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Festival steeped in culture and caffeine returns to Ottawa

By Tobi Cohen on December 4, 2014

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Tea tipplers unite.

The fourth annual Ottawa Tea Festival descends on the Capital this weekend, promising two days steeped in culture and caffeine.

The event will take place at the Library and Archives and organizers are expecting a record turnout.

“Last year we had over 2,000 guests. This year we expect around 3,000,” says organizer Jessica Lahrkamp.

“Anyone who loves tea, artisanal food, exploring different cultures, amazing performances, fantastic music, and education will fit right in.”

The festival was founded by Kimiko Uriu, one of the first certified tea specialists from the Specialty Tea Institute of New York. She is also the owner of Ottawa’s Kimicha Tea, an award-winning tea company, and has taught Algonquin College’s tea sommelier course.

The festival was an opportunity for her to combine her two great loves.

I want to share my passion for tea and bring the community together for a multicultural tea celebration” she says.

She also tries to give back to the community by adding a charitable component to the event. This year, a Children’s Tea Party fundraiser will be held Saturday morning. While the event is free, donations and raffle ticket proceeds will go to Candlelighters in support of childhood cancer programs. Wee ones are invited to enjoy caffeine-free herbal teas and participate in a variety of interactive events.

The festival will also feature two traditional Japanese tea ceremonies led by Kyoko Kosaki, a certified Omotesenke Seiha Chado Japanese tea ceremony instructor who received her certification after 12 years of study in Japan.

Guests can also sign up for one of nearly a dozen different workshops ranging from flower arrangement and tea and chocolate tasting, to knife sharpening and lectures on the health properties or business of tea.

More than 30 exhibitors will be sampling and selling their tea and food products, while Indian, Thai, Bosnian, Japanese, and Latin music and dance performances take place on the main stage.

The Ottawa Tea Festival is happening from Dec 6-7. Tickets are $12/day or $20/weekend if purchased in advance online. They’ll be available at the door for $15/day and $25 for the weekend. Workshops have limited capacity and most cost extra. Click here for a schedule. Children under 12 are free if accompanied by an adult.