So on the weekend of February 2nd, I went to the first-ever Toronto Tea Festival with my fiancee. For being a first of it’s kind in the city, I was impressed with both the actual festival and the turn out. I heard about this in early January and was stoked since then, so there was a big build of excitement, and it certainly didn’t dissapoint. First of all, the location was the Toronto Reference Library in the Appel Salon. Let me just say that this library is just so stunningly beautiful.
What I liked about this festival was the exhibitors, who were are independent companies, which was nice to see. At first, I was suprised to see that David’s Tea and Teavana weren’t there, but it was nice. It gave a chance for there to be local flavour. I also enjoyed the seminars that were offered,
Pros: Great space, great turn out, lots of variety of vendors, informational and interessing seminars, very great community of tea enthusiasts.
Cons: Very packed, for the amount of people; the space was too small and the booths were always packed, there was so much to do and not enough time.
Some of the booths I visited:
Tao Leaf: These guys were the ones who made this whole festival possible, so many thanks to them. Their booth was awesome and they had numerous samples, I tried two oolongs, a lighter one and a darker one, both of which I bought samples of. I also tried the organic green mountain and the silver needle. A really nice thing about this booth was the ability to try a variety of teas. From these guys, I bought 3 sample packs of the two oolongs, and the green mountain. I can see myself ordering more tea from them in the future.
Camellia Sinensis: This is an exhibitor I was so anxious to go and see. I was slightly dissapointed that there wasn’t any tea to buy. It was rather cool that I was able to get a book and have it signed by the author. I had a nice little chat with him and he gave me a little sample of oolong from Taiwan along with the purchase of the book.
Distinctly Tea: So this place was pretty cool, So many sample packets. The only downside was that there were no tasting samples. I ended up buying a earl grey smaple pack with 6 different types of earl grey. And this was all just for 9$. I am just stoked to try out these teas. They had so many cute nicknaks and plenty of tea that I want to try, so I may be visiting this place some time in the future.
Tsaa: So this booth was cool. There were no tasting samples, but there were bowls with tea leaves in them where I could smell the numerous different teas. Each packet was 3$. I decided to go with Houjicha, which I have been wanting to try for a while. I would definitely go to this store and try more teas.
The seminars that I attended:
- An Introduction to tea
- Tea Mixology 101: Preparing Tea Cocktails
- Tea in the Himalays
So in a future post, I will focus on the seminars and give you guys the interesting facts that I learned.