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May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and to me, no celebration is complete without sipping on a tasty beverage. We rounded up eight brands that highlight unique flavors and cultural aspects of the AAPI diaspora. From coffee and tea to hard seltzer and small batch rum, here are some of the trendiest beverages we’ve tried that honor Asian American cultures and heritage.
1. Copper Cow Coffee
Copper Cow coffee is the brainchild of Vietnamese-American Debbie Wei Mullin. Already a popular way to get a caffeine boost for busy office workers in East Asia, these single-serve pour-over packets are now making their way to the U.S., too. These packets are pre-ground, pre-measured, and individually packaged coffee, filter included. Similar to traditional pour-over coffee, Copper Cow packets are perched over a mug after opening, then hot water is poured over the grinds until all the water passes through the filter. Then your coffee is ready to drink!
Kasama, which means “together” in Tagalog, was founded by Alexandra Dorda whose Filipino mother inspired this small-batch rum. Aged in ex-bourbon American oak barrels, this rum has hints of pineapple, vanilla, and sea salt, which is quite unique for craft rum. Order directly from the brand’s website, then drink it neat or on the rocks to best appreciate its flavors. (Or, mix up a cocktail or two.)
3. Tippsy Sake
Contrary to popular belief, sake pairs well with all kinds of food—it’s not just for sushi! If you’re interested in diving deeper into the world of sake, we recommend this sake subscription service we’ve tested that sends a curated box of three bottles of sake from microbreweries in Japan. Each box comes with a card explaining the bottles, tasting notes, and food pairing recommendations.
Unlike other coffee subscriptions we’ve tested, the Driftaway model puts the taster at the front and center of the coffee experience. Once subscribed, the first shipment is a four-bean tasting kit, which lets subscribers decide which one they like the most, and future deliveries will follow suit.
Co-founded by Suyog Mody and Anu Menon, Driftaway is an independent coffee roasting company based in Brooklyn, New York. The brand was born out of frustration that freshly roasted coffee wasn’t widely available. Today, Driftaway has grown from a spark of a business idea to one of the most popular coffee subscriptions in the U.S.
5. Tea Drunk
My husband has subscribed to Tea Drunk for almost two years. His specialty taste for rare Chinese tea led him to this particular subscription that sends him samples of four bags of tea each month, curated by tea trade expert Shunan Teng. The subscription comes with a complimentary monthly webinar via Zoom, in which tea master Shunan walks you through tea tasting and talks passionately about the most sought-after teas from the Wuyi Mountains and beyond.
Move over White Claw, there’s a new hard seltzer in town. Flavored with natural ingredients sourced directly from Asia, Lunar is a small-batch craft seltzer brand that draws inspiration from its founders’ childhood memories. Its latest launch, the limited edition Heritage Line, includes three new flavors added to pay tribute to well-known Asian foods, such the Vietnamese street snack of Mango with Chili Salt.
If booze-free seltzer is more your speed, Sanzo is worthy of your attention. Founded by Filipino-American Sandro Roco, this seltzer brand offers refreshing sparkling water flavored with fruits from Asian countries, from lychee to calamansi—a tangy citrus fruit most commonly used in Filipino and other Southeast Asian cooking.
8. Bean and Bean Coffee
Rachel and Jiyoon Han, the Korean mother-daughter duo, started Bean and Bean Coffee in 2008 and have grown the brand to include four locations and one roastery in New York City. They believe a quality cup of coffee starts with sourcing, which is why they only choose organic and fair-trade coffee to ensure sustainability and fair compensation to the farmers. One percent of every online order goes to the Sloth Institute in Quepos, Costa Rica, a non-profit organization that tracks and cares for orphaned and injured sloths.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.