We will begin with what I have deemed “My Expo Survival Kit”. As many of you are aware, the first leg of my trip was not without drama. With much ado my only alternative became a reroute into LAX.
My dear friend Yoon Hee of Tea Classics, graciously offered to rescue me and drive me into Long Beach. It was such a joy to see her and my good friend Darlene, The Tea Lovers Archives , after my stressful trip. Though there was a suggestion of grabbing a bite, I could hardly stand up.
Well, as I said my goodnights, I was given a bag of treats (tea expo equipment) all tailored to get me through the next few days (note the packs of Emergen-c and also note much was consumed before the photo). I was, and am very grateful, thank you Yoon Hee.
Unlike years past I did not harvest a bounty of leaf at this expo although I came back with more teaware than I expected.
My personal haul, seen below, some I received as gifts others purchased.
There were many companies exhibiting teaware of all kinds.
One company I had meet at another show has a lovely tumbler offering.
This BPA Free, plastic exterior/glass interior, thermal tumbler comes in two sizes. It can be used for both hot and cold beverages. You are also able to order individual filters and lids for either replacement or mix and match.
Two of my favorite companies were also represented with several (what I consider), works of art.
Lin’s Ceramics Studio The finishes on each piece are as smooth as silk. The color, a pale bluish-green is reminiscent of a morning spring sky. The design simple and perfect, these have been on my “Want List” for a number of years.
The workmanship on these yixing is spectacular. The “pour” is pristine. I always make a point to stop by and find myself feeling as if I was visiting a museum display of treasured art.
TEA BREWING/WATER HEATING
This company and product never ceases to amaze me. The brewing technology, state of the art design would enhance any teashop environment. Available in several sizes, the “steampunk” extraction technology, as described on their website, “unlocks flavor profiles that are hidden by other machines”, “the system offers unprecedented extraction, temperature control & thermal stability for each cup with unique brew parameters”. The description, though lengthy, has meaning for those interested, all I can say, simply, it brews a great cup.
A new company on the scene, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, had several interesting products still in the development stage. Christian Krause, Brand Manager/Designer, walked me through a few of the new teaware designs and product features. Yes, I was impressed as they are tweaking some of what we already know, and own, to be more inline to making a perfect cup. For example, their teakettle digital timer can be adjusted (increased or lowered) in one degree increments within a range of 140° to 210°. It also features auto-start, and wake-up. Most existing brewers are constructed to 5-degree jumps. Their design of some items are also very attractive for the more traditional tea room or home and suggested retail prices are great . Most importantly, they are asking us what we need and think before final release. Kudos to this approach, thanks Christian.
Ok, I confess I could not resist. This tea maker simplifies the creation of brewed tea blending and tea infusion. With the capabilities of adjustable steeping temperatures I dream of all the possibilities I will explore. It is BPA free, dishwasher safe and will never boil over. The product also features “easy clean up” and parts can be removed for thorough washing.
Tea Ceré, Sharp®
If you are amassing your “Tea Wish List” this is the one to include. I have been watching similar types of machines released in the overseas market for about a year. I did not make the purchase as: 1.) I was unsure about the products performance, 2.) High shipping costs, therefore, I resisted placing the order. When I saw a similar product was going to be shown at WTE I could hardly contain my excitement and placed it on my “budgeted for WTE” list. I was disappointed they were not taking orders and that the product won’t be available until July. This machine is as someone else stated is a “game changer”. To be able to grind your own leaves (of any type), create Matcha and Matcha like brews, grind tea for seasonings and blends, what more could a tea geek want. The design, compact, kitchen friendly, comes in a few colors as well. Note also, I see using this machine in some of the presentations I conduct, as it is small enough to pack and go. Many of my tea friends were choosing colors while we stood looking at the display with wanton desire. There was even mention of getting one and sharing, much like the movie scenario “The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants”, I knew that suggestion was impossible, as I thought, when it came my turn I probably would want to keep it longer than the designated time. I am so looking forward to the availability and am making space in my kitchen now for this new item.
Tea To Go, Hälssen & Lyon
This award winning tea company, noted for unique innovation and creators of the “Tea Calendar”, has come up with a uniquely innovative way for mass retailers and coffee shops to offer quality tea. The patented teatogo has a specially developed tea bag integrated to the lid designed for big cups and mugs. Just fill the cup with hot water, attach the lid wait the suggested brewing time and voila a fine quality cup of tea. Once brewing is complete the attachment allows the user to pull the bag away from the water with a flick and over brewing is prevented and without mess. The company has also introduced a line of “tart aromatic “Men’s Teas” developed especially for male consumers”. Any of you “Beasts Of Brewdom” ever given this a try? Lahikmajoe you’re up!
Packaging is one of the most often asked about questions I get as a tea consultant. For small start up businesses minimums and storage can be very costly and prohibitive. Many of us have made a few mistakes in this area and are always on the lookout for better products, better prices, and minimums we can handle.
This company had a wide array of product offerings and several of interest to me. Unfortunately, they were not taking orders at the show. What I liked specifically were the vibrancy of colors and bag quality.
Here I was attracted to the stand up pouch, Rice Paper offerings. Similar to Natural Kraft paper as a beautiful matte, delicate, look and softer than rice paper texture. They are available in 2oz to 16oz sizes and currently are available in two colors in both solid and window front options. Personally I would like to see more colors added to the selection.
For those who are ready to take the next step, this company offers contract co-packing for tea bags, pouch filling as well as canister & bottle filling.
I did not get the chance to sit with this vendor but the machine caught my eye. For those of us who blend this could be a vision of the future, be still my heart.
Yes, I include books as equipment. The contents of which equip me to with more knowledge and advance my skills.
Myths & Legends of Tea; Volume 1; Gary D. Robson
When Gary, this years moderator of the “Third Annual TeaBloggers Roundtable”, announced the release of his new kindle offering I immediately made the purchase as I thought I would have the opportunity to read it on my plane trip. I was so looking forward to doing so, but , as mentioned earlier, all the drama surrounding my flight infected my concentration level and I felt I would not do justice to the work, with all the other worries at hand. Well, I have since read a few chapters and this is storytelling at its best. From the onset, noticing the forward is written by one of my favorite tea writers Geoff Norman/Steep Stories, I was smitten. This is a must read for those who have already heard the myths and know the legends. Gary creates a whole new take on what we already know and adds sophisticated wit and humor along the way. Thanks Gary.
Green Tea; A Quest For Fresh Leaf And Timeless Craft; Hugo Americi, Jasmin Desharnais, François Marchand and Kevin Gascyone
Kevin, a dear tea friend, had mentioned this release to me a few months ago. I was so excited, as I value their first book so. I held off making the purchase until attending WTE in order to get a signed copy of this treasure. I have begun reading it, and in my first sitting, have finished half of the book. It is a beautiful composition of history, tea information focused on green teas from China & Japan, excellent photography, delightful watercolors, poetry, and interviews with artisan farmers. I won’t give too much away as it truly deserves a post of its own. I will suggest, that prepare yourself with a pot of your favorite green tea before reading, as the descriptions of the various teas will have you wanting a cup.
Steeped, recipes infused with tea; Annelies Zijderveld
Another book I had heard of prior to going to WTE was “Steeped” I had entered it on my “Want” list and was going to make the purchase after my return. It was truly fortuitous when I was approached by an effervescent young woman who happened to be the author of this book. I am only sad that in my excitement, I did not have her sign my copy. In her work, she begins with a tea primer and describes methods for cooking with the brew. She then breaks down recipes in categories such as: Morning Tea, Midday Tea, Afternoon Tea, High Tea and last but not least Sweet Tea. I have yet to try any recipes and know for sure, when I do, a new post will be in order.
BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR
The Tea Book; Linda Gaylard coming July 2015
If you have ever had the opportunity to read Linda’s blog “The Tea Stylist” you know you will be in for a treat. Linda will incorporate tea information as well as tea preparation and tea recipes in her upcoming work. Stay tuned
Readers, I am positive I have left out a few items and I am sorely aware (after going through my huge bag of information) I left out a few tea finds from my first post. Not to worry, I will include them in my future posts Core Conferences and or Tea Awards or wrap up.
Thanks for reading.
*Disclaimer: I apologize for the some of the photo quality of this post as I work solely with my IPhone. Also note some of the visuals were taken from the vendor websites and the links and credits to the photos can be found on their sites.