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, May 21, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Cinnabar Wright Location: Rainier Arts Center

Purple Tea

At this focused tasting, we will taste teas grown and produced in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Rwanda. There will be a variety selected from the categories of white, green, black, oolong, and possibly a dark tea (puer style). Each country's teas have their own distinctive character, and these will all be true teas, from the Camelia sinensis plant. (We will not be tasting any Rooibos, which is grown and produced in South Africa.)

$18 per person.

Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Jeffrey McIntosh Location: Rainier Arts Center

Jeffrey Mcintosh

Come join us on a journey to one of the most ancient and elite experiences from the East. The featured item for this event will be the renowned Agarwood Puerh Tea. This wood, in combination with tea has been used for it’s strong health benefits and calming effects for thousands of years. We invite you to come try this rare and unique tea first hand and engage in live conversation with tea master Jeffrey McIntosh about the agarwood and puerh.

Saturday, March 19, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Cinnabar Wright Location: Rainier Arts Center

Vietnam Teaware

Our March World of Tea event will be a focused tasting of five different teas from Vietnam, with selections of green, black, and oolong teas. These are fine teas that are not typically found on offer from tea sellers in the United States. We think you will find them surprisingly delicious.

$16 per person.

Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Location: Rainier Arts Center

Japanese Tea

This will be an adventure in tasting several of the fine Japanese teas that were brought back by Heather Porter (who writes the blog Hanamichi) on her most recent trip to Japan. We will taste at least 6 excellent quality teas, and we will be using fine Japanese tea wares in their preparation and consumption. Join us!

A couple of the teas:

Kamigokoro is a kabusecha from Ocha no Kanbayashi in Uji. The Kanbayashi family began producing tea in Uji in the mid-16th century and are the only tea family in the region to continue to produce tea through the upheavals of the Meiji Restoration and into modern times.

Tougenkyou from Cha Cha no Ma in Tokyo was hand-plucked from new tea plants in Shizuoka. The name is Japanese for Shangri-la, the Peach Blossom Land, and refers to the delicate peach overtones of this sencha.

$15 per person. Limit 15 guests.

Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Cinnabar Wright

Georgian Tea

The December World of Tea event will be an exploration of tea and culture from the Republic of Georgia. We will taste three different teas grown and produced in Georgia, and we will also have some specialty Georgian foods on hand for people to taste. The event will begin with a film on Georgian tea production, made by one of the producers of the teas we will be tasting. Georgian teas are bold and wonderful - don't miss this opportunity to experience them!

$20 per person

Saturday, October 17, 2015 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
Presenter: Cinnabar Wright Location: Rainier Arts Center

Turkish Tea

This is going to be a really enjoyable and educational tasting of 5 different pairings of traditional teas with traditional sweets, giving guests the opportunity to indulge in exquisite and unusual treats along with high caliber single origin teas. Guests will experience an array of aromas and flavors, including flowery, sugary, savory, and the teas and sweets will be served in and on tea wares and accessories typical of the culture of each pairing.

Representative pairings will come from 5 of the following: Japan, China, Russia, Republic of Georgia, Korea, England, Scotland, Turkey, India, Morocco.

If you have any special dietary restrictions, let us know when you buy tickets.

$25 per person, limit 12 guests.

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.


Photos from the World of Tea Series:

Japanese Tea and Sweets
Tatsuo Tomeoka