The world's best teas brought together in California

World's oldest tea found in Chinese emperor's tomb

As with coffee, whose baristas have become as respected as sommeliers, tea is now the addiction of a growing community of consumers spoiled by a multitude of premium varieties. In early May, in California, they will learn all there is to know at a ceremony rewarding the best of the best in tea.

Contrary to what one would expect, neither India nor England, two countries that immediately come to mind when thinking of tea, will host the biggest event in the world of tea. Instead, from May 6-8, Long Beach, California will be home the World Tea Expo and the ceremony for the World Tea Awards. It'll be a gathering of connoisseurs from around the world at which only the very best aromas of this soothing drink full of dietetic virtues will fill the air.

Tea is enjoying a rebirth in popularity around the world, and new trends in consumption will be addressed at this event. For example, a recipe for Indian tea will be presented to reinforce the notion that this isn't simply a run-of-the-mill tea to which you add milk. Nor is it a chai. A proper preparation of this drink, which includes lots of milk and water, occasionally with cardamom and pieces of ginger, will be demonstrated.

In between two ceremonies for Japanese-style teas and a competition for tea-tasters, the industry's major players will anxiously await the presentation of the World Tea Awards. Ten awards are up for grabs, including, for example, one for the personality most influential in making or breaking trends in the world of tea. There will also be awards for best tea blog the best innovator in the tea industry.

Here are the nominees:

Best Tea Publication:
TeaTime Magazine
Fresh Cup
The Daily Tea
The Tea House Times
Tea & Coffee Trade Journal

Best Social Media Reach:
Lu Ann Pannunzio, @teaaholic
T By Daniel, @tbydaniel
Nicole Martin, @teaformeplease
Anna Kojack, @TARMtea
Alexis Siemons, @teaandpetals

Best Tea Industry Website:
Adagio Teas,
Camellia Sinensis,
Tea Association of Canada,
Seven Cups,
Tea Ave,

Best Tea Business:
Capital Teas
Harney & Sons
Tealet Tea
Rishi Tea

Best Tea Blog:
The Cup of Life by Lu Ann Pannunzio
Tea for Me Please by Nicole Martin
The Voice of Tea by Chris Cason
An International Tea Moment by Jen Piccotti
World of Tea by Tony Gebely

Best Tea Educator:
Bill Waddington, TeaSource
Shabnam Weber, The Tea Emporium
Peter Martino, Capital Teas
James Norwood Pratt, Author and Authority on Tea and Tea Lore
Victoria Bisogno, El Club del Te

Best Tea Health Advocate:
Ken Cohen, Qigong Research & Practice Center
Babette Donaldson, Author of The Everything Healthy Tea Book
Tea Association of Canada
Jane Pettigrew, Tea Specialist, Historian, Writer, Consultant
Shabnam Weber, The Tea Emporium

Best Tea Marketing:
Harney & Sons
Adagio Teas

Best Tea Industry Innovator:
Elyse Peterson, Tealet
Maria Uspenski, The Tea Spot
Raelene Gannon, Tea and All Its Splendour
Max Rivest, Wize Monkey
Elizabeth McGinnis, Chahoney

Best Tea Personality:
Raelene Gannon, Tea and All Its Splendour
Jane Pettigrew, Tea Specialist, Historian, Writer, Consultant
Dan Bolton, Tea Biz Blog and Industry Consultant, Editor
Jason McDonald, The Great Mississippi Tea Company
David De Candia, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf