask about your favorite tea drink next time you order.

Social and Cultural Impacts of Coffee Have Been Profound

Social and Cultural Impacts of Coffee Have Been ProfoundContemplating the common coffee bean can be a very enlightening experience if you allow it to be. For example, what is coffee really? Is it just a plant from which we make a delicious beverage, or is it a commodity that has had a significant impact on society? Your knowledge of the history of coffee probably dictates how you answer these two questions.

National Public Radio presented a very compelling piece back in 2013 demonstrating the social and cultural impacts of coffee over hundreds of years of history. Needless to say, coffee is more than just a beverage we drink. It has been part of world-changing political decisions, the creation of beautiful works of art, and the development of strong economic engines in multiple countries across the globe. Below are a few highlights from the NPR piece that provide a clear picture of how important coffee has been throughout history.

The London Coffeehouse Scene

We do not typically associate coffee houses with London, but they had such establishments long before we did. According to NPR, the world-renowned Lloyd’s of London insurance company was formed in a London coffeehouse by the same name in 1688. Proprietor Edward Lloyd established his coffeehouse as a gathering place for ship owners, sailors, and merchant marines. It eventually became a place where mariners and insurers could meet to discuss insurance, leading Lloyd to establish his own insurance company.

NPR also notes those same London coffeehouses were meeting places for journalists, authors, and even great composers like Bach and Beethoven. They say that some of the greatest compositions of classical music and literature may have been born in 17th- and 18th-century coffeehouses.

Coffee and the American Revolution

Coffee played a significant role as a political statement at the start of the American Revolution. As you might guess, once patriots dumped all that tea into Boston Harbor in 1773, citizens and politicians alike stopped drinking British tea and took up coffee instead. Coffee became an important political symbol in that it signified one’s allegiance to America and a subsequent disdain for Britain.

Modern Coffee Movement

Today, coffee continues to have a significant social and cultural impact. While the coffeehouses of the Pacific Northwest have generated an entirely separate coffee culture that is as distinct as the wine, chocolate and cheese cultures, socially-minded coffee drinkers are championing the cause of growers and laborers who they believe are not being treated fairly.

Of course, coffee has also spawned new technologies and inventions that have made millions of dollars for their inventors. The single-cup coffee machine is but one example. And with every such invention, there is another paradigm shift in the way we make and consume coffee.

Coffee has undoubtedly shaped cultures and societies for hundreds of years. We are just happy to be able to be a part of it here at Galaxie. If it were not for coffee, we would be doing something else for a living.

The Biggest Innovators in the Coffee Industry: Small Businesses

The Biggest Innovators in the Coffee Industry: Small BusinessesOur position as one of the leading providers of coffee and beverage service in the greater New York area gives our staff an opportunity to interact with a lot of coffee lovers. We get a lot of great questions including, “who are the biggest innovators in the coffee industry today?” We suppose customers ask that question because they are curious about what we may have coming in the future. At any rate, it’s a great question and one with an answer that might surprise you.

A fascinating article published by Craft Beverage Jobs in mid-April (2016) gives us a hint about the industry’s biggest innovators by explaining, in detail, what are known as the ‘three waves’ of coffee. Truth be known, the coffee waves we talk about in the industry are just a means for us to express the history of coffee in the marketplace since the 1800s.

During the first wave, the biggest innovators were the coffee growers and roasters themselves. They found new ways to take a product that was produced by individual growers and roasters as an alternative to tea and develop its mass appeal throughout the Americas and parts of Europe. They were so successful that their efforts gave rise to mass producers like Maxwell House Folgers and technologies such as vacuum packing.

The second wave was dominated by the coffee shop culture that began on the West Coast in the 1970s. The biggest innovator back then was Starbucks and although the company still exerts quite a bit of influence in their chosen arena, that influence is beginning to fade in light of the current third wave of coffee.

Coffee Today and Tomorrow

The coffee industry of today is all about consumers who want to know how their coffee is grown, how it is sourced, how it relates to environmental protection and fair trade, and so on. We expect the current trends to continue for quite some time. During this third wave, the true innovators are the small businesses who are getting back to the basics of coffee as a premium beverage to be enjoyed for its own sake rather than just drinking any old off-the-shelf coffee to get a caffeine buzz in the morning.

Craft Beverage Jobs cites companies like Intelligentsia, Counter Culture Coffee, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters as three examples of third wave innovators. We cannot disagree with that assessment. Each one exemplifies what coffee’s third wave is all about: product quality, direct trade, and sustainability.

As we see it, innovation is all about finding new ways to not only give customers what they want but to meet and exceed their expectations every single time. That is what innovators do.

Our goal at Galaxie Coffee is to provide the best possible coffee and beverage service we can. We want our customers to enjoy every single cup, every single time. Therefore, we continue to work with our suppliers to bring you the highest quality coffees from around the world.

5 of the Healthiest Teas on the Market

5 of the Healthiest Teas on the MarketSince the earliest days of recorded history, man has been making tea as a beverage to be consumed for good health. Today, tea still enjoys a position of prominence in Eastern diets for that same reason. China is a great example. In that country, there are dozens of different kinds of teas that are used specifically to promote good health among the Chinese population.

If you are a regular tea drinker, have you considered drinking particular types of tea in order to gain some of their health benefits? If so, you might already be aware of the healthiest teas on the market, including these five:

1. Green Tea

Green tea took off as a daily beverage in the West back in the late 90s. It is a tea with a lot of value as an antioxidant because of its high content of catechins. Some studies suggest that daily consumption of green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in some people by as much as 10%. It is also believed to be beneficial for weight maintenance.

2. Oolong Tea

This traditional Chinese tea comes in multiple varieties depending on customer tastes. All of the varieties are believed to help cut down on triglycerides in the blood by causing certain enzyme reactions that prevent the body from converting food sources into fat. Studies suggest that oolong tea is a good beverage for people attempting to lose weight or prevent weight gain.

3. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is one of the varieties of tea that has been used specifically for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is high in antioxidants and believed to be useful for preventing cancer and some of the side effects of diabetes, including diabetic nerve damage. What’s different with chamomile tea is that it does not actually come from a tea plant; it is made from the chamomile plant.

4. Echinacea Tea

Echinacea is another example of an herbal tea not made using traditional tea leaves. Nonetheless, echinacea is believed to be beneficial to fighting off viral infections and boosting overall immune system performance. It works well enough that you can even buy echinacea lozenges to help fight the common cold.

5. White Tea

White tea is considered the ‘all-purpose’ tea in terms of health benefits. It is also high in antioxidant properties that may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health problems. A few studies have even suggested that drinking white tea as a way to help minimize the possibility of relapse among breast cancer survivors. That said, green and black tea are also recommended for the same purpose.

Tea, in its many forms, offers health benefits that give people even more reasons to consume it. We are pleased to be able to provide tea to our customers along with coffee and other beverages. If you have any questions about our service or the products we carry, feel free to contact Galaxie Coffee at any time.

The Growing Popularity of Coffee Pods

The Growing Popularity of Coffee PodsThe last decade has seen an upsurge in instant coffee use. However, it is the rising popularity of coffee pods that has hit the world by storm. According to a MarketWatch report in November 2013, there has been a three-fold increment in single-serve coffee sales since 2011. In America alone, 13% of residents enjoyed caffeine prepared with a single-cup coffee machine each day in 2014. A prediction by Mintel, a market research firm in the US, shows that the gap between coffee pods budget by consumers and that of bulk coffee is narrowing, and likely to match by the year 2018.

Looking at the statistics, it is clear that coffee pods are revolutionizing the coffee drinking experience around the world. This trend is hardly possible without a capable brewing device, and to match the upward trend of such capsules are the coffee pod machines. The pioneer in single-serve coffee machines is Keurig of Green Mountain, simply referred to as K-Cup machines. Since its invention in the 1990s by John Sylvan, more brands have hit the market. Today, one in every three American households owns a one-cup coffee pod machine.

Surprisingly, a device originally targeted for office use has found its way not only in homes but also restaurants. Even customers are asking for the ever convenient fresh brew of a K-cup in coffee houses. No wonder, these machines are cropping up in almost every building in not only the US but also other parts of the world, such as Europe. In 2013, pod coffee machine sales surpassed their drip counterparts in Western Europe.

So, what is the hype about coffee pods?

This is one question in the mind of anyone bowled over by the growing popularity of coffee pods. Generally, today’s world is fast-paced, and everyone wants things to happen at a lightning speed. This doesn’t mean one has to compromise quality, though; today’s customer is keen about everything! So, what does a coffee pod machine has to offer?

i. Ease of use

With a Keurig K-Cup, all you need is to press a button and within thirty seconds you will be enjoying an equally good cup of coffee. The brewing process involves opening up of a tiny coffee capsule by a jet of water under high pressure, and the mixture passes through a filter into your cup. The output is basically a cup at a time.

ii. Convenience

Imagine a situation where you are assured of a fresh cup of high quality with every cycle that takes only 30 seconds of your time. With such a machine, you don’t need to measure and mix spices to get your desired taste since the equipment has the right balance and amount. Additionally, each cup is brewed from a single capsule individually packaged to ensure freshness.

iii. Ability to provide high-quality coffee

Though this depends on the coffee pods, you can be certain of consistency in the quality of the brand you choose. In any case, each capsule is packed separately. Unlike bulk coffee packages, the Arabica coffee is wrapped up into a capsule-like pod made of a light- and airproof material thus making sure the content doesn’t degrade in quality during storage.

iv. Cheaper compared to takeaways from cafes

If you consider its face value, single-serve caffeine is expensive. For instance, a cup by Nespresso goes for 65 cents, this means a pound of the same costs USD 59. However, some customers feel this is way cheaper compared to a trip to Starbucks every time they want to enjoy a good cup of coffee.

Coffee Pods in the Future

The future is bright for coffee pods. This lies in their ability to answer the need for good quality coffee that is convenient and quick to brew, especially at the comfort of your home or office. Besides, leading brands are promising of new improvements to make the K-Cups completely biodegradable by 2020. This is in response to concerns that these revolutionary pods are a threat to the environment since they are non-recyclable.

–Rudy Caretti
Gimoka Coffee UK

About this month’s guest contributor:

Rudy Caretti has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found Gimoka Coffee UK with a group of friends, who share the same passion. Since he roasted his first batch of coffee seeds as a teenager, he was fascinated by the many ways it can be processed to get the many different distinctive flavors we all love.

As a coffee connoisseur, Rudy has always been aware of the vital role played by coffee in most people’s social life and he is especially active through the company’s social media and blog. He loves sharing his knowledge with readers around the world, writing and posting articles that range from the coffee brewing techniques to raising awareness of the importance of responsible production to help protect the rights of farmers and protect the environment.


Coffee – From A to Z

From the CEO of Galaxie Coffee:

Hello, Coffee Lovers,

Continuing my search for what’s new and exciting in the coffee industry, I came across Lorenzo Agostinelli, who works with Gimoka Coffee UK. He came up with an informative and entertaining look at coffee, from A to Z. Please enjoy the following infographic, while learning the ABC’s of coffee history.


Infographic below Courtesy of Gimoka Coffee UK, London, UK.

Coffee - From A to Z

Galaxie Coffee Goes Big-Time with Food & Drink Magazine

Galaxie Coffee Goes Big-Time with Food & Drink MagazineHere at Galaxie Coffee, we work very hard to ensure that we are always providing our customers with the absolute best products and services. The sincere thanks and appreciation we receive from them tell us we are meeting their expectations, but it is also nice to be recognized among peers from time to time for a job well done. In light of that, we are extremely proud to announce that Food & Drink magazine will be featuring Galaxie Coffee on March 14 (2016).

Food & Drink is an international magazine that reaches more than 495,000 readers with every edition. The magazine’s target audience are the CEOs, plant managers, and purchasing managers responsible for making buying decisions in the workplace. It is a publication that brings together the best in the food service industry for the purposes of sharing ideas, explaining best practices, and simply making the industry better for all of us.

Our inclusion in Food & Drink is a testament to our dedication to the coffee industry. Like any industry, those who really love what they do put everything they have into making sure they do it right. That is what we are all about at Galaxie. Not only do we love coffee, but we also love being able to provide our customers with a full range of beverages, breakroom supplies, and equipment that will enable them to offer top-notch beverage service to their customers and/or employees.

Office Coffee Is a Highly Competitive Business

When Galaxie Coffee was originally established, the office coffee business in the greater New York area was still in the maturation phase. There were a lot of companies competing in a wide-open market with plenty of room. Some of these companies survived, others failed. We learned that the difference between the two is the ability to provide the products and services customers want in a timely manner and at a reasonable price.

Over the years, Galaxie has expanded through both organic growth and acquisition. In fact, we have more than tripled in size since the current management team took over in 2005. We now serve all of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, and most of New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

The office coffee business is an extremely competitive business that requires a real dedication to customer satisfaction if long-term success is to be achieved. Here at Galaxie, we believe we have achieved that success many times over. And we do not plan to stop now. Our long-term goals include keeping abreast of the latest trends in the coffee industry in order to make sure our customers get exactly what they want.

We are thrilled that an organization like Food & Drink magazine has seen fit to profile our company. We believe it is an honor to be recognized by such a well-respected publication in a day and age when so many businesses seem to not care about their customers. Please check out Food & Drink on March 14 to see our piece.

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate: Which Is Most Popular?

tea-and-coffee_Myj5wKSO_LThe long-standing debate over the best hot beverage rages on, in a friendly manner, of course, year after year. Some swear by the morning cup of coffee that provides that little jolt of caffeine and the perfect aroma to get one started for the day. Others prefer a relaxing cup of tea along with a newspaper or a good book. Still others say hot chocolate is the only way to go for hot beverages. So, who is right? Which of the three hot beverages is most popular?

Coffee is, by far, the most popular hot beverage in the world. According to a Euromonitor analysis of 2009 retail sales, consumers purchased just under 5,000 pounds of coffee per capita as opposed to about 277 pounds of tea. Here in the United States, coffee dominates the hot beverage market with the average consumer drinking several cups a day. The U.S. is easily the largest consumer of coffee in the world, per capita.

Coffee Consumption Among Younger People

There doesn’t seem to be any drastic regional differences between coffee and tea trends in the U.S., with the possible exception of a few cities with a heavy population of young people. According to Forbes, young people are beginning to eschew coffee in favor of tea due to the supposed health benefits of doing so. Along those lines, green tea is very big among the younger crowd.

Forbes cites a 2015 study by YouGov that shows tea consumption in the U.S. has grown some 20% since the turn of the century. It is especially strong among those under 30. For example, the millennial crowd shows equal preferences for coffee and tea, with about 42% favoring one or the other. Contrast that with older Americans who prefer coffee by a ratio of nearly 4-to-1.

In cities with a significant millennial population – like Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston – tea consumption is a lot stronger than in other places. However, it still has a long way to go to catch up to coffee.

The Hot Chocolate Question

Hot chocolate does have its place as a competitor against coffee and tea. However, hot chocolate consumption is still viewed by most people as entirely separate from the coffee and tea debate. In other words, the number of individuals who choose hot chocolate as their main hot beverage of the day are few and far between. Most people who consume it do so in the same way they consume wine – as a special treat rather than one’s primary beverage.

This has given rise to a whole culture of gourmet hot chocolates and specialist cocoa drinks. Those who consider themselves hot chocolate connoisseurs are as passionate about their drinks as even the most snobbish of wine snobs. But it’s all good. If hot chocolate is your thing, enjoy!

The debate over the superiority of coffee or tea will continue as long as people drink them. For now, coffee is still the clear winner.

Coffee and Tea Preferences: Modern or Traditional?

Coffee and Tea Preferences - Modern or TraditionalAs a coffee or tea drinker, what are your beverages of choice? Do you prefer more traditional drinks, or are you the kind of person who loves to try the modern variations that seem to pop up every few weeks? These are interesting questions that companies like ours are always asking. We need to keep up with consumer demand if we are to keep our customers happy.

There are no hard and fast numbers that point definitively to modern or traditional coffee and tea drinks as being most pervasive. But numbers from 2015 give us a very good guide to rely on. For example, 59% of Americans still drink at least one cup of coffee per day. While that’s down from 61% the year before, it is still an impressive number. Along the same lines, 80% of American households keep tea on hand in one form or another. The majority of that tea is iced tea or iced tea products.

As for the question of modern versus traditional, it actually boils down to your age. Millennials are more likely to embrace the modern variations of both coffee and tea while those over the age of 40 are more likely to stick to traditional drinks. One thing is for sure; the single cup craze has not put a serious dent in traditionally percolated coffee among older Americans. They continue to slow-drip their coffee one pot at a time.

Where Affects How

It is interesting to note that where one buys and consumes coffee affects how that coffee is enjoyed. Statistics show that roughly 46% of those under the age of 40 are more likely to purchase and consume their coffee outside of the home. That means they are going to coffee shops, bistros, and fast food drive-thru’s to get their daily cups.

This reality makes younger coffee drinkers more susceptible to the latest marketing trends. For example, young people who visit the local coffee shop every morning will be exposed to things such as cold brewed and organic coffees on a daily basis. Those who brew their coffee at home will settle on a favorite brand and are done with it. Which group do you suppose is more likely to prefer modern beverages?

Health Concerns Play a Role

Another important factor to consider is the healthy lifestyle mindset. Once again, younger people under the age of 40 are more likely to be concerned about the decisions they make relating to coffee and tea, and how those decisions affect their health. There is a growing concern among millennials that coffee is unhealthy. Approximately 32% are concerned about coffee in general while 48% are worried about caffeine intake. They are more likely to drink things such as green tea and other modern tea variations under the assumption that these are healthier.

Galaxie Coffee works hard to stay up with all the latest trends. We do our best to carry what our customers want, be they traditional beverages or modern variations.

Coffee: from Seed to Cup

From the CEO of Galaxie Coffee:

Hello, Coffee Lovers,

I’m always on the lookout for what’s new and innovative in the coffee industry. I recently made the acquaintance of a gentleman who does much the same thing, and thought that he was worthy of mention. His name is Phil La Rosa and he works with Espresso Works in Perth, Australia. They specialize in the maintenance and sales of the finest coffee machines and associated products in Australia. As part of his work he, too, enjoys keeping up to date with content relating to the coffee industry.

Like many people (myself included), he has always been curious about the production of coffee – what needs to happen in order for us to enjoy our favorite brew? With this in mind, he thought it would be interesting to create an infographic entitled ‘’Coffee: From Seed to Cup’’. It looks at the different stages of coffee production while also giving some coffee industry facts.

I’ve published it here. Enjoy it, while perhaps enjoying a cup of joe.


Infographic below Courtesy of Espresso Works, Perth, Australia

Coffee - from Seed to Cup