Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tea Professional Weekend in Houston

When I was in London on the Tea Tour, Lee Garcia, Editor of TEA in TEXAS magazine, was there too.  She attended the Tea Master's class with our group.  Lee is a Magnolia & Ivy alumni, and while we had never met in person previously, we had communicated via E-mail, prior to the 2005 launch of her magazine.

 Lee Garcia

I  subscribe to TEA in TEXAS, and when the 2007 Summer Issue arrived in my mail box there was a large advertisement announcing a Tea Professional Weekend to be held in Houston on September 16 & 17th.   Kay and Terri [owners of Magnolia & Ivy] were the keynote speakers.

There was no registration fee for all Magnolia & Ivy alumni, and the topics sounded interesting: Let's Get Steeping - Serve Loose Tea at your Business; Sell Quality Global Teas; Jumpstart your Business; Small Business Finance & Bookkeeping Basics [taught by Comerica Bank]; Advertising; Increase Holiday Sales; Etiquette & Professional Service; Keep Inspired through Challenges; and Tea Tasting - Exciting new blends.   I decided to attend.  

Out-of-town attendees stayed at Staybridge Suites and were shuttled to Westside Tennis and Fitness Club where the sessions were held.

Sandy's Market provided a welcoming "meet and greet" for attendees before being shuttled to the opening session at 12:30 p.m.   The big, unique, indoor market carries large selections of herbs, loose-leaf teas and tea accessories, coffee, grains and nuts, vitamins and health foods, and, of course, fresh vegetables and fruits. 

The market has a buffet that serves breakfast, lunch, and even afternoon tea!  During breakfast and lunch, a tea lady comes tableside with a cart to take tea  orders and prepares it right there.   Impressive! 

This is where I sat.

Shirley, the tea lady taking orders.

Wall of Loose-leaf teas for sale.  2 oz. pkgs. up to 1 lb. pkgs. were available. 
They said they don't keep it in light-proof containers because it sells quickly.   Hummm.... ???

Attendees - Lee Garcia is in the front row second from left.

It was a great weekend and I was glad I attended.   I wrote an article about the weekend that was published in TEA in TEXAS.   May I share just one paragraph of the article...

     "On my last morning in Houston, a young woman at the hotel where I was staying
      asked if she could join me as I sat at a table sipping a cup of Chai tea.   She asked
      what brought me to Houston?  'A tea seminar,'  I replied.  She smiled, realizing we
      had a common interest.  'I'm from India and I've seen many tea plantations,' she
      said.  Glancing at my Bigelow Chai wrapper on the table she continued, 'It takes
      four of those tea bags to equal the strength of a cup of Chai at home.'  As we conversed
      I thought how awesome that the universal beverage of tea brought two strangers
      from different countries together in the big city of Houston!"      

Tea is definitely a natural connector, drawing people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, geographic locations and career paths together.

Tea journey continued...


  1. Hi Phyllis, I just read your last four posts. I loved your London post! I was there in 97 or 98 I believe - what a wonderful city and country. I want to go back for sure. You are quite educated in tea. As for me, I just enjoy drinking tea and I love sampling many different kinds. I also enjoy going to tearooms. Thanks for sharing and have a good week!

  2. Wish I knew what happened to those speakers, Terri and Kay. Have kind of lost touch with Lee Garcia too. How lovely to connect with the woman from India.

  3. Interesting that they believed that "some" light didn't harm the tea. Even if it sells quickly, it seems that they would like to store it in a dry place.

    LaTeaDah from gracioushospitality.com

  4. Phyllis, you have certainly enjoyed an exciting and interesting tea journey that has taken you to many special destinations. It has been quite interesting to read about the many seminars and programs you have attended.

  5. What a fun event! Now I *adore* the idea of the lady with the tea cart rolling up to make your tea. Hmmm. Now how can that be incorporated into something? Must ponder.


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