The past two years I've made the trek out to Las Vegas for the World Tea Expo. If you've not read my coverage, you should check out the 2009 coverage and the 2010 coverage. This year's expo is June 24th, 25th and 26th. I'll be in Vegas a little longer to provide some extended coverage.
The event is a huge mishmash of industry awesomeness all in one place. It's not just tasting teas. The expo has everything from business seminal sessions to special speaker events, new blends and coverage of tea trends.
Understanding the industry on a deeper level has been a wonderful adventure for me. My love of tea has only gotten stronger in the hands of the past two expos. As such, I am understandably excited to attend the expo again this year.
Last year I had such a wonderful experience exploring the show floor. I met many new friends and found more than a few new impressive favorites.
This year promises to be equally outstanding. Some of the winners of this year's World Tea Championships have promising outlooks for them. No chance to be a slouch though, everything should be tasted and sampled. All our palates are different, so I will continue to attempt to be as objective as possible.
Charlie Palmer is giving an interactive session on cooking with tea at this year's expo I hope to sneak into. There are limited slots available, but I should at least be able to get some photos in for you. Charlie runs the Aureole restaurant in Mandalay Bay in Vegas and is considered one of the best chefs in NYC.
Going into the expo World Tea Expo staff released some info on emerging trends, which I always find interesting. Tea brands continue to differentiate themselves with unique or innovative packaging, deeper marketing to men and people aged 25 to 35. On top of this celebrities are mixing it up on their end by releasing their own tea lines. The likes of Donald Trump, Lady Gaga and Padma Lakshmi started their own tea lines.
Right along my lines of passion are industry trends related to social media (Facebook and Twitter) and an increasing emphasis on origin and culture. I'm very excited to see the industry moving towards my interests and will try to provide deeper coverage in this area.
Check back around the 26th of June for updates from this year's expo with plenty of photos and info in full recaps later on.