Whether you’re an authority of all things Assam or simply curious about chai, in Toronto you’ll have many opportunities to indulge in all things tea. The perfect cold-weather drink comes in an assortment of flavours—with myriad health benefits—to suit all tastes.
This sleek boutique started up in 2008 as the result of one man’s search for a decent cup of tea. It has rapidly expanded to boast locations all across Canada—in Toronto alone there are now seven locations. Dozens of teas are available at any given time, with new and intriguing blends released every season. Stylish tea accessories are also available. 336 Queen St. W., 416-506-0653; plus other locations.
Golden Mint Coffee & Tea Co.
This Rosedale-area café sells fair-trade coffee, chocolates and other treats, in addition to its more than 200 premium-quality teas from around the world. A small lunch-counter trade in sandwiches and wraps rounds out the café experience. 911 Yonge St., 416-964-8100; 439A Yonge St., 416-593-8800.
Herbal Infusions Tea Co.
Relatively new to the scene, this bright and airy shop is reminiscent of an old-fashioned apothecary, with all its teas displayed in frosted, UV-coated glass jars perched on wood shelves. Among its unique blends are coconut custard rooibos and apple smoked bacon black tea. 404 Adelaide St. W., 416-900-6942.
House of Tea
Another purveyor of tea in the upscale Rosedale neighbourhood, the family-owned House of Tea has been importing a seemingly endless selection of international loose-leaf teas. Traditional varieties like Darjeeling are a specialty, but owner Marisha Golla, who earned her stripes working in Sri Lanka’s tea industry, also creates custom seasonal and herbal blends. 1015 Yonge St., 416-922-1226.
Pippins Tea Company
A very English one-stop shop for all your tea making needs. The shop is filled with dainty little teapots, cups and many other accessories, as well as more than 130 loose-leaf and packaged tea varieties, including respected brands like Mighty Leaf, Taylors of Harrogate and Tea Forte. 2098 Queen St. E., 416-694-7772.
Another cozy nook—this uptown Toronto boutique stores its wares in wooden cabinets—offering approximately 130 loose-leaf and packaged varieties. Organic and Rooibos teas are popular here, as are Marks & Spencer teas from England. Unsurprisingly, the shop also jams, biscuits and other sweets to accompany your service, as well as fine bone china mugs. 2496 Yonge St., 416-488-1827.
Tao Tea Leaf
Owner Tao Wu is a certified tea sommelier and committed to helping his customers find the perfect cuppa. His Rosedale shop features organic and loose-leaf varieties with a special focus on teas from China. Wu also offers workshops on tea tasting and the Chinese gongfu tea ceremony. 934 Yonge St., 647-728-3858.
The Tea Emporium
One of the more venerable Toronto tea retailers, this highly refined boutique was originally inspired by the specialty teashops of Europe. It offers a range of products, including blends specifically for iced tea, plus its only line of bagged teas. The Emporium’s Eglinton Avenue location also schedules “School of Tea” seminars to educate customers about the history and distinct flavours of tea. 100 King St. W., 416-861-1755; 351 Eglinton Ave. W., 416-488-4061; 337 Danforth Ave., 416-698-8378.
Like David’s Tea, Tealish is a modern tea boutique that set out to change people’s perceptions of the drink as stuffy and old-fashioned. Mission accomplished, as they say. In addition to its more than 130 loose-leaf teas, the open and friendly shop also features lovely designer tea accouterments, and serves its own hot and cold teas to go. 728 Queen St. W., 416-203-3301.
One of the more widespread purveyors of loose-leaf tea, Teaopia has more than two-dozen locations in Ontario (11 of which are in the GTA), mostly in larger shopping centres. Like most retailers it offers a variety of black, green, white, rooibos and other teas, but also offers a selection of herbal supplements to help make your tea even healthier. 601 Queen St. W., 416-703-2864; 181 Bay St., 416-640-5340; plus other locations.