Just returning from the 2013 World Tea Expo

Just returning from the 2013 World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, I am even more energized than ever about the future of Tea in the United States. There were several ‘stand-out’ varieties from the World Tea Tour, hosted on Thursday. We tasted 28 Teas from 7 tea producing countries. I attended with the hopes of finding that ‘unique special-‘tea’ that I could highlight in the store. We tasted the usual Silver Needle, Darjeelings, and Oolongs, but this year what earned my ‘Golden Cup Award’ were the teas from Nepal. We were served 3 varieties; Spring White, Green Pearl, and Wild Yeti. All three were exceptional and would delight any loose leaf tea enthusiast. Nepal Teas are special in that they are grown a variety of ecological regions; from mountains – 8 of the world’s tallest along the Tibetan border; to midrange hills, and plains. The 3 varieties we tasted were as diverse as the regions. My favorite, by far, was the ‘Wild Yeti’. Wild Yeti is a black oolong, well oxidized, with the smell of caramel, a slight taste of burnt molasses, and finishes with a natural sweet flavor. A close second was Sri Lanka’s Kirkoswald Silver Needle; a high elevation, white tea that is very delicate with a mild, sweet, somewhat desserty flavor – all up front on the tongue and palette. And, last but not least, Taiwan’s Formosa Oolong (Oriental Beauty). This rare variety is always a special treat and about the only place I can enjoy it is at the World Tea Tour thanks to the generosity of Thomas Shu and ABC Teas. Weighing in at $100,000/600gms, it is a ‘select’ indulgence only available to a few lucky enough to be invited to partake. Another successful year for the conference – new products, new varieties, new research – soon to be published, and new friends and colleagues. As we prepare for our web launch, July 1st, 2013, I am already anticipating ‘next’ years Expo. I hope to make this Blog a weekly event as we mark our way through the wonderful world of tea. Until then – ‘Find Your Zen and Do the Brew’ Judith A. Ames-Hardman 9 Lives Tea House The Great State of Texas

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