House of Tea
House Of Tea has been serving out a wide array of loose-leaf teas from its Rosedale location for about 15 years. Blending some of her own unique teas, the storeowner tells me that she's extremely particular about what her store carries. "It's important to know which herbs can be blended together, and those which cannot. Chamomile and lemon is a perfect blend," she tells me.
Intrigued by her meticulousness, I ask to smell some of the teas she has on display. Categorized into different coloured tins, I have the option of choosing from black, white, green, herbal, or fruits and spice. I go straight for the herbal, and she brings out a tea called "Sencha Asatsuyo," which has a delicious, fruity smell.
She also offers exclusive teas, such as a Chinese specialty called "Yellow Tea," known to be pricy and low in caffeine. In addition to her unique blends, she offers premium teas such as Jasmine or Earl Grey, for those seeking a more familiar taste.
Unfortunately, I'm unable to buy a cup-to-go, as they don't offer that service. They do offer their loose-leaf tea starting at 100 grams for $10.95. The other sizes are 250 grams and 500 grams, and the price goes up accordingly.
When not selling tea out of the storefront, House of Tea supplies tea to high-end retailers like Pusateri's. The store is also particular about where they source their teas from, dealing mainly with single plantations in China or Northeast India.
Also worth noting is that about three quarters of the store exhibits ornate teapots and mugs for sale. As I browse around, I'm amazed at the variety on display, ranging from traditional to ceramic, and glass to porcelain.
Before I leave, I'm given a quick lesson on steeping my own tea. Always remember: one teaspoon per cup, steep for 2 minutes, and let it cool.
Photos by Alexandra Grigorescu