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Afternoon Tea at Butchart Gardens

Pouring tea through a strainer at the Butchart's Afternoon Tea

Pouring tea through a strainer at the Butchart’s Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at the Butchart Gardens – can you imagine anything more perfect to combine a bunch of my interests in one lovely afternoon?
We didn’t have reservations, and Afternoon Tea is only served from 12 noon – 3:00 p.m. April 1 – September 30. We only had a short wait though before a table became available – though the tearoom we were in was full, and it looked like the porch areas and other tearoom/dining room was also full.

(How much do you LOVE the little strainer above too? If it had been more affordable in their gift shop, I totally would have bought one…) Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Tea & Beverages, Treats

 

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Silk Road Tea – Victoria, BC

Selection of teas at Silk Road in Victoria, BC

Selection of teas at Silk Road in Victoria, BC

I’m going to take a little break from my Iceland posts to head back to Canada again – this time for my trip to Victoria, BC, and a must-visit Silk Road Tea shop.

Located in the Chinatown area of downtown, Silk Road is spa on one side, and tea on the other, and a young woman greeted all of the guests with a free sample of a freshly made iced tea to take off some of the heat of the August day when we visited.

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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Vata Ayurvedic

Vata Ayurvedic Tea

Vata Ayurvedic Tea

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting very much in Happy Sushi Belly over the past few weeks… well I was really sick, and really sick means no new sushi adventures!

(Or energy to write up posts for that matter either…)

Now that I’m starting to feel a little better, I do have a new mini-post for you though, about a very pretty tea from David’s Tea called Vata Ayurvedic. It’s an herbal tea that I had in a multi-pack of other herbal teas, but right now it’s not available on David’s website – check back later though, it might be back…

According to ayurvedateas.com, Ayurvedic teas are caffeine-free herbal teas “that help to balance one’s doshas”. The site goes on to state that Ayurvedic teas “help to regulate and balance vata, pitta, and kapha doshas, and thus keep the body in balance and harmony” and are “an effective and economical way to bring back one’s doshas into balance”.

So…. there’s that.

On Wikipedia, I read that a “dosha” is “one of three bodily humors that make up one’s constitution according to Ayurveda. These teachings are also known as the Tridosha theory”. This is starting to sound pretty circular. Maybe I should have waited until I was totally healthy before starting this…

So, let’s just talk tea.

Since the tea is no longer on the David’s Tea website, I can’t say for certain what is in the tea, but visually it looks like peppermint, chamomile, rose buds, and lemongrass. Reading one of the Steepster reviews, it looks like the tea also contains fennel, licorice, and orange.

The David’s Tea write up for this tea is:

“Relax, help is here
5000-year-old Ayurvedic medicine says that we all consist of three doshas in differing proportions. Vata is the most delicate one, and an imbalance can cause anxiety or nervousness. Regain your equilibrium with this soothing blend of organic chamomile, saffron, licorice, ginger, fennel seeds, rose buds, spearmint, organic rosehips, lemongrass, organic holy basil and orange.”

The taste is almost exactly like the custom-blend a friend made up for me with peppermint and chamomile as the predominant ingredients. It’s pleasant, but not anything really special. I don’t think that I’d look for it again if David’s Tea brought it back, but I’ll make up a few more cups of it while I’m trying to drink lots of fluids during this cold….

Feeling under the weather?

Since I’m still not feeling well – leave a comment below with your favourite ‘feel better’ teas!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Cold 911 tea from David’s Tea

Organic Cold 911 tea from David's Tea

Organic Cold 911 tea from David’s Tea

Feeling the winter sniffles? David’s Tea would like you to consider their Cold 911 organic tea which includes peppermint, juniper berries, and orange peel along with oils of eucalyptus and orange oil.

If you click the “mint” category tag, you’ll see some other mint teas (and just other instances where mint has been mentioned in our Happy Sushi Belly posts) including Midsummer Night’s Dream – a tea I reviewed back in May – a tea also combining orange and mint – a tea that I really wasn’t that fond of.

Organic Cold 911 tea from David's Tea

Organic Cold 911 tea from David’s Tea

With that in mind, I didn’t have high expectations of Cold 911, but it’s actually pretty good. The mint, eucalyptus and orange flavours really weren’t that noticeable (mind you, I did have a cold when I tried it…) and it just seemed like a nice, simple peppermint tea.

Organic Cold 911 tea pouring through my steeper

Organic Cold 911 tea pouring through my steeper

While it’s a pleasant enough tea, since it’s not much different than a plain peppermint tea – I’d say save your money and skip this one in favour of cheaper bagged peppermint teas unless you’re a loose leaf tea purist.

Organic Cold 911 tea from David's Tea

Organic Cold 911 tea from David’s Tea

 

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea – Blue Mango

Tea. Photo by Modomatic

Unlike Connie, I’m not a huge fan of green teas.  I generally find them a bit bitter; I usually prefer sweet, spicy, or creamy teas.  One of the exceptions is Blue Mango, which I picked up from the Banff Tea Company.  This tea is made from luxury Sencha green tea leaves, and has pieces of dried pineapple and little blue mallow blossoms.

The scent first of all is absolutely delicious  – it almost smells like a tropical fruity candy when dry, and when steeped the mellow green tea scent mingles really nicely with the overall bouquet to create something that smells fruity and flowery, without smelling overly sweet.  The flavor is similar – there’s a bit of a ‘dry mouth’ green tea taste, but it’s not overwhelming.  The fruit flavor mellows as well, but blends nicely with the tea, and there’s an overall floral flavor, more so than a mango or pineapple/fruit flavor.

This isn’t ever going to be my every-day tea, but if you aren’t a huge green tea fan (and have someone in your life who is) I’d suggest picking up a small amount and giving it a try.  While I don’t think that it would convert a green-tea-hater to the army of green tea lovers, I think it’s worth trying out.

Not in Alberta and want to try out this tea?  T|Nik also carries this same tea (though I haven’t purchased it through them) in their adorable little tins, and I also found it at Culinary Teas  and the Tropical Tea Company online (whom I also have never purchased it through).

With the fruity/floral flavors, I wonder how this would be as an iced tea?   The Culinary Tea website, and the Culinary Teas Blog suggests that it’s really good iced – I might just have to give it a try one of these days! If you’ve tried making iced tea from Blue Mango or a similar fruity green tea, let me know if it was successful or not in the comments below!

Want another reviewer’s opinion?  Vanessa over at teaviews.com said that this tea is much more flowery than mango flavored, and thinks that if you’re looking for a strongly flavored mango tea, this one might not be for you – but that it’s still a good tea.

 

(Sorry, no photos for this post… I kept forgetting to photograph it – and then finished off the last of the tea!)

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Rooibos Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint Rooibos

I’ve been enjoying a lot of Rooibos teas lately – lots of flavours are out there, and since they have no caffeine, I don’t worry about drinking them late in the day.  One I picked up from my favorite tea shop in Banff is Rooibos Chocolate Mint.  Yep, I love all things chocolate, and this one is no exception.  The scent of the tea dry is amazing – a great blend of tea, chocolate, and mint.  Steeped, the tea definitly has a chocolate scent – without being overwhelmingly “chocolate”.  The flavor, once steeped is similar; the flavors of tea, chocolate, and mint all blend together really well.  I  add a pinch of sweetener, which makes it nicely sweet – but you can totally drink it plain as well.

Yummy chocolate mint tea!

I wasn’t able to find any non-commercial blogs about this tea – so if you’ve given it a try, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Cocomama Lime

More tea goodness from David’s Tea – the tea we tried in-store (iced mind you) and the one we bought a big tin of to bring home was Cocomama Lime.  Check out how beautiful it looks!

Cocomama Lime tea from David's Tea

Subsequently, interestingly enough, I found a coconut oolong at my favorite Banff Tea Company that looked almost exactly the same, but was missing that bite of lime flavor.

Frustrating – the tea is not listed on the David’s Tea website – though Steepster had a review with this description:  (which is written the same way David’s Tea writes their descriptions, so it must be right!) “Spread the wealth!  Looking for some Inca gold? Try Cocomama’s tea. She was the Incan goddess of pleasure and health, and would have loved this sensual spring blend of lime, coconut, gotu kola and organic black tea. The tea leaves come from Bolivia, part of her vast empire, where a new initiative is helping some of Latin America’s poorest farmers plant tea instead of coca. Try it; it’s satisfying on so many levels.” http://steepster.com/teas/davidstea/18252-cocomama-lime

My guess is that this is a summer-only tea, and that it’s not available anymore… too bad, since it’s only mid-summer here in the prairies…

Cocomama Lime tea from David's Tea

Steeped up, the tea is light and pleasant, with nicely mingled flavors of lime and coconut, however there is a bit of a strangeness, drinking these two flavors hot. I really preferred the tea iced, where the flavors seemed to make more sense. Overall, while the tea is nice, it’s nothing all that special really; apart from the fact that the citrus taste is pleasant for an iced tea, and there aren’t too many teas (at least not in my tea-basket) that have these citrus tastes.

Emily started with Cocomama cold, and has a blog post about it at What Emily Makes, while Aisling of Tea made up a cocomama lime-fantasy island cream pie with hers (nom! nom! nom!).

Have you tried Cocomama Lime yet (if you had the chance!)?  Do you prefer it hot or cold?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Chocolate Rocket (a maté tea)

Chocolate Rocket is another of the teas I picked up while in Edmonton from David’s Tea.  Dry, it smells delicious – I can first smell the chicory smell, then almond, and then chocolate and just a tiny bit of the raspberry that you can see as it sits on top.  Visually it’s really bold as well, with big slivers of almond.  Yeah, because I’ve started to photograph the teas I drink for this blog, I’ve also started paying more attention to what they look like, and I’m a sucker for a pretty-looking teas. (Who am I kidding? Pretty looking anything!)  The maté in the tea also really stands out – and I found really JUMPS out when I drink it too!

Chocolate Rocket from David's Tea

So, what is maté?  Basically it’s a coffee alternative, known to provide mental energy/stimulation (without the jitters that come from caffeine in coffee).  It’s also very high in antioxidants, and is reported to help with lessening the tendency towards obesity and lower cholesterol.  *shrugs*  Most of the time I don’t really care about all of that, I just want to drink what tastes good!   It’s not officially “tea” since it comes from the Yerba Mate plant and not actually the Camellia Sinensis. Traditionally, the dried leaves are steeped right in the cup (traditionally a hollowed gourd) and you drink it through a (traditionally silver or cane) straw with small holes – acting as a sieve so you don’t sip up the leaves as well.  Of course, tradition can’t stand in the way of enterprise, and it’s also available in bagged form.  Traditionally the drink comes from South America – according to Wikipedia – Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil to be specific.

“Yerba Mate or Mate (MAH-tay) as it is often called is a wonderful stimulant, which can act as an all natural and cost effective substitute to energy drinks and coffee. The stimulant in Mate is called mateine, which is like caffeine but less disruptive to your metabolism and doesn’t leave you with the side effects and toxicity of coffee. With 52 more active compounds and a higher antioxidant count than Green Tea, Mate fights free radicals, detoxifies the body and helps protect against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.” http://www.teaopia.ca/category.cfm/tea/Loose-Leaf-Mate

Ok.. so on to THIS tea…

David’s Tea describes this tea as: “Need a boost? Try this tea. First you’ll experience a pure, sweet hit of chocolate. Then you’ll find yourself awash in the freshness of raspberries. Followed by the richness of almonds and chicory. And then, bang, you’ll realize you’ve been infused with roasted Brazilian maté. How will you know? It’s what’s giving you all that crazy energy. Just fly with it.”

Steeped, it tastes very similar to how it smells dry. I first notice the chicory, then the almond, and then a bit of sweetness.  I added milk and sugar substitute, which made it a bit more creamy.  The package from David’s Tea suggested steeping it for 4-5 minutes, but on the first infusion I probably only let it sit for a minute before I took the leaves out. No, I didn’t use a gourd and a special straw – just my regular strainer…

Insofar as the effects of the maté, I definitely thought that I could feel a little bit ‘buzzed’ really quickly after drinking the first cup.  In fact, a co-worker even commented that I was talking a lot.  Hmm perhaps this is also an alternative for another social lubricant? 😉

On a second infusion, I poured just a small amount of water over the leaves, and let it sit for 5 minutes – it was almost ‘thick’, and very strong, with a slight bitterness.  It reminded me of the difference between coffee and espresso!

On the third infusion, the potency remained – both in flavour, scent, and colour, but I found that I could pick up more of the raspberry flavour.  I steeped it much like the first infusion, and was curious how many infusions I could possibly get out of my little bit of tea..

So – would I buy this again… although it’s nice, it doesn’t really jump out of the cup at me.  There’s nothing wrong with it, and if I really wanted the stimulation of coffee without some of the negative effects, I might pick it up – it certainly is better than the other maté I tried (Mateccino from Teaopia) for my tastes, but there isn’t anything extremely special about it either.  I suppose part of the problem is that I really can’t taste the chocolate, which I had been really expecting in a tea called Chocolate Rocket.

So, I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about Chocolate Rocket.. but apparently I’m alone in that, because I did a quick blog search, and ALL of the bloggers who I could find, LOVED it.  Want proof?  Check out the Baked Foodies blog, where the author enjoyed it despite the fact that the tea infused not just the water but also the cup it came in… or Tea Time Toronto who could definitely taste more of the chocolate and raspberry than I could!

Have you tried any other really good maté teas?  Any recommendations?  Let us know in the comments below!

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Banff Tea Company

I’ve talked a lot about the Banff Tea Company in the past few months I’ve been writing for Happy Sushi Belly, but only last weekend, while Connie and I were on a road trip, did I finally get there with my camera so I could bring you some photos…

Beautiful blooming tea

After we finished sushi, we headed to the tea shop, but the store clerk (and owner I believe) had popped across the street to grab her lunch, so, while every other time I’ve been busy shopping – this time we had the chance to stand outside so I could take some photos.  The first (above) is a gorgeous glass tea pot with a blooming tea inside.  Of course – the rest of the shop is behind.  The black shelves to the right are all the tins, the middle is where the tea is packaged, and to the left you can just see the till.

Amazingly beautiful blue dragonfly tea set

The shop also has a wide range of accessories – I was thrilled with the beauty of this blue dragonfly glass tea set – pots, cups, saucers, etc… it makes me re-think the whole notion of “collecting” things – I could totally see collecting tea pots if they were all this pretty!  (Sorry it’s a bad focal-length photo..)

Looking into the shop

One last photo – this time showing more cute accessories…

So, I’ve blogged about the Banff Tea Company and their products a few times before (just follow the Banff Tea Co.link) but if you are interested in reading another blog post, check out It’s All About The Leaf.

As for what teas I bought.. I picked up more Lady Hannah’s Whole Fruit (a great fruit tea), more Jazz Cat’s Meow (a cream of Earl Grey with chocolate), and then a new one called Banff Trail Mix.  I’ll definitely be blogging about them soon!

So, have pictures made you want to check out the Banff Tea Company too?  Have you been there? Add your rants, raves (mostly raves!) in the comments below!

Banff Tea Co.
208 Caribou Street,
Banff, AB
T1L 1C3
1-403-762-8322

 

Banff Tea Co. on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Forever Nuts

If you miss out on carnival/festival season (or just can’t imagine going down to battle the crowds) Forever Nuts from David’s Tea is like a carnival in a mug!

The David’s Tea website describes the tea as a “tempting jumble of almond slices and chunks, apple bits and cinnamon bark” along with a hint of beetroot, resulting in a bright pink tea that is “deliciously nutty, decidedly addictive”.

Forever Nuts from David's Tea

The dry tea smells amazing, nutty and spicy and sweet – the clerk at the West Edmonton Mall store location said that it reminded her of those little doughnuts you get at carnivals, and I totally agreed.  When steeped, it smells just as good, and with a pinch of sweetener, I found it tasted a lot like those mini doughnuts too.  Plus, with the pink (just like cotton candy!) colour, it’s like visiting the carnival without the crowds.  Yum!

This tea is SO pink!

I steeped it on the shorter side of the recommended 4-7 minutes, but I think that I’ll try it again on the longer side.  I made up two infusions, and both had good taste, scent, and colour.  On the third and fourth infusion the colour remained pretty strong, but the nutty flavour faded, and the tea tasted more of apple cider.  It’s really smooth and easy to drink – I could drink more and more and more!  Mum had her cup without sugar (as she usually does) and I had mine with (as I usually do) and it was good both ways – though I think that the sweetness of the tea is enhanced with some sweetener.  I bet with the almond flavors, that honey would work even better to accent the flavors.

As an aside, I also made up this tea and iced it, and I think it gets even sweeter when it’s cold!  It would be a VERY cute tea for a little girly-girl’s tea party… (presuming the little girl wouldn’t dribble it on herself… I bet the beet would stain…)

Want to read a few other bloggers reviews (all positive!) of Forever Nuts?  Check out Real Health & Fitness or Tea &  Talk‘s reviews as well!  (The Tea & Talk author also took a look at two other teas I really want to try from David’s Tea too -maybe I’ll just have to make a trip out to the Calgary location sometime soon after all!)

Have you tried Forever Nuts yet?  What did you think?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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