Each year, our company – along with several hundred other manufacturers in the premium tea space – exhibits at the World Tea Expo held in June at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year was special to many of us, as it marked the 10th anniversary of the show, and a step toward a bigger and broader future for specialty tea, since the World Tea Expo (the conference organizer) was recently acquired by F&W Media, a community-building media conglomerate. Fortunately for us, the fabulous team who has been running the show and making each and every exhibitor feel like we’re their Number 1 priority was still in charge and making our day – every day of the expo.
For two days before the start of the show, over 100 people serious about starting their own tea businesses came to a “New Business Boot Camp” session, with in-depth sessions on teas from all the major producing and exporting regions, as well as small business fundamentals and business plan reviews. Then came the Expo itself – “big bang” sessions led by panels of industry heavies on topics such as “Will Tea Ever Be as Big as Coffee?” (the answer was a resounding YES) and “Teas in RTD – How Much is Enough?” as well as focused tastings, infusion challenges, and a hugely moving silent community Wu-Wo tea ceremony.
At 11:00 AM on the first day of the three-day Expo, the show floors opened to a flood of attendees anxious to see and taste the newest crops and get samples of the newest tea-making tools. We love being able to address all aspects of this at The Tea Spot – from loose-leaf teas to Steepware for the home and office and loose-leaf infusers for tea to-go. The earnest interest shown by people old and new to this industry in making premium tea more accessible to the everyday consumer is a goal that bonds us. Our industry niche is still growing and evolving rapidly enough that competitors are still friends and allies with aligned values and missions – and we like it that way. The only thing that would have made this year’s expo more memorable would have been a gathering of T Ching bloggers – hope to see you all next year!