Issue 6: Tea
In this issue we pay homage to all things tea.
We compare three of the top bubble tea spots in Toronto, re-engergize like an Argentine with yerba mate, set our very own afternoon tea at home, and interview founder and director of Sloane Fine Tea Merchants.
The story of the tea merchant is among my favourite.
It’s a tale of alchemy - of a destiny foretold and fulfilled. It’s the worldly legend of an extraordinary globetrotting heroine who travels far and wide to collect enchanting treasures, blending these natural wonders into teas of ethereal beauty for all to share. The story of the tea merchant is among my favourite because it is true.
Bringing a touch of Downton Abbey to the home is easier than you think. Just keep that pinky down.
It's one of the defining features of British culture, along with crooked teeth, fish & chips (or chicken tikka masala), and surrealist humour. We're talking about tea time.
We make a 3-course tasting menu featuring one of the world's favourite beverages: tea.
Step into any pastry shop today and you will likely find a sweet ode to matcha, or perhaps chai or Earl Grey. Tea has broken into the pastry game, and the results are delicious. Cocktail bars have also adopted the brew, incorporating it into their revisions of old classics. Before long, tea will be making its way into savoury dishes in the hottest spots around town. I’m surprised it hasn’t already. What’s taking so long? After all, it’s no novel idea.
Yerba mate is the South American counterpart to tea and coffee slowly entering the Western mainstream. It's time to get wired like a gaucho.
My first encounter with yerba mate was during a sustained period of early (6am early!) gym-going before heading into the office. I needed a potent pick-me-up that didn't require me to run the coffee grinder, thus saving me from the wrath of waking up Kim. And, to be honest, a shot of espresso on an empty stomach isn't typically conducive to a couple hours of contact sports. Tea fit the bill, but its relatively lackluster caffeine content just wouldn't cut through the early morning grogginess.
Bubble tea and I go way back. It was the early 2000’s, not long after bubble tea emerged as a standalone commodity in Montreal. In the streets of our tiny Chinatown - a neighbourhood barely spanning 2 square blocks - my university friends and I spent most of our nights parked at famed bubble tea lounge, L2. There, we studied and played Big 2 into the wee hours of the night, all whilst slowly sipping radioactive-like liquids through giant straws out of colossal mugs that would put German beer halls to shame. Those were the good old days where $3.85 bought you your weight in bubble tea, and no one cared that it was mostly made of sugar and FD&C Yellow #3.