Afternoon Tea: T-Buds

Last week i took my friend Jesse Wanagas for her first ever afternoon tea. We went to T-Buds, a tea lounge located in midtown Toronto. T-Buds describes themselves as “A space for discovering taste and rejuvenating your senses. We want to make tea an intimate experience and infuse you with a sense of well-being and peace.”

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T-Buds has a different feel then you would expect when going for afternoon tea. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable, with red and black club chairs and simple plain white place settings. Although the large chairs take up a lot of room and look a bit out of place they do make you feel cozy while you sip your tea and chat with your friends.

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As an alternative to their traditional afternoon tea, they also offer a chocolate afternoon tea featuring a selection of chocolaty treats and chocolate blended teas. Also offered is a full menu of crepes, sandwiches, mains and even brunch. I had been to T-Buds once before and enjoyed the chocolate afternoon tea, but in honour of Jesse’s first time we both decided to go with the classic.

The afternoon tea costs $29, this is very reasonably priced in comparison to other places in the city. We first received a mini quiche and caprese salad; though I am not usually a fan of quiche, it was delicious and it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the meal. Next came a selection of tea sandwiches; I am a vegetarian, and so, I asked for no meat or fish, the sandwiches I received included: cucumber and watercress with creamed cheese, marinated beetroot and crunchy carrot, and my favorite cheddar cheese with sun dried tomatoes. All of the sandwiches were tasty and fresh.

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Two scones were included, a regular scone and a blueberry scone. The scones were warm, flaky and delicious, but I did miss the traditional clotted cream that scones often come with, instead they came with creme mascarpone. Also included was fresh fruit, macarons, a lemon meringue tart and a chocolate brownie.  

The large selection of tea surprised me considering they are not a large restaurant. They have options for everyone with many straight or flavored teas to choose from. I decided on the “Oolong Honey Orchid Buds” and enjoyed it a lot. The tea was smooth and slightly floral with sweet honey like notes.

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I have already been back to T-Buds once since, having afternoon tea, and will definitely go back again. The staff is friendly and accommodating. I was very happy with the variety of vegetarian options that were available, I have found that this can be a bit of an issue when going for afternoon tea at some restaurants. This is a great place to sip tea and chat with friends.

Afternoon Tea at Kitten and the Bear

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A couple of weeks ago I got to spend a Beautiful day with tea nerds Kyra McDonnell and Kelly Bosher sipping and talking about our favorite beverage. Kyra told us that we had to check out this adorable place close by called Kitten and the Bear. So we headed over. Kitten and the Bear makes artisan jams, jellies and marmalades. Their products are made by hand, in small, limited batches using local sustainably grown fruit whenever possible.

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Walking into their Toronto, Queen West location you immediately notice how cute, not only the products they feature are, but the atmosphere over all is. You feel welcome right away. If you are lucky or willing to wait, you can sit down at one of only two tables for their jam and tea service. There is a very limited space and they do not take reservations, however they will give you a call when a table opens up so you can shop in the area while you wait.

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For $17.50 per person sitting down for tea will get you: a selection of jams, delicious fresh buttermilk scones, clotted cream, and coffee or a choice of tea from Sloane Fine Tea Merchants. We got to try a selection of: Sweet Orange & Honeyed Whisky Marmalade, Banana, Bourbon & Vanilla Bean Jam, Pear & House Mulled Wine Jam and my favorite of the day Strawberries & Chocolate Jam. All of the jams were great and the scones were fantastically buttery and fluffy, I am getting hungry just thinking about them now.

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If you are not able to get a table, or if you do and then fall in love with the products, you can purchase the jams, scones, and tea to go and enjoy at home. I brought home a couple of jars of jam as well as a set of adorable tea and jam themed pins. Also available are a selection of tea pots, cups, spoons, berry bowls, and more.

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I have been devouring the jams that I bought and can not wait to see what inventive flavors they are featuring on my next visit.