As a self confessed tea-aholic this announcement on FB events was not to be missed.
It was an amazing experience. Held in a well chosen venue of Toronto Reference Library, the event was organised, informative and a tea person’s delight.
Upon entering we were able to check in our coats for convenience, which was a thoughtful touch by the organisers.
We were also handed a ‘goody bag’ which included a small tasting glass; improving the tasting experience over paper cups whilst reducing waste.
Each vendor had ample space to set out their stalls, and all looked tempting. An advantage to attending on the Friday rather than the busy weekend was the ability to slowly make our way around the stalls and converse with the vendors, who were knowledgeable and passionate about their products and delighted to share both in conversation and samples.
As a true Brit. my experience with tea has mainly been just deciding which brand of traditional black tea to use. However with the rise in popularity of healthier versions and use of tea to soothe, detox, aid sleep and combat all sorts of aches and pains more varieties of tea are now available. Similarly, coffee and tea shops, both independent and well known chains have expanded from the good ol’ builder’s brew to more sophisticated teas and lattes, even using non-dairy products to ençourage me to expand my horizons.
In summary, I tasted with enjoyment, flavoured teas, green, white and black teas. I was able to discern the difference between tea grown in the at 6,400ft above sea level, producing a light delicate flavour, from tea grown on the eastern slopes of Sri Lanka’s central mountains, producing the more traditional blends, to that grown in areas ranging from sea level to 2,000 ft. of southern Sri Lanka, with soil conditions right to produce a stronger, blacker tea, perfect for a thicker, stronger cup served with or without milk. ( Make mine with double milk, warmed for special occasions, an acquired taste when visiting Mexico.)
At present I will not bore you, dear reader, with details about every tea I tasted, there may well be follow up posts, but here are listings of my favourites in sort of a reverse order, allowing for the fact that tea is taken for different tastes and reasons throughout the day.
1.Green and white teas, served with small pieces of dried fruit in the cup. Interesting experience and an idea I will experiment with at home.
2. Chocolate tea. Now available in England by commercial brands. I’ve often thought to try it. I enjoyed the samples on offer which might inspire me to buy some to have at home. Perfect accompaniment to an early afternoon snack.
3. Zhen tea. Very calming smooth taste as you would expect.
4. Matcha green teas. A recently acquired new taste discovered in various tea/coffee shops during this trip, served as a latte. Here it was nice to taste in natural form as well as prepared powder form. I enjoyed tasting it black, but preference would be with milk and latte.
5. Chai tea in authentic form. Without all the added spices of cinnamon, nutmeg etc. Far superior, natural taste, warm and soothing.
But the winner for the day, was actually voted overall winner for this year, an improvement for them from last year’s 3rd place, as the most versatile, smooth flavoured and new taste, Espirita Tea, High Mountain milk oolong from Taiwan.
Couldn’t resist this gold tin even though it was last year’s. I’m sure it will still be good.
Here follows a photo summary of the amazing adventure.
I trust I have been able to do justice to this festival of tea deliciousness, maybe see you next year and look forward to other events
Now, I’ll just go and pop the kettle on….