There are three outdoor tea festivals every year in the Czech Republic. In February 2023, a new winter tea festival was added to Prague. Agha Mithra is the curator of this tea festival, Prague Tea Fest. Aga is an Iranian who settled in Prague after graduating from university. She used to be a vegetarian chef and switched to the tea industry she has always loved. She organized the first winter tea festival in Prague and plans to hold tea festivals in other European cities in the future.
Prague, Czech Republic, is recognized by European tea people as the European city with a strong tea drinking atmosphere. The outdoor tea festival held in Prague every summer has been held for 14 years until 2022. In February 2023, another indoor winter tea festival appeared in Prague, with the participation of tea merchants and tea people from Czech Republic and neighboring countries. About 400 tickets were sold online and offline. Agha introduced that the tea festival she organized was different from other tea festivals in the Czech Republic. She focused more on learning and exchanging tea knowledge, and specifically included lectures and seminars. Many tea festivals once had a popular competition system, which made ticket holders feel more involved and stimulated them to compete with each other to drink more tea. The disadvantage is that drinking tea has become a superficial material competition. The Prague Tea Fest hopes to encourage more people to deeply understand the knowledge and culture behind tea. For example, in the speech segment I participated in, I briefly introduced the traditional Chinese tea processing techniques and associated social practices to the audience, which were included in the World Intangible Cultural Heritage List in November 2022.
Agha drank tea from a young age and had a deep understanding of the customs and habits of Iranian people drinking tea. Iranians are close to nature and enjoy chatting and drinking tea outdoors while enjoying the scenery. They mainly brew black tea and add sugar. I remember reading the <Compendium of Global Tea Culture> edited by Zhou Guofu published by China Agriculture Press, which mentioned the Iranian tea custom of “sipping tea with sugar in mouth”, it is to hold sugar in the mouth while drinking tea. Agha also said that many Iranian tea drinkers have this habit, which is very common. Agha began to come into contact with Chinese and Japanese tea when she was still living in Iran. After moving to Israel, she began to practice Tai Chi and Qigong, feeling that these and drinking tea have very similar inner feelings, allowing her to calm her mind and enjoy the present. She has traveled to China to study in Chenjiagou and visited tea gardens in Hangzhou to taste Longjing tea. After studying traditional Asian medicine in Prague, Czech Republic, she settled in Prague. She has never forgotten her love for tea. Having dreamed of opening a teahouse, she always try more new teas and collect tea sets everywhere when she is free. Relied on her organizational skills as a vegetarian chef, on February 25.-26., 2023, Agha, as the planner, hosted the first Prague winter tea festival, Prague Tea Fest.
Since joining the Berlin Tea Festival in the autumn of 2022, Agha has felt that this slightly knowledge-based model festival can be used for reference by herself. After more than three months of preparation, the Prague Tea Fest has been successfully held. The general reaction of participants was relatively positive, and all aspects were conducted in an orderly manner. Agha said that although it was not perfect, she was still very satisfied with her first tea festival on the whole. After calculating the total income, in addition to the initial investment and expenses, some of the surplus can be retained to support the initial expenses of next year’s tea festival, which is held every year as scheduled. Next year, it is planned to add some staff, add more forms of activities, attract some sponsors, and adjust the length of the tea festival. Agha also received an invitation to assist in organizing tea festival activities in other cities in Europe. She was very happy to participate in them, and felt that major cities in Europe would slowly start holding tea festivals in the future, with a very promising future.