Wheat Free Sundays: Northwest Tea Festival

They can take away my bread, my donuts, my naan, wontons, fettuccine and my Eggos - but they can't take away my tea!

I am an avid tea drinker (mostly because coffee just really upsets the system) and this weekend was tea tasting heaven.  Every October in Seattle is the NW Tea Festival.  There are all different types of tea offered - Chinese, Japanese, Indian, British, Taiwanese, herbal and probably a few more that I missed.  For a small donation, I received a tasting up and a shopping bag.  Each booth served several different types of tea, some ordinary adn expected, others that caught me by surprise.  

I have to giggle when my daughter (9) walks up with her cup and she is only offered herbal tea.  She explains that she would like to taste the Genmaicha or the Pu-erh or the Oolong and the server gives me the look of "kids-dont-like-this-tea-and-it-contains-caffeine".  Quite honestly, Sarah's favorite tea is a toss up between Genmaicha and Pu-erh.  A close second is peppermint, but only if is sweetened or flavored.  Yes, I am a responsible parent (or at least I try to be).  I will not let her drink a mug of full-strength Pu-erh, but I will let her have a tasting cup or two full.  (Tasting cups only hold an ounce or two of liquid).

After tasting several teas, and consulting with the boss, we decided to spend our tea allowance on:

By far my favorite merchant is Phoenix Tea Shop.  I have known Brett for a long time, but haven't seen him for about a year now.  He still remembers exactly what type of tea I like - and he treats Sarah with respect (she is always offered Oolong, Pu-erh, etc. along with all of the adults).  Brett also carries some of the highest quality teas around.

Sarah's favorite merchant is the Tea Lady.  I'm not sure what attracts her to this shop every year.  It might be the tea wares (there's always a touch of whimsy on hand), or the large assortment of interesting blends (that's where we bought the Peppermint Chocolate), or because the ladies who work there are always friendly.  

I have to give a shout-out to SA Tea and Choice Teas.  SA Tea makes the best Genmaicha in my opinion.  I buy it at our local Uwajimaya, so we didn't purchase any at the festival like we normallly do.  Choice Tea had a very nice Lemon, Lavender, Mint that we both tasted.  I did not buy any at the festival since I know it is easy to come by at our grocery store.

James Norwood Pratt signing my copy of The Ultimate Tea Lover's Treasury

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