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Saturday, September 17, 2011

World Tea East - Summary

Friday September 9

I arrived at the World Tea East registration desk at 7:00 am on the second floor of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This area of the convention center is the older part, and used to be the end of the rail road. There were no lines at the registration desk, and I quickly got my badge and schedule book. I took the book to Starbucks for a read through while I had breakfast.

I decided to attend the Focused Tasting: Black Tea by Beth Johnston of Teas Etc, so I stopped by the registration booth one more time and parted with $85.

I then hopped down to the tasting (8:00-9:30) - Review to come.

After the amazing tasting I stopped in the tea break room, sponsored by Teas Etc, to have a nice cup of oolong. I must say having the tea break room was a great way to relax before and after sessions.

After my cup of tea I headed to the exhibit hall at 10:00 as they opened. Many vendors were finishing their booths as I took a quick walk through before starting my visits to each booth.

There was a variety of vendors selling wholesale tea, packaging, tea making devices for resale and mass production. Most booths had prepared tea samples for you to enjoy while talking with them, or while checking out the displays of their product. I will cover many of the booths in detail in their own posts, however in summary I would like to express that as a tea reseller, tea shop, or food establishment you really should be here, or at least World Tea Expo to learn from the amazing people attending these events, sellers and attendees alike. The overall vibe of the conference was like a giant educational tasting party more than a sales pitch. There was no competition, bad mouthing, shoving, or aggressive sales pitches.

I made sure to stop by the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle - Green, Unflavored Herbal Teas. All of the teas I tried were amazing. You can see the winner's list here.

I meet up with LittleMewBrew of the The Purrfect Cup, and we took the opportunity for a late lunch at a local tea house, TBar.

After lunch we wandered back to the vendor area, and managed to catch the 4:00pm tasting at the Teas Etc booth. We had the opportunity to enjoy many steeps of a 60 year old Puerh and a 30 year Dong Ding Oolong provided by, and located at the Teas Etc booth, which was being steeped by Suzette of Adagio using Rishi tea ware. The CEO of World Tea Media event stopped in!

The only thing that had us all stop steeping the wonderful tea was the networking reception where James Norwood Pratt awarded John Harney the Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award.

After the reception LittleMewBrew, Katrina and I went to have dinner at the melting pot.

Saturday September 10

After a lovely breakfast from the dutch eating place at the reading terminal market LittleMewBrew and I arrive when the exhibit hall opened to make sure we had time to see the remainder of the booths we had not yet seen in the exhibit hall.

We made sure to stop by at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle - Black, Blended & Flavored Teas. You can see the winners list here.

There was another fabulous tasting at the Teas Etc booth where Chris showed off the soon to be released fall teas for the group, and then it evolved into random sampling of multiple teas as the show wound down.

My tea adventure was not quite complete as I went back to TBar for a tweetup! I was very glad to have the opportunity to talk with more tea people, mostly from the area, before having to head on my way.

Read a bit Katrina wrote about World Tea East - The workshops.

You can also see what LittleMewBrew has to say here.

I was amazed by the amount of tea I could drink, and still sleep! I was sad the next day when not everyone was offering me cups of prepared quality teas. It was also sad to not be around people who just wanted to talk tea with everyone!

Again, if you are in the tea industry, or food industry and deal wit tea, you really should attend World Tea East or World Tea Expo for the vendors, the camaraderie, and the education. As much as I enjoyed the Northwest Tea Festival this was a larger, and more eye opening experience.

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