Friday, June 30, 2017

World Tea Expo SURVIVOR - Part 2 (Canadians at the World Tea Awards)

July 1st is Canada Day! Happy 150th Birthday Canada! #Canada150
So, what better way to celebrate than commemorate the Canadian wins at the World Tea Expo?

The World Tea Awards took place on the evening of June 14th, Day 2. The room was buzzing with people enjoying canap├ęs, cocktails, and chatting away while waiting for the awards ceremony to start.
Canadians fared well at the World Tea Awards! Here are some highlights from the evening:

Congratulations Camellia Sinensis! Two awards!
Congratulations Dan Bolton! (Tea Journey Magazine)  I was at their table covering the event
 and the excitement was awesome!  Proud to be a contributor and a team member of Tea Journey.

Congratulations to my friend and fellow Canadian Certified Tea Sommelier,
The Tea Stylist, Linda Gaylard!

Linda, Kevin Gascoyne (Camellia Sinsensis), Tracy Bell of MillenniaTEA and Louise Roberge, the President of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada
Pretty award, eh?

Vancouver based farmer direct JusTea
Purple tea was all the rage at the Expo. They recently created three purple tea blends
 (Purple Mint, Purple Jasmine and Purple Rain, cool name or what?) 
I've seen them on social media so was curious to try them.
Purple Jasmine was very nice. Purple Rain would make a great iced tea.
 Boaz Katah (Kenyan tea farmer) and his wife Jamilla with Paul Bain of JusTea
sharing the #purpleteaexperience 
An innovative startup from New Brunswick, MillenniaTEA 
It's a interesting product. Freshly picked leaves, patent pending flash freezing process keeps the leaves as biochemically alive as possible to deliver the highest levels of EGCG and other tea goodness to the consumer. 
CEO, Tracy Bell
Fresh-leaf teas. So fresh! Picked June 4th!
Congrats on your New Products Innovation Award win, MillenniaTEA!
Frozen fresh tea leaves from the The Great Mississippi Tea Company 
These are the tea farmers from The Great Mississippi Tea Company,  Jason MacDonald and Timothy Gipson.
Frozen fresh tea leaves from Hangzhou.
Mmm, of course, I had to taste them. Both were great, fresh and refreshing, not bitter at all.
I particularly liked the one from Mississippi. The leaves were picked just before the Expo. I could sure taste it!

As I was sipping away, the JusTea crew came over to discuss potential partnership. MillenniaTEA needs fresh leaves,
we've got a Kenyan purple tea farmer here, hmm, some exciting things could be in the works as you read this....
MillenniaTEA was on CBC's Dragon's Den to pitch their business idea in front of a panel of Canadian business moguls for funding. If you're curious, check it out this fall when the episode airs.  And no, I was not paid in any form to mention this. Although if the CBC, MillenniaTEA or any tea companies are reading this... I am a freelance Certified Tea Sommelier... open for potential collaborations... Call me!

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!