Tuesday, May 19, 2015

World Tea Expo 2015 Day Two

May 7th marked a lively Day Two at World Tea Expo.  The event schedule was packed with workshops, panels, and tea demonstrations.  Camera crews roamed the aisles while vendors and distributors made connections.  

Taiwanese Sun Moon Lake Black Tea and Japanese matcha were definitely trending at the Expo.  I drink matcha regularly, casually as well as while practicing chado and a visit to a few of the many matcha vendors was on my morning agenda.

Sugimoto America is the US branch of Sugimoto Seicha, which has been producing green tea in Shizuoka, Japan since 1946.  SA has appeared at many of the tea events I've attended in the Pacific Northwest over the years and I was glad to see the familiar faces of Kyohei and Noli at the Expo.  Thanks to Noli for preparing a bowl of matcha while we talked tea!

AOI Tea Company has been producing green tea since 1910 with the bulk of their product coming from Nishio and Kyoto, Japan.  It was a treat to see their 300 year old stone matcha grinder, up close.

Dobashien, which started as a small Tokyo tea shop in 1892, sources their tea from Shizuoka, Japan.  I'm hoping to find time to visit their tea shop at its historic location in Akasaka during my next trip.

AIYA has been producing matcha for 120 years with most of its production in Nishio, Japan. Their modern tea bar at the Expo attracted a lot of attention.

Between tea ceremony demonstrations in the afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Boalt Richardson at the TeaSource booth.  Lisa was one of my first tea instructors and her enthusiasm for the subject helped to motivate me to continue my studies.  She was kind enough to autograph my copy of her latest book, Modern Tea, which went into print in October 2014 and is already on its second printing.

Luck was with me when I stumbled across an unannounced Taiwan Tea Ceremony hosted by the Taiwan Tea Manufacturers' Association.  Live music was performed on guqin by Judy Yeh while Ben Tran provided narration, explaining the 18 steps of oolong tea ceremony.  The tea ceremony was performed by Margie Yang, President of the American Chinese Tea Culture Academy.

The audience was invited to enjoy the oolong skillfully prepared by Margie and I may have fallen a little bit in love with the tea cups.

On the Special Events stage, a Japanese Tea Ceremony sponsored by ITO EN was presented by Urasenke Los Angeles.  Narration was provided by Soyu Uesugi.  The host (Teishu) was Kunie with Yoko as assistant (Hantou).  The principal guest (Shokyaku) was Manami and second guest (Jikyaku) was Tammy Martinez.  All except Tammy, who was a volunteer from the audience, are students of Madame Hamano.  

The scroll for this demonstration translates to "Fragrant breeze comes from the South." and the matcha used in the tea ceremony is Hojin no Shiro from ITO EN, a favorite of the current grand master (Iemoto) of Urasenke.

A lecture on Ceremonial Tea Service was presented by JT & TEA Inc.  Thomas Shu kicked off the presentation with a lively tea song and Josephine Pan shared her experiences serving small and large gatherings with advice for knowing how and when to provide formal and informal tea service.  Tips include adding decorative elements to brighten and add formality to simple tea trays, knowing when to serve hot, room temperature, and chilled tea, and serving VIPs with fine teaware while providing self-serve options for large groups. 

Before Day 2 wrapped up, I stopped by a couple booths featuring innovative and eye-catching tea equipment.

CRAFTEA is the result of three years of labor and design that started out as a way to prepare masala chai at home without risk of a milk boil over and resulted in a machine that can prepare chai lattes, herbal infusions, and tea with little mess and reliable results.  The CRAFTEA utilizes vortex induction, providing even heat distribution and shorter steeping times.   It comes with preset temperatures as well as fine settings and has a 1 liter/4 cup capacity.  Heat the water, add the ingredients (for chai and infusions), add tea, brew and serve.  

Alpha Dominche introduced their Steampunk MOD, a visually interesting coffee and tea brewer utilizing steam and operated by a Google Nexus tablet.  Water is heated with steam in the top chamber, tea is added, steam agitates the water and when the tea is ready, pressure change pulls the tea down into the lower chamber where it is ready to dispense. The smooth modern appearance of the equipment has appeal and the process is almost mesmerizing.  I wouldn't mind seeing this in action locally so I can taste the results.

No comments:

Post a Comment