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Cafes

Herbal Infusions Tea Co.

Posted by Staff / Posted on January 22, 2011

Herbal Infusions TeaHerbal Infusions Tea Co. has just moved into a little loft space on Adelaide west of Spadina, but it is already spreading the word about some of the best teas you've never heard of.

Herbal Infusions TeaThe little cafe opened just six weeks ago and already boasts an impressive wall of more than 100 varieties of black, green, oolong, white, pu-erh and herbal teas. "This area needed tea," owner Dan Johanis tells me as he slides a rolling ladder across the wall of glass canisters. "It's a great location with lots going on, but there was nowhere to get a good cup."

Herbal Infusions TeaJohanis doesn't fit my preconceptions about what the type of person who'd run a tea joint would be like. Previously in finance, the tall and brawny Johanis used to be an ardent coffee drinker until he started discovering the merits of tea. "Smell this," he instructs, as he puts a jar of lapsang souchong under my face. "It smells just like a campfire." It really did.

Herbal Infusions TeaJohanis started a website selling bulk tea, which he ran for several years before deciding to open up his store. And here now, along with your cup, you can probably get an explanation about the merits of each tea from Johanis. "Mate teas have properties that are similar to caffeine but you don't get that crash," he says as he pulls out a canister of mate sweet orange tea. "And white teas, like this white champagne raspberry, are really good tummy-tamers."

Herbal Infusions TeaHerbal Infusions takes bulk orders, prices which generally range from about $5-$7 for 50g. It also sells flavoured cane sugars ($5.25 for 50g), which can be paired with certain teas to create unique flavours. Along with regular steeped teas ($1.75 or $2.25), Herbal Infusions offers tea lattes ($3.30 or $3.95) and tea frappuccinos ($4.25 or $4.60) made with either regular milk or soymilk. I walked out with an orange cookie black tea latte (which was pretty much like warm orange cookies in a cup) and a newly wavering devotion to my once-faithful cup of Joe.

Herbal Infusions TeaWriting by Robyn Urback. Photos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

16 Comments

david miller's diaper / January 23, 2011 at 08:03 am
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OT, but their logo is horrendous. How does a white cup help to distinguish you from coffee cups (your competition)? Plus, it's so busy and unfocused that it looks like the logo was designed by a student.
mrs.neighbourhood / January 23, 2011 at 11:43 pm
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I hate to be a buzz kill, but this is one owner who doesn't know a thing about his startup project.

Go in, and try and talk to him about his products, and you'll realize quickly, he doesn't have a clue!

He basically bought tea, and put it in jars.
HE knows NOTHING about the industry, nor tea.

This place is a big 'ol fail.
justsayin / January 23, 2011 at 11:47 pm
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For many years, and even now, some uneducated people, yerbamate' was (is) thought to contain caffeine. It turns out that mateine is not identical to caffeine; it differs from caffeine in some rather dramatic ways.

http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/yer_02.htm
Jeff / January 24, 2011 at 09:40 am
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What a great specialty tea shop! The owner was quite knowledgable and made some great recommendations. The cocoa tea was awesome. I will definitely be going back. If you guys haven't checked this place out I highly recommend you do.

Five stars for sure!
T / January 24, 2011 at 11:12 am
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It is better call this shop just herbal shop, not tea shop, I agree with HE knows NOTHING about tea. How can they put the "tea" in the glass jar.
Dan Johanis / January 24, 2011 at 05:46 pm
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It's great to see how many people out there share my passion for tea!

For those of you haven't visited us yet and are in the neighbourhood I invite you to come on down to meet personally with me so I can share my knowledge -- and I’d be happy to offer you a free steeped tea or latte for your time!

I appreciate everyone's feedback - and of course everyone has their own opinion. I personally have sourced our teas from various suppliers and maintain close relationships with some of the estates directly. With regards to our glass jars - there are a few elements that will harm tea and herbs - air, light, moisture, and temperature. We have opted to display our teas in frosted UV coated jars to minimize light damage but also to showcase the wonderful varieties, inclusions, and texture that these blends have. The actual turnover rate on the jars is very quick so a little exposure to light during the day for a few days isn't going to harm the leaves in my opinion. 90% of the tea that we have is stored out of sight in a temperature and moisture controlled environment, void of light and little oxygen.

Hope this little insight is helpful, and thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts! It's still in the early days for us folks so we’re happy to consider your feedback as we go. And remember you can always stop by for a cup and let me know what's on your mind.

Cheers!

Dan Johanis
Jess / January 24, 2011 at 06:09 pm
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I'm a tea lover and frequent all the local tea shops, i was very impressed with their selection and the knowledge of the shop owner. He carefully explained the different types of tea while being very attentive to the temperature of the water, length of brew etc.

The space was intimate and cozy, my boyfriend and i both enjoyed it very much, we're definitely going to go back.
F. Sharp Fitzgerald / January 24, 2011 at 07:35 pm
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My experience at Herbal Infusions today left me baffled by some of the half-baked comments posted here.

Contrary to the views expressed by "mrs.neighbourhood" and "T", I found the owner, Dan, to be quite knowledgable in regards to his product. During my visit, Dan walked me through a selection of teas, explained each blend, and allowed me to sample the ones that piqued my interest. One of my favorites was called Cacao - it tasted like chocolate. I had never heard of it before. The woman who works there was also very helpful, well-informed, and friendly. She sold me on the almond tea - another winning blend in my humble opinion.

The uncommon herbal teas seem to set this places apart from the other tea shops that I frequent.

Don't let a few gauche comments keep you from visiting this little hideaway. It has a relaxing vibe, a unique and diverse tea selection, and friendly, knowledgable staff.

Five stars… and a double rainbow. That's my vote.

F.
Laurel / January 25, 2011 at 12:52 am
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SUCH great tea! And every time I've been in there, Dan and his staff have been more than helpful in recommending teas to suit my tastes. The cacao tea in a latte with vanilla soy milk? To DIE for.

Fully recommended!!
claire / January 25, 2011 at 05:12 pm
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Love it. I stopped by for the first time yesterday, and I'm so glad that I did! Dan was more than helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. The shop has an awesome atmosphere, and amazing selection of teas. I have a feeling I'll have tasted every tea on that wall before too long.
Seb / January 28, 2011 at 12:17 am
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I stopped by this cute little shop today for a tea latte, and walked out with a lot more than just a drink. I came out with three types of tea that I haven't seen before (I'm a David's Tea regular) and a steeper. Great prices, awesome selection and great service. I think this will be my new place: sorry David ;)
CurdyGirl / March 19, 2011 at 07:49 pm
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I recently ventured in, and had a great experience. The teas were tasty, the service was great - friendly, attentive and informative. I walked out with 3 teas, and will certainly be returning for more. I'm quite surprised by the initial few postings that are so negative, very different from the experience I had.
CurdyGirl / March 19, 2011 at 07:49 pm
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I recently ventured in, and had a great experience. The teas were tasty, the service was great - friendly, attentive and informative. I walked out with 3 teas, and will certainly be returning for more. I'm quite surprised by the initial few postings that are so negative, very different from the experience I had.
CurdyGirl / March 19, 2011 at 07:49 pm
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I recently ventured in, and had a great experience. The teas were tasty, the service was great - friendly, attentive and informative. I walked out with 3 teas, and will certainly be returning for more. I'm quite surprised by the initial few postings that are so negative, very different from the experience I had.
Yan / March 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm
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My friends and I planned a day to visit Herbal Infusions and it was a day well spent. First impressions were that I imagined the store to be a lot bigger but that doesn't matter because it's truly the tea that counts. Dan was super friendly. He thoroughly educated me about the difference and variety of teas. Completely broadened my perspective. My friend and I must have spent over an hour in his shop! Chatting, drinking and of course I made it my duty to smell all of the jars that I could grasp my hands around. Had a lovely experience and definitely will be returning shortly!
Mycupa / November 25, 2012 at 01:34 am
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I am not a tea drinker,I heard a lot of hype but very little matches my expectation. But after drinking a cup from Dan, I've converted!

As a 1st time tea drinker it's really intimidating deciding what to order and if it will suit my Tate. Right off the bat the owner offered to find a tea for me. It was fast, simple and self explanatory...then he made me the cup. To my surprise it tasted marvelous!

I might not have a sophisticated palette but I do have firm opinions about what I like and don't. And I like Herbal infusions. I was not overwhelmed by the variety or intimated to buy random tea. The tea was steeped for me.

Overall the atmosphere was gentle and relaxing. But what truly made this shop shine was the experience. The owner Dan really did give me an enjoyable leeway into tea. I believe I'll come here again.

1st timers, this is the place to go!

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