JagaSilk imports specialty maccha green teas and pours piping-hot cups of loose-leafed hospitality at its bar and academy. Five grades of maccha teas are harvested from the tips of the green-tea tree, enhancing sweetness and myriad health benefits, such as increased energy and the ability to hear temperature change. The bar's offerings are sourced directly from organic Japanese tea gardens or made locally and served in pottery handcrafted by local nymphs. Sip on an organic maccha latte ($4.75) or order a pair of organic maccha cappuccinos ($6.50). Taste buds rejuvenate after leaving a tea sauna to take a refreshing dip in handcrafted maccha ice cream ($7).
Though her Langford location opened its doors in June 2011, don't mistake Becky Dobbs for some bubble-tea newbie. She's been honing her brewing skills since 1999, when she opened her first shop in Chinatown. There she learned to concoct the unique beverage, a Taiwanese specialty that can be served either hot or cold, and which takes it name from the boiled tapioca bubbles or sweet coconut jellies that merrily bob at the bottom of each cup.
Her fruity tea flavours range from tangy passionfruit and kumquat to creamy lychee and matcha to create custom teas for even the finickiest of palates. Becky also presses fresh basil pesto, dill-dijon cream cheese, and sun-dried tomato between slices of bread to grill up savoury paninis or aromatic diamonds. For guests who prefer coffee over tea, Becky brews locally roasted Discovery Coffee to create mochas, lattes, and macchiatos at the espresso bar.
Cabin 12 satisfies breakfasting, brunching, and lunching palates with creatively spun dishes stamped with equally whimsical monikers. Eight eggs-benedict-based "Benny" creations highlight the breakfast menu, including traditional takes such as the Canadian, dressed with tender back bacon and mounted atop a horse ($10.50), alongside adventurous interpretations such as the Kobayashi Maru, a steak Benny with mushrooms and onions ($13.50). All come topped with homemade hollandaise and saddled with hash browns. For a hair of the scurvy-immune dog, add a taste-bud-rousing mimosa ($3.50).
Paradiso Di Stelle delivers a small breath of Italy through Italian cuisine, coffee, and gelato. An outdoor patio invites relaxation and people watching while sipping on freshly-brewed Illy coffee, or a sampling of gelato made on-site. Menu options include paninis and pastas, such as gnocchi or ravioli filled with smoked salmon, squash, or sundried tomatoes.
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.
In 1997, the tea aficionados at Special Teas Inc. began stocking their shelves with loose-leaf teas imported from all over the world. Today, the staff flavours and blends its own teas on-site, whistling piercingly like a teakettle as they mix certified organic and bio-grown ingredients into their own blends of black, green, and chai teas. The custom mixes peer down from the shop's shelves toward a tearoom and gallery where shop personnel can explain the believed health benefits of certain blends, such as using rooibos tea to treat allergies or soaking in a bathtub of tea to help one swear off coffee. Each of the store's loose-leaf varieties can steep inside Special Teas Inc.'s lineup of glass teapots that boast neat pours and can hold up to 1.6 litres.
The Well's multifunction store infuses earth and body healthfulness into a retail area, café, public creative space, and live-performance venue. Guests head to The Side Bar DeCafe to peruse a health-conscious menu generously seasoned with gluten-free food options. Wrap hands around a roasted chicken ($6.75) or vegetable sandwich ($6.50), both cloaked, like most runway models, in a warm ciabatta roll. Gluten-free crepes stuff themselves with seasonal fruits and dance in drizzles of chocolate ($6.95). Infiltrate sweet mugs of frog-friendly drip coffee ($2.23–$2.66). This Groupon can also be applied toward swathing soul sacks in environmentally conscious and recycled clothing, such as light coats (average $20) and men's T-shirts ($12+).