The World Tea Expo held every year in Las Vegas is the world's only industry convention dedicated solely to the premium tea industry. It's not open to the public and I've been very lucky to attend the past two years!
Here's the final installment of this three part recap to the activities and friends from this year's expo!
Ouch! So much ground to cover in a single day! Seven rows and we've only finished four! I gues it helps I didn't attend any educational sessions this year. This would have been a five page set instead! Maybe next year. 😉
First stop when the doors opened? Special Teas! This group has some rather fine offerings. Then, on to Florapharm. A bright logo, good quality product and an interesting name. This German company is housed in the US near my old stomping grounds in Owings Mills, MD. They even had a real live samovar (see last photo)!
Next I hit Eco Vita who do supplements and vitamins. Not really my scene. Then was Eastrise Trading Corp. who had the banner for Foojoy, a great chinese company who I had a good rapport with last year. No, on to Rooibos, Ltd. This company obviously specializes in Rooibos related teas.
Further down the isle I hit AOI Tea which specializes in Matcha. I had a little formal ceremony sit down with a great little Japanese woman who whisked the tea up in a little bowl for me to drink. It was extremely good!
Next was Harney & Sons. Last year I was lucky enough to meet both Michael and John Harney at their booth. This year, the booth was considerably smaller and the Harney's themselves weren't present. I was a little disappointed.
Moving on I had the pleasure of hitting Sugimoto America again. They won an award this year for their greeting cards with a pretty sealed teabag in it based on the occasion. That was kinda neat.
Tavalon Tea was next. Their packaging is some of the more unique I think. Clear plastic that's UV coated so you can see the tea is nice. What's great is that unlike other UV plastic tins, these don't just have a window in the tin to see the tea. The container is the window to see the tea.
Continuing, Stash Tea was the following stop. Most of us know Stash Tea from their tea bags sold in grocery stores and such. However, they have some great loose teas, and the new Chanakara line Cindy Harling showed me is really great, and available loose!
Oh My Gosh! PeLi Teas! The wonderful 2009 Pu'erh they had was equally pleasant in a tea bag as it was loose. Just incredible! Maeda-En was great as usual. With their Green Tea Mochi and their Iced Green Tea. Delicious!
What the heck is up with Sam Ritchey and his hair over at TeaGschwendner! That guys knows how to liven it up something real! A stop off at MarketSpice located in Pike Place in Seattle and a taste of Hojicha Gelee (which I'll review down the road) at The Green Teaist and we close out the fifth row!
What a hectic run! But we're only about a third of the way through our day! Will I be able to make it through the seventh row in time for closing? Follow along and we'll see!
There's a LOT going on here in the sixth row! Plenty to see. Let's get started!
First stop? The Taiwan Tea Manufacturer's Association. This is a conglomerated booth area made up of seven or eight Taiwanese tea companies all in one place. They're almost independent of the expo! Too much to describe here. There's lots of good stuff!
What's this!?! Hawiian grown tea! I've known about the Hawaii projects for a while now, but it failed to register that anyone was close enough to production. Well, Liam Ball over at Na Liko Tea certainly is! The Hawaiian Oolong was spectacular. This is on top of being a first year production from plants just five years old! They really nailed it!
Tisano was next. They make cacao stuff. In this case their product is made from the outer shells of the cacao beans. This Equadoran product is pretty good actually and tastes like a hot chocolate but not as rich. The company actually helps in the picking and shipping processes for their product and gives some proceeds back to the community and growers from each sale.
Just across the split from Tisano... was Zealong, the New Zealand Oolong people. If you haven't tried this stuff, seriously give it a go. I did. I'll have a formal review up soemtime soon. Zealong has some of the best marketing this year I think, and their packaging is simply beautiful! Tulsi Organics across the walkway was another herbal beverages company. There seem to be plenty of these this year.
On to Naivetea. I really like this brand's identity. Clean and refined but with a slightly fancy augmentation. Always friendly, the couple who run this company are somehow calming to me. It could be the tea too, but there's something about this fun pair from California!
Next up? Hankook Tea who have some simple but nice packaging, and they're representing Korean teas which are seriously under-represented in the industry. You go guys! On to Takeya USA! These guys make some really swell tea brewer jugs! Some of these are for chilled teas, and others are for hot teas. Some for large quantities and others for just a cup or two. You should check them out!
Keeping up the pace we have Shang Ri La Tea and Hancha Tea another company I remember from last year who has nice clean package design. A trip to Teas Etc. rounds out the 6th row. I mean what would the expo be without Beth and Newman Johnston!
Time for the final row already!?! The Expo can't be over yet!?! I mean c'mon!
Row seven is shorter and has less going on. I did run into Jason O. Walker from Walker Tea Review whom I met last year. If I'd been swifter maybe I'd have caught him before he was closing up. Maybe I could have even been in one of his review videos! That would have been killer!
A stop by the World Tea News booth was empty. All that was left was Torn Ranch.
Disappointed row 7 didn't have more going on? Oh, fine! There was this row of new product displays. Maybe you'd like to see those, yeah? Here you go, I'll leave you with these. I hope you enjoyed my coverage of the expo as much as I did getting to go again.