“But indeed, I would rather have nothing but tea.” – Jane Austen
Last weekend, tea lovers gathered here in the state capitol for the first annual Texas Tea Festival. I knew that Texans liked their tea—especially iced during the long, hot summers—but was surprised to hear that some attendees drove in from Dallas and Houston.
This one-day event was held in Saengerrunde Hall, next to Scholtz’s Garten on San Antonio Street. Vendor tables were set up around the perimeter of the main hall for sampling and purchasing teas. Throughout the afternoon, tea-related talks were held in two smaller rooms in the building.
- Frisians live in northern Germany and Netherlands.
- The cup is filled in this order: sugar (representing land), tea (life), and cream (sky).
- Don’t stir the cream. It bubbles to the top like a science experiment.
- Tea is offered three times during the ceremony, although it’s appropriate to refuse after the first cup. I would recommend this. This is a very strong tea, even with the added sugar and cream.
My tea education continued with “Tea Farming in Mississippi,” presented by a farmer who is expecting his first crop later this year. Among other things, I learned about US planting laws (only by seed, no grafting nor live plants) and tea harvesting (by machine). In another session, a member of the Harney & Sons family discussed “The Modernization of Tea.” New trends apparently include cooking with tea, “third wave” purchasing and blending, pyramid-shaped sachet bags, and distribution deals with Target. This business has clearly moved past plain old Lipton tea bags.
I considered attending other sessions such as “The Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Green Teas” and “Kick Off Your Boots & Steep!” But after several hours of tastings, I was overloaded on tea. Tea Sommelier may not be my next career choice, after all…
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