Tea is becoming increasingly popular in Canada, with more tea shops and communities popping up across the country. In fact, Canadians drink more tea per capita than Americans, consuming an average of 264 cups per year compared to about 212 cups in the US. While coffee still reigns supreme in Canada, new tea companies have reintroduced tea to the modern tea drinker, making it a hip and trendy beverage option.
Victoria, British Columbia, is an excellent starting point for a tea tour of Canada. This city has a strong British influence and boasts many tea shops, making it a hub for tea enthusiasts. The Victoria Tea Festival draws in over 3,300 visitors each year, with more than 40 vendors showcasing their teas. Visitors can also check out Silk Road Tea, a local teashop that has been quietly spreading the love of tea for 20 years. JagaSilk is another stop on the tour, where visitors can try five grades of matcha green tea. Finally, no Victoria tea tour is complete without a stop at the Empress Hotel, where afternoon tea has been a tradition since 1908.
In Vancouver’s trendy Kitsilano neighborhood, tea culture is also thriving. The Chinese Teashop in Vancouver’s Chinatown is a must-visit, where visitors can sample brewed tea and learn how to brew tea using traditional Chinese yixing teapots. Vancouver’s high Asian population and cultural diversity increase interest in tea, and the city’s foodie culture also plays a role.
Toronto, Ontario, is another city that is immersed in tea culture. National chains Teaopia and DavidsTea both got their start in this region, with loose leaf tea purveyor Teaopia having 40 locations across the country. DavidsTea already has about 60 locations and continues to grow. Toronto also offers an intensive 100-hour Tea Sommelier Certification Course sponsored by the Tea Association of Canada, promoting tea culture and education. The Tea Guild of Canada, a group of tea enthusiasts dedicated to promoting tea culture, originated in Toronto and offers classes on tea blending and cooking with tea.
Finally, in Quebec, Camellia Sinensis hosts tastings and classes at their three shops in Montreal and Quebec City. Each year, tea experts at Camellia Sinensis travel to tea gardens to personally select each tea they sell in their stores. Education is key to expanding tea culture in Canada, and the country is projected to increase tea consumption by 40% by 2020.
With tea becoming increasingly popular in Canada, Americans may soon be surpassed in tea consumption. But for tea enthusiasts, this only means more friends to enjoy tea with.