Imagine a warehouse full of people all fighting to get a cup of tea. Sounds crazy, right?
The Sydney Tea Festival is exactly that, and if you really love your tea, you’ll want to join the fight.
In my mind, tea represents calm. Tea is something to be savoured, and enjoyed when you need to take a little time out. The Sydney Tea Festival is quite the opposite of what tea is to me. Almost all popular events in this city can get pretty hyped up, and the tea festival is definitely no exception. This year The Sydney Tea Festival moved into a larger space than ever, and still managed to fill it to capacity with crazed tea fans, all willing to line up to get a taste of (a very big variety) of teas!
Sadly, if you’re reading this now, and you weren’t also at the festival, then you’ve missed it for the year. But don’t worry, it returns for one day every year, and I’m going to share with you some of the best retailers to check out online (everyone I’ll be mentioning offer delivery to Sydney.)
First of all, you should know that I consider myself to be pretty crazy about tea. I dedicate almost a whole shelf in my cupboard to it. I willingly spend free time reading about tea, checking out different stores, and making tea-related wish lists. Before the festival, I browsed all the retailers websites and made a list of who to check out just to make sure I didn’t miss anything! So you can trust me when I say that I’m a big fan of tea.
Favourites of the Festival
Chai lovers, if you ever visit the tea festival, know there are a lot of chai’s to choose from.
I haven’t tried every chai available, but I can say for sure that right now my favourite is Chai Walli!
If you get a chance to try this authentic, subtle but strong blend of spices and tea, don’t miss it.
My other favourite of the day was The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar. These guys have tea bars at Redfern and (newly opened) Barangaroo, if you want to try one of their tea lattes or one of their interesting tea flavours – like Tiramisu! Their stall was undoubtedly my favourite of the festival. Nobody else had flavours as crazy (in a good way) as them – and I’m definitely going to swing by their tea bar the next chance I get!
The one downside of the festival, in my opinion, is that you only get one tasting cup (thought this is also a bonus – take home a cool mini tea cup!). The tea cup can’t really be washed or rinsed as you walk around, which can get annoying. Say you want to try a spiced milky chai – followed by a zesty green tea… Not something you’d really want to taste in the same cup, right? Our little hack was to carry around a bottle of water as a palate cleanser and a cup cleaner, tipping a little into the cup after each sample, swirling it around and drinking or tipping out the remains.
We may have looked silly doing it, but it totally helped.
I’m a bit picky when it comes to food and drink, so maybe it’s just me that was bothered by the variety of teas tasted in one cup issue. Nick had a great time running around tasting as many different teas as he fancied. As a lover of all things spicy, Nick’s favourite of the day was Calmer Sutra‘s Super Spiced Cacao – which wasn’t actually a tea, but a spiced hot chocolate mix. Turns out it was many people’s favourite of the day – considering it was sold out by the end of the day when we tried to return to the stall to buy it, much to Nick’s disappointment.
The other best part of the tea festival, apart from the tea, is the market food. These kind of events are always a great show when it comes to food, and there’s so many classics you must try if you ever to attend an event similar to this. I walked away with a delicious haul of a few bagels from Brooklyn Boy Bagels, a couple of macarons from Mak Mak, an amazing buttered toast doughnut from Grumpy Doughnuts, classic Black Pantry marshmallows and an amazing tasting box of chocolates from chocolatiers Koko Black, who had collaborated with Rabbit Hole for the event. I didn’t attend their chocolate x tea pairing session, but I did buy the box of chocolates anyway.
They were still awesome.
Can we also talk about food trucks for a minute? Sydney has got to have some of the best food trucks. We were spoilt for choice, but we settled on Happy As Larry’s pizza truck. We made the right decision. Their pancetta pizza, pictured below, was super delicious. It may not be the most photogenic pizza, but it tasted amazing. Crispy pieces of pancetta on top of soft cheese, little pieces of buttery potato and spinach on a great crust. Simple but excellent.
“All you need is
love pizza – Happy as Larry. “
To wrap up, this event is kind of crazy. But so is being obsessed with tea. No shame here.
For my fellow tea lovers:
Don’t miss this festival next year, it’s a haven for tea drinkers in a manic coffee drinker’s world.