Vancouver has a well deserved reputation as a coffee city. There must be thousands of cafes downtown, including several sets of Starbucks strategically positioned opposite each other at the same intersections.
But there are some Vancouverites who would much prefer an Earl Grey or a nice Orange Pekoe to a cappuccino or latte. I’m talking about the tea drinkers among us. And, fortunately, Vancouver has more than its share of great tea houses- intimate rooms where you can find a selection of tea leaves from around the world and very knowledgeable tea makers.
If you’re a tea drinker, I’d like to hear from you. Where’s your favourite place to get a cup of tea in the city? Who makes the best blends? Who has the biggest selection of leaves? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
I’ll get the ball rolling by mentioning a place I stop by whenever I happen to be in the neighbourhood, The Granville Island Tea Company. As the name suggests, this tea shop is located on Granville Island, the lively hub of gourmet foods and crafts located just outside of downtown. Head inside the big Public Market, past the rows and rows of fresh fruits and vegetables, beyond the fish vendors and the pastry makers, and you’ll find the Tea Company, on a busy corner opposite the butchers’ counters.
Lining the walls of this airy, open shop are row after row of tins packed full with teas from every corner of the world. They’ve got Rooibos varieties from South Africa; black teas from Kenya and Ceylon; traditional English blends and adventurous teas flavoured with ice wine; green teas and oolongs and white teas. The people behind the counter will help you navigate the dizzying number of varieties and find the tea that’s ideally suited to you.
Despite all the options, I almost always choose the same thing: the chai tea. It’s a time-honoured family recipe. Behind the counter, they take a secret blend of masala spices and mix it up with butter, sugar and milk. The result is a rich and utterly unforgettable cup of chai.
Please share your favourite tea rooms in Vancouver by leaving a comment below.