World Tea Expo Gathers Thousands; Participants Declare the Event a Success

 Next Event Is Scheduled for June 13–15, 2017 (with Pre-Conference Activities on June 12) in Las Vegas

World tea awards award-lo resPenton’s World Tea Expo (#WorldTeaExpo or #WTE16), the leading tradeshow focused on advancing the business of tea, attracted more than 3,300 attendees from 50 countries to Las Vegas, Nev., June 15–17, 2016 (with pre-conference events June 13–14). The event took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and featured hundreds of new products and services, 12 World Tea Award recipients, five best new product award winners, 246 exhibitors, 28,000 net square feet of exhibit space and more than 50 conference sessions. Next year’s event takes place June 13–15 (with pre-conference activities on June 12). See WorldTeaExpo.com.

Beau Bernstein, director of marketing and sales for Haelssen & Lyon North America Corp in N.Y.C., said, “The attendees at this year’s World Tea Expo were high quality, and it was particularly exciting to see how many of the attendees were ready to do business, whether they were a tea store representative, retailer, brand owner, thriving entrepreneur or buyer from a key vertical market. The education sessions were more balanced and comprehensive than I’ve seen in almost 10 years of exhibiting. There were tea courses for the romantic in us and for brand and business managers alike. The new format of the World Tea Awards ceremony – open to everyone and also acting as a Welcome Reception – was inclusive and fun. It fostered a sense of togetherness and camaraderie amongst the tea community and vertical channels. It also set the right tone for the kind of warmth we in the tea industry have for our peers and customers, and for the teas and tisanes we hold dear.”

Maria Uspenski (center) of The Tea Spot

Maria Uspenski (center) of The Tea Spot

Maria Uspenski, CEO of The Tea Spot in Boulder, Colo., said, ”What I love most about World Tea Expo, and what’s increasing each year on the expo floor, is the level of wide-ranging innovation – from teas and tea blends to ready-to-drink concepts, tea ware and leading-edge tea brewing equipment. It’s inspiring to see how our industry is delivering ingenious and daring new concepts that are igniting consumer passion for tea, which is bringing it to unimaginable new heights in the North American marketplace. All of this comes alive on the show floor at World Tea Expo, where the tea community converges with every vertical market. This year’s World Tea Expo was the most exciting for us to experience thus far.”

International Tea Importers. Photo by Jennifer Sauer/Treehaven Productions

International Tea Importers. Photo by Jennifer Sauer/Treehaven Productions

Bhavin Shah, chief operating officer of International Tea Importers in Commerce, Calif., said, “We had a great World Tea Expo once again, and we were particularly excited to see the event back to its roots in Las Vegas after two great years in Southern California. World Tea Expo’s ability to connect with so many old friends and new entrants into the tea trade continues to make this event the preeminent expo and must-attend event for any and all in the tea industry in the United States and abroad. This year’s show was a success.”

Manik Jayakumar, founder and CEO of QTrade Teas & Herbs in Cerritos, Calif., explained, “The engine of growth of our industry has been education and the connections with tea origins and each other. The 2016 World Tea Expo resumed this tradition with a new and welcome energy.”

World Tea Awards

In addition to the lively expo and education sessions, World Tea Expo’s 3rd Annual World Tea Awards revealed winners in a total of 12 community-voted award categories. New this year, the Awards program was open to all attendees and also acted as a Welcome Reception on the evening of June 15. Winners include:

Best Tea Educator James Norwood Pratt. Photo by Jennifer Sauer/Treehaven Productions

Best Tea Educator James Norwood Pratt. Photo by Jennifer Sauer/Treehaven Productions

The John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

In addition to the World Tea Awards, World Tea Expo presented The John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award to Mike Spillane, president of The G.S. Haly Co. The award is a community celebration in honor of tea pioneers who helped fuel the market and shape the tea industry of today. Founded in 1889 in San Francisco, The G.S. Haly Co. is one of the oldest U.S. tea companies; and from the 1930s, a member of the Spillane family has run it. Spillane himself has been a tireless supporter of anyone interested in learning about premium tea and has become a well-respected voice in the tea industry.

“It’s truly an honor to have my life’s work in specialty tea recognized by the U.S. tea industry at World Tea Expo 2016,” said Spillane. “It is especially gratifying when that work has also been my life’s passion.”

Devan Shah Tribute

During the World Tea Awards, World Tea Expo also paid tribute to Devan Shah (a previous Lifetime Achievement Award recipient). Shah, the creator and owner of International Tea Importers (ITI) and Chado Tea Rooms, who passed away in April, made significant contributions to the growth and innovation of the tea industry in North America. Shah was also a World Tea Expo exhibitor and inaugural sponsor since 2002, a sponsor of the Specialty Tea Institute, an adviser to World Tea Academy, and he also helped found the Los Angeles Tea Festival in 2011.

Bhavin Shah shared, “The tribute to Devan Shah at the World Tea Awards reception at World Tea Expo 2016 was quite touching and apropos. We at ITI look forward to carrying on Devan’s legacy and helping the tea trade soar to new heights and achieve what it is destined to become.”

World Tea Expo Best New Product Award Winners

The Tea House Times

The Tea House Times wins for its #DrinkTea Campaign

Each year, World Tea Expo reviews and selects the very best new tea and related products from among the many exhibitors. This year’s winners include:

  • Brewing Gear : ESPRO’s Glass ESPRO Press P5 – Judges noted: “Many tea lovers have tried to brew their favorite tea in a French press coffee-maker, and often times with mixed results. The P5 is designed for tea (and coffee), with more surface area of filtration and a double layered filter for a clean, clear dust-free cup. It’s especially nifty in café and tea shop environments.”
  • Open Class: The Tea House Times’ #DrinkTea Campaign – According to the judges: “Tea is taking off nicely in the American market, and this creative social media campaign encourages everyone to ‘DrinkTea,’ a theme that will only add to the tea renaissance. And, it’s straight to the point.”
  • Tea as an Ingredient: Changsha Wufeng Tea Co., Ltd.’s Old Tree White Tea – “Ancient tea tree offerings are relatively new to the American market, and an ancient tree white tea is especially uncommon,” said the judges. “The is the first we’ve seen of a white-style tea in a compressed cake form. Access to harvest this tea of antiquity requires special permission to pluck from these revered 400+ year old trees.”
  • Innovation: Boreal Wildcraft Tea Company’s The Wall – “See it, brew it, sip it while the ‘wall’ of perforated glass keeps the brewed tea leaves nicely sequestered in the cup as you take in the pure taste and aroma of your tea in pristine purity,” said the judges. “It’s ingeniously practical with a smart, clear aesthetic, and very easy to use and clean.”

    Jeffrey Krul and Bob Krul of Boreal Wildcraft Tea Company

    Jeffrey Krul and Bob Krul of Boreal Wildcraft Tea Company

  • Tea Ware Accessories: FORLIFE’s Dew Teapot with Basket Infuser – “In an increasingly digital world with new electronic tea accessories being rolled out constantly, this was a most refreshing discovery,” said the judges. “Simply a brilliantly designed everyday teapot. From the sensual smooth satin outer finish, several pleasant color options, and a well-designed stainless infuser basket (easily removed for loading or removing with a well-crafted lift handle), this teapot is a simple joy to use.”

Samantha Hammer Mitchell, a Penton event director and the World Tea Brand Leader, said, “Congratulations to all of the World Tea Expo award winners, and all those in the tea community who innovate and educate – from seed to cup. Your participation and support of World Tea Expo 2016 has made it a huge success. Thank you to all of the 2016 attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, volunteers, press and everyone else who makes the event possible. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas in June 2017.”

World Tea Expo 2016 sponsors included – Platinum Sponsors: Aiya America and International Tea Importers. Gold Sponsors: Dethlefsen & Balk, Inc.; DMH Ingredients, Inc.; East Indies Coffee & Tea; Florapharm Tea USA; Haelssen & Lyon North America Corp.; Rooibos Limited; and Teforia. Additional Sponsors: Finum (Lanyard Sponsor); Wilber Curtis (Official Equipment Provider); GCW (Water Sponsor); ITO EN (Iced Tea Break Sponsor); and The Tea Spot (Yoga Sponsor).

Photo by Jennifer Sauer/Treehaven Productions

Photo by Jennifer Sauer/Treehaven Productions

World Tea Expo 2016 attendees included 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 (#WorldTeaExpo or #WTE16).