A Recap of Day 1 at World Tea Expo 2011
by JT Herself
"Come with me...and you'll be...in a world of pure imagination." Thank you to Willie Wonka for giving us the perfect ballad to sing as we entered the hallowed halls of World Tea Expo 2011. It was a truly magical day as we sipped our way around the world, toyed with the latest in tea accessories, thumbed through new tea publications, filled our minds with tea factoids and figures and befriended some of the finest tea folks.
Our morning began with an awesome pair of seminars and a hot green tea with almond and coconut. Both the seminar and the tea were moving experiences! Maybe the tea a bit more? We then headed to a panel on "Japanese Teas: Plan B" which was a great offering to the attendees. The panel, comprised of 3 representatives from Japanese tea gardens, a representative of Ito En and a US-based Japanese tea importer, were a wealth of knowledge about the aftermath of the quake/tsunami and the effects of the nuclear fallout that has plagued Japan since March 11th. Their efforts to explain the state of tea in Japan was insightful and an excellent tool for retailers here in the United States. An article detailing the information to come later! Once the panel was complete, we hit the EXPO floor! A few of our favorites: We tried Pu-erh from a 500 year old tea tree. It was so smooth...and quite...Earthy. We'll keep it at Earthy! We tried teas from all over the universe! Kenya, Taiwan, Saturn, Nepal, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Lilliputt, Korea and Hawaii to name a few! Each so incredible, each so different.
On that same note, we also learned about the workforce in many of those areas. One in particular, Morawaka Tea Estate (Sri Lanka), shared with us their pictures of schools and meals provided for the kids, clinics being set up on the grounds of the tea gardens and daycare practices for the female dominated workforce. We also saw organic gardening practices taken to a whole new level to protect the growers and end drinkers. As if that isn't enough, they are working on creating Eco Lodges for the fast growing world of eco-friendly travel. I would like to make a reservation for 4 please!!!! Once we were rightfully hopped up on caffeine, we began tinkering with a number of new brewing tools. Only had our hands slapped twice. Maybe three times. We will be rolling out a number of these products in the coming months. Some of our faves were tools that make brewing simpler, cleaner and more consistent. The most phenomenal part of World Tea Expo was the sense of friendliness that exudes from all who attend this show. My sister and I were fascinated that so many people were more than willing to reach out to total strangers. It must be the catechins and polyphenols!
More to come on Day 2 of World Tea Expo tomorrow! If you'd like to add your stories and World Tea Expo faves, please do so by commenting below! If you were unable to attend this year but are curious about anything specific, shoot me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) or get me on Twitter (@joysteaspoon) and I will gladly do some research and footwork for you! Happy Sipping!