The Tea Festival at the Royal Botanical Garden’s is one of the newer tea events that has popped up in Ontario, Canada. Since I was snowed in last year and couldn’t attend, I was excited to go this year!
What started as a one-day event three years ago for the Tea Festival has blossomed into a weekend-long event. The draw this year was speaker sessions on a variety of topics, tea ceremony demonstrations, vendors, and a tea tasting competition. I happened to attend on Sunday. However, on Saturday, there was a Chinese tea ceremony event where participants could learn to brew tea.
All the attendees were provided with a program and a tasting cup. I really enjoyed that because it saved on cups, but also was a keepsake. However, it was the similar teacup as the one I received at the Toronto Tea Festival. Based on the programming schedule, I decided to stagger my day so that I was able to sample a bit of everything.
The first stop for me was the talk titled: “Ryokucha: A Japanese Tea”, which was presented by Crystal Beaudoin from MING Tea. It was nice to hear about Japanese teas and their growing regions and it made me miss Japan! This reminded me of some of the content that Obubu shares during the tea tours!
Following that, MING Tea was also conducting a tea ceremony demonstration with a Chinese green tea and an Oolong. Since I’ve become more familiar with how to brew Chinese teas and gong fu cha, I was able to more fully appreciate the demo than I would have before I started my tea journey. The ceremony was accompanied by music as well!
After that, I decided to do a walk around the vendor section. Despite all the tea I own, I always get tempted by the vendor’s sector. I still love visiting because I have become acquainted with some of the vendors, and it is always nice to catch up and meet new brands. Here are some of the brand highlights for me (in no particular order):
The Tea Stylist: I love Linda’s book The Tea Book, so it is always nice to chat with her! She had a talk on Saturday in which she spoke about Korean teas, and it was neat to get a Coles Note version (I’ll post a book review one day!).
Genuine Tea: I always love dropping by and seeing David and Sarah because they are such a lovely couple and they clearly love tea. Their sample was a summer harvest matcha using oat milk. Yum! (You can read my tea reviews of the brand here)
The Monarch Tea Co.: I have tried Katie’s teas over the years through my Amoda Monthly Tea Box. I have been wanting to meet her for some time. She is lovely and sweet! (You can read my tea reviews of the brand here)
The Sugared Teacup: I have known Deb for a while now, and it is always nice to see her! She sweetly set aside some teas for me to buy from her and threw in a few extras. The focus of her brand use to be monthly tea boxes, but she is transitioning into other tea-related products. I can’t wait to see! (You can read my review of the brand here)
Consulate General of Sri Lanka: I have enjoyed most of the teas I have tried from Sri Lanka, so when they had samples of teas from different regions to try, I tried them all! The staff were very nice and answered all my questions, from growing conditions to elevations. They also gave tons of samples!
Humble Bee: While this brand is not tea related per se, a dream of mine is to one day own my own beehive. So, I was very excited when I saw the brand. I ended up picking some honey from bees that were located across from the Royal Botanical Garden and some beeswax food wraps! They are so pretty that I don’t want to use them now!
After walking around the vendor’s section, I went to the Tea Tasting Competition. I took part in the oolong one. This was actually one of the things I was I was looking forward to. Based on the description, I assumed it was more of a blind tasting with some detailed instructions on how to look at the dry and wet leaf, and then guessing based on what we tasted. Similar to the chakabuki events I tried in Japan.
However, it was a blind tasting competition based on the tasters rating teas on the liquor only. There was some mix up with the material that was given, which made it slightly confusing. The teas that we were tasting were teas that were given by vendors at the events. The one that won for the oolong was Blue Mountain Tea Co.’s Coconut Milk Oolong, which I enjoyed!
My last learning session was with Amy from The Art of Tea & Tasseomancy, titled “Oh Canada!: We Have Tea”! I was very interested in this talk because I had heard that Canada had tea farms too! Amy introduced me to Westholme Tea and Tisane Inuit. It was great to hear the history of the brands! I want to try more in the future!
Overall, I can never pass up a tea event. I really liked the venue, it was a nice space and I was happy to see my tea friends and learn more about tea! The Royal Botanical Garden staff were also helpful and sweet.
That being said, this event is smaller than some of the other tea events I have been too. But that it isn’t necessarily a mark against it. A smaller event meant that there were fewer people and there were also more local brands that were vendors. I would recommend this event to someone who may not like the crowds of the big events or if they like visiting gardens!
- Date: Saturday, November 3 to Sunday, Septemeber 4
- Venue: RGB Center
- Company: Royal Botanical Gardens
What is your fav tea event?