Saturday, June 29, 2013

Germany and Tea

Don’t think of Germany as a major tea country?  You may want to think again. 
While Germans may not be known for being major tea drinkers[1], Germany is actually a power house in the tea community.  Indeed, Hamburg Germany is considered by some to be the tea trade capital of Europe because about 70% of all tea traded in continental Europe is handled in the city.[2]

How much tea do Germans drink?  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Netherlands reports that Germany is the third largest tea consumer in the European Union, with a market share of 10%.[3]  East Frisia is Germany’s top tea drinking region, drinking 12 times the national average.[4]   East Frisia, a region in northern Germany, has a robust “teatime” tradition dating back to the 17th century.  East Frisian tea is typically “a thick, dark, malty tea served in espresso-size porcelain cups” with “a piece of rock sugar in the bottom and heavy cream.”[5]

As noted by the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, Germans are known to “have a reputation for demanding the highest quality” in tea.[6] Indeed, the German Tea Association has adopted a Code of Practice for Quality Assurance.  The Code provides guidelines for tea sampling and issues requirements for pesticide examination.[7]

I visited the booths of a few Germany companies while attending the World Tea Expo 2013.
Halssen and Lyons impressed me with their innovative design in their new product tea to go, that is “Teatogo.”  Teatogo is a tea bag integrated into a disposable cups lid. 
When steeping is complete, the user simply pulls the tea bag into a pocket in the lid to remove it from the liguor without needing to remove it from the cup. Halssen and Lyons gave me a sample to try and I found getting rid of the tea bag was fast, clean and easy.  No wonder Halssen and Lyons patented their Teatogo system.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

World Tea Expo 2013 – Tea Pots and Tea Pops

Did you think it would only be about the tea leaves at the World Tea Expo?  Well, tea pots and tea pops would prove you wrong.

What’s a Tea Expo without beautiful tea pots?

In the middle of the convention floor filled with tea merchants selling tea beverages, Fuji Merchandise Corporation displayed a large selection of Japanese tea wares.  I couldn’t help but stop and take a picture of their teapots.  I thought for sure these pretty porcelain tea pots would be expensive.  The tea pots, however, were offered at only $10 - 12.50.  But, this importer of Japanese wares only sells to retailers, so I imagine these prices may get marked up.

How about a tea pop?

The Winner of Best New Product by the 2013 World Tea Expo is TeaPops by DeeBee’s Organic Frozen Treats.  This company  out of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada makes pops from green, white and black teas, as well as rooibos.  DeeBee’s Founder, Dionne Laslo-Baker, PhD, was inspired to make the pops when looking to give treats to her young sons.  Dionne calls herself a “fanatic about the food her family eats.”  It’s not surprising then that these pops are ridiculously health and spirit conscious as they are organic, kosher, vegan, dairy free, gluten free,  soy free and nut free.  Discerning customers who appreciate Dionne’s fanaticism will purchase for the quality of the pops.  If they purchase one box, they will be yearning for more.  Dionne gave me a sample of her pops at the Tea Expo and they are undeniably yummy - to kids and adults. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

World Tea Expo 2013 (Tea processing seminar)

We took a two day seminar on tea processing at the World Tea Expo.  We, the students, actually processed the fresh cut tea leaves and created yellow, green and black teas.  The class culminated with students drinking our own finished creations.
First, Eva Lee, co-founder of the tea estate, Tea Hawaii & Company, flew in fresh cut tea leaves for the class.  The leaves were grown within the rainforest at the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano.  Lee, prior to the class, had cut and separated the leaves as appropriate for the creation of green, yellow or black teas.

Next, we students heated the leaves only for the green and yellow teas, but not the black.
We rolled and shaped the leaves for all three tea types. 

The smell from the leaves as we crushed and pressed them was amazing.

We ended the first day of class leaving the leaves for the yellow tea sweltering in a sauna.  We also set aside the leaves for the green and black teas in the open to oxidize overnight.  The next day we roasted the tea leaves to finalize the process.  At last, we brewed and drank our delicious creations.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Embarrassing Tea Moment at the World Tea Expo 2013.

Despite being surrounded by tea and tea merchants everywhere on the convention floor of the World Tea Expo 2013, I still managed to have an embarrassing tea moment. 

“Are these cute little golden balls chocolates?”  I asked the exhibitor at a Taiwanese company’s table.  She had the good graces not to laugh.  No, these delicate looking bon bons exquisitely wrapped in golden foil and arrayed in a beautiful tin box were balls of tea.  Expensive little balls of aged Pu-erh tea sized for individual cups.

In the next aisle, when I saw sparkling silver and gold bon bon looking balls at another exhibitor table, I made up for my earlier mistake.  I proudly marched up to the exhibitor and regaled her with my knowledge of Pu-erh.  She said that she was pleased that I didn't think the balls were chocolates like so many other expo attendees!  She then gifted me with lots of samples of both raw and ripe Pu-erh.  I can't wait to try them back home!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

World Tea Expo 2013

World Tea Expo 2013 Tea merchants from all over the world, large and small, are here in Las Vegas this week for the 2013 World Tea Expo.  My sister and I and thousands of other tea enthusiasts have flocked here as well.
I was near giddy with excitement when Rajiv Lochan of Lochan Tea gave me a cup of the Darjeeling tea, second flush, from the Jungpana Estate in Darjeeling. I couldn't say “yes!” fast enough to a gift sample bag of the tea leaves. 
We started our day with a seminar on tea cupping and how it is used in commercial quality control. 

We then combed through the vendors on the convention floor. We spoke with the winner of the Expo's 2012 Best New Product. Brandon Ford, the owner of Vintage Teaworks creates wine inspired tea blends.
We chatted with the ladies of Octavia Teas and got samples of their ginger peach white tea and blueberry green tea.  
We took in the colors of bowl after bowl of tea leaves on display.

We smelled the aromas of leaves.
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