What is it about Tea Festivals?
May 7-8 was the first post-pandemic in-person tea festival. The Midwest Tea Festival was not only the first of 2022 but the first in two years. A risky proposition, to be sure.
For organizers and vendors, there was a financial investment that could have been lost. For attendees and everyone in the room, there were health concerns. But overall, there was excitement and joy. It was fantastic! More than 680 guests came! And it seemed that they appreciated all the vendors and all the classes. The vendor list below explains the diversity and how festivals bring the world of tea together under one roof.
I began attending and then organizing tea festivals in 2011. And they have been one of my favorite things about working in the specialty tea industry. If I had to choose one thing about them, it’s that there’s always someone who says, I didn’t know that there was so much to know about tea.
Tea festivals in the U.S. have created communities. We are diverse in age, gender, interests, and experience. Even more important now, festivals like this one bring people together who can share something meaningful without the divisions of politics. In one huge room, we drink teas that grew in China, Taiwan, India, Colombia, U.S., Korea, Japan, Africa and more. We share awareness and appreciation for our differences and similarities. And the similarities are the beauty of the day. We drink tea. We buy and sell tea. We learn more about tea in classes. We can taste the bigger picture that humanity shares this one planet.
Who were the vendors at this year’s festival?
A Few Scenes From The Festival
Tea Festival Events; Classes, Presentations & Tasting Lounges
It’s in the festival events that you can really feel the sense of community.
Tea Lounges have become very popular activities at festivals. Small groups meet with one of the tea vendors to taste a selection of their teas. With more time to talk, vendors are able to share more in-depth information about some of their special and unusual teas. It’s almost a party-type atmosphere. At this festival, almost all the vendors participated with special offerings in their lounge.
Classes & Presentations were organized for all interest levels and every class had 40-50 attendees.
- A History of Tea in the U.S. by Mr. Beat
- Tea 101 by Nicole Burriss
- Nepal Tea by Nishchal Banskota
- Tea and Health by Babette Donaldson
- Intro to Herbal Infusions by Rebecca Grzeskowiak
- Multiple Infusions by Babette Donaldson
- Tea Stories That Shaped America by Sherman Tyhlawsky
- Musicali-Tea by Dr. Sally Wei
- The Chinese Tea Experience by Mimi Lee
- The French Tea Experience by Emilie Jackson
- Korean Teas by Nicole Burriss
- The English Tea Experience by The Daughters of the British Empire
More Tea Festivals in 2022
We’re fortunate to have several more tea festivals this year. Portland. Seattle. Mechanicsburg, PA. (Maybe more???) Each one will be unique. Different classes and events. Different vendors. But it seems that there’s the same openess to everyone who is interested in expanding their knowledge and enjoyment of tea.