Sunday, April 12, 2015

Things To Do In Kansas City: Midwest Tea Festival!

I am so hype about the upcoming Midwest Tea Festival, and not just because I have had my little tendrils involved with organizing the event! Even though I have only spent a few years in Kansas City, it has been a huge part of my growth as a 'tea person' see when I moved here I abandoned my favorite store to buy tea, good old Wegman's, and I needed a new supply of tea fast. I first dabbled in buying tea from Whole Foods, and they had some good stuff but they lacked good Japanese greens and Chinese Oolongs, my personal favorites...so I explored more...namely to the internet, and so began my massive tea buying explosion. I stumbled upon Shang Tea by accident on my birthday while exploring Crown Center (this was the day my first package from Adagio Teas arrived too, coincidence?) and a month or so later I discovered that Phoenix Herb Company was also a great place to find teas, and I just went there for some random herb...pretty sure it was marshmallow root for my asthma or something. Chances are if I had stayed in PA, I might not have become a tea blogger, perish the thought!
If this is your first time in KC you will be amazed by all the fountains
I have also met a lot of awesome tea people here, one of them, Nicole, realized the Midwest needed its own Tea Festival, and sent requests to fellow local Steepster members for assistance and I offered my interweb skills. And here is an example of those skillz, hot, hot skillz. First off, let's take a look at who is going to be there!
Anna Marie's Teas
Bingley's Teas
Chai Diaries
Waterfall Teas
Harney & Sons
Herbal Alchemy Teahouse & More
Kilian Teas
The London Tea Room
Lucky Baby Tea
Phoenix Herb Company
Queen's Pantry
Shang Tea
Single Origin Teas
Tea Market
Tea Time Magazine
Traveling Tea
Yoki
Squaresville
Pi Ceramics
Can't Get Along Creations
No favoritism, this was the only place I had a photo of *is a bad journalist*

For all the juicy details about all of the vendors, Nicole has set up vendor profiles and links for all of them. There are a lot of new tea people for me to meet and some old favorites, you will see that I have reviewed Harney & Sons (their teas and their book), Phoenix Herb Company, Shang Tea, and Single Origin Teas. I am excited to not only pick up some new teas from these familiar companies but to meet and shop from some new ones! 
Spring in KC is a wonderful time for tea
But, since this is a festival, there will also be events and classes! Two tasting cafes where you will be able to sample various tea companies, free presentations including ones from rather famous names from the tea world like Elyse Petersen of Tealet and none other than James Norwood Pratt, who is a wonderful tea author and I might Victorian style faint if I get the chance to talk to him. Yeah, he is kinda a big deal to me, since I am an aspiring writer and all that.

The tasting cups will be like this, though probably no fishes, since this one is from my collection
There are also quite a few paid classes that I hope to attend (but let's face it, I will be lucky if I can afford one *is poor*) A really detailed write up and prices can be found on the schedule. And don't worry, my winging aside, the price is really reasonable, but that is the theme of the festival, I mean tickets are only $10 ($12 at the door) that is crazy awesome!
Essentials of Pu-er
Play with Your Leaves
Tea & Food Pairing
Matcha: The Mother of Green Teas
Drink to Your Health
Tea 101
Oolong: Can You Taste It?
Summer is also a wonderful time for tea
Want more Festival goodies? There is a dedicated Blog, a very active Facebook Page, a Tumblr with random tea info and tea pictures, and of course you can spread the love on various social media places with the #MidWestTeaFest tag. So yeah, so much hype! I am going to try to get all my friends to go and then have a Post-Festival gaming and tea event, because I want us all to get very tea drunk, and who knows, maybe next year I will offer to do a presentation or teach a class, spreading knowledge is my thing!

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