Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cuisineist makes a stop at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas to learn about Tea at the World Tea Expo

Each year, World Tea Expo attracts thousands of retailers, tea room owners, spa managers, specialty grocery store owners and other business professionals to view more than 300 specialty tea wholesale suppliers and related vendors exhibiting new products and innovations. The Expo has increased in size and scope for the last six years consecutively, earning it and its organizers multiple awards for growth and vision.

The World Tea Expo is the annual trade event for the $7 billion tea industry (2008), which is expected to grow to a $10 billion dollar industry by 2010*. Specialty/premium tea is driving this growth; it remains the main focus of the trade. Its has also been recognized twice as TSW's Fastest 50, an annual list published by Tradeshow Week magazine, noting the most vibrant events in North America. World Tea Expo received this recognition in years 2006 and 2008.

It was Tea , Tea and more Tea as we walked down isle after isle of Tea and Tea related products. This is a one of kind event for both the Novice and the Tea professional. Our first stop was to see a
Taiwan Oolong Rolling Demonstration.
This is the process of creating Taiwan’s High Mountain Oolong teas. The process involves tightly packing leaves into large canvas cloths that are then rolled by hand, foot or machine, then briefly firing the leaves to dry and separate them. This very labor intensive process provides us with some of the best Tea's in the world.
Authentic Chinese Tea Ceremony Demonstration
Another highlight for us at the Cuisineist was to attend a Chinese Tea Ceremony. For centuries, the ritual of brewing and offering tea has held a special place in the hearts and minds of Chinese aristocracy, spiritual religious, government officials, intellectuals and poets. The Chinese tea ceremony emphasizes what the tea tastes like, smells like, and how one tea tastes compared to the previous tea, or in successive rounds of drinking. Each step is meant to be appreciation of life and a sensory exploration. Conducted Similar to a wine tasteing this ceremony is a foucus tasteing as each person samples the different aromas and tastes.

There are many types of Teas and learned much at this great event. Specialty Tea for example , refers to high quality crafted tea wherein the top two leaves and bud are commonly hand plucked versus machine picked and processed by artisans on estates or gardens that harvested the plant. Specialty whole leaf teas, whether single estate, blends or scented teas are above all unique and typically not mass marketed.

Of course, A cup of tea, properly defined, is the liquor extracted from the evergreentree Camellia sinensis. The most popular tea types are black, green, white and oolong varietals. Each type is distinguished by the method used when processing the leaves.

Black Teas are made by fully oxidizing the leaves producing a deep, hearty cup that can stand up to the addition of milk and sugar. Many specialty black teas, however, stand perfectly without such additions and in fact, if added,will maskcomplex, rich flavors and aromas.

Green Teas are roasted and/or steamed shortly after the leaves have been plucked to halt the oxidation process and preserve the color of the leaves. There are thousands of different types of green teas. A particular cup's profile will depend on the tea's origin, time of harvest and method of processing. Green teas contain many active, healthy constituents and powerful antioxidants.

White Teas are delicately hand-plucked only once a year in early spring. The exact processing technique for authentic white tea is unknown by most. White tea is the least processed of all tea types and only semi-oxidized giving them subtle, refreshing, complex and sweet liquors. The highest grade white tea isSilver Needle, which is fleshy in appearance and covered in white down.

Oolong Teas while more complex and commanding than green tea, are more delicate than black teas. An oolong tea can be slightly oxidized to very oxidized depending on the desired profile. Its beauty is revealed after several steepings of the same leaves. Over the course of several infusions, oolongs release rich aromas and delicate flavors otherwise hidden in the first cup.

The Cuisineist did our best to sample and learn more about these Teas from all over the world. There were so many Teas and so much more to learn , what a better place to be is the World Tea Expo 2010 to continue our Tea education. For additional information please go to

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