Friday, September 16, 2011

What a City! Philadelphia and World Tea East

Philadelphia is the historical incubator of great ideas: the United States of America, the cheesesteak (pictured left), and,  thanks to my parents and Albert Einstein Medical Center, me. The thought of Philadelphia birthing another great idea, World Tea East, was an exhilarating one.
Would there be tea-themed fireworks? After all, Philadelphians love a celebration. Even if there were no tea cups formed in the night sky, World Tea East caused two of my all-time favorites to collide, i.e. Philadelphia and tea. So I registered, checked my SEPTA token stash, and started the countdown to September 9.
Starting the Tea Party Right
Tea industry professionals gathered to honor the first recipient of the Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award: Mr. John Harney, founder of Harney & Sons Fine Teas (please see the post "Worth the Wait - Tea & Orchids"). Celebrating a person who helped establish the specialty tea industry standards for growth, innovation, and education was indeed a special event. Congratulations!
Pour a Cup, Make a Friend
In between the focused tea tastings, the educational seminars, and the marvelous tea breaks, there were opportunities to connect with colleagues. For some of us, we were able to expand our acquaintance beyond Twitter avatars to meeting face-to-face for the first time. If there was any doubt, then please know that social media mavens Nicole Schwartz (@amazonv) and Nicole Martin (@teaformeplease) are both worth more than 140 characters.
Attending World Tea East resulted in my circle of unapologetic tea aficionados becoming even wider. Alas, even tea enthusiasts cannot live by tea alone. So it was my honor and privilege to introduce these good tea people to the Reading Terminal Market, located across the street. Our dialogue, sealed over delicious and reasonably-priced food, left me satisfied for having made the trip. Philadelphia is a wonderful city yet being surrounded by tea professionals made it even sweeter. Until our next tea adventure, cups up!


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