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 Abigail StClair         Abigail St. Clair, Owner & President, TeBella Tea Company 
Abigail St. Clair is the owner of TeBella Tea Company in Tampa, Florida. Founded in 2009, TeBella Tea Company offers over 100 high quality loose leaf teas and tea accessories. Abigail has curated a unique collection of teas and tisanes for TeBella that includes many custom blends as well as some of the world’s most exquisite teas. In 2012, TeBella opened a second location within nearby Oxford Exchange that includes an afternoon tea service. Abigail is a respected tea educator and entrepreneur in the Tampa Bay Area. She was a finalist for Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year in 2012 and TeBella Tea Company has received numerous awards including Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay Award. TeBella was recently selected to provide a tea service for First Lady Michelle Obama and her invited guests. Abigail lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband and their three year old son. 

 anupamueller         Anupa Mueller, President, Eco-Prima Tea

Anupa Mueller heads up her own business, Eco-Prima Tea in Westchester, NY, which carries over 300 teas from all over the world.  She is the U.S. representative of the renowned Makaibari Tea Estates in Darjeeling, India – legendary for its advocacy of organic, biodynamic and Fair Trade principles.  Eco-Prima Tea supplies several of the largest specialty tea packagers in the United States as well as small tea rooms, cafes and online providers with organic, conventional and fair trade teas. Since November 1999, Anupa also operates Silver Tips Tea Room in Tarrytown, New York.  The Tea Room carries over 170 loose leaf teas from all over the world and is open daily for Afternoon Tea and Lunch. Loose leaf tea, teaware, gifts, tea books and gift certificates are also available.  Silver Tips has evolved to a tea salon and become a favorite meeting place for friends, colleagues, families and groups.


Austin Hodge, Owner, Seven Cups Tea

Seven Cups has become one of the most trusted importers for superior quality Chinese teas. Austin Hodge started his tea retail life like many others, at a humble farmers market in his local community. His direct sourcing methods are now appreciated by tea lovers from over 50 countries thanks to the internet and word-of-mouth marketing. Seven Cups' offering is highly focused on Chinese teas, originating from Camellia sinensis.

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Babette Donaldson, Author, Blue Gate Books

Babette Donaldson is the author of the newly published, Everything Healthy Tea (Adams Media) and the series of tea-themed storybooks, The Emma Lea (Blue Gate Books. She has a BA in Creative Writing and in Ceramic Art from San Francisco State University. During her graduate work in ceramics she was introduced to world of tea. “Interpret Teapot” was a frequent assignment requiring research into the worldwide history and culture of tea. Studies of the leaf and brew were the logical net steps. “When I discovered the health benefits, I decided to devote my time to popularizing tea with children. I would like them to discover alternatives to canned sodas and thrive on tea gatherings with their families.” Tea Suite was her first tea business, creating a non-profit tea fundraising program supporting art education in schools.


Beth Johnston, Founder & CEO, Teas Etc.

Beth Johnston's unquenchable thirst for tea began with a delicious cup of Mango Ceylon while on her honeymoon in 1998. Shortly thereafter, she discovered her passion for tea and founded Teas Etc., a leading supplier of award winning, direct trade teas. Her extensive travels have afforded her the opportunity to evaluate tea with some of the world's masters. In a defining moment, Teas Etc. became the ONLY female-owned company to win in the 2008 World Tea Championship hot tea category. They continued their success in 2009, 2010 and 2011, capturing multiple awards. The company's success is driven by Beth's creative, high-energy business style and an unwavering commitment to customers and quality. With office/showrooms in China, South Florida and Atlanta's AmericasMart, Teas Etc. has grown from a one woman, garage-based operation to a USDA Certified Organic Processor that supplies retailers and wholesalers with premium quality bulk, prepackaged and private label tea products around the globe.


Bill Waddington, Founder & President, TeaSource

Bill Waddington is the founder of TeaSource, a wholesale and retail specialty tea company. As such he imports and blends some of the finest teas from around the world. TeaSource is a 16 year old company with hundreds of wholesale customers all across North America. Bill’s mission is simple: to find the best teas in the world, and then to make them available and help Americans learn to appreciate them. Bill is also a huge advocate for the specialty tea business. He believes education and outreach efforts are essential to succeed in the specialty tea business. Bill is a frequent quest on the National Public Radio show, The Splendid Table. Bill has served on the Board of Directors of the American Premium Tea Institute, was the Chairman of the Specialty Tea Institute Symposium, was the keynote speaker at the China International Tea Expo, Beijing, and has been a presenter at the World Tea Expo many times over the last 10 years.

Brian Keating        

Brian Keating, Veteran Specialty Tea Industry Analyst, Sage Group
Brian Keating is the founder of Sage Group®, a specialty tea think tank, publisher and natural products consultancy. For over thirty years Sage Group has assisted natural products ventures with an emphasis on tea beverage businesses. Sage Group has in-depth experience within the retail, wholesale, mail order and supply-side levels of the tea industry. Brian has published nine specialty tea industry reports since 1993, and created over 200 tea-based beverages. Brian was the first tea blend-master and tea-buyer for Whole Foods Market (Allegro). He has been a top-rated speaker at the annual World Tea Expo, and his insights have been showcased in tea business articles worldwide. Brian owned one of North America’s premier tea shops for many years, and pioneered numerous retail and foodservice tea merchandising, marketing and training methodologies.


Brian Meece, CEO, RocketHub
Brian Meece plays a mean ukulele and is the CEO of RocketHub, one of the world's top crowdfunding platforms that has recently partnered with A&E Networks. He has lectured on crowdsourced funding at SXSW, TEDxBrooklyn, Columbia University, Makers Faire, White House roundtables among other colleges, conferences and institutions. His goal? To teach entrepreneurs how to leverage the crowd for funding their endeavors.

 BruceRichardson         Bruce Richardson, Owner, Elmwood Inn Fine Teas/Benjamin Press

MSN calls Bruce Richardson "A leading tea expert involved in tea's American renaissance for over 23 years." The native Kentuckian is a tea blender, writer, and frequent guest speaker at tea events across the country. Bruce is the author of a dozen books on tea, including his 2011 expanded edition of the OkakuraKakuzo's classic Book of Tea. He collaborates with Jane Pettigrew for The New Tea Companion and their 2013 edition of Social History of Tea. He regularly visits tea shops in Great Britain and North America in his unending quest to discover new locations for the latest editions of his Great Tea Rooms of Britain and Great Tea Rooms of America photo books. Bruce serves as a member of the editorial board for Fresh Cup magazine, columnist for TeaTime magazine, and associate editor for TEA magazine. In 2011, he was named Tea Master for Boston's iconic Tea Party Ships & Museum. He is the owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and Benjamin Press, located in Danville, Kentucky.

 Christopher Coccagna copy         Christopher Coccagna, Owner, T-We

One of the newer kids on the block, Christopher Coccagna is gaining quick traction in the San Francisco retail market with intelligently marketed in-store tea blends. Coccagna is building a grassroots following by actively participating in the art festival and popup scene, connecting with young consumers. He is passionate about tea culture and sees his retail brand as an opportunity to introduce tea to the mass market with tea blends and educate with more unadulterated tea culture.

 dandwyer         Dan Dwyer, Partner, Kleinfeld, Kaplan and Becker

Dan Dwyer is a partner with Kleinfeld, Kaplan and Becker. He primarily represents companies on FDA and advertising law matters. Mr. Dwyer has substantial expertise in product safety issues, clinical trials, labeling and advertising claim substantiation, sales and marketing practices, good manufacturing practices, inspections, recalls, compliance programs and related matters.


David Barenholtz, CEO, American Tea Room

David Barenholtz is an entrepreneur and  CEO of American Tea Room one of the most prestigious retail tea emporiums in the world.  Outside of his love of tea David develops luxury residences in Los Angeles, has consulted for Christie's - the famed auction house  and was a VP at Hanna Barbera the iconic cartoon company. David has an BA from the University of Michigan and a MA from Columbia University.

 David Decandia head shot        

David DeCandia, Director of Tea, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

David’s role encompasses everything from sourcing and purchasing tea directly from estates around the world to creating the company’s signature tea blends. He also is involved in the company’s Caring Cup global initiatives, which support the building of new schools, health care facilities, and more in the regions from which the company sources tea, including India, Sri Lanka, China, and Japan. He is a member of the Tea Association of America and the Specialty Tea Institute, and is a speaker and/or judge at a number of tea fairs and expos worldwide, including the World Tea Expo and the Hong Kong Tea Fair. He lives in Ventura, CA.


David Edwards, Owner, New Mexico Tea Company

David Edwards started building his retail business in 2006. He is now one of the top suppliers of tea in the Albuquerque area providing both to tea lovers, food service, and wholesale. NM Tea Co.'s branding tells a beautiful story and makes for a rich web presence. Edwards was the first US-based tea retailer to start accepting Bitcoin on his website and tea shop. NM Tea Co. offers direct sourced teas, herbal infusions, and blends.

 DavidSprinkle         David Sprinkle, Publisher, Packaged Facts

David Sprinkle is the publisher and research director at Packaged Facts, a leading line of syndicated research reports on consumer markets. He has contributed to publications such as Candy & Snack Today, Gourmet Retailer, Inside Cosmeceuticals, Natural Products INSIDER, Nutraceuticals World, and Progressive Grocer, as well as presented at industry conferences including Fancy Food Show, Focus on the Future, GOED Exchange, Innovations in Food & Beverage Packaging, National Coffee Association, National Confectioners Association, Nutracon, SupplySide West, and World Tea Expo. His report on Premium Consumers and the New Economy was published by Packaged Facts in 2009, and he is currently compiling a consumer trend study entitled Americans in 2020. He has an MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he also taught business communications.

 DavidWalker         David Walker, President, Walker Tea

David Walker has spent over forty five years in every stage of the tea and coffee industries, beginning in western Kenya, and working throughout Eastern and Central Africa. He has a wide experience in planting and manufacturing tea and coffee and has worked as a trader, quality controller, and blender. He is a renowned tea taster and coffee liquorer. From 1973 to 1983 he ran his own tea importing and coffee broking company in New York City, Walker Tea Corp; and for the next 10 years worked as a consultant and quality controller for several US Coffee Trading Companies, traveling extensively in Central and South America and the Middle East. In 1992 he returned to East Africa to rehabilitate a tea and coffee estate and factory. He now spends his time between Florida and East Africa, consulting mainly with tea and coffee small holder cooperatives, establishing the best possible quality and finding overseas markets.

 DonnaFellman         Donna Fellman, Online Education Manager, World Tea Academy

Managing tea houses in Seattle and Boulder, Donna Fellman discovered the key to selling tea, cultivating confident staff and developing dedicated customers was educating herself about tea, and sharing what she learned. Through focused tea tastings, travel to countries of origin and learning from so many others in the tea industry, she gained the experience and insight in the world of tea that she continues to share with others. As Director of the Tea Education Alliance, she has written, spoken and taught classes about many aspects of tea. Formerly the Chairman of the Education Committee of the Specialty Tea Institute, she helped develop the STI Certification Program for tea professionals, and is currently serving on the education board for both STI and WTE. She co-authored the book, Tea Here Now.

 EllenLeaf-Moore         Ellen Leaf-Moore, Owner, Fezziwig's Marketplace

Ellen Leaf Moore began her interpersonal and relationship building skills while earning her degree in Opera Performance in Ohio. Ellen decided to take a different road in the world of business. In 1994, Ellen partnered with her families bridal business to help grow the company. In 1999, Ellen left the family business and became a district manager for a Formal Wear company in Atlanta, GA. After 2 years, Ellen was recruited to be the General Manager at Williams- Sonoma in Atlanta. Ellen and her husband Tim decided to marry and Ellen transferred to St. Louis and changed to the Pottery Barn Division of the company. Ellen was with Williams Sonoma Inc for over 5 years where she gained a plethora of high level experience in recruiting, hiring, training, visual merchandising, sales growth, payroll control and over all great customer service. Ellen & her husband decided to open their own small business in October of 2007 which is called Fezziwig’s Marketplace. Fezziwig’s is a gourmet foods, loose leaf tea, wine, entertaining and home décor store in Historic Lebanon, IL. Ellen and her team are still growing strong in the tea business despite the downturned economy and competitors entering her market.

 elyse petersen         Elyse Petersen, Founder, Tealet

Elyse Petersen is a Global Tea Ambassador with the International Tea Farms Alliance and the Pacific Coast Chapter Representative of the US League of Tea Growers. Her experience working on tea farms has inspired her to help tea culture across the U.S. and around the world. Petersen is an experienced international development worker in the area of food security, natural resource management, and sustainable food preservation, having served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa and Antigua and Barbuda, Eastern Caribbean. Elyse graduated from Shidler College of Business with a Japan-focused M.B.A and from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a B.S. in Food Science and Technology.

 Emeric Harney         Emeric Harney, Soho Tea Shop Manager, Harney & Sons Fine Tea

Emeric is general manager of Harney & Sons SoHo, where he continues the family tradition of making great tea an everyday luxury for New Yorkers and tourists alike. Having grown up surrounded by the culture and family Business, Emeric has a superior knowledge of the intricacies and characteristics of many varieties grown the world over, giving him insight as head of marketing operations and event planning. Emeric is also becoming increasingly involved in blending, and has already created a number of well-received teas.

 GailGastelu         Gail Gastelu, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, The Tea House Times

Gail Gastelu is Publisher of The Tea House Times and produces several other beneficial products and services for the tea industry. Gail specializes in information management, provides various educational services, publishing, consulting, product research, reviews, marketing services and tea business advancement. Her passion and drive is to help tea businesses grow. Since 2003 she has been working to connect businesses and consumers to all facets of the tea industry. Services and programs produced by Gail include publication in print and online; continuing education; tea industry directory, news bureau;;;;;; and Having worked with consumers and businesses on all levels, Gail understands the ups and downs of the tea industry and works hard to build positive business and deeper consumer connections through tea.

Jack Groot photo         Jack Groot, Founder, JP's Coffee & Espresso Bar

Jack Groot is the founder and creator of JP's Coffee & Espresso Bar, Rubyjuice Fruit & Smoothies, Rubyjuice Franchise, Breakpoint Coffee Kiosk, On Track Coffee Consulting and the Midwest Barista School (MBS). Jack's experience in creating, operating, growing and franchising businesses, combined with his passion to help others do the same, has helped hundreds of clients create, open and grow their own business or improve existing operations. Mr. Groot currently spends his time consulting, writing his blog, and is a monthly columnist for the coffee industry's premier trade publication, the Specialty Coffee Retailer.

james aiya        

James Oliveira, Sales Representative, Aiya America

Aiya America is the biggest manufacturer and supplier of Japanese Matcha green tea in America.  It’s global mission is to share the goodness of Matcha with the world. Since joining Aiya America, James Oliveira has participated in numerous trade shows, given many presentations, and has given Matcha demostrations. While in college James has studied aborad  in Tokyo, Japan and  is very familiar with Japan, its language, culture, and traditions.

 JanePettigrew         Jane Pettigrew, International Tea Consultant and Writer

Jane has worked in the world of tea since 1983. After owning her own tearoom, she become a freelance editor, writer and consultant to organisations including the UK Tea Council, The UK Tea Club, and the Indian Tea Board. She has worked with a number of tea and tea related companies and has written for various magazines and websites, including Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, Tea and Coffee Asia, Fresh Cup, STiR Tea and Coffee, Tea-Time Magazine, Tea – A Magazine, and World Tea Media. She has also trained staff and given presentations in five star hotels and tea rooms around the world and gives tea masterclasses in the UK under the auspices of The UK Tea Council. She has also spoken at tea conferences in the US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Argentina. She has published 14 books on tea and is currently working on more.

JB4         Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS

Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD is a Professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. His research efforts are focused on the biochemical basis for the role of antioxidant nutrients and their dietary requirements in health promotion and disease prevention during the aging process via their modulation of oxidative stress and inflammation.

 IMG 38821         Jerry Liu, PhD, Taiwan Tea Institute    

Dr. Jerry Liu is an educator with a background in behavior ecology, sensory perception, and organismal behavior.  He currently collaborates with the Taiwan Tea Industry to develop courses, workshops, and materials on Tea Education for the Taiwan Tea Institute.  Dr. Liu is also a faculty member at Mount Saint Mary’s College, and has taught courses on Behavioral Ecology, Neurobiology of Behavior, Environmental Science, and Human Anatomy & Physiology.  Previously, he was a scientist with the Astrobiology Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory – NASA; a Postdoctoral Fellow at USC; and has conducted research at Caltech, the Great Lakes WATER Institute, Shoals Marine Laboratories, Friday Harbor Laboratories, and the Marine Science Research Center.  He has collaborated with and been funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Department of Defense, NASA, and DARPA.  His work has appeared on BBC, Discovery Channel, and PBS.Dr. Liu received his Bachelors from New York University.  He has a Master’s in Marine Environmental Sciences from Stony Brook University, specializing in Behavioral Ecology, Bio-fluid Mechanics, and Oceanography.  He received a Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, in Biological Sciences, specializing in Microbiology, Sensory Behavior, and Artificial Intelligence.

 JonasFeliciano         Jonas Feliciano, Industry Analyst – Beverages, Euromonitor International

Jonas Feliciano joined Euromonitor International in 2005 and is now the global industry analyst for beverages research. As an industry analyst, Jonas plays an integral role in Euromonitor’s beverage research analysis. He is responsible for producing articles and global reports on trends and developments in the beverage industry on a local, regional and global level. In addition, Jonas assists in country research of market sizes, brand and company shares and new product developments in the beverage industry.Before assuming the role of beverage analyst, Jonas worked with Euromonitor in varying research roles. Prior to that, he was a retail sales representative for Kraft foods and has experience as an attorney representing corporate clients. Jonas earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. 

 JoshuaRussertBfullersHeadshot 2         Joshua Russert, Chief Alchemical Office, B. Fuller's Mortar and Pestle

Before co-founding B. Fuller’s Mortar & Pestle in 2009, a Seattle-based “Artisanal Modern Apothecary” specializing in fine teas, tisanes and botanicals, Joshua spent nearly 15 years in the specialty coffee industry. Starting as a barista in America’s original coffee capital, he advanced to positions including Barista Lead and Coffee Trainer for Café Trios, Store Manager and Director of Retail Operations for Zoka Coffee Roasters & Tea Co. (wholesaler with 6 local cafés), and Senior Learning Specialist for Starbucks Coffee International. His experience includes training and development for operations in the U.S. and abroad. Today he and his partners at B. Fuller’s supply some of Seattle’s premier café’s and restaurants with distinctive tea and tisane blends. As the company’s Chief Alchemical Officer, Joshua happily spends his days creating new steeping techniques, sharing inventive infusions with discerning customers and helping them gain a deeper relationship with the plant kingdom.


Julee Rosanoff, Co-Owner and Founder of the Perennial Tea Room

Julee has been selling tea and tea products for 25 years, providing educational tastings and workshops, and consulting with prospective new business owners.  Additionally she has been instrumental in creating the NW Tea Festival, which is now in its 7th year providing tea education to Seattle and the surrounding area.

 KatieYoung         Katie Young, Customer Service Manager/Social Media, The Tea Spot

Customer Service Manager, Katie Young, will wow you with her smile and great customer care. She’s an out-of-the-box thinker and a graduate of the Honors Program from the Montfort School of Business at UNC Greeley. A native Coloradan, Katie loves hiking, baking, gardening, and thrift store thrill seeking.

 KevinChristiansen         Kevin Christiansen, Executive Director, Cafe Barnabas

You ask “ How can I captivated the youthful tea consumer?” Teen expert and entrepreneur Kevin Christiansen explores this question based on 14 years of youth work and a hybrid business / not-for-profit model. His tea fueled, high energy personality seizes the attention of youth and adult audiences while addressing a wide range of marketing and mentorship topics. As a powerhouse community connector, Kevin has woven together a network of thousands of people passionate about teens and tea. The results have been changed lives and a viral enthusiasm for this sensory rich beverage in Topeka, KS. Audiences can expect an interactive journey through the topic complemented by examples gained from hands-on experiences and a B.A. from a prestigious Chicago school. Kevin’s proud of his 2 year old son who can already identify the difference between a black and green tea.

 KevinGascoyne         Kevin Gascoyne, Owner, Camellia Sinensis

British tea taster Kevin Gascoyne has been buying tea in Asia since 1989. He started his career as a tea writer for publications in the U.K., the U.S.A. and Japan. Over the years his passion for the black teas of India has spread to the plantations of many other countries. In Canada he is one of the owners of the Camellia Sinensis Tea Houses and Tea Schools of Montréal and Québec City. Each year he and his fellow tasters travel to the tea gardens of Asia to select teas for their internationally renowned catalogue. . As well as regular public tastings, Kevin is also involved in a wide range of workshops, conferences, seminars, research and consulting activities in North America and Asia. He also co-authored of the prize-winning book ‘Tea, History, Terroirs, Varieties’.

 KristenSchneider         Kristen Schneider, Small Business Consultant, Schneider Consulting

Building and maintaining strong foundations is vital to any business, but the requirements in the United States can be confusing. Dr. Kristen Schneider understands these challenges based on her own experiences opening and running a brick-and-mortar tea room, launching an internet tea business, and working as a small business consultant. Kristen holds a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, where her specialties included products liability and medical malpractice. As a Senior Adjunct Professor, she taught law classes for 13 years before entering the tea industry. Kristen is a publisher author, and a frequent speaker on both tea and legal issues.


Moderator - Lorna Reeves, Editor, TeaTime Magazine

Lorna Reeves was introduced to the pleasures of tea at the venerable Williamsburg Inn during a needlearts seminar years ago. She was immediately smitten, and it wasn’t long before tea drinking became an essential part her daily routine.

Lorna graduated with honors from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and is fluent in Spanish, having spent her formative years in South America. She began her career at Hoffman Media in 1991, where her needlework skills and love for the art served her well during her tenure as editor of both Just CrossStitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. Next, Lorna, an accomplished cook, guided one of Hoffman’s quite successful publications, Taste of the South, through its first five years before trading spatulas for teacups in her move to TeaTime. Of her many responsibilities as editor, she especially enjoys visiting tea businesses of all styles and telling their stories in the pages of the magazine. She is currently pursuing STI Level 3 certification.

Lorna balances the rigors of a career with the joys of parenthood as she and husband, Brent, raise their two wonderful teenage children in Hoover, Alabama.


Lynn Dornblaser, Director of Innovation and Insight, Mintel

Lynn Dornblaser brings more than a quarter century of product trend knowledge to Mintel, which she joined in 1998. She applies her unique perspective on the market and new product development to tailored client research and to extensive public speaking. Prior to joining Mintel, Dornblaser covered new product trends at several trade magazine publishing companies, as editor and editorial director of publication New Product News. She has been quoted by major US news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, and CNN. In addition, Dornblaser has also served as keynote lecturer and speaker for numerous industry groups and sales forums. Dornblaser holds a BS in Journalism from the University of Illinois and has also contributed to a textbook on new product development. She can usually be found in the aisles of a supermarket somewhere in the world.

 MoSardella         Mo Sardella, Director of Marketing, G.S. Haly & Co.

Mo Sardella has been working in the Specialty Tea Industry since 1998, where he began his career at Peet’s Coffee and Tea based in Berkeley, CA. Since then, Mo has focused on tea education programs, and helping to maintain the consistency and quality of Specialty Tea available to North American consumers . Mo joined The G.S. Haly Company in 2010, where he continues to his knowledge and excitement about specialty teas from traditional tea producing areas around the world. Through active and collaborative partnerships with tea producers and suppliers, Mo continues to develop his skills at the cupping table, and his depth of knowledge about tea.

 NaomiRosen         Naomi Rosen, Owner, Joy's Teaspoon

Naomi Rosen is part of a growing trend of small business owners building tea community through education events. She started Joy's Teaspoon in 2010 as way to share her passion for tea. She has found success with offering tea education through a local Meetup group that she cultivated on the internet. Rosen is also excited to tell the story of tea as she has taken a role of leadership in doing marketing for the US Grown Tea movement.

 PeterMartino         Peter Martino, CEO, Capital Teas

Peter is a dynamic, highly driven entrepreneur and attorney who is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Georgetown Law. He is a former nuclear submarine officer and serial entrepreneur who sold his first company, a financial software developer, to a public company. In 2007, Peter co-founded Capital Teas with his wife Manelle, taking advantage of her 120-year family tradition in the tea trade, and since 2010 has embarked upon a rapid expansion program. In addition to overseeing financial and legal operations of Capital Teas, Peter drives the company’s brand through retail store design, tea selection and marketing, and online strategy. His mutli-faceted career includes practicing law in New York City at the nation's most successful litigation boutique, as a Presidential appointee to a Senior Executive position at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as a real-estate developer, and as a business consultant. His favorite role is developing companies and brand strategies for market success.

 RobertWemischner         Robert Wemischner, Food Writer Chef, The Dessert Architect

Author of four books, food writer of countless articles on food related subjects and authority on the subject of exploring the culinary potential of tea, Robert Wemischner has traveled the world presenting about his twin passions: tea and dessert. A valued and sought after presenter on top cruise lines as a guest chef (Silversea, Crystal and Holland America), Chef Wemischner captivates his audiences with his deep and authoritative knowledge of tea, pastry, ethnic cuisines and cooking in general and has pioneered the development of recipes using tea in both sweet and savory applications.

RonaTison          Rona Tison, Senior V.P., Corporate Relations, ITO EN

As Sr. Vice president of corporate relations for the world’s leading supplier of green tea and beverages, Rona Tison has extensive experience in retail, hospitality and the food and beverage industry.  Spearheading  top Zagat rated Tea Rooms and award-winning beverages she is fluent in Japanese and English, and has a heartfelt & longtime interest in tea .She has  a refined approach to innovative marketing and developing the company's corporate image through branding, public relations and promotional events. With her ideal blend in Itea knowledge, hospitality and international business,  she has been a guest speaker at the Smithsonian Institute, Carnegie Mellon University and World Tea Festival 2013 in Japan.

 ScottSvihula.jpeg         Scott Svihula, Teasmith, China Mist Tea Company

Scott Svihula is an established global expert in the area of research and development for the Tea Industry. As the Teasmith for China Mist Tea Company, Svihula develops high-quality teas and tea blends in exciting, market responsive flavor profiles. He also works closely with the company’s restaurant partners to pair and select teas that enhance and leverage their competitive advantage and create distinctive and exceptional experiences for their guests. As a recognized leader in the industry, Svihula has held positions on the Specialty Tea Institute (STI) Advisory Board and the World Tea Expo (WTE) Business Advisory Board and World Tea Academy (WTA) Technical Advisor.


Shabnam Weber, Owner, The Tea Emporium Inc.

Shabnam Weber is the co-owner of The Tea Emporium - a specialty tea company in Toronto with five locations and more on their way. Shabnam is a tea educator and author of the Tea Sommelier program for the Tea Association of Canada currently being taught at Colleges across Canada. She is a board member of the Tea Association of Canada and is Chair of the Education, Retail and Marketing Committees. Shabnam has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Toronto as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology from the UK.

 thomasshu         Thomas Shu, Vice President and Marketing Director, JT & Tea Inc.

Thomas Shu, Vice President and Marketing Director of JT & Tea Inc., parent company of ABC TEA, a third-generation tea specialist from Taiwan, where his family has been conducting tea business for more than seventy (70) years.  He works with many major tea companies and premium tea importers from Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States.  With his proficient expertise and extensive knowledge in teas and the tea industry, Thomas Shu is one of the most popular professional instructors/speakers of the World Tea Expo as well as other international conventions and educational institutes.  He is one of the founding members and serves on the board of the American Premium Tea Institute, which has now merged with and known as the Specialty Tea Institute.

In April 2007, Mr. Shu received the honorary title of “Ambassador of Taiwan Tea”, from the Taiwan Tea Manufacturers’ Association in recognition of his dedication and contributions to tea industry.  Since 2008, Thomas has been continuously conducting Taiwan Oolongs Study Tours, known as TOST ( , an intensive educational field workshop program for international tea professionals with hands on training, working with Taiwan Oolongs. Thomas manages the tea blog: He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Find Thomas Shu on Facebook, Twitter.

 TofflerNiemuth         Toffler Niemuth, Founder & Developer of Belight Tea, World Vitae

Toffler fell in love with tea during her six years living in Asia, five of which were in Mainland China, sipping her way through all varieties of Camellia sinensis and the Chinese summertime favorite infusion, Chrysanthemum. One tea that struck her with its unusual taste profile and unique situational preference was Pu-erh tea, drunk by her Chinese friends as a digestif, as a warming tea on a cold rainy day, or for its weight management properties.Prior to her involvement in the tea world, Toffler graduated Magna Cum Laude from the USC Marshall School of Business. She has also certificates in Chinese Medicine from Zhejiang Chinese Medicine University, and in Ayurveda from Greens’ Ayur Institute in Kerala, India. She now incorporates her knowledge of traditional Eastern medicine and herbs into her wellness tea blends, namely Belight Tea. Toffler then educates consumers on all things health, wellness, and tea.

 VictoriaBisogno         Victoria Bisogno, President and Founder, El Club delTé

Victoria is an engineer and she has spent her entire life intimately connected with tea. Founder of El Club del Té (The Tea Club), the first organization in Spanish speaking countries dedicated to promote tea culture, she teaches tea blending, sensory evaluation of teas and the Certified Tea Sommelier course among other tea related topics. Author of the “Tea Sommelier Handbook” together with Jane Pettigrew, she is a speaker at World Tea Expo, she writes for specialized magazines and newspapers and she has created Charming Blends, a teashop dedicated to specialty teas. With El Club del Té (The Tea Club) she performs academic and recreational activities based in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Barcelona and also online.

 YoungmokKim         Youngmok Kim Ph.D, Senior Research Scientist, Synergy Flavors

Youngmok Kim received his master’s degree from the University of Florida where he researched postharvest processing of tropical fruit. Upon completion, he moved to Texas A&M University where he started his tea research for his Ph.D project and immediately fell in love with tea research, because he realized that tea is fantastic! His doctoral research topic was finding factors which influence antioxidant polyphenolic stability during storage and investigating mechanisms/solutions for tea precipitation in tea beverages. Fortunately, he was able to continue researching tea, which he loves to do, at Synergy flavors, one of the largest tea extract producers in the nation where he has been working for 5 and a half years as a senior research scientist. His current work focuses on polyphenolic stability during storage, minimize precipitation/turbidity in tea beverages, developing naturally colored tea drinks, maximizing extraction yield during tea processing, and many other tea research topics. He has given scientific presentations at many different conferences/expos including The International Society of Beverage Technologists, American Chemical Society, Healthy Beverage Expo and World Tea East. He is very happy when audiences learn what’s really in tea from his talk.