News & Announcements

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


My daughter, who is now 17, became very interested in tea when she was in middle school. It started with tea bags. Every opportunity she took to influence my generosity, another box of tea would find its place in our pantry. I didn’t think much about this, other than how wonderful it was that she enjoyed tea and not teenage drama.

One day on a treasured girl’s day out, we happened upon a tea ceremony. A whole new world opened up—-we learned to tap our fingers to signal “thank you”; we learned about puerh, oolong and fermentation. She brought home her first bag of loose leaf tea. 

A few months later, Roberta Fuhr opened her tea shop in Issaquah, Experience Tea. I remember thinking how fortuitous it was to have a local source of this interesting elixir. Madison, my daughter, took Roberta’s classes. Not long after, my friend asked me to thank Madison for all the boxes of tea. My daughter had given away all that “dust” in favor of whole leaves.
Moment after moment of tea began to happen. Madison poured tea for visitors in our home, a comforting way to find something to chat about for my dear, shy child. My husband became curious and Madison taught him, gave him cups to savor and over time, they rekindled the bond that had abruptly disappeared during her early adolescence. Our younger son, as bouncy and kinetic as you might imagine, would sip tea with Madison on winter evenings, foregoing his cherished hot chocolate. 

These days, we all drink tea when it’s time to read, time to garden, time to relax or perk up. Madi and her friends are often at our table, sipping and giggling. Tea draws us out of the corners of our house and into the common spaces. It’s much more than a drink. It’s an experience in each and every sip and it is all the better when it’s shared.

… Sara, a patron at Experience Tea, 

http://experience-tea.com

195 Front St, N. Issaquah, WA 


I am drinking tea like crazy. Having 87 different teas on my shelves is not conducive to buying more at the NW Tea Festival, coming up in October. I have to get rid of some tea, or I will not be buying any tea.

Well, ok, drink up. And that is exactly what I am doing. Black tea, green. White tea, yellow. Rooibos. Herbal. Puer. For heaven’s sake, where did I get all these teas? Oh wait, maybe the last NW Tea Festival.

This is a blessing and a curse, having 87 teas on my shelf. I am just one person, drinking tea. I invite friends over for tea. I now know my neighbors, because of tea. My clients are now drinking tea. And I am drinking tea.

In October, I will be drinking different teas. Hello NW Tea Festival. October 4th & 5th, at Fischer Pavilion, at the Seattle Center. 

See you there. I will be sampling, and buying, everything.


Think the face of tea is a blue-haired lady with a purple hat?  Think again…or walk into a tea store and look at who you find: Expect to see kids, men, women of all ages, young boys—especially teenagers.

As a tea store owner, and as a teacher of true tea, I have observed the growing fascination with tea and watched how it takes hold of people to sometimes become a captivating interest (would I dare say obsession?).  That may sound like a bad thing, but when you think of tea as having the same complexity and craft of fine wine, it’s not unusual, and, in my mind, beneficial.  There are after all, proven health benefits to consuming tea*.

What I love most about tea is its age neutrality: every age can enjoy tea (ideally together) and other than some consideration to caffeine, it doesn’t have a compelling downside.  Parents and kids can enjoy and explore tea together, any time of day, in many different settings.  Just bring out a tea pot and some loose leaf tea and watch the conversation unfold and develop.

In the US, we think of tea as a “women’s drink”, yet in many countries around the world tea is the primary beverage enjoyed by all.   The variety and natural flavor spectrum of tea goes far beyond black tea: white tea, green, oolong and an aged and fermented tea called pu’erh all come from the same plant as black tea—it depends how the leaves are processed after they’re plucked.  Once people get a taste for some of these other types of true tea, their interest and respect for tea grows—which then naturally connects people to history and cultures.

The face of tea in the northwest is really the face of tea in the world.  Next time you’re in your company’s break room and find a co-worker steeping tea, ask what kind it is, where it comes from and you might just get the offer to share.  Seek the opportunity to learn about this unique beverage—it will serve you all your life.

Roberta Fuhr

Experience Tea Studio, Issaquah, Washington

http://experience-tea.com


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