During the weekend of 18th-19th November, the 4th edition of the Berlin Tea Festival was celebrated. This time, we couldn’t miss it. And we are really glad we didn’t!
The whole festival spread around 3 different days. Friday was dedicated to B2B and featured talks by different professionals involved in the tea industry – among which, our Tea Fellow and specialist Eduardo Molina Anfossi gave a talk about the development of German tea brand Paper&Tea. On the Saturday the main event took place: the stunning building of Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche saw tea lovers flocking in, tasting liters of tea and mingling about all day long. What an exciting and vibrant atmosphere! Among the wide – and high quality – variety of tea stands and teaware, Japanese tea was popping out here and there. Some nice Japanese green teas and even a freeze dried matcha were available at Kos-Tea stand. Teerausch and Teekontor Kiel also had a wide selection of very good Japanese teas and one of them was brewing a nice Tokujo Kabusecha from the Morimoto Family in Miyazaki for participants to taste. Aiya, the German brand that focuses on matcha and that was funded by the man that in Germany is known as “the tea Pope”, was preparing matcha and also had some gyokuro. KEIKO Tee was also present with a stand and gave a workshop on different ways of brewing tea (they are a Japanese tea brand based in Diepholz, where they not only have a big beautiful tea room, but also stone mills to grind their own matcha!). Tons of interesting things and teas – but probably for us the most exciting to see was that 4 tea farmers had come all the way from Japan!
The Tokyo Tea Blenders is a group of Japanese tea farmers of different areas of Japan that focus on wakocha making. Three of them did a tour around Europe last month and luckily could also come to Berlin Tea Festival. Etsuro Masui of Masuien, Hiroki Matsumoto of Kaneroku Matsumotoen and Toshifumi Shibamoto of Kamairicha Shibamoto did a tea tasting in the main hall. It was so popular and crowded with many tea lovers looking forward to taste their teas and hear about it! Among the green and black teas brewed, there was some very interesting smoked wakocha.
The other tea farmer that joined the festival was Hiroki Yoshida of Yoshida Tea Farm, in Ibaraki. He was touring Europe with his wife Misako and took the opportunity to join us! Together, Hiroki and myself gave a talk about the current situation of Japanese tea and introduced Yoshida Tea Farm. The seminar room was full with more than 40 participants! Misako together with one of our Tea Fellows Lilia Hanson, prepared first a sencha and then a wakocha of a rare cultivar (Izumi) for the participants to taste. We were so happy to see such interest from the people and so many wanting to listen to our workshop and taste the teas!
Finally, the Sunday was quieter but still with many things happening – this time spread around the city at different venues. The Tokyo Tea Blenders did another tasting, this time at a more relaxing pace. And that gave the chance to talk more about the teas and for people to taste them in a more relaxing way.
Quite a few of our Tea Fellows and friends were at the festival. It was so beautiful seeing familiar faces, friends or get to know finally in person some other members we had met only through a computer screen before. With some of them, we even got to spend some more time together having dinner, exchanging opinions about the festival, about tea and getting to know each other! After nearly two weeks have passed, I’m still amazed of the intensity and encounters made in Berlin. And very thankful for our beautiful tea community! Thank you to all of you who brewed or served tea, took the photos, offered help, gave some insight, stayed around or simply came by to say hello. In particular: Sofie Vercauteren for the photos in this article, Lilia Hanson for brewing and giving insight, Jennifer Swann for serving the tea, Zita Varga for the insight and the origami cranes, Mitsuya Watanabe for the insight.
And a special thank you to Hiroki and Misako Yoshida for sharing the story (and the nice teas!) of their family with all the tea lovers at the Berlin Tea Festival!
…To the next cup of tea together, somewhere!