From the exterior, the tea bundle looks like a mollusk shell or fibrous seed. But plunk it into hot water, and the orb slowly unfurls to reveal a vibrant orange bouquet of ginseng lilies. This flowering tea bud is just one of many artistic drinkable floral arrangements at Hildegard Gourmet Tea, whose tea mavens recruit exotic herbs, aromatic flowers, and spices from around the world to blend into wholesome infusions. Though their appearance is beguiling and aroma intoxicating, the teas’ health benefits take centre stage at Hildegard. A nutritional consultant and homeopath, Hildegard founder Parul pursues a love of herbs that began as an exploration of their healing properties. Now, she plucks mint leaves for their digestive benefits and chamomile buds to ease the stress of having to deal with the mint leaves' screams of terror. Her shop's shelves buckle under a vast selection of black, green, herbal, and white teas, all of which deliver care packets of antioxidants.
Teaopia dispenses more than 100 varieties of loose-leaf teas, spanning a catalogue of black, green, white, oolong, yerba mate, rooibos, and blended teas, plus hard-to-find harvests. Selections range from the flavourful Amazing Vanilla ($5.50/50g) to the Caramelissimo ($6.50/50g), a blend of ceylon black tea, caramel pieces, hard biscuit pieces, and cream caramel flavour, to the Pomegranate Green ($7.00/50g), a green tea distinguished by its sencha, cranberries, pomegranate flowers, and off-beat sense of humor. While deliberating brew munitions, customers can sip one of Teaopia's concoctions, such as a tangerine dream iced tea ($2.75), classic Chai latte ($4.50), or raspberry matcha fruit smoothie ($5.50). Home brewing gets simple with Teaopia's helpful and attractive accessories, including the 16-ounce tea master ($20), a BPA-free infuser for loose-leaf teas that keeps pours warm and nests a stainless steel filter that strains out bad karma.
At Dr. Nutrition, there's no cure-all nutritional supplement?instead, there are more than 100 to choose from, each with a distinct function. Gingko biloba, for example, helps boost memory and brain function, whereas antler velvet alleviates symptoms of menopause, and calcium fortifies bones more effectively than walking with self-imposed preventative crutches. The Canada-based company also crafts a line of all-natural liquid herbal concentrates.
Distinctly Tea is a tea brewer's dreamland, with a varied selection of more than 350 teas from around the world as well as tea-related accessories. Most teas at the shop begin at $4.75 for a 50-gram bag and $8.75 for a 100-gram bag, with smaller sample bags starting at $1.75 each. Palates tired of average tea selections can cart home such soothing herbal varieties as LaPacho vanilla chai and the inner-scarf tendencies of Winter's Remedy. Distinctly Tea also offers far away flavours that include South African rooibos teas and lush and aromatic selections such as cranberry cream and whole-fruit supreme. Passionate about the ways of the teacup, the helpful staff at Distinctly Tea is perpetually ready to help both longtime connoisseurs as well as those who just discovered a saucer can be more than a hat to appreciate the differences between a tisane and an oolong. And while the tea shop’s selection of loose teas runs deep, the shop also boasts a lineup of tea accessories that includes such necessities as stainless-steel teapots, tea cozies, and anti-coffee propaganda literature such as The Chamomile Manifesto by Karl Marx.