LONG BEACH, Calif.
North America is now the fourth largest importer and the most vibrant tea market in the world, a fact evident in the breadth and depth of this year’s World Tea Expo.
The Expo, which ended Friday, is North America’s largest and oldest gathering of tea professionals. The conference, focused tastings and educational program draw the brightest and most capable instructors who find attendees to be serious tea professionals engaged in every aspect of the business.
“World Tea Expo proved to be a success for the industry once again as many tea professionals left Long Beach inspired for another great year in tea,” said Show Manager Sam Hammer with show owners F+W Media. “We are thrilled to offer such an elite education platform and bustling Expo floor each and every year; 2015 event in Long Beach was no different. Our event continues to follow the path of the industry’s growth with exciting new event elements being added each year. We are very excited to head back to our roots in Las Vegas, Nevada for 2016 and hope for continued success in the coming years,” said Hammer.
During the show F+W Media announced World Tea on the Road, an in-depth tea education program with stops in Boston and Chicago this fall. The program consists of two entrepreneurial education tracks taught by tea’s foremost experts. The Boston show is Oct. 10-11 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. The Chicago even is Nov. 7-8 at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront. The next World Tea Expo is scheduled for June 15-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
In addition to wholesale vendors and tea shop owners from around the country, the show attracted many natural food, holistic pharmacy and healthy beverage retailers to the Long Beach Convention Center for the three-day event. Organizers emphasized the importance of tea’s health benefits in a “Tea Up for Health” series of presentations by physicians and health experts.
Attendees traveled from 47 countries to attend.
Evidence of the tea industry’s growth beyond the $10 billion mark during the past decade can be seen in corporate investment in new brewing equipment such as the CrafTea maker, innovations like the Tea-Ceré grinder, next generation kettles from Zojirushi and Bonavita; food service brewers from BUNN and FETCO and advanced commercial brewing devices from BKON and Alpha Dominche that sell for several thousand dollars.
Tea sales for consumption off-premises are projected to grow by 7% per year for the next five years according to Euromonitor International which predicts a 2% increase in volume to reach 37,333 metric tons, in its most recent report on “ Tea in the U.S.”