The Melbourne Tea Festival. Or, according to my husband, “Tea Palooza.” Whatever you wanna call it, it happened on Sunday, and it was awesome!
Held for the first time at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre,
The Melbourne Tea Festival is an interactive experience designed to help people discover and experience specialty tea; encourage and grow passion for tea through education; and showcase quality specialty tea providers. The festival day has two elements, a tea market and a program of ticketed workshops.
If you bought your tickets online before the event, they were only $12, and entry included a little tea cup to carry around for the day so you could taste as much as you wanted. Workshops cost a little extra, so we didn’t participate in any of them, and instead just went to sample and shop. Ok, I went to sample and shop; husband came along because there were food trucks, and his favourite ones, at that.
Included in the food truck line up were Sliders on Tyres, Nem N Nem Vietnamese street food and Kurbside Kravings, but the ones we were there for were the Don Lopez El Cubano Food Truck, doling out the most incredible roast pork Cuban sandwiches, and Ghost Kitchen, purveyors of my husband’s all-time favourite food truck fare – their popcorn chicken is spectacular.
Delicious sweet food was abundant, too (yay for my, the sweet tooth), and I absolutely couldn’t go past the rich, fudgy chocolate whoopie cookies stuffed with matcha.lab matcha cream from Alpen Delicious’ The Whoopies Range.
I also absolutely loved the salted caramel chocolate tart, and the matcha red bean strawberry stuffed daifuku from Chocolette Patisserie.
But enough of the food for now – let’s talk tea! I came home with a pretty decent haul, and sampled quite a few more. Here’s what I tried and what I took home….
What I tried:
– Larsen & Thompson: Lemongrass & Ginger Tea
Light and delicious and great to settle an upset stomach
– the art of tea: Tasmanian Breakfast Tea
I actually tried this one back at Salamanca Market in Hobart a few weeks ago, and it’s a really lovely black tea – a blend of Chinese grown large leaf Yunnan & Keemun
– T2: all of the tea
I’ve been a big fan of T2 for years now; favourites include Melbourne Breakfast Tea, Madagascan Vanilla, Pumping Pomegranate, French Early Grey, Strawberries & Cream and Geisha Getaway.
What I took home:
– matcha.lab: matcha pack – 60g pack of organic matcha + bamboo chashaku + bamboo chasen whisk for AUD$45.00
I really enjoyed the matcha I tasted from matcha.lab, and obviously their association with the aforementioned whoopie cookies didn’t hurt, and I needed a whisk and I figured why the hell not go the whole nine yards?! Great purchase!
* WHY MATCHA.LAB? They promise superior organic stone ground matcha from the tea fields of the city of Nishio in the Aichi Prefecture, Japan’s leading producer of matcha, and crafted to ensure the highest concentration of nutrients and antioxidants. They also use small tea leaves, resulting in a higher concentration of antioxidants compared to other brands.
– RicoCoco’s Chocolate Tea: 40g packet for AUD$12.00
This magic little formula actually tasted like a cup of chocolate. Not imitation hot chocolate, but like your actually drinking smooth, liquefied chocolate… wow.
* WHY RICOCOCO? It’s made from shell of the cacao bean, and thats it! It is not a flavour infused tea, nor a processed tea. This is 100% organic, free from GMO pesticides and Freetrade.
– Faraaz Tea: Hibiscus Tea 30g gift pack for AUD$7.00
It was actually the husband who spied this one, remembering the amazing hibiscus tea we drank in Egypt back in 2013. The massive crowd around their stall told us that they had the good stuff, and so they did!
* WHY FARAAZ? They believe in contributing positively to society on a global scale and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Their goal is to make sure you get the best tasting herbal and fruit tea, to feel great after drinking it, to provide exceptionally high quality products and services that are competitive in the global market, and to dedicate themselves to ensuring customer satisfaction world-wide.
– Storm in a Teacup: Breakfast Tea 50g pack for AUD$7.00
I love this tea – it’s a good, strong, old faithful, served at quite a few cafes these days. As much as I love fancy flavoured black teas, I also like to have a good, trusty breakfast tea handy.
* WHY STORM IN A TEACUP? They know their tea inside out, have great respect for the tea rituals of the world, embrace the precocious elevation of tea’s place in our culinary society. Basically, they’re all about tea.
– Zen Wonders: Taishiro Matcha 50g packet for AUD$20.00
Last but not least, a packet of culinary grade matcha – I loved the taste of the ceremonial grade, but didn’t have the extra money to spend on it. That said, this culinary grade is still fantastic as a tea, and an exceptional matcha latte addition.
* WHY ZEN WONDERS? They believe that nourishing both mind and body is a simple, yet powerful discipline to embrace a meaningful and happy journey through life. They source their matcha from the Uji Region of Japan, known to be the best area for production of superior matcha green tea because of the lack of pollution, rich soil, and wide range of temperature between day and night.
What I want to try next:
– Travelling Samovar Tea House
Their range looked incredible, and they have Gyokuro tea, my absolute favourite green tea varietal!
– Impala & Peacock Tea Room
They do high tea – if there’s anything I love more than tea, it’s tea with scones!
In the mean time, though, I think I’ll make myself another cup of tea and dream about those whoopie cookies… I hope this festival is back again next year!!