Friday, June 21, 2013
Malaysia KL Tea Expo 2013 Part 1
This year, the Malaysia Tea Expo 2013 was held at Tropicana Mall, Kuala Lumpur (KL) from 15 -23 June 2013. Being slightly more familiar with Kuala Lumpur and having attended this tea expo for the past 2 years, I left Singapore early at 6am on 15 Jun on an early flight reaching KL by 7am. Getting to town took another half hour by the KLIA express train and by 9am, I had deposited my luggage at my hotel. I then made my way to the tea expo reaching Tropicana Mall (via train and bus) by 10am. That was wild!
The tea expo was not opened till 11am and I had time for brunch before setting out exploring the expo at a leisurely pace. I say 'leisurely' as there were less than 50 booths there. Mainly represented by Malaysian teashops, there were a few China based booths seen at the fair this year. Though its a small expo, I felt that the gathering of the main Malaysian Chinese tea players in one area allows buyers (old and newbies) to be aware of the Chinese tea shops in Malaysia and the range and variety of Chinese tea available in this region. The atmosphere of the tea expo was very relaxed but it is serious business as well as the cost of renting a booth is high - I was told 3-4 thousand dollars.
A couple of observations:
- you can get good prices for new tea, whether its pu erh, oolong or liu bao. You can get the new Xiaguans, Dayi and Haiwans at good prices.
- Many of the Malaysian tea merchants are now having their own house brand of pu erh. These merchants actually pressed their own cakes. I find this trend to be a positive one as it allows these teashops or dealers a level of differentiation, and such tea expos allow people like me to sample these house brands teas under one roof.
- I believe Malaysia's tea expos are a good place to purchase older liu bao (about 10 years old). They are priced quite nicely and you have a few sellers to choose from.
The 1st 3 pix are those from the brochure by the tea expo organizers. Visitors can purchase an item daily from 3 groups in the brochure. Group 1 are teapots, while group 2 and 3 are tea. I bought a year 2000 Langhe raw cake for 125RM (US$39).