So last weekend, I attended my first Northwest Tea Festival, a yearly tea convention/festival that has now become my favorite annual event. My only regret is that this was the third year, and I’d only just now learned of it !
For tea lovers, this was Nirvana – there were tastings, classes, vendors, and all manner of new taste sensations. Unfortunately, I only managed to attend two different tea tastings and one instructional class, but every vendor’s booth had brewed tea on hand to sample and discuss.
Upon entering, each attendee was handed their own personal porcelain cup, for tastings and sampling, so you weren’t creating waste with paper cups or risking cooties having to share.
I can now say, with some pride, that I’ve tasted an 18-year old, $800 Pu’erh. The fact that it tasted like a cow pasture on a rainy day, or that it looked much like that which you scrape from a horse’s hoof will come as no surprise to drinkers of Pu’erh. That’s what it’s supposed to taste like. The older the Pu’erh, the more “grass-like” it’s flavor.
I was pleasantly surprised by some White teas. Their taste was less earthy, but interesting all the same.
And I learned about Dark teas, from Hunan, which are a completely new and separate category from Black, Pu’erh, White or Herbal, although their flavor is rather like a faintly brewed Pu’erh.
But the best part – the most fun I had that day – was being able to torture my out-of-state friend and fellow tea enthusiast, who would have sold one of his children to be there if his wife would have gone along with it. I sent him photos from the vendor floor, sent texts on the teas I was tasting, even showed him images of his favorite tea-book author who was giving a reading at the event.
Of course next year, he’ll be there, seeing and tasting it all for himself. And it’ll have moved, to a larger location, and with any luck will have doubled in size. We’d both love to take the Tea Blenders Certification course, which would allow us to get started in the world of blending and selling teas.
Nothing goes better with a good book on a rainy day like a hot, steaming pot of tea! Which reminds me, I think I put the pot on when I sat down to blog . . .