Earlier this year, I had the exciting opportunity to pop into the Toronto Tea Festival. I’ve been wanting to go for over a year and had hoped that being at school in southern Ontario would make it easier to go. Well, I was finally able to go for a short time with my parents, to catch the last day of this tea lover’s event.
It actually worked out perfectly; my parents and I were in Toronto on the last day of the festival as we were getting together with the extended family. When we got to Toronto we still had a few hours before the get-together. We decided, after some prompting from me, to go visit the festival for a short time. We arrived at the height of the day; it was packed, with dozens of people poring over stalls of fine loose tea and fancy teaware. Just after our arrival, towards the back of the room, three women began demonstrating a Korean tea ceremony, something I have always wanted to see, as it brings a passion for tea to life.
After watching the tea ceremony I decided to do some shopping myself. Of course I needed to pick up some new tea! I went straight to the tables of loose leaf tea, buying packs of oolong and jasmine tea left and right. The festival brought some firsts my way as well. I bought my first cake of pu-erh and my first gaiwan. Going around to these stalls was fantastic as I was able to have great conversations about tea with other tea lovers, something I don’t always get to do. I love learning more about tea and tea production from those involved in the industry.
Just as I was about to leave, I spotted a booth set up by Linda Gaylard, author of the great tea resource The Tea Book. It was really something to be able to talk to her about her book, and I was even able to snag an autographed copy of the book!
All in all, I’d say that the tea festival has been the best tea experience I’ve had all year. Not only that, I’ve been able to enjoy the delicious teas I purchased out of my new gaiwan. It was such a spectacular event, being able to talk tea all day, and witness all manner of tea culture. I can’t wait to go back next year!