Tucked away in a sunny courtyard off of Alberni Street, The Urban Tea Merchant is a mecca for tea lovers, half retail tea boutique and half tea salon. As the exclusive North American partner with TWG Tea, shoppers can experience the aroma and sample taste 250 of TWG Tea’s finest luxury blends as well as browse some beautiful and unique accessories, tea-infused edibles, gifts and tea sets. Like fine wine, TWG Tea is hand blended in Singapore to exacting standards making it a favourite brand of 5 diamond hotels, airlines and first class retailers across the globe. Whether it’s a familiar Earl Grey or herb tea or a top of the line blend which can cost up to $500/100g making the ‘right’ tea selection can easily overwhelm but The Urban Tea Merchant has a tea sommelier, M. Reza Nasooti, on hand to help pick the perfect blend to suit your taste or mood. His knowledge, experience and passion for tea was infectious as he guided me through an array of blends that stimulated all the senses while sitting at the tasting bar in the retail shop.
After shopping or while contemplating your choices, head into The Urban Tea Merchant Tea Salon for a luxurious tea service. Whether for lunch, weekend brunch, afternoon tea or after-work light bites and cocktails the tea salon is a quiet, elegant oasis to savour a hot cup of TWG Tea whilst enjoying beautifully prepared, presented and served tea-infused savoury and sweet treats. Respecting the tea culture of Vancouverite’s diverse backgrounds, their chef puts his own spin on traditional Tea Service with treats that combine traditions from all the cultures and bounty of the West Coast alongside TWG Tea infused items. The results are truly memorable taste sensations that I had the pleasure of experiencing first hand on a recent afternoon. If Tea Service doesn’t fit the mood of your day, opt for a charcuterie plate and a tea-infused cocktail, perfect for a warm autumn afternoon. Created by Mixologist Ben Lambie alongside sommelier Nasooti the duo have brought their expertise together to develop a tasty selection of cocktails for Fall including Matcha Sour (bourbon, lime, Matcha), Lapsang Souchong Caesar (vodka, clamato juice, Lapsang Souchong Tea), 1837 Black Tea Mimosa (prosecco, orange juice, 1837 Black Tea) and my personal favourite, Chocolate Earl Grey Martini (gin, lemon, Chocolate Earl Grey Tea).
If you need an added excuse to stop in during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Urban Tea Merchant is donating 10% of the proceeds of every Pink Flamingo Cosmopolitan (vodka, cranberry, lime, Pink Flamingo Tea) towards the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Being so centrally located The Urban Tea Merchant is near everything, making it a perfect spot to stop during an afternoon of shopping, after a busy day at work or weekend brunch. I look forward to stopping in again try more of their menu in the Tea Salon and the Retail Shop is definitely a going to be a Christmas/Birthday Shopping destination from now on.