Coffee Shops have been my new jam lately. I'm out and about a lot for my job and every once in a while, I need my own little corner to catch up on emails, grab a bite to eat, check my twitter feed etc without having to actually trek all the way back to my office. Ya feel me?! But coffee doesn't always agree with me so I've learned to embrace a good ol' cup of tea. Maybe I've been reading too much Buzzfeed but its inspired me to write a Top Ten Tea list.
Bubble Tea is definitely not your typical cup of tea but it sure is one of my favourites! The above picture is from Bubble Republic. Yes, that is a maraschino cherry surrounded by cornflakes. You can't hate the Taiwanese for taking something so refined and simple like a cup of black tea and kicking it up a notch. Bubble tea is definitely an experience you have to try at least once. Sadly, bubble tea only gets better the further you drive away from Hamilton. So please don't tell me you ordered it once at B&T/Pho Dau Bo and you hated it - that ain't real bubble tea!
When we were at Quatrefoil a few weeks ago, our server talked us into this Earl Grey Cocktail. It was absolutely divine. Fig infused vodka, tangerine, lillet, Earl Grey tea and love - they emphasized lots of love went into this baby. Of course if you follow me on snapchat (therealchanry) I live snapped the entire meal and thoroughly enjoyed this drink, and the rest of my meal too. I also did a real time review of my meal on instagram. They have a great mid week prix fixe menu available. This cocktail makes it really to turn up on Tuesday. It was very smooth, light and super easy to drink.
I recently ordered a box of fruit teas online from Alokozay Tea for the office at work. You can get this stuff at Metro (in Ontario), Food Basics, Adonis and Bulk Barn. I purchased it online cause it was so easy and I'm a huge lazy butt (get $1 off here). Plus it came with a free mug. I found the peach tea with a few sprigs of mint, over ice, is my new thirst quencher. For some reason, working a desk gig makes me want sugar like the cookie monster and by 3pm I will offer up my first born for something sweet! In comes, Alokozay peach tea to the rescue. I have it pre brewed in the fridge so I don't get all hangry from my mid day sugar shakes. You know what I mean? Don't tell me I have a sugar problem. Mind your business.
One of my girlfriends from culinary school introduced me to this Citrus Korean Tea years ago. It's like a compote of oranges that you spoon into boiling water. It's a little bit on the sweet side but ya'll know I'm into that. You can pick this up at practically any asian grocery store or Korean market. I picked up this one at B&T on Queen St in Hamilton. During the summer, I brew it cold and it turns into a really nice iced tea. I threw in orange slices to be fancy cause I might end up instagraming this pic one day. #truth
I don't think I've mentioned this before but despite the way I eat sometimes, I actually want to make it to my 30th birthday. I'd like it if my arteries survived to see the next decade or so too. So, once in a while, I like to eat healthy. Green Smoothie Bar gives you the option of adding matcha into any of their green smoothies. Matcha is suppose to be far better for you than green tea because you're consuming the whole leaf. Google tells me one cup of matcha tea is like 10 cups of green tea. That's gotta be good for you right? I need to make friends with a Dietitian. Anyways, with spinach + kale in every smoothie, and a shot of matcha - it's all gotta be good for you! At least it makes me feel like I'm being a responsible adult and taking care of my body.
Afternoon Tea has been a favourite past time of mine for years. The Banff Springs has one of the most unique services. You get to smell and see an array of dried teas before finally making your pick. They range from classic ones, like green tea, to incredibly creative and out there, like this one with very strong fruit notes and actual bubble gum balls! It's a great experience for tea connoisseurs or anyone who likes to dress up and eat very tiny sandwiches.
541 Eatery & Exchange has an iced tea that hits all the right spots. If you haven't been to 541 it's definitely a hidden gem on Barton Street. It is a very unique type of establishment and I am so proud that Hamilton can support this type of business. They are an eatery that offers fresh homemade meals that are affordable and family friendly! Nothing on the menu is over $6 and the entire place is made up of volunteers and a handful of staff. I spent some time volunteering there and it's literally all from scratch cooking - even squeezing the lemons for lemonade (that was my job once!) I love the spirit its brought to the neighbourhood, and if I can drop in and give back to the community just by purchasing a cup of iced tea and a brownie or two - why not?! The proceeds get pushed back into the community to help facilitate educational community initiatives. The also have one of the best breakfast options in the city in my honest opinion.
Thai Ice tea has been my life saver more times than I can count. I pretty much treat it as a life boat for my tastebuds because the sweet condensed milk and cool iced black tea does wonders on your tongue after you've assaulted it with the highest level of spice at any Thai restraint. Make sure you give it a good stir before your first sip to mix up the condensed milk. It's meant to really cool your pallet down. I generally go buck wild with the chillies when I see this offered at a restaurant cause it means my taste buds will survive to eat another day. It also does a phenomenal job of cooling down your body on a hot summer day.
Alokozay lemon tea is what I've been using lately to get through the super cold mornings and late evenings. I usually curl up with a mug and enjoy the warmth while I'm winding down from the day. When it's closer to room temp, lemon tea in the morning helps boost your immune system and is supposedly bomb dignity for your skin. At least that's what google tells me.
Jasmine tea, specifically this box of Jasmine tea is what I grew up drinking. This is probably the only tea I have never attempted to drink cold. I grew up brewing this for guest when they came over - and politely sipping it when I was a guest at someone else's house. Like a lot of food items, this one is very nostalgic to me in the sense it makes me feel like someone just wrapped a warm blanket around me. It also usually meant someone was eventually going to serve some food!
Let me know in the comments what your favourite teas are so I can check them out!
This post was in partnership with Alokozay Tea - opinions expressed are always my own.