Tuesday, February 19, 2008

World Tea Expo Forecast

The World Tea Expo is approaching fast. They have new programs lined up, including a New Business Boot Camp and an Executive & Technical Series. They will also continue to have the Exhibit Hall and the Core Conference Program, which I covered on the Vee Tea Blog last year (scroll down). Very exciting. Below are some of the Core Conference Seminars which I think will be highlights of the 2008 World Tea Expo.

Skill Building Workshop: Cupping
I think that everyone in the tea industry should have at least a basic working knowledge of cupping. If nothing else, it cultivates a fuller appreciation for the product.

2008 Tea Report
Tea trends of the past few years and tea forecasts for the upcoming one, all summed up in a neat little hour-long presentation. If you don't stay on top of the trends for yourself (which you should!), this is the "Cliff's Notes" way to try to stay on top of the game.

The Profound World of Pu-Erh
Pu-Erh is a misunderstood and under-represented tea in the West. I hope this seminar will help more tea professionals (and, in turn, their clients) understand this complex and sophisticated tea.

Tea Purchasing
Tea purchasing can be overwhelming for new tearoom owners. In fact, many of my clients come to me for consultation on this very matter. While a seminar can't provide much in the way of one-on-one time and customization, it may be a quick fix for sourcing woes.

Marketing Organic
Organic products are making up an increasingly large segment of sales revenue in many areas of the food and drink markets. This seminar addresses how to market organic teas effectively. This course would pair well with this is "Social Responsibility Panel Discussion."

Focused Tasting: Taiwan
This tasting is led by the renowned Jane Pettigrew. Need I say more?

Super Workshop: Tea and Chocolate Pairing
I attended last year's version of this seminar and it was pure fun. If you, like me, have a fairly well-developed palate and understand the concepts of pairing, then you probably won't gain much in the way of profound knowledge from this seminar. However, it is highly entertaining and also quite delicious.

Skill Building Workshop: Blending
This session addresses the art of tea blending, which is cool. I hope that next year, they also address the legality of blending, which is not so much cool as it is absolutely necessary for you to not get in loads of trouble for blending tea in your tearoom's back room.

Whole Body Tea Retailing
A few years ago, tea spa treatments were the hot new thing. Now, this trend is filtering down to the mainstream in the form of tea soaps, lotions, etc. This workshop addresses expanding your tea line to include tea body products.

Package Design for the Green Generation
Green packaging is huge (or, rather, tiny) in Europe. It seems that many American companies and designers have forgotten that bigger is not always better, and flashy and fast is not always the best way to win the race. However, this trend is changing, and not just in the local health food stores. More people are using totes for their groceries and noticing just how much they have to throw away to reach the product inside the packaing. This workshop seems like a good intro to sustainable packaging and its potential benefits to your brand.

How to Conduct a Successful Tea Tasting
I attended this workshop last year. It was so good, had to restrain myself from signing up again. The entire audience was so thrilled with the depth and breadth of information presented, as well as the clarity of the presenter. The question on everyone's lips afterward was, "When can we expect your book?" Even if you have held tastings before, this is a fantastic workshop to attend.

Tea and Meditation
I have the feeling this will be a hit or miss workshop with attendees. Personally, I think it will be amazing, but it all depends if you're into that kind of thing. If you are, check it out!

Super Workshop: The Way of Tea
This workshop is led by the Ura Senke Foundation. That alone is enough for me to give it the thumbs up.

Victorian Matrons, Fearless Flappers, and Chai-Sipping Executives: The History of American Tearooms
Despite the typical association of tearooms with the UK, the US also has a fascinating history of tearooms. Personally, I can't wait to attend this workshop.

Social Responsibility Panel Discussion
I think this seminar will be the most important one in the whole Expo. It will address key issues in the future of tea production which directly impact tea quality, not to mention quality of life on this planet. That aside, if you are looking for the dollar signs in your workshops, using marketing to highlight a socially responsibile aspect of your brand can be great for sales.

Social Media Marketing Strategies
Those around my age probably know a thing or two about this. Learn more. For those above their late twenties, welcome to the future. If you are at all interested in having a strong web presence, you should really take this course.

So, that's my forecast for the 2008 World Tea Expo. If you have anything to add, please drop a note in my blog!


Steph said...

Will you attend this year? If so, I will look forward to reading your blog! I attended a few years ago in Vegas and it was fantastic!

VeeTea said...

Yes, I will be attending this year. I plan to post daily from the show, so stay tuned!