So I am back from this year’s World Tea Expo in Long Beach, which was fantastic. It is so nice to spend a few days completely absorbed in tea. I know technically I spend most of my days absorbed in tea, but running a tea company is actually way more about admin and bits of paper, and far less about tea than you would think.
WTE is a chance to get away from the admin and paper and learn. There are always new things to learn about tea, there are always new tea experiences to be had. WTE has an enormous and quite fabulous hall that is packed with all things tea. This offers an opportunity to meet new tea people, to try new teas (sometimes from completely new origins), and new tea devices. It also a chance to try some amazing high quality teas from far flung locations and to see what other tea people are doing with their tea companies.
Then there is the social aspect. It is not often you get to spend the whole of your days talking about tea. Not just the drinking, or what you’re currently enjoying, but all aspects of tea and running a tea business, and just hanging out and sharing a laugh with other tea people. By the end of the Tealet after show party my face hurt. It was a great night.
So, what things I have learned this year? Firstly, just how important it is to take time to really immerse in tea, and just how valuable spending time with other tea people can be. I have learnt some great tips for appraising pu erhs.
I have learned a lot about tea and it is health benefits, learnt about teas dynamic duo Caffeine and Theanine, tasted some amazing teas from new origins (Colombia and Laos), some fantastic Chinese and Taiwanese teas, how to plant and germinate tea seeds, AND taken away a long reading list of tea books.
My head is bursting with ideas and new things to try. I am looking forward to showing them to you over the coming weeks and months. Unfortunately I have also learnt that I’m just not cut out for this international travel lark. Four days on and I’m still feeling like a zombie, not that this will stop me from attending World Tea Expo 2016 even if it is going back to Vegas!
Col. Jason McDonald, Nigel Melican (my Dad!), Rajiv Lochan, Me.
Timmy Gipson, Prof. Hara