Monday, January 26, 2009

World Tea Expo

The World Tea Expo is the biggest tea industry trade show in North America, and as tea's popularity grows, so does the Expo. People come from all over the world to learn about tea, buy tea, sell tea, drink tea and network.

My first trip to the World Tea Expo was in 2004 (back then, the Expo was in its infancy and called "Take Me 2 Tea"). I have been back twice since then (once more in Las Vegas and once in Atlanta) and each time it seems to double in size. It is very important to me to see what new products and trends are being examined at the Expo.

It is encouraging to see a greater role of traditional teas at the Expo. In particular oolong, puer and matcha are all growing in popularity among North American tea drinkers!

The World Tea Expo does feature some terrible teas and pointless gadgets that may distract people from the enjoyment of good tea. Also, some tea lovers are (understandably) turned off by the large crowds and hectic consumerist vibe. That said, I believe that most of the people at the Expo genuinely love tea and feel blessed to play a small role in the international tea trade. I'm certainly one of them, and am looking forward to this year's Expo. I will be at the Expo on Saturday, May 2nd and Sunday, May 3rd. I am very excited to attend Yoon Hee Kim's focused tasting of Korean tea and Guang Lee's focused tasting of Puer tea!

If you will be at the World Tea Expo on Saturday or Sunday and you would like to meet, please send me an email so we can make a plan to find each other at the Expo. If you aren't attending, don't worry; I promise to write a blog post about this year's World Tea Expo sometime in mid-May.

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