It’s the best time of the year in Vancouver! The autumn leaves, the brisk weather, the holidays around the corner, and the Vancouver Tea Festival returns! The Vancouver Tea society presents this annual event every November, and it’s become an autumn tradition for me.
This is the second year that the venue is Dr. Sun Yat-sen garden in Chinatown, and I can’t think of a better place to explore and taste the different teas from all over the world. Some of the usual favourites like Amoda Tea and Tea Sparrow were there as well as some new soon-to-be favourites like Oollo Tea and Turmeric Teas.
This year I started my visit, mini tasting cup in hand (which the Tea Festival so conveniently provides to all visitors), with the tea exhibitors and sampling. Spending a bit of time hearing about each exhibitor’s tea on display and the interesting facts about their ware and seeing how the oolong and Pu-erh teas are traditionally prepared and served. I did get educated too! After years of drinking my favourite, Pu-erh, I learned that the name Pu-erh is actually not about the type of tea or how it’s grown and processed, but it’s the region where it’s produced that makes it Pu-erh. Kind of like not all sparkling wines can be called Champagne because the area has the copyright, in this case for the Pu-erh tea to be classified as Pu-erh, it must be grown in the Yunnan province of China and made from the large leaf Assamica variety of the tea plant, who knew?!
After tasting and shopping I made my way through the garden, the beautiful fall weather made for a picturesque stroll making me feel like I’ve stepped into another world! I did make the error of now signing up for the special tastings and presentations ahead of time (turns out the fill up fast!), the festival website has the tickets available ahead of time, and they are either free or a small contribution of $5, depending on the tasting you want to do.
Next year’s event has not yet been scheduled but look out for it on the Tea Society’s Facebook page or on the tea festival website at http://www.vancouverteafestival.ca/
See you there next year!