I am so, so excited about this particular little story. Why? Because I get to introduce you to a friend, a dreamer, and a lady with a lot of gumption! Friends, meet Nicole! Nicole is the mastermind behind the Midwest Tea Fest, and for that reason alone we should all throw her a party. Seriously, the fact that we (in the middle of the country) have our very own tea festival is reason for celebration.
I loved being at the Midwest Tea Fest last summer, and I’m pretty excited about the up-and-coming event this year. I wanted to know more about this years festival and the road that Nicole has been on to get to where she is. With that in mind, here is part of her story…
(My questions are in bold. Her answer are below in italics.)
So Nicole, when did you start to love tea?
Probably 8 or 9 years ago. We always had iced tea (not sweetened) growing up, but rarely hot tea. A tea party started my obsession with tea. It was the first tea I’d had that wasn’t Lipton. And I fell in love with the treats that went with tea. Gradually my attention focused on the tea itself, though I still love those little nibbles!
What is your favorite cup of tea?
I think everyone’s tastes change over time and with experience. Right now I’d say that it’s a strong, malty, cocoa-ey cup of golden tipped Yunnan or Assam.
You mentioned that you love tea time goodies. What is your preferred tea time snack or treat?
Cheese and olives or shortbread!
We know that you’re the mastermind behind the MidWest Tea Fest. Why and when did you go to your first tea festival?
In 2014 I went to the Northwest Tea Festival in Seattle. I read about it on the calendar in Tea Time Magazine.
How many tea festivals have you been to?
Just the Northwest and the Texas Tea Festival in Austin in 2015. They are all on my wish list though!
When did you start to dream about having a tea festival in Kansas City?
At the same time that I decided that I had to go see what a tea festival was like, I decided that we also needed one closer to home! I don’t often have a lot of time spent dreaming about something without beginning to do it. Too hyperactive, my mother would say.
What was the tipping point for you? What pushed you to start putting the fest together?
Seeing that New York, LA, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Seattle were having all the fun! Coinciding with that calendar listing in Tea Time, I started to research where other festivals were held. And about that same time, on an online tea community I participate in a friend suggested the wish to have a tea convention where we could all meet each other in real life.
What are you most excited about for the 2016 MidWest Tea Fest?
I am excited to see the larger space and to see if the lessons I learned from the first year will work out when put into play this year. And I’m a huge fan of Shona Patel so I am very excited that she is coming to speak about Tea in Assam.
Will there be anything new or different for the attendees this year? Why should someone that went in 2015 come again this year?
We will have more elbow room and hopefully no fire alarm! Aside from that, we will have several new vendors with some awesome teas to try and lots of new tea friends to discover. Just like I learned a lot about organizing the event last year, our vendors were very new to tea festivals as well and they all also learned a lot. Things should go much more smoothly this year. And… there may be a special guest appearance from a tea loving dinosaur who loves to give away door prizes!
So there you have it! A little more information about the Tea Fest and about the person behind it all.
Stay cozy friends! See you in June!