The 2016 World Tea Expo wrapped up this past Friday in Las Vegas and as per the usual, there were many delicate, flavorful, unique, and amazing teas to try. You can read my World Tea Expo Day 1 recap post, where I highlight some of my fun finds and cool discoveries from Wednesday, June 15th, 2016.
Each morning of the three days of the World Tea Expo, there were educational sessions from 8 am – 1:30 pm on everything from sourcing raw ingredients, to market trends, to tea and cheese pairing, to legal considerations, and much more.
If, during those morning sessions, I could learn a few useful or inspiring tidbits to share with you, then they’ve been worthwhile. So, here are some of the things you might find interesting.
Tea Bags Aren’t as Bad as People Believe
If you ever read Foodbabe’s blog, you may have stumbled across her article where she tries to malign the entire tea industry for the tea bags they use (among other reasons). Occasionally other articles surface around the internet lambasting tea (one of the most healthful drinks on the market) for being put into chemical-filled tea bags.
Here to debunk all of that is the expert: a manufacturer of tea bag materials and packer of tea bags, James Mackness of Motovotano.
In his presentation he explained that newer tea bags, such as the regular double chamber tea bag is made from acaba fiber (a natural fiber made from a renewable source). Although it’s commonly believed paper tea bags must have glue or a staple, this type of tea bag is sealed by heat or pressure. No glues are used. The length and weave of the fibers lend themselves to binding under heat or pressure to seal the edge of the bag.
When it comes to the transparent pyramidal tea bags, renewable, plant-based fibers are also available. Things like tapioca, sugarcane, and corn are pressed to create lactic acid, which is then spun into polylactic acid threads, which are made into the pyramidal tea bag. This is a renewable material. AND, it’s compostable in municipal composting facilities.
Now you can have the convenience of bagged tea without worrying about glue, plastic, staples or other questionable things contaminating all the goodness of those tea leaves.
Iced Tea is Meant to Be Cloudy
Let me introduce you to another expert: Youngmok Kim, Ph.D. of Synergy Flavors. He taught us to be wary of crystal clear iced tea.
Why? Because real brewed iced tea will be cloudy. The cold acts on the caffeine molecules which interact with the amino acids and tea catechins to create the cloudy appearance.
If your iced tea is perfectly clear, it’s either not made from real tea leaves or it has stabilizers added. Either way, just DIY and make it at home for the freshest, best tasting iced tea.
A Tip for Baking Matcha-Infused Treats
But if you want to get the perfect matcha flavor and look, then you need to cook your goodies at a lower temperature for the second half of the baking time (or at least the last 10 minutes). And don’t forget to add a little bit of extra time. Lower temperatures helps avoid browning or burning the matcha. Lower, slower baking can make cookies, etc get dry faster, so you may also need to increase the liquid or butter content to keep them soft and moist.
One more quick matcha tip: You can make layered matcha drinks like lattes, lemonade, etc, by pouring very slowly into the glass (or pouring over a spoon). Like this:
Can you Guess How Many People are in the Tea Industry?
And finally, for our fun fact of the day. How many people work in the tea industry in China? What about in India?
China has 30 million people in the tea industry. India has 10 million.
While I certainly learned a lot more at the World Tea Expo this year, I think that’s enough learnings and fun facts for this post.
Using the buttons on the left, please share this post with others who are interested in tea. And if you’d like to know what else I learned, drop a comment below and I’ll be happy to divulge.