world tea expo 2012

The 2012 World Tea Expo just happened in Las Vegas.  Not being a fan of Las Vegas I decided to just go for the day to primarily connect with my wholesalers and see what’s new.   I went on Sunday, June 3 which was the final day of the expo so some of the attendance had dropped off and I was able to really spend time talking, sampling, watching demonstrations and inquiring about new teas.  I’ve only been in business now for eight months so my ordering is still relatively modest, but I was so impressed with how most of the tea wholesalers knew my name and were very gracious with their time.

Some of the things I am excited about:

I picked up a new package of Korean Green to use in my Green Teas class—I haven’t been brave enough to order it in bulk for resale because of the limited demand and high price.  Korean green teas are heavenly and it’s a pleasure to introduce it in my classes.

One of my wholesalers was having a “show special” discount so I ordered some of my regular stock plus sprung for Imperial Grade Da Hong Pao oolong.  This is a fabulous oolong and if it weren’t for the sale, I still would just be lusting for it instead of anticipating its arrival for customers to try.

I found a good quality powdered chai mix that comes in traditional masala (very spicey), and also in a lemongrass flavor and cardamom flavor.   Each flavor is available sweetened (with cane sugar) and unsweetened.  I’m going to let customers try sample packages to see if it’s something intriguing enough to add to my offerings.

Ajiri Tea won Best Kenyan Black Tea this year at the show.  Ajiri is the tea company that gives its profits to Ajiri Foundation to pay school fees for Kenyan orphans in the village of Kisii.  Most people come into the Studio and buy Ajiri because of the cause, but I’ve had a surprising number come in to purchase because they love Kenyan black tea and know I carry it.  Experience Tea gives $1 to the Ajiri Foundation for each box we sell.

There wasn’t really anything new (to me) in tea ware that was readily available.  There was one company showing some intriguing tea-specific tasting cups that they intend to sell, but they aren’t yet available and no concrete availability date was given.

While there at the Expo, I talked with Dan Robertson who owns World Tea Tours (www.worldteatours.com) about his Fujian Trip in October and am excited to say I’m going on this trip.  I went on Dan’s China trip last fall and it was fabulous.  The trip this October will be right on the heels of the China Xiamen International Tea Fair which I’ll also attend.   The tour goes into the Fujian mountains to explore oolongs and some of the original black teas.

I’ll write more about tea tours in my next blog—what a wonderful way to see a country.

Roberta

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