So I made it to my second C&T F, and this time I was accompanied by Daphne. I have to say it was more enjoyable to share with someone. Daphne was an especially good companion, as she is really enthusiastic about new ideas, and asked some good questions.
I'll start with the disappointments, to get them out of the way. I'd read on the website and the program that Biscottea was going to be there, and since last year that was a highlight for me, I was looking all over for them. Perhaps they came on Sunday, but they were nowhere to be found on Saturday. The seating for the talks was a little wonky too. Tea Master Yong Hee Kim demonstrated a Korean Tea Ceremony. The only problem was that it was done on the floor, and everyone sitting behind the front row had to crane their necks or possess x-ray vision in order to see it.
What wasn't so much of a disappointment, more of an awkward moment, happened during the Afternoon Tea talk given by Ellen Easton. I'd heard this one last year; it's basically about the traditional method, though of course there are no hard and fast rules. Well, she decided to address certain protests called "tea parties" that happened last week. Her point seemed to be that she didn't like to hear tea and tea parties being used in this way, as it sends a different meaning behind what her career in tea parties is. Unfortunately she mentioned "right wing", and during the Q&A she got a heated response from one woman. Though she did apologize, the rest of that hour was thicker than clotted cream. Even the questions about when to add milk seemed hostile.
Moving on, it was a pleasure to hear speakers on chocolate tasting and coffee cupping. I am eager to have tasting of my own at home, and wouldn't mind consulting Dina Chaney's book. As far as coffee, I myself will never be that into it: how can you truly love what doesn't love you back? - but Marcela Zuchovicki did have a contagious enthusiasm.
Yoon Hee Kim from the Korean Tea Culture Foundation handled two parts of the day's main stage activities. Though I couldn't see the Korean Tea Ceremony as well as I'd like, what I did manage to see looked really splendid. The way her hands moved was so graceful and fluid. Years of training might help, but I'd still probably fumble with all those little cups. The part "From Garden to Cup" gave a little idea of what the tea you drink has been through since it was plucked from its bush/tree. I tend to forget the entire process, so it was nice to hear it explained.
Chris Cason from Tavalon demonstrated a number of tea cocktails. He made a type of tea toddy that we got to sample. It was very autumnal, and extremely flavorful and comforting. I need to experiment with my liquors and teas. Well, maybe in moderation. I'm not a teetotaler, but I have my limits! The Earl Grey infused vodka seemed easy to make, anyway.
There were enough vendors to make my cash flow quicker than the teapots, but I managed to reign in. Most of my purchasing was from Tay Tea (their "Better Than Sex" rooibos blend is amazing), and Tavalon. I sampled macarons from Georgia's Bake Shop, and they really melt in your mouth. I really have to stock up on those.
Requisite dorky picture:
He was a black tea leaf.