The Victoria Tea Festival 2010

Victoria Tea FestivalThis weekend the Victoria Tea Festival celebrates its 4th year on February 13 and 14 at the Crystal Garden in Victoria, BC. Weekend passes are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door.

It promises to be an energy-filled weekend with over 3,000 attendees.And the festival is expanding to provide more opportunities this year for festival goers to experience, learn, sample, touch, smell and inquire about all things tea and to engage in an exclusive, interactive and educational tea experience. Exquisite tea wares are available to buy. For the first time, a limited edition souvenir tea-tasting cup—designed and generously donated by Artfarm—will be available for purchase to help raise funds for Camosun College’s Child Care Services.

Festival attendees can steep themselves in tea lore by taking in a complimentary presentation by tea experts who will share their knowledge on the presentation stage.

Saturday, February 13

  • 1 pm – The Ache’s Pride: How Yerba Mate is Saving a Rainforest and Her People (Robert McCauley, Cebador – Northernites Syndicate/Guayaki)
  • 2 pm – Chinese Tea Ceremony (Daniela Cubelic, Owner – Silk Road)
  • 3 pm – Cooking with Tea (Heidi Fink, Chef & food writer)
  • 4 pm – English Tea Traditions and Blends (Susan Livingston, Director of Product Development – Murchies)

Sunday, February 14

  • 11 am – Rooibos and Honeybush Teas (Irene Drmla, owner – Special Teas Inc.)
  • 12 pm – Taking the Chill off of Iced Teas (Bob Krul, CTC Brewt Corp. & Brendan Waye, The Tea Guy)
  • 1 pm – Ceylon, The Island of Tea (Jennifer Petersen, Master Tea Blender & Tea Business Trainer)
  • 2 pm – Refreshment of the Spirit: Oriental Tea & Wine Drinking Vessels (Barry Till, Curator of Asian Art – Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
  • 3 pm – Commentaries on Modern Life~Selected Teatime Readings (Earlene Grey, Author)

For a complete list of ticket outlets, event details and presentation descriptions, visit  the Victoria Tea Festival website.

The Great One supports great green tea from Bigelow

Wayne Gretsky Bigelow TeaWayne Gretzky, aka the Great One, will be promoting the healthy benefits of green tea, in particular Bigelow green teas.  Soon you’ll be hearing Gretsky talk about the merits of four new Bigelow “Gretzky Green” green teas:

  • Green Tea with Pomegranate: a masterful blend of flavorful pomegranate with delicate green tea.
  • Green Tea with Lemon: The refreshing, light lemony taste adds a zesty note to the delicate flavor of green tea.
  • Green Tea: for green tea purists, a fragrant, light, and mellow brew reputed to have many healthy properties.
  • Decaffeinated Green Tea: The same delicious flavour of regular Bigelow Green Tea in a naturally decaffeinated form.

You can get more information on Gretsky’s support of Bigelow teas at the Bigelow Tea blog.

And if you’re a Gretsky fan, rumor has it that tonight you might get to see him tonight carrying the torch in the opening ceremonies in Vancouver.

To tea or not to tea – workplaces cutting perks

At Work - Business Day

Brits are famed for their love of a good brew and yet just 57% of British workers get to enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee at work, according to new research from uSwitchforbusiness.com. In fact, a quarter of workers have seen companies cut back on refreshments over the last year – leaving a bitter taste in the mouth for many:

  • Less than a third of British employees (32%) think that the company they work for is generous to staff with four in ten (43%) describing staff perks as poor
  • Two in five workers (38%) expect an employer to at least provide tea and coffee – just one in ten (13%) don’t see why companies should be expected to pay for them
  • One in ten (10%) say that cutbacks on refreshments have changed the atmosphere for the worse at work while 19% say it has left workers feeling jittery about the future
  • 32% say that small perks like free tea and coffee boost morale – just 6% of workers don’t value such perks

The press release goes on to talk about how not having the perk of complimentary tea and coffee hurts morale and the ability to attract employees, but it doesn’t complete the thought and discuss how that could hurt productivity. If employees have to purchase it off premise or bring it from home and then heat it up, that’s time away from work. Also, there are productive conversations that naturally occur around the tea kettle between employees who work in different departments – conversations that lead to good ideas that otherwise wouldn’t happen (or at least not in an as-speedy timeframe).

So how would you feel if your tea perk was taken away? Would it hurt your productivity?

We all brew in a yellow submarine

What’s the best shape for a tea infuser? And what’s the weirdest shape for a tea infuser that you’ve seen?  Well , the good designers at Ototo and Monkey Business tackled those two for you with the TeaSub. Now I’m not sure how good of an infuser this would be since there doesn’t seem to be too many holes in the sub for the water to circulate through the tea properly. But it sure is cute. And it would make a lovely gift for a Beatles fan who loves tea.

It looks like the only place to get it will be from Gift Lab in the UK at this point. I’ve searched high and low on the internet and can’t find it anywhere else.

(via CNET)

Best places for tea on-the-go in Vancouver

Vancouver Skyline and Mountains HDRWith the Olympics just a few days away, there will be an influx of visitors to our little city. And many may not be prepared for the cold and rain that can chill you to the bone. But the best remedy for that is a good cuppa tea.  Here are my picks for a quick cuppa, no sit-down required, tea on the go in Vancouver (in no particular order):

  • Tim Hortons – various locations – Most people think coffee. But not many people know they make a good tea. Be sure to ask for the “steeped tea” and how much milk in sugar you want in it.
  • Murchies825 W. Pender St (North side between Hornby & Howe) – This is a B.C. institution. You can do the sit-down tea, but they do take out with any of their teas. They also have a location in Oakridge Mall on the Canada Line. (Prince Charles tea is my fav, but I’m still campaigning for a Prince William or Harry blend).
  • Urban Tea Merchant1070 West Georgia St. @ Thurlow (also on the North Shore in the West Vancouver Mall Village) – Another place that’s better known for it’s lovely high tea and lunches. But they do spectacular tea lattes made with their premium teas. Also, they have macarons and chocolates from France. I strongly recommend the Tribute tea latte in tribute to the games – an almond & marzipan flavored tea that’s even more yummy with almond syrup.
  • Granville Island Tea CompanyGranville Island Market – They recently did a well-needed expansion to accommodate the line-ups. If you’re exploring Granville Island, they’re inside the market, on the east side, next to Stuarts Bakery.
  • Muzi Tea Bar –  870 west cordova street (by Canada Place) – This very sleek tea bar has some seating, but makes lovely traditional japanese teas as well as those with a modern twist. There’s a lovely milk/rose tea latte.
  • Pekoe Tea Lounge (formally Steeps) – 895 W Broadway –  What’s great about this place is it’s homey atmosphere and the fact there’s a tea sniffing station from which you can choose your tea. You may find the Shitty Weather Tea apropos.
  • T1568 West Broadway – This is the tea that the Fairmont uses for their high teas, as do several other high-end hotels and restaurants around the world. It’s austere atmosphere looks like it’s only a shop, but you can order tea to stay or go. And you can also sniff the teas at your leisure before ordering. My fav here is the Mad Hatter tea.
  • David’s Tea2199 West 4th Avenue – Okay, so I haven’t been here yet. But so many people have recommended it to me that I’d be remiss for not including it. And supposedly it’s take away only.
  • Starbucks – one on nearly every corner – Vancouver embraced Starbucks as if it were a long lost child. And you can’t go 2 blocks in this city without coming across one. Their tea mistos (don’t call them lattes) are pretty good. And it’s the only non-Canadian tea shop on this list.

British tea making tips propaganda film (1941)

I stumbled on this British WWII propaganda film. Were the troops complaining that the tea maids weren’t making good tea? It seems like it if they needed to teach people how to make tea en masse. But it ends with the 6 Golden Rules for Making Tea, which if more people knew today, it would be easier to find a well-brewed tea.

I want the “Tea Revives the World” poster that’s hanging behind the male instructor.

A teacup big enough for a cat

Have a Merry Christmas!

Enjoy your cuppa tea while opening your presents Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas Teapot

Merry Christmas Teapot

What tea should you have with pumpkin pie?

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and we’re having pumpkin pie for dessert. But what kind of tea should be pair with it? The tea would have to stand up to the rather strong flavors of your typical pumpkin pie, but it should also complement them. Flavors that I think typically go with pumpkin pie are vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and maybe even cranberry. So the tea should probably feature at least one of these. With that in mind, here are my picks for tea that could potentially go with pumpkin pie – what’s yours?

Amazon.com Widgets

What’s the best travel tea kettle?

We’re coming up to travel season, and unless you’re in Britain or Ireland, that means trying to make your morning cup of tea in hotel coffee pots. Yuck! No matter how much you clean those plastic reservoirs, they always make the water taste like coffee. If hotels just used electric French presses, we tea drinker wouldn’t have to endure coffee-laced water. But until they do, our best bet is to bring a travel-sized electric kettle with us.

Here are a few that you can get. The one with the best reviews seems to be the Travel Water Heater by Design Go that can be used in both Europe and North America. And if you just care about portability and want to stick something into a mug a water to heat it up, the Nordic Water Heater is probably more your cup o’ tea. You’ll just have to keep an eye on it to make sure you don’t burn the hotel down. In between those extremes, you’ll find travel kettles that can plug into your car or take up minimal space in your suitcase.