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.
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.
The Chinese Tea Shop
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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.
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…).
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.
On Saturday, November 21st I attended the Vancouver Tea Festival that was being held at the Croatian Cultural Centre and I can say it was… interesting.
The volunteers that were at the event were fantastic and helpful. The main room that the festival was being held in was all of the vendors, and it was quite packed with people. I found it difficult to get to talk to the exhibitors because people kept on pushing me – politeness seemed to go out of the window among the attendees when it comes to getting tea samples. All of the tea exhibitors had at least one type of tea for sampling, which was great because when I went through the registration/ticket table, I was given a small ceramic sampling cup – it’s super cute. Just enough tea for a few sips.
I genuinely tried to take some photos, but it was hard with people jostling me and the lighting in the place itself. The information about the workshops and tasting sessions didn’t seem to go live on the tea festival website until late in the game, I didn’t realize when I bought my ticket that some of the sessions were extra on top of the admission price. That was a little disappointing. I wasn’t too surprised that it was limit one free session per person, but I feel like that information could have been put up online earlier.
I got to try some tea from some wonderful exhibitors – a lot of companies from British Columbia – which was really great. I just wish that the people attending had been more conscientious of the people around them because I like my personal space, not getting pushed around, and not spilling hot tea on myself because someone knocks my hand to the side while they’re getting their sample cup filled.