Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Las Vegas

This series of posts is going to be a bit backwards. I attended the class after the World Tea Expo.
But I will post about the Expo in accordance with the samples that I received from each of the vendors.
For the days I was there, I spend nights at the Excalibur. Not the fanciest of places, but there is a sense of "fun" around it.

Before the classes, but after the Expo, I had a reception with many of the STI students and teachers. This was great networking time.
The reception was held at the Queen Victoria Pub inside the Las Vegas Hilton.

Walking to the convention center in the Hilton was quite ornate.

The pavilions where the classes were held were of a moderately baroque decor. Probably one of the nicest class locations that they have had.

The class subject was about the chemistry of tea.
What happens during the stages of processing, how certain practices affect the taste of the tea, what chemicals react during oxidation and other such topics.

Some of the few tastings we did;
Nilgiri Frost against a Nilgiri without frost damage.
This was to illustrate what damage does to the leaf and how it affects the taste.
This was one of my favorite tastings. Nilgiri teas hold a special place on my palate.

We also tested an assam.
We used the same tea, but different grades.
Each individual grade was cupped to find similarities and differences.

Inside the Hilton was also this cafe called Fortuna.
They specialize in coffee and wine.
I was thinking to myself, why has someone not done this with the wonderful leaf?
Fortuna did offer a delicious selection of paninis, though.



  1. There are two things I like about this post:

    First of all, I wish I could've been there, and I'm living vicariously through your descriptions.

    But also, you have a great style that cannot hide your obvious passion for tea. Thanks for showing us this, Sir W.

    I have a few questions for you. Were the lower grades of Assam still acceptable. Did you like this Assam? Even if you don't normally drink many black teas, would you periodically drink more Assam if you had more of the higher grades of Assam?

  2. Lahikmajoe,

    Thank you for your compliments.
    This is definitely an experience I would not pass up!

    To answer your questions;
    The grade of the tea was an SFTGFOP originally. The lower the grade goes, the smaller the pieces. That is the only difference. And yes the lower grades were wonderful. Even though it was the same tea, the flavor profile was different in each cup.
    The thing that I loved about this assam was the tips. They add a nice sweet malty flavor that is exceptional.
    I am picky when it comes to black teas, particularly darjeeling and assam. In my assams, I like strength, malt, and a sweetness. I drink all teas straight most of the time, so I like a tea that I do not have to cover up with milk and or sugar. So I suppose I would drink more assam if I had higher grades! Although I have had lower grades that were outstanding. So it mostly comes down to the specific tea.

  3. Nice teas. I don' know what is a SFTGFOP but I am sure you will explain this to me.

    A nice place but I would never have thought of using it for a tea class.

  4. Ice,

    SFTGFOP is a grade given to a specific batch of tea based on leaf size an the amount of tips relative to the amount of whole leaf.
    "Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe" is a pretty high grade of leaf.
    It does not have anything to do with the quality or taste. Purely leaf appearance.

    The STI has classes all over the country. I have been to Vegas twice, San Francisco twice, Charleston South Carolina, and Anaheim California.
    I like having it in different locations because I get to travel, and I love traveling!