“It’s about time there was a festival for tea,” says Corinne Smith, founder of The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar and organiser of the first inaugural Sydney Tea Festival. “You’ve got it for coffee, wine, beer, dumplings, chocolate, and they’re all fantastic festivals, but tea is amazing in its own right.”
Smith and festival co-founder Renee Creer of Perfect South, is bringing the best of Australia’s specialty tea experts together this weekend at Sydney’s Carriageworks to celebrate all things tea. With more than 40 stalls offering everything for the ritual of tea making – from loose-leaf brews to tea-ware and accessories – this is a chance to learn more about the much-loved cuppa.
“Sydney is waking up to tea,” says Smith. “We’ve noticed in the 25–35 age bracket people are going crazy for it. Interest in flavours, origins and types is rising. So now it’s not just quaint, it’s contemporary too – there are lots of different angles in tea.”
After more than a year of planning, Smith and Creer are excited to see a group of tea experts come together to celebrate tea, and represent in the beverage landscape.
“In the coffee world they have an established industry voice, competitions, trade shows and festivals,” Says Nathan Wakeford of Somage Fine Foods and the tea specialist behind Chamellia Specialty Organic Tea. “This is the start of the process for tea and consumer interest in Sydney,” he says.
Wakeford is hosting a talk on rare tea cupping and wild grown teas and believes specialty tea creates a spectacle. “It’s the beginning of a following,” he says. “And so far there’s no place for the tea-drinking community to come together. So it’s a chance for the tea drinking public to really engage and create communities together.”
At the festival you can also expect to see the Tsuru and Veggie Patch food trucks and there will be treats from stall holders including MakMak Macarons, The Jam Bandits and Addiction Food to the sounds of live music. There are workshops on tea blending, brewing iced tea and kombucha, tea and cheese pairing and the chance to learn how to mix a tea cocktail.
Time to put the kettle on.
The Sydney tea Festival is on August 17 from 9am–4pm at Market, Blacksmith’s Workshop, Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. The festival is free but the price of workshops ranges from $15–$35 and should be booked in advance.