For tea lovers who are jealous of the all the Christmas coffee creations available, the wait is finally over. Holiday teas are now flooding the market to soothe the palates of all types of tea lovers.
Since the 1830s, Christmas tea was a way to bring together friends and family to share glad tidings, a warm beverage and yummy finger sandwiches.
According to npr.org Christmas Teas were a reaction to all the drunkenness that would surround the Christmas season. “Members of the movement in both the U.S. and the U.K. would hold massive tea parties, often on Christmas Eve, in halls festooned with pine tree boughs and fruit. As many as 4,000 working and middle-class attendees would drink tea at long tables, while listening to a sermon or the testimony of reformed alcoholics preaching the virtues of an alcohol-free life.”
Over time Christmas Tea hosting has evolved, and specialty teas have expanded to include black, herbal, white, green, Pu’erh and Matcha in a variety of seasonal flavours.
Christmas Tea traditions in our house begin on December 1st with our Tea Advent Calendar, 24 days sampling a variety of teas.
Tea is always served when we are baking cookies, decorating the tree or building the Christmas Village, as well as when wrapping presents or watching Christmas movies.
Tea can be made traditionally or as a Tea Latte. For those looking for something stiffer, try serving Tea Infused Vodka in a martini glass with vanilla sugar or candy cane rim. Last year we added to the tradition by handing out Christmas crackers with tea inside.
Christmas tea varieties
Herbal tea: Christmas in Paris, Christmas Eve
Black tea: Christmas Morning, Holiday Chai
White tea: White Christmas
Herbal tea: Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride, Gingerbread Spice, Sugar Plum Spice, Cranberry and Vanilla Wonderland
Black tea: Nutcracker Sweet , Sweet Harvest Pumpkin
Green tea: Candy Cane Lane
Herbal: Sleigh Ride, Gingerbread Blondie, White Cranberry Bark, Forever Frosty
Black: Santa’s Secret, Candy Cane Crush
Green: Let it Snow
Pu’erh tea: Hot Chocolate
Matcha: Candy Cane
Black: Christmas Eve, Jungle Bell Tea
Green: Green Christmas
Mikele’s Christmas Tea Favourites: Fortnum and Mason Christmas Spiced Tea and Twinings Christmas Afternoon Tea
Where to buy Christmas tea
You can find Christmas teas wherever fine teas are sold but for starters try any David’s Tea location in the GTA, T By Daniel in Bramalea City Centre in another excellent tea purveyor. Cousins Market in Mississauga has a variety of Stash Christmas Teas. There are also several online options including Amazon.ca and and those already mentioned. For but local try, Gaddzilla Teas online. They have some terrific tea selections.
Where to attend a Christmas tea
Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto
Nutcracker High Tea: December 2 – January 4
Inspired by the Nutcracker ballet, Executive Chef Damon Campbell and his team of expert pastry chefs have created a new Nutcracker High Tea menu with themed Nutcracker pastries inspired from the dances in Act II of the ballet where the young heroine Clara and the prince are crowned rulers of the “Land of Sweets”. These themed pastries include: the “Spanish Dance” a dark chocolate cinnamon crémeux, almond anise polvorones and white turron blando; the “Arabian Dance” a coffee cardamom crème diplomat, date molasses cake and phyllo honey crisp; the “Chinese Dance” an imperial dragon well tea cream, mandarin gelée, chestnut purée and green tea sponge; and the “Russian Dance” a Russian style gingerbread, condensed milk mouse and peppermint meringues. Other menu items include a selection of finger sandwiches: roasted turkey with cranberry preserve on herb country bread, honey baked ham with caramelized onion on dark rye, as well as favourites like Atlantic lobster and herb mayonnaise on brioche bun and truffle poached egg salad on granary bread. To finish on a sweet note, guests can savour selected tea cakes and scones served with clotted cream, house-made berry jam and “Bee-Wall” honey harvested from the hotel’s new beehive installation located on the third floor garden terrace, while sipping tea chosen for a menu of over 75 premium selections. A vegetarian option Nutcracker High Tea menu is also available.
The Nutcracker High Tea, which launches on December 1st, is priced at CAD$44 per person or CAD$22 per child and is served daily from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Lobby Lounge where the hotel’s official Christmas Tree resides adding to the festive ambiance. The Nutcracker High Tea service will be accompanied by live performances from performers such as award winning pianist, Thompson Egbo-Egbo, the recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in the province of Ontario.
The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Nutcracker afternoon Tea beginning November 30, 2019 11 am – 4 pm
At The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, you can experience two unique Afternoon Tea services, featuring fine selections from Sloane Tea and delightful savoury and sweet creations from our culinary team. Our traditional service, The Ritz-Carlton Signature Afternoon Tea, is a well-loved weekend indulgence. For a simpler touch of elegance, enjoy a weekday tea service, no reservation required.
Each Sloane Tea is individually sourced & blended by certified tea sommeliers. Chosen from hundreds of tea gardens, Sloane Teas are carefully processed using centuries old artisanal techniques. Our scented and blended teas are custom created by Sloane Tea Sommeliers. As part of the development of our products, we have consulted with the Maître Nez (Head Nose) of one of France’s foremost perfumeries and trained at the Studio Des Fragrance in Grasse, France.
Weekend Signature Afternoon Tea
December – 11AM to 1PM, 1:30PM to 3:30PM & 4PM to 6PM
Friday, December 20th 11AM to 1PM & 2PM to 4PM
Monday, December 23rd 11AM to 1PM & 2PM to 4PM
Tuesday, December 24th 11AM to 1PM & 2PM to 4PM
January Onwards: Regular Seatings from 11AM to 1PM & 2PM to 4PM
Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto
Visit the Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel for a tiered-tower of festive sandwiches, classic scones and miniature pastries, complemented by our fine selection of LOT 35 Premium Fairmont Loose Leaf Teas.
Date: Every Saturday & Sunday starting November 30 until New Year’s Day
Time: 12:00 pm, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm and 2:45 pm seatings
Price: 60 per person, 30 per child, not including tax and gratuity.
Make it sparkle with a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne, 90 per person.
Location: Library Bar, Lobby Level
Reservations: Call (416) 368-2511
Omni King Edward Hotel, Toronto
Cosy up in Victoria Café this winter with a cup of Sugar Plum Fairy tea and indulge in our traditional Nutcracker Tea, inspired by the ballet. Delight in delicate finger sandwiches, decadent pastries and scones while catching up with your loved ones. See their menu.
November 29 – December 29, 2019 │$59* per person
Wednesday and Thursday │2:30-5 p.m.
Friday through Sunday │1:30-5 p.m.
(Excluding Wednesday, December 25, 2019)
Nutcracker festive tea Saturday December 21 and Sunday December 22
Seatings at 11:30 am or 3:30 pm Escape from the holiday hustle and bustle with a relaxing Nutcracker Afternoon Tea. Starting at $35 per person
If you are starting Christmas traditions or have long-standing protocols already in place adding a variety of Christmas teas can elevate your holiday experience. I am personally looking forward to my Christmas morning tea which is Fortnum & Mason‘s Christmas Spiced Tea.
Mikele Watters is a career counsellor and tea lover based in Port Credit, Ontario.
photography by Stephen Uhraney
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