The Ladies' Tea Guild

Friday, March 15, 2013

2nd Annual San Francisco International Tea Festival

Afternoon Tea Across America members meet up!
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Mr. Fong and Mr. Pratt opening the
2012 Festival.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

My friend and I went to the The San Francisco International Tea Festival at the Ferry Building Marketplace last Sunday.  A big highlight for me was meeting up with some of the members of the Afternoon Tea Across America e-mail group on Yahoo (see photo at left)!  We had a good time, and will probably go again next year.  The festival, open to tea lovers outside the professional tea trade, involved 16 tea vendors and various experts who offered samples of their tea and tea products, gave lectures and led tea tastings.  There were about 1,000 attendees, who received a small bag of promotional handouts, a few samples of tea, and an official tasting cup, at the festival entrance.

Demonstration Japanese tea
ceremony.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Harney & Sons cold water
drip tea infuser.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Tea experts Roy Fong and James Norwood Pratt were co-hosts of the event, as well as lectured and led their own tea tastings.  Various vendors downstairs in the Ferry Building Marketplace featured tea-related products as well, and tea books and magazines were offered for sale in the festival area as well as the Ferry Building Marketplace’s permanent bookstore.  James Norwood Pratt and Babette Donaldson, author of the Emma Lea’s Tea series of children’s books, were available for autographs.
Chado White Champagne
Raspberry tea.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

All-natural ginger ale with jasmine
green tea.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Last year all the lectures and demonstrations were included in the admission price, but this year we were charged $5 extra for each one.  My friend and I only got in to one tea tasting, but didn't purchase admission to any of the others (although we would have liked to get into James Norwood Pratt's, but his sold out almost immediately) or any of the lectures.  Our tea tasting, with The Meaning of Tea, was fun, but we were disappointed that we couldn't do more.  On the plus side, we were able to see the whole thing in less than an hour, then go down into the Marketplace for lunch and see all the vendors, and head back home before it got too late.  Maybe next year, we'll plan to see the festival, and then spend some time in San Francisco and have afternoon tea somewhere in The City before heading home!

Here are some more photos from the event:
Sencha mints.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Rose, Jasmine and Lavender-
scented chocolates.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Sky Tea's award-winning
Masala Chai.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach 
Babette Donaldson signing
my niece's Emma Lea Tea
book in 2012.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach

For more information:
San Francisco International Tea Festival website
Ferry Building Marketplace website
Write-up from the 2012 tea festival
James Norwood Pratt website
Imperial Tea Court website
Babette Donaldson website
“San Francisco International Tea Festival happens this Saturday!”
“San Francisco International Tea Festival – accessible to San Jose tea lovers”


Marilyn said...

It was fun to finally meet here at this special tea festival. Nice coverage.

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Hi Marilyn,
I'm so glad we got to meet. I wish we'd had a bit more time so that all the ATAA ladies could have sat down together over a pot of tea for a bit, but we all had so much to do. Maybe next year!

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)