World Tea Expo Blog Photos

Monday, June 01, 2009

So I started this post as soon as I got home from the 2009 World Tea Expo 3 weeks ago. My schedule definately delayed the release along with my difficulty in lining up the pictures in "blogger." The original post is below. I have tons of pictures so keep scrolling to see the faces and fun at this years expo!

Original Post
We are all still recovering from the unbelievable energy from the World Tea Expo show! It is an amazing experience to be surrounded, literally, by like minded tea enthusiasts and professionals.

Our trip to Vegas began with a day of relaxation and presentation tweaking at "TheHotel" where we bunked this year, instead of Mandalay Bay. We definitely made the right choice for us.

The Teas Etc guys, Matt, Rafael and Newman spent the majority of Thursday putting together our show giveaway bags in the New Business Boot Camp Office, thanks Stacie.

Friday began early kicking off my 2009 expo experience with a day of teaching at New Business Boot Camp. Giving the NBBC's Marketing Segment is a lot of fun for me. This years group were extremely engaged and enthusiastic about their "tea" future. Thanks to all who so energtically participated with lots of questions, ideas and great marketing pieces from the "shameless self promotion"

My Image

I had the luxury of not having to worry about the show floor execution because of our great team in Las Vegas. That team was headed by Rafael our warehouse manager, who works under the direction of Ward Sener, Head of Operations. Thanks Rafael and all for a job well done!

Our booth looked amazing!

Teas Etc World Tea Expo 2009 BoothTeas Etc World Tea Expo 2009 Booth

The expo is the one opportunity during the year that we have to reconnect and renew with friends, some whom we have not seen in years! It's great to put a face with a name to those individuals we have spoken with but not formally met.

This year we added a fun new cupping event which took place in our booth twice daily. Each session focused on a specific tea category; black, green, white and oolong and was conducted as professionally as possible. Participants had a chance to sign up to take part prior to the show.

We extended some special invitations for the cuppings and were excited to have Lindsey Goodwin and Jason Walker at a couple. Thanks to all for taking part and giving us your time and evaluations.

Tea Cupping at Teas Etc booth, 2009 World Tea ExpoTea Cupping at Teas Etc booth, 2009 World Tea Expo

Beth Johnston of Teas Etc and Nathan Black at Teas Etc Tea Cupping, 2009 World Tea ExpoBeth Johnston of Teas Etc at Tea Cupping, 2009 World Tea Expo

The highlight of the show was most definately the World Tea Championship! We asked individuals in a variety of different industry genres to sit at the "Teas" table which made for an interesting, fun evening. We had bloggers, media, authors, buyers, 4 different tea companies (Village Tea, Teakoe, The Teahouse, Tea Willikers, East West Tea Emporium) and some other exhibitors (Village Tea, Quality Certification Services). We developed new friendships and renewed others.

When the first award of the evening was announced, Signature Famous Teas - Assam Category, I was completely caught off guard, which was obvious by my response when they announced the winner "Teas Etc" .... OH S_ _ T! I was totally suprised! I did not expect to win that particular category. I know we have great tea. I knew we entered teas that we sell and that we feel confident and proud of. I also knew that we were in competition with companies that have dominated the black tea categories in the past.

We followed up that win with the next, Signature Famous Teas - Ceylon Category and then our Organic Golden Monkey took 2nd place in the Signature Famous Teas - Yunnan Category! We did not have any wins in the General Teas Categories which is where I thought we would have the strongest showing. This competition gives us an opporunity to see what others in the industry are doing. To discover more about what to look for in the cup by learning from the esteemed judges. Most important it gives buyers and consumers a true evaluation of quality tea at its best. I feel strongly that this will elevate our industry "specialty tea" and the teas being sold as such.

It was an amazing night! I am personally honored to have the opportunity to participate on this level with some of the finest companies and teas from around the globe. It is a particularly proud moment for me, once agian being the only female owned company with winner's in the World Tea Championship, Hot Tea Category.

Beth Johnston of Teas Etc accepting First Place, Signature Famous Teas - Assam, 2009 World Tea Championship Beth Johnston of Teas Etc and Kim Jage of World Tea Expo, 2009 World Tea Championship, Assam Catagory Winner

Kim Jage of World Tea Expo at the 2009 World Tea Championships,Matt of Teas Etc and Martin of Village Tea Company at 2009 World Tea Championship

After the energy and excitment of Saturday night it was difficult to get out of bed on Sunday morning for my Organic presentation with Ram from QCS, Quality Certification Services. This intimate presentation was specifically developed for those companies interested in becoming USDA organic certified and was a road map to getting it done simple and effeciently.

Sunday afternoon brought about the Teas Etc vendor presentation which was a success with an interactive disscussion between myself and the audience, just the way I like it. The day wrapped up with a World Tea News video interview by Lindsey Goodwin, thanks Lindsey!

While many folks left on Sunday the show floor was still non stop for us on Monday! The energy in our booth never seemed to diminish and we all stayed busy non stop.

I would like to express special thanks to the following people for there support, friendship, insight and willingness to help; Lisa Richardson, Richard Guzakaus, Maria Seemer, Martin & Village Tea Team, Dan Robertson, Skip and the folks from Cirqua, Ken Rudee, Scott Shivula, Benjamin Harrison, Planet Can It, David Walker, Ram & QCS, Jason Walker, Lindsey Goodwin, Nicki Means and Sungarden just to name a few.

I would also like to express how nice it is to work with the group of professionals at World Tea Expo and World Tea News. A special thanks for all you do to help exhibitors succeed, Kim and George Jage, Stacie Woods, Kim, Vanessa, Nate, Tim, Kari and Heidi.

Until next time, Beth

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Tea Wedding Approaches

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nathan and Nicole's wedding is only 6 days away. As the wedding approaches we are getting excited, Newman and I, to see how the couple have "infused" tea into the ceremony and reception.

Nathan joined the Teas Etc family 4-5 years ago after he and Newman had a chance encounter at an area green market. As Nathan waited to purchase tea Newman was dealing with a somewhat difficult customer. Nathan came to the rescue satisfying the customer and sparking the conversation that lead to his employment. Immediately fitting in, as a foodie and fellow tea lover, Nathan has been with us in some capacity ever since. Once we discovered that he had graduated with a computer engineering degree he never bagged tea again!

O.K. enough history now to the reason for this post. Once Nathan got to know Nicole things moved quickly. Nathan decided to ask Nicole to marry him. It's not that he asked but HOW he asked that makes this a "story."

The happy couple was spending the afternoon at one of their favorite places, the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach. There is a Japanese saying that if you give a 1000 cranes and/or receive a 1000 cranes you are granted one wish. It was that day that Nathan presented Nicole a rather large box to open. Inside the box there were 999 white origami cranes that Nathan had laboriously folded 1 by 1. At the bottom was a larger, gold crane number 1000. In that gold crane was the ring which was followed by the proposal. How romantic!

Nathan and Nicole put together a list of ingredients with special meaning met me at the office on a Saturday where the 1000 Crane Blend was created. I was so confident in the quality of that blend that it was entered into the World Tea Championship! Of all the teas we entered I had really hoped that one would have won but it was not to be. Because of the overwhelming response to the blend and the story we have begun offering their blend commercially, now for sale on the website and to wholesale accounts.

We wish Nathan and Nicole years of happiness and good tea. We are excitedly anticipating their intimate celebration and are honored to be a part of this very special occasion.

Until next time, Beth

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Two Winners at World Tea Championship

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I just plopped down on the couch in our room at The Hotel in Las Vegas. What a night! We had a diverse, fun, energetic group of people at our table at this evenings World Tea Championship reception at the 2009 World Tea Expo.

We were getting settled in, and to be honest I was in the middle of telling Newman that we needed to get our guests drinks, when they announced the Signature Famous Teas, first category Assam. And first place goes to …….. Teas Etc…..oh s__t I remarked totally off guard. Yes I know I shouldn’t be telling you this but I wanted to tell you before someone else did and honestly it was just my response because I was really floored!! Breakfast tea is next and that went to Lyster Group I believe, truthfully I was still trying to catch my breath. The next category is Ceylon and the winner is Teas Etc! You have got to be kidding me I think to myself.
I was also very proud that our Organic Golden Monkey received 2nd place in the Yunnan category, I can’t wait to try the tea that beat us out! The great thing was that our tea placed higher than a lot of the significantly more expensive teas in the category and we were definitely up against some of the big boys for sure, second place seems a fine achievement to me.

The rest of the night was equally as thrilling especially when folks like Ken from Barnes & Watson won, 2 categories green oolong in the hot tea category and another in iced tea, go Ken! And others that are more from the “under dog” realm like Puripan with their Tartary Buckwheat herbal, interesting.

Anyway, I am really very grateful for the recognition and appreciation that specialty teas are getting in the US. I feel strongly that World Tea Expo and the World Tea Championship has a big part in pushing our industry forward in a very positive direction.

Winning is absolutely fun but win, lose or draw I am privileged to compete and be a part of a competition that will improve the quality and exposure of tea, an industry that I truly love.

Until next time, Beth

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World Tea Championship Samples

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I sent the paper entries in to World Tea Expo last week for the Championship. Today the actual tea samples were sent on their way to judging.

Once again we entered 10 teas. After much discussion we decided to enter new tea categories this time and are excited to be there on Saturday, May 2nd in Las Vegas to see the results!

I am really glad that World Tea Expo decided to do an awards reception. I think it will add more anticipation and excitement to the Championship making it fun for everyone.

I intend to send updates right from the reception on twitter so check it out.

Until next time, Beth

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World Tea Championship

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When the World Tea Expo initiated the first ever World Tea Championship in 2008 I was extremely pleased! In my opinion this was the first step in establishing tea guides and a rating system that could aid buyers, wholesale and retail alike. Education is the only way to teach end users, and those in-between, what to look for and expect in a cup of specialty tea .

Yes there were people who complained about the way the Championship was conducted; who the judges were, the cupping methodology, the brewing vessels. While it was not a perfect system the WTE is the only group that has had the gumption to take on tea quality, trying to develop benchmarks and ratings. They called on well respected industry leaders asking for their input to create a fair, well organized competition and frankly they did a great job!

What was lacking, in my opinion, was the positive feedback of what went right, offers of support and help and the acknowledgement of how important this is for our entire industry.

In my experience complaints don't generally come from wanting to make things better but rather from fear. I challenge those unhappy with the development of the World Tea Championship to ask themselves what their real motives are? Do they want consumers to learn about quality or is the status quo o.k.?

Ratings could benefit buyers, of all levels. They could be used to taste, learn and purchase quality teas. Hopefully buyers will begin to use this tool, especially those buying to resell, taking note of those companies willing to enter teas whether they are winners or not.

The WTE and the Championship is leading the way to improve tea for us all. As the only female owned company to have a winner in the hot tea category I feel proud to be a small part of the bigger picture. Come to think of it we are the first ever female owned company to have a winner!

Coming soon more about how the Championship works.

Until next time, Beth

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World Tea Championship - How it Works

Friday, April 10, 2009

With the launch of the first ever World Tea Competition came a lot of consumer questions about how to enter and what the judging criteria was.

Because we participated first hand in WTC and are entering teas again this year I thought it might be nice to explain some of the new elements of this year competition.

First of all WTC is an independent competition judged by professional cuppers and commercial buyers. There are 2 categories; hot tea and iced tea, each with its own set of criteria and judges. One change is the addition of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards, last year there was one winner and then top 5 finalists.

There are specific tea/region categories such as Yunnan or Earl Grey and then general categories like white tea. The categories were developed with the help of industry experts and much debate. Unlike last year there will no longer be any "super" categories, a good thing in my opinion.

Awards for both hot and iced categories will be recognized the evening of Saturday, May 2nd, the first day of this years expo May 2nd - 4th being held in Las Vegas, NV.

For more information about WTC visit and look for results sure to include Teas Etc!

Until next time, Beth

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World Tea Expo 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This years expo is going to be great! Yes despite the "bad" economy...which I do not buy into at all and am very tired of hearing!

I have been working on the floor plan and visual aspect of our double booth this year which I am designing very minimalist and clean. Cant wait to see it all come together.

We have so much going on, web casts (will be seen on the website), the manufacturers track (a 30 minute showcase of Teas Etc) which already has 155 attendees signed up, the World Tea Championship.

We have planned a lot of special tasting events that will take place in the Teas Etc booth #600 right in the front of the show. We will be handing out our daily "happenings" schedule and will be booking private cupping appointments on a first come first serve basis.

Some of our other "special" events are under wraps to be unveiled closer to the start of the show May 2nd in Las Vegas!

Until next time, Beth

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Tasting Teas for The World Tea Championship

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We started cupping teas this week for the upcoming World Tea Championship. Some of the entries require no thought, golden monkey organic, bai hao silver needle organic a couple of our current favorites. We will end up with about 8 teas for the hot tea category. The championship is changing a bit this year but more about that at a later date.

When it came to selecting iced teas it was a bit more difficult. I don't really drink tea cold, its not my preference, I just like tea hot. So Matt came up with a great idea, cold brewing! We spent 2 days prepping, tasting, blending, re-tasting. A lot of work but the end results were terrific. We have some really cool stuff we are unveiling at WTE in May.

Until next time, Beth

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Looking Back and Turning Over a New Leaf in 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2008 was a whirlwind and such an incredible year for me personally and professionally! Starting with my trip to China in March/April. Traveling in the mountains, choosing exceptional teas and having the opportunity to cup with masters throughout China is incredible.

What most people didn't know was that I signed a lease for a much larger office, production facility the night before I left the country. And with little done while I was gone I jumped in after being back 3 days and completed "green" renovations. With an aggressive move date of May 1st Cody, Penelope and I, along with others worked overtime to get done, and we did.

The move was exhilarating and really paved the way for the growth that was to take place ahead. Even I could not have imagined such amazing growth and industry recognition.

Right after the move World Tea Expo (WTE)and the New Business Boot Camp (NBBC) was held in Las Vegas. With our energy high the Teas Etc team made its way to Vegas and was excited to have such positive feedback and results. The NBBC was an awesome experience, very emotional and fulfilling. Becoming a new WTE Advisory Board Member gave me an opportunity to get even more insight into our complex and very small industry. Hopefully I can be a part of positive change for the industry that I love.

A personal high for me, for all of 2008, was being the only female owned company to have a winner in the World Tea Championship Hot Tea Category!

Without missing a beat we returned home and the pace didn't seem to slow down. You know how you always think and/or say "I will relax after this" well I have yet to get my "after this".

With a gift show in September and lots to fill the time inbetween. Many hours spent developing our new product line to be launched in the next couple of months. Planning marketing and out reach for the months ahead. Appearing for Macy's Martha Stewart tea event in late summer. And of course the exciting opportunity to be featured on QCV in November and Decemeber both of which far exceeded our expectations.

Our success at the September show spearheaded our decision to lease a permanent showroom at the Atlanta AmericasMart which opened January 2009. That show was unbelivably sucessful!! The Friday marTEAni party. The Sunday Tea Presentation in the main demo kitchen, the one that Tyler and Rocco appeared in just a day before! Lots of fun stuff and the showroom really is lovely, pictures to follow this week.

The success of the January show was 2 fold for me personally. Having that time out of the office and being with potential customers really let me see that it is time for me to get back to my roots, sharing my enthusiasm for our quality products with others. That is what I Love and I work hard so I can do what I love, important to remember.

Atlanta was truly a great start to the year of the ox, the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival which begins this week. Happy New Year of the Ox.

Next is the tea cruise which sails January 24th heading to the western carribean, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. I will be teaching several marketing classes for tea professionals on the cruise as well as sharing my personal tea journeys abroad with stories, photos and teas. I am looking forward to some down time with Newman, my husband who works just as hard as I do in the background at Teas Etc. Believe me I could never accomplish 1/4 of what I do without the help of many friends and coworkers behind the scenes.

Tomorrow I have the chance to spend the day with my girlfriend Barbara at the spa for some much needed R&R.

O.K. so on 1/1/09 I made a resolution to commit to blogging more regularly and here it is the 17th and this is my first post! Progress is a good thing, at least it's not February 17th!

Until next time, Beth

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Teas QVC Debut

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tomorrow, I am scheduled to debut the company’s Self Steeping Brew Mug on QVC, one of the world’s largest multimedia retailers, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. EST.

The presentation of the unique, all-in-one Self Steeping Brew Mug Gift Set, packaged especially for QVC, will take place on the QVC Morning Show, All New Gifts.

The Gift Set has two glass brew mugs with infuser baskets and lids. Each one contains two pre-measured packages of premium organic loose leaf tea, one of which, Lemon Ginger Organic Green Tea, was an award winner at this year’s World Tea Championship.

For me, the most exciting part of this experience is the opportunity to expose a broader audience to the taste and benefits of loose leaf tea.

Tune in and wish me luck!

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