For Ryan Moen and Jared Nyberg, tea is more than just a hot beverage to sip on, but a way of bringing Victorians together.
As a way of breaking the winter blues and colder temperatures, the duo, who are a part of the International Tea Appreciation Society, are hosting the second annual Victoria Tea Festival Revival this weekend.
The farmers market-style festival includes more than 12 vendors offering a wide range of teas from traditional steeps such as oolong to matcha and Kombucha for participants to sample. There will also be a number of tea-based edibles such as tea cereals.
“(Tea) is a very accessible medium for bringing people together in Victoria,” Moen said. “It’s a beautiful way to celebrate with my neighbours and my community. Victoria is a small town and any excuse to get people together to celebrate is a good idea.”
The festival also includes an educational component, with seminars on the art of making tea in the mountains of Taiwan, harvesting herbals from the wild to make herbal blends, and ancient Chinese tea culture.
In previous years, the Victoria Tea Festival offered a similar experience and drew thousands of people, but it was shut down after seven years due to lack of vendors. Nyberg’s company participated in the festival and noticed a cultural hole that formed as a result of the closure.
In 2016, Nyberg and Moen decided to fill that void and celebrate the city’s mild winter with the Victoria Tea Festival Revival. Last year’s inaugural event saw more than 300 people and organizers are expecting more than 500 people to attend this weekend.
“For those who want to dig a little bit deeper, there’s the symposium, and those who want to just have a nice cup of tea and have a conversation with a tea vendor are going to have that opportunity,” said Nyberg.
The Victoria Tea Festival Revival takes place Saturday, Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nootka Court. Tickets can be purchased at the door on a sliding scale between $2 to $10. For more information visit teavictoria.com.