While KC and I were traveling on Vancouver Island with my dad and stepmom, my stepmom found an advertisement for a teashop, called TeaFarm, off the main road. My father and KC were hesitant to stop in at first, eager to continue on the road, but we turned around and made the stop. We stepped out of the van near an old barn surrounded by fields of tea plants. The inside of the barn was renovated to a small teashop with shelves of various types of tea along the walls. The shelves were organized by types of teas, such as green, matcha, or black tea. We found out that another part of the barn contains an art studio for the wife of the TeaFarm owner and the teashop itself also showcased her art. In matching with the teashop, she made teacups and teakettles of various shapes and sizes by hand, not using a pottery wheel.
Once greeted when we walked in, we were offered a sample of the Pig Tea – a tea named after one of the Chinese Zodiac animals. There were different teas representing the characteristics of each zodiac animal among some of the more traditional tea theme names.
After smelling several teas, KC and I decided to try their Moroccan Mint Green Tea and my parents choose the more popular Mad Hatter Black tea. We sat down and the owner brought out a traditional teakettle with two of his wife’s teacups for my parent’s Mad Hatter tea and disappeared behind the counter. Then he came back to the table with a Turkish teakettle and glass teacups for the Moroccan Mint Tea. With a flourish more befitting the Mad Hatter themed tea, he balanced the tray with the teacups with one hand and poured the tea with the other. Wisps of steam rising from the teacup smelled lightly of sweetened mint. The tea itself was already sweetened with stevia leaves.
In addition to tea, the owner reappeared out of the back with a small wooden tray of tea flavored chocolates and chocolate cakes. On such a display, the chocolate treats were hard to turn down. We ordered one such dessert item, a dark chocolate dipped Nanaimo Bar, that we spilt four ways. A Nanaimo bar, named after the next closest big city, is a brownie with a coconut cream filling in the center.
While sipping on tea, enjoying the atmosphere and the music, I found myself wishing that teashops were more common. I could imagine myself drinking tea, working on my computer or reading, similar to how I typically frequented coffee shops before traveling. As we were leaving, even the two men could admit that this was worthwhile stop.