Davids Tea on Queen West
I'm a tea fanatic and make an effort to taste local teas when I travel the world (loose leaf - not bagged). I never hesitate to pop into looseleaf tea shops wherever I see them.
Davids Tea on Queen West in Toronto is an awesome find in my books - one of the city's best. I was a bit skeptical at first because of the location - Queen West - which made me think they just want to be "trendy." I was wrong.
When you walk in, they have a tea of the day on hand and you can have a free taste to warm you up. The staff is very friendly, knowledgable, and efficient. They all have personal favourites and seem to know the teas inside out. The selection is extensive but not overwhelming because it is well labeled (sometimes I can't grasp the selection at Tea Emporium because I can't see the labels behind the counter). Their stuff ranges from your basic greens, blacks, and herbals to far more innovative stuff, which is my preference.
They have an incredible "Turkish Delight" tea - black tea laced with apple tea, coriander, and little chunks of Turkish Delight - that I have never seen elsewhere and is absolutely delicious. Because of my initial skepticism and frugality, I stuck with 50 grams of this and was so impressed (as was my mother who doesn't even like fine teas) that I went back yesterday and grabbed some basic jasmine in addition to some "Lime Bang" - green tea with chunks of lime peel, pineapple, apple, and natural fruit essence. It's delicious. For tea with a flare, David's is a great bet.
For the most part I would second this, with the caveat that I don't know tea well enough to comment on the quality of the product. The cupcakes we had were really good.
I love David's Tea too! Every time I've been there the staff is super nice and the teas are so delcious. Didn't know about the Turkish Delight one, that sounds really interesting. I'll remember to check that out next time. & I agree with befuggled on the cupcakes. Huge, delious and so moist!
I walked by this for the first time today and made a note to pop in next time i'm in the area. It looks like a great little spot. It seems out of place on that stretch of Queen (if it were anywhere west of spadina it would make more sense) but hopefully it has a good run in the area.
If you like David's Tea, you might also enjoy Tealish on Walnut Ave (just off Queen St. West right around Trinity-Bellwoods park)
Here's a link to Tealish's website: http://www.tealish.com/
Both really great spots as far as I can tell, though I admit I'm a bit partial to Tealish - I just find it so adorable!
Does David's *always* serve their tea in paper cups for sit-in customers? I was totally distressed by this!
i didn't find the service at david's tea that knowledgeable and most of the mixes were a little gimmicky rather than quality in flavour or quality.
i was looking for something that had a toasted almond quality and in the end they turned me towards turkish delight (not at all what i was looking for) which reminded me a lot of the patisserie blend at tealish, the aromas were nearly a perfect match. after bringing it home and having a cup.... well while i was a bit disappointed that the aromatics of the tealish patisserie didn't come out as strongly in the infusion... the david's tea one was a far cry from the aromatics and quite light in flavour. i thought the turkish delight was silly and it just swelled up at the bottom of my press.
i'm very happy with tealish, the people that work there are kind, passionate and knowledgeable about tea without being in your face about anything. their matcha is excellent and though it is a bit of a travesty in the tea world, i can't walk past without ever getting a walnut green ave (walnut and matcha) latte. mmmmm..... they design of both shops is very very similar. welcome to the new trendy world of tea!
interesting observation....i was trollin' along queen west yesterday when i stumbled upon tealish (right in behind noce) looks very charming inside and their website is very informative! Unfortunately it was closed so a return trip is in order. I have tried several of the david's teas and I have to agree some of their flavours are rather tepid/weak...ginger oolong-not good.
i'm also a fan of their raspberry beret which is a raspberry roiboos tea latte. i find other than the matcha and the roiboos (and even sometimes a little the roiboos) don't really stand up to the latte treatment well and the flavour is a bit weak with all the milk. i think the matcha tends to work so well just because it isn't just an infusion but the tea leaves also get combined into the drink. i think soy actually makes it that much better just because it reinforces the nuttiness.
otherwise i haven't had that many opportunities to try many tealish blends except for the toasted almond (which is amazing when you get a blend version that is light on the apple and heavy on the almond) and patisserie (very nice in aromatics though needs a longer infusion). i'm struggling to go through a drawer of tea i've purchased at other times and places and i'm not even much of a drinks person!