2020 Toronto Tea Festival (Day 1) | Event Recap

by Tea in Spoons

Blogger Pass Provided for Review

I always enjoy going to the Toronto Tea Festival. It is a great way to hang out with old friends and meet new ones!

Toronto Tea Festival is a yearly tea event that is held in early February in Toronto, Canada. I have been fortunate enough to be able to attend the last few years! The event has become more and more jam-packed lately.

As attendees enter the event, everyone is given a tote swag bag which has a program book, small glass tasting cup, and a tea festival calendar! Since it is only a two-day event, I always find myself rushing between different talk, demonstrations, and vendors. Therefore, I decided to recap this event over two posts. This week will be Day 1!

Let’s go!


One large reason I go to the Toronto Tea Festival is because of the vendors! Since I have been able to attend the last few years, I have gotten to know some of them, so it feels like visiting old friends.

I dropped by Zhen Tea and SooCha Tea and quickly broke both my no buying tea and no buying teaware bans! I purchased a gongfu travel set from Zhen and a Korean tea travel set from Soo! I also got the Dark Tea MASTER – process set from Zhen because I like seeing how the tea process changes the tea!

Finally, I visited Misty Mountain Tea Company (a very sweet daughter and mother), Tea Horse, T by Daniel (who is rebranding), Hojicha Co.(first time as a vendor),  Dessert by Deb (another new vendor), and Tea Sparrow (who came back this year), among others!

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Since I found out that Momo from Momo Teas was conducting the ceremony, I knew I had to drop by. It was a nice demonstration of the tea ceremony with Helen from Secret Teatime narrating. Seeing Japanese tea ceremonies brings me back to my time in Japan!

What was extra adorable was there was a little girl who was enthralled by the whole ceremony. After the ceremony, I picked up some hojicha and matcha brownies from Hollyhock Japanese Sweets, which uses Momo’s teas, which seemed fitting!

Botany of the Tea Plant – Linda Gaylard

After my Asia trip, I have tried to learn more about the tea plant itself, so I was excited to see Linda Gaylard‘s talk! She goes into the history of the tea plant, as well as, different tea gardens, the taxonomy of the plant, basic botanical traits, cultivar, terroir, and so forth.

That is what I love about tea, there is still always so much to learn! This talk has made me want to pick up a botanical book to learn more about tea from another angle. Linda also has written a tea book, The Tea Book!

All Tea is Camellia Sinensis, Right? – David Campbell

David Campbell from Tillerman Tea seemed like a great continuation of Linda’s talk so I stayed to learn more.  David argues that there is more than Camellia Sinensis v. sinensis or v. assamica, as we are always taught. Rather, there is also c. tsliensis and c. formosensis! For example, if you have ever had Ruby 13 from Taiwan, it is a hybrid of Sinensis v. sinensis and sinensis c. formosensis!

He was kind enough to brew also some samples of c. tsliensis and c. formosensis to taste at his booth. I would like to try more of both to hone in on the differences. This area of tea is still new to me, so it was a lot of information to take in! David also had a lovely tasting at his booth which showed how processing affected oolongs.

Ceramic Tea Wares: Form, Function, and the Making Process – Helen Kong and Sorlie Madox

Not only do I admire Secret Teatime Helen and Sorlie’s pieces, but I also have a deep appreciation for pottery because last year I took a few classes and realized the true depth of how difficult pottery is!

It was really interesting to hear about their process. They also talked about the clay that is used and how that affects the pieces, in addition to the actual names for the different parts of the chawan (matcha bowl), from the lip of the bowl to the foot. Helen and Sorlie also brought teaware for everyone to examine!

End of the Day

As always,  I have a blast at this tea festival and it is most likely one of my favourites! It is great to talk to people and vendors. I have been fortunate enough to get to know over the years and meet new people! Special shoutout to Lu Ann from The Cup of Life who spent the day with me!

Lastly, I did not attend the Chinese Tea Ceremony, Kevin Gascoyne’s Tea 101 talk or MING Tea’s Tea Ceremony Workshop because I have attended in previous years! I have also omitted a few vendors from this recap because I want to talk about them in-depth next week!

The question of the post: Which talk would you have attended?

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TeaIsAWishBlog February 7, 2020 - 6:38 am

This sounds like such a fun event! I just wish it wasn’t so far away from me haha

teainspoons February 10, 2020 - 10:08 am

Yeah. That is too bad. Maybe one day! How are the ones in your neck of the woods?

TeaIsAWishBlog February 10, 2020 - 10:10 am

We don’t really have any events like this sadly! There’s one in London but it’s too far for me to travel with my health issues right now

Tea with Jann February 7, 2020 - 10:07 pm

Thank you for the details. I so wanted to go, so it’s enjoyable hearing from others that went. 🙂

teainspoons February 10, 2020 - 10:08 am

Maybe one day you will be able to come! How are the ones around you?

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!