Monday, June 26, 2017

World Tea Expo 2017 SURVIVOR - Part 1

The days and weeks after coming back from the World Tea Expo are filled with sorting all the photos, tea samples, and business cards that I received. Wow! What a great time! Apparently, I'm getting to be quite well known in the tea world. The days flew by, meeting up with vendors I knew,  and while I was there to support Tea Journey Magazine, I also wanted to check out other vendors and some courses but I just ran out of time!  It didn't help that one Toronto business who I've worked with closely suddenly noticed I was at the WTE and decided to give me lists of businesses they wanted me to check out on their behalf.

It's been five years since I've been to WTE and while the last time started as a romantic meet up with my husband, this time he stayed home with our boy, which marked the first time I've been separated from my child longer than a day since he was born.  Fortunately, I love to meet new people and it certainly kept me busy!
Bumped into TJ Williamson of World Tea Podcast at the conferences.
We were both on the panel of this year's Tea Bloggers Round Table.
Purple Tea was all the rage this year! Here with JusTea's Paul Bain and their Kenyan Team Leader, Boaz and wife, Jamilla. JusTea is doing some awesome stuff by creating sustainable enterprises and helping Kenyan tea farmers.
I've done demos of their teas in retail stores to raise awareness of their brand.
Tea Journey's Dan Bolton and John Lawo at work.
Tea Sommelier and budding tea entrepreneur, Claire Schlumberger
A true gentleman, famous author, James Norwood Pratt. He was in Toronto a few years ago for a tea event,
hope he'll be back again soon...maybe for the Toronto Tea Festival? 
Checking out the tea menu at the Lucky Dragon Casino & Hotel's Cha Garden 
Look who I ran into at the Lucky Dragon! More Tea Journey team members:
Nan Cui, Dan B., Patty Murray and Janis Grover

Hit the Strip and this is what happens...boy, folks sure are friendly in Vegas...
Tea Bloggers Round Table: World Tea Podcast, The Tea & Hat Lady, me! Oolong Owl,  Dharlene Marie Fahl,
 Five O'Clock Tea and moderator, Naomi Rosen (Joy's Teaspoon)
Elyse Petersen of Tealet
Phil and Constance of Zhen Tea, based in Ottawa. They're a popular exhibitor at the Toronto Tea Festival.
Susan Bolton, Tea Journey booth Captain 
Showing off my Tea Journey article on Canada's First Tea Farm, Westholme Tea Company.  
More to come in Part 2!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

World Tea Expo, here I come again!

Has it been five years already? 

I’ll be off to Las Vegas next week for the World Tea Expo (June 13-15).  It’s gonna be tea, tea, and MORE TEA for three days straight!  Woohoo!  Or even more if you’re going to attend the pre-conferences programs such as the Tea Business Boot Camp.  I can't this year.

The World Tea Expo is an industry only B2B (business to business) conference. It's comprised of Core Conference Seminars, Skill Building Sessions, Focused Tasting and Workshops in expertise levels from beginners to advanced. 
The last time I went was five years ago! I look forward to checking new products, making new contacts, seeing old friends, and meeting new tea friends while I'm learning more about tea!
Still working on my agenda but here is a sampling of sessions and activities that I am looking forward to so far:

Dan Bolton’s What Moves the Needle in Retail: New innovation /Trends. 
Dan is very knowledgeable and experienced in the tea and coffee industry. He’s also the editor and publisher of the Tea Journey Magazine to which I have contributed and am helping with their social media marketing. So of course, I will be there to share cool tidbits from his talk. He looks serious here, but Dan can be a lot of fun...
Photo from Tea Journey Magazine Facebook page
Hawaii- a New Frontier for Tea Farmers.  I’ve never been to Hawaii but a trip is planned for the fall, so I am curious to hear more about tea in Hawaii.

Panel Discussion about Public Tea Festivals (since I am on the organizing team of the Toronto Tea Festival, it’ll be great to get some pro tips from other tea festival organizers)

Kevin Gascoyne’s "Take it to the Field? The Tea Studio Project".  Kevin is a great speaker! 

There will be a networking cocktail reception on opening night and then the World Tea Awards the next day. Some learning, some fun, why not! Might as well make something happen in Las Vegas while I'm there!

There are off-shoot conferences that take place during the expo such as the Tea Bloggers Round table where writers and bloggers will gather, share and learn from each other.

Look closer at the poster, do you see me? I’m on the panel!

I hope to make some time to go check out the Strip, have a really awesome meal or two, not sure if I can fit in a show, though.   

So, excuse me as I need to finish selecting seminars to attend, check out which vendors will be there and start packing!  

See you in Vegas!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Master Class ~ Taiwanese Teas With Tillerman

I am quite involved in the tea industry, especially on the promotions and social media side.  Although I don't have a tea shop per se, I have managed social media for tea companies. I organize and handle social media for the Toronto Tea Festival, I've written tea articles, most recently for World Tea News, and currently I am the PR chair for the Tea Guild of Canada. Now, what is the Tea Guild of Canada, you ask?

Tea Guild Of Canada is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to fostering excellence in the world of specialty tea.  The mandate is as follows (from the website):
        We are committed to
            Educating members and the public;
            Exchange of ideas and sharing of resources;
           The creation of programs and events.

Ever since my tea sommelier classes finished, I have missed getting together with other tea sommelier/students and tea lovers to taste teas and advance my tea education. That's where the Tea Guild has filled the gap. 

Members are tea sommeliers, tea sommelier students and ethusiastic tea lovers in and around the Toronto area. We've brought in some awesome guest speakers for our members, e.g. Kevin Gascoyne of Camellia Sinensis, Raelene Gagnon of Tea and All Its Splendour, podcaster/blogger TJ Williamson of the World Tea Podcast and the latest, David Campbell of Tillerman Tea

David first contacted me through Facebook to ask for some tea shop recommendations to check out while he was in town from California. A Taiwanese Tea specialist, he's been in the tea business since 2007 and before that was in the wine industry for some 30 years...tea and wine, Taiwanese teas... I put them all together and my mind went bing! We should have him join us for a meeting!  I suggested this and he was game!  

A "Teas of Taiwan" evening was created!

I was there too! That's Linda Gaylard beside me! (Photo:Raelene Gagnon)

Map of Taiwan's Tea Producing Area 

Tea Anyone?
Wenshan Baozhong (a lightly oxidized oolong, heavenly aroma) 

Alishan (Meishan District)
Chinglin Gaoshan (Jade oolong)

Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) highly oxidized and roasted oolong
Notice the fuzzy white tip
Loved this one! Fruity, malty like darjeeling 
True Bai Hao has this fuzzy pekoe white tip attached the the leaf, look for this when you are buying Bai Hao
David also generously gave the Guild the Powerpoint presentation of his talk, 
you can view it here. Thank you David!

If you'd like a chance to (tea) geek out:
Join us This Thursday, June 1st at 6:30 p.m. 
at The Chef's House (George Brown College).  

Our guest speaker for this coming Tea Guild meeting will be fellow Certified Tea 
Sommelier, Michelle Pierce Hamilton of the new Tea Lounge and BeTeas of London, Ontario. 
Her topic will be Tea and Health. 

Click here for more details and to RSVP. Hope to see you there!