Sponsored by Puget Sound Tea Education Association, the fourth annual Northwest Tea Festival will be held this coming weekend in Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. The event will include at least 16 vendors and a robust roster of speakers and presenters, including James Norwood Pratt, Michael J. Coffey, Becky Lee, Brett Boynton, and Jason Chen. Each year since its inception the festival has grown and become more enjoyable, and I expect this year to be the best yet.
The following are few recommendations of presentations or educational opportunities that you may want to take advantage of. There are also a wide range of tasting opportunities throughout both days, including one that I am presenting, which is a comparison tasting of two white teas, one from China and one from Kenya.
The Common Wealth: Tea in Community Life
James Norwood Pratt
“Humans drink more tea than any other beverage. It is humanity’s favorite habit and a treasure of the world: nothing has contributed more to our enjoyment of leisure, friendship, sociability and conversation, which is why mankind’s love affair with tea has now lasted 5000 years. The history of that love affair has involved not only agriculture and business but also medicine, religion, finance and fine arts – but always human relations above all. Treat yourself to a trip into the mind of America’s foremost tea historian and storyteller and you will never think of tea quite the same way again.”
Tea Chemistry: Reactions in Leaf and Cup
Michael J. Coffey
“All of the amazing flavors, colors, and aromas in a cup of pure tea are the result of chemical reactions–in the tea plant, during the preparation of the leaf, or during the process of brewing and drinking a cup. We will look at some of the major reactions and what they mean to your tea drinking experience. This is not a beginner’s class; participants should at least know what basic processing differences lead to green, wulong, and black teas.All of the amazing flavors, colors, and aromas in a cup of pure tea are the result of chemical reactions–in the tea plant, during the preparation of the leaf, or during the process of brewing and drinking a cup.”
Learning Professional Tea Terms in Chinese
Becky Li & Issac Dumiel
“This is a 2-part workshop presentation. In the first section, Ms. Li will explain a selection of professional terms in Chinese used to describe and evaluate tea in mainland China and Taiwan, with a focus on concepts that have no exact analogs in English. In the second section, Mr. Dumiel will present a small selection of traditional Chinese texts on tea preparation, tasting and etiquette, introducing some of the fundamental concepts in Chinese tea culture. This presentation is intended for persons who are already familiar with Chinese teas, but not fluent in Chinese. Attendees will learn key concepts Chinese people use to understand and discuss tea and how these ideas differ from both the professional terms and general culture associated with tea in the West. You will also learn how to appreciate Chinese tea following the concepts indigenous to its tradition.”
Tea Roasting Class
“Are you a tea drinker who is just excited by a lot of teas and tend to buy more than what you can drink? In this class, Shiuwen will show you how to refresh a stale tea and you will get to practice it. She will also cover some different ways that you can refresh or roast your tea at home. Participants will get to taste a stale tea, the same tea that has been worked on in the class, and the same tea that has been roasted from a tea roaster.”
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Ako Yoshino & Pearl Dexter
“Presented by Ms. Ako Yoshino, a senior instructor of Japanese tea ceremony academy and tea lecturer at Shizuoka university, this special presentation will invite you to the world of traditional Japanese tea ceremony.”
Consult the festival schedule for details. There are a lot of additional events and happenings. Some of the events require sign-ups ahead of time, so you’ll do well to plan ahead. If you come to the festival – and you should – be sure to stop by the Phoenix Tea booth and say “hello” to me. I’ll be the one who isn’t Brett.
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