World Tea Expo 2018
A couple of weeks ago I attended World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. WTE is a tea trade show and, unlike a tea festival, it’s not open to the general public because it’s a business to business event. It was the first time for me there and I had the pleasure to sit on a Tea Bloggers Roundtable panel too. I also attended some talks and of course visited the Exhibit Hall.
Here’s what happened.
My favorite talk I attended was “Why are great restaurants serving awful tea? How to fix tea in the hospitality industry” by Max Falkowitz. This is a topic that literally keeps me up at night. Max is a food and travel writer and tea consultant based in NYC. I’ve been following him for a while on Saveur magazine and Serious Eats and was excited to finally meet him in person. I look forward to putting his advice into practice for my own tea consultant business. PS I just had a “why are great restaurants serving awful tea?” moment last weekend, so yeah, I needed to attend this talk more than I had anticipated.
The Tea Bloggers Roundtable panel
The bloggers on the panel were myself, Rachel Carter of I Heart Teas, Sara Shacket of Tea Happiness, Charissa Gascho of Oolong Owl, Ricardo Caceido of My Japanese Green Tea, Geoffrey Norman of Steep Stories, Gary Robson of Tea with Gary and Jo Johnson of A Gift of Tea . Jo presented the event (and moderated the panel) and then each of us panelists introduced themselves. The documentary The Tea Explorer by Jeff Fuchs was screened and lastly we had a panel discussion about how we would review the documentary in writing in a blog post and we took questions from the audience. I loved the diversity of approaches and angles each of us brought to the table!
The Exhibit Hall
Where do I even begin? Here are some highlights from the exhibit hall in random order.
Indian Hojicha roasted green tea by Mana Organics from Chota Tingrai Tea Estate. I tried it iced at their booth and got a sample to play around at home (stay tuned for my tasting notes). If you are curious about their offerings, check out my previous post about their black tea.
Rooibos cookbook “A Touch of Rooibos: Over 100 Delicious Recipes from 14 of South Africa's Leading Chefs” by Rooibos Limited. A ton of savory and sweet recipes I can’t wait to try in my own kitchen (stay tuned).
At the Boseong Woonhae Tea Plantation booth, I tasted and later bought a Korean black tea stuffed into Yuzu (a type of citrus) and got additional samples of their green and black teas. I will definitely have a dedicated blog post soon. I also sampled tea made from magnolia flowers, which are absolutely mesmerizing.
The Lumbini estate had a unique Ceylon black tea shaped like a rose, I had never seen anything like that before! The processing method is (understandably) top secret.
At the Satemwa booth I sampled some Malawi teas and I was pleasantly surprised. Very unique flavor profiles and processing methods, like their antlers white tea, made from velvety bud stems.
I was blown away by the great taste of raw, unprocessed, flash frozen tea leaves by Millennia tea. I tasted their Kenya Green, Kenya Purple and blended tea (almost like a cross between a smoothie and matcha, where you drink the leaves).
I enjoyed Saku Tea wellness latte blends, my favorite were the golden orange and ruby cocoa.
I visited the Nepali Tea Traders booth and got some tea samples that I can’t wait to share with you here on the blog (stay tuned).
And I stopped to say hi to Melanie at the Harendong booth. Exceptional teas from Indonesia, if you are curious about them, check out my previous blog posts.
There were many more exhibitors that deserve a mention, but my blog post would go on and on forever and ever...and we don't want that ;-)
The Tea Party
You know what they say, work hard, play harder. That's why I was over the moon when Rie, fellow tea blogger at Tea Curious invited me to the after party she had organized at local tea shop Tea and Whisk. I'm so grateful I got to know her in person. If you are not following her blog yet, you totally should.