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Private Label Industry Meets at PLMA Show

For more than 30 years, PLMA’s annual private label trade show has been the place where retailers and suppliers meet to build their private label business. Among visitors who attend are buyers and executives from virtually every major U.S. supermarket, drug chain, mass merchandiser, club, convenience chain, and specialty retailers.

PLMA’s 2015 Private Label Trade Show will be the event of the year for the private label industry, presenting more than 2,700 exhibit booths from leading manufacturers of store brands in virtually every food and beverage category – including gourmet and specialty prepared foods, refrigerated, frozen and ingredients.

Exhibitors range from large, well-known corporations to small and medium-size companies. International participation continues to expand. Exhibitors from more than 35 countries can be found throughout the show floor with national pavilions representing China, Spain, South Africa, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Turkey and Egypt, joining pavilions from Italy, France, Canada, Mexico and others.


Magisso Teacup Offers Clever Practicality

70220-70224.STLIFESTYLEI’ve been a devout morning coffee drinker for a few years now. However, I have recently been trying out tea in the evenings after dinner as a way to replace a late night sweet snack attack. As luck would have it, a Magisso Teacup arrived in the mail for me in a most timely fashion.

The Magisso Teacup does not look like a traditional teacup. Rather, it is a thoroughly modern interpretation that looks like what you might expect a teacup in the future to look like. The cup is designed to allow users to steep loose leaf tea to their desired strength directly in the cup. It has a triangle bottom that lets you tilt the cup to the filtered side of the cup to steep tea and then tilt it to the other side to stop the steeping.

To use the teacup, first tilt it to the side with the filter so that this side is lower. Next, add in your loose leaf tea to the filter nook, then pour hot water over it until the leaves are completely immersed. When you are ready for the tea to stop steeping, simply tilt the cup to the other side so that the filter is now higher and the tea is out of the water. The leaves remain in the filter nook with no need to remove a wet filter and find a spot for it. When you’re all done, you can tap out the used tea and the filter screen is removable to completely clean the area or help scrape out some wet stuck on tea.

teacup_waterI must say, it is easier to use than I make it sound! The hardest part of using it was initially placing the filter screen inside the cup, but only because I had never done it. Once I figured out how to snap it into place, it was not an issue whatsoever the next time around.

But I will be honest when I say that I went into using the cup with a few concerns. First, there is no handle on the teacup, so I was worried that the cup might be too hot for me to hold without it since the cup is plastic. However, this did not turn out to be the case at all. The cup was warm to the touch but not too hot. Second, I was also worried that the cup would be too big to hold in one hand because it has a wide mouth and appears to be bigger than a traditional teacup. Again, I was wrong and was able to hold it comfortably in one hand. Third, I thought that for sure I would pour hot water everywhere while attempting to get it in the nook where the tea steeps. Once again, this did not turn out to be an issue. The water went right where I wanted it to without so much as a drop out of place.

teacup_strainerThe Magisso Teacup works like a charm. It is so simple and straightforward that I was over-thinking it.

Using this cup actually prompted my first foray into loose leaf tea. Previously it had seemed too troublesome of a process to load up some tea filter and hope it would seal properly and not let tiny bits of tea leaves into my drink and potentially get stuck in my teeth. So I really can’t imagine drinking loose leaf tea through any other manner now.

I even tried to push the limits of the teacup by putting a regular teabag in the nook area where the loose leaf tea is supposed to go. This worked out somewhat well, but probably best to stick with the intended form of tea. I have yet to try cutting open a teabag and pouring the contents into the filter nook, but I imagine this would work too.

teacup_blackwhiteI like using this cup at night because I can place it on my nightstand and not have to worry about getting up again to throw out a teabag or take up extra space on my tiny nightstand by bringing along something to place the used teabag on. Having the ability to steep the tea directly in the cup and stop the steeping with a simple tilt is a clever and practical solution I would have never thought of, but I am glad that the folks over at Magisso did.

The Magisso Teacup is available in seven different colors. For more information, visit

Chicago Stash of Craft Beers Available in Time for Housewares Show Dining Excursions

If you’re making your plans for your time in Chicago during the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show, you might be interested in a bit of news that came across our desk in another connection. SideDoor, an  American-style gastropub located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, announces a “Secret Stash” of rare craft beers available to diners beginning Monday, March 2, introduced by Beverage Director Jeff Van Der Tuuk.

Only available upon guest request, this carefully curated collection of limited-time brews, packaged in large format bottles (22-ounce/750mL), is cellared in the basement of the McCormick Mansion for a minimum of six months. Van Der Tuuk sources selections rarely found throughout Chicago and the surrounding Midwest regions. Upon cellaring the collection, Van Der Tuuk releases certain brews for a limited time only at SideDoor when those selections become unavailable elsewhere.

“Offering our guests some of the most unique, rare aged beer on the market is a consistent goal we have at the restaurant,” Van Der Tuuk says. “Each large format brew is often very hard to come by, and we truly appreciate the opportunity to give our guests the ability to enjoy these highly allocated selections.”

The Secret Stash features flavor profiles ranging from lemon grass and sour cherry to toasted malt and cocoa nibs. Of the sixteen beers currently featured on the secret menu, a majority of the collection showcases the work of brewmasters located in the Midwest and beyond. Among the most sought-after bottles, diners can enjoy the following sample of beers:

Old Rasputin XVII Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
California, 22 ounces, 12.1 percent ABV barrel aged, caramel, charred oak

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quadrupel
Missouri, 750 ml, 11.8 percent ABV barrel-aged, cherry, toffee

Rodenbach Caractere Rouge
Belgium, 750 ml, 7 percent ABV cranberry, raspberry, tart cherry, oak

Upland Datalion Dark Wild Ale
Indiana, 750 ml, 8.5 percent ABV dark fruit, oak, pepper, spice

Craft beers offered on the Secret Stash list are only available for a limited time. For more information regarding the large format beer program at SideDoor, visit or call 312.787.6768. To follow rare beer list updates, follow the hashtag #SideDoorSecretStash.

Minipresso for Espresso On The Go

Minipresso2While browsing through the WIRED Store online, I came across this nifty handheld espresso maker, Minipresso. It is just under 7 inches high, weighs less than a pound, has an integrated espresso cup and I want it. Launched by Wacaco, a startup company based in Hong Kong, the Minipresso is currently in preorder until December 31 with the first batch of orders shipping in February/March 2015.

The Minipresso is available in two versions, one for regular ground espresso and one that works with Caffitaly System or Tchibo Cafissimo capsules. I had to look up exactly what type of capsules these are but basically they appear to be European versions of the K-Cup.

It works with the help of the semi-automatic piston that you pump by hand to operate, no batteries requried. After a few pushes, the optimal extraction pressure of 116 psi is achieved. Small quantities of water are then injected into the coffee adapter. The more you press the pump, the stronger your espresso will be. The website lists 13 pumps for a ristretto, 18 for an espresso and 28 for a double espresso. I could explain more but it would probably be easier to watch this video on how it works:

The founder created Minipresso after a business trip and being disappointed with hotel room coffee. The company describes it as espresso on the go for all sorts of situations like traveling, hiking, fishing, camping, boating, the office and small spaces. I would probably use it just to have something that is smaller to use than a coffee pot and with less parts to clean. Plus, I like espresso more than coffee and feel like I could control my espresso flavor intensity better with this contraption.

The Minipresso can be preordered now for $39.00 plus shipping.

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