“There has long been a need for an industry association that specifically focuses on and supports the growth of the specialty tea industry in America,” Gebely said.
Inspired by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, a small group of tea professionals gathered to form the American Specialty Tea Alliance (ASTA) “represent and grow interest in specialty tea, in both the tea industry and the public, through education and community, by facilitating collaboration between our members, by bolstering the quality and tenability of specialty tea through research and communication, and by promoting these goals worldwide,” he said.
Formed in 1982 by a small group of coffee professionals, that association exists to “inspire specialty coffee professionals in their quest to learn, grow and collaborate for the betterment of the specialty coffee industry.”
The American Specialty Tea Alliance will launch as a nonprofit membership organization and will support its members in a consultative manner, helping them grow their businesses and connecting them with helpful resources on a one-on-one basis.
“Among other benefits, we will also provide our members a series of educational webinars, industry research and, most importantly, easy access to ASTA leadership,” he said.
“World of Tea’s editor-in-chief, Jordan G. Hardin, and I have formed an organizing committee made up of 10 individuals who focus on different areas of the tea industry and bring with them a wellspring of knowledge, energy and inspiration. We are also partnering with a number of industry veterans and like-minded institutions from around the world that will help guide us,” he said.
World of Tea, which has won two World Tea Awards for best tea blog, has served the tea community since 2009, sharing well-researched tea knowledge, culture and news, “and we see this as a logical next step in its evolution. We’re incredibly excited, we hope you’ll join us,” said Gebely, who serves as executive director.
The contents of the blog will remain largely unchanged as it becomes “the public marketing arm of ASTA,” Gebely said.
For more information, visit http://specialtyteaalliance.org.