Report On: Toronto Tea Festival

Tea is a fundamental part of 1st World custom. Flavored hot water to warm, caffinate, and satiates the pallet. It’s no wonder it’s literally addictive. Millions of people make it part of their mourning routine, but some people take their tea intake beyond a routine procedure and make their ceremonial drinking an artform. So as with any art that has it’s enthusiasts, there is a local festival to embrace the culture of Teatime.

(While it’s outside of the typical media-related conventions usually covered, I happened to be going so I’m covering it anyway. Just pretend the website is TeaDotcomics.)

The 2014 outing of the Toronto Tea Festival was held at the Toronto Reference Library on February 1st & 2nd on a cold day when warm drinks were on everybody’s mind. For many, it’s unusual to see the Reference Library in typical functioning mode instead of the mayhem and chaos of TCAF.

Companies with their own blends and flavours of tea were selling boxes of their special goods, and samples were given to everybody, in a variety of tiny and cute sample cups. When not sampling tea or perusing tea-related accessories, there were speakers and demonstrations. And a few biscuits to sample. While it wasn’t the largest festival, each exhibitor brought some new element to the show worth a few minutes of examination. For those needing breaks, the colossal library the event was in had plenty of seating space and reading material.

The atmosphere was a strange blend of relaxed and chilled out, a sedate cozy affair away from any cosplayers. The marketing was low-pressure. But at the same time so much caffeine did keep a pulse in the event and everybody was mobile. This is an event you can take your parents to. One highlight of the event was the raw magnetism coming from the exhibitor “T By Daniel” speciality tea maker, soon opening up their first location in Brampton. For collectors, the tiny jars of Pure Wildflower Honey from Rosewood Estates Winery made for cute and cheap and tasty souvenirs.

Considering most of the attraction to the Toronto Tea Festival were vendors and marketting, the $15 admission cost was a bit steep(ed). But for a few hours a year, attendees can be the worldly tea expert every Starbucks customer is pretending they are. And as an outsider, I will now more frequently consider beverage options beyond soft drinks. Although there were periods when I had not much to do, I’m prepared to return next year.

-Michael Ryan, Febuary 11th, 2014

Yes this article is a week late big deal.

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  • Adrienne

    I hope you made it out this year as well to see the tasting competition :)