Toronto Tea Lovers, Celebrate with Tea – Support & Shop Local with The Sugared Teacup’s *NEW* Tea Gift Box Business!

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IT’S ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!!!!!!!!  Ate by Ate’s sister, The Sugared Teacup, (http://www.thesugaredteacup.com) has been preoccupied for the last little while for a veeeery good reason and the news is out: THE SUGARED TEACUP IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!!  The Sugared Teacup has partnered with many of Toronto’s finest local tea shops and businesses to give you a “Taste of Toronto” tea-style for the holidays and hopefully into the new year and beyond with SPECIAL THEMED TEA BOXES!

I’m beyond ecstatic and excited and nervous and every other crazy emotion imaginable because this is my baby.  The Sugared Teacup is no longer just a blog; it’s a business idea and brand that I have put my heart and soul into for months and I am overjoyed that I can watch it grow with the love and support from the community – the blogging community, the tea community, our local community, and so many others.

Okay, so before I dive in and give everyone the details on how make a purchase, I want to explain how this all came about from the very beginning.  Back in September, I was laying in bed when I was suddenly struck with an idea: how great would it be to start a tea box subscription business with the local tea shops and businesses?!  Subscription box services have been growing in popularity over the last number of years.  Everything from organic food, cosmetics, stationery, and books can be delivered to your doorstep every month in a fun and unique package of goodies.  Tea boxes have definitely been a part of the fun so while I knew this was not a new idea and that I certainly wasn’t re-inventing the wheel by thinking about this, I knew I wanted to put my own mark on it and make it different from anything else out there.  So I got to work.

How are The Sugared Teacups’s Tea Boxes (“Sugared Tea Boxes”!) different?  It’s all about keeping everything local.  As I’m envisioning this idea unfold as time goes on, I absolutely want to involve other tea businesses (and tea-related businesses!) in Ontario and the rest of Canada but for the time being, this idea has its roots in Toronto – literally.  There are many tea box businesses out there that operate in many different ways.  Some use smart technology to determine what type of tea drinker you are by having you take a survey and they base their monthly selections on that profile.  Other businesses send a surprise box each month.  And others focus and introduce their subscribers to different brands and businesses from across the globe, all the while sourcing their own teas.  The Sugared Teacup tea boxes are all about 1) supporting Toronto tea businesses, 2) giving tea lovers lots of fun and variety, and 3) allowing everyone to try teas they wouldn’t normally go out of their way to try.

When I was chewing on this idea back in September, I thought about why I loved the idea so much and why others would too.  Not only is this a huge creative outlet for me (I decorate and personalize every box!  The crafting scrapbook princess in me is so ridiculously happy right now!), the tea boxes target some of the issues some people face when it comes to tea and shopping for it.  For example, some are deterred from ordering online because they need to spend x amount of dollars for free shipping, otherwise they could be spending more on shipping than they are on the tea.  Now this wouldn’t be an issue for those who are dedicated to a specific brand or business.  However, I know there are many who don’t want to spend so much on teas they may not like in such large quantities (for example, in 50g or 100g quantities).  These tea boxes give you the variety and the opportunity to try many teas in smaller amounts.  Some teas come in full size (there are some in special tins!), but the majority of the teas come in smaller pouches so instead of hemming and hawwwing over trying to choose 1 or 2 full size teas at full price, you get at least 5 teas in adorable packaging!

There are also many people who love tea but are unadventurous in their exploration of the city.  I know there are folks who’ve never even ridden the subway or streetcar!  So the likeliness of them discovering these different tea shops and business is very low.  There are SO MANY amazing tea shops and businesses here in Toronto so these boxes give everyone the chance to get to know them without having to schlep out there visiting 6 different places or feeling overwhelmed and not having a clue what they should try or feeling uncertain of what they might like.  I blog so I do this anyway for a living!  And because I love doing it.  Not to mention I’m used to choosing teas for people who don’t know what they want (like my brother!  And my mom!  And others!).  But not everyone is going to wake up at the crack of dawn to haul their tooshie out to buy tea.  I do the work for you by putting together a fantastic box of tea based on your preferences (more about that below), giving you a “taste of Toronto”.  Because at the heart of it, that’s what this is!  I kept thinking to myself, “well, for me, I would LOVE it if I could try a bunch of local teas from say, Vancouver.  Or Nova Scotia.  Or Seattle.  Or anywhere!”  I wish someone could send me a box of teas like that.  So I thought, “well, why don’t I do that for Toronto?”

And that is how The Sugared Teacup Tea Boxes were born!

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In a nutshell, I’m offering 6 different themed tea boxes (as well as a special Earl Grey Lovers box!): black tea, green tea, mixed teas (black, green, rooibos), herbal/rooibos/caffeine-free, fruity teas, and dessert teas.  You choose the type of box(es) you’d like and I put together a fabulous selection of teas from all the wonderful shops and businesses based on this selection!  It’s that easy!

This is the soft launch for the holidays, meaning if it does well, I’ll be growing the business by offering subscriptions and shipping across the country (and maybe the US if I can make it work!).  FOR THE HOLIDAY SOFT LAUNCH THOUGH, I am keeping it entirely local, meaning Markham and Toronto pick-ups and drop-offs for tea box purchases.  

Head on over to the Tea Boxes page on The Sugared Teacup’s menu bar (http://www.thesugaredteacup.com/teaboxes) to fill out a form to make a purchase – I have a BLACK FRIDAY WEEK INTRODUCTION PROMOTION GOING ON THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!  All online transactions will be handled using PayPal.  If you’re uncomfortable purchasing online or if you would prefer to not use PayPal and pay in cash, please feel free to download an order form using the PDF file link at the bottom of the Tea Boxes page; you can e-mail me at thesugaredteacup@hotmail.com telling me what selections and quantities you’d like and you can simply bring me a hard copy of the form for receipt purposes upon pick-up and drop off.

I’ve been working really hard to turn this idea, dream, and passion into a reality and I am SO thankful and grateful for the tea shops and businesses that have so graciously jumped on board with it!  (Check out the Tea Boxes page to see which tea shops and businesses I’ve partnered with so far!).  This is just the beginning of a crazy new chapter in The Sugared Teacup’s journey and I am so happy and excited to have you all be a part of it.  SUPPORT LOCAL, SHOP LOCAL!  Let the games begin!

 

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Sipping Tea in the Park on a Sunshiney Day – “Tea”licious Coconut Blossom Green Tea at Tealish!

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Tealish is a place that makes me cheerful and happy the minute I step through the door.   A fun and fresh tea boutique located at 728 Queen St. West, Tealish’s walls are lined with shelves upon shelves of colourful pastel coloured canisters offering everything from black, green, white, oolong, rooibos, and herbal loose leaf tea, as well as adorable tea accessories.  Think little red, blue, and turquoise teapots, little tea cups, tea thermoses, tea strainers, and individual loose leaf tea packets in a host of flavours.  Tins of loose leaf tea in any one of their 100+ flavours can be purchased in 50g, 100g, and 250g, and prepackaged tins of loose leaf tea are available for purchase in gift sets and individual tins on the shelves.

With its hardwood floors and bright lime green and white decor and storefront, there’s a brightness and freshness about that is so refreshing and inviting.  It feels and looks so cozy inside, especially on a sunny morning with the warm sunlight filtering in through the storefront window.  It’s the feeling you get when you’re lying back relaxing with a good book a lazy summer day.  When you’re inside, you don’t feel like you’re in a tea shop in the retail sense of the word; you feel like you’re in a sunny country kitchen with an inviting tea room in the back just beckoning you to sit back, relax, and sip on some soothing and delicious tea.

I love Tealish’s loose leaf tea selection.  For one thing, deciding on the type of tea you want is super easy because 1) each shelf is allocated to a specific type of tea and 2) each type of tea is colour-coded.  If you want loose leaf flavoured green tea, check out the lime green canisters on the 3rd shelf.  Feel like a rooibos variety?  Puruse the bottom shelf with the pretty pink metal tins.  I am crazy about fruit teas and dessert teas and Tealish has plenty to choose from.  Just the thought of teas such as lemon meringue, coconut cream chai, orange marzipan, and double chocolate make me salivate.

I knew I wanted a dessert tea and because I’m crazy for coconut flavoured anything and everything, I got myself a small ($2.50) coconut blossom green tea, iced.  I was so excited about my tea that I completely forgot to write down and take note of the prices for the other sizes, so I promise I’ll get that for next time!  Now, I love coconut dessert stuff and I enjoy green tea, but I’ll be honest and say that I really didn’t know what to expect from this tea.  I didn’t know if the coconut flavour would be too subtle for my taste, if it would end up being diluted, if it would come across too artificial in taste, that kind of thing. 

I was not disappointed AT ALL!  In fact, this tea figuratively knocked my shoes off.  The coconut blossom green tea is DELICIOUS!  The coconut flavour hits you right from the first sip but isn’t so strong or aggressive that it takes away from the green tea herbalness.  It’s a beautiful meshing of flavours and there is no mistaking the coconut flavour.  It tickles your tastebuds as you drink and it leaves a yummy after taste that leaves you licking your lips for more.  Drinking this tea makes you feel like you’re eating a piece of sweet coconut cream pie.  It’s THAT good.

Located in the West Queen West neighbourhood, Tealish is just steps away from Trinity Bellwoods Park which I think is such a perfect fit.  In the spring and summer, it’s so nice sitting out on a bench sipping some iced tea and in the fall and winter, you have your hot cup of tea to warm you up while you crunch through fallen leaves and fresh snow.  And that’s exactly what I did with my coconut blossom green iced tea.  I sipped on my cool drink, sat back on a bench with the warm sunshine beaming down at me while I watched cute puppies running around, and enjoyed the nice breeze that nipped the trees around me.  With a tea as “tealish” as this one, I almost felt like I was catching some rays out on a cabana.  Almost 😉

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Tealish is located at 728 Queen St. West at Claremont St. just steps away from Trinity Bellwoods Park.  In terms of major streets and intersections, Tealish is located in between Bathurst St. and Ossington Ave. on Queen.  Their official website is located here where you can purchase teas online and puruse their many “tea”licious flavours!