Supporting Your Favourite Tea Shops While Distancing

Tea for some people can be quite the social event. For some it involves dressing up and heading to a local tea salon with a group of friends, enjoying a gorgeously assembled stand of savouries and sweets, devouring freshly baked scones with in-house made clotted cream and preserves. But right now, that’s not the best idea. A lot of areas have issued recommendations (or mandates) to socially distance – staying home to stay healthy and safe. Nobody wants to get sick right now and keeping away from other people is so important right now.

So how can you support your favourite tea shops? It’s especially hard when a lot of them have closed their physical retail stores in hopes of discouraging gatherings – which is so important right now!

Shop online. A lot of shops have an online presence that will enable you to order your favourite loose leaf or bagged tea online! For those locations that also serve food, they may have partnered with food delivery apps so you can have the option of getting food delivered to your home. Bonus, you get some pretty tea-rrific mail when you put in an online order!

Take-out & phone orders. For those without an online presence, they may be taking orders over the phone. A lot of shops have been offering the option of prepaying over the phone coupled with contact-less pick-up at the door or curbside/car delivery. One of my favourite local bakeries is doing this as well, and strictly operating on a cashless basis to limit exposure times to people. A favourite tea salon of mine is offering afternoon tea to go so when you order, you get all the goodies boxed up in a bag, along with a pouch of loose leaf tea with steeping instructions. So if you feel comfortable with food delivery/take-out orders at this time, that may be an option. Be sure to wash your hands before and after receiving your items, and make sure to practice good hand hygiene!

Give them some stars. Share photos of your at-home tea experience with their products. Word-of-mouth recommendations are gold to businesses, large and small. Consider leaving a review for them on their Facebook page, Google, or Yelp profiles.

Purchase a gift card. Eventually social distancing will be a thing of a past (but hopefully everyone keeps up the hand washing!). Purchasing a gift card now is a great way to show some support to your favourite tea shop – plus it gives you the excuse to go for a little shopping trip when the stores are reopened to pick up some more tea, or if it’s a gift certificate for afternoon tea, it’s the perfect reason to invite a friend you haven’t seen since before the pandemic was declared to catch up.

Take advantage of coupon codes (and share them!). A lot of shops are offering discount codes and free shipping codes right now. It’s a great way to show some support while saving some money. Maybe you could even discover some new favourites! Don’t be afraid to try a new-to-you product because you’ve got a lot of time right now to be making a cup of tea at home.

And now for a gentle reminder from me. Stay home if you can, stay safe & healthy. Be kind to one another. Remember that while March seemed to last for a year, this is the temporary normal for now. Practice good hand hygiene, practice social distancing, practice kindness.

And have a nice cup of tea (at home) – there will be time for afternoon tea with your friends later.

Recipe: Earl Grey Jelly

Decided to throw a #virtualpartea today on Instagram Stories with a fun template (scroll to the end of the recipe to find it!) and this recipe – my contribution to your at-home, social distancing virtual tea party. As we’re all practicing our hand washing skills regularly and keeping physical distance apart from one another, it’s tough to find some cheer in the world! So join in the fun – let everyone know what you’re making or bringing to the party, and tag some friends to join in the fun! I’ll be sharing responses to everyone’s answers to the story template on my own Instagram account @onemoresteep!

Earl Grey Jelly – Makes 2 cups

¾ cup water
1½ cup sugar
3 tbs Earl Grey loose leaf tea (I used DavidsTea’s Organic Earl Grey)
2 tbs agar-agar¹

¹ If you don’t have agar-agar, you can use gelatin instead – just use the same amount!

Steep Earl Grey tea in water for as long as the steeping instructions tell you for a cup (usually ~5 minutes)
Strain out/remove tea leaves.
Add tea and water together in a sauce pan, heat over medium heat.
Stir until sugar is fully dissolved.
When close to boil, stir in agar-agar.
Allow it to come to a boil – keep stirring!
After 5 minutes of boiling, remove from heat.
Pour into clean containers.
Once fully cool (and it’s had to a chance to turn into a jelly), put on an air-tight lid and keep in your fridge.

Earl Grey Jelly goes great on toast, scones, and basically anywhere you’d use fruit-based jellies.

If you make this Earl Grey Jelly, I’d love to see your photos! Be sure to tag me on Instagram (@onemoresteep #onemoresteep) or comment below with a link to the photo!

 

Vancouver Tea Festival 2020: Recap

This year’s Vancouver Tea Festival took place on March 7th & 8th, 2020 at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in Burnaby, British Columbia. It’s also the first year at this new location and my first time attending an event at Nikkei as well. Parking was pretty accessible at this new location, and I didn’t have issues finding it (with the help of my GPS…). I did see several bus stops nearby on a major road, so I feel as if it’d be pretty transit friendly as well.

As always, there were classes and tastings to attend that were on a first come, first serve basis. I was only able to attend on day 2 (Sunday) and I was there for a limited period of time, so I focused my time on the market and checking out the vendors as I didn’t think I would have enough time to sit in on a tasting or class this year. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to attend a class.

I did manage to take some time to chat up with a lot of the vendors, as well as sitting down and having tea with quite a few of them as well, which made it all the more enjoyable.

Some familiar faces were there this year, along with many new tea friends to be made!

Amoda Tea (above) and 8 Corners (below)

Wize Monkey (above) and Sunzen Art Gallery (below)

JusTea

The Chinese Tea Shop

kyth + kyn (above) and Teakan (below)

Van Cha

Jones Tea (above) and Sunny M (below)

Tea Lani (above) and Trudy Ann’s Chai & Spices (below)

Trudy Ann’s Chai & Spices (above) and Whisk Premium Matcha (below)

Many thanks to Del & the hard working team behind the 2020 Vancouver Tea Festival for putting on a great event – and thank you for the media pass. I saw a lot of volunteers running around, helping people check in at registration and supplying people with tasting cups, as well as those that were checking in with vendors to make sure they had enough water for all the tea that was being steeped!

I managed to buy quite a bit of tea this year, and I’m really looking forward to reviewing them all and sharing those reviews here on One More Steep. They’ll be sprinkled throughout along with the stash of tea I have waiting for me right now. Definitely be sure to follow me on Instagram (@onemoresteep) as well to see my daily tea posts as well as stories on my tea drinking.