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Our Tea-Filled Holiday Gift Guide

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giftguide-2

We carry all sorts of goodies at our shop. But if you could use a few ideas for holiday gifts, here are some suggestions that are sure to please:

1. Tea Gift Sets. Our beautifully packaged tea sets are the perfect gift for any tea lover! The gift boxes come in four themes: Black Tea, Green Tea, Herbal Tea, and Rooibos Tea.

Buy Tea Gift Sets

2. Gift Certificates (in-store use only). These beautiful certificates can be used to purchase food, tea, or retail items at our Vancouver shop.

Buy Gift Certificates

3. Tea Cookies. From adorable Mini Gingerbread Men to decadent Cranberry Chocolate Shortbread, our housemade cookies are designed to pair wonderfully with tea.

Buy Tea Cookies

4. Christmas Spice Tea. Our seasonal black tea blend of citrus, almonds, vanilla, and clove is truly a treat. The mini tins make great stocking stuffers, and the 100g bags of tea make great gifts.

Buy Christmas Spice Tea

5. Gift Tea Tins. We offer our best selling teas in beautiful, reusable gift tins.

Buy Gift Tea Tins

Three Ways to Steep Loose Leaf Tea

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At The Secret Garden, we serve premium loose leaf teas. This is the traditional way to enjoy tea and allows the tea to release its full flavour. While we do offer some of our bestselling teas in convenient teabags, loose leaf teas can be easy to prepare as well. Here are three tips to brew loose leaf tea at home:

1) Disposable Tea Filters

Tea filters make tea brewing very simple. Just place a scoop of tea leaves inside the filter, and add hot water!

Buy Disposable Tea Filters at The Secret Garden Tea Company

2) Tea Ball

A tea ball is another simple way to enjoy loose leaf tea. Simply add a scoop of tea, place into your cup and add hot water! Note that if the tea ball is filled too full, the leaves will not have room to expand fully and release all of their flavour. For teapots use a tea filter, larger tea ball, or steep loose as noted below.

Buy a Tea Ball from The Secret Garden Tea Company

3) Steep loose and strain

Secret Garden Tea Strainer - Buy Teaware Online from Vancouver, BC

You can also add your tea directly into the teapot, add hot water, and strain the leaves as you pour the tea into your teacup. This is a classic way to steep tea leaves, but if the tea leaves sit inside the pot too long, your tea may oversteep.

With a tea filter or tea ball, you can remove the tea leaves at any time once your tea has steeped to perfection. We also sell some teapots with built-in infuser baskets that can be removed once your tea has steeped.

 

How much tea and how long to steep?

A general rule of thumb is about 1 rounded teaspoon of tea per cup. Steep 3-5 minutes with boiling water, depending how strong you like your tea.

Green teas are more delicate, so use water below the  boil, 180 F. (82 C.) and steep for 2-3 minutes to prevent the tea from becoming bitter. Hot water is just about right for green tea when tiny bubbles are forming on the bottom of the kettle, but before the water starts bubbling into a full boil.

We also have convenient measuring spoons to help you make the perfect cup or pot of tea every time.

Buckingham Palace Black Tea

How long do tea leaves keep?

Over time, the flavours of your tea may fade. You can store our teas for at least 1 year. To ensure optimum flavour, store teas away from heat, light, moisture, and strong smells. Our re-useable tins are a great way to keep tea fresh for longer periods of time.

 

How do you brew loose leaf tea?

Black Tea, Herbal Teas, and Rooibos Tea:

Add 8 ounces boiling water to 1 rounded teaspoon of tea leaves. Steep for 3-5 minutes.

Green Tea:

Add 8 ounces of 180 F. (82 C.) water to 1 rounded teaspoon of tea leaves. Steep for 2 minutes. The water is just about right for green tea when tiny bubbles are forming on the bottom of the kettle (before the water starts bubbling into a full boil).

Iced Tea:

Use twice as much tea per 8 oz, and steep as usual. Pour over a cup or jug of ice cubes (use a heat-resistant container).

 

The last step: Sit back and relax!

Afternoon Tea at The Secret Garden

Once you have steeped the perfect pot of tea, place a tea cozy around your teapot to keep it warm.

Then be sure to sit back, relax, and take time to savour your tea. Steeping tea can be a simple ritual to help you find a moment of relaxation in your busy day. Whether you take just five minutes, or enjoy a full tea party with friends, tea is always here to help you enjoy the moment!

Browse Secret Garden’s Online Tea Shop

 

 

 

 

Avalon Tea: Making a Difference

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Avalon Blend Black Tea benefits the Avalon Recovery Society in Vancouver - buy tea online at The Secret Garden Tea CompanyWe have over 50 teas on our menu, but one of our personal favourites is the Avalon Blend Black Tea, a loving blend of vanilla, Earl Grey, and rose petals.

We created this blend to honour of the Avalon Recovery Society, a local charity dedicated to helping women overcome addictions. A portion of sales from our Avalon Blend goes toward this worthy organization!

The Avalon Recovery Society is all privately funded. As we head into the holiday season, celebrating the blessings and community in our lives, consider sharing the love by donating to the Avalon Recovery Society. Every little bit makes a difference!

The History of Afternoon Tea and High Tea

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The history of afternoon tea and high teaSecret Garden’s tea service brings a little bit of tea tradition to the heart of Vancouver.

Legend has it that the afternoon tea tradition began in England in the late 1800s. At that time dinner was eaten late in the evening around 9pm, often leaving people hungry in the afternoon.

The Duchess of Bedford complained of a “sinking feeling” in her stomach during the day, and began taking tea and light snacks in the afternoon. She invited her friends to join her tea breaks, and the idea spread like wildfire through their social circles. Afternoon tea was the perfect way to enjoy a meal and socialize with friends.

While afternoon tea was characterized by lighter fare, high tea was traditionally a heavier meal served at the end of a work day on a high table (hence the name).

Secret Garden’s High Tea could be considered an afternoon tea, though we serve it from noon until early evening. We chose to call our premier service “high tea” simply because our customers in Canada are more familiar with this term! But regardless of the name, our tea service continues a longstanding tradition: taking time to relax over delicious food and tea, and enjoying the company of good friends.

Learn more about Secret Garden’s High Tea and reserve a table

Tea Stories

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We love to hear stories of special tea time memories. One long-time customer, Sheahan J., enjoys our Buckingham Palace tea every afternoon. Kathy has known Sheahan since she was born!

Here’s Sheahan’s story:

“I generally make my pot of Buckingham Palace tea around 4pm every day. Having done my household chores and grocery shopping, I have time to enjoy drinking my tea and doing a crossword puzzle or watching a show before getting started on making dinner. It is an hour I look forward to every day!”

Do you have a special tea memory or tradition you’d like to share?

Send us a note, and we’d love to feature you in our email newsletter and blog!


Buckingham Palace Black Tea at The Secret Garden Tea Company in Vancouver - buy online or in-store

Buckingham Palace is a luscious blend of Earl Grey black tea and Jasmine blossoms.

Click here to buy Buckingham Palace in Tins, Teabags, or 100g loose leaf.

 

What is Rooibos?

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Buy premium loose leaf rooibos tea at The Secret Garden in Vancouver - buy online

We serve nine different rooibos teas at Secret Garden, including as Creamy Caramel Rooibos, Raspberry Rooibos, and Chai Rooibos. But what is it exactly?

Rooibos (pronounced “roy-bos”) is actually an herb made from a South African shrub that only grows in the Cape Town region.

The resulting infusion is deep red, with a sweet and nutty flavour. We love rooibos because it has a strong, rich flavour, without caffeine. It can even take a bit of milk and sugar like a black tea! On top of that, rooibos is full of antioxidants and other nutrients.

Click here to browse our Rooibos Teas, or visit Secret Garden and try a pot of rooibos. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find a new favourite!

Tea Pairing: Vanilla Almond Tea with a Sweet Treat

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Vanilla Almond Black Tea and freshly baked scones - the perfect pairing! Buy tea online from The Secret Garden Tea Company in Vancouver

We have so many teas and sweets, our menu can be a bit overwhelming. Of course you can choose any pastry and tea you like, but if you could use a suggestion, our staff would be glad to help!

One wonderful combination is our Vanilla Almond black tea and any sweet treat. The creamy vanilla and sweet almonds in Vanilla Almond tea makes it a true dessert tea. Pair it with our scones and add Devonshire cream and raspberry jam for a perfect morning or afternoon treat!

Click here to buy Vanilla Almond Tea

Tea and Food Pairing: Lemon Tart and Anniversary Blend Tea

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Tangy mini lemon curd tarts at The Secret Garden Tea Company

At the Secret Garden, we believe tea time is an important time of the day–whether you pause for tea in the morning, afternoon, or evening. In this busy modern world we live in, taking a tea break gives you a quiet moment to relax and catch your breath. And often, a sweet or savoury treat can make your tea time even more delightful!

One of our most popular sweets is our Mini Lemon Tart. Our light, buttery tart shells, crafted by our pastry chefs, each hold a perfect mouthful of creamy lemon filling. The tarts are sweet, with just enough lemony tang.

Anniversary Blend

Any tea will go great with our sweets. However, one lovely tea pairing  for the tarts is the Anniversary Blend Black Tea. We created this tea in celebration of Secret Garden’s inception: Smooth black tea blends with citrusy bergamot (the classic flavor in Earl Grey tea). On top of this, we layer floral jasmine flowers and creamy vanilla.

With sweet vanilla and citrus notes, the Anniversary Blend complements the Mini Lemon Tarts to a tea (pun intended!).

We’d love to host you at our tea room in Vancouver the next time you could use a little tea break. Try this tea pairing or find your own yummy tea and treat combination! You can also order our Lemon Tarts To Go, along with our other sweets and savouries.

Buy Anniversary Blend Black Tea

Quick and Easy Iced Tea Recipe

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Iced tea recipe - Iced Creamy Earl Grey with lemon from The Secret Garden Tea Company in Vancouver

Here’s a quick iced tea recipe to cool down with when the weather gets hot:

Steep 2 teaspoons of tea leaves in 8 ounces of boiling water, for 3 minutes. Remove leaves and add lemon, sweetener, or milk if desired.

Pour over a glass of ice, and enjoy!