I haven’t been to many tea shops (as I’ve said, I’m incredibly shy, and thus entering places like this on my own is a nerve-racking experience, to say the least), but I love this one. It’s large enough to seem… industrialized, I suppose, and less personal, which is enough to make it easier for shy folk like me to enter, but once inside it’s quite obvious that it’s a very friendly, personal environment, to the point that the employees are definitely on first-name terms with a few regulars.
It’s a twoonie a pot, and a little extra for whatever pastries you want on top of that (I believe they had a few sandwiches too), so it’s not a very huge High Tea/Afternoon Tea experience, where you pay twenty-something for the whole experience (which I am sure is very nice, but tea shops like that also scare me).
They set out a silver platter, and you get a teacup and saucer, teapot, silver spoon, and a little holder for your used tea bags. Yes, sadly, it’s teabags (I’m not sure if it’s all teabags, though, just their earl grey, apparently). Also, you get refills of hot water for additional steeps at no extra charge.
The tea additives are on a little table to one side, which I’ve read complaints about on other sites detailing Murchie experiences, but I thought it was fine. They offer milk—and cream for those who use it, but no one did when I was there—and also a wide variety of sweeteners, including honey (in little packages—you know, like the ones you get at McDonald’s for your chicken nuggets), which made me happy.
They’ve got a Big Drawer Of Samples to one side, where you can buy little tied bags of different types of loose leafs. Other than that, it seems that all their loose leaf is sold over the counter, and they only stock the bagged stuff on the shelves (too bad for me, because I couldn’t work up the courage to ask the lady about buying anything—that would involve talking, you see). I went home with a tin of bagged Uva Ceylon, that day; tnd the tin could definitely be reused for loose leaf (it had a second, tighter lid on the inside for extra freshness).
They also offer Tea On The Go, the usual stuff in a paper cup. If it wasn’t sort of out of the way from my daily commute, I would probably stop off there for tea on my way to class. I suppose if I got up early enough in the morning…