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2019 Seminars


All are welcome! Free to attend. Located in “Seminars” area of Hall E.


Saturday, December 14, 2019

11:30AM Tea 101: Fundamentals of Tea & Tea Tasting (Presented by: Victoria Wu, MeiMei Fine Teas)
1:00PM Siphon Brew: Where Science and Coffee Meet (Presented by: Anthony Robinson, Retrofuture Coffee)
2:30PM Looking Closer at Lapsang Souchong (Presented by: Mervyn Clarke, MurphCha)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

11:30AMJapanese Tea Ceremony: A Demonstration (Mary Lynn Howard, Urasenke Philadelphia)
1:00PMPurple Tea? Kenya’s New Tea Category (Paul Bain, JusTea)

** Seminars subject to change without notice. Please check back for updates.**

Tea 101: Fundamentals of Tea & Tea Tasting

Presented By: Victoria Wu, Founder & CEO of MeiMei Fine Teas

In this 45-minute fun and educational seminar, learn about the tea plant, Camellia Sinesis, and the six classes of tea - their characteristics and flavor profiles. After, you will walk away with a solid foundation of tea knowledge, be able to discern the many, often misconceived, notions about tea, and know which tea is best for you. A perk of this seminar is also tasting four of the world’s finest teas (while supply lasts).

About Victoria Wu:

Victoria Wu is the Founder and CEO of Meimei Fine Teas. Moved by her intense passion for tea, she bravely gave up her CPA professional career, resolving to find the highest quality, most authentic teas in the world. This project has become a labor of love, requiring her to travel far and wide on annual tea sourcing trips that, at times, prove physically and mentally demanding. She is personally involved in processing some of the world’s finest teas. Over the years, she has become friends with tea farmers, tea masters, various commercial producers, merchants and industry professionals. She also studied tea and tea culture at various tea institutes in China and gained valuable knowledge and insights in all aspects of Chinese tea and tea culture.

Photos courtesy of MeiMei Fine Teas.


Siphon Brew: Where Science and Coffee Meet

Presented By: Anthony Robinson, Owner of Retrofuture Coffee

With the help of science, a small chemistry set just makes for a better cup of coffee! Learn how to use a siphon brew and see, via demonstration, techniques that produce a unique and delicious taste of coffee you likely have not experienced before. Once you learn how to brew coffee on a siphon, you may never go back. Some believe the siphon brew is the best, and only, way to drink a hot cup of joe.

About Anthony Robinson:

Anthony Robinson is the owner of Retrofuture Coffee. He loves coffee and drinks it everyday! His love for coffee started from his first passion, music. He owns an entertainment company called DR EVENTS and partners with the Philadelphia Eagles and Big Brother & Big Sister of Philadelphia often. Since Anthony is often up late at night planning and executing upscale events, he needs the caffeine from coffee to keep moving but became tired of drinking Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. After feeling that chain coffee didn’t possess the taste that he craved, he researched coffee and the different roasts, types, and ways to prepare it; and started his own company, Retrofuture Coffee.

Anthony’s two favorite ways to prepare coffee are through siphon brewing and cold brewing. He’s brewed several hundred pots of coffee via the siphon brew and came up with a very specific style that produces the exact taste he’s looking for. Hopefully, you will enjoy it too!

Photo from Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash.


Looking Closer at Lapsang Souchong

Presented By: Mervyn Clarke, Tea Culture Ambassador of MurphCha

In this seminar, participants will dive into the Lapsang Souchong style of tea and taste the subtle differences in varying production methods. As one of the most famous styles of black tea, often recognized for its smoky taste, this tea has been promoted and enjoyedby many. Join Mervyn in tasting five variants of this style of tea, two smoked and three unsmoked to develop a deeper appreciation for this style of tea traditionally from the WuYi regions of China.


About Mervyn Clarke:

Mervyn is a local tea community leader in the Phoenixville (PA) area. As a Tea Culture Ambassador he is responsible for promoting the values and principles of tea cultures from all around the globe. Through his educational experiences, he invites people from all cultures to learn more about tea and become connoisseurs of tea.

Mervyn was involved with the Penn State Tea Institute, where he learned skills to appreciate Chinese tea culture and brew a fantastic cup of tea. Since graduating he has continued his tea education through multiple tea exhibitions, tea trips, and most recently the World Tea Expo! He plans to use all of his experiences to guide you in his seminar.

Photo courtesy of MeiMei Fine Teas.


Japanese Tea Ceremony: A Demonstration

Presented By: Mary Lynn Howard, Chado Tea Practitioner with Urasenke Philadelphia

Tea ceremony - called “chanoyu” or “chado” in Japanese - is at once an art form, a spiritual discipline, a way to socialize, and a window into Japanese culture. Practiced for more than 450 years, this unique way of sharing tea has spread around the world.

There are many styles of tea ceremony, but they typically include a ceremonial cleansing of the utensils, the serving of sweets, preparing and serving bowls of tea, and the appreciation of the artistry of the tools used in the performance. Led by a member of the Urasenke Philadelphia Association, the host will wear a traditional kimono and will serve three guests of honor as part of the demonstration.

About Mary Lynn Howard:

Mary Lynn Howard is a Chado Tea practitioner in the Japanese Urasenke Tradition, with over 13 years of experience, and is associated locally with Urasenke Philadelphia. She began studying Chado in Philadelphia in 2005. In 2014, Mary Lynn studied in Kyoto, Japan for a year, participating in the Midorikai Program, a one year intensive training course of the Urasenke Tea School. She often volunteers at Shofuso, the Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia and has provided Chado demonstrations for a variety of functions, including art openings, college cultural events, and outdoor gatherings.

Photo provided by Mary Lynn Howard.


Purple Tea? Kenya’s New Tea Category

Presented By: Paul Bain, CEO of JusTea

Black tea, green tea, white tea…. purple tea? The world’s first true innovation in tea cultivation is here and it is purple! Grown exclusively in Kenya, learn what the heck Purple Tea is all about and what it means for Kenya’s tea industry. Additionally, hear about the brief history of tea in Kenya and what it is like to travel to Kenya and be a small-scale tea farmer from the speaker’s own experiences travelling to purple tea gardens ten times over the past seven years.


About Paul Bain:

Paul Bain, Tea Captain at JusTea, partners exclusively with small-scale tea farmers in Kenya. He has been travelling back and forth from Vancouver to Kenya since 2012. Paul has made over 10 trips to the region and is passionate about connecting tea drinkers back to the farmer who picked their leaves. Through his studies, travels and relationships on the ground, Paul knows the Kenyan tea industry inside and out. His favourite tea is PURPLE and Paul loves sharing the story of this incredible new tea cultivar!


Click here for a list of seminars that took place in 2018