World Tea Expo 2017 Serves an Array of Specialty Teas, Brewing Accessories, Education and Award Winners

“Buzz on the show floor echoed the voices of a thirsty consumer population receptive to ‘all things tea,’” said expert.

World Tea Expo, the leading tradeshow focused on advancing the business of tea, attracted more than 3,500 attendees and 260 exhibitors to Las Vegas, June 12–15.

World Tea Expo 2017

The B2B event took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and featured several days of focused tea buying, selling, education and tastings. The expo floor showcased hundreds of new teas, tea wares, brewing accessories, and related products and services. The event also presented insightful educational sessions, the World Tea Awards and the Global Tea Championship Winner’s Tasting Circle.

Next year’s event takes place June 12 -14, 2018 (with pre-conference activities on June 11). See WorldTeaExpo.com.

‘A Vibrant Blend of Exhibiting Tea Ventures

According to Brian Keating, founder of the Seattle-based tea think-tank Sage Group and a World Tea Expo Advisory Board member, “World Tea Expo 2017 was a vibrant blend of exhibiting tea ventures and attendees from all over the world. Amongst hundreds of booths were an endless array of exotic teas and brewing accessories. Buzz on the show floor echoed the voices of a thirsty consumer population receptive to ‘all things tea’ in their escalating search for tasty, healthy beverage options.”

Keating added: “Tea producers, enthused retailers and equipment manufacturers also packed 60+ educational sessions, sharing in-depth tea industry insights. Tea in all of its many formats, styles and customs is becoming solidly entrenched globally, and World Tea Expo has become the launch-pad for this fascinating, burgeoning industry.”

Premala Srikantha, director (promotion) for the Sri Lanka Tea Board, shared, “We were delighted to be the Country of Origin Sponsor at World Tea Expo 2017, especially this year when we are celebrating 150 years of Ceylon Tea. Sri Lanka was given many opportunities to showcase specialty Ceylon black tea varieties, displaying our wide range of branded tea products. It was a pleasure working with the professional team at World Tea Expo, and this contributed to our successful participation. We were able to share the diversity and purity of Ceylon teas not only with the United States but also with the rest of the tea drinking community.”

‘From Farmers to Retailers and All in Between’

Bianca Shah, CEO of International Tea Importers (ITI), an exhibitor and sponsor of World Tea Expo 2017, said, “We were delighted to once again participate at this year’s World Tea Expo as the Registration Sponsor. As the only trade show in the United States that’s fully and completely dedicated to tea, the show continues to be a necessity in bringing together constituents across the tea trade – from farmers to retailers and all in between.”

Andrés Velasco Sardi, CEO of Bitaco, a World Tea Expo 2017 exhibitor and sponsor, said, “Bitaco enjoyed a very successful and productive trade show experience at World Tea Expo this year. We consider this event as the best way to expose our concept of Colombian tea to the tea community. We have new fans, accounts and many leads to follow up on. Bitaco looks forward to participating as an exhibitor in 2018 with innovations.”

Bhavin Shah, head of new business development at International Tea Importers, said, “World Tea Expo has always been an excellent venue to showcase new products and innovation in the tea industry. This year was no different as ITI successfully launched with significant buzz a new social media campaign, #purpleteaexperience. The show proved to be the perfect setting to educate industry experts and new comers alike on the uniqueness of this completely new category of tea out of Kenya.“

‘It’s the People Who Make the Expo!’

Tea industry expert and author James Norwood Pratt explained, “It’s the people who make the Expo! Individualists every one of us, but wonderfully united by tea. I seem to make several hundred new friends at every show, and all one’s old friends are there, too. It’s the world’s biggest tea party!”

World Tea Expo Event Director and Brand Leader, Samantha Hammer Mitchell, said, “World Tea Expo 2017 was one of the best yet, and we are thankful to the global tea community for making the event such a success. As always, our goal is to advance the business of tea by being the ultimate trade forum for those who buy and sell tea and related products, and by being the foremost tea education platform. Thank you once again to everyone who makes World Tea Expo the leading B2B tea expo and conference. We’ll see you at next year’s event in Las Vegas.”

Tea Luminaries

World Tea Expo’s 4th Annual World Tea Awards – which took place on the evening of June 14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center – revealed winners in 15 award categories. Click here for the list of winners.

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

In addition to the World Tea Awards, World Tea Expo presented The John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award to Rona Tison, executive vice president of corporate relations for ITO EN (North America) INC. “I was truly honored to be awarded the John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award for something that has brought such joy to me over the years while increasing the awareness and attributes of tea.”I was truly honored to be awarded the John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award for something that has brought such joy to me over the years while increasing the awareness and attributes of tea,” said Tison. The award is a community celebration in honor of tea pioneers who helped fuel the market and shape the tea industry of today. ITO EN is the innovator of award-winning tea lines, including Matcha LOVE®, TEAS’ TEA Organic® and Oi Ocha, and the world’s leading supplier of premium, sustainably-grown green tea and healthy beverages. Tison has been with ITO EN since its inception in 2002 in the United States as ITO EN (North America) INC. At the company, Tison is responsible for maintaining and developing ITO EN’s corporate image through branding, public relations and promotional events, while educating both the public and businesses about tea.

Sri Lanka Tribute: 150th Anniversary of Ceylon Tea

During the World Tea Awards, World Tea Expo paid tribute to Sri Lanka and the 150th Anniversary of Ceylon Tea, by presenting a special World Tea Award to the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Srikantha noted, “It was indeed an honor to receive from World Tea Expo the special award in recognition of 150 years of Ceylon Tea.”

The People’s Tea Choice Award

World Tea Expo 2017 also hosted the Global Tea Championship (GTC) Winner’s Tasting Circle, where attendees tasted and voted upon their favorite teas, and the winners received the People’s Tea Choice Award.

Entrants in the Global Tea Championship Winner’s Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo 2017 were all previous winners from recent Global Tea Championship evaluations. The Global Tea Championship is an independent competition that evaluates and distinguishes the highest quality and best tasting specialty teas. This year, World Tea Expo attendees voted for the following winners, all of whom received the People’s Tea Choice Award in various categories:

  • Best Ready to Drink – Try My T with Try My T
  • Best Hot Black Tea – Lumbini Tea Factory (PVT) LTD. with Lumbini Sinharaja Wiry Tips (FBOPF Extra Special)
  • Best Hot Green Tea – Sugimoto America with SA Hoji Cha
  • Best Hot White Tea – Glenburn Tea Direct with Darjeeling Silver Needle
  • Best Hot Dark/Pu-Erh Tea – Dethlefsen & Balk, Inc. with Pu Erh Pistachio
  • Best Hot Herbal Tea – World Flavorz Spice & Tea Co. with Lavender Peach
  • Best Foodservice Iced Tea – Teasource LLC with Minnesota N’Ice Tea
  • Best Single Serve Hot Tea – Zealong Tea Estate with Zealong Black

World Tea Expo 2017 sponsors included: International Tea Importers, Sri Lanka Tea Board, QTrade Teas & Herbs, Bitaco Unique Colombian Tea, Dethlefsen & Balk, DMH Ingredients, Dobashien Co., Ltd., East Indies Coffee & Tea, Haelssen & Lyon, ITO EN, Kakegawa City Agricultural Coop, ME, Roobios Limited, Curtis, Finum, JETRO – Japan External Trade Organization, T-Sac, The Tea Spot, TQY Trading Company, Walters Bay, BUNN, Harney & Sons and Owl’s Brew, GC Water, Trade with Remarkable Indonesia, SPINS.

World Tea Expo 2017 attendees were top companies and professionals representing: tea and coffee shops, grocery chains, private label brands, gourmet retailers, convenience stores, distributors, online businesses, restaurants and chefs, foodservice, hotels, distributors, manufacturers and beverage developers, among others interested in building their business through tea.

To learn more about World Tea Expo, visit WorldTeaExpo.com. And be sure to follow World Tea Expo on Twitter: @worldteamedia.