World of Tea Series

World of Tea Series Logo

Rainier Valley Cultural CenterThank you so much for your support of the Northwest Tea Festival over the past eight years. We are pleased to continue our exciting and varied series of year-round tea events. The monthly series presents a unique opportunity for you to further explore the World of Tea and expand your tea knowledge and experience.

Events will be presented on the third Saturday of the month, in the lower event space of Rainier Arts Center in Columbia City (Southeast Seattle).


Saturday, September 5, 2015 -
2:00am to 4:00am

September 15 World of Tea Event

The September World of Tea event offers a very special opportunity to taste 8 different puer teas, all made in the same facility in the same year. The eight teas were made as a series of experimental cakes by the China Puer Tea Research Institute in 2010. There are four grades of shou (cooked) puer, and four grades of sheng (raw) puer. Crimson Lotus Tea purchased these teas after a visit to the institute, and will guide attendees through this interesting tasting of all eight of the teas, accompanied by information about the work done by the institute and what the facility was like when they visited.

One interesting part of our trip last year was working with the China Puer Tea Research Institute. They’ve been around almost 30 years. Their full name is the China Puer Tea Research Institute Tea Seed Multiplication Farm of Simao/Puer Yunnan or CPTRTSMF for short. The highly specific nature of naming in Chinese culture always amuses me! CPTR is a government sponsored research organization whose sole focus is puerh tea. They are largely farmer focused and exist to aid farmers in any way possible. Many of the research projects they started 30 years ago are just now showing results. They are based in Puer City, Yunnan. Yang Liu Xia is the woman who has run CPTR for 25 of the last 30 years. We met with her last Spring and she was a wealth of information. We toured the CPTR puerh research labs and gleaned as much information from her as possible.”

For more information on these teas and the institute, visit this post on the Crimson Lotus website.

Maximum 10 guests, $25 per guest.

Saturday, August 15, 2015 -
2:00am to 4:00am
Presenter: Cinnabar Wright Location: Rainier Arts Center

aged tea

While most of the finest teas are at peak value shortly after their harvest and production dates, there are some teas that are produced and stored for years, utilizing traditional practices that enhance the depth and character of the tea. Aging is typically associated with the teas that are referred to as “post-fermented” in English. These are the teas from Yunnan, Hunan, and Anhui, China, which employ microbial agents as catalysts of change in the tea over time. These teas are most often formed into bricks, cakes, and other compressed forms, and they have a great deal of variation within those parameters, but all increase in quality as they become older. Producing a very different style, there is also a tradition in Taiwan of aging oolongs, which are taken out and re-roasted every so often, as they become richer, darker, and more complex. It is not difficult to find and taste unremarkable aged teas from Taiwan and China in the 2-5 year old range, so in this tasting we will concentrate on teas that have been aged for at least 15 years, including some teas from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Teas of these older vintages are considerably more of a challenge to source, which is generally reflected in their price, but they are well worth the cost to the people who really understand and appreciate them. Some tea people attribute qualities above and beyond sensory experience to these aged teas, including high levels of “chi,” the energy defined by Chinese medicine and martial arts, and many people experience a state of euphoria while drinking these venerable teas, known in the West by the term “tea drunk.” We can’t promise that you will experience an exalted mental state when you taste these aged teas, but we can assure you that this will be an enjoyable adventure with a flight of exceptional teas that you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else. This tasting is appropriate for people at any level of experience: from the curious non-tea drinking epicurean to the well-seasoned tea aficionado. $25 per person, limit 15 guests.

Saturday, July 18, 2015 -
10:00am to 1:15pm
Presenter: Tatsuo Tomeoka Location: Rainier Arts Center

Japanese Teas

Tatsuo Tomeoka, owner of Charaku Fine Japanese Tea, will lead a tea tasting class that will explore the variety, history, and culture of Japanese green tea. We plan to taste a wide variety of teas from various appellations around Japan, and and at this time will taste the 2015 new harvest (shincha) tea. Besides regional variations of Sencha, we will also experience 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'll conclude the tasting with Charaku's Premium Organic Matcha, which will be accompanied by seasonal, hand-made wagashi sweets from Seattle-based Tokara, one of the few professional Japanese confectioneries in the U.S.

Come enjoy the flavors and culture of Japanese green tea!

$20 per person, includes tasting of tea from Charaku Fine Japanese Tea and wagashi (sweets) from tokara.

Saturday, June 13, 2015 -
10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Chris Shaw, Christopher Ezzell Location: Rainier Arts Center

world of tea event

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

Cost is $20 per person, which will include participation in the tastings. Please purchase tickets in advance.

Saturday, May 23, 2015 -
10:00am to 12:00pm
Location: Rainier Arts Center

Tea Aid

On May 23rd, Northwest Tea Festival is sponsoring 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 seems particularly appropriate that the tea community step up to provide some aid in Nepal’s time of suffering.

There will be a tasting of teas from that general region, principally Darjeeling and Nepal. There will also be tea items for sale contributed by local tea companies. 100% of the proceeds will go to the relief efforts. Additional cash, credit card, or check donations will be accepted as well. Cost is $20 per person. Pay in advance, or at the event.

photo: Sharada Prasad.

Saturday, April 18, 2015 -
10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Cinnabar Wright Location: Rainier Arts Center

Post Fermented Teas

Join us for the next 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 are going to focus 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 will include at least six different teas, and will include examples from Hunan Province in China, Japan, Korea, Anhui Province in China, and Malawi. We will also have 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.

The cost of the event is $15 per person, limited to 18 people.

Saturday, March 21, 2015 -
10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Cinnabar Wright Location: Rainier Arts Center

Spring Tea

Celebrate 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 will range 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 will be surrounded by bright and delicate flavors, and infusions that range from pale and delicate to a riot of magenta. If you have never had the opportunity to taste any pure flower infusions this will be a fun adventure. if you have already experienced a taste of some of these beverages we expect you will probably discover something new that you were not already familiar with. Either way, this will be a great way to launch into Spring!

$15 per person

Saturday, February 7, 2015 - 2:00am
Presenter: Roberta Fuhr Location: Rainier Arts Center


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

This class is appropriate for ages 10 and older. Limit 20 participants.

$25 per person.

Click Here to reserve your space


Photos from the World of Tea Series:

Japanese Tea and Sweets
Tatsuo Tomeoka