Last year was my first year attending the World Tea Expo, and the experience was amazing on on so many levels. One of the best parts of the show was being able to meet face-to-face with many of those from the tea industry that I’ve gotten to know “virtually” over the years (but had never met in-person).
I’m especially excited that the Expo will be returning this year to the Long Beach Convention Center, May 6-8. The annual event brings together hundreds of tea companies from around the globe. The World Tea Expo is more than just a place to taste tea and enjoy the company of other tea lovers. It’s a place of community, education, networking, ideation, and more. The annual event is attended by more than 5,000 people, coming from all corners of the world. With 250+ exhibitors from more than 50 countries, the World Tea Expo is the world’s largest tea event.
One of my favorite parts of the event is the Bloggers Roundtable (May 7, 2:30 – 3:30 pm PST). This year’s panelists will include Nicole Martin, Jen Piccotti, Naomi Rosen, Chris Giddings, Jo Johnson, Geoff Norman and Rachel Carter.
One of The Fastest Growing Industries
The tea industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In the US alone, the tea market is worth more than $8 billion and is expected to grow by another $7 billion by the end of 2015. The World Tea Expo is attended by distributors, tea room owners, retailers, other business professionals (and many tea bloggers and writers as well!). We all get the chance to visit with more than 200 different high quality tea suppliers and vendors in a casual, one-on-one setting. According to event organizers, almost 75 of these tea suppliers chose the World Tea Expo as the only tradeshow they attend to exclusively share and display their products.
The event is organized by The Beverage Group, an integrated media company that has been providing the beverage industry all over the world with business solutions. It’s a division of the F+W, a Content + eCommerce Company. The World Tea Expo is the largest event organized by the Beverage Group. Other than this, the Beverage Group also holds the professionally judged premium tea competition, called the North American Tea Championship.
Event Programs, Subjects and Topics
Attended by more than 5,000 people, The World Tea Expo is an event that is more than just about learning (and tasting) various types of teas and tea-related products. It’s a conference where tea experts from all over the world come together to discuss everything that is tea, from production to health benefits, and much more. There are a wide variety of educational topics that are covered, such as:
- How to Source and Select Teas
- The Science Behind Health Claims on Tea Beverages
- Current Trends and the Future Outlook for Tea
- Cultivating the Next Generation of Tea Connoisseurs
- Building Your Own Successful Tea Business
- Current and Emerging Regulatory Issues in the Tea & Infusion Products Industry
- Why Ignoring Herbs Could be Costing Your Business
These are just the few of the main topics that are featured.
Innovation is at the heart of every industry and the tea industry is transforming. It’s being driven by people who want something more — such as more variety and quality innovation. Consumers are demanding high-quality and carefully sourced teas now more than ever. This is something that is driving the competition, and more companies are coming up with new ways to introduce products that stand out from the rest. Other aspects that are quickly gaining consumer interest, and are also discussed at the World Tea Expo, include:
- The Growing Trend of Pu-reh and Matcha Teas
- Long-Term Trends for Ready-to-Drink, Loose and Bagged Teas
- Fruit and Spice Flavored Tea
- Drinking Herbal Infused Green Teas
- Highlights, Additional Events and Focus on Key Industry Issues
One really interesting aspect of the World Tea Expo is tea experts from all over the world gathering and choosing the Best New Product. The selection committee chooses the best new tea and related products from among the many on exhibit. Once the winners have been announced, the attendees get the chance to visit the winner’s booth and try the new product themselves.
Another interesting opportunity for attendees are the tastings — including teas that have earned the ‘blue ribbon’ by The North American Tea Championship (NATC) Winners Tasting Circle. All the selected best teas by the NATC are present under one roof as selected by the independent judges. These teas are chosen for being the highest quality and best tasting teas available in the market.
Other topics of interest focused on tasting teas include:
- Organoleptic Explorations Of Tea Styles, Tea Regions and Tea Pairings
- Understanding How Flavor Impacts Cost
- Shelf Life and The Quality Of Teas
- Detecting Defects In Tea Manufacture
- Understanding, Sourcing and Tasting Fine Teas with a Local Global Approach
Tea Industry Skills Workshop
Apart from the educational seminars, tea tasting and award ceremonies, there is also another interesting workshop that takes place here designed to hone important skills. This involves everything from cupping, brewing and blending to loose leaf tea processing and blending. This workshop is intensive, and takes participants through various topics that include:
- New Ways to Use Tea
- Bringing 3rd Wave Coffee Innovation & Excitement to Tea
- Blending Award Winning Teas
- Tea Processing
- Tea Cupping
For anyone wanting to start their own tea business, a Tea Business Boot Camp is held for such entrepreneurs. This is a two-day program that covers topics to help guide the entrepreneur in building a solid foundation for their business. The topics covered are:
- The Basics of Tea Business
- Tea 101
- Legal, Purchasing and Inventory
- All about the Leaf
Attendees also get the chance to learn more about the World Tea Academy, the one place where you can take courses to become certified in the tea industry. These courses are critical for entrepreneurs seeking insight into the tea industry as it continues to set standards and recognize leaders in the tea community.
The World Origin Tasting Tour
There is also a virtual tour called the World Origin Tasting Tour that takes place in the major countries of origin. It involves the tasting of various regional teas while also learning about the the people and cultures. The most prominent tea growing regions include Taiwan, Japan, China, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya.
Tea & Health
Apart from the other workshops and conferences, the World Tea Expo also holds an educational program dedicated to the wellness and health opportunities provided by tea. This session offers attendees valuable information regarding different types of teas and their health benefits. Tea is one of the fastest growing industries related to health and wellness. Many health professionals are advising their clients and patients on the advantages of drinking tea and its numerous health benefits.
World Tea News — Enter the World of Tea
Even if you can’t make it to the World Tea Expo this year…you always have the World Tea News at your fingertips! The website is for tea lovers of all levels, from hardcore tea drinkers to the casual/occasional ones. The aim is to be more than just a website that informs its readers about tea. It’s about inviting you into the culture of tea, offering news, features, expert insights, profiles of the people in the tea industry, emerging trends in the global tea industry, and more. World Tea News is the premier source for in-depth understanding of the industry, dedicated to connecting businesses and tea enthusiasts to valuable industry resources.
There is always something new in the world of tea. World Tea News features news and stories from many different parts of the world, featuring various cultural nuances and the various methods of tea growing and processing.
As we have discovered with TeaMinded, the world of tea is full of inspiring people. Visitors of World Tea News have the option of signing up for a daily, weekly or monthly newsletter so they don’t miss anything among the tea community.
Supporting and Encouraging a Sustainable Industry
The World Tea News supports all practices that ensure the sustainability and wellbeing of the planet and those who live on it. They are affiliated with the Beverage Media Group and together they share in a core set of values with the tea community showing a sense of personal responsibility towards the environment. This is something that is evident with their events that encourage the practices which contribute to the sustainability of our green planet.
The Beverage Media Group is committed to high quality tea. This includes tea that is sourced directly from the farmers providing the highest quality from all over the world, offering the best in taste, aroma and health benefits. They encourage everyone to be responsible and reduce the individual and industrial impact on the world’s ecosystem by reducing the carbon footprint and to be a part of the mission for a healthy and sustainable future.
The World Tea Academy
Another valuable resource is the World Tea Academy – focussed exclusively on offering Tea Certifications and online courses. Some of the Core Courses include:
- Essentials of Camellia Sinensis
- Tea Enhancements and Grading Systems
- Tea Terroir: China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan
- The Infusion
There are also advanced courses that include:
- The Biochemistry of Tea Processing
- Tea and Health
- Among others…
The World Tea Academy provides customized education on how teas are grown, harvested, packaged, and brewed. It is full of information regarding various teas (and tea-related subjects) from around the world.
The World Tea Expo is at the forefront of promoting the tea industry and creating opportunities for tea professionals and enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. The educational sessions, workshops and industry related seminars are all curated to help attendees succeed. This is an exciting time for the tea industry as our community continues to grow and prosper.
With an amazing and talented team of professionals at the helm, the World Tea Expo (combined with the World Tea News and World Tea Academy) continues to deliver valuable programming, as well as great networking opportunities. The event is building on a long tradition of driving the tea industry in innovative new ways, and building a community of tea enthusiasts and educated consumers from all walks of life.
(photos copyright: World Tea Expo)