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World Tea Expo Opens in Long Beach

Overview of World Tea Expo exhibit floor
Overview of World Tea Expo exhibit floor
Margaret Studer

The 2014 World Tea Expo opened May 29 in Long Beach, CA. Thousands of tea retailers, distributors, suppliers and those in other tea-related businesses occupied Exhibit Hall A of the Long Beach Convention Center.

For readers unfamiliar with the WTE, it is the largest and most significant tea trade show in North America. Here retailers connect with suppliers to purchase the teas and tea ware that appear on their shelves and your teacups.

The size of the WTE is impressive. Exhibitor tables held not only hundreds of premium teas, but nearly every kind of tea-related product one could imagine. Tea ware from traditional teapots to the latest methods of steeping and carrying tea to go was also on view.

In addition to the products on display, several special events were held on Thursday. The highlights included two North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circles, one for black tea and the other for white and unflavored unflavored herbals teas. Tea tasters were then allowed to vote for which of these award-winning teas they liked best.

Another highlight was two Chinese tea ceremonies presented by Taiwan tea. The first was a graceful eighteen-step process for serving oolong tea. It included warming the teapot and each of the cups with hot water. Then the demonstrator steeped the tea into the pot and poured it into a serving pitcher. The tea was then poured into tiny vase-like vessels. After each of them had been filled, each vase was poured into a cup.

The second tea ceremony was the Gentleman's Green Tea Ceremony. The demonstrator steeped the tea gaiwan style then, using the gaiwan cover to strain the leaves, poured it into a squat little pitcher that resembled a gravy boat with a lid. The tea was then poured from the pitcher into the cups.

The day ended the Opening Night Networking Reception on the Convention Center Prominade.

The World Tea Expo and the co-located Healthy Beverage Expo will continue Friday and Saturday. For more information on planned events you can go to the World Tea Expo website.