Geared towards helping restaurants, chefs, foodservice, retailers and businesses of all kinds through its in-depth education program, World Tea Expo takes place June 15-17, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nev. at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“World Tea Expo will attract thousands of professionals for an exciting platform of new tea products, education sessions, workshops and business-growing activities,” says Samantha Hammer Mitchell, the World Tea brand leader and an event director with Penton, organizer of World Tea Expo. “The event is the leading tradeshow focused on advancing the business of tea, and it’s ideal for restaurants, foodservice business and hotels that want to discover ways they can grow through tea.”

Profit with Tea

World Tea Expo’s curriculum covers a broad range of topics to help businesses boost sales through tea. Core Conference Sessions are designed to meet the specific needs of restaurants, foodservice businesses and others. Numerous Focused Tea Tastings offer 90-minute organoleptic explorations of tea styles, tea regions and tea pairings. And the Skill Building Workshops hone important industry skills.

Some of the noteworthy World Tea Expo education sessions - for restaurant, foodservice, beverage and hotel professionals - include:

• Evolution of Tea in the Foodservice Industry, from a Global Perspective

• State of the Tea Industry - Global Foodservice

• Stop Losing Your Beverage Sales to Water!

• Creating Unique Blends

• Matcha Goes Mainstream - Growing Trends in the Food Industry

• The Science of Intuitive Brewing

• Taste & Tea Chemistry

• The Fundamentals of Tea Beverage Creativity

• The Tea Bar - a Blueprint for Success

• The Quintessential Tea - China Green

• Darjeeling in Depth: Tasting the Nectars of the Himalayas

• Tea Vessels = A Way to Steep Up Sales

• And many more

A Lively, Product-Filled Expo Floor

In addition to the education sessions, World Tea Expo’s bustling show floor features hundreds of the latest tea products and services, many of which cannot be found at any other trade show. Additional event highlights include: the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle; a World Origin Tasting Tour; a Tea Business Boot Camp; the World Tea Awards; and World Tea Academy LIVE!

Tea Trends for Foodservice, Restaurants

Donna Fellman, a well-respected tea expert, educator and program director of World Tea Academy, part of Penton’s World Tea brand that includes World Tea Expo, World Tea News and the North American Tea Championship, offers insights on just a few of the trends happening with tea, which restaurants, hotels, foodservice and beverage professionals should follow.

Tea Sommeliers - “One of the biggest things that keeps coming up in conversations with the tea community is tea sommeliers,” explains Fellman. “World Tea is certainly seeing a strong increase in people interested in becoming tea sommeliers as a full-time profession, or businesses looking at how they can highlight a tea sommelier in their operation - whether it’s a teahouse, restaurant, hotel café, foodservice business, spa or other enterprise where tea and a tea sommelier would be an ideal fit.”

According to Fellman, tea sommeliers are becoming so popular that she’s getting countless Google Alerts anytime there’s tea sommelier news or some related development. “The World Tea Academy tea sommelier course is one of the most highly rated and completed classes of the online program,” she says.

Fellman notes that this year’s World Tea Expo pre-conference program, World Tea Academy Live!, June 13-14, will present the first class in a new series, Tea Sommelier Protocols: S.1 Designing a Tea Menu. “Tea sommeliers are exciting for the industry because it’s another way we’re bringing tea and tea education to the forefront, just like wine and coffee,” explains Fellman.

Curated Tea Menus - Carefully crafted, high-end tea lists are also becoming more mainstream. “Essentially, a foodservice business or restaurant can hire a tea sommelier or tea expert to curate a menu, or create a special tea blend,” shares Fellman. “I think ‘tea curating’ is an up-and-coming buzzword or hot topic that’s slowly been developing over the last year or two, and I think it will continue to build as a valuable concept in 2016 and beyond.”

Fellman points to one example of a tea curator and curated list: the selected teas at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Bruce Richardson, a leading tea expert, author and presenter at World Tea Expo 2016, was named the Tea Master for the Museum in 2011. He designed and curated the teas in Abigail’s Tea Room, which includes the museum’s signature tea, Abigail’s Blend. Richardson used earthy Chinese black teas from the Yunnan Province of China, reminiscent of the Chinese black teas tossed overboard in 1773, along with contemporary black teas from India and Kenya to create this unique and historic blend.

Tea Blends - Of course, tea blends are going “off the rocker,” as Fellman states, and they’ll certainly be a part of World Tea Expo this June in Vegas. “While I’m personally more of a tea traditionalist,” says Fellman, “I still believe that tea blends are a great thing as they become more and more in demand.”

According to Fellman, 2015 saw many businesses creating their own tea blend, some even combined black and green tea. “I think businesses like having their own branded tea blend, and even customers like the notion of creating their own personal signature tea.”

Fellman believes blends are a great opportunity for restaurants and foodservice businesses that want to offer a distinctive tea experience to consumers. “It’s an excellent way for tea sommeliers and tea experts to offer their services to foodservice businesses, in terms of creating a curated tea list. It’s also ideal for restaurants, cafés, teahouses and hotels, or any other number of businesses, to create a branded, blended tea with its own story to share,” she says.

High-end Tea Houses - “Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more teahouses popping up,” says Fellman. “And now we’re seeing more high-end teahouses emerge.” For example, the Hakkasan Group, based in London and Las Vegas, Nev., has Yauatcha, a Michelin-starred contemporary dim sum teahouse that first opened in London in 2004. They have two locations in London and three in India. But they are planning to expand to the United States, adding their teahouse brand to Honolulu, Hawaii and Houston, Texas.

“We expect to see more high-end tea houses in North America in 2016 and beyond,” says Fellman, “as tea continues to reach new audiences, and as demand for more tea knowledge, tea experiences, and specialty tea increases. Essentially, this trend is about crafting a high-quality, great tasting tea experience - something restaurants and foodservice business can emulate.”

Learn More at World Tea Expo

Overall, as tea and specialty tea continues its rise in popularity in North America, World Tea Expo is the ideal event for restaurants, chefs, foodservice and beverage professionals, hotels and other businesses to see how they can improve their menu with better tasting, better quality tea service, and increase sales.

Visit WorldTeaExpo.com to register. E-mail info@WorldTeaExpo.com with questions about attending, exhibiting or sponsoring. Twitter: @worldteamedia #WorldTeaExpo or #WTE16.