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Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony, Tea Infusion Challenge Are Two Highpoints of 2012 World Tea Expo, June 1 - 3 in Las Vegas

Taiwanese-originated Tea Ritual and a Scientific/Artistic Tea Competition Are Set to Heat up the Las Vegas Strip and Kick off National Iced Tea Month

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (May 21, 2012) - From Assamica to Yin Zhen and Assam to Yunan, World Tea Expo, taking place June 1 - 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., covers all aspects of tea as the largest, global B2B event for the industry (see video preview). Thousands of tea professionals and companies from more than 50 countries are preparing for a packed three-day exhibit hall with the very best leafs, blends, pots and tea-related products, as well as the highly anticipated Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony and the fiercely competitive 2012 Tea Infusion Challenge.

In addition, the event kicks of National Iced Tea Month, features an educational conference and also asks: "Will tea ever be as big as coffee?" Currently, there are more than 25,000 U.S. coffeehouses compared to around 3,500 U.S. tea retail locations; yet, tea retail market growth is on an upsurge, according to Las Vegas-based World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media, organizers of World Tea Expo.

George Jage, founder and director of World Tea Media, says, "World Tea Expo has certainly helped fuel tea's explosion in popularity, as it brings together the international tea community to strengthen the message of tea. We're passionately dedicated to bringing greater awareness to tea - especially in the North American marketplace - and we're focused on supporting tea retailers and other professionals, so they can profit from and be successful with quality tea. This year's event not only marks the Expo's anniversary, but tea's significant rise."

World Tea Expo Highpoint: Tea Infusion Challenge

One key event of World Tea Expo is the 2012 Tea Infusion Challenge, June 3 from noon to 2:30 p.m. This competitive event determines the best Infusionist - a tea professional (non-manufacturer) that has comprehensive product knowledge, experienced brewing skills and innate talent to best express teas' characteristics and intended cups. The exciting and interactive event demonstrates how the same tea can taste drastically different depending on the method used to steep the tea. It's not just about water temperature or steeping times; the Tea Infusion Challenge moves beyond the basics as contenders approach tea in both scientific and artistic ways, embracing tea's nuances.

Kim Jage, sales and marketing director, World Tea Media, says, "The Tea Infusion Challenge official judges rate each contender on: quality of infusion, such as liquor color, taste balance and harmonious extraction, as well as knowledge, professionalism, passion for tea, attention to detail and overall performance. The technical judge evaluates water temperature management, tea measurement, timing, pour precision and workflow."

The 2011 Top Tea Infusionist is Steven Downer of Sipping Streams Tea Company, who hails from Fairbanks, Alaska. This year's contenders include Charles Dawson, education manager and purchaser for traditional teas from The Domestic Goddess, a tea retailer in Everson, Wash.; Margaret Harris, owner of Margaret's Fine Imports, a tea and gourmet food store in Pittsburgh, Penn.; Johnathan Munsayac, owner and director of operations at Tranquil Tea Lounge in Fullerton, Calif.; Tim Smith, "chief leaf" of retailer The Tea Smith in Omaha, Neb.; Michael Thunder, a former Buddhist monk in Japan, now proprietor of White Dragon Tearoom and Gallery in Durango, Colo.; and Cora Vasseur, co-owner of Babs and Coco's Tea Emporium in DeKalb, Ill. where she works the tea tasting bar.

Teas for the competition are provided by North American Tea Championship first-place winners, including: Newby of London (a Rare Assam tea); Rare Tea Cellar (a 2010 Emperor's Aged Keemun tea); Rishi Tea (a Dong Pian tea); and Silk Road Teas (a Plum Fragrance tea).

The judging panel includes:Tea Infusion Challenge Director Mo Sardella, The G.S. Haly Tea Company; Head Judge Aaron Vick, The G.S. Haly Tea Company; Technical Judge Suzette Hammond (the 2010 Top Tea Infusionist), Rishi Tea; and Sensory Judges Eliot Jordan, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Josh Kaiser, Rishi Tea, and Lydia Kung, Eastrise Trading Corp.

World Tea Expo Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony

In addition, on Friday, June 1 at 5:30 p.m., World Tea Expo delegates participate in a very special, not-often-seen in the U.S., Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony. It's a ritual that encourages all people - regardless of tea expertise, age, sex, nationality or wealth - to participate. It is a ceremony wherein participants simultaneously serve and receive tea - silently.

Kim Jage explains, "The Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony is a humble exchange - where both giving and accepting merge into one. It reminds us that distinctions can never fully define anything and that tea is a catalyst. The beauty of the ceremony lies not only in its intent but also in its practice."

The Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony is of Taiwanese origin and created by Grand Master Tsai Rong Tsang, current director of the Lu-Yu Tea Culture Institute. The Ceremony has seven principles: 1. Seating is random; there is no priority seating regardless of social status. 2. Tea is served in the same direction and no reward is expected. 3. Participants accept and appreciate different teas; there's no bias. 4. Participants brew the best they can, concentrate and improve. 5. There is no director; everyone follows the public announcements. 6. Everyone remains silent during brewing, to cooperate and appear in group rhythm and harmony. 7. No one is confined to any tea brewing manner, so there's no distinction of tea school or region.

World Tea Expo Gathers the Global Tea Community

Overall, in the last 10 years, more than 33,000 international professionals have attended World Tea Expo, to meet with more than 1,700 tea and related product suppliers in more than 206,000 net square feet of space. Registration for the 2012 convention is expected to draw more than 4,000 delegates from around the world. The Expo features more than 200 vendor booths and hundreds of the freshest new tea products - unique tea ware manufacturers, delicious baked-goods suppliers, innovative tea product manufacturers and specialized accessory and gift dealers. The convention also includes the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle and a World Origin Tasting Tour.

World Tea Expo is also presenting an impressive line-up of all new educational curriculum, which covers the latest industry trends and presents a snapshot of the future of tea. Topics include: improving the tea customer's palate; how different cups work with different teas; Daoism and Buddhist Zen tea culture; comparative tea and wine tastings; tea nutrition and health - myths and truths for the layman; teas from Korea, India, China and numerous other regions; the evolution of the tea store; a new dawn for Japanese tea; tea science updates; caffeine and antioxidant clarity; and applying principles of taste biology to the appreciation of teas and food pairings; among many other topics.

About World Tea Media

World Tea Media is an integrated media company dedicated to providing business solutions to the global tea industry. Events include the annual World Tea Expo, the largest and most prominent event for the industry, and World Tea East, the regional event for the northeast, mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. World Tea Media also produces the North American Tea Championship and World Tea News. The North American Tea Championship is the only professional and independent competition that distinguishes the highest quality and best tasting teas commercially available in the North American marketplace. World Tea News is an online portal that offers in-depth news, features and business insight for the global tea industry. World Tea Media is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev. www.worldteamedia.com

About F+W Media, Inc.

F+W Media is a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts. The Company offers a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video and more. F+W Media serves 20 different markets, including writing, fine art, genealogy, antiques and collectibles, design, outdoors and horticulture. Its growing portfolio includes print and online properties, free and for-fee subscription sites, educational programs, competitions and events. www.fwmedia.com

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