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Grocery Stores

Majesteas

Posted by Elizabeth / Posted on August 8, 2010

MajesteasMajesteas might not just be a clever play on "tea" as so many tea shops seem unable to resist the urge to pun. Co-owner Ian Macdonald actually has some kind of in with the Windsors, as evidenced by the display case boasting numerous personal invitations to royal events, and even a note from the Queen herself (well, somebody that spoke on behalf of the Queen but still...). This might explain the apparent lust for tea at Leslieville's newest specialty shop.

MaesteasI won't lie, this is probably the smallest tea shop I've been in to date. But the cabinets are packed full of custom blends, and other high quality imports from around the globe - and the seating is ridiculously comfortable. It's hard not to get sucked into the calm surroundings, where time almost seems to stand a bit still, even when it's counting down on the timer you get when you order a cup.

MajesteasCo-owners Ian Macdonald and Robert Gignac have put a lot of care and thought into the blends, that much is apparent after one whiff of the Macdonald's Highland Blend - a smokey campfire / citrus-y blend that any lover of single malt whiskey might enjoy. The Royal Wedding Blend is much more delicate and pretty tea, made from peach and rosebud that smelled sweet and floral. My favourite to sniff was the Sea Breeze, made with lemon mytle and rooibos, it was gentle and refreshing - not to mention rich in antioxidants, or so I'm told.

MajesteasI sat down with the blend "Tropical Paradise" iced tea, after being lured in with a sample I had to order a whole cup ($2.05). Sweet and made with orange, pineapple and hibiscus, I found it to be instantly refreshing.

MajesteasFor my sweet tooth, Sweets from the Earth vegan treats like gluten free walnut brownie, or double chocolate cookies grace the counter. (from $2.45)

MajesteasMajesteas isn't just a spot to browse fine loose leaf teas, but also a place to learn everything you always wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) if you sign up for their re occuring tea classes. They are small, intimate gatherings where you will learn about the making and preparation of feature teas, as well as get to sample.

MajesteasAnd if all that doesn't float your boat, Majesteas has a fine selection of implements that the owners and employees have all tried out themselves - like the leak proof, BPA free travel mug with a flip up infuser, which I'm told is awesome on pretty much every level. Or the precision temperature control kettle which will hold your water at whatever temperature for 40 minutes.

MajesteasPricing for loose leaf teas ranges from $5 for 50g of some herbal varieties, to $20 for 50g of the finest of Japanese green teas found this side of Kyoto. Cups to stay or two go are $2.36 tax in.

MajesteasMajesteas is open Tuesday to Friday 8-8, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-6.

Majesteas

Discussion

22 Comments

Costanza / August 10, 2010 at 09:35 am
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keep calm and beat the keep calm dead poster horse into the ground
Rico / August 10, 2010 at 09:58 am
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Then he should know whose tea he was drinking at the Royals'. Shame to assume he is that person.
Alan / August 10, 2010 at 11:06 am
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excellant article and photos...i've been to this shop many times and loved it every time...congats also to Ian and Robert for going out on a limb and bringing this little bit of civilty to Leslieville...
Aydin / August 10, 2010 at 11:50 am
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Went in on a hot summer day when intrigued by a sandwich board sign for fresh brewed iced tea. Sadly, what I received was an under-sweetened, luke-warm plastic cup of floral water.

This was is June, so hopefully they've since improved their recipe.

Please keep involving parts of the city East of Spadina - we all love seeing our own neighbourhoods represented too.
Theresa replying to a comment from Aydin / August 10, 2010 at 03:42 pm
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Aydin I go in every morning on the way to work and the iced tea is always in a cup with lots of ice, so you must have got a free sample that they give out for free. Maybe they didn't sweeten it because they don't want to be like Starbucks and assume everyone wants things loaded with sugar. I'm diabetic and I'm thrilled to find a place that doesn't say 'our tea comes pre-sweetened' Plastic cup? Did you expect the sample to be served in bone china? Give me a break at least these guys (as Alan said) went out on a limb - easy to throw stones when most of us could never afford to try to open a business. I like the place, the staff and the fact you can look at the teas on your own without some underpaid teenager hounding you to try something and then finding they have no idea what they are selling anyway. I was in just after they opened and someone was asking the owner about franchising, so they must be doing something right.
Rhondda / August 10, 2010 at 05:20 pm
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As a loose tea junky, I was impressed by the range of their teas. I liked that they have them grouped by blacks, oolongs, greens, herbal, rooibos, etc. There are some very unique offerings, like the Highland Blend mentioned in the article. I think they must have had at least 5 different Earl Grey's! The surroundings are absolutely lovely. Ian threw in a bunch of yummy tea flavoured candies with my purchase. We'll definately be back. Its great to have this kind of specialty shop in the east end.
Mark Adams / August 10, 2010 at 05:22 pm
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Great article and it really ties in well with the atmosphere of the place. I've been several times and have enjoyed every cup! The staff are super friendly, and the drinks are delicious. I do hope they decide to open up a location closer to the downtown core with ample seating. I would be great for afternoon breaks from the office. Keep up the great work guys!
Marcus replying to a comment from Rico / August 10, 2010 at 05:57 pm
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There is a pic of the owner with the Queen at their store so not sure what you are talking about. If you want to know what tea he's had with the royals go ask him.
Liam / August 10, 2010 at 06:03 pm
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An excellent review of an excellent tea shop, and one that is badly needed in coffee saturated Toronto. There are angry coffee drinkers all around us - away knaves! Go grumble your litany of bitchery to other angry joe drinkers standing mindlessly in line at Tim Horton's or to those paying way too much for flavour-less coffee at Starbuck's. Majesteas is not only a fine tea shop but a refreshing idea.
Rico replying to a comment from Marcus / August 10, 2010 at 08:47 pm
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I know what tea they had. I just hope they do. It seems their theme is to become that very supplier, which is very questionable.
Rico replying to a comment from Liam / August 10, 2010 at 08:49 pm
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Liam, why so bitter? Mercury across the street isn't full of any angry people...except maybe a couple staff members. But otherwise, they truly aim to provide some great coffee...which they do.
Henri / August 11, 2010 at 12:34 am
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I don't know the place and it might be really great, but please, enough with the "Keep calm and..." posters.
Laurie / August 11, 2010 at 09:14 am
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Wonderful review...

Great things come in small packages. I don't live in the city and I am always facinated by the unique shops like Majesteas that have amazing products and friendly staff, seems hard to find that in TO. It's obvious that Rob and Ian have put so much time and energy into their shop. They should be very proud of what they have done...all the best.

ruth / August 26, 2010 at 02:12 am
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A great reveiw that completely captures this wonderful tea shop! I'm a huge tea fan and dropped into the store while visiting from LA. I was very impressed with the wide range of teas and loved the overall look of the comfy but sophisticated store. As luck would have it I was also able to attend Rob and Ian's very first tea seminar! The intimate group sampled several different kinds of teas(white, green, oolong, black)and learned many tips for brewing the perfect cup. Though I bought some tea to take home my only regret is that there isn't a Majesteas in LA...yet!
norah johnson / August 26, 2010 at 01:45 pm
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I live in Chicago & wish that Ian & Rob did as well so we could have the opportunity to visit this wonderful tea house that they have created..... Norah
Heather / September 4, 2010 at 11:57 am
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Finished the Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh and now hooked on the Cream of Earl Grey. YUM YUM.

Love this store, it has me converted to tea and that's a hard thing for a coffee drinker to admit!

Fun to have in the beautiful store or at home.
Sue / September 25, 2010 at 01:26 pm
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I am ADDICTED to your Pumpkin Latte. Best I've had ANYWHERE YUMMMM
Paul / January 9, 2011 at 01:52 pm
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I've been searching for a decent Chai and I've found it!!! They said it's a traditional family recipe of their master blender. Cool that you can sit and try any of their teas without having to buy a bag only to discover you hate it.
Dr. Nick Polischuk / February 7, 2011 at 06:50 am
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Bravo Ian and Robert! A wonderful concept and very well done in all respects. It's a shame that it is so easy to slam a new business online with such viciousness. Ignore the few negative comments and continued great success with your venture. Cheers.
Keith / November 3, 2012 at 07:05 pm
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I have has the pleasure, A rare occasion as a consumer I should interject, to have been to this shop on many occasions. To declare a tea as my favorite would only draw attention to all the teas that I have not tried, yet. Ian has always been helpful and friendly, answering my many questions and offering suggestions to expand my tea collection. After shopping at Majesteas I have given up on any other shops as my cupboard can attest. When the opportunity presents itself it is worth the experience to stop in and enjoy a cuppa.
James / June 20, 2013 at 01:41 pm
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Nominated for Best Teas shop, awesome.

http://nowtoronto.com/fbApps/bestof/nominees.cfm?category=158&;subcategory=1508
James / July 14, 2013 at 04:59 pm
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http://ow.ly/mX1eV oops, here is the link, thanks.

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