This morning, after visiting the library to drop some returns off, I walked along the cold streets of Ottawa to the Byward Market and the Tea Store (53 York Street, Ottawa).
I visited shortly after 11 A.M. to find one table with a pair of women politely sipping their tea, one worker rearranging the tea canisters behind the counter and a dog lying on the floor. I got the polite welcome from the store dog who got up and gave my ankles a polite sniff and a welcome tail wag.
I reviewed the choices of loose tea leaves in glass jars on the shelves built into the wall shortly after seeing what looked like to be the limited time only teas on the counter.
Of course, I chose one of the teas I first saw on the counter instead of one of hundreds I reviewed later on the shelves along the wall.
I politely locked eyes with man behind the counter and ordered.
The Order: 1 Winterlude Tea to go.
The gentlemen grabbed the Winterlude glass container of loose tea, poured a little into a loose leaf tea bag, added the bag to a large size cup (similar to a Tim Hortons large) and added hot water from a machine. He politely placed it on the counter and went to ring it up at the register while I merely put the lid on. The server didn't put the lid on as he was giving me the opportunity to add cream, milk, honey, sugar or anything else available at no extra charge.
I paid, received my changed and was on my way out the door to tour the market.
The Winterlude tea started off tasting with a hint of apricot and finishing, after disappearing down my throat, with a caramel aftertaste. A unique blend.
I'm not sure how the tea is associated with Ottawa's Winterlude, but does warm you up after a day trudging around Confederation Park, skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway or snow sliding at Jacques Cartier Park.
Overall, the Tea Store is a good spot to engage your inner tea lover or buy something for the tea person in your life. Knowledgeable staff, great Byward Market location plus a vast selection of teas to choose from mean I will return for another cup.
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