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Los Angeles International Tea Festival to open this weekend

A white teapot with a cat lid holder for serving tea at Chado Tea Room in Los Angeles.
A white teapot with a cat lid holder for serving tea at Chado Tea Room in Los Angeles.
Margaret Studer

The 2014 Los Angeles International Tea Festival runs 11 a.m.--5 p.m August 16 and 17 at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave, Los Angeles, Calif., 90012. Tickets are $20 per person and are available until an hour before opening. Tea enthusiasts will mostly likely want to attend both days since there is far too much to do in only one.

One of the greatest pleasures of the Festival, other than the company of other tea lovers, is a chance to taste the teas the exhibitors present. Luckily the price of the ticket includes a lovely tasting cup so attendees may taste any of the multiple teas offered by exhibitors. It is very easy to spend an entire day sampling tea and examining teaware and publications.

However, with so many wonderful tea classes available, it may be hard to find time to sample all the teas even in two days. There are classes on specific teas such as Oolong, Japanese green tea and the teas of India. There are also classes on subjects such as tea and health, tea and obesity, meditation and how to plan tea celebrations.

Of particular interest are Robert Wemischner's two tea and food pairing classes. Wemischner, author of “The Desert Architect” and “Cooking with Tea” (co-authored by Diana Rosen) is a pastry chef who has taught baking and pastry at Los Angeles Trade Technical college for over twenty years.

Wemischner is offering two classes during the Festival, Tea and Cheese Pairing and Tea and Chocolate Pairing. Anyone who loves food and tea will not want to miss either of these classes, both of which are being held both Saturday and Sunday. There is an additional $10 fee for each of these classes. You can pay for it at the same time to pay for your tickets to the event.

On Sunday the Los Angeles International Tea Festival is offering an event most tea lovers would not want to miss. The International Tea Forum is a “Journey into tea estates and their unique flavor characteristics through the eyes of experts.” Los Angeles International Tea Festival website. Speakers in this forum include, among others, Devan Shaw (founder of Chado Tea Room and International Tea Importers) Alex Harney of Harney and Sons Fine Teas, and the greatly esteemed James Norwood Pratt.

Those interested in any of the many classes available can check the schedule of classes for more information. There is a complete class schedule as well as instructions on parking.

Another outstanding feature of the Festival is that there is a Chado Tea Room located adjacent to the Japanese American National Museum. If attendees want to take a tea break or have lunch, they need only walk a few feet from the exhibition hall to the restaurant which has excellent tea service and a delicious menu.

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