Last weekend was the 5th annual Toronto Tea Festival. I was very eager to go because of the speakers and of course tea! I attended both days and I was especially excited for Sunday because of the “Tasting with Tea Sommeliers & Tea Leaders” event.
Almost two years ago, I started my tea journey by picking up a cup and steeping tea. I had never steeped loose leaf before and I just wanted to document which teas I liked. Therefore, I wanted to learn how to hone my tasting skills and evaluate teas. I spent a lot of time in the Speakers Room and went to every talk I could!
Saturday Talks: Blending Tea (Raelene Gagnon), The Tea Grower’s Tales (Aurelien Leftick), Every Detail Counts (Zhen Lu), and Tea 101 (Kevin Gascoyne).
Sunday Talks: Tasting with Tea Sommeliers & Tea Leaders, What is Matcha? (David O’Conner), Judging Tea Quality for Consumers (Austin Hodge), and Bootstrapping a Tea Study (Michelle Pierce Hamiton).
I think the big lesson I learned is not the be afraid of the tea. I’ll be the first to admit that I worry I will oversteep, or understeep, or not have enough tea leaves, water is too hot, etc. However, something that came up again and again, is just to try with different parameters and see what happens.
While at the event, I also met some vendors that I had been talking to such as Lemon Lily Tea, Genuine Tea, and T by Daniel and lots of new people too! Being the reader I am, I bought The Tea Book (Linda Gaylard), Tea History Terriors, Varieties (The Camellia Sinensis Tea House), and Vol 1 of the Tea Journal.
I would go into all the teas I bought, but I’ll let that be a secret! If you want to read about Momo Tea’s Hojicha and mochi, I have a review up for that already.
To commemorate the event, the only way fitting is with tea! The Toronto Tea Festival provided each person with a White Moon Pu-er Dragon Ball. The recommendations are to steep Gong Fu style, with 1.5 teaspoons (3g) of leaf, at 100°C. Lastly, the leaf can be steeped up to four times after a rinse.
First steep (50 seconds): The dry leaves are furry and had a very floral and hay-like aroma. The floral aroma persisted in the steeped tea which was very clean and not overpowering. The flavour lingered slightly in the mouth. Lastly, the liquor had a thick texture and was pale yellow.
Second steep (10 seconds): A strong floral flavour became pronounced in this steep and lingered all around the mouth.
Third steep (15 seconds): The flavour starts to become more haylike. The liquor was slightly amber.
Fourth steep (20 seconds): The floral notes are no longer as strong, and the hay flavour lingered. The liquor was amber.
Overall, I enjoyed the tea. I think if you are a huge floral fan, this tea will hit the spot. I liked that it isn’t overly strong and very subtle (3/5 rating).
- Type: Pu-er (Raw) tea
- Origin: Unknown
- Caffeine: Unknown
- Ingredients: White moon pu-erh tea
- Company: Toronto Tea Festival