Tea for two and two for tea
By Kelsey Hipkin
I don’t like coffee.
Because of this I’ve been called a “freak of nature” by one friend and been given looks of incredulousness from others. Most just shake their head with misunderstanding like I’m just not the brightest crayon in the box and am missing out on the most sacred of things…in this case, the coffee bean.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of coffee, it’s a delightful heady smell that conjures warm memories of coffee drinkers and coffee shops past. I’ve even been known to drink coffee once or twice but then it was crammed with cream and sugar which probably kills the essence of the coffee itself. I tried a caramel macchiato and gingerbread latte from Starbucks once…the machiatto wasn’t bad except for the coffee taste and the gingerbread latte was just nasty. Sidenote: Starbucks has a killer Chai latte (in my opinion anyways).
So I apologize, dear coffee lovers, of whom many are my close friends, but it’s all about the tea for me.
Whether it be a lovely pot of green tea to accompany a plate of sushi, a London Fog pretty much anytime or a cup of good ol’ Tetley whipped up by my Scottish-born roomie (those Scots know how to whip up a pot of tea); I’m a tea drinker through and through.
I suppose it has something to do with sitting around my great-grandmothers table when I was knee high to a grasshopper drinking tea and eating fresh baked scones drizzled in honey.
Tea is a happy place for me.
Because of that happy place I’ve hung out and explored a few of the different tea/coffee shops that grace our fair city. I’ll share a few of my faves with you as well as some input from my tea-grannie buddies…and since I’m a bit of a Fog snob, I’ll give each one a Fog star rating.
Oolong Tea House
Oolong in Kensington serves over 150 different types of loose tea catering to whatever your flavour or mood may be that day. With funky furniture, decor and music it’s a very calming place to be indeed to enjoy tea, a snack and some great conversation. In fact I just had myself an Oolong London Fog with honey today! My tea-grannie friends are of the same opinion. “Oolong… loose tea is where it’s at,” says Gaby, “Location is lovely, wide selection, and friendly people.” Diane voted for Oolong as well saying, “there is something about that place that feels so authentic and nostalgic.” Four fog stars out of five.
Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters
Want a tea or coffee while wandering around Marda Loop or the Calgary Farmer’s Market? Stop in at Phil and Sebastian’s. The decor alone at the Marda Loop location is enough to put a little quiver in my liver (that’s a good thing by the way, in fact, that’s a great thing.) I’ve only been there a couple times but will definitely be returning. The London Fog’s there aren’t as sweet as you can get but a little less sugar never hurt anyone. Zoey said that P&S , “makes one of the best (soy) lattes around.” Three and a half Fog stars out of five.
And another nod to a Kensington coffee house. Higher Ground has great atmosphere and has been around since 1982. 27 years and still going strong definitely speaks to greatness. Higher Ground has a little something for everyone. Great food, coffee, tea and other treats during the day and beer and more great food in the evening. Higher Ground features a lot of great musical acts as well. The macaroni and cheese is to die for, uber cheesy with a little spicy kick…tastytown. Zoey said she was a fan of the atmosphere at Higher Ground but wasn’t a big fan of the drinks. Three Fog stars out of five.
Those three are just a smattering of the great tea and coffee shops out there in Cowtown. Some others worth mentioning…Purple Perk in Mission, Wildernest Cafe in Inglewood, Central Blends in Hillhurst, Beano Cafe just off 17th and of course you can find yourself a Starbucks, Tim Hortons and Good Earth on a city corner near you.
Check out Gabrielle Domanski’s tea feature here.