The Chinese Tea Expo 2011, held December 16-18 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, was an official event organized as a part of the “Year of Chinese Culture in Australia.” Aside from the various governmental entities involved in the organizing and sponsoring of the tea expo, including the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Australia China Economics, Trade and Culture Association, the tea sector was mostly represented by a selection of Chinese tea companies and exporters from Fujian Province, along with a small representation from Zhejiang. The main teas exhibited and offered for tasting were Tieguanyin, Bai Mu Tan and Bai Hao Yin Zen white teas, Wuyi Rock tea and Wuyi black and Jasmine teas. Chinese teaware and accessories, traditional artifacts, and some Chinese cultural dances and other activities were also a part of the expo.
Most of the booths offered tea tasting and some gave presentations of the Chinese tea ceremony, inviting visitors to enter in and experience not only the delicious teas offered, but also the full experience of the tea ceremony.
In talking with some of the main organizers from China, I learned that the primary purpose of the expo was to introduce the Chinese tea culture to an Australian audience and provide an atmosphere conducive to this – which included Chinese art and music, along with high-quality teas. I feel it certainly did accomplish this, and being the avid Tieguanyin tea lover that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down to some relaxing and blissful moments during the tea ceremony.
However, the overall presentation could have been a little less formal and more inviting to the average Australian who was visiting to learn about and enjoy come Chinese tea. While some folks did enter into the cultural tea experience, I noticed that many were a little reserved and took more of an onlooker stance. This was undoubtedly also partly due to the fact that a lot of the presentations were in Chinese – with some English translations.
Nevertheless, it was a wonderful expo, provided free of charge to the public, and another good step in the right direction toward teaching about and promoting high-quality teas to the Australian community.