Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Day at NY NOW with Silver Needle Tea Co.

A few weeks ago I made the acquaintance of Lucy Yung, founder of +Silver Needle Tea Co., through a mutual friend. She was in the midst of planning a booth at her first ever trade show, NY NOW at the Javits Center. That's an exciting but scary time for any business! She was in need of some helping hands at her booth and I jumped at the chance. While I've attended lots of trade shows (both tea and otherwise), I've never had a chance to experience things from the vendor point of view.

Lucy's booth was beautiful in its simplicity. It perfectly matched the aesthetic of her brand and really drew the eye right to the star of the show, her line of grower-direct teas. I was obsessed with centerpiece of pink flowering branches. Considering that NYC got a big dumping of snow that week, they were a much welcomed glimpse of spring. Surrounded by photos from her sourcing trips, I helped to serve tea and greet booth visitors.

NY NOW is more of a lifestyle show so it was interesting to see the reactions of show-goers. Many of them had never experienced "real" tea but they were all intrigued. Sencha seemed to be the biggest surprise for many of them. That umami sneaks up on you! One of the biggest perks of the day was getting to enjoy some of Lucy's teas and her hear stories about traveling to source them. I fell in love with the high mountain oolong. Even in less than optimal brewing conditions, an incredible amount of complexity came out in the third and fourth steeping. I was impressed!

It seems that there are always tea friends everywhere that I go. I had no idea that +Alexis Siemons and +Darlene Meyers-Perry would both there so I was really glad to have a chance to catch up with them. Sid from Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling even stopped by to chat. Thank you for Lucy for giving me a bit of an inside view. It was a fantastic day!

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