This past weekend I was really happy to visit a tea house in Ottawa with my special friends, Rebecca and April. I was excited to be there because I hadn't been to a tea house in a long time, and it was nice to share the experience. Do people ever visit tea houses alone? It seems to me that this is something you would do with friends most of the time.
Nectar Fine Teas (no website yet) is located on Wellington Street across from Thyme & Again Catering (another place you must visit, if anything to get an amazing lemon cake with white chocolate icing). Nectar is a little shop, divided - people actually line up to purchase loose leaf teas or tea ware on one side, and on the other side you can sit down to tea. It's a lovely place, minimally decorated and quite laid back.
Highlights of Nectar Fine Teas: The tables actually showcased different tea leaves under (plexi?) glass, so it was kind of neat trying to identify them. The waitress was friendly and helpful. She brought us each a digital timer to let us know how long to steep our tea - something I had never seen before, which was kind of neat. The owner was knowledgeable and busy - her place is obviously popular. She also gave us a sample of an apple cider tea, perfect for colder weather.
There is a small but nice selection of tea ware and books at this shop. I purchased a beautiful little covered cup that is small, but perfect for multiple infusions - I just wish I had asked where she got these cups, as there is no potter's signature or manufacturer marking on mine. But I've already tried it with the three teas I purchased there: Jasmine Pearls, Ti Quan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) Oolong, and Thiashola Estate Nilgiri (2nd Flush SFTGFOP). Mmm Mmm Good! More thoughts on these particular teas to come.
I plan on visiting more tea houses in the near future. Although I might not have the selection there is in Ottawa, I'm looking forward to some time at Tea at the Whitehouse, which is in Waterdown, about 5-10 minutes' drive from my house. Who wants to join me?