The second annual Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) Tea Festival happened this past weekend (4 and 5 November 2017) in Burlington, Ontario and we were happy to be there, having a great time and sipping tea with everyone who was there! We met with a bunch of our friends in the tea industry and made some new one. As an online boutique, we love festivals because it gives us a chance to meet with you, chat and share tea. Whether we’re talking about tea or just catching up, we just love the chance to meet people in person, taste tea and have fun. Our tea pet, who spends most of his days staring at us also likes to get out and see all the new faces!
This was our first time at the RBG Tea Festival and we were really impressed with the line up of vendors, entertainment and educational talks. The RBG Tea Festival also gives visitors the unique ability to enjoy the botanical gardens included in the price of admission to the festival making it an awesome day out and about!
The event featured 26 vendors and was sponsored by World Tea Podcast. Of course, we are really busy at these events brewing and serving you tea, but I did find some time to walk the floor and meet some of our old friends in the business and make some new ones too. Unfortunately, it was impossible to meet everyone, but you can check out the complete list of vendors at the RBG Tea Festival Website.
Carole from Chassagne was our neighbour and she was featuring an array of delicious honey as well as wool and other items from her farm. But it was only after the festival that I realized what a fascinating person Carole really is, with a vast career in animal care, travel and not to mention she started this amazing farm from scratch and raised it to what it is today. I strongly recommend you give her website a visit and then follow that up with a visit to her farm or somewhere you can meet her and have the privilege to chat with her.
Linda Gaylard - The Tea Stylist
We met Linda at our first festival in Ottawa in 2014 and we became fast friends. She hosted us just a month after our initial meeting in her home as a wrap up to the Toronto Tea Festival and we shared tea for hours. It was a lovely afternoon that I will never forget. Linda and her husband are simply amazing people, and although we don’t get to see them nearly as much as we’d like, we’re really lucky to be able to call them friends. This was the first time I tried one of Linda’s tea blends and I have to say, it was simply awesome! It was an afternoon blend comprised of Keemun, Ceylon and Assam. She nailed it! If you haven’t read Linda’s book, I strongly recommend it. If memory serves, she started writing it shortly after we met and it has been just awesome to watch her go from concept to a finished, award-winning book! You can get it here.
Frank and Katie - Steeped Tea
New friends from Steeped Tea, Frank and Katie. We have seen Steeped Tea at other festivals, but this was our first chance to meet Katie and Frank, who explained to us that Steeped Tea specializes in all natural blends. I tasted the three teas they were sampling and aside from being delicious, they were unsweetened and you really could taste the quality of the ingredients.
Reema - Victoria Road Chai Co.
Another new friend we met was Reema from Victoria Road Chai Co. She was offering a wide variety of Chai blends and they were also really delicious. The Chai I tried was the Royal Rose Chai, very clean and refreshing.
We see Joel and Cheryl from Capital Tea at the Toronto Tea Festival every year and it was great to see them a little early this year at the RBG Tea Festival. I tried their First Flush Darjeeling from Risheehat and it was simply delicious. I always like to try teas from elsewhere whenever I can and this is one I would definitely enjoy again.
Erica from tealife came to Burlington all the way from Philadelphia. Yes, Philadelphia! That is some serious dedication. She was featuring a wonderful array of teaware and accessories and even some “tea wear“! We are looking forward to seeing Erica again at Coffee and Tea Valley Forge (formerly known as Coffee and Tea Philadelphia) and maybe even at the very first Talking Tea Live Event!
LUNCH Soap & World Tea Podcast
If you were lucky enough to be at the festival then you will remember being greeted at the front door by these two handsome gentlemen, TJ and Justin, representing LUNCH Soaps! TJ is also the founder of the World Tea Podcast, one of the first long-form tea podcasts. Check it out, it’s a great resource with an eclectic array of fun and informative videos. We have been on it a couple times and look forward to sharing more Tea with TJ and Justin in the future!
We’ve seen Dave and Sarah from Genuine Tea several times at the Toronto Tea Festival, but we finally got a moment to say hello properly. They offer up a selection of teas from all over the world and even have a matcha club! We’re hoping to see them at the Toronto Tea Festival again this year.
Tea Talks & Entertainment
As if you need more reasons to go to the RBG Tea Festival they also did an incredible job lining up talks about tea and a great array of tea related entertainment and edutainment. Our friend Lu Ann Pannuzio is the creator of Tea Cup of Life, an awesomely rich tea blog. She took folks behind the scenes of a tea blog with her talk and while I wasn’t able to get away to see it myself, I wish I could have. Her recap of the festival is absolutely great and covers a lot of the things I couldn’t get to.
Robert Coons of Chayo Tea Friends also did a couple talks that I would have liked to see. One on Tea Farming and the other on Tea History. As a fellow tea nerd, I love both of these topics immensely!
There were also dancers, instrumentalists and tea ceremony demonstrations. We heard from a lot of festival goers that these presentations were really awesome and I got to see a little Gu Zhen playing myself.
We did see lots of other people and this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the tea vendors who were at the festival or of the amazing people who dropped by to visit us. You can check the RBG Tea Festival website to see the complete list, or better yet, mark your calendar for next year and be part of the event! We’d love to sip some tea with you!