Cha Cha Tea in Kingston, ON
5/5
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Feisty rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

I should preface that I have only been here once (too far from my house), and that was at least a year or two ago, so this rating might be wildly inaccurate in either direction.

I was very excited when I saw this tea shop had opened, especially because it’s not in a particularly “yuppie” area of town where you’d expect a high quality tea shop (it sits comfortably alongside a Lebanese owned pizza joint, a Subway, an independent shoe retailer and a bar in a little strip mall).

When I walked it I was immediately struck with a strong sense of…authenticity? The place is small, well designed and maintained, but with a very unpretentious feel (something I find many tea stores lack).

It was staffed only by a youngish-looking Asian woman who had her adorable son with her reading a Japanese picture book. She (who turned out to be the owner of the store) was friendly and incredibly helpful in guiding me towards teas she thought I would enjoy based on a few questions about the flavours, strength and type of tea I liked. She obviously knew her stock inside and out and was able to give wonderful (but very accessible) descriptions of the teas properties.

And then…the samples! Out of the teas I found interesting she chose 2 or 3 and brewed me up a little sample cup (before I even realized what she was doing!). As a cautious buyer (aka poor student) and tea newbie I was very appreciative of this extra step towards making sure I left with a tea I knew I’d enjoy. I ended up selecting two of the teas I’d sampled (it’s been a while but I think it was a vanilla rooibos and a caramel chai?) and getting about 100g of each. The owner was very tactful but could tell I was a newbie and wrote out by hand the best way to prepare each kind (sooo helpful back when I thought tea only came in a bag!).

Overall, I was very, very impressed with this little shop. It’s got a lovely homey feel, a large selection of what I now realize was high quality loose leaf tea, and an owner who combined a great deal of knowledge about her teas with excellent customer service.

Damn…after rereading this review, I’m definitely going to take a drive back soon!

I should note: This store also had quite a selection of teaware (pots, cups, infusers etc).

Tea Store in Kingston, ON
3/5
Edit
Feisty rated this place
3/5
and said Edit
Website description:

“WHERE IT’S ALWAYS TEA TIME” Over 200 loose tea’s, desserts, scones, & all the tea accessories you could wish for!! We are located in the heart of downtown Kingston. Sit down available!

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In hopes of standardizing my ratings a bit more I’ve devised my own scale:

1 – 19: (F-) Ugh. Given to Mr. Sink Drain to enjoy after a couple sips. Never again. Would only give away with a strong warning (or to someone I didn’t like).

20 – 29: (F) Ick. Managed to finish the cup out of stubbornness, but tasted bad the whole time. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

30 – 49: (F+) Meh. I didn’t warrant an “ugh” or “ick” it but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

40 – 59: (D) Okay. Not a truly bad tea but just personally not my thing. Will (try) to finish but won’t reorder.

60 – 69: © Decent. Drinkable and getting towards good but just falls a little short. Will finish but won’t reorder.

70 – 79: (B) Good. Enjoyed this tea. Will likely reorder at some point but probably won’t be a tea shelf regular.

80 – 89: (B+) Very good. Would definitely put on my “reorder” list when I run out.

90 – 99: (A) YUM! A favourite. Would go on my “pre-order before I run out list” to keep it on hand.

100! (A+) OMG! Mind blowingly-good. The tried-and-true favourites that I MUST ALWAYS HAVE.

I am an acknowledged book addict, intrepid snowboarder, amateur teaite, crafter-creator, eager debater, ICU nurse, reluctant runner, animal lover, tree hugger + future world traveler.

With a palate ruined by years of hot-sauce-on-everything, espresso-based lattes and university student cooking I prefer bold teas and often miss nuances unless they are the gustatory equivalent of a two-by four. I don’t enjoy bitterness and love chais.

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