It’s that time of the year again! If we were living in a ‘normal’ situation we would have been spending the last few weeks organising one of the most iconic event of the year for Falmouth: the TEA FESTIVAL! For obvious reason we are not able to run it, but we would like to offer an alternative experience to celebrate all things ‘tea’.
So, put the kettle on, discover what we have prepared for you…
1. A taste of what the tea festival has been in the past
Over the years, the Tea Festival has become an important part of Falmouth Community’s life. It has always been a busy day, full of exciting performances, music, interactive activities for all ages, local crafts, dance and, above all, TEA. It has also been an opportunity to celebrate local heritage, sharing the stunning beauty of Gyllyngdune Gardens, a hidden natural gem in Town.
Tea has a crucial role in British culture, it is an important part of our everyday life and pivotal in social situations.
In 2017 we worked in partnership with the local Artist Ruth Purdy on a multicultural project exploring the role of tea in other cultures. We interviewed several people who are originally from other Countries but have been living in UK for years. They told us all about the role of tea in their culture and how their habits about drinking tea have changed since they moved to England. The video is the gran finale of the project.
A special thank you to all the participants: Aiden Condron, Elena Benedettini, Eve Bourrat, Victoria Dufour, Chiara Muzzi, Glyn Winchester and Inge Dinks.
3. A book and a cuppa
What is more relaxing and soothing than snuggle up with a book and a nice cup of tea? Even better if the story includes Tea in any form or shape! So put the kettle on, explore our reading suggestions and enjoy the stories…
Tea is highly present in British literature with numerous references in scenes of famous novels, ranging from high-society tea parties to casual cuppas. Who doesn’t remember the quirkiness of the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland?! This tea party is a chaotic event, filled with riddles and outrageous moments. Alice tries to act well-mannered and steer the others towards polite conversation (as you should do at a ‘proper’ tea party!), but consistently upended by the others. She decides hastily that it is ”the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!”’ and leaves after being unable to make sense of it all. You might be interested in knowing that the Mad Hatter Tea Party was our prime inspiration for the Tea Festival!
Jane Austen frequently mentioned tea in her writing: tea drinking is used throughout her novels as a social function for characters to meet and serves as a good setting to develop the plot.
We find tea even in Gothic fiction, within Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Once again, tea is used with a symbolic meaning, in this case as an emblem of the newly ascendant middle class.
In Fantasy genre too: tea appears several times along the way in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Hobbits love eating numerous meals a day and they often accompany them with a nice cup of tea!
We cannot forget that A. A. Milne created characters (Winnie the Pooh and its friends) who appear to spend most of their days having adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood and enjoying tea parties with one another.
If you prefer non-fiction books, try Infused: adventures in tea by Henrietta Lovell, a delicious infusion of travel writing, memoir, recipes, and glorious photography, all written with a unique charm and wit. Or immerse yourself in the transcendent atmosphere of the Japanese tea ceremony with Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book of Tea.
Whichever title you pick and whatever cuppa you choose to match with it, remember that there is only one essential thing to be done: spread the jam first on your scone and then add a generous dollop of Cornish clotted cream…
All the titles mentioned are available for loan from the
Cornwall Council Library system
4. Art-Tea tasting experience
Have you ever wondered what a tea looks like? Join us for a multisensory journey between tea and art. Enjoy 5 different varieties of tea from all over the world and engage with matching artworks from Falmouth Art Gallery Collection. These are only suggestions and unfortunately, we are not able to provide the different types of teas for everybody. Nevertheless, we are able to give away a pack of the tea selection to the first 5 people who will accept the challenge and submit photos of their tea related art and craft.
The teas presented have been generously suggested, explained and offered by Curious Tea, a team of extremely passionate, committed and knowledgeable tea lovers who provide high-grade premium loose tea from all over the world and with whom we had the pleasure and honour to work with for the tea festival for several years.
Jasmine Pearls green tea
A premium scented tea that originates from the famous Funding tea growing area of Fujian Province in China. Sometimes known as Jasmine Dragon Pearls or Phoenix Pearls, it is grown in a fully organic tea garden at an altitude of 800-900mis. Made by hand by tightly rolling fine leaves and buds to form tiny pearl shaped balls. The pearls are left in a darkened room where up to six layers of tea are alternated with layers of fresh jasmine blossoms. When the pearls soak up the jasmine scent, the blossoms are removed and the pearls are dried out again to remove any moisture that was acquired during this scenting process. Jasmine tea is highly regarded in China and is often used as a welcoming gesture to guests. The tea pearls unravel when brewed, releasing the heady and fragrant jasmine aroma. The liquor is a light green colour, while the flavour is slightly nutty, sweet, dominated by jasmine and honey. The first infusion tends to have a stronger jasmine scent while the tea flavour is not so strong. Second infusion is more balanced, with a lighter jasmine scent but a more complex tasting cup. If you are feeling adventurous, mix cold jasmine tea with lychee juice to taste (try 1/3 juice to 2/3 tea) making a simple yet tasty non-alcoholic cocktail.
Four Seasons Oolong.
A wonderfully aromatic lightly oxidised oolong grown around Mingjian Township in Nantou County, Taiwan. It is an expressive tea, yet it makes a very refreshing drink. The leaves are tightly rolled bright green pearls that unfurl further in your teapot with each steep. This tea possesses a strong aroma that is most reminiscent of honeysuckle (jasmine or lily of the valley according to others). The liquor is smooth and light, with a taste that is floral and sweet with a slightly creamy finish.
Darjeeling Gopaldhara Red Thunder Oolong
It is a unique oolong tea that comes from the Gopaldhara Tea Estate in Darjeeling. Gopaldhara Tea Estate (where this tea is sourced from) is nestled in the Mirik Valley, in the Himalayan foothills, and is one of the highest tea estates in Darjeeling with elevations of up to 2,100m. It is renowned for producing teas of exceptional quality and very often quite unusual character. This tea goes through a very long oxidation process: a very laborious method that has to be carefully controlled so that the leaves are plucked at just the right time. It means that the yield is very low, making this tea a very rare one indeed. The leaves are somewhat mixed in appearance and produce a golden red liquor with a lovely fruity aroma. When brewed, the character is complex and very distinctive. The flavour is smooth and complex, with sweet and fruity notes of red stone fruits: cherries and plums. There is a herbaceous edge that leaves a vapour of mint and eucalyptus on the palate. The aftertaste is lasting, with a more pronounced stony and mineral edge common of Darjeeling teas. It leaves a positively warming and comforting feeling. Savour this special tea on its own, or try combining it chilled with your favourite dishes that normally call for a glass of red wine – a very tasty and healthy substitute!
Assam Latumoni Royal Gold
This is a very fine completely handmade Second Flush Assam from Latumoni, a very small family-run plantation located in Tingkhong, Upper Assam. The careful hand processing in small individual batches results in stunning looking leaves and a rich yet mellow liquor. The leaves of this tea are carefully handpicked from demarcated sections of the plantation over a 3-5 day picking period. This means that each batch of this tea tastes different to the next. After picking the leaves are hand-rolled in small batches to avoid breakage and to preserve unique flavour profiles of each picking. The dry leaves of Assam Latumoni Royal Gold have a very appealing black and gold appearance with a typical Assam malty aroma. When leaves are brewed it is possible to see that they are very neat, consisting or smaller leaves and buds. The tippy nature of this tea leads to a very refined flavour. It is unmistakably Assam in character but so much smoother and not overladen with tannins! The taste is full, bright and brisk with a typical satisfying Assam malty character. There are notes of dried fruits and a mouthwatering tangy aftertaste that is not drying or bitter. There is a very pleasant molasses sweetness running throughout the taste. This tea has all the best flavour qualities of a top grade Assam but is balanced and smooth rather than bold and astringent. Definitely try this one without addition of milk or sugar.
These are our suggestions, but why don’t you create your own selection of your favourite teas and match it with other pieces from our collection?
Falmouth Art gallery collection is fully accessible online here
5. Tea and Wellbeing
Falculture team is committed to create opportunities for people to reflect on, promote and enhance people’s wellbeing. Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life. They are called 5 WAYS TO WELLBEING and this is how we linked them with tea:
1. BE ACTIVE
go for a walk or a run in nature (along the amazing coastal path we are so lucky to have at our doorstep, or in the wood…), swim in the sea or simply sit on the beach watching the waves crashing on the shore. Bring with you a flask with your favourite tea in it, fully immerse yourself in nature and enjoy your cup of tea.
2. KEEP LEARNING
explore tea from different angles….read all our posts and discover new things or experience tea in unexpected ways.
accept the creative challenge and then give your creation as a gift to somebody you love.
4. TAKE NOTICE
tea has a great contemplative character as invites you to slow down and be more conscious and present, noticing and appreciating even the smaller, insignificant and imperfect things in life. There is a whole philosophy, coming from the ancient Japanese tradition -linked with the Tea Ceremony- that celebrate the beauty of simple things and imperfection: the WABI-SABI WABI= the beauty of simplicity & SABI=the beauty of impermanence, or in other words‘…a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfection of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay…’
a cuppa and a chat. Meet with friends or family members you haven’t seen for a while and enjoy the simple pleasure of a chat in front of a cup of tea. Or make a cup of tea, grab the phone and give them a ring.
Make time for yourself and try these activities.
We know creativity can have an incredible impact on people’s life, especially in difficult moments like the one we are living in. We always encourage people to explore and express their creative potential.
The first 5 people who will accept the challenge below and send us their picture will receive a gift box of the selection of loose teas for the ART-TEA TASTING EXPERIENCE kindly donated by CURIOS TEA.
Here’s a challenge for you:
Create something that is related to tea in some way.
You can use any art form or craft.
Once you have finished, take a photo of your creation and send it to us.
We hope to be able to display a selection of these submissions here.