My journey to becoming a serious tea enthusiast came from an introduction to a lovely little tea shop in Vancouver’s Chinatown called Treasure Green Tea. Prior to this, I had always enjoyed tea but was satisfied with simply steeping Twinings Earl Grey or the odd artisan Gen Maicha green.
I walked into Treasure Green Tea with a couple of friends who had been going to the shop for years and raved about the incredible variety and quality of the teas that were sold. Olivia, the owner and resident Tea Master is a wealth of knowledge who invites every customer to sit down at the tea bar and enjoy a cup of whatever is steeping for the day. My favourite thing to do on a Saturday was to head down to the tea shop and learn about the different varieties of tea from charcoal roasted oolong to ancient pu-erh tea which can be aged for decades.
I started out drinking a variety of oolong tea called “Iron Buddha” which a relative had introduced me to early on in life so I was quite used to the sweet and toasty flavour it offered. From there, I started trying cooked “shou” pu-erh which I love for it’s dark and robust flavour. Similarly to how I love my red wine, I like my cooked Pu-erh teas full bodied, rich, and smooth with a slight bitterness. And today, I drink a wide variety of teas which includes wuyi mountain oolongs, japanese green teas, raw and cooked pu-erh, white tea, and the traditional english black teas.
When I moved from Vancouver to Toronto a little over a year ago, I was concerned about being cut off from my primary source of high quality of tea; however, I’ve found that in the digital age, it’s easy enough to place an order on a shop’s website and get what you need pretty quickly. Also, by living in a new place where your familiar tea shop isn’t down the street, it opens you up to other tea shops, online stores, and events to discover new teas that you wouldn’t have normally trie before.
I now source tea and teaware from all around the world which has proven to be the best way to enjoy tea. By diversifying your sources, growing regions and processing methods, you open yourself up to a world of possibility.
In the coming weeks, I’m going to be writing about my favourite online and brick and mortar tea shops as well as recommendations on some of my favourite teas.
In the meantime, grab a cup of your favourite brew and enjoy the weekend!
Also published on Medium.