Shelby and I headed to the World Tea Expo Wednesday morning to spend 2 intensive days searching for what’s new in Tea. After years of attending this event I had become burnt out so I decided to skip a couple years and was hopeful that 2015 would bring a fresh perspective.
I decided to start in the area less travelled by most attendees especially those new to the business of tea. So I headed for the back isles where the Asian plantations displayed their beautiful teas. Tables filled with 7 levels of matcha, 20 unique oolongs and 4 grades of Jasmine Pearls. (Yes, I took home all the sample offered…Free is Good!)
I attempted to speak with the sales staff of several plantations. They struggled to find the right English words to communicate with us. They were all so very gracious and seemed genuinely happy to be there. I wanted to stay in those isles and learn more from them but it was difficult. The last table we stopped at there was a young man named “Brian”. I am not sure where he was from as he did not speak English. He gestured for us to sit and began the ceremonial tea service with what looked like a Formosa Oolong. Our communication during his preparation consisted of pointing and smiling. Then, he poured us 2 very small cups of an amber brew after steeping it only seconds.
As Shelby and I sipped it slowly I knew we had just been offered “the really good stuff”. It tasted amazing! It felt as if we had just peeked behind the curtain and were invited to an elite experience, one that the average American tea drinker might not appreciate. I knew right then that this would be the year of discovering a new level in tea, one that I will share with my friends and tea business partners. We have just begun to explore the depths that the beauty of tea offers to all. ~Brenda Sterling Meyers