If you’d like to take your love for tea to the next level, why not try a tea festival? Though many of these are geared toward members of the tea industry, some are open to the general population. This is not a comprehensive listing of such gatherings, but it covers some of the best known ones, along with a smattering of others.
World Tea Expo
Likely the biggest of the tea festivals, World Tea Expo calls itself “the leading trade event with a robust conference that is focused 100% on premium teas and related products.” It’s an annual event that’s been taking place in Las Vegas for the last ten years. The industry event draws, if not everyone who’s anyone in the tea industry, then at least quite a few of them. Spinoff events include the North American Tea Championship and World Tea East, to name a few.
Northwest Tea Festival
Ironically enough, this one takes place in that rather coffee-centric city of Seattle. It was “conceived in spring of 2007 and is brought to you by the Puget Sound Tea Education Association (PStea). Our first festival was in the fall of 2008.”
Los Angeles International Tea Festival
A relative newcomer to this arena, the Los Angeles International Tea Festival has only been doing its thing for two years now. But for the 2012 event they managed to round up an impressive slate of speakers, including Roy Fong and James Norwood Pratt.
San Francisco International Tea Festival
This tea fest, in one of California’s other major cities, has also been going on for just two years now. The next event will take place in March, 2013.
Coffee & Tea Festival NYC
Yes, they do tea back East, where it has been sharing billing with that other drink for the last eight years at Coffee & Tea Festival NYC. The one is open to industry types as well as the general public and offers “two days of programming including classes/lectures/demos from well-known industry pros and pioneers.”
Victoria Tea Festival
Let’s not forget our neighbors to the north, where the Victoria Tea Festival takes place in Victoria, British Columbia, the alleged “tea capital of Canada.” Things got underway in 2007 with a modest one-day event attended by 200 people. At the latest fest more than twenty times that number of people attended, along with forty exhibitors.
Toronto Tea Festival
Also in Canada, there’s the Toronto Tea Festival, who invite attendees to “explore the world of tea by tasting fine teas, experience cultural ceremonies, attend interesting lectures, and meet other tea lovers.”
Charleston Tea Plantation First Flush Festival
Perhaps the most unique of this bunch, the First Flush Festival takes place at South Carolina’s Charleston Tea Plantation, which is currently the top tea grower in a nation that’s not really known for this sort of thing. Next year will mark the seventh observance of the festival, which celebrates the first tea harvest of the year.
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