World Tea East

Monday, September 28, 2009

World Tea East was held in Boston this week located with Natural Products Expo East. World Tea Expo held tea classes on Wednesday and Thursday to quench the thirst of East Coast tea professionals. Sessions were held on a variety of topics like Nigel Melican’s talk on Tea & Sustainability, Lisa Richardson, of Lisa Knows Tea, presented another delicious Tea & Chocolate Pairing class and Elizabeth Knight infused attendees with her extensive experience with a Tea Purchasing class.

I was pleased to have been included as an educator presenting Holding a Successful Tasting and the session on the Value of Specialty Tea. Both presentations were well attended.

The show opened on Thursday to heavy traffic in the World Tea Pavilion. This section dedicated just to tea was created by World Tea Expo to highlight the importance of tea to the natural products industry.
Teas Etc was surrounded with great neighbors. Village Tea Company, the young hip new line of specialty tea, was bringing lots of energy to the floor with their cool new team and brand. Directly across the aisle was Rishi Tea and East Indies Tea Company was right behind us. We had lots of neighborhood tea gatherings and were definitely in good company.

The pavilion created a real sense of “community.” I had the chance to get to know some tea people that I was acquainted with but had never really had a chance to chat with. We all shared tea, food, supplies and lots of laughs.

I was equally as pleased to meet attendees like GongFu Girl, of tea blogging fame. She shared information on the newly formed Association of Tea Bloggers (ATB) developed to unify communication, information sharing & accuracy. They will foster dialog with the overall tea community and attempt to substantiate factual tea facts and dispel myths by incorporating the expertise and assistance of tea professionals. Look for guidelines at the organizations website.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Cynthia Gold, Tea Sommelier for The Boston Park Plaza Hotel where a tea tasting was held on Wednesday. Unfortunately due to my schedule I was unable to attend but heard from those who attended that it was a delightful event with some of Cynthia’s private tea stash.

I also met tea educators Laurie Bell from DC & Verna Hamilton of NYC. A big shout out to Verna for her help with the comparative cupping’s held in our booth.

We cupped blacks, whites and oolongs and were excited to host all those who stopped in by for the tasting. It was fun reviewing the obvious and subtle differences in the teas. We will hold these events again at World Tea Expo, Las Vegas 2010.

World Tea East gave us an opportunity to connect with new and existing customers. We had fun visiting with David & Anne Walker and meeting Nigel. We had lots of laughs with Matt Papera who stopped by the show to say “hi.” We enjoyed our stay at the Omni and our lobster dinner at “No Name.”

Sunday rolled around with rain from the south which interfered with our plans to walk Boston’s Freedom Trail so I was forced to shop for comfortable shoes before packing and heading home.

Until next time, Beth

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World Tea Expo Update

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I am teaching at the expo again this year. First up will be the marketing track at the New Business Boot Camp a pre-conference soup to nuts new tea business intensive, beyond the typical tasting and tea identification classes.

Second is the Core Conference - Organic Cost to Compliance class. This in-depth class will cater to a very specific audience interested in becoming NOP certified organic handlers & processors. I will review best practices and system plans accompanied by the Director of Quality Certification Services.

The education aspect of the expo is only one small element of the largest tea event of the year!

More to come.

Until next time, Beth

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Jamacia and the last day at sea

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Excited about the day ahead we woke up to incredible weather. Docked at the port of Ocho Rios we walked to find our excursion, a 90 ft. yacht that was taking us to Dunn River Falls.


I almost never drink coffee and when I do it is light and sweet, really more about the sweet than the coffee. After reading through the available trips Newman and I decided that this one sounded good because they were serving Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee! On a tea cruise taking excursions for coffee?

Regardless of the 8-10 foot seas we enjoyed our cruise to the falls. The ocean is a beautiful, crystal clear blue/green. The crew is friendly and we have quickly learned the phrase of the day "ya man"!

Despite the number of people the falls are gorgeous. The brisk fresh mountain water rushes down to the ocean shore and you can feel the water temperature change as you approach the falls. We meet our guides, one of whom is filming our trek up the falls. Yes we are hiking up the falls while the water is rushing down.

It takes us about 1 hour to do the entire trip up and we have an absolute blast! At different points along the way I did some rock sliding and Newman and I dive backwards off the rocks. The foliage around us is incredible, the guides are fun and well versed on where we should and should not go and the entire experience is awesome.

After a fun filled day and another delicious dinner we sit on our balcony enjoying the ocean breeze.

Our final day on the ship wraps up the learning portion of the cruise. I teach my last two "tea" sessions which is followed by a graduation ceremony. The class presents me with a singing pirate as a token of their appreciation and everyone reflects on the fun they have had.

The entire experience has been a good time! Great food, good company, fun excursions and lots of relaxation. Even though this was a working trip the time away was a much needed escape.

Until next time, Beth

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First Day at Sea and Training

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The day starts with a cup of tea and breakfast, via room service, on our balcony. The weather is fabulous and I am wishing that I could sit here and not move! Knowing that is just not possible I prep myself and my materials and I am off for my morning session on marketing.
We catch the last 15 minutes of Lady Dawnya's presentation which is great. Not having had the opportunity to hear her speak previously I am throughly impressed.

I quickly find that this is a great group, enthusiastic and not short on ideas or the confidence to share them, exactely the way I like it! We spend 2 solid hours talking about gathering customer data and venues to look for marketing opporutunities.

After a delicious lunch and tea break we are back for this afternoons tea tasting and slide presentation, which includes some of my travels to China's tea gardens.

We cup Bi Lo Chun from East West Mountain, Dragon Well from Hangzhou, Guo Lu and Keemun from Anhui Province. Agian the group does not disappoint, they are throughly engaged and interested in cupping and quality evaluation techniques. I discuss my experiences and relationships with growers and the various tea growing regions cooridinating with the afternoons teas. I share my Lu Yu sightings and my visit to the National Tea Museum in Zhejiang Province.



We talk about quality issues in the US and the fact that while we have come a long way in the last 10 years we have so much further to go. Many US wholesale buyers still purchase marginal quality teas for a variety of reasons; lack of knowledge, lack of experience and a misunderstanding about price versus quality. Yes you can buy one gunpowder tea for less than another but that does not mean you are getting a better value or a good deal. Just as prices vary do does quality.

We wrap up for the day and everyone is all smiles anxious to arrive at our first port of call, Grand Cayman, tomorrow. The ship is due to arrive around 9 am. Newman and I have preplanned an excursion in Grand Cayman which will start tendoring to shore first thing.
We skip getting dressed, it's formal night, and opt for a quite dinner in our cabin and another wonderful nights sleep with the ocean breezes.
Until next time, Beth

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Ready, Set, Sail on the 2009 Tea Cruise

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We set sail on the 2009 Tea Cruise aboard Royal Caribbeans Navigator of the Seas bound for the western Caribbeans Grand Cayman and Jamaica islands. As this years speaker I look forward to meeting my fellow tea cruisers, the training sessions and traveling to new places. The best part is that I only have to unpack once, one of the best features of cruising.

After a delightful ride to Ft. Lauderdale, thanks Barbara and Skylar Limo service, we were quickly on board for a nice buffet lunch and a walk around the ship.

Much larger than the last ship we sailed on, I am estimating, this vessel must accommodate upward to 3000 guests. Well appointed the ship is clean with tons of amenities the first one I visit, of course, is the spa. I make appointments on the spot while Newman tours the gym, both feature great views.

Our stateroom is great we have a nice sitting area as well as a sleeping nook and best of all a balcony overlooking the ocean! There is a small gift bag on our door from Lady Dawnya of Tea Events who is hosting the cruise. Included an agenda for our 2 "working" days at sea, an invitation to meet the rest of the tea cruisers for dinner and bon voyage bubbles which I promptly blow from our balcony.



We are scheduled to set sail at 5 so after the emergency drill we unpack, relax and enjoy a cup of tea on our balcony. Both Newman and I are ready for this trip and the much needed time away with a nice change of scenery.


We head to dinner and are greeted at the dining room entrance by Lady Dawnya and her husband Brian who escorts us to the table where we meet the other tea cruisers; April from Kansas, Tad & Marcia from Naples, FL, Debby & Michele from Arkansas, Lourie & Kit from North Carolina and Rosetta from San Fransisco.

After enjoying a yummy dinner I am back in the stateroom preparing for the following days training and with the ocean breezes blowing an incredible nights sleep.

Until next time, Beth

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