Today is the opening date of the 2016 World Tea Expo in Las Vegas. And, like every year, there’s lots to learn, new products and innovations to discover, and wonderful teas to sample.

Here are a few fun finds and cool ideas from my first few hours of explorations.

Adding Humor to Tea

This company, CollecTEAbles, makes illustrated tea overwraps and has fun names for the teas combining tea words with literature and author’s names. I thought these were super fun. Check out a couple in the image below. This company also has a “tea book,” a spin-off of a photo album but for showcasing different teas.

literature and tea

Making Instant Tea Cool

Cool packaging on instateaInstant tea has never really gotten traction in the US and certainly not with the specialty tea community. But this company is trying to make it trendy with beautiful, hip packaging.

Skipping the Tea Bag

A product innovation company out of France has invented a way to turn tea and herb materials (botanicals) into non-dissolving, paper-like substances that you steep just like regular tea. According to their testing, their method extract more tea polyphenols in less time (even in cooler water) but fewer contaminants. Learn more here.

Celebrating with Tea

Thomas Shu, famous for his tireless devotion to Taiwanese oolongs, discussed the idea of serving tea on ceremonial occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, agreement or contract signings and other big events. His argument, why do we toast with champagne? Or insist on alcohol at receptions? Why not toast with tea, or have a tea ceremony as part of a wedding, or let people get ‘tea drunk’? I thought it was a fabulous idea and definitely something to consider for my own events.

Innovating on the Pyramid

Finally, for my last discovery, I’d love to get your perspective. It’s now possible to get a pyramid-shaped tea bag made from the pulp of non-GMO corn. That means its fully compostable and can even be thrown into your garden after steeping. The only drawback? Because they’re paper-like, they’re not transparent, so you can’t see the whole, natural ingredients.

So, take a look at the picture below, and my question to you, would you prefer this compostable style pyramid or the transparent pyramids we currently use?

new pyramid tea bags

We’re off to go discover more! But, leave a comment below, or drop us a line and let us know what you think or if you liked any of our early finds from this year’s World Tea Expo.