Monday, February 2, 2015

Toronto Tea Festival

On the last day of Hot Tea Month, I attended the 3rd Annual Toronto Tea Festival. I was unable to attend the previous festivals so I was extremely excited to finally go this year.

Isn't it amazing how tea brings together people from all ages and cultures? Large crowds make me feel claustrophobic but I kept calm and drank tea!

Kevin Gascoyne, a tea taster from Camellia Sinensis Tea Houses with over 20 years' experience of traveling to Asia to purchase teas, delivered a fun and enlightening 1-hour presentation on tea basics. The science nerd in me particularly enjoyed hearing about his research team's experiments which debunked common myths about the antioxidants and caffeine levels in different types of teas.

 The Korean tea ceremony was performed by Sun-hee Jung (middle table) and her two trainees.
The Chinese Tea Ceremony was performed by Sabrina Chen. The performers' graceful and fluid movements were impressive. There was also a Japanese Tea Ceremony, but we didn't have an opportunity to view it. Now we move from the ancient cultural ceremonies...

to the sci-fi future of tea brewing...Yes, there's an app for that: teaBOT!

The tablet is used to customize your own blend of tea. The teas are dispensed through the main funnel, while the hot water is delivered through the metal spigot. The owners of teaBOT hope to set up these self-serve tea kiosks around the greater Toronto area sometime in the near future.

With over 40 (mostly Canadian-based) exhibitors of teas, teawares, tea products, and snacks, the selections were overwhelming! From top to bottom: Lemon Lily, Capital Tea, Samadhi Tea House.

From top to bottom: Majesteas, Riston Tea, Tao Tea.

Clockwise from top right: 3 Teas, Momo Tea, Basilur Tea (which had the prettiest tea canisters at the festival!)

From top to bottom: King's Cafe, T by Daniel,The Tea Emporium.

Tea and All Its Splendour

Our entry ticket included one free tasting cup which we definitely put to good use! I usually gravitate towards flavoured teas so to expand my palate, I tried some oolong teas: Capital Tea's Alishan Jin Xuan (left) and Majesteas' Shangri La (right). I prefered the Shangri La because of its slight fruity taste.

Arsh Inc.'s green tea (left) was okay. The hot cinnamon spice black tea from Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar tasted exactly like cinnamon heart candies.

We also had samples from Tao Tea: Ginger and Tangerine herbal infusions (top) and Blueberry Rooibos (bottom; too tart to my liking!).

Tea-Ara (cute name!) was also serving samples of their herbal infusions and rooibos which would also taste good iced.

To determine which pu-erh we should sample, the vendor (I can't recall the company's name) touched our hands. My mom got white pu-erh, while I was good for any of the pu-erh teas...I ended up tasting the white pu-erh too which was alright.

There was nary a sight of dainty English-style bone china tea sets...

...but there were Chinese-style teawares galore!

For the trendy and hip tea drinkers: Grosche's modern glass teawares.

Of course no tea is complete without the proper snack! We brought home some of Sugar Peony's tea-infused macarons (top). The scones (bottom) enticed people to visit T-Bud's Tea Lounge and Creperie for the perfect afternoon tea experience. We also tried Sprucewood's Shortbread Cookies but I was too busy stuffing myself with the yummy cookies to take a photo.

Now I exercised GREAT RESTRAINT and came home with a modest(ish) loot of tea goodies: 3 teas (Basilur's White Moon green tea; Lemon Lily's Cherry Blossom green tea; Riston's chocolate truffle black tea); a Tea book autographed by Kevin Gascoyne (one of the co-authors); Bare English & Co.'s passionfruit hand and body cream; Sprucewood's maple and lemon shortbread cookies; and Sugar and Peony's macarons. The bag and glass cup were complimentary.

My favourite purchase was Riston's Margaret tea--a black tea blend with chocolate and Irish cream. I was sold as soon as I saw it because:
a) the tea shared my name (although I bear no resemblance to the doll on the photo!);
b) the tin was purple;
c) the chocolate flavour (and it smelled heavenly too!).

I'm already looking forward to next year's tea festival!

This week, I'm joining the following parties:


  1. I do love going to tea festivals! So fun! I must admit I have brought home about twice what you did...good restraint! Lol! Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

  2. What a wonderful tea festival to occur in such a wonderful city Toronto is one beautiful cities in the world I hope that you're able to continue enjoying all of the activities that I was there your photos of the festival are wonderful thanks.


  3. What fun! I have never been to a tea festival. I am swooning over those beautiful macarons! I am sure you will recall many lovely moments from your outing and thank you for sharing with us. Have a beautiful day, Margie.


  4. What a fun event! Are you familiar with David's Tea? They are a favorite of mine. Have a great week!

  5. Wow, the tea festival was amazing. That was a LOT of information. No matter the type of tea though I will love mine in bone china.... but it is of course what I am used to.

  6. What an amazing tea festival to enjoy! I loved the tea tin that you purchased and the flavor sounds decadent!

  7. This looked like an awesome event to attend. Another blogging friend was there too and I don't think I saw the same thing on either of your posts.
    Enjoy your Margaret tea - a nice tin to refill.

  8. I have never been to a tea festival. I did not even know they existed. I am going to look to see if they have one near me. It looks like so much fun. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Blessings, Martha

  9. It looks like a very Asian enfluenced tea market as many of them are. Your tea purchase looks very sweet in that tin. I enjoyed reading your interesting post! So glad you shared your visit.

  10. Oh what fun! I would love to have some of those macarons!...Christine

  11. Hi Margie,
    It sounds like a lot of fun! I would love to visit a tea festival! Happy Tea Day! Karen

  12. Hi Margie,
    It sounds like a lot of fun! I would love to visit a tea festival! Happy Tea Day! Karen

  13. What an amazing learning experience, wow - that is SO MUCH to take in, you must have been in high heaven!

  14. What an amazing learning experience, wow - that is SO MUCH to take in, you must have been in high heaven!

  15. What a fun festival! I have never been to anything like that. So interesting how she touched your hands to determine the tea!

  16. How fun and those macaroons look awesome!

  17. Hi Margie! I'm a smidgen jealous of your great tea experience! I've seen ads for the Toronto Tea Festival, but it is way to far away for me! I think there is one in California too--but alas, also not close at all. It looks like you got a bunch of great stuff! The Margaret tea sounds delicious. And macaroons are a French tea staple ;)

  18. One of my friends was there in this Tea festival and he told me that he had some of best tea till now in this festival. I am envy him as earlier I had to go with him but had to drop the plan last moment. I wonder why we don’t have similar events in NYC as it would be totally to have it here.

  19. Oh I lived in Toronto for 7 years and never once made it to the festival... sad... I wish I could have been there with you. What a great blog. I think I read all your posts today. :-)


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