Tea Experience: Tsujiri

Burnaby, BC
Matcha-Infused Drinks $4.25-9.00

I was spending some time with my sister last month as we’re in each other’s social bubbles, and decided we needed a treat (as one does). So we decided to try out Tsujiri after hearing about it from her husband. Tsujiri is self-described as a “matcha infused restaurant”. Fun fact, you can pre-order on their website, and even opt for local delivery with the various side-gig food delivery services out there (I take zero responsibility if your frappe is all melted by the time it gets to you).

The menu consists of parfaits, drinks, shaved ice, floats, frappes and more. Tsujiri also features drinks with matcha, houjicha, and yuzu (which is not a tea, but is an Asian citrus fruit). The prices aren’t the cheapest, but considering the ingredients in play, it’s not anything to turn your nose up against. It probably isn’t a sustainable treat option for the every day choice though.

My sister ordered a float while I ordered the Matcha Frappe ($7.00) which has the product description of “Rich and creamy blend of Matcha slush and yogurt with a swirl of whipped cream and Matcha crumbs topped with a luscious Matcha sauce”.

Unfortunately, the soft serve ice cream machine broke after we had placed our order, so we ended up getting a refund on the float. Fortunately (for me), the Matcha Frappe that I had ordered did not contain ice cream so I could still receive my order.

The matcha slush and yoghurt comes layered in the drink, topped with whipped cream and then with the matcha “crumbs” on top. I found that the yoghurt adds a nice layer of tangy flavour to the matcha, which is sweetened. The matcha sauce on top has a good amount of grassy flavour and umami, which is tempered considerably with the fresh whipped cream. I really found it to be tasty but the cup isn’t very large (and there weren’t a variety of cup sizes to choose from).

While I did enjoy my Matcha Frappe with the tangy yoghurt layered with the matcha slush, I think the experience was soured a bit by their machine malfunctioning. I would definitely give them a try again, but very wary of going back for a third time if the machine had an issue on the second try. I wasn’t too fond on the matcha crumbs on top though, as I feel like it didn’t add a nice texture to the frappe. That said, I think the drink was tasty, albeit I would have hoped for a much larger drink for the price (I would definitely consider the cup size offered to be more of the “small” size).


Tea Experience: Indigo Age Cafe

Indigo Age Cafe
Vancouver, BC
Raw Vegan High Tea – $34 each

I went to Indigo Age Cafe for the first, and last, time back in late January. I had received a Groupon for the high tea for two for my birthday. Unfortunately, Indigo Age Cafe had closed the first of February this year, which is disappointing since it certainly looked like there were a lot of fans of this cafe both in person and online.

Indigo Age Cafe was located in Vancouver, BC and offered a very unique take on high tea by having a mostly raw vegan menu. The entire restaurant featured raw vegan and vegetarian foods, so it was really quite something to experience as it was literally like nothing I had experienced before – and nor do I think I’ll be able to experience again. The entrance was at street level, with some short steps to reach the entrance. The tables were wood slabs that featured the natural shape of the trees, which I thought was fascinating. The high tea was offered by reservation only.

The tea selection featured a few each of black tea, green tea, rooibos, herbal tisanes and yerba mate. I opted for a flavoured black tea, Wild Strawberry Cream (ingredients: India Ceylon, strawberry oil, cream aroma, rose petals – described as organic fair trade). My friend and I each received a tea-for-one set with our respective teas in it. I really enjoyed mine – it had a lovely strawberry flavour that wasn’t too coyingly sweet or artificial tasting.

The food arrived on a three-tier stand. No scones for this high tea set!

On the bottom, there was a waffle, a samosa, a cucumber wrap with a veggie slider patty, a spring roll in rice paper, and a mushroom cap with shredded carrots. A lot of avocado on this level, which was great because I love avocado as much as the next girl. My favourites were the cucumber wrap, although a bit messy to eat, and the samosa for having such brilliantly bright flavours.

On the second tier were stuffed cucumber and tomato. The ‘cheese’ used was cashew base and honestly if nobody told me that it wasn’t real cheese, I might not have believed them. The cucumber had some great dill notes, but wasn’t my favourite overall.

For desserts there was this lovely blueberry ‘cheese’ cake and a coconut cream panna cotta that was basically to die for. So light and airy, but so rich at the same time. I liked both desserts and thought that they were both really well done.

I found that Indigo Age Cafe definitely had a lighter feeling high tea menu set – I didn’t feel stuffed at the end of it, but I wasn’t hungry either. I think the lightness of the dessert certainly helped. The service was lovely and there was a lot of smart and creative culinary choices made with the menu. As someone who’s not vegan or vegetarian, it was all very pleasant and tasty.

I really did enjoy my visit to Indigo Age Cafe – and I’m really sad that I won’t be able to have a second visit. There were some really great decisions made with the menu that I enjoyed – from the avocado, to the little slider patty and that delicious panna cotta on top. As much more people strive towards a more plant-based diet, I do hope that more Vancouver-based tea salons opt to have a more vegetarian or vegan friendly menu set, even if it doesn’t involve all the avocado (which I wouldn’t say no to…).

Tea Experience: Cakes n Sweets Bakery

Cakes n Sweets Bakery
Coquitlam, BC
High Tea – $24.95 each

I went to Cakes n Sweets Bakery last month as part of my birthday celebrations – after all, how else would I celebrate turning yet another year older than with tea? Cake n Sweets Bakery is located in a small strip mall in Coquitlam, BC. Cakes n Sweets Bakery is primarily a bakery, afternoon tea is served almost every day, but reservations are required and they offer a discount if you order an afternoon tea to-go.

Cakes n Sweets offers their regular high tea menu, along with a gluten-free ($28.95 each) and children’s menu ($14.95 each). Due to the nature of their recipes, they’re unable to accomodate dairy-free or vegan options. Just something to consider if you fall into either of those categories!

When you walk into Cakes n Sweets, you’re first greeted by a gorgeous display case with all the desserts you can purchase à la carte (which is really pretty, by the way). We were seated at a cute table that had the menus, teacups and saucer sets, and cutlery.

The tea menu isn’t pages long, but it has a good selection with options from black, green, rooibos, and even a kiddo friendly option called Bubblegum. I opted for my standard Earl Grey with added sugar cubes and cream for extra decadence. The tea itself didn’t overwhelm me, but it did pair really well with the savouries and sweets.

The food arrived on a two-tier cake stand – with the savouries and scones on the bottom with all the sweets on top. The sweets included a macaron each, which we got to pick the flavours.

On the bottom tier, there were buttermilk scones with Devonshire cream & raspberry jam, three cheese quiche, egg salad on croissant, and a cucumber with lemon aioli sandwich. We each got two scones, and then one of each of everything else on the savouries tier. I really enjoyed the buttermilk scone (especially with the Devonshire cream and raspberry preserves!), as well as the quiche as it was served warm, and the cucumber with lemon aioli sandwich.

For the desserts, I picked the cookies and cream macaron. The “assorted delectable desserts” included: apple pie cupcake, chocolate ganache in a chocolate shell, and a raspberry thumbprint cookie. Hands down, my favourite was the apple pie cupcake – so flavourful! And I really enjoyed my macaron flavour selection as well – it had a great cookie cream flavour to it and the bright blue reminded me of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster.

I really enjoyed Cakes n Sweets. I found that the serving staff was attentive, and the tea and food was served at a decent time after placing our orders. I would definitely consider going back with some friends for a casual afternoon tea date – especially if those apple pie cupcakes on are the menu!