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This year's festival was the perfect cure for the Pacific Northwest rain. The sights and smells of rooms brimming with tea and the overall good cheer and enthusiasm of the people attending and presenting were truly invigorating. 

Northwest Tea Festival 2016


As we tasted each tea and experimented with food pairings, Roberta explained where they were grown and how they are processed, providing visual aids to show the distinctiveness of each region's tea manufacturing process.

World of Tea Series: Tea and Food Pairing Intensive


Throughout the tasting, Cinnabar shared information about tea production and development in different countries across Africa.  In many countries, tea production is limited to three seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn), so it can be surprising to learn that tea is grown year-round in countries like Kenya.

World of Tea Series: True Teas of Africa


While we listened to traditional Georgian polyphonic singing, Cinnabar shared a gorgeous example of teaware that might be used in Georgia, with handle-less teacups closely resembling bowls. 

World of Tea Series: A Taste of Georgia


As with previous years, having all that tea in one place seemed to chase the clouds away, providing festival-goers with warm weather and blue skies. This year, a minor layout change provided more space for workshops and vendor booths and more room for movement for the amazing number of attendees.

Northwest Tea Festival 2015


Our tour began in Taiwan with a refreshing Spring Lishan oolong paired with lightly flavored yam and pineapple cakes.

World of Tea Series: Traditional Teas & Sweets


The fourth tea was a 1990's Aged Tiguanyin from Taiwan.  Traditionally, this tea would be stored in ceramic containers and removed occasionally for roasting.  The taste shifted from smoky caramel to nutty caramel over three infusions.

World of Tea Series: A Flight of Aged Teas


Tatsuo explained how the behavior of steam in the yuzamashi (water cooling pitcher) can indicate temperature. Steam billows upward with near-boiling water temperatures, ideal for hojicha or bancha. Water at temperatures around 140°F will have little or no steam, ideal for gyokuro. Steam moving to the side at an approximate 45° angle indicates temperatures around 175°F - 185°F, ideal for sencha.

Red the rest of the post: World of Tea Series: New Harvest of Teas from Japan


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


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!