In my pantry shelved a myriad of teas in tin cans, in boxes and in small ceramic pots, along with tea sets from England, China and Japan; a reminder of how much I enjoy tea. The idea of going to a tea room to acquire such enjoyment seems very unlikely, until my dear friend Tina Finenza introduced me to Shaktea – a gem for tea lovers who treasure true relaxing moments.Many have walked past the corner of Main and E.21st without a clue that this unassuming tea shop is where the town’s best tea is. To merely call Shaktea a teashop is an understatement. Yes, Shaktea does sell tea and related merchandize, but those who have been will attest to the fact that Shaktea’s zen-styled tea-room is a lovely haven to unwind and to snack.
For lunch, my friend and I shared an open-faced ham and cheese sandwich sided with green salad; a plate of tea snacks consisted of pastries and a cucumber toast. With a pot of green tea, the toast we savoured as an appetizer, the sandwich an entrée and with anticipation, the house-made dessert trio – consisted of the absolute best scone this side of town (according to me and my gourmand friends), the mini and photogenic chocolate truffle and the dreamy macaroon – wrapped lunch up sweetly.
Couple weeks later, with my mom and my sister, I came back for an afternoon tea which I personally believe it’s one of the items on the must-do list for girl-friends and the female members of the family whom one holds dearly. My mom is one of those modern seniors who loves to give everything a try and has been looking forward to this tea moment in a non-pretentious place. She happens to enjoy wearing tees and runners instead of dresses and heels. My younger sister seldom says no to food-related invitations. So off we went, to a ladies’ only tea time!
With Maria’s (one of Shaktea’s partners) help, we ordered our tea. Mom was going to enjoy a French Earl Grey tea while my sister and I shared a rare black tea from Sikkim Temi Estate. Maria explained this was an aromatic tea with colourful and twisted leave they discovered a few months back when they’re visiting the tea slopes of Himalaya in a small region of India. Mellow with a hint of citrus; the Sikkim Temi tea was so soothing we felt like a curtain had been unveiled and we drifted into a room filled with soft summer breeze and Chamber music. Mom’s French Earl Grey was floral with subtle sweetness, “Very good with the scone!” said mom while nodding her head.
The outside bustling traffic and pedestrians’ conversations seemed to be mere glimpses in a reel. The rest of the afternoon was spent as if we’re sitting inside a gazebo set in a garden. We talked, we laughed, we checked out each other’s tier of tea-bits and pastries, and fought quietly over the last piece of truffle. As we were leaving, we realized what we had at Shaktea was more than a delicious afternoon tea but a fulfilling moment shared amongst a mom and her two busy daughters!