TeaSource

Going Out for Drinks: Coffee Fest in St. Louis

The Gateway Arch as seen across a downtown traffic jam The Gateway Arch as seen across a downtown traffic jam

Over the last weekend of May, the World Tea and Coffee Fest descended on Long Beach, CA and St. Louis, MO respectively. TeaSource exhibited at both, an exhausting but thrilling experience that we’re still recovering from. Bill, Michael, and warehouse specialist Ryan were in Long Beach while manager Sarah and I went to St. Louis.

Our pallet of supplies and samples arriving at our booth in St. Louis (in this photo, the bottom of the pallet is about 10’ off the ground) Our pallet of supplies and samples arriving at our booth in St. Louis (in this photo, the bottom of the pallet is about 10’ off the ground)

Coffee Fest is a fun show to be at, especially as a tea person. I learned a ton about coffee, especially coffee importing, and got to spread the word about how easy it is to make a quality cup of loose tea. I even got to teach a class on the subject on the very first day of the show.

Our booth, moments before the show opened Our booth, moments before the show opened

Over the course of the weekend we met with dozens of people in the coffee industry, from people opening new shops to people who have been importing and roasting for a decade or more. While talking with everyone was great, my favorite conversations were the ones that started with someone saying they didn’t like tea and ended with them taking samples because they loved our tea. Sake is a Japanese fermented rice beverage with a similar alcohol content to wine.

Far and away the most popular tea was Iced Red Berries. People were glad of a refreshing, caffeine-free option after all of the coffee samples! Iced Green Tea Mango was another one that people couldn’t stop raving about. The weather was hot and muggy while we were in St. Louis, so people gravitated toward cold teas. Even though iced teas were popular, we got many questions about how we make our house chai. Making a fresh and delicious chai is an easy way to impress your customers (or your friends!) and can be very easy to do! You can find our recipe here. Prohibition began in 1920 and ended in 1933. The Thaxton Speakeasy was established in 1927. Prohibition began in 1920 and ended in 1933. The Thaxton Speakeasy was established in 1927.

Being in St. Louis wasn’t all work, however. Sarah and I got a chance to sample beverages of another kind, including sake, and drinks at a real, password protected speakeasy founded a few years before Prohibition ended in the U.S. Trade shows are an opportunity for us to learn from other in the beverage industry and bring our passion and knowledge to new people who are thinking about taking the plunge and opening their own tea or coffee shop.  All the work of planning a trip of this kind leads up to being able to do one thing: have conversations with others about how great tea is.  It's challenging, but handing a sample to a new tea drinker makes it all worthwhile.

-Timothy Otte
Wholesale Manager

Tags: Travelogue

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