Get The Most of World Tea Expo
I have just returned from my second trip to the World Tea Expo and this time with a slightly different focus than the last. As you know I am a blogger and that is actually how I started out and had become known to others in the tea word. Last year when I attended the Expo my primary focus was blogging. I was looking to gather information on new and interesting products then of course report back to you, my readers. I quickly became overwhelmed. Let’s be honest I was like a “kid in a candy store.” World Tea Expo is like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and all your Birthday’s wrapped up into one.
This year my focus had evolved. I am still a blogger and now I am a retailor too. Many find these two to be independent of each other but for me they have always been like “brother and sister.” They love each other but sometimes there is that inevitable friction between the two.
So after these two visits I quickly realized that I couldn’t be the only one caught in the bright lights and the razzle-dazzle of the showroom floor so I thought I would put together a few tips to help you “Get The Most of World Tea Expo” based on my experiences and challenges.
Lets face it travel is expensive and time is money so before booking the event ask yourself “why” you want to attend. It is an easy question to answer if you are a vendor with a booth or a speaker for an educational seminar. This question is not for those directly involved with the Expo but rather for those going as attendees.
Question to ask prior to registration:
Are you looking for new product?
Purchasing new stock at a discounted “show” price?
Networking with other retailors and/or bloggers?
Are you new to the tea business and want to decide if this is the right path for you?
Once you have determined your reason to attend, ask yourself if it is necessary to attend the Expo or if you can find the necessary information on your own through research?
1. Planning - Pre-Expo
Assuming you have determined that your best course of action is to physically attend the World Tea Expo my biggest tip is… “BE PREPARED!” I want you to plan, plan, and plan some more. You can get easily swept away going from booth to booth sampling tea, talking with friends, meeting new/old business partners, and more. It is without a doubt a challenge to remain focused. To make the most of your visit I highly recommend a “game plan.”
Step 1: Map Out The Showroom Floor
Before hitting the showroom floor be sure to plan out your day. Look through the booklet/guidebook that is distributed at the event and circle/write down a list of vendors you want to be sure to see. You can even find this information at the World Tea Expo website prior to attending. Each vendor has a booth number associated with it making it very simple to find on the showroom floor. Try not to get diverted or you may miss your opportunity to visit that vendor you wanted to see most.
Step 2: Prepare Questions for Vendors Prior To Visiting Their Booth
I can’t tell you how many times I forgot the questions I wanted to ask so I highly recommend you write them down prior to your visit so you are prepared and get all your questions answered.
*Carry a notebook with pen/pencil. iPad’s and other gadgets are great but I believe you will find the old fashioned method simplest while making your showroom rounds.
2. Put Your Plan Into Action – Day 1
Step 1: Collect/Review Notes
Try to make all of your rounds to the vendors you were most interested in on the first day. At the end of the day review your notes. For me this means I can decide which products and companies I would like to feature in my blog. It also will help me determine which vendor I’d like to do business with.
Step 2: Doing Business (Entire Visit)
If you are there to do business keep a keen eye out for deals. In most cases I would suggest waiting for the last day of the show to finalize orders. You may even be able to purchase items a la carte for a steal on the spot. However, if you spot an amazing deal and already know what you want place your order, do it as soon as possible. The perfect example is Tea Source. Both this year and last they had outstanding show deals. If you already know what you would like to order do it right away because I can assure you the last day of the show you will be waiting a very long time to place an order.
Step 2 ½: For Bloggers
If you are in fact a blogger like me I recommend you try to write a post or two here and there while at the Expo. Your readers are most likely following your adventures through various Social Media outlets like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. Your readers are most likely eagerly awaiting what you have to say with more than 140 characters at a time. The other benefit of writing more frequently is to keep the information fresh and relevant while you are writing it. Say you just experienced tasting a wonderful new delicious product called “TeaPops” from DeeBee’s while on the showroom floor you will most likely be able to describe your experiences much better as it happens closer to the event than later when it becomes just a pleasant faded memory. At the same time don’t write too many posts that your readers feel inundated which then results in you missing important product demonstrations, conferences, classes, and more by not being on the showroom floor.
*During the entire event I highly suggest using the Expo as the prefect platform to network. This tip applies to all attendees and businesses. I find the Expo is a wonderful place to nurture and foster new relationships especially with a cup of tea by your side
Step 1: Complete Priority Tasks from Day 1 If You Haven’t Already
Assuming you have visited all the vendors you did not want to miss and collected the notes you wanted to collect use today as a recap day and a moment to allow yourself to wander and discover new products and meet new people. The second day is also a great day to revisit those vendors you would like to further investigate and perhaps “seal the deal” with.
Step 2: Visit With Potential Secondary Targets
Don’t forget to keep your show guidebook close. In there you will find times for tea tastings, demonstrations you may be interested in, and so on. Again this goes with the planning phase. If you have completed all major tasks you set out to do you can move into phase two and execute product orders and other secondary goals you may have set out or yourself.
*When mapping out the Expo prior to attending the Expo it is wise to make a list according to priority. Once you completed your most pertinent tasks you can start to check off your vendor/class wish list. Remember all this information is available online at www.WorldTeaExpo.com
4. Tie-Up Loose Ends – Day 3
Step 1: Place Orders
If you haven’t already be sure to get your orders placed. Also if you have been inquiring about product throughout the show you will mostly likely hear vendors say that towards the end of the final day they will start to sell product they have on stock at a considerably reduced price. Be sure that you have a kept a record of those you were most interested in and close the deal on the final day.
Step 2: Say Your Goodbyes
To keep with the networking and relationship building be sure to stop by your favorite vendors and say your goodbyes. I have been able to build and maintain many wonderful relationships with vendors, bloggers, and others by just making an extra effort. You will see that each year more and more people will recognize you and later make the extra effort to “meet and greet” you. These small gestures can go a long way in business and networking.
5. Post World Tea Expo
Step 1: For Bloggers
I know it is easy to slip back into routine when we get back into our familiar setting but please be sure to blog about your experiences at least a few times a week until you have covered any information you intended to cover. Again, believe it or not you have created a following and if you want them to continue to follow you, you must remain consistent with your content.
Step 2: For Buyers
As for those who conducted business it is a good idea to review invoices and check your statements. If you run into any issues you can then address them quickly. Also, it is a good way to keep a record of what you can expect to receive and then appropriately create a product launch timeline for your retail brick and mortar and/or online shop.
In a future post I will cover some details about core conferences, workshops, and other demonstrations available at the show. Since there are so many options I felt it best to cover this portion in a separate blog post.
I hope this blog post helps better prepare you for future World Tea Expo’s. Please feel free to comment with your best practices and if you have any questions.
Edited By: Ralph H. Carter II
Wow, what an amazing time the World Tea Expo has been thus far. I am having the best time visiting friends while discovering new and interesting tea companies, and products. Based on what I have seen so far I can say with confidence that there is still so much more tea has to offer the world.
Within this post I will give you a brief overview on what I found most unique at the show. Later in subsequent posts I will include more specific information on tea products and companies I feel are worth keeping an eye on.
“TeaPops” by DeeBee’s Organic Frozen Treats –Awarded Best New Product by the 2013 World Tea Expo!
First and foremost I absolutely adore the versatility of tea. The perfect example of a company that offers a unique product that I just loved is “TeaPops.” “TeaPops” is a frozen treat that provides a healthier and natural practically guilt-free option to sugary dessert treats. The product is geared towards children; and appropriately so, but truly appeals to people of all ages. They make wonderful frozen tea treats just not yet available in the United States but coming soon. The reason why I enjoyed this product is because the tea flavor was clearly apparent. The product is natural and tastes natural which to me is what it is all about. I sampled their “Classic Iced Tea” flavor though options were available I really just wanted to try something more basic and I am glad I did. Being a diabetic that needs to watch her sugar consumption while still trying to avoid artificial sugar, this particular product is a great option for me as an occasional treat plus it has tea. In a future post I will discuss more specifics of the product. I highly recommend trying this product if given the opportunity. It should not be missed.
TEAS’ TEA Lattes By ITO EN – Open Class Winner
I would drink this everyday. I enjoyed both the black and green tea lattes from Ito En. They tasted fresh, natural, without any syrupy or artificial flavors. If I had to pick one over the other I think I enjoyed the Black Tea Latte more only because I felt the Matcha Tea Latte was a bit sweeter than I prefer, still very delicious. They have yet to be released. I am certain when they are released they will be yet another hit for an already favorite “ready to drink” line for me.
COLD INFUSIONSby The TeaSpot
I was lucky to sample this tea at the World Tea Expo Lounge prior to a conference and was intrigued at the idea of this tea. I need to do a little more research but from what I have gathered it is cold infused in 10mins making for a quick cup. I tried their “Keep Fit” Cold Infusion green tea and found the tea flavor natural and balanced with the their incorporation of green rooibos and lemon myrtle. The best part is that it comes unsweetened giving you the choice on what you would like to do. One of my biggest issues is the addition of other additives to tea that don’t need to be there as an essential component of the product. Tea is such an easy product to add sweetener or other additives. I prefer the decision be left to the preparer. Exactly, what The TeaSpot has done with this new and innovative way to make tea that more convenient.
This is just a preview to so much more. Now I need to get back to the show so I have more to report back later.
I am counting the days before boarding my flight to the World Tea Expo for now the second year in a row. Making sure not forget the important documents of course. This year is going to be a bit more challenging on my feet while pregnant but I am sure with the help of my husband and business partner I will make it through, not to mention the cups and cups of tea at hand.
Currently, I am working on a game plan. Making sure I know which booths I want to be sure I visit and write about. As many of you know my main focus is finding the most unique teas and accessories. I will leave the ordinary to my other blogger friends. Not that there is anything wrong with traditional teas, it just isn’t my niche.
My plan is to tweet a lot about the blogging side on my personal account @RachelKCarter so if you are not following me there yet you may want to for the latest updates. Business related mentions will be limited to @iHeartTeas unless the two coincide. I will also post numerous blogs here on @TeaTrade on my blog www.iHeartTeasTheBlog.com. With links that can be found on my personal Google+ account and my business account on Google+.
Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like for me to report for you. A comment here would be perfect and I will do my best to gather the information you are requesting.
It is going to be so much fun meeting old friends and new friends a like. Plus this year I will be wearing two hats as “Media” and a “Buyer” I promise not to intermingle and of course keep all opinions genuine and unbiased. I will also be participating the in the first ever “Tea Bloggers Roundtable” on Friday night as a panalist. It is a casual event where bloggers of any skill level are welcome to join us and ask questions about blogging about tea.
Tea Bloggers Roundtable
An informal gathering and discussion of issues concerning blogging and tea will be held from 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 7, 2013, at the Las Vegas Convention Center (N255).
For complete program details or to RSVP visit http://www.agiftoftea.com.
Can’t wait to see everyone soon.
Tea & Pregnancy
I am sure many are curious about just how much tea one should be consuming during pregnancy and especially while traveling to the mother of all tea events, the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, which is in just about two weeks? When I arrive I will be just about halfway through my pregnancy and believe me there is no hiding it. I am really showing “the baby bump” as it was.
I am certain I will get judgmental glances sent my way and whispers under ones breath about my sampling teas. While I don’t suspect I will withdraw from tasting teas I do feel however I will probably only sample very few if any Matcha tea. I am concerned about the caffeine combined with the other teas I will also be enjoying. I am sure it isn’t a major concern, except I already know how my body reacts to Matcha when I am not pregnant so I feel it is my best interest and that of the baby to just stick with traditional tea.
When it comes to pregnancy may people have many different views. Do drink or not to drink, coffee or no coffee, what about sushi? While there are many pieces of information available on all subjects I truly feel that using your best judgment is way to go.
You know your body and what you should or should not do. There is a lot to be said for moderation even when you are not pregnant. I have always felt that whatever your decision just remember you are not just making it for yourself but for that little life growing and depending on you in the inside.
Moderation is key. With my first pregnancy I drank tea all the time. I did reduce my consumption by maybe 25% but keep in mind I already drink much more than the common tea drinker. It only seemed rational and appropriate to reduce my intake a little. I did not drink regular coffee with my first only decaf if I was craving the flavor. Alcohol was a total “no-no” for me. Still I understand that in many countries outside of the United States many “soon to be mama’s” still indulge in an occasional glass of wine. As long you are not getting drunk and over indulging doctors felt it was safe and most of all there is no societal stigma. No judging, no evil eye, or even blunt refusal to serve, an unfortunate situation known to happen in the United States far to often.
Now, I am not certain what is right and what is wrong but I can tell you for me tea is perfectly fine. In fact it helps to calm my nerves. I am sure those around me appreciate my efforts to remain calm. These hormones do have a way of getting the best of me at times. I have even taken to drinking very few and occasional cups of regular coffee maybe twice a week. As for alcohol I still tend to stay away though I do plan on using a spittoon during my trip to Napa Valley in July. I have cleared it with my doctor and she feels what little I get from tasting and spitting will not pose a threat to the baby and me.
So as I wait for the next two weeks to slowly go by I also wait and prepare myself for the almost certain second glance and tiny whispers while enjoying my tea for all to see. I am sure it won’t happen a lot. I like to believe the tea community is far more enlightened for that sort of nonsense but for those few out there let me be and have a cup of tea.
It should be even more interesting visiting all the wineries in Napa Valley while 25 and 26 weeks pregnant. I guess hubby will have to come to my defense. Not to worry I truly only plan on swishing and spitting into a spittoon. I would never purposefully harm the baby and myself. I am sure those who know me best can be my character witnesses. See you all in Las Vegas!
Life’s A Whirlwind
I’ve experienced so much excitement this year. From iHeartTeas and the expansion I have done to my tea-inspired bath and beauty line to finding out I will be a mom again, a “whirlwind” to say the least. Though this year has proven to be filled with new beginnings and major milestones everything has been wonderful.
Let me start by saying… I’m Happy!!! I am following my dreams and writing at will and creating from the heart. I am following my passions and reading my books again; enjoying “me” time, which I know, will soon be over. I am enjoying new teas and tea experiences whilst sharing my love for tea far and wide.
Even my husband is enjoying great success at work. He was promoted last year and though he has had his title since last year he didn’t actually assume all of his new duties until the start of this year. With this newfound responsibilities and obvious boost in pay, the best news is now doesn’t travel as frequently as he once did. This means he’s home more often and though he works a lot when he is home the point is… “HE IS HOME!!!” Sorry, I guess I am a little excited.
Next, we found out we are going to be having our second child later this year. I never expected to be pregnant again but we couldn’t be more excited. I think my newfound profound happiness is directly related to entering the second trimester and being so excited about my upcoming trip to Las Vegas for the World Tea Expo.
I have a couple of trips in the pipeline. Both of which were planned and booked prior to becoming pregnant. Luckily both fall into the second trimester. However, the second trip I am just a day from the third trimester when I return. Still I have cleared it with the “doc” and with her blessing I am free to be excited and diligently planning for Vegas and California.
At the World Tea Expo I will be hitting up the booths, attending conferences, going to the Networking Reception, and participating in the “Tea Bloggers Roundtable.” I am especially eager to attend the “How to use Blogging in your Business” Core Conference on Sunday.
I’ll have the chance to speak with and ask questions to some of the most respected tea bloggers.
Below are the Panelists:
Linda Gaylard , Blogger, The Tea Stylist
Robert Godden, Blogger, The Devotea
Darlene Meyers-Perry, Blogger, The Tea Enthusiast’s Scrapbook
Naomi Rosen, Founder, Joy’s Teaspoon
Jason Walker, Co-Founder/Co-Director, The Association of Tea Bloggers
Virginia Wright, Co-Founder/Co-Director, The Association of Tea Bloggers
If you are going to the Expo I highly recommend the “How to us Blogging in your Business” core conference and the “Tea Bloggers Roundtable” on Friday night. Any blogger both experienced and novice is sure to walk away with a plethora of useful information. I know I am always looking for ways to attract new readers and keep my loyal followers coming back for more.
The Panelists for the Tea Bloggers Round Table:
6-7pm Friday, June 7th:
Conference Area: Room N255
I am also very excited to be enjoying an “Afternoon Tea” with many World Tea Expo attendees that I have meet through Social Media and in person at last years Expo. We are going to be taking in “Afternoon Tea” at the Four Seasons Las Vegas. A special “Thank you” to Nicole Schwartz aka @AmazonV for taking responsibility for making reservations and planning. I fully intend to partake in the culinary delights I am sure to be represented with and the of course the tea. Yes, the glorious tea, which I am sure, will be paired preciously with the perfect little tea treat. I will post my thoughts on my experience and hopefully many wonderful pictures of the event for my blog. I should mention even my husband is anxious to go to tea. I have trained him so well… wink…wink.
I haven’t got the rest of the visit worked out yet but since it will most likely be our last husband and wife only trip I am sure we will make plenty of time for my hubby and I to enjoy quality time together. I mean I didn’t buy a maternity swimsuit for nothing, right?
I won’t discuss my trip to California in July just yet but I will say that this year so far has been filled with a lot of tea. I am hoping the next half will be the same. With many tea shop stops in San Francisco for sure.
Speaking of tea, I have been very lucky with this pregnancy and the last, because I have craved tea and the various different flavor profiles some teas represent. I have been mostly waiting brisk, bold, and astringent teas. Then from there I suddenly divert and have needed to consume pots of my “Strawberry Island” Black Tea Blend, which is flavored with strawberry, coconut, and vanilla. Just writing about this tea is making me want to reach for a cup now or maybe I’ll cold steep some using the “Steep and Go” iHeartTeas also carries. I have also found some rather new delicious unaltered teas recently from Verdant Tea and Upton Tea that I can’t keep my hands off of. Golden Fleece of course and the Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea and River Shannon Breakfast Blend and Scottish Breakfast Blend from Upton Tea. Of course I am being reasonable with my consumption but still succumbing to desire. I drank tea all through my first pregnancy and I have a beautiful, intelligent, and amazing six-year-old daughter. If anything tea many have attributed to those qualities, I’m only saying. This is not my medical opinion as I am sure genetics played a part too.
Thanks, for reading especially since this was such a long post. I didn’t even get to mention my new living furniture arriving soon from Ethan Allen, maybe next time. Well, at least I didn’t forget the tea.
If you are attending the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas this June I’d love you join us for our “Tea Bloggers Round Table.” At this casual event you’ll have the chance to meet and chat with many tea bloggers you may already know and ask the questions you’ve been dying to ask.
Where do you get your topic ideas?
How do you keep things fresh and engaging?
How do you measure your success?
As you can see I am a panelist and will do my best to answer your questions. Perhaps even over a cup of tea.
Tea Bloggers Roundtable
An informal gathering and discussion of issues concerning blogging and tea will be held from 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 7, 2013, at the Las Vegas Convention Center (N255).
For complete program details or to RSVP visit http://www.agiftoftea.com.
Can’t wait to see you there.
My Blog: www.iHeartTeasTheBlog.com
Top 5 “Can’t Miss” Booths at World Tea Expo – Las Vegas 2013
I have listed here the top five booths I will be making a point to visit this year. The list below is based on my own personal preferences only. I am not advertising for any company, nor as any company approached me to do so. Besides visiting booths I highly recommend taking classes and sitting in on a lecture or two. The experience is very educational and I am certain you will come away with applicable knowledge, great experiences, and new friends.
Top 5 “Can’t Miss” Booths
1. ITO EN (Booth 814) – I absolutely adore ITO EN’s “ready to drink” teas. I have one in hand most every day, usually Oi Ocha Dark or a Sencha Shot which I first had at last years expo. I have come to notice ITO EN does its best to remain cutting edge and works hard to keep their product as pure and as high quality as possible. Last year ITO EN showcased many new and unique tea beverages. I am hoping they do the same again this year and who knows perhaps I’ll find a new favorite. Try some while you are there and you can judge for yourself.
2. Teas Etc. (Booth 600) – Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Beth Johnston the owner of Teas Etc. I found her kind and extremely knowledgeable. She has a keen insight into starting up and running a successful tea business, she also really knows her tea. I will be making it point to stop and say “Hi” and ever better try to make it to one of her lectures, I suggest you do the same.
3. The Tea Spot (Booth 711) – What I like best able this company is their commitment to customer service. The Tea Spot also offers some very unique products such as the “Tuffy Tea Steeper,” and the “Steep & Go.” I like knowing that when I stop by their booth I will be exposed to some rather amazing teas and interesting new tea gadgets. Can’t wait to see what new and exciting products they have this year. Plus, I had the pleasure of meeting Katie Young, Customer Service Representative for The Tea Spot at last years expo thanks to Chris Giddings recommendation. She has personal experience using their product plus expert knowledge of their tea and gadgets. I hope to see her again this year.
4. Zojirushi America Corporation (Booth 501)– A staple in my house is a Zojirushi brand water boiler. Every year they come out with new water boiling technology and I must see what’s new this year. I have been most intrigued with their line of hybrid water heaters but can’t wait to see what other new products they have come out with this year as well.
5. Vintage TeaWorks (Booth 716) – This will be my first time officially being exposed to Vintage TeaWorks and I couldn’t be more excited. I have heard nothing be amazing things about this company and their unique wine-inspired teas. With all the great word of mouth Vintage TeaWorks has been getting I had to add them to my list of “Can’t Miss” booths. The only problem is I am not sure if I should bring my teacup or my wine glass.
Please share with me your experiences especially if stop by the booths I have listed above. Can’t wait to see you there!
It has been brought to my attention that this year the World Tea Expo will be uniquely special to me both personally and professionally. There will be some especially amazing tea people attending this year, aside from me of course. I will have the pleasure of meeting so many of my social network friends this year that it has made me just plain giddy.
I’ll have to pleasure of seeing @Jopj again and if you are attending this year and never met her before I highly suggest it. She is super sweet, a Tea Trader of course, and incredibly knowledgable. If you didn’t already know she is a terrific children’s tea book writer. My now six year old daughter has been a fan of hers for two years now. She is even pictured on my friend Jo Johnson’s website.
Don’t be jealous, I even get to meet the infamous @thedevotea and his lovely wife Lady Devotea, which I can only assume has the virtue of a saint. He too is a Tea Trader and has some rather amazing teas too. Check them here: The Devotea
If I remember correctly I’ll get to see my friend @AmazonV again too. It’s not my first time meeting her but it will be my first time at the Expo. She is such a fun person everyone should make a point to meet. She also has a great tea blog. Check out her work here: AmazonV
Just a warning, I am maybe gushing when I meet the talented @lazyliteratus. He is an incrediably gifted writer and all around nice guy. You can check out his tea blog here… Lazy Literatus and judge for yourself.
Lastly, I will have the honor of meeting Michael Coffey, the Tea Geek himself. He is brilliant and can answer even the toughest and most obscure of tea questions. You can count on his accuracy and if he can’t answer your question immediately he will find out. I plan on bringing a list of questions for when I see him.
I am sure there are many more attending that I am unaware of but as for now these are my tea friends I am most eager to meet. I hope I don’t embarrass myself.
Not only am I excited about meeting my tea friends live and in person I am also most intrigued with the new shared venue. This year World Tea Expo will be sharing space with the Healthy Beverage Expo.
I think the combination will be beneficial to both Expo’s. I am full of curiosity and enthusiasm especially when two somewhat similar yet different worlds collide. Often times those in the healthy drink industry cross paths with the tea industry and visa versa. Exposure to both sides should prove beneficial to both industries. Having both equally compatible venue in one place has the potential to build new relationships and more opportunity to learn. For me the two Expo’s marry perfectly. I love my cup of tea but lets be honest, it isn’t the only drink I consume. Shocking, I know. In actuality I probably consume 90% tea and 10% other healthy beverages on a daily basis. Although, I know I am not the norm. I imagine for most the percentages would be closer to 50/50. I am not a pop drinker but I do enjoy coconut water, coffee, unique drinks like Kombucha, but only rarely. I even occasionally like vegetable juices. With that said, I can only suspect that we will see a higher turn out with a lot more fresh and exciting products and information available to view. I will be sure to share with you my impressions once I arrive in Las Vegas. This will be my second visit and can’t wait for the festivities.
Here is a video of the World Tea Expo that was aired on a popular Asian laugage TV station LA 18. I’m sure those who understand Korean will get the most from this video. For the rest of use you’ll be able to see the show floor, listen to interviews of people attending, and running the show in English. For me I am actually in the video for a brief moment towards the ends. Looks like I’m famous. LOL
It’s been about a week since we have been back from the Expo. We meaning myself and my husband Ralph. It’s been an interesting week at that just trying to see if I can’t put my thoughts together onto virtual paper. This was our first exclusively tea Expo and I feel we saw and learned so much that the idea of putting together a blog post became a bit overwhelming.
On a personal note, many of you know that the week prior to actually departing for the Expo was a bit mentally and physically challenging time for us. Fortunately things are getting better on the family front. What I mean by that is my dad’s health is improving dramatically every day. As a matter of fact my dad was released released from the hospital the day prior to our leaving for Las Vegas and because he was doing so much better it made our trip that much more pleasurable.
Let me set the scene, a week before leaving my dad had a massive heart attack but now is doing much better. Next, this was also the first trip that both my husband and I were taking out-of-state without our five year old daughter. Another huge obstacle for me and her considering I’m a stay-at-home mom and being always around was sort of my thing. It was hard for me to let go. Not so much my husband since he travels a great deal for work anyway. For example, he’s in the Bahamas right now as I type this. So anyway I just wanted wanted to lay down a foundation so you knew my mental state prior to leaving, that’s the end of that and now off to the World Tea Expo.
I think my husband would best describe my attitude as extremely giddy. I was about to come face-to-face with what I would call utopia. Just imagine a microcosm comprised entirely of tea, tea accessories, tea education, tea fanatics, from all around the world. Reminds me of that daydream where you are wandering through streets of candy, where the houses are built of chocolate but in my case, steeped in tea.
I knew once I arrived it would just be a whirlwind adventure full of meeting new friends and old, learning new things, seeing new products, a veritable cornucopia of tea goodness.
I will say I was on a mission to find some really good friends of mine. Friends that I’ve made through social media, such as Twitter, Google+, Tea Trade, and Steepster. Funny, I remember as a child I used to have pen-pals. How times have changed, still my friendships through social media are just as strong if not stronger than those that I’ve made by way of traditional methods.
It was an extreme pleasure to meet Jo also known on Twitter as @agiftoftea. It was like in the movies. Our eyes met and in slow motion we ran to each other as I imagined Chariots of Fire playing in the background. Truly an epic moment. No, wait dare I say it… “Legend…wait for it…dary” – Barney Stinson from “How I Met Your Mother” moment. Similar moment happened yet again when I got to meet Katrina also known as @TeaPages on Twitter. We had near chance meetings on several occasions and I finally we had the opportunity meet in person, it was just like meeting an old friend.
By this time it was still earlier on Friday, the first day of the expo and what a way to start. However, even before then I went to my first lecture regarding how to “Find Gold In Green Markets” by Dan Robertson Owner/Director of The Tea House & World Tea Tours. The lecture covered key points on how to best be successful at farmers markets, what to look for, how to pack, how to present, and more. I felt reassured that much of the information being covered was what I had already known. Still it does make me feel better hearing that from someone as experienced as him.
After getting a good start to my morning I spent the rest of the day on the show floor. I got to see many of the vendors I’ve been wanting to see including some very unique vendors. I will get more into more details about the specifics of exactly what I saw, what I found intriguing, and what I would like to get involved with in my next blog post. Right now I just wanted to be able to set a foundation as to what this Expo has been for me.
So far I can say this Expo for me was mostly about networking. Of course, included in that is learning about new products. Plus a rather pleasant surprise, I learned what sort of footprint I’ve left within the community without even realizing.
In one of my other blog posts I’ll go more into detail about those wonderful tea education courses I was able to take thanks entirely to Beth and Neumann of Teas Etc. I was one of two lucky winners that won $400 to spend tea education courses. Thank you so much again Beth and Neumann.
After a long day on the Expo floor and many tea samples later, it was time for our Tweet-Up that was so graciously put together by Jo. It was such a great experience meeting all the people that I’ve been talking to on Twitter for such a long time including Naomi from Joys Teaspoon @JoysTeaspoon and her two other friends and associates Sarah @oolongofficer, and Audrea @EarlSteeper. Also, had the pleasure of meeting Chris Giddings @Teaity and @chrisagiddings, Lisa @LisaBraithwaite, and of course Jo and Katrina as mentioned. I do hope I didn’t forget anyone. My husband Ralph @ralphcarterii also joined us. He was kind enough to make sure we had hot water and tea during our meeting. Tea was provided by Teas Etc. Beth and Neumann were kind enough to come to rescue with some delicious Oriental Beauty oolong, a Zojirushi that Ralph guarded with his life, and T-Sac’s when we found out Lochan Teas supply of teas never arrived at the Expo. Thanks again for everything. The best part of the tweet up is that we finally got a chance to sit down have general conversation regarding our likes and dislikes at the Expo, some interesting finds, and just general catching up. I was meeting everyone face to face for the first time so there was a lot of catching for me. Towards the end we had great conversation about what we should do as bloggers at next years Expo. I feel confident we are going in the right direction with some of these ideas but until I can confirm we are going forward with the plan I won’t be sharing the details. Just know it is a great idea, includes the collective powers of bloggers and retailers and hopefully in the end will bring forth a cornucopia of new rich information.
Once the tweet up was over we all decided to head back to the expo floor and witness the Wu-Yu Tea Ceremony. It was a beautiful ceremony where the person who prepares the tea is to be silent and the person receiving the tea is also silent during the entire ceremony. There were many participants and from what I understand all spots for the ceremony were filled. It was so beautiful to see all these people who didn’t even know each other, maybe some did but others didn’t, just graciously offer a stranger a cup of tea with sincere smile.
Now the day had ended I was ready to head back to the hotel with sore feet, sore knee and a full bladder. Totally worth it.
I suspect I will have many entries regarding the Expo some more technical and some more personal I hope you enjoy them all.
World Tea Expo Names Six Leading Tea Trends for 2012
From Quality Tea and Matcha Lattes to Tea-enhancing Wares and Cold Brew Green Tea, World Tea Expo Evaluates the Latest Retail Developments, June 1 – 3
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 1, 2012) – Organizers of World Tea Expo, the largest and most prominent B2B event for the industry, pinpoint quality tea, growth in tea retail, cold brew green tea, green tea popularity, Matcha lattes and tea-enhancing wares as six of the key tea trends for 2012. World Tea Expo, which covers the latest retail developments, takes place June 1 – 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Registration and information is available at www.WorldTeaExpo.com.
“At World Tea Expo, we always strive to stay one step ahead of emerging trends, so we can deliver a relevant event to participants that fuels business growth,” says Kim Jage, sales and marketing director, World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media. “Each one of these six trends – as well as numerous other hot topics – will be addressed and explored during the Expo this year. At the event, attendees can: taste cold brewed green tea and the latest Japanese Matcha lattes; gain current knowledge regarding tea retail growth, supply chain transparency and FDA regulations; learn how to capitalize on tasting trends; and taste for themselves whether or not the newest tea ware on the market does in fact enhance the flavor of tea.”
Six Notable Tea Trends
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, World Tea Expo is gearing up for its three-day exposition and educational conference, to help retailers navigate the critical trends and make key business decisions. The event caters to tea room owners, coffeehouse proprietors, retailers, foodservice and beverage professionals, spa managers, hoteliers and grocers. More than 4,500 delegates from around the world are expected to attend, to learn about the newest tea product launches and business issues, including these six trends for 2012:
1. Quality Tea on the Rise
World Tea Media, which also produces the North American Tea Championship, World Tea News and World Tea East, says, “The tea industry is educating tea consumers about quality, thus improving their palate and desire for better tea. We’re still a bit behind here, but many retailers and manufacturers are making progress, and consumers are increasingly looking to buy better teas; they want to know what makes certain teas high quality rather than relying on the manufacturer’s word or enticing packaging,” explains Jage. “At the same time, industry members continue to discuss and ask one another, ‘How do we internally define quality,’ and that’s fabulous. We’re scrutinizing our own product; we’re asking what Fair Trade really means; and we’re asking if products calling themselves ready-to-drink [RTD] tea should contain a minimum of tea’s total dissolved solids, or if tea-flavored sugar water should be allowed to call itself tea.” Jage adds: “We’re also seeing big tea buyers take notice of the high-quality winning teas from the North American Tea Championship, a professionally-judged tea competition. A win here means quality has been assessed by a third party professional, and that’s making a significant difference for manufacturers when closing major deals.”
2. Tea Retail Continues Its Upward Trend
The tea retail trend hit a nice stride in 2011, according to World Tea Media, and it will continue to move up quickly in 2012. Last year, for example, tea retailer Teavana launched its IPO and Canadian-based DavidsTea opened two retail stores in N.Y.C., adding to its line-up of 69 locations. Most recently, Starbucks Coffee Company hired tea-retail expert Charles Cain as its new vice president for Tazo tea merchants and operations, which leads to much speculation regarding Starbucks’ plans to launch tea retail outlets. “At World Tea Expo, the industry is set to discuss the future growth of tea retail – and what will happen in 2012 – in a session called ‘Will Tea Ever Be as Big as Coffee?’” says Jage. “Right now, in the United States, there are currently more than 25,000 coffeehouses and around 3,500 tea retail locations,” she adds.
3. Green Tea Grows in Popularity
World Tea Media is also watching green tea move ahead of flavored and blended herbal teas, in terms of popularity. “No doubt due to its association with health and the preferences of ageing Baby Boomers and conscious Millennials, green tea is experiencing a growing consumer base, and that will continue this year,” says Jage. According to Packaged Facts’ Tea and Ready-to-Drink Tea in the U.S., 4th Edition, green tea is currently the No. 2 top flavor for U.S. tea product introductions (the No. 1 spot is blended teas). Among households purchasing loose leaf tea, green tea edges out herbal and fruit/spice teas with black tea as No. 1. The study notes that green tea is the No. 1 selected specialty tea product selected by customers at restaurants and retail establishments.
4. Tea-enhancing Tea Wares
Glassware maker Reidel creates some of the finest wine glasses and decanters, and it’s said that these special glasses make a significant difference in the taste of vino, bringing out the depth, flavor and balance. And now, as the general populous continues to build a sophisticated palate, innovators are emerging and looking at ways they can enhance the tea drinking experience on a more sophisticated level. “Not only are more and more tea enthusiasts embracing particular tea tools to steep specific tea types, we now have contemporary ceramic tea ware to enhance a particular tea type’s taste,” explains Jage. “Reidel wine glasses changed the way we drink wine, and World Tea Media suspects that this cup philosophy will begin to change the way we drink tea in 2012.” Jage notes that this trend is starting with advanced tea drinkers and spreading to the everyday consumer – just how it did with Reidel and wine drinking.
5. Cold Brew Green Tea
Cold brew green tea is expected to be big in 2012, cites World Tea Media. Last year, Japanese manufacturer Yamashiro Bussan Company launched the first cold brew green tea at World Tea Expo. This year, branded cold-brew green tea takes the stage, including Swirl Tea, by Breezy Springs LLC. Breezy Spring products are already sold in Whole Foods Markets and Publix Supermarkets, to name a few. “World Tea Media predicts that with Swirl Tea’s cold brewed green tea on grocery store shelves, there will be a larger consumer base and awareness for this product category in 2012,” says Jage. “Imagine the delight consumers will have when they realize they can enjoy green tea without worrying about over-steeping it or water temperatures causing the tea to taste like burnt grass.”
6. Matcha Lattes (Real Ones)
Unlike the poor quality Matcha lattes that have “crashed and burned” in the past, there are now superb product offerings in the market, according to World Tea Media. All of these use real and high-quality Japanese Matcha, blended with minimal sugar but packed with flavor, such as AIYA America’s Matcha Zen Café Blend. “Matcha lattes are already wildly selling in Canadian foodservice establishments,” reveals Jage, “and I suspect the time has come for American restaurants to catch on in 2012. They are easy to make, require no additional equipment, taste delicious and are packed with the nutritional benefits of Matcha. They’re certainly a wonderful alternative to over-roasted coffee after a lovely dinner.”
Tea Growth in 2012 & Beyond
On the whole, tea continues to grow in the marketplace. According to projections from Packaged Facts, in their study Tea and Ready-to-Drink Tea in the U.S., 4th Edition, tea retail market growth will edge up from approximately 6.6 percent in 2012 to 8.7 percent in 2014, reaching $8.3 billion in that year. World Tea Expo presenter David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, notes, “The horizon for tea indeed looks bright. Factors spurring continued overall growth of the tea market include: the success of refrigerated and RTD tea; the acquisitions of Honest Tea and Sweet Leaf Tea that will continue to expand the distribution channels for these and other organic and specialty brands; the rapid expansion of specialty tea retailers such as Teavana; increased emphasis by Starbucks and other coffeehouses on their tea offerings; the sustained promotion of tea by the big restaurant chains, led by McDonald’s; the proliferation of tea rooms and other tea offerings at foodservice; the continued recognition by consumers of tea’s healthy properties and their switch to tea from carbonated soft drinks.”
To learn more about these trends and other hot tea topics, register for World Tea Expo at www.WorldTeaExpo.com.
About World Tea Media
World Tea Media is an integrated media company dedicated to providing business solutions to the global tea industry. Events include the annual World Tea Expo, the largest and most prominent event for the industry, and World Tea East, the regional event for the northeast, mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. World Tea Media also produces the North American Tea Championship and World Tea News. The North American Tea Championship is the only professional and independent competition that distinguishes the highest quality and best tasting teas commercially available in the North American marketplace. World Tea News is an online portal that offers in-depth news, features and business insight for the global tea industry. World Tea Media is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev. www.worldteamedia.com
About F+W Media, Inc.
F+W Mediais a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts. The Company offers a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video and more. The Company serves 20 different markets, including writing, fine art, genealogy, antiques and collectibles, design, outdoors and horticulture. Its growing portfolio includes print and online properties, free and for-fee subscription sites, educational programs, competitions and events. www.fwmedia.com
Information Provided By: World Tea Media
Big News #1 – Paradise Island/Nassua, Bahamas (Well, I Hope)
It’s like I’m caught up in a whirlwind. One thought led to another to another. Then sudden decisions were made. Then somehow it was time for planning. Hold the mail, be sure all the bills are paid before we leave, oh my our daughter will be missing a lot of school. Need to find airfare, a place to stay, so much to do so little time. For the past two days I have been bombarded with questions, feelings were partial excitement, partial concerns that we are rushing things. I have never really been the type of girl that made large decisions on a whine but this one time all the pieces feel into place and before I knew it my daughter and I decided to tag along with my husband to the Bahamas on a trip of a lifetime. We will be there an amazing three weeks. The last time I spent a large number of days on vacation was when I went away to India and England for a Summer as a child. So you know last year or give or take a decade or two.
Now the bad news is we have our tickets booked but not my husbands yet. Considering we are going because of him this makes the worry wort in me a little nervous. His company wants to wait to confirm dates but most likely the schedule will remain as specified. However, nervous nonetheless.
My husband is one of those guys that does his job so well that he requested personally each time a job comes up, especially those high profile jobs and it is one of those situations holding us up right now. Everyone is always fighting for him.
At the moment, I am still waiting for the idea to sink in. The thought that “oh wow I’m going to the Bahamas.” I’m going to be soaking up the sun, (hope I don’t tan too much, kind of already have a natual tan. Don’t need extra help in that department) swimming in the pool, just plain relaxing. The fact that it’s happening in less than a month. “OH NO…NEED TO LOSE 50 POUNDS, NOW!!!”
Big News #2 – World Tea Expo – Las Vegas
Next, now this one I am so excited about. I have booked air travel and hotel in Las Vegas during the World Tea Expo. I have submitted an E-Mail to the proper person so that I may get a Media badge for myself and my technical guru and husband who is also a tea drinker and tea lover in the making. I haven’t gotten a reply back yet but I have no doubt that I will be awarded my prize. Of course, if I do you will be hearing from me behind the scenes just no photographs or video as it isn’t allowed. Nevertheless, it is my intention to bring you the news all about my exploits at the Expo. For this I am super gitty, plus this will be my first out of state vacation with just me and the hubby. My daughter will split her time between her aunt and her grandmother. Looks like all of us will be having an exciting time.
Big News #3 – Girls Only Trip – Mall of America in Minnosota for ScapFest 2012
I don’t have this one all booked yet but it will be my best friend and I that are confirmed going. I would love to know if anyone else here on Tea Trade will be attending as well. Would be a lot of fun to touch base. I’ll be crafting, taking classes, taking in the shopping and so much more.
What an exciting travel year it’s turning out to be.