Toronto’s Top Teas: a mini-guide to the city’s 12 most beautiful, fragrant and tasty infusions

Toronto’s Top Teas: a mini-guide to the city’s 12 most beautiful, fragrant and tasty infusions

Photograph by Daniel Neuhaus; prop styling by Sarah Magwood; food styling by Tanya Santos;

Slamming back an espresso may get the caffeine coursing, but tea—the new coffee, judging by the sheer number of dedicated shops opening all over the city—is a drink for all senses. Our mini-guide to Toronto’s most beautiful, fragrant and tasty infusions 

Grains of roasted brown rice are mixed with green tea leaves for a complex, earthy taste. $5/400 g. Sanko, 730 Queen St. W., 416-703‑4550.

Three Blooms
For a cuppa and a show, you can’t beat flowering tea. Once steeped, this herbal beauty features lily, jasmine and osmanthus blossoms. $15/seven balls. Tea, Oh!,

Kenyan White Rhino Matcha
A finely powdered white tea with a chalkier texture and more bitter taste than its green counterpart. (No rhinos were harmed in the process.) $16.50/50 g. Tea, Oh!,

Ginger Rooibos
This is a classic, straightforward red rooibos tea with a twist: slivers of dried ginger add a comforting warm flavour. $6/50 g. Tsaa, 412 Danforth Ave., 647-347-8720.

Yellow Dragon Pu-erh
Fermented and aged, it’s purported to reduce cholesterol. Claims aside, the lemon grass and ginger flavours are soothing. $5.63/50 g. Tea Emporium, 351 Eglinton Ave. W., 416-488-4061.

Lapsang Souchong
Its smokiness is strangely but pleasantly reminiscent of pepperoni, and its punchy taste will appeal to whiskey lovers. $9.75/100 g. Majesteas, 950 Queen St. E., 647-350-4646.

Silver Needle Yinzhen
For an incredibly delicate cup, these white strands of unoxidized tea leaves must be steeped in below-boiling water. $21/50 g. Steeped and Infused, 1258 Queen St. E., 647-348-1669.

Organic Green Matcha
In Japanese tea ceremonies, the pulverized green tea leaf powder is whisked into a froth for a lush, mossy green cup with a grassy taste. $16.95/20 g. Sanko, 730 Queen St. W., 416-703‑4550.

Green and Fruity
This green rooibos has 200 times more antioxidants than red versions. Bonus: dried fruit makes it smell like a candy shop. $6.50/50 g. David’s Tea, 2285 Bloor St. W., 416-769-9991.

TLC Tea Loves Coffee
Coffee beans are mixed with black tea, and it’s a surprisingly delicious blend. Cocoa nibs help bridge the flavour gap. $6/50 g. Tealish, 728 Queen St. W., 416-203-3301.

Cardamom Mulberry Chai
While it looks like potpourri, this herbal chai with star anise, cloves and coriander is both brewable and delicious. $12.95/2 oz. Red Tea Box, 696 Queen St. W., 416-203-8882.

Oh Canada Maple
There are tiny pieces of Ontario maple sugar in this black tea mix, but the russet-coloured tea is brusque lumberjack woodsy, not saccharine sweet. $6/50 g. Tealish, 728 Queen St. W., 416-203-3301.