In June 2007, I boarded another airplane at Detroit Metro Airport bound for Atlanta, but this time it was to attend the June 9-11, 2007 World Tea Expo that was held at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center. I stayed at the Omni Hotel [CNN Center] and Mary Jane [my London roommate] and I roomed together again.
The Southern Association of Tea Businesses, Inc. kicked-off the World Tea Expo with a June 8th evening event at The Carter Presidential Center with Jane Pettigrew as the keynote speaker. Her topic was: "US vs. UK - The Battle Over Tea." Mary Jane and I attended.
L-R: Phyllis [me], Jane Pettigrew and Mary Jane
Desiring to pursue tea in the Hospitality Industry, I enrolled in seven sessions:  Fill the Void: Tea Events to Boost your Food and Beverage Business  Tea Solutions for Food Service  Presentation is Everything: Hospitality Ideas When Entertaining  Tricks of the Trade: Using Designer Secrets to Increase Sales  Build Skills and Confidence: Public Speaking for Entrepreneurs  How to Conduct a Successful Tea Tasting and  Tea and Chocolate Pairing.
I was particularly interested in Jeffrey Hattrick's session, Tea Events to Boost your Food and Beverage Business, since he is the resident tea specialist at The Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix, AZ. Prior to arriving in Atlanta, Mr. Hattrick and I set up a one-on-one appointment following the class session. He was a wealth of information and full of enthusiasm about tea themed events.
At 1:00 p.m. on June 9th, I had a reservation to attend Tea with Friends at Swan Coach House in Atlanta's beautiful uptown Buckhead district. The tea was coordinated by international tea expert, author and speaker, Elizabeth Knight. She spoke on tea brewing and dining traditions from around the world, focusing on "Tea the Drink" and "Tea the Meal." It was my fourth time to hear her speak, and she's always enlightening.
L-R: Phyllis and Elizabeth Knight
L-R: Anne Evans, Elizabeth Knight and Me
L-R: Me and Cheryl Dunbar
Julita, a Magnolia & Ivy alumni, coordinated a Sunday afternoon tea event at Vintage Teas in Alpharetta, Georgia [30 minutes from Atlanta] owned by Brenda Lain, another M & I alumni. It's always fun when M & I alumni get together for tea!
Me with Brenda Lain, Tea Room Owner
Yummy goodies on the three-tier Tea Tray
Dawnya Sasse, creator of the online course Start a Tea Business that I took in 2003, was at the Expo and I was happy to meet her in person.
When all the Expo classes ended on June 11th and the vendors and most of the attendees packed up to return home, I stayed an additional day to take the Level 1 Certification Course offered by the Specialty Tea Institute. It was a happy day when I received the test results in the mail stating that I passed with a 100% score and received my certificate. I have yet to pursue the remaining levels.