Urban Tea Merchant

I went downtown to the Urban Tea Merchant yesterday, which is a very suave little store that deals in High Tea and exclusively sells The O Dor teas, as well as home décor and anything that “ties in to the tea culture” as one person put it. They stock tea-ware, but it is by far the most expensive I’ve ever seen. Still, they’ve got some very nice little yixings, and a gongfu tea tray. Although a French tea company.

I’m in there on occasion, but it is rather out of my way. While I was there I had Rouge Revolution, a strongly citrus black with spice, and hints of smoke. I’ve been working through their “smoky teas” (they’ve got a list on their menu).

But I also sat down and had a tea tasting with one of the employees, of their dan cong (kong) oolong. I’ve been nosing around for one, because they are my favourite oolong. It was rather sharp compared to my favourite (Life in Teacup’s ‘orchid’ dan cong–which I still need to order more of), but I ended up buying some anyways, because it was still nice. I like the little setup they have in the corner for tea tasting. A counter with a built-in gonfu teatray. Pretty swank.

We ended up discussing Mariage Freres, which the Urban Tea Merchant carried originally, in its older incarnation, before it switched locations and began carrying The O Dor. He ended up sending me off with a sample of Coincidence (Black), which apparently holds some similarities to MF’s Marco Polo. The smell is similar but much, much brighter (it’s also been a while since I’ve had Marco Polo, so mostly going from memory); it was really nice of him, and I’ll have to try the sample soon.

Enjoying the dan cong for now, though. He also invited me back sometime next week to sample the fresh first flush Darjeeling they’re supposed to be getting in. I should go. I’ve got the time now, with classes over.

I had another post I’d been working on for a while, but it’s a long rambly thing about the nomenclature and biological classifications of tea, all the way down to species and then the different varieties, clonals, and cultivars. But I haven’t worked on it in a while, so it probably won’t see the light of day anytime soon.

On another update, 52Teas’ Coconut Cheesecake Honeybush finally came in. It was delayed, but the very long wait was completely worth it. Delicious. And very good for drinking when it’s too late to drink tea without staying up all night on the caffeine.

A transgendered, tea-drinking, rock-hammer wielding, mineral-collecting, fashionable, mid-twenties Canadian.


  1. I really like the new look of your blog. Of course I read this *after* I posted my question to you about the Dan Cong Oolong on the activity stream . Now I see here that you described it as rather sharp. Should have read your blog post first :)

    Anyway, would love to “nose” around a The O’ Dor store, even though it does sound pretty expensive.

    How often do you shop for new teas?


    • AJ

      16/04/2011 at 7:19 AM

      I was going to link to my tea note on Steepster. It’s still where I post all my individual tea-tastes.

      If you avoid their pre-tinned teas and their other accessories, the tea themselves aren’t TOO bad, but still enough that I shake my head sometimes. Especially since Life in Teacup’s dan cong is half the price of The O Dor’s, and I like it better.

      I don’t normally intentionally shop for tea these days (too many; I’m trying to downsize, but I still end up with around two new teas a month–not as bad as most people, I’m sure). Most times I just find I have the time, and wander in that direction. Urban Tea Merchant’s out of the way, though–I just planned to go down there and try their version of the sakura sencha. Sadly they were out.

  2. Interesting shop. This is why I prefer real shops to online ones: you can talk with people :D

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