( With this post, we introduce a new category: Tea Festivals ~ editor )

Premieres November 1-3, 2019

The first annual Chicago International Tea Festival debuts on November 1-3, 2019, at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. This three-day event is open to food and beverage industry professionals as well as to the tea-loving public, making it a unique hybrid that provides a meaningful event for both.

Recognizing that tea businesses of all sizes are both retail and wholesale, show organizers are creating an environment that is both marketplace and educational platform for wide ranging interests and experiences. Attendees can sample and shop the world of tea while the industry observes the trends first-hand.

With a focus on industry attendees on Friday, many workshops and classes will be scheduled for their needs. Then, on Saturday and Sunday, Tasting Cafes, Food and Tea Pairings, Ceremonies and cultural experiences, and introductory level classes will fill out a broad agenda. The two large vendor spaces will provide exceptional opportunities for tea tasting and shopping, and festival-goers can participate in a Passport to Tea self-guided tasting tour as well as vote for the People’s Choice Award winner. The overall educational program will feature more than forty speakers in more than a hundred classes and special events. The festival closes on Sunday afternoon with an Afternoon Tea Buffet and keynote talk by Lorna Reeves, editor of Tea Time Magazine, named Best Tea Publication at the 2014 World Tea Awards.

Special events include:

  • A buffet breakfast and Q&A with the Rock Stars of Tea
  • The U.S. premier of the tea documentary, Champagne of Tea with Kevin Gascoyne of Camellia Sinensis
  • A tasting flight of regional teas is included and may feature rare teas
  • A cocktail reception for combining business and pleasure, old friends and new contacts.
  • An opening ceremony featuring representatives from international tea cultures sharing the teas of their countries with each other

The Chicago festival is being produced by a team of tea industry veterans, led by Festival Director Nicole Burriss. Based in Kansas City, MO, Burriss is the owner of Taste All the Teas and the founder of the Midwest Tea Festival.  The other event organizers, all volunteers, are Babette Donaldson of International Tea Sippers Society, Dan Robertson of The Tea House, Agnes Rapacz of Tea Gschwendner, and Youlian Banov of The Dragon’s Treasure.

“My experience with the Midwest Tea Festival in Kansas City convinced me that Chicago was the next important venue for the U.S. tea festival scene,” said Burriss. “I’m excited to be working with such an experienced team of organizers, we’re able to launch a number of innovations for both industry professionals and consumers.”  

Added benefit for industry participants who have booths is to record brief, individual promotional videos for the festival’s social media campaign and their own use following the festival. Industry participants will also have access to an exclusive networking lounge where buyers and suppliers can connect away from the hustle of the vendor floor.

More information on the festival, vendor opportunities and ticketing: citfest.com

Photo “Chicago” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Roman Boed and is being posted unaltered (source)