Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Teas

We have been receiving tons of tea samples from Amy in our China office and have been so busy cupping has been a challenge, can you imagine?

What we have cupped and purchased is a very limited harvest bai hao silver needle that is amazing. When white teas are straight from the garden like these there is an amazing freshness and almost "warm" aroma and a complex character that unfolds on your tongue. This is why I work so hard for moments like these!

Anyway we have tons of cupping to do when we get back from the World Tea Expo! I am very excited about the show but wont be disappointed to get back and do some serious cupping. We have a variety of distinctive black, green and green oolongs awaiting.

Look for World Tea Expo updates, until next time, Beth

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

World Tea Championship Samples

I sent the paper entries in to World Tea Expo last week for the Championship. Today the actual tea samples were sent on their way to judging.

Once again we entered 10 teas. After much discussion we decided to enter new tea categories this time and are excited to be there on Saturday, May 2nd in Las Vegas to see the results!

I am really glad that World Tea Expo decided to do an awards reception. I think it will add more anticipation and excitement to the Championship making it fun for everyone.

I intend to send updates right from the reception on twitter so check it out.

Until next time, Beth

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Best New Product Award

I am totally excited about winning the World Tea Expos "Best New Product" for 2009! Our new tea line, Get Real Get Loose, is a fun, easy, happy take on tea. I like to call it a serious tea with an approachable attitude.

The concept is to make specialty loose leaf tea accessible, affordable and easy to prepare, for everyone.

If you are reading this blog chances are you are already a tea lover. I have been a part of the tea revolution since 1998. I have seen a lot of change in the industry. A huge shift in consumer trends and the products that are offered in the market place.

I sometimes feel that tea has become too serious and can be somewhat intimidating to those not yet comfortable with good tea. I want tea to be for everybody. Get Real Get Loose includes filters on each totally eco-friendly package so preparation of premium loose leaf tea is simple.

Anyway this is not a commercial but rather a celebration of the hard work and efforts by everyone associated with the project; Amy the graphic designer who worked endlessly on helping to create my vision of an upbeat, vibrant package that induces smiles while being truly "green" packaging. Matt who measured, engineered, tested and withstood endless conversations and heated debates on what works best and what consumers want. All of those friends, relatives and clients who were willing to honestly share their ideas and opinions allowing us to develop Get Real Get Loose with end users in mind.

Most important I would like to thank my husband Newman who endures my creative projects more than anyone else. He lives the day to day, when things don't go right, or at least the way I want them to go. The days when someone tells me "no you can't" or something that I have been working on doesn't work out. And thankfully the days like last Friday when we receive the recognition that makes all of the hard work over the past 12 months worth it, The Best New Product Award! Amazing.

If you are going to be at the World Tea Expo, May 2nd - 4th, in Las Vegas stop by booth #600 and get a taste of Get Real Get Loose. Check out the green packaging of pre and post consumer recycled tin and paper. Compostable non-bleached brewing filters and the biodegradable package they come in. We have utilized water based inks, environmentally friendly adhesives and put every effort into making this a truly green product package.

Until next time, Beth

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

World Tea Championship

When the World Tea Expo initiated the first ever World Tea Championship in 2008 I was extremely pleased! In my opinion this was the first step in establishing tea guides and a rating system that could aid buyers, wholesale and retail alike. Education is the only way to teach end users, and those in-between, what to look for and expect in a cup of specialty tea .

Yes there were people who complained about the way the Championship was conducted; who the judges were, the cupping methodology, the brewing vessels. While it was not a perfect system the WTE is the only group that has had the gumption to take on tea quality, trying to develop benchmarks and ratings. They called on well respected industry leaders asking for their input to create a fair, well organized competition and frankly they did a great job!

What was lacking, in my opinion, was the positive feedback of what went right, offers of support and help and the acknowledgement of how important this is for our entire industry.

In my experience complaints don't generally come from wanting to make things better but rather from fear. I challenge those unhappy with the development of the World Tea Championship to ask themselves what their real motives are? Do they want consumers to learn about quality or is the status quo o.k.?

Ratings could benefit buyers, of all levels. They could be used to taste, learn and purchase quality teas. Hopefully buyers will begin to use this tool, especially those buying to resell, taking note of those companies willing to enter teas whether they are winners or not.

The WTE and the Championship is leading the way to improve tea for us all. As the only female owned company to have a winner in the hot tea category I feel proud to be a small part of the bigger picture. Come to think of it we are the first ever female owned company to have a winner!

Coming soon more about how the Championship works.

Until next time, Beth

Friday, April 10, 2009

World Tea Championship - How it Works

With the launch of the first ever World Tea Competition came a lot of consumer questions about how to enter and what the judging criteria was.

Because we participated first hand in WTC and are entering teas again this year I thought it might be nice to explain some of the new elements of this year competition.

First of all WTC is an independent competition judged by professional cuppers and commercial buyers. There are 2 categories; hot tea and iced tea, each with its own set of criteria and judges. One change is the addition of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards, last year there was one winner and then top 5 finalists.

There are specific tea/region categories such as Yunnan or Earl Grey and then general categories like white tea. The categories were developed with the help of industry experts and much debate. Unlike last year there will no longer be any "super" categories, a good thing in my opinion.

Awards for both hot and iced categories will be recognized the evening of Saturday, May 2nd, the first day of this years expo May 2nd - 4th being held in Las Vegas, NV.

For more information about WTC visit http://www.worldteaexpo.com/ and look for results sure to include Teas Etc!

Until next time, Beth

Sunday, April 05, 2009

World Tea Expo Update

I am teaching at the expo again this year. First up will be the marketing track at the New Business Boot Camp a pre-conference soup to nuts new tea business intensive, beyond the typical tasting and tea identification classes.

Second is the Core Conference - Organic Cost to Compliance class. This in-depth class will cater to a very specific audience interested in becoming NOP certified organic handlers & processors. I will review best practices and system plans accompanied by the Director of Quality Certification Services.

The education aspect of the expo is only one small element of the largest tea event of the year!

More to come.

Until next time, Beth