Tea and Travel World Tea Expo

World Tea Expo 2013: Sunday June 9 Day Three


I had to get up bright and early for the first core session of the day. There was no missing this one as I was on the panel!

I wasn’t sure how full Room 258 would be for the 8am panel discussion, “How to Use Blogging in Your Business”. The sign outside the door read “How to Use Bloggers in Your Business” – subtle difference in the semantics I think. The second implies that you can’t do it yourself, but our message was “of course you can do it!!”

The sign read "How to use Bloggers", but the discussion was about "How to use Blogging". Most attendees want to give it a try

I think it went well. There were 50 or so people in attendance. Michael Coffey our moderator, kept things moving along at a pretty good clip. It was held early on Sunday morning after many late nights and no morning tea, so some of us on the panel were a little sleepy, but I think we managed to de-mystify tea blogging by providing some practical solutions, tips on social media management and personal insights.

It's a low-res image, taken just before the start, but it conveys our anticipation. Most (all?) of us are"speakers' for the first time at World Tea Expo. From left, moderator Michael Coffey, Robert Godden, Jason Walker, Me, Naomi Rosen, Chris Giddings and Darlene Meyers-Perry

As the session came to an end, the room was needed for the next event, but we all hovered nearby and answered questions. It was gratifying to know that people could benefit from the trials and errors of the past few years of my blogging experience. I learned a thing or two as well. Nice group – good sympatico. Many thanks to Jo Johnson of A Gift of Tea for dreaming it up and making it happen.


tweet tweet tweet

I had a brief chance to attend Verna Hamilton’s session “How to Steep Social Media without Getting Bitter” Clever metaphor and dynamic speaking from Verna. 10 minutes in she burst into song (Rocket Robin). Wow – what a voice!

I was amazed at the number of people in the room who had no experience with Twitter, etc. I’m sure they knew a lot more once the session was over. I had to tear myself away to go check out of the hotel.



Bags checked and back on the floor. Over to the Yixing demonstration by Tang Zhaoxia. In less than one hour she took a block of the famous clay through several stages of formation – not kiln-ready but close enough to give the audience an idea of the skill involved.

Tang Zhaoxia starts with a block of Yixing clay and ends with a nearly complete pot.



Grosche is a Canadian company based in Cambridge Ontario. I own 8 of their Monaco teapots. They have proven to be a good choice when presenting at larger tea tastings because they are elegant, made of medical grade borosilicate glass, and make for a pretty display of the leaves and liquor.

I spotted a few new items in their lineup that piqued my curiosity even though I’m not currently in the market to replace the Monacos.

The tea press on the left has an Art Deco feel and the teapot with warmer on the right has the neatest tea ball the lifts up and slides into holding position on the lid.



I met Kim Todd of Wild Tea Qi early in the day at our bloggers panel discussion. She apparently follows my posts, especially the few that I have written about my trip to China. Kim lived in China for a number of years and would love to read more to remind her of those days. I plan to oblige. Hearing that she would be at Wild Tea Qi booth I thought I’d stop by and have a taste of their artisan tea. I chose Black Needle Pagoda tea. It was a rich and hefty similar to a Yunnan gold.

Sean Whitley and Kim Todd of Wild Tea Qi
Black Needle Pagoda artisan tea
Open "pagoda" and amber liquor. A hefty delicious round flavour


Costumes for Tea

I debuted my hot pink “Gaiwan Society” T shirt at World Tea Expo. At Longrun Tea Group booth I posed with a lovely girl from Yunnan who wore her province’s traditional dress all weekend. I’m sure she must have been tired by Sunday afternoon. When I came along she had just removed the elaborate and probably heavy hat, but cheerfully put it back on and suggested I join her for a picture.

At Longrun Tea Group booth: Traditional Yunnan costume & me in "Gaiwan Society" teawear from Camellia Sinensis, Montreal


Lessons Learned

While it may please some of the tea community that a few of us post live each night from World Tea Expo (except for this Day 3 post),  it is a lot of work to lug the lap top on the plane, make sure it is secure in the hotel and curtail evening social opportunities to get back to my room to download pictures and write my post. I’ve done this 3 years running, but I think next year:

  • I will leave the computer at home and write my posts when I return. I missed out on some get- togethers because I was fixated on a self-imposed deadline. I watched my blogger friends have fun – they were smart. WTE comes only once a year (well actually, World Tea East takes place in October).
  • Next year I’ll take more time to just be with people and spend more time on the floor.
  • Rather than meander through the floor I will have a plan and a schedule.
  • I will arrange to connect with people in advance to be sure not to miss them.
  • Take more pictures of  people, friends and me with my friends.
  • Do some interviews with industry leaders
  • Take time to have fun

It was a good year. Saturday was probably my best day. There were serendipitous moments and I met some lovely people. I tasted some of the best tea on that day as well.

World Tea Expo is a permanent fixture on my calendar. I’ve already entered it for next year. Dates and location are new: Long Beach, Southern California  May 29th – May 31st, 2014 and I may consider World Tea East October 20 – 22, 2013, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta!