This season, The Urban Tea Merchant is hosting special tea services to celebrate both the Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day.
Yesterday, we were invited to learn about some of TWG’s luxury teas, including the just-released, limited-edition Jasmine Monkey King Tea.
This haute-couture tea honours a unique century-old legend: Monkeys were trained by Buddhist monks to pick tea leaves on the steep mountain ridges of China’s Fujian Province.
Not only did they pick tea leaves hard to get access to, but they picked the very best parts of the tea plant, returning with exceptionally fragrant and outstanding tea. When present-day tea connoisseurs ask for monkey-picked tea, they’re referring to the highest quality tea possible.
Finer quality jasmine teas are picked at a certain time – this one in summer when the best flowers are in bloom. The night-blooming jasmine flowers are layered with the tea over a period of a few weeks, after which time leaves develop a beautiful aroma.
Not only is the picking time limited, but accessing these teas is limited to hard-to-reach areas. Although the tea is now available at Vancouver’s The Urban Tea Merchant, it’s currently sold out in loose format, however the beautifully-designed 100-gram signature tea tins filled with the tea are available ($48; yields 40-50 cups of tea).
Speaking of tea tin designs, TWG’s Amour de Thé features an illustrated cupid on both the caviar-shaped tin and its accompanying box. This sensual Darjeeling tea is blended with rose and contains hints of vanilla. After sampling it, I concluded that it’s a lovely aromatic sipper.
Other teas in the Valentine’s tea collection include Valentine Breakfast Tea, a black tea with fresh, ripe fruits and golden candied pearls for accent.
At $48 per person, the Lunar Tea Service includes three tiers of Asian-inspired savouries and sweets, all infused with TWG teas. Indulge in a glass of Veuve Clicquot ($30) or LaMarca Prosecco ($12) to begin the delicious experience.
From Imperial Lapsang Souchon tea chicken salad in a black sesame cup to Lemon Bush Tea Atlantic Lobster Torchon, the variety of tastes make this a great way to celebrate the Lunar New Year, a holiday that celebrates family. Lunar New Year Tea Service is available from today through Chinese New Year, February 8.
Macaron lovers will be happy to find two colourful macarons on the top tier alongside fresh fruit, chocolate-dipped strawberries, Almond tea-infused petit fours and Weekend in Venice strawberry tartlette with creme anglaise. A couple of freshly-baked scones with delightfully decadent Victorian cream and 1837 Black Tea jelly complete the service.
A Valentine’s Tea for Two ($90 for two) is also on offer during Valentine’s week, with two TWG teas, two signature TWG tea-infused cocktails (always a favourite!), a selection of finger sandwiches and a special tea-infused Valentine’s dessert to share. Guests will each receive a 50-gram sachet of tea to bring home.
Find The Urban Tea Merchant and Tea Salon at 1070 West Georgia Street in Vancouver. More information on their tea collection, additional tea services and events may be found online.