Tea was discovered in ancient China when a leaf blew in the window and landed in the emperor's bath, which he was slurping through a straw. Sip leaves steeped more decorously with today's Groupon: for $15, you get admission for two to the Ottawa Tea Festival at City Hall on Saturday, November 5, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sponsored by KIMICHA Tea, the Ottawa Tea Festival celebrates the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of tea through cultural ceremony demonstrations, traditional dance performances, and a photography exhibit from a tea master's travels. While sipping on free samples of region-based teas, guests view a traditional Korean tea ceremony accompanied by a slideshow of photographs taken by Tea Master Yoon Hee Kim during her exploration of Korea's tea gardens and iced tea waterfalls. Sri Lankan dancers bedecked in bright colors twirl barefoot, priming guests for a video message from Her Excellency the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka. All profits from the festival benefit Ashinaga, an organization which benefits orphans from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Finding the perfect tea requires a sensitive palate. Kimicha's founder Kimiko Uriu has been working endlessly to do that; she selects each one of the shop's many offerings from the hundreds of different teas available in regions like China, India, and Japan. Her skill shows; she's a certified tea specialist and her selections have won awards from the North American Tea Championship.
She's not shy about passing those skills along, though. The shop hosts events that include tastings of new teas and classes that teach students to blend their own teas, pair foods and tea, or try teas from every region of the world. The shop stocks everything newly discovered aficionados might need as well, from ornate serving sets to sleek matcha bowls.
Byward Market - Parliament Hill
110 Laurier Ave. W
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1Get Directions