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