on the last day of the show, I was greeted by many smiling - and tired - faces. Coffee and tea booths were inundated with people…orders were being written…syrup companies were winding down their chilled beverage offerings that were coming to a dry end. All the weary exhibitors were glad to see the close of the show and were happy to take a break to share their views with me.
One roaster told me he doesn’t sell any more coffee than he usually does at other shows, but he sells a lot more flurries and slushies. He doesn’t believe coffee consumption has increased at all but certainly his dairy offerings are way up.
My own experience on the floor was that I saw more imported roasted coffee this year than in previous years, packaged ever so elegantly for the upscale consumer market. And companies selling frozen coffee drink mixes were everywhere.
One packer stressed how consumers are more interested in upscale culinary products these days. They want to look like a tea or coffee connoisseur, he said, but demand convenience as well. Probably as a means to that end, Adagio Tea just came out with a great electric loose tea brewer that controls the steeping time and then keeps your tea warm until you’re ready to consume it.
There were teabags, loose tea, tea extracts, tea nutrition bars, tea lip balms, tea candles scattered all over the place. There were triangle bags, there were square teabags, pouch teabags, standing up teabags. . .you name it. The U.S. tea market, considered immature in comparison to British and European markets, has seen tremendous variety and growth. The teabags keep coming and more and more tea packers market a beautifully packaged product. Established specialty tea packers asked, “In what other country can you see 20-30 new tea companies spring up annually?”.
Again, iced tea products flooded the floor. Even outside the show on the street, we sampled full bottles of iced tea! Tea packers seemed generally happy about growth of the business. I saw Wissosky Tea there…they’re based in Israel, but they now have a U.S. agent. Indeed, I hope we all are growing.
Editor & Co-Publisher