THE inaugural Yorkshire International Tea Festival begins this weekend as part of York’s autumn Food and Drink Festival.
Running from Sunday to October 2, it will provide the backdrop to celebrate the nation’s favourite beverage with tea companies from across the globe joining forces to champion tea.
York Mansion House, in St Helen’s Square, will act as the event’s hub, hosting a VIP launch from 5.30pm to 9.30pm on Sunday in an evening of exploration with the chance to learn more about the history of tea and explore tea exhibits from across the world.
York Mansion House will be presenting a photography exhibition by the historic Keemun Tea Factory in China all week.
Look out too for the Yorkshire International Tea Festival Tea Trail around the city. Businessman and City of York ambassador Will Zhuang, the festival’s co-founder, says: “Tea is a crucial part of Yorkshire’s story and heritage and so it’s fantastic to see the very first Yorkshire International Tea Festival take place in York.
“Local businesses have backed the idea, but to have already gained international interest from Keemun Tea Company is even more amazing. The festival will run concurrently with York’s hugely successful Food and Drink Festival, and our engaging Tea Trail will be fun for residents and visitors alike.”
The Tea Trail’s route takes in myriad York tea-drinking establishments and flavours. “Unveil and sample unique flavours at Hedben Tea in Shambles or at Minster Gate, relax with a sparkling afternoon tea in No. 1 by GuestHouse on Bootham, or at Middlethorpe Hall, or the award-winning afternoon tea at The Grand, and experience the Gyokuro or Koucha in Ippuku Japanese Tea House in Blake Street,” advises the festival.
“Visit the website to browse the full tea trail, which also features Earl Grey-flavoured gin at York Gin, Whittard of Chelsea, in Parliament Street, and special offers at Harlequin Café, in King’s Square, The Earl Grey Tea Rooms, in Shambles, and more.”
Those following the Tea Trail can visit The Yorkshire Tea Ceremony, running at York Art Gallery until next April, featuring the collection of W.A. Ismay MBE (1910-2001), Britain’s most prolific collector of post-war British studio pottery. Ismay accumulated 3,600 pieces by more than 500 potters between 1955 and 2001 and the display explores his remarkable life.
Visit the yorkshireteafestival.org website for more details on “how to get involved” in the festival.