Friday, June 7, 2013

A 2013 World Tea Expo Overview Moment - Day 1

The World Tea Expo is a beautiful thing. Whether retailer or wholesaler, blender or buyer, importer, publisher, craftsman, or enthusiast, there's a little something for everyone.

So what is the World Tea Expo, you may well ask. It's a trade show. It's an educational conference. It's a marketplace. It's the piazza of the tea world. And I'm back.

I attended the very first World Tea Expo - at that time it was called "Take Me 2 Tea." I went as a nobody, as a fan. I went 2 or 3 other times. It was always big. It was always exciting. I always learned so very much.

And now, I'm back for its 11th year, press pass in hand and ready to share what it's all about. So much happened on Day 1, I couldn't possibly cover it all. So I'll highlight a little of what I've seen today, with the promise of expanding on some of the subjects a little more in future posts. (So much great Tea Moment fodder!)

I started the day off attending an educational session called "Le Nez du The" or The Nose of Tea, taught by Shabnam Weber of The Tea Emporium.

I love that we had the opportunity to taste teas and learn at the same time. All conferences should incorporate this somehow. Just sayin'.

After all that tea and learning, I needed... more tea! Fortunately, Teas Etc. was providing a surprisingly wide variety of loose leaf teas as refreshment. And that is where I laid on Beth for the first time.

Serving and teaching at the same time, she was the embodiment of having found her calling. Her joy and energy filled the room and was contagious!  We hugged, she served me some Assam Reserve (more please), we agreed to touch base later, and off I flew.

From there, I went to another educational session, entitled, "RealiTEA: The Real Life Evolution of a Tea Store," presented by Bill Waddington of TeaSource. Now, I've been a huge fan of Bill's for many years, and this session reinforced all that I appreciate about him. He is such a generous teacher. He shares all of his knowledge, withholding nothing. He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of opening a tea shop, and he provided sample letters, checklists, spreadsheets, and more based on his experiences to all the session attendees!  Double !!

He spoke to an absolutely full house, standing room only (except for the lone seat directly in front of me, apparently), and within minutes he had everyone eating from the palm of his hand. His passion for the industry, and his warmth and charisma translated to heavy, heavy traffic at the TeaSource booth!

After another stop in at the Refreshment Lounge and a cupful of Green Earl Grey (magnificent, by the way), I went back to my room to recharge (me and my iPhone), and then off to the trade show floor.

If it's your first time, the trade show floor is overwhelming. 11 long aisles of everything tea! While I wanted to wander slowly through the entire array, I had appointments, and so... off to Alpha Dominche, where I got to experience the Steampunk, - think espresso machine for loose leaf tea. Pretty cool.

Of course, I had to taste and cast my vote for the Black Tea Competition...

Then, off to Alvita and meeting Tonja Schenk, their new Director of the herbal category. (Loved their Wall Of Herbals!)

 Then there was the Teas Etc. Garden Party!

Where I ran into many of my fellow tea bloggers for the first - time - ever!

As well as Lisa of Chambre de Sucre, who provided all the sugars and sweets for the Garden Party!

And last, but certainly not least, it was the Bloggers' Roundtable!
Where we had a very engaged audience!

Overall, a full and wonderful Day 1, with LOTS of moments to expand upon. For up to the moment info, Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or do a Twitter search for #WorldTeaExpo.

See you tomorrow!

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