3RD ANNUAL LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL TEA FESTIVAL
JACKY LAU - Content Contributor
Walking into this event, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Being Chinese, I have some knowledge of general tea etiquette, but through and through, I was out of my element. My initial reaction to this event: cozy. The 20 or so exhibitors could have been explored within 5 minutes, but like all fine things in life, drinking tea is a slow process meant to be savored and enjoyed, so off I went.
The festival swag bag provided a porcelain teacup that allowed the attendee to taste the various teas offered for sampling. I was surprised by the abundance of fruit tea at the festival. My first tea was provided by Chado itself, located right next to the festival, the person pouring my tea listed off 5-6 ingredients in the tea, but to my untrained palette, it tasted just like agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus tea). One benefit of the festival being cozy was that I was able to converse with the vendors in much more depth. They were able to educate me on the 6 tea bases available: green, white, black, red, oolong and fruit/mixed. Although educational, I was thirsty in no time. I moved down the line of exhibitors and kindly asked them to pour me cup after cup. Behind one of the vendors, I read, “Kids Tea”. The Tea Gallerie’s seller told me, “It’s Rose Parade for the big kid in all of us.” Rose Parade was an unmistakable party in my mouth. I read the ingredients, more hibiscus. I’m not sure if that is going to be the ongoing theme of the day. The telltale sign of the sweet yet tangy taste of hibiscus was prominent in this tea.
As I moseyed around a few more vendors and coyly asked to try tea at every booth, I looked at my watch, I noticed I have spent my whole afternoon at this festival taste testing everything in sight. Besides being waterlogged, I probably have enough antioxidant to fight off the incoming flu season. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stop by the educational events where they paired tea with chocolate or tea with cheese, that would be on my to-do list for next year.