Photo credit to Ariel Yue

Drink in the goodness at the SF International Tea Festival

“There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sip and savor hundreds of flavorful teas, hot, cold, spicy, sultry, and refreshing, at the eighth annual San Francisco International Tea Festival on Oct. 19 and 20 at the Palace of Fine Arts.

The two-day extravaganza of all things related to tea brings a wide range of tempting tastes from global producers as well as local, artisanal brands. Tea lovers and inquisitive newbies alike can share in the delights of what many consider the nectar of gods and what American colonists felt worthy of an act of sedition against England in 1773.

The SF International Tea Festival was founded in 2011 by Tea Master Roy Fong, owner of the Bay Area’s renowned traditional Chinese teahouse, Imperial Tea Court, located in the SF Ferry Building Marketplace and Berkeley’s Gourmet Grotto. The 2019 festival is held in conjunction with co-sponsors The Republic of Tea, Harney & Sons Fine Teas and ITO EN. The family-friendly event features nearly 50 tea-themed vendors, tea-themed nibbles and tea-inspired merchants presented in a new venue, where guests can explore the Palace of Fine Arts while sipping hundreds of teas.

Among the offerings are traditional Chinese, Japanese and Indian teas along with herbal tisanes, coffee-leaf teas and innovative combinations of sweet, savory and spicy infusions. Also included are free lectures on tea and, for an additional charge, hands-on workshops for people passionate about the art of brewing a divine cup of tea or those who want to blend their own chai. Other features include marbled tea eggs and Hong Kong milk tea from Imperial Tea Court, teas from the Japan External Trade Organization, and JusTea will be serving Kenyan purple tea, a newer cultivar developed by the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya to support small-scale farmers in the region.

Remember, every cup of tea is a story; come share yours at the SF International Tea Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 20, at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St., San Francisco.

Tickets start at $25 for general admission and include a sustainable commemorative porcelain sipping cup, access to programs and free tastings from tea vendors; VIP admission includes a swag bag with samples along with the cup to sip at home.

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