2017 Vancouver Tea Festival: Recap

This past weekend, on November 4th and 5th, it was the annual Vancouver Tea Festival – hosted and organized by the Vancouver Tea Society at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden located in the heart of Chinatown in Vancouver, British Columbia. This was also the first year that the Vancouver Tea Festival took place over two days, with presentations and tea tastings happening on both days.

Ticket prices varied from $7.95 to $24.95 depending on the number of dates (and which date), and if you opted for Exhibition Hall admission only or Exhibition Hall and Garden admission. There were children tickets available for free. Attendees also received a white sampling cup to tasting tea.

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On the first day that I attended, I focused primarily on the Exhibition Hall where the marketplace was held with all of the vendors. Here are some of the highlights of some of the things that I saw at the booths.

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Tea Experience: Cha Le Tea

Cha Le Tea
Vancouver, British Columbia
$3.50-4.75 for drinks

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Cha Le Tea is a relatively new tea cafe and tea shop in Vancouver, BC that opened this year. It’s located in the Yaletown area of Vancouver and is walking distance the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canadaline stop, if you’re looking to get there via public transit. Parking is a bit of a pain on Hamilton Street (metered parking), but it is available if you luck into a spot.

Their space is charming, and the all-glass wall looking in lends itself to a lot of natural light. For this tea blogger, and other foodies, it’s dream for taking photos. I went on a Thursday around noon with my friend as we wanted to meet up for lunch. When we got there, there was one other table that was occupied by a trio of men in business suits.

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2016 Vancouver Tea Festival: Recap

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Despite the poor time that I had at the 2015 Vancouver Tea Festival, I decided to give it another try this year. This year, the 3rd annual Vancouver Tea Festival took place on Saturday, November 5th at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. What a beautiful venue that they had chosen, and it wasn’t even terribly rainy (while I was here), which was greatly appreciated.

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The vendors were situated in one building, while the classes/workshops (as well one vendor, Phoenix Perennials) were located in another building. It was quite confusing at first, because when I went to register at a table and get my tasting cup, I wasn’t told that the vendors were located in another building. The workshop that I most wanted to take part in was an early one, and it had already been filled by the time I had arrived. I opted to wander over to the vendors (after asking for directions…).

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This year they had about 30 vendors, I believe, and because I was there early it wasn’t too crowded. I was able to discuss tea with the vendors, as well as get in to try some more teas, and even make a few purchases! There were different vendors this year (as well as some repeats), and I got to talk to a good portion of them. I didn’t feel this year that I wasn’t being pushed and shoved while speaking to vendors and other attendees, which definitely made this year’s experience enjoyable.

I made some purchases from Oollo Tea, Modern Tea, The Chinese Tea Shop, and Aroma Tea House – so look forward to reviews from those soon! Many of the teas that I bought were oolongs, which I’ve become very fond of lately.

Tea Experience: Catfé

Catfé
Vancouver, British Columbia
Price Range: $2.95-4.50 (drinks), $2.95-6.85 (food items)

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Catfé has been immensely popular since the announcement that a cat café was opening in Vancouver. Following in the footsteps of popular cat eateries in other countries, Catfé opened after figuring out the logistics of having cats and serving food (spoiler: the room for petting cats and the area for purchasing beverages are separated). The cats at Catfé are all available for adoption and are provided to Catfé by the BC SPCA. On Thursdays, they are closed to shuffle in new cats and to allow them to become accustomed to their new environment. I recently went to Catfé with a friend, who’s a food blogger at BitterSweetLife.

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Tea Experience: The Urban Tea Merchant

The Urban Tea Merchant
Vancouver, British Columbia
$38 for Easter Brunch Tea Set

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I recently went to The Urban Tea Merchant, located in downtown Vancouver, with a group of friends. I had been to a few places before for afternoon tea, but I had not been to The Urban Tea Merchant before so I was excited to give it a try. The space is split into a section for retail (where you can purchase prepackaged or loose teas, tea ware) and then there is seating areas both upstairs and downstairs for the tea service.

Each table had a tin of tea set out so you can smell the tea. The one that happened to be on our table was the Tea Party tea, which I felt was quite appropriate! Tea Party smelled like a sweetened black tea, I didn’t end up getting this one.

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