lots of cups of teaThis year, on the weekend of May 2-4, the world of tea came together once again. Perhaps Las Vegas isn’t exactly where one would imagine that would happen, but it did – at the World Tea Expo held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Those of us in the tea industry often use the expression, “the world in a teacup”, because of the immense growing regions of tea, cultures of tea, traditions of tea, and types of tea. And, of course, tea is the Number 1 beverage in the world next to water, which means that a great number of folks are joined together by their love of this ancient beverage. What happens when tea folks get together, as they did at the World Tea Expo, is talk about their love of tea, and get very excited about the leaves themselves, the color of the “liquor”, the nose, and everything else you could imagine about tea, and even some things you could not imagine.

I walked the exhibit hall every one of those three days until my feet hurt and long after they had officially closed down for the day. This was my sixth year in a row taking part in this once-a-year event. Three of those six years I was an exhibitor; this year I chose to go as an attendee.

It is always exciting to meet the “newbies,” those who have just been bitten by the tea bug, as well as the veterans/masters of the industry, and, of course, the many who have become like family. This event brings the world of tea together all under one roof – those from Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Korea, Japan, China, England, and Taiwan, just to name a few. This is how the world ends up in every cup of tea.

The tea industry needs every new person, every new spin on this old beverage, and every new concept. There is no need for competition, there is room for all of us, and in the world of tea, you will find a great deal of collaborative and cooperative spirit.

What I found most thrilling this year were the wine-infused tea leaves. Talk about a marriage made in Heaven! That is all I will say until it hits the market, so just be on the lookout for it – it was divine.

cup of teaTo me, there is still nothing quite like the tried-and-true, traditional method of steeping a cup of tea, shutting down the world, taking the journey inward, and sipping in serenity. Then there are those occasions to curl up in a comfy chair under a cozy blanket with a good book and a great cup of tea. There is also enjoying a special cup of tea with a friend, a three-year-old, or a 93-year-old, preparing a cup of tea for someone who is sick or hurting, or savoring a cup of tea after a finely prepared dinner and dessert – the pièce de résistance to complete a meal is a steaming cup of tea; you see I could go on and on. What I am saying is there is always time for a cup of tea – time alone (tea time = me time) or time shared – anytime is the perfect time for tea. I will ask you to peer deeply into your cup while sipping your next cup of tea – for therein lies the entire world, right there in your cup of tea; in your very own hands, you are holding the whole world. Enjoy every sensational sip.

As a people, as a collective, we are the
human race. No separation, no segregation,
we each have a place. We are all one with God.
God is all there is.
Each and every one of us, children of God;
divine beings –  being human;
human beings seeking a divine experience.
For this experience I go within.
I am not just human, I am humane.
Good and kind.  Gentle and compassionate.
This is the real me, good as can be –
a humanitarian.  I cause no suffering
nor do I torment myself.
I embody and embrace all of humanity.
I accept God’s diversity and creativity.
I thank God for my sisters and brothers.
For the perfection of myself and all others.
I see no division, only God’s pure vision,
and the reality of eternity beyond humanity.
I release all human trifling.
No more of my true self will I be stifling.
I let go and let God’s divine plan unfold for man.
And so it does and as it does, there is perfection.

MAIN IMAGE: D. Fahl-Brittian’s photo (showing Dharlene with Thomas and Jackson Shu) IMAGE 1: IMAGE 2