By Jessica Woollard
Tea is trendy right now. Somehow in the last few years, the stuffy English staple has been wholly made-over into a hip libation, attracting a cult following of connoisseurs who can distinguish rooibos from oolong as quickly as a wine dilettante knows gris from grisio.
No doubt, walking around downtown Victoria, you’ve noticed there are more tea shops here than in most cities. All within a few blocks of each other, you’ll find smaller enterprises like century-old Murchie’s and Victoria’s own Silk Road and Special Teas, as well as one of three Victoria locations of the über trendy David’s Tea.
Having established itself as a centre for tea enthusiasts, Victoria proudly hosts North America’s largest tea exhibition, the Victoria Tea Festival, running this year on February 18 and 19 at Crystal Garden. Now in its sixth year, the tea festival has evolved from a small, one-day exhibition, to a two-day event featuring more than 40 exhibitors and 200 volunteers and attracting more than 3,300 people, some making Victoria a yearly destination holiday because of the Tea Festival.