Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Tea Expo 2019- Memorable Vendors

Brewing Zuo Wang's Zheng Qi Tang

Last week I had a blast at World Tea Expo. So much happens during the Expo and it's tough to document all the excitement into a blog post. This post is dedicated solely to the vendors that really stood out. I was so busy that I didn't get photos of every vendor, or even try every sample. I had a more relaxed vibe this year and I focused on enjoying time with my tea friends, instead of cramming in everything and just skimming the surface. Here's a rundown of the vendors that stood out the most:

Avocado Leaf Tea- We're starting with an herbal infusion! Crazy, right? I had no idea that you could make an herbal tea out of avocado leaves, and was skeptical that it would actually taste good. But the Avocado Leaf Tea was really interesting. I'm not usually a big fan of herbals, but I could see myself drinking this one now and again. The leaves are from avocado groves in Temecula, California. I enjoyed the earthy flavor of the natural leaf, but they also have blends available. Now you know!

Bitaco Tea- I've been a fan of the Bitaco Colombian teas for a few years. This year I sampled the White Tea Especial, which was quite notable. I don't remember trying this tea in years past, and I really enjoyed it. They also have a more traditional white tea that was also delicious. I recommend trying out their teas if you haven't already. Their cacao kisses is a tasty crowd-pleaser.

The T-Master, photo courtesy of Rachel Carter

Cha T-Master - The Cha T-master is basically a smart brewer, but looks far more interesting. This nifty little device garnered quite a bit of attention at the Expo. I tried to take a video of it in action, but I couldn't get a good angle. It's basically a smart brewer that calculates the right way to brew your tea of choice. With all the tea brewers on the market this doesn't sound notable, but it plays music while it brews, talks to you, and even warns you that the tea may be hot. I like that it's a compact size as well. You can visit the website for more information. It looked like a 'smart gaiwan' to me, but the website calls it a teapot. We were desperate to get our hands on one, but they aren't available for purchase yet. The company also displayed the T-Nova smart bottle for travel brewing. The bottle vibrates when it's done brewing, which had us asking all sorts of questions... Thank you to Rachel of IHeartTeas for sharing her photo of the brewer!

Guizhou green tea just released into the water

Guizhou Green tea in a bottle- This nifty RTD grabbed my attention because of how the tea is stored and brewed. The leaves are stored in the cap, and with a twist they are released into the water. Wait 10 minutes, and the tea is brewed! A super fresh, cold-brewed tea. It's such a cool idea, but it was tough to get much information about the product. Everything was in Chinese (including the pamphlet I picked up) and it isn't sold in the US. But I was given a sample bottle which I have to say was quite refreshing. The green tea flavor really comes through in just 10 minutes, and it can be re-steeped once, although the second steep wasn't as flavorful. To see a video of the bottle in action, visit my instagram page, where I pinned a video to my profile.

I loved all of the Korean tea displays

Korean Teas: A few Korean vendors, particularly from Boseong had booths- Korean teas are usually underrepresented, and it was nice to see a few vendors. They all had beautifully decorated booths, and I enjoyed sampling various teas. I ended up purchasing a tea-stuffed yuzu, because I missed out on it last year. There was also delicious tea jam to sample, but it wasn't available for purchase. It was quite delicious, and I'll definitely keep my eye out if it's ever available in the U.S.

Sara's Gyokuro Imperial, being held by Jo Johnson

Sara's Tea Caddie: Sara's Tea Caddie has exquisite Japanese teas. We made ourselves very comfortable at her booth and tasted some of the most memorable teas of the Expo. The Gyokuro Imperial was so deep, savory, and satisfying, it really created a memorable moment. A few of us even got a bit misty-eyed over the experience. As in years past, we were kvelling over the white leaf Kiraka, which is so good that I make sure to have it every year I'm at the Expo. I'm hoping to order some of the teas we tasted so I can do a more in-depth post about them.

Dark Tea Cookie from Teagather

Teagather- The folks at the Teagather booth were super friendly and eager to talk instant dark tea (anhua heicha). I was intrigued by the idea of instant dark tea, and even more interested once it was mixed into warm instant oatmeal and presented to me. Would it taste good? It sure did. And, it gave me a burst of energy. I have a few samples of the instant tea, and I can't wait to brainstorm what to do with them. I didn't get a photo of the tea, but I did snag a picture of the dark tea cookies. I did get a sample (pictured above) which I have been saving. I will report back on how it tastes! Keep an eye on my instagram stories for more.

Puerh from Zuo Wang

Zuo Wang Tea- I found myself gravitating towards Zuo Wang's booth, which had a large crowd of tea friends gathered around. I soon found out why- they were brewing up puerh teas with style. I tried both a sheng and the Zheng Qi Tang (photo in the beginning of this post) and they were both very enjoyable. Zuo Wang means 'to sit and forget everything'. I was certainly able to focus on the tea I was sipping, forgetting I was in a massive convention center. Based in Portland, OR, the company is new to me and I look forward to learning more about them in the future.

As I mentioned, these are just a select few of the vendors that really grabbed my attention. There are so many incredible people I spent time with, many seminars I attended, and even the Tea Bloggers Roundtable event. But I'll have to save all of that for another time! If you noticed anything in particular that you'd like to learn more about, please let me know.


  1. 'to sit and forget everything' wow that's beautiful!

  2. Thank you for the insight. Enjoyed reading the post!