Who doesn’t like tea? Especially in the midst of this cold winter we can all appreciate a warm drink that can give you extra energy or help you relax. For every rare heathen that dislikes tea, there’s one person who can’t get enough of it, and for those tea addicts there was the third annual Toronto Tea Festival held from January 31st to February 1st at the Toronto Reference Library.
In the same area that during TCAF becomes the “Webcomic Pavillion”, the Tea Festival provides space for plenty of speciality tea companies to give out samples of their teas, market their fancy tea product to the crowd, and demonstrate their brewing process. Between the rows of tables, hundreds of drinkers hustled and browsed and experimented with new products and tastes.
One new element this year were the small but durable sample-scale cups given to attendees. Last year collecting all the various sample cups became an activity on it’s own, but it was also very wasteful. Re-usable glass sample cups eliminated the waste and afterwards they’re a nice souvenir.
Throughout the weekend there were several events, like a seminar on cooking with tea hosted by author Raelene Gannon who was at the show with her new book, Tea and All Its Splendour. The presentation showed how Tea has applications outside of just as a beverage and can be used in the kitchen to give a tasty twist to hundreds of different meals. Other fascinating things to watch include a Chinese Guzheng performance and demonstrations of traditional tea serving ceremonies to help understand the history of tea.
It wouldn’t be the Toronto Tea Fest without T By Daniel being there, who a year ago gave the event a smooth and masculine charm. Since last year his Brampton storefront has become more well known and hopefully he’ll eventually expand to have locations in other parts of the GTA (by which I mean Oakville).
The Toronto Tea Fest gives an enhanced look into a drink that’s more than just Tetley and Kreuig packets. There’s things like tasty Matcha and hundreds of choices of Macarons and Honeys to accompany your tea and hand crafted ceramics to drink your tea from. The Toronto Tea Fest is a good event for anyone who can understand the potential complexities of our favourite morning pick-me-up and inspire anyone to consider becoming a Tea sommelier.
–Michael Ryan, February 4th 2015