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NYC Vegetarian Food Festival: The Beverages

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After writing about all the food, I will now share with you all the drinks I tried at the festival. I was introduced to kombucha.
What is kombucha? It’s a fermented tea beverage that promotes good health and energy, and aids digestion as well (so they say). Kombucha, in its basic form, is made with a combination of tea, sugar, and a kombucha culture known as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). The mixture is then left to ferment for some time. After the process is complete, the mixture turns into a refreshing beverage containing healthy organic acids, enzymes, minerals, and probiotic goodness. The fermented sugars also makes the beverage a bit fizzy and gives it a slightly tart flavor. Cool!

BAO (Bad Ass Organics) and Brooklyn Kombucha both gave samples of their kombucha teas.
BAO started at small facility in Hell’s Kitchen and has now expanded to Long Island City, Queens. BAO Fresh Kombucha is made with organic black and green tea and comes in flavors like original, berry, ginger, grape, mango, and spice super green. I liked the ginger one the best! It was so refreshing. The tartness was a bit of a surprise at first, but the drink was great. I picked up a bottle of the ginger one.
Follow @DrinkBAO on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

Kombuncha Brooklyn also had some really fresh and tasty kombucha drinks. They are the first NYC based kombucha brewery and all their kombucha are made with carefully selected organic ingredients. Their varieties come in fun names like Blue-Green Envy, Straight Up, The Grape Equalizer, Red Ginger, and Urban Passion. The Straight Up is their signature kombucha. The Blue-Green Envy is their signature craft-brewed one that contains blue-green algae and cordycep mushrooms. The Grape Equalizer features rich purple concord grapes, the Red Ginger has spicy ginger and sweet strawberries, and the Urban Passion is infused with tropical passion fruit. They explained to me that you can buy their freshly brewed kombucha in these huge 32oz Amber Glass Growlers. Then, when you’re done, you can bring it back to them to refill. Neat! It’s kind of like what beer breweries offer. I was really tempted to grab a growler, but it would have been a struggle carrying it back with me since I was already carrying so much. Next time.
Follow @KombuchaBK on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

Honest Tea was there too. Honest Tea offers a nice variety of organic, delicious, and healthy beverages. I like to enjoy my tea and its natural flavors, with little to no sweetening and Honest Tea is great because their teas are just barely sweetened. They handled samples of two new additions to their antioxidant-rich organic iced teas – the Classic Green Tea and the caffeine-free Heavenly Lemon Tulsi. They also introduced their newest brewed cacao infusion, Honest Cocoanova, that will be hitting stores soon. Honest Cocoanova is their line of low-calorie, organic, brewed cocoa beverages that’s available in Cherry Cacao, Mint Cacao, and Mocha Cacao. I tried the Mint Cacao and found it to be light and delightful. You can taste the chocolate flavors and the mint was a refreshing addition. I’m not sure how it would appeal to the majority of people though. If I had to compare it to something, the beverage is kind of like a watered down glass of chocolate milk, except dairy-free. Yeah, but that description doesn’t sound very appealing. If you prefer rich and sweet beverages, then you’d probably not enjoy it. But if enjoy Honest Tea products in general, then there’s a better chance you’d like this one too.
Follow @HonestTea on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

PALO introduced me to mamajuana. What is this Mamajuana? Mamajuana is a “blend of healthy roots and herbs which was traditionally prepared as tea and drank for vitality in the Dominican Republic.” PALO is a natural root tea, brewed from mamajuana, and provides energy and balance but without the caffeine. It tasted pretty good, refreshing too!
Follow @drinkpalo on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

Earth Balance was there serving up samples from their line of soymilks. There’s chocolate, original, unsweetened, and vanilla. Each serving of their soymilk provides a good 7 grams of soy protein. Whenever I hear Earth Balance, I think of buttery spreads. I never knew they also made soymilk. Now I have another brand of soymilk to choose from when I’m at the supermarket. Earth Balance products are plant-based, vegan, and made with no artificial ingredients and hydrogenated oils. It’s also free of gluten, lactose and eggs, which makes it friendly to people with special diets or food sensitivities.
Follow @Earth_Balance on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

Lastly, I’ll tell you about Balance and their flower essences infused spring water. Each combination is designed to help you stay relaxed, promote vitality, keep focused, and stay stress-free. There was a complimentary bottle of Mind, their original one, in the VIP gift bag. Mind is enhanced with… Black-Eyed Susan (Helps with focus and concentration and channeling of energy), Crowea (Calms and helps with worry. Has a centering affect), Banksia Robur (Restores vitality), Bush Fuchsia (Balances the right-left hemispheres between being creative and analytic during the course of the day), Paw-Paw (Helps prevent feeling overwhelmed. Also helps with digestion), and Bush Iris (Helps with circadian rhythms for sleeping and digestion)… but it tastes just like water to me. I found the bottle to be quite visually appealing too.
Follow @drinkbalance on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

And that about concludes all the snacks, foods, and beverages I came across at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival! Looking forward to the next one!

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