It’s near the end of January, and in Toronto, that can mean only one thing….

The Toronto Tea Festival is coming!

Yes, that’s right, the 4th annual Toronto Tea Festival is just around the corner — next weekend in fact. I’ll be attending, of course; how could I stay away? Even better, I’ll be doing a short write-up about the event and some of its seminars for World of Tea, the online tea resource run by Tony Gebely of American Tea Room. I’m pretty excited about that.

An even bigger cherry on the sundae is that I’ll be meeting up with a bunch of my Steepster friends to swap tea and chat. If you just so happen to be in the Toronto area, why not come along yourself and see if we run into each other?

However, although the festival runs for two days — both the 30th and the 31st of January — I plan to attend only on the 30th. Two days in a row would just be exhausting, I think. So if you are in Toronto and want to meet up, go on Saturday.

Now, onto today’s tea.

Nepal Golden Tips Black Tea from What-Cha

I got this as a free sample from a group order from What-Cha back in 2015. (I’ll review the rest of the teas that came with the order in good time, don’t you worry.)

The dry leaf is thick, twisted and golden — when you look at it close up, it looks sort of like yarn. The smell is sweet, bready, and thick, like sweet potato.


I took the entire sample — about 6 grams — and brewed it in a small teapot (remember this one?) with 85°C water for 1 minute. I could have done it in the gaiwan like shown in the picture, but eh, I was lazy.

The brewed tea was dark brown and had a cool undertone to it. It smelled sweet, malty, and slightly sour. Overall, the whole thing reminded me of wet hay.

Down the hatch, I got a similar taste of wet hay, sweet potato, and something sour I couldn’t quite put my finger on. As the tea cooled, a bitter undertone developed underneath. It wasn’t sharp, but I still didn’t like it, because it wasn’t a pleasant bitterness,  but one that felt kind of old and reminiscent of plastic.

The second steep, also for 1 minute, was very similar. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t feeling it and had trouble finishing the second steep.

This tea session with the Nepal Golden Tips Black Tea was kind of a bust. There was promise there, though; I think if I had tried it with my gaiwan it would have been a more pleasant experience.