Rocky Mountain Tea Festival Turns 20

Photo courtesy of Sara Martinelli
This year marks the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival’s 20th anniversary and as one of the United States’ longest running tea festivals, it exemplifies the impact such a festival can have on tea industry professionals and the public. The Colorado-based event takes place July 28-29 at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, one of the preeminent teahouses worldwide. Consumer tea festivals are growing in popularity internationally because they connect people with the cultural, historical, wellness and business aspects of tea.  This festival’s broad scope and depth of offerings while maintaining an intimate atmosphere sets a high standard. “Rather than a trade show, we wanted to give tea lovers an opportunity to meet leaders in the industry and interact and learn from them through our workshops and tastings,” said Sara Stewart Martinelli, who co-owns the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse with her husband, Lenny, and co-founded the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival. Workshop class size is limited so students can get the most out of their learning experience with tea experts. World Tea Academy online education director Donna Fellman will teach a tea-brewing class. Tea Spot owner Maria Uspenski and top herbalist Rob McCaleb will each lead courses pertaining to tea’s health and wellness benefits. Lenny Martinelli will bring his expertise as a chef back with his popular cooking with tea workshop. Find more details about these workshops and others at the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival website. A Tea Marketplace will feature tea and teaware sales.
Japanese Tea Ceremony, photo courtesy of Sara Martinelli
New to the festival this year is artist Ruby Silvious, who paints intricate paintings on used teabags. Her work has been featured in books and on CNN. She will demonstrate and exhibit her work throughout the weekend. Japanese tea history and culture will be honored on Saturday, July 28, when Omotesenke Tea School members will demonstrate Chanoyu, the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The interactive experience allows the audience a chance to participate and receive tea. Another unique aspect of the festival is the opportunity attendees have to learn through dining with tea at its Chinese Dim Sum, Tea Dinner and Children’s Teddy Bear Tea Party events. The Dim Sum meal consists of small plates and a choice of one of three premium loose leaf oolong teas. It was inspired by the meals that were served to Silk Road travelers, which is fitting because the Silk Road passed through modern day Tajikistan and the Dushanbe Teahouse was a gift to the city of Boulder from its sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Children's Teddy Bear Tea Party, photo courtesy of Sara Martinelli
The Tea Dinner is a four-course meal with all dishes prepared with tea as an ingredient. Courses include oil poached Darjeeling tea smoked steelhead trout and peach apricot black tea creme brulee napoleon. The Children’s Teddy Bear Tea Party is a fun and engaging way to introduce children to tea. Children can participate in crafts, simple games and a dress-up and photo area.