I wanted to give you one last peek at the Midwest Tea Festival, so today I'll be giving you the inside scoop on the vendor room. After my brief sojourn outside due to the fire alarm and a presentation given by Shang Tea, I was ready to go check out the vendor room again. There was a great turnout, so it was packed. I had to skip by the first few booths since it was impossible to get to them with my stroller (my little man loves tea, so of course I brought him along.) Don't worry, I came back later once things slowed down.
One of my first stops was with Yvette Groover of PiCeramics. Her ceramics are gorgeous! While we didn't get to chat, she was busy with a long line of customers, I did talk to her husband about Yvette's plans to move into a larger home studio space later in the year. More room certainly means more ceramics, so I can't wait to see what Yvette comes up with next.
My next stop was Harney & Sons to try and catch up with Michael Harney. He is one difficult man to track down! On my final attempt he was heading off to his tasting café session, so I sampled a few teas and had to move on.
Bingley's Tea - Did you know that Jane Austen was a loose woman too? I didn't until I stopped by Bingley's booth and sampled their line of Jane Austen teas. When I was told that one of the samples, Emma's Perfect Match, was a blend of green tea, roses, strawberry and rhubarb I couldn't hold my tasting cup out fast enough. I have a thing for the combination of strawberry and rhubarb, especially in pie form. It's turns out that it's pretty scrumptious in tea form too.
Traveling Tea - a St. Louis based shop, caught my attention for being the only vendor selling food. I bought some of the Chai Scottish Shortbread made by Queen's Cuisine using Traveling Tea's Custom Blend Chai Spice Mix. I didn't start munching on them until I was on my way home, but the first bite made me wish I'd picked up a few of the other tasty looking treats they were selling.
London Tea Room - I've been meaning to stop in here since they were located down on Washington Ave. My last summer living in St. Louis had me working with a visiting artist from Chicago just down the street at Art Dimensions. I passed by every day when I got off the metro, but never could find the time to stop in. I seriously regret that because these ladies know how to have fun! If you're in the St. Louis area make sure to stop by their new location on Morgan Ford Road by Tower Grove Park. When you do, might I suggest you try the Naughty Vicar, one of their best selling teas (which I was fortunate enough to sample during the festival.)
I finally made it back around to the vendors I passed over, one of which was Queen's Pantry. I sat in on their tasting café session (you can read all about it here) and decided to pick up some of their Highland Hearth Rooibos blend. During the tasting café I was able learn how to make a tea latte with vanilla almond milk and boy was it tasty.
I also stopped by the Shang Tea booth for the third time so I could chat with Kyle Rutliff. He gave a presentation on Brick Aged White Tea & The Wonders of Unglazed Porcelain earlier in the day. Of course I used the trip as an excuse to sample the Tangerine Blossom Red Tea again, which ended up being my personal favorite from the festival.
Lucky Baby Tea - This was one of my very last stops during the festival. I took a few moments to speak with D. Shattuck about her brilliant business (it's a mobile tea cart serving up traditional Chinese Tea Gong Fu Style.) If you spend even the briefest moment with Dee you'll immediately see how passionate she is about tea. If you're in the KC metro area and are looking for something tea related to spice up your gathering, then talk to Dee. You'll have a great time while she serves up traditional Chinese tea (with a smile.)
Unfortunately I wasn't able to take photos of all of the booths, it was just a little too crowded for that, but I had a great time chatting with everyone there. I did miss out on talking with Elyse Petersen from Tealet and James Norwood Pratt. I'm still kicking myself about that. Otherwise, I'd say my first tea festival was a success. Hopefully I'll be able to make it back to Kansas City next year and do it all over again!