Renaissance Reception Revelers Meet and Greet


Attendees at 2011 World Tea Expo Networking Reception at the Renaissance hotel lifted a glass (or two) in celebration of a highly successful event Saturday night.

A packed house of Expo veterans showed the way to tea industry initiates — first-timers experiencing the extraordinary camaraderie of the tea trade, which this event provides. Business competitors an hour before on the floor shared handshakes, hugs and high-fives.

The industry runs on relationships as ITI CEO Devan Shah, Mike Harney of Harney & Sons and Beth Johnston of Teas Etc. can attest. Everyone knows Devan. Everyone knows Mike. Everyone knows Beth.

Tea Association of the USA President Joe Simrany and his wife Carol charmed their growing circle of members and the Canadian contingent, circled their own Louise Roberge and Riley Richman of the Tea Association of Canada, where Lars Nielsen of Calgary stood a head above the crowd. Rick Fiamelli, from Mother Parker's, came running with word of his big win, and exhibiting at his first trade show in 25 years wasRiyaz Devji, managing director of North American Tea & Coffee (it was a long time coming, Riyaz).

Walker Tea's David Walker found his old bunk mate Nigel Melican at TeaCraft, and TeaSource founder Bill Waddington had a few travel tales of his own. Fair Trade USA's Nora Feeney Pittenger and Octavia Tea's Elizabeth Stephano glided about and Ken Rudee at Barnes & Watson (and STI) made the rounds, introducing new partner Ruwanga Kumararantne of Maskeliya Tea Exports.

Tech-talking Mike Spence of Selby Soft wasfilling in Phil Parda of Savvy Tea Gourmet on the lastest gadgets, while Dan Robertson was talking tours with the engaging Jeniffer Aloysius, president of Ceylon Peal.

Importer David Black of Colorado and Holger Lohs of New York were regaling a Darjeeling grower when World Tea News snapped the photo accompanying this report. Adagio Tea's Charles Cain was seen LOL (Laughing Out Loud).

Adagio Tea
Adagio Tea's Charles Cain

Marketing Director Luke Palen and Richard Blakader, COO of Immuno-Viva, sure looked healthy and Tea Tangent’s Julia Simon and Hope Hilby were waxing over bees.

Association of Tea Bloggers' Jason Walker,, and T-Ching's Erika Cilengir and Linda Gayland of TeaStylist were among the media that included: Lorna Reeves of TeaTime Magazine; Fresh Cup's Chris Ryan and Gail Gastelu and Sue Baker of The Tea House Times.

Mike Spillane of G.S. Haly and Marty Kushner were later seen high in the Himayalas at a late-evening gathering hosted by HIMCOOP with the gracious Chandra Bhushan Subba, managing director of Tea Direct and Miraj Subba. Walker was also there talking dirt with Kamal Raj Mainali of Himalayan Shangri-La Tea Producers in exotic Kathmandu, Nepal.

Dan Bolton

About Dan Bolton

Dan Bolton edits STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International. He was formerly editor and publisher of World Tea News and former editor and publisher of Tea Magazine and former editor-in-chief of Specialty Coffee Retailer. He is a beverage retail consultant and frequent speaker at industry seminars and conferences. His work has appeared in many beverage publications. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years prior to his career in magazines. Dan is the founding editor of Natural Food magazine and has led six publishing ventures since 1995. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada.