If you think 'Strawberry Colada', 'Honey I Dew' and 'Hard Candy' are new summer cocktails, then think again. These are some of the imaginative speciality teas from the new range at Davids Tea in Calgary.
As you enter their bright, contemporary shop, a rainbow display of summer teas greets you along with a friendly smile and an offer to sample one of their seasonal collection - 'a pink flamingo' in my case.
A wall of colour coded canisters of hot tea varieties behind the counter, complements shelves displaying their iced tea range, along with a whole host of tea-making accessories, such as pitchers, travel mugs, coconut agave sticks and German rock sugar.
There are 150 varieties of tea to choose from including flavoured and unflavoured white, green, black, oolong teas, pu'erh and maté teas as well as exotic infusions from all over the world and limited edition seasonal collections. Davids Tea reputedly holds the largest collection of organic teas and infusions in North America and also carries kosher and caffeine-free varieties.[break]
Founders and cousins, David and Herschel Segal, have combined a passion for tea and retail entrepreneurship to create a totally different experience and range to your usual tea sellers. Gone are the subdued interiors and subtle packaging and in their place is a shop filled with light and bright, funky merchandising. They have made tea drinking trendy.
The staff at Davids Tea are well informed and happy to give you advice on which tea to buy from the tea menu, which you can take away with you. They will give you a sample to sniff, in the case of hot teas, or to taste if you want an iced tea variety. If you simply fancy a cup of tea you can sit at one of the tables in the shop or on one of the colourful chairs outside and watch the world go by. I chose an organic ginger tea which cost CN$3.24. [Break]
Hot tea varieties range from about CN$5.50 per 50g up to CN$24.50 for ceremonial matcha green, while iced teas are priced between about CN$6.75 per 50g to CN$11.50. You can also buy iced tea starter kits and sample packs of three or four teas. If you buy one or more of the pre-packed 70g 'solos' for CN$10 or the 53g 'skinny tins' for CN$9 you will also have a colourful storage container left over for your pens or make-up brushes.
Davids Tea also has a superb website, www.davidstea.com, so if you need to stock up and can't make it into town, you can buy any of their products online. A 'frequent steeper' incentive card scheme means the more you shop, the more points you earn towards free tea.
Davids Tea has branches all over Canada and North America, including several outlets in Calgary. I visited the one along Stephen Avenue, a short walk from C-train stop Centre Street.