It took longer than anticipated to pull it off — there was a pandemic, after all — but on May 21 the Eugene tea community is now ready to showcase the rich and diverse collection of teas for sampling with the first-ever Eugene Tea Festival. The festival is the brainchild of Madelaine Au, formerly of Young Mountain Tea, who was inspired after attending the Northwest Tea Festival in Portland in 2017. “I was blown away by how many teas there are in the community,” Au says. She moved to Eugene in 2019 and founded the nonprofit Eugene Tea Festival with the goal of debuting the event in 2020. Even with the pandemic, Au says there was always support from Eugene’s tea community. “It was not a hard sell,” she says. “They were encouraging me to go for it.” This year’s inaugural event features 26 vendors, tastings and workshops. Accompanying the festival are two days of lectures and workshops at Mountain Rose Herbs Annex.
The Eugene Tea Festival runs 10 am to 5 pm Sunday, May 21, at Farmers Market Pavilion, 85 E. 8th Avenue. Pre-event tickets are $10 at EugeneTeaFest.org and give ticket purchasers priority seating for two days of workshops — 10:30 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, May 20 and 21 — at Mountain Rose Herbs Annex, 152 W. 5th Ave. On May 21, entry to the festival is $15, sliding scale.