Single-estate tea, Ayurvedic blends, chai tea based on traditional family recipes and even chocolate and bee-inspired teas are some of what can be found at the 2015 Sydney Tea Festival.
“People will be blown away by the sheer diversity of tea and tisanes on offer,” says Renee Creer, one of the festival organisers. “All of the festival tea purveyors are representative of what specialty tea in Australia is all about – quality, diversity and creativity.”
“We couldn’t understand why there wasn’t one already!” says Creer. “There are festivals for most things these days, and with tea being so loved and so a part of people’s everyday lives, we thought it should be celebrated with a festival.”
At the heart of the festival is the celebration of high-quality specialty tea, “a leafy-grade tea produced with the intention of enhancing characteristics in the leaf,” explains Smith, who is also a founding member of the Australasian Specialty Tea Association. “It tends toward a more artisan approach to manufacture as opposed to mass-production.”
This year 50 stallholders will peddle their wares to an expected 7000 visitors, up from the 5500 that attended in 2014. Members of the public can buy a porcelain sampling cup for $4, which allows unlimited tea tasting throughout the day. “Last year we had a lot of waste from sampling cups. So this is a more environmentally friendly solution and cup sales go toward the running of the festival.”
Feeding the masses will be four food trucks: Tsuru, Agape Organic, Let’s Do Yum Cha and Street Sliders. Sweets on offer include macarons, crepes, chai-infused pastries and crumbles.
The festival hosts an expanded selection of teaware this year. “Everything from global brand Bodum to local Japanese teaware specialist, Gingko Leaf, in Woollahra, as well as Sydney-based ceramic artists, like Samantha Robinson,” says Creer.
A series of workshops accompanies the festival, covering topics such as Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies, meditation and tea-and-dessert pairing hosted by Tippity and Black Star Pastry.
Sydney Tea Festival is on August 16 at Carriageworks from 9am–4pm. Entry is free, porcelain tasting cups are $4.