Hello readers first let me say, thanks for reading.
My reports this year will be as follows:
Show finds (included in this post)
Presentation/Meeting Reviews & Expo Educational Offerings
Re-evaluating Tea Education
Working with the Media: Learn from Top Tea Editors
Utilizing Social Media to Connect with Customers Authentically and Grow Your Tea Business
Tea Vessels=A Way to Steep Up Sales
MABTA (MidAtlantic Tea Business Assoc) Meeting
World Tea Awards
Tea Pairing in the Sky with Seven Cups and Alizé
My special time with Sara “Sara’s Tea Caddie”
Interview with David De Candia; Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
I also want to take this opportunity to thank World Tea Expo and Penton for the great work they did this year in coordinating and hosting this event.
Special thanks to Monique Hachett, Education Manager and Aaron Kiel, Public Relations / Marketing Communications, Editorial Services (for World Tea Expo), for keeping us informed.
I want to apologize to my readers, this year, mitigating circumstances, prevented me from working the show floor as I usually do.
This years Expo, jam packed with a variety of educational offerings and special events, the topics, interesting.
Although this is always our morning focus, it was impossible to attend all those I wanted to go to, as many happen concurrently.
In addition, and greatly appreciated, both networking events were open to all attendees.
The show floor can be a daunting experience with rows and rows of vendors, over 246 attended, all with well displayed offerings.
At past shows, each day I would exit sufficiently tea drunk, though this year, all in all, I may have drunk 10 cups of tea ( thanks Beth, and Thomas Shu and Sara) in the 3 days and 2 of them I brought from home.
As always, and greatly appreciated, upon entering the the convention sign in area, Beth Johnston, Teas Etc. was there to welcome me with my first cup of tea. I chose an Assam to get myself in working mode. Beth constructed several photo boards this year that displayed impromptu shots of attendees.
We laughed as we took photos of each other taking photos of each other.
Shortly afterwards the Tea bloggers began gathering for hugs and schedule reviews.
Then it was off to my first presentation which you will hear about in a separate post.
As I mentioned, I was only able to get to the show floor on Friday at 1:00pm and the show closes at 4:00pm.
Unlike a retailer, when I work the floor it entails investigating product, and having conversation this takes more time than just scoping and moving on.
My first stop was JT &Tea, Thomas and Josephine. Treated to a Formosa Bonita, I savored the brew. The malty, sweet notes lingered on my palate urging me to take a moment to appreciate every sip.
This offering was part of a Seven Beauties Collection that Thomas was presenting this year. The educational aspect incorporated Theory-Cupping-Tasting -Serving. Seven Taiwan Oolongs: Wenshan Pouchong, Jade Oolong, Classic Tung-Ting, Amber Oolong, Oriental Beauty, Taitung Oolong, and Formosa Bonita made up this special selection.
I then moved to inspect the lovely Teaware Josephine includes for the show.
I was fortunate to purchase a Puer Knife that I look forward to using.
Josephine and I laughed at the mention of packing it to travel home and what might happen in security check . *Note Josephine, it made it home safely.
Those of us who enjoy a good cup are forever looking for new ways to brew. This is evident in the number of kettles, brewers, and machines hitting the marketplace that find their way into our homes.
As I proceeded down the aisle a café brewing machine caught my eye; I had seen something similar at a tea café I used to frequent and enjoyed their brewed offering. At the time (2years ago) a similar machine was developed specially for the café.
The company Klub Technology Corp displayed a sleek Tea & Espresso Machine. They offer for cafes, restaurants and offices Espresso Machines, Teapresso Machines and combination Tea & Espresso units.
My main interest was Teapresso, the state of the art equipment brews tea like espresso. I got an opportunity to both see it in action and taste the brew.
In less than 2 minutes the brew was ready and green tea offering was both smooth and delightful. In speaking to the presenter, she reviewed both the large and smaller models (ET1) and explained they were looking for a U.S. distributor.
Sauntering down the World Tea Expo show floor, I spotted bloggers, Nicole Schwartz, Amazon V and Geoffrey Norman, SteepStories of the Lazy Literatus, doing what they do best, exploring tea. I knew it must be something special and did not want to disturb their focus.
More than ever this year Puer cakes showed up en masse.
This fact was even alluded to by Barbara Fairchild, former editor -in-chief of Bon Appétit magazine at the Alizé dinner Thursday night.
I was fortunate to be in the industry when the first wave of puer interest hit the airways.
Still a novice when it comes to this leaf I have attempted to become more educated by reading the various chat sites and exploring the brew from a few reputable companies.
Last year we held Puer Academy. We invited two tea enthusiasts experienced in puer, to guide us. It was an exhilarating experience and for many of my constituents their first sampling of puer.
So much to learn, and so much to explore. If you would like to read more about some of the WTE offerings check out Charissa’s blog Oolong Owl she scored a few.
ITCC, International Tea Cuppers Club, was my next stop. Always interested in this group and their focus on education and tasting I have finally made my decision to join so I picked up the handouts and informational brochures they offered.
Many of you also know I am a tea blender and so “where there is a blend, I will find my way”. Hosts of offerings in rows and I suspect that due to the current market demand for fruity, floral, novelty tea drinks, many retailers are looking for more options and alert natives to please their customer base.
Now on to Matcha.
Again, there were many tables with a variety of offerings.
I could not walk past the attractive bowl of Matcha Chocolate without sampling.
I would also like to thank Aiya Matcha for supplying the press room with packets of their “Zen Cafe” and “Matcha To Go” samples . They certainly came in handy during my after conference Matcha revival.
At the end of the aisle I scoped an area I had not seen before. It appeared to me to be first time vendors and I am always attracted to something new.
Blends could be seen everywhere reflecting the consumer preference of todays market choices.
A few years ago I hosted an “Out Of Africa” tea experience that featured teas and sweets inspired or imported from the continent. This experience has had a lasting effect on my constituents and many are still ordering Rooibos & Honeybush from me.
So to see the banner for Mandela Tea, I had to investigate.
The Cape Tea representative Peter Behr, his associate and I had a lively discussion about South African teas, the vision of their company and efforts to support education through the Mandela Day School Library Project . I left with joy in my heart as well as many samples, Thank You. A sample that I am eager to try is Organic Honeybush & Buchu the combination sounds amazing.
Also note Peter, I took one of the individual packets and packed it for my daughters international trip. She thanks you as well. I will be reviewing these in an upcoming separate post.
Next up was The TeaBook , the book itself is a patent pending design created to hold 144 tea packets of your choice. They currently have a start-up that has one month left for funding. The book is available in 5 colors. I can think of one practical use for me would be storage for my blending sample trials. In addition they have what they are calling “Collectteables”, tea bags with themed novelty image covers.
A company tealife was present at World Tea Expo, another company new to me, had a nice assortment of branded products. Tea shirts, mugs, hoodies, et al.
Another company of which I was unfamiliar, Nodoka Organic Japanese Tea unfortunately, no samples were given.
At the Teforia booth I observed Rie Tulali passionately describe the Teforia experience and sample a recently brewed cup. This state of the art, sleek designed product premiered last year at Expo to a select few, I have been diligently following their marketing and start-up efforts. Shortly, Diana Pacleb, Teforia’s event coordinator/office manager greeted me. We chatted for a while about the product and I mentioned I was looking forward to seeing it. Congratulations goes out to their team on winning this years World Tea Award for, Best Tea Industry Innovation. I will be reviewing the product in a later post.
It is always exciting to see a familiar face at expo, especially when he is your former instructor. At Flavor Dynamics, I chatted with Wolfgang and sampled a new creation that impressed my palate, Natural Lamb Vindaloo Type Flavor to puer. The combination stunning and the flavor profile acutely accurate. Mention of another offering Natural Grilled Ribeye type Flavor (unavailable for me to sample) was another big hit at the show. I do hope my samples arrive shortly so I can begin planning a savory tea session complete with an addition of Yak Butter Tea.
An eye catching wall display of of tea warmers and customizable kitchenware creations by Fibres of Life, a fair trade wares company out of Halifax, Novia Scotia. Meeting Jennifer was a lovely experience and her products beautifully designed and crafted.
After leaving, I felt a twinge as I was missing Annelise of Thistledown Cozies, unable to make expo this year and this is only the second WTE she has missed and we missed her.
Lastly, was a stop at Prana CHAI whom I had met at Coffee Fest NYC a few months ago. The luscious display of honey mixed chai is always so inviting. I noticed as well, there is on sale now a starter chai set available, looks good.
Thanks to the companies who sought me out to give me sample tea, my very small haul will be focused and enjoyable.
Posts about these will appear when I can sit relax and enjoy your offerings.
To read more about World Tea Expo Events check out a few bloggers/writers who attended
Geoff Norman, Steep Stories of the Lazy Literatus
Darlene Meyers Perry, The Tea Enthusiast’s Scrapbook
Nicole Martin, Tea For Me Please
Naomi Rosen, Joy’s Jabberings
Nicole Schwartz, Amazon V
Rachel Carter, iHeartTeas
Sara Shacket, Tea Happiness
Ricardo Caicedo, My Japanese Green Tea
Charissa Gascho, Oolong Owl