Last Sunday morning when I thought I would be spending the weekend at home assembling my bookcase, a calendar reminder popped up. I had an event to attend, the Melbourne Tea Festival. God bless my former self for buying the ticket couple months ago, when I still had a fat account and for putting a reminder on the calendar. My current self thank her very much because the Melbourne Tea Festival was funTEAstic.
The festival started at 9 AM but I decided to hang out at home for a bit before going. By the time we finished breakfast at AMBA (current favorite), it was almost noon and the exhibition center was filled with people holding small tea cups.
Knowing there would be many photo opportunities, between people interacting and tea brewing itself, I brought my camera, George Costanza, along. This time with Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G as I wanted to try out the lens. But I was being stupid for not getting comfortable with it BEFORE the event. It had ended up being quite troublesome getting the images I wanted. Please bear with me until I get the hang of this picture taking skill.
The first stall that caught my attention was the chai stall. Chai is a flavored tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Unlike my cousins, who loved chai since the first time they tried it, my appreciation for chai started to blossom only recently, after I read the coffee table book Chai Pilgrimage. Have you read it? It’s on the top of my coffee table book list.
The stall had two choices, regular milk and soy chai. I tried the soy chai and kinda like it, but didn’t want to commit to the first tea that I sipped.
They also sold these little chai glasses. Oh man, it brought back from Tamil movies’ scene into my mind. Had I still been working in Singapore, these glasses would be a hit among my coworkers, but here, who am I to share the joy of finding it with? Shout out to all Indian readers, do tell me if you are a fan of these cute glasses as well.
Finally, I gave in and bought this tee. Okay, I lied, I didn’t think for another second when I saw this t-shirt. It’s freaking awesome! It says EAT SLEEP CHAI REPEAT #CHAIWALLI. How can I not??
The next stall I wanted to try was the macha stall, but the queue was crazy and people were a bit pushy, I forgoed it and popped into what looked like a turkish tea stall. Turkish tea is usually fruit based and this wasn’t much different.
They served red colored cold mixed fruits based tea, which I liked as well, but I didn’t see myself drinking sweet iced tea anytime soon, at least not before summer, so I didn’t get anything from them. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the curious face looking at the camera in the picture above? It wasn’t my intention to take her picture. I wanted to capture the ray of Turkish teas, but the lens chose to focus on the pink pigtails; this time I am glad that it did.
But if I were to choose my favorite picture at the Melbourne Tea Festival, I would go with the above. I love capturing strangers’ strange expressions with my camera and the moment in the picture has been just that, unusual. The out of focus opened eyes lady opened her mouth to sip the tea while the closed eyes guy did the same thing to speak. Me likey.
And if I was to pick my most favorite tea at the Melbourne Tea Festival. It would be the Macha Chai. The new hybrid contained everything I like: Macha, milk and masala used in chai. It was deliTEAous you guys. A must try! I didn’t get it though, as I haven’t properly set up the new house and yet to get a microwave which will be needed to boil the milk.
Another section of the Melbourne Tea Festival that grabbed people’s attention was the blooming flower tea stall. There were only a couple of them, but a particular one only focused on it. They displayed colorful ray of tea bowls based on the flowers brewed.
Blossoming flower tea had a special place in my heart. It was Fia who introduced me to it. Once upon a time, she invited me to her place for our regular girly chit-chat session. She then put a green ball into her glass tea pot and pour hot water into it. I had never seen nor heard about blossoming flower tea before and was completely awestruck by it. It was so damn cool, people! I have had my fair share of blossoming flower tea after that day, but each time I saw it, I was brought me back to Fia’s living room and got reminded of the friendship that she offered through the green IKEA lamp.
Remember when I told you earlier that I didn’t feel like drinking sweet tea anytime soon? Well, I changed my mind when I tried the Tasmanian Apple Bliss sugary tea. It was made light and warm, so delightful! I bought a small pack for the cold winter nights pick-me-up *I am drinking a cuppa of it while writing this*.
Lastly, before I finish this blog post, I want to confess to my “sin” of buying this mug even though I have no real reason to get it, other than it’s a hand painted black cat that very much resembled Miaw. Oh man, my minimalist side has completely left the building. #minimalistlost.
Have you been to a tea festival before? Did anyone else go to this year’s Melbourne Tea Festival? Are you planning to go next time? If yes, let’s go together, you guys!
Read more: Kindle, cookies & tea in Phuket, confession of a tea lover, cat rice and charcoal coffee in Yogyakarta, Singapore Lunar New Year festival, Indian New Year festival, I moved to Melbourne, 25 fascinating things you didn’t know about Sumo, Diwali festival.