Outside of Blenz on Richard’s and Hastings in Vancouver, employees are giving out samples of “London Fog”, their new tea blend featuring Earl Grey tea, milk and sugar in a chai-like blend. It’s quite yummy, and I used my 2 for 1 card for it that day.
We’ve all seen the new posters at coffee shops for fabulous new teas, alternatives to specialty coffees, usually blended like chai into some kind of drink that can be charged at $4.00 a pop. Gone are the little rickety stainless cafeteria teapots! (aside: why do they always spill the tea, no matter what you do?) Here to stay are tea cappuccinos in all their vast variety. Only yesterday I passed a normal sandwich shop that offers good coffees, and they were advertising a new “red espresso.” And what, pray tell, is that? Nothing but a rooibos mixture of some sort.
It’s all in the branding, as we’ve already discovered with the coffee market. Still, Greek coffee never did take off like espresso, and every summer nutritionists blow the whistle on those icy frappucino blends creating a kind of milk shake, their even higher calorie count from the cream and sugar extremes making these drinks so addictive. It is a shame to see tea taking the same route.
I believe tea will win out over all. Even though I have tasted a peppermint tea that includes bits of peppermint candy (why do this when you can use the actual peppermint leaf and sweeten to taste?), and even though I myself am a little partial to a chocolate loose tea that includes teeny bits of chocolate, I don’t want to believe that these over-sweetened and over-flavoured drinks will ever really take hold.
Yes, I did enjoy that so-called “London Fog” drink at Blenz, but I felt it was a super-sweet dose of all my daily calories in one drink. The next time I was there, I stepped back and ordered a simple Earl Grey tea, which was very good.
Here’s what really made me appreciate them: the tea was loose, not in a bag. It was steeped in a groovy-looking bright-coloured ceramic teapot with a built-in infuser section. I could add milk and sugar to taste (and they have an array of milks to select, from non-fat to cream). I didn’t mind going to the counter for the milk, etc. as it is, after all, originally a coffee shop. I was pleased to discover that this is a coffee shop that truly respects tea!