Participants travelled from both near and far in torrential rain to our Show and Tea evening. The third event of the year was an intimate gathering, and as we arrived into the cosy, warm neighbourhood house, the entire group huddled around the table together to enjoy a delicious potluck supper of salads, pasta and fresh homemade bread.
On the table beside us sat a wonderful array of teas brought along from our kitchens, cupboards and tea collections. After supper, we enjoyed a sensory and social exchange as the teas were introduced and passed around the group in foil packages, gift boxes and assorted tins of all colours, sizes and languages. Chai, tee, tae, cha...however you say it, tea is truly the universal beverage, and as the evening unfolded, we discovered the wonderful variation in tea culture within our circle and across the globe. Although all tea, green, white and black are from the same plant, camellia sinensis, we shared the different ways we brew and consume it, the way we interact with it, and our historical, personal and social associations with tea drinking.
We sampled the pungent aromas and textures of black tea drunk in Ireland, green tea from China, Korean roasted barley tea, the spiced chai tea of Sri Lanka and Japanese genmai tea that contains rice grains. Historically, tea was too expensive for Japanese peasants so they eeked it out with rice. The wonderful aroma and colours of tea ingredients derived from other plants and flowers also featured, including delicate pink rosebuds, lavender and chocolate mint.
After sharing, it was time to start some brewing experimentation and swap blending recipes. My personal favourite was a refreshing blend of chocolate mint, vanilla and orange peel. A delicious light tea to enjoy in the evening after supper and no better way to spend a wet, cold evening than passing around steaming cups of warm brew. Some blends worked better than others, but collaborating together on new recipes was fun.
After our impromptu tea swap, we all left the house with small bundles of tea from around the world, satisfied and warmer after good food, hot tea and great company.
If you now feel like putting the kettle on, check out our tea recipe page for blending ideas and info on where to find tea in Vancouver!