Last Thursday I attended World Tea Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center and tasted lots of tea. Because I am not typically a buyer of premium teas, I was astounded at how much I enjoyed tasting really fine teas. I loved the various flavors and I didn’t have that after-tea pucker that is so familiar after drinking my grab-and-go grocery store tea made with tea bags and water heated in a microwave.
World Tea Expo is the leading tradeshow and conference focused 100% on premium teas and related products. Tea company representatives come to this show hoping to find customers among the some 7000 show attendees. Those attendees may represent coffee shops, grocery chains, private label brands, gourmet retailers, convenience stores, online businesses, restaurants, hotels, distributors, manufacturers and beverage developers.
Almost every exhibitor offers samples of their tea. From an exhibitor in Korea, I was “reminded” (told) that the perfect tea depends not only on the tea leaves themselves, but also on the temperature of the brew and the length of time the tea is brewed. The Vision Korea brochure had this recipe for perfect Green Tea: Heat the water to between 70 and 80 degrees centigrade; infuse the tea for one minute 30 seconds; enjoy it. The same brochure quoted a Korean gentlemen from the 1700s who said, “If you drink a tea, you will be better. If you drink an alcohol, you will be spoiled.”
Alhough teas are the real stars of World Tea Expo, a number of related products were also part of the Expo, everything from machines that bag tea to hand-painted tea pots and snacks to accompany tea.
Several years ago when I registered to attend World Tea Expo, I was told (at the expo) that photos and videos were not allowed…so I turned around and didn’t attend. Thankfully, the policy has since changed and all I was asked to do this year was make sure I had a booth owner’s permission before taking pictures or videos. That all went well until I met a young man representing a Chinese candy manufacturer. His candy was packaged in colorful wrappers and I asked permission for a photo, and the young man just nodded.
After taking the shot, however, that same young man starting talking and seemed quite animated and his concerns had something to do with the picture. Fortunately, nearby was a young woman who spoke Chinese and English and she told me that the young man did not want a picture taken; in fact, he wanted my picture deleted from the camera. He seemed so agitated that I erased the photo and showed him as I did it.
In gratitude, the young man gave me many big smiles and several handfuls of his peanut-based candy (which was delicious), so I was definitely the winner in all of this. Later, at another booth staffed by Chinese nationals, two booth employees insisted they be in the picture I was taking. Go figure!
World Tea Expo also features educational offerings with topics such a “Teas and Wellness”, “How to Source & Select Your Teas”, “The Chemistry of Tea Production”, “Exploring the Herbal Tea Galaxy”, etc.
I did not attend the educational offerings but I did attend the expo. My experiences are recorded on the attached video.