For the first time, a new committee focusing on uniting tea purveyors with culinary and hospitality professionals is bringing their areas of expertise to the World Tea Expo and beyond. The Tea Education Advisory Committee for Hospitality (TEACH) has added two days of conference sessions focusing on culinary, hospitality and food service, June 11 and 12, which will show restauranteurs why tea is an asset on any menu. Going forward, TEACH will continue to reach out to culinary and hospitality professionals and publications to expand and strengthen the connection between them and the tea world.
TEACH is comprised of A.J. Singh, Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley; Jhanne Jasmine, Research and Development Specialist at Stash Tea Company; Kyle Stewart, Owner of The Cultured Cup tea shop in Farmers Branch, Texas; Mary Greengo, Owner of the Queen Mary Tea Room in Seattle; Chris Villano Owner and Majority Partner at SerendipiTea; Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace, Owner of Pairteas; Eve Hill-Agnus, Writer for D Magazine; and Edward Morgan, Beverage Director for Miraval Resorts Austin, Texas.
An issue recognized among committee members is that tea is often minimally offered in dining establishments—customers are usually given just a cup, a tea bag and hot water. The types of tea currently offered are often incongruent with the quality of food and wine offerings. There are many high-quality specialty teas that would pair well with food offerings, satisfy customers and be sources of revenue for dining establishments. Tea also provides an alternative to alcohol.
“The reason that TEACH was started by the World Tea Expo was to reach out to the buyers of tea that we don’t normally reach, including chefs, sommeliers and restaurant managers,” said Faith Bailes, community and conference content manager. This topic will be covered in Expo session CE3 “Training for Tea: How to Build Partnerships with Sommeliers and Restaurants” on June 11 at 11:00 a.m.
“Once they are aware that there are so many different types of tea and they taste all the wonderful options, they never knew existed, they will want to start serving more quality tea, which has the biggest profit margin of all beverages,” said Bailes.
The hospitality sessions at the World Tea Expo will also show restauranteurs how to set a tea agenda for a restaurant, including which dishes it complements, which teas to choose and how to brew and serve them. “The hospitality program will cover why a restaurant needs to serve better tea, how tea can be profitable for a restaurant, how to craft a tea program, incorporating the sensory aspects of tea into the restaurant’s dining service—similar to that of wine,” said Utermohlen Lovelace. Session CA2 “Implementing a Tea Service Strategy to Increase Sales” will take place on June 11 at 9:45 a.m.
Additional hospitality sessions will be offered and can be found in World Tea Expo’s Schedule.
TEACH’s efforts will extend beyond the Expo as they continue to publish articles about tea and strive to create additional educational opportunities for those in the culinary and hospitality industry to establish a lasting professional relationship between them and the tea industry.
“A restaurant should be a place where people get exposed to fine tea,” said Utermohlen Lovelace. Once customers have been exposed to quality tea that has been properly brewed, the demand for it will grow and everyone will benefit.
“We all feel that it is way past time to bring this beverage into the spotlight,” said Bailes.