The Melbourne Tea Festival is a market of local and Australian tea vendors and makers, which features a selection of hands-on workshops. This year the festival is focusing on tea’s role in our daily lives.
“[2016’s event] had such a nice response from the tea vendors who originate from Melbourne, because it’s such a coffee-dominated city,” says co-founder Corinne Smith of The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar in Sydney.
There will be more than 50 different stalls, including tea by local makers Perfect South, Yarra Valley Tea Company, Chai Wali and Cloud Nine Teas. You'll also find stalls selling teaware, such as Bodum and ceramics by Lisa Peri. The food offering includes LuxBite, Ghost Kitchen, St. Gerrys and Tasty Gozleme.
On top of being able to purchase tea to drink at home, there will be a variety of workshops. Learn about daily tea rituals with Storm in a Tea Cup, or about an indigenous tea ceremony with LORE teas, or a class on fermenting and kombucha with The Fermentary.
In addition to the workshops, the festival will also host a do-it-yourself blending station, where for $20 you can spend 20 minutes playing around with tea ingredients and make your own blend. There will also be an immersive performance 'tea cube'.
“We’re encouraging people to leave their mobile phones and devices outside the cube and step inside with a stranger. There will be a facilitator inside who will make tea,” says Smith. “It’s about getting back to human connection and using tea to facilitate that, which is something we’ve done forever.”
The Melbourne Tea Festival runs from 9am to 4pm on Saturday May 20 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Tickets are $15.90 pre-sale, and $20.50 at the door. Individual workshop tickets are $51.70.