There has been some 2015 trend talk of tea becoming much more commonplace this year. Both in terms of people opting for more quality or sustainable blends as well as working it into edibles and beverages. If you’re still sipping Red Rose, you should probably know that there’s a whole, wide world of tea out there just waiting for you to discover it.
Here’s a great mix of old school and newer places where you can sit down, steep some tea, sip and discover the spectrum of flavours those little leaves can offer.
1. Silk Road Tea (Victoria, BC)
Silk Road is practically heaven for tea fanatics. With a ton of loose and pre-bagged teas to choose from, a spa program that utilizes various leaves in their treatments, and a nice little bar area where you can grab a stool and order a pot to stay, well, it’s pretty much a teahouse nirvana. Tell the knowledgeable staff what flavours you like and they’ll point you in the right direction.
2. Pekoe Tea Cafe (Vancouver, BC)
This is a pretty cool little cafe on West Broadway, just a few blocks away from the South Granville area, a very popular shopping district of Vancouver that’s filled with cool housewares shops and other boutique businesses. Pekoe’s got a long list of teas you can enjoy inside, and also prides themselves on making good quality traditional chai, as well as something a bit less conventional — chocolate chai!
3. Oolong Tea House (Calgary, AB)
Don’t let the name fool you, the long-standing tea house in the Kensington area of Calgary has a lot more to offer than just a few varieties of oolong tea. The cozy room has a nice, relaxing atmosphere if you’re just looking to chill out and don’t be surprised to walk into some live music should you be popping by in the evening.
4. The Tea Factory (Calgary, AB)
The 17th Avenue strip is speckled with various spots where you can get your regular caffeine jolt (i.e. coffee), but walk a block south on 4th St into Mission and you’ll see this “factory”. In it are bright, white walls with marble floors, sweets like cupcakes and macarons, and a surprising amount of seating as far as tea shops go. Whether you’re getting a matcha latte to go or simply some Earl Grey to stay, it’s worth your while to check this place out.
5. Little Bird Patisserie (Saskatoon, SK)
It’s no secret that Saskatoon gets pretty damn cold in the wintertime. This newer bake shop in the Riversdale area is all about warming you up as fast as possible and that includes good quality teas, freshly baked pastries, homemade soup and sandwiches. If you want to sit and sip here all day long, that is A-OK. It’s -40 outside anyway, why would you want to leave?
6. Windsor Arms Hotel (Toronto, ON)
Now, this is a place for prim and proper high tea. It’s definitely not the kind of situation you want to stroll into wearing your casual about-town sort of outfit. Try dressing up and getting the real-deal tea experience. High tea is all about the dainty pastries, the teeny sandwiches, the quiet sipping and if you’re really into, putting that pinky up. Although you won’t find an avante garde tea choices here, you get to experience an age old culinary tradition, which once you partake, I think you’ll agree that it’s surprisingly fun!
7. Tealish (Toronto, ON)
Aside from stocking almost every possible type of tea even a tea enthusiast could ask for, Toronto’s premier tea shop also boosts a tea latte bar (no coffee to be found here, folks), where tea “barristas” can set you up with lattes made with a myriad of teas like matcha, assam and earl grey also known as a London Fog…obviously.
8. World Tea House (Halifax, NS)
The heart of Halifax can be a little rowdy at night with plenty of bars, pubs and lively eateries to choose from. If you’re wanting something low key during the day or in the early hours of the evening, head to World Tea House where they’ve got shelves and shelves of tin filled with anything from floral Rooibos tea to bold black ones like Irish Breakfast or the smoky Lapsang Souchong.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.