Friday, May 20, 2016

5 Reasons to Visit the Daegu Tea Expo

Once a year tea growers gather from all over Korea to take part in the Daegu Tea Expo.  Whether you're a tea aficionado, want to learn more about Korean tea culture, or just want to sample teas, here are five reasons to visit Daegu’s Tea Expo.

Browse Handmade Ceramics and Home Goods

The selection of ceramics ranges from tiny vases capable of holding a single flower bud to more substantial gorgeous works of art.  While many of the ceramics sold at the festival are for everyday use, you can also find exquisite display pieces with intricate designs, patterns, and glazes.  I was especially excited to see a vendor selling handmade moon jars, a type of milky-glazed round pot popular during the Joseon Dynasty.  Prices range from extremely affordable to a small investment, but the best part of the process is being able to meet and talk to the artist responsible for creating your one-of-a-kind ceramic piece.  If you’re in the market for your first Korean tea set, this is the perfect place to find it!

Shop for Korean Textiles and Gifts
In addition to ceramics, there are a wide variety of other items for sale including jewelry, cosmetics, tea supplies, baskets, wooden tea tables, accessories, and clothing.  Textiles hang from the ceilings and pile high on tables.  Scarves, handkerchiefs, and wrapping cloths (bojagi) can be found in every shape, size, color, and material.  While browsing through all the bright colors and textures, why not stop at a dress vendor and try on a hanbok for size?

Have a Tea Party, Korean Style
Pop-up tea “houses” are set up throughout the space for sipping on tea and munching on traditional Korean tea cookies.  Some of the tea areas are more traditional with low tables, porcelain ceramics, and bamboo mats, while others are more European, with gilded tea sets and slices of tiramisu.  Many vendors have crispy dried fruit and potatoes to sample when trying their teas. There’s even a vendor that sells green tea soft serve ice cream.

Learn About How Tea Is Made

There are many activities, shows, and hands-on programs to participate in throughout the weekend.  Pull up a chair in front of the main stage and watch a presentation, ceremony, or performance.  Guests are encouraged to don provided gloves and get their hands dirty by participating in one of several stages of the tea leaf drying process.  The tea vendors are especially knowledgeable, not to mention passionate, about their tea.  As I asked to sample some matcha green tea, one vendor exclaimed, “That’s why we’re here!” I learned so much about tea - how tea is made, the difference between black, yellow, and green tea, and where tea is grown - by talking to the growers, a few of whom spoke English.

Sample Tea from Around the World

The number one reason to visit the Daegu Tea Expo?  Tea, of course!  Tea aficionados will revel in all-you-can-drink samplings of a wide variety of teas, many of which are organically grown and gathered from around the world.  Here you can find Korean teas like yellow tea, mugwort tea, pumpkin tea, lemon tea, matcha tea, and of course, green tea.  There is an entire section devoted to international packaged teas as well.  If you fall in love with a tea, don’t forget to ask for a business card.  Vendors are happy to send tea directly to your home, and in the process, you will be supporting a local tea grower.  Grab an open seat, sit down, greet the tea master, and experience the true Korean art of tea.

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Date: May19 - 22, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
Cost:₩ 5,000 for adults, ₩ 3,000 for children. Multi-day passes also available. Bring cash for purchasing tea and gifts, as many vendors do not accept credit cards.
Place: EXCO building, First Floor (How to get to Exco :
Address:90 Yutongdanji-ro Buk-gu, Daegu (대구시 북구 유통단지로 90 엑스코)

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