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Most Exquisite Afternoon Tea Service in Canada
Most Exquisite Afternoon Tea Services in Canada
… and the winner is…
The Urban Tea Merchant - Vancouver BC

Teapots lined up ready for business at the Urban Tea Merchant, Vancouver
The entrance to the Signature Store of the Urban Tea Merchant does not give much away. As I walked through the store to enjoy some well-deserved afternoon tea, I was completely blown away by the beauty and array of tea choices that one has access to even if you were not sitting down for afternoon tea.

Wow! - I thought to myself; who would love tea so much to make it look so seductive? At the Urban Tea Merchant store between Georgia and Alberni Streets in downtown Vancouver, tea is presented to you on a silver platter – literally. I was met by co-founder Tom, who I almost inadvertently ignored simply because I was hypnotised by the beauty of tea so alluringly presented to visitor that one could not help but be enchanted by the vast collection of the product and merchandise in the store so much so that I was moving around the store like a little girl lost in a sweet shop. Fortunately, Tom saw the lost little girl in me and took me under his wings to acquaint me with his TWG collection.

He explained that TWG Tea tasters travel thousands of miles across the globe every year, sampling hundreds of teas in search of the most desirable harvests direct from source gardens. The brand offers over 1000 single estate fine harvest teas and exclusive blends, as well as tea patisseries and other tea infused delicacies, TWG Tea is internationally recognized as a veritable innovator with the creation every season of new varieties of tea in collaboration with the world’s most renowned estates.

Executive Traveller Managing Editor Lyssiemay Annoh with Tom and Karinna James at the Urban Tea Merchant, Vancouver
Tom and Karinna founded The Urban Tea Merchant in 2004 after they had spent three years researching the tea industry before opening their pilot store. They travelled the world in order to capture the essence of this unique luxury tea concept. In 2001, they took a one-year sabbatical and during that time, travelled around the world for four months with their daughter, Casey James. The primary purpose of the trip was to study tea and the rituals that surrounded it.

Their tea pilgrimage took them through Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, India and Southeast Asia. This world trip was a journey from within and without. Tom and Karinna imagined sharing this luxurious tea journey with customers, beginning in Vancouver, Canada.
Tom and Karinna’s efforts have certainly paid off and one can only admire and enjoy the fruits of their research. Irrespective of the research, it takes a lotof class, skill and diligence to present tea the way they do it.

Apart from creating beauty out of tea, they are also the sole agents for TWG Tea, a Singapore brand of teas, spices and fine epicurean products. TWG, stands for The Wellness Group, a luxury concept that incorporates an international distribution network to professionals, unique and original retail outlets as well as exquisite tea rooms. The veritable tea institution, TWG Tea is passionate about sharing their expertise and has become a point of reference for tea lovers thirsty for knowledge.

The Afternoon Tea Experience

Sweet selection at the Urban Tea Merchant, Vancouver - Canada

After my tour of the store, I was confident that what was going to be presented to me as an Afternoon Tea service will be of refined taste and excellence but the service I got was even better.

The tearoom is located at the back of the store, and on the patio out at the back of the store. I watched with fascination as Tom greeted his guests with large tins of TWG tea varieties for them to smell and appreciate before the final selection is made. I have visited many tea rooms but so far none matches the quality of service that Tom and Karinna offer at the Urban Tea Merchant. It was all about the finesse, the courtesy to the guest, the variety one has to choose from, his patience and knowledge about the hundreds of teas to choose from and above all the quality and presentation of both the packaged and eat-in tea service – pure class and refinement.

The Tea Salon, with its elegant white linen table cloths and all-day Signature Afternoon Tea Services made me want to live in Vancouver so as to entertain some of my finest clients. The Tea & Gourmet Bar has a lovely presentation of TWG Tea macaroons, delightful for at-home entertaining. The Retail Boutique boasts a Loose Leaves library, offering a selection of over 250 fine harvest and exclusive blends from TWG Tea. Tea Gifts and Tea Accessories are also available in the Retail Boutique to add to the enjoyment of your tea experience at home.The whole Afternoon Tea experience lasts from 60 to 90 minute per seating depending on your selection.

Downtown Vancouver Signature Store
1070 West Georgia Street -

The Executive Traveller verdict:

Third place, The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria:
Had I been basing my judgment simply on location and stature, the Fairmont Empress hotel, Victoria would have leapt way ahead of my first and second choices. The hotel sits majestically at the cornerstone of Victoria’s Inner Harbour and one cannot fail to bow as you are greeted by its grandeur whether you arrive by land or more

Second Place, the Tea Room at Windsor Arms Hotel:
“Deluxe, compact and bijou” will be my description for the elegant 1920s French styles, tea rooms with cozy fireplaces at Windsor Arms Hotel located at 18 St Thomas Street, on the corner of Bloor Street West, Toronto. The property has been in existence since 1927, however, the tea rooms alongside more

And the Winner is...Why the Urban Tea Merchant in Vancouver BC is the Most Exquisite Afternoon Tea Place in Canada. The tea service at the Urban Tea Merchant comes out trumps in quality, service and finesse to be our choice for the Most Exquisite Tea Place in Canada. The entrance to the Signature Store does not give much away….read more


© Executive Traveller 2003