by Shelby Bona
“It’s like time travel in a cup,” said Wanda Aulenback as she hands out samples of tea at the second annual Halifax Tea Festival. Aulenback is owner of Sense and SensibiliTea, an independent, loose-leaf tea company attempting to recreate historic brews for a contemporary audience.
Sense and SensibiliTea was just the beginning of what awaited festival-goers as they entered the Halifax Forum on Saturday. Hosted by World Tea House, the festival is designed to bring both small entrepreneurs as well as the big names in tea closer to their customers all for the love of the brew. This year, the room was packed, with avid tea drinkers flocking to booths like honey bees to flowers. Part tea-tasting, part workshop and part entertainment, the festival enlightened as well as hydrated.
Tea wasn’t the only thing on the menu. If you fancied a scone, HardyWares Preserves was on hand with all of your jam needs, including a few grown-up selections to add some spirit to your day. Attendees were treated to live music, courtesy of Jen Miller. Workshops such as Tea 101, Tea Dueling and Introduction to Japanese Green Tea elevated the experience beyond the cup.
“I’m trying to bring back the old ways of healing, particularly by using the plants around us, so we’re not bringing something from halfway around the world with a big carbon footprint,” said Carole Coleman, owner of Tansy Lane Herb Farm. Based near Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, Coleman seeks out naturally-derived therapeutic herbs and ingredients to infuse in her tea blends.
Halifax’s loose-leaf tea journey began with Sawadee’s Tea house, which opened in 2007. Since then, local purveyors such as World Tea House and Humani-T Cafe have been steeping Halifax in the best premium blends.
For more info on this year’s festival, including a list of vendors, click here.