Conversation and lingering seems to be encouraged at Steeps Tea Lounge, where a friend and I sat for a couple of hours discussing metaphysics, her trip to London, and, of course, tea. Surrounded by tea paraphernalia, all for sale, and with other tea aficionados coming, going, or staying to drink tea and read a good book, we spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
How could I have lived in Vancouver and not gone into Steeps until yesterday? And why did it take a tea blog combined with a 2 for 1 ad in the Georgia Straight before I took the plunge? I think I felt daunted by the location, a place I have often driven past but never entered intentionally.
Broadway and Laurel is a corner I associate with my dentist and doctor’s offices down the block. Not, to me, a place of pleasure. I was pleased to discover that Steeps is a true oasis, even though car-choked Broadway is only just outside the door.
It is so delightful and easy there, peaceful and unpretentious. All the teas are available to be seen, smelt and selected without pressure, in a very nice array, and while waiting for my friend I had a chance to check out all the greens and blacks – excellent variety. I finally settled on one, and soon it was on my table in very short order – a transparent bodum press with a generous supply of leaves unfurling in hot water. I’d chosen a lovely Tarajulie FBOP – an Assam. (Learned that FBOP doesn’t stand for Thank God It’s Friday, but rather Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.)
One rather sweet feature, aside from the honey dispensers on each table, is the selection of actual teacups with saucers that rest on the sideboard, all different, also to be individually selected. Some are dainty, some sturdy, all colourful and interesting.
I find that my interest in tea is expanded into the cups we drink it from. I used to think I was so “no-fuss” and modern, and yet now I find a resonance with the kind of fine china teacup that was so prized by my old granny! The people at Steeps certainly are aware of this, and the eclectic cup selection was part of the fun.
(Photo from the Steeps website)