“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.”
“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.”
“May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all your heart might desire.”
–An Irish Blessing
“Perhaps that is the true gift of a teatime celebration: It fills our cups with joy and warmth and friendship. May the echo of the teacup’s message be heard not only at Christmas, not only on special occasions, but anytime friends come together.”
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
“But indeed, I would rather have nothing but tea.” –Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
Secret Garden is known for our delicious mini masterpieces, from dainty lemon tarts to mouth-watering sandwiches. Now we’d like to introduce you to the woman behind them all: Lysanne our head pastry chef!
Lysanne has been has been crafting pastries for 23 years, and has been at Secret Garden for 10. She learned her art in Montreal and began her career at the Patisserie de Gascogne. She then moved to Victoria, where she served as a pastry chef at the Oak Bay Marina, before moving to Vancouver and serving at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Eventually she found her way to Secret Garden, where she now heads up a kitchen team of 12 and provide the inspiration all of our treats!
In addition to managing details for our rotating treats and permanent menu, she also updates our High Tea Menu every two months with brand new sandwiches and sweets. For each High Tea Menu we produce, Lysanne spends hours of testing and research. She is constantly innovating new flavour combinations, using seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Lysanne enjoys the entire process: from imagining to tasting the final creation. “I love taking things so uninteresting to start with (flour, sugar etc.), and then this magic happens!” The ultimate reward though, is seeing guests enjoy themselves. “It’s fun to see everyone who comes here having a good time with friends and family. That’s what makes it special.”
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.
2. Gift Certificates (in-store use only). These beautiful certificates can be used to purchase food, tea, or retail items at our Vancouver shop.
3. Tea Cookies. From adorable Mini Gingerbread Men to decadent Cranberry Chocolate Shortbread, our housemade cookies are designed to pair wonderfully with tea.
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.
5. Gift Tea Tins. We offer our best selling teas in beautiful, reusable gift tins.
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:
Tea filters make tea brewing very simple. Just place a scoop of tea leaves inside the filter, and add hot water!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Black Tea, Herbal Teas, and Rooibos Tea:
Add 8 ounces boiling water to 1 rounded teaspoon of tea leaves. Steep for 3-5 minutes.
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).
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).
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!
This week’s tea story comes from Calley R., who celebrates Mother’s Day at The Secret Garden every year:
“Our tradition is to have a 4 generations Mother’s Day tea since my daughter was born. She is five now. It is her, me, my mother and my grandmother. Such an amazing tradition we look forward to every year!
“Thank you [Secret Garden] for being there for all our family’s special moments. Birthday parties, baby showers, Mother’s Day, retirement parties. We love Secret Garden!”
Do you have a special tea memory or tradition you’d like to share? Send us a note!