News & Announcements

NEW HARVEST OF TEAS FROM JAPAN
Hosted by Tatsuo Tomeoka (Charaku Fine Japanese Tea)

Tatsuo Tomeoka, owner of Charaku Fine Japanese Tea, lead a tea tasting class on July 18th that explored the variety, history, and culture of Japanese green tea.  We tasted a wide variety of teas from various appellations around Japan from the 2015 new harvest (shincha) tea. Besides regional variations of Sencha, we also experienced the various processing styles that lead to Fukamushicha (Deep-Steamed Tea,) Tamaryokucha ("Coiled, or Ball-rolled" Tea,) Houjicha (Roasted GreenTea,) Genmaicha (Sencha plus Roasted Brown Rice,) and Kukicha (Stem Tea.) We concluded the tasting with Charaku's Premium Organic Matcha, which was accompanied by seasonal, hand-made wagashi sweets from Seattle-based Tokara, one of the few professional Japanese confectioneries in the U.S.
 


Excerpt:

The presentation opened with Christopher Ezzell who shared with us his inspiration from and appreciation of the simplicity and thoughtful aesthetic of the Japanese tea room and how he has incorporated this into his own work.  

World of Tea Series: Contemporary Aesthetics & Traditional Tea Culture


CONTEMPORARY AESTHETICS & TRADITIONAL TEA CULTURE
Hosted by Christopher Ezzell and Christopher Shaw

On June 13th, artist/designers Christopher Ezzell (Architect, East West Chanoyu and Tankokai) and Christopher Shaw (Artist, Northwest Tea Collective) each provided guests with a tea experience inspired from their personal tea practice. Both hosts initiated a discussion of art, design and aesthetics. Guests experienced a journey through the hosts’ unique intersection of tea and art. This event provided a special opportunity to experience two contemporary tea practices inspired by different traditions.
 


TEA AID: A FUNDRAISE FOR NEPAL RELIEF EFFORTS

On May 23rd, Northwest Tea Festival sponsored a benefit for Nepal Earthquake relief efforts as part of the World of Tea series. Since Nepal is nestled in the Himalayas among many world-renowned tea growing regions, and is itself a producer of fine teas, it seemed particularly appropriate that the tea community step up to provide some aid in Nepal’s time of suffering.

There was a tasting of teas from that general region, principally Darjeeling and Nepal. There were also tea items for sale contributed by local tea companies. 100% of the proceeds went to the relief efforts. 
 


THE INTRIGUING WORLD OF POST-FERMENTED TEAS
Hosted by Cinnabar Wright (Phoenix Tea)

Thank you for joining us for the April 18th installment in the World of Tea Series for an exploration of the intriguing world of post-fermented teas. Although the teas under this classification range greatly in appearance and taste, they all have in common a stage of production where true fermentation is induced in the tea, which continues to impact the tea as it ages and matures.

The most well-known sub-group of this category of teas is Puer, in both its raw (sheng) and “cooked” (shou) forms. Puer is always from Yunnan, China, and can be produced in several common forms, including loose, cakes, bricks, and tuocha, which is a bowl or nest shape.

Since Puer is more widely known and is fairly easy to find and experience, we focused the tasting part of this event on post-fermented teas that are not Puer, which means they are made in areas outside of Yunnan, China, and are very different in character from Puer and from each other.

The tasting included at least six different teas, and included examples from Hunan Province in China, Japan, Korea, Anhui Province in China, and Malawi. We also had a wide range of teas on display during the event to give attendees a look at how much variation there is in appearance, shape, and aroma.
 


A TASTE OF SPRING!
Hosted by Cinnabar Wright (Phoenix Tea)

On March 21st, we celebrated the first day of Spring with a fun and festive tasting of flower infusions! Infusions of flowers are a tradition in several countries, including China and Japan, which are of course known more widely for the production/consumption of true tea (Camellia sinensis). The flowers in the tasting ranged from pure and delicate dried flowers, to true teas scented or combined with flowers, to a cake of aged flowers of the true tea plant. We were surrounded by bright and delicate flavors, and infusions that ranged from pale and delicate to a riot of magenta. If you have never had the opportunity to taste any pure flower infusions this was a fun adventure. if you have already experienced a taste of some of these beverages you probably discovered something new that you were not already familiar with. Either way, this was a great way to launch into Spring!
 


Excerpt:

While it rained outside in true Pacific Northwest style, we celebrated the return of Spring with the vivid colors, heady aromas, and fresh tastes of a variety of floral tisanes and teas. 

World of Tea Series: A Taste of Spring!


TEA AND CHOCOLATE PAIRING!
Hosted by Roberta Fuhr (Experience Tea)

What could be better than a class with our two favorite substances together experienced in all sorts of ways? It was kind of a Valentine's Day pre-treat! In this class on February 7th we tasted five chocolates and five different single origin teas--having a sensory experience with all 25 possible combinations. We hope you found your personal tea and chocolate favorite so you can share it with a friend on Valentines Day.
 


It came and went with a flourish. It was the best year ever. Double the crowds from last year. New vendors, new tastings, new events. It was awesome. Did you attend? Maybe next year.

There were 20 different tea vendors from which to choose your favorite tea, and to try a new tea. With the teacup provided as part of the entry fee, there were samplings galore. It was a wonderful opportunity to try lots of new teas, learning from each vendor, and mingling with other like-minded individuals. 

The classes about all things tea went from the Etiquette of Tea to Tea & Chocolate Pairing. There were classes called A World of Green Teas, Modern Macha, and The Spectrum of Taiwan Oolong. There were classes on the health of tea, and tea cupping. Did you attend? Maybe next year.

It was a grand time of tea-everything for two days. And it’s coming around next year as well. Two days out of 365. Two days of immersion. Two days of total tea experience. Did you attend? Maybe next year.


Excerpt:

During the first weekend in October, I attended the 7th annual Northwest Tea Festivalin Seattle.  The weather was beautiful and perfect for those of us who lined up outside awaiting the festival opening.

Northwest Tea Festival 2014


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