C'mon, coffee's not so great. Image via NW Tea Festival.

 This time last year, you would have found me awkwardly shuffling around Seattle Center's Fisher Pavilion. It was there, at the Northwest Tea Festival, that I finally arranged to meet up with a fellow Tumblr blogger and Seattle transplant.

 Meeting people from the Internet is weird. The occasional socially awkward stereotype of bloggers is there for a reason. Regardless, the awkwardness was broken after we bonded over our mutual dislike of the occasionally fishy taste of matcha green tea. We perused aisle upon aisle of vendors, tasting various herbal, green, white, and black teas. The festival is a celebration of all things tea and tea-related—containers of loose-leaf and bagged varieties, kettles, cozies, and even authentic British tea biscuits.

The festival returns this weekend, October 6 and 7, at the Fisher Pavilion. The lineup is full of classes and demonstrations, from "demystifying yerba mate" to a presentation about cooking with tea. Other highlights include a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and an in-depth tea tasting.

Even if you are a dedicated coffee lover like myself, vendors are happy to guide you in discovering your taste palate for tea. Tea experts (aka tea sommeliers) flit around the venue to discuss the nuances of tea and the quality of your cup’s contents. Also: buckets—the less fancy version of spittoons—can be found throughout the building so you can stealthily empty your complimentary tasting cup.

Proof of the power of tea: That internet friend I met over tea at last year’s festival is now my housemate.

P.S. Try the Rooibos!

This year’s Tea Fest is being hosted by the Puget Sound Tea Association and will be on October 6-7 in Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. Doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. There is a suggested $10 donation.

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