By Lynda Calimano, Starfish Junction Productions, Bay Shore, NY
Something to Suit You to a "Tea": An Afternoon Away from the Daily Grind
Wine festivals. Beer festivals. Craft festivals. It's pretty easy to understand what these shows are all about.
But a coffee and tea festival?
This concept caused a few stirring spoons to pause in the air when first proposed.
Back in 2006, when the first-ever Coffee and Tea Festival launched in New York, coffee and tea reps reacted as if the idea were downright alien: What idea is brewing here? Tea and coffee products in one consumer show? Surely, no.
Boy, were they wrong.
The blend was well-received by attendees who recognized the uniqueness of sampling new coffee and tea products in one locale. Coverage by The Food Network didn't hurt, either, presenting the exhibition on an episode of Unwrapped entitled "Caffeinated."
The 2006 NYC show was later recognized as one of the "10 Best New York Events" by www.10best.com. It was also covered on several major TV networks, as well as international broadcast media.
The audience for subsequent editions grew, and the show began to attract industry leaders who led specialty programming and offered instruction on the "scoop" behind brewing these aromatic beverages.
Fast-forward to 2013. This year's festival in New York hosted over 70 exhibitors and over 6,000 attendees. It has become a premier event that sells out weeks in advance.
On November 2-3, the first-ever area Coffee and Tea Festival will cause a stir at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. "We have participation from national companies like Nespresso, Capital Teas, Nescafe, and Salada and local area stand-outs like Joe Coffee, Ajiri Tea, Golden Valley Coffee Roasters, MajaTei, and Café La Semeuse," says Kristyn Noren, event producer at Starfish Junction Productions. "The show is going to be amazing. The variety of coffee and tea companies is impressive. The attendees are in for a great treat," Noren concludes.
The Coffee and Tea Festival features nearly 50 coffee, tea and related exhibitors. It will also offer varied programs and demos, including:
- Japanese tea ceremony
- Starting a tea business
- Coffee: cultivation to cup
- Pairing tea and cheese
Some classes are free; others require a small materials fee and pre-registration. The first 1,000 advance ticket holders through the door each day will get a goodie bag with samples to enjoy at home. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.
If the idea of making a weekend getaway out of your Coffee and Tea Festival attendance begins to percolate in your brain, consider one of the accommodations listed on the Bureau website.