Tea, Gifts and Special Things
Tea lovers, make Everything Tea & Gifts your new favourite hangout! Enjoy freshly brewed tea – by the cup or by the pot, and add a special treat -like a slice of our delicious pie or a homemade scone. In the summer season you can also enjoy a refreshing granita slush made from real fruit. While you enjoy your tea, be sure to check out our wide array of teawares, gifts and signs. Find this hidden gem in downtown Vegreville, across from CO-OP.
It started small, not quite as small as a single scoop of tea leaves, but close. Everything Tea & Gifts in Vegreville has grown from humble beginnings in the home of Karen and Gary Sorensen into a quaint yet spacious tea emporium.
Karen launched Everything Tea, after she answered the question, “What is the one thing I would be doing, if I could?” With some dedicated internet sleuthing and after reaching out to some of the world’s great wholesale tea merchants, Karen opened up shop in her home about a year after answering the fateful question. It didn’t take long for growing demand to convince Karen and Gary that it was time to expand from a home-based business. In less than two years after the launch they purchased their current location at 4921 – 51 Avenue, one block east of Vegreville’s mainstreet. Here, the shelves are stocked with more than 300 varieties of tea – and every implement and accessory imaginable to deliver a cozy and refreshing cup.
Thrilled visitors from as far afield as Europe say that Everything Tea is one of the best tea shops they have ever experienced. Dedicated tea drinkers from across Canada are known to call in their orders on a regular basis. “We have our listings on the website and take orders by email,” explains Gary.
But, the big experience is found inside the store. Walking through the front door of the barely post-war building, you are immediately introduced to charming displays of teapots, tea cups and spoons. There is also a large selection of charming signs and other décor to build your own perfect space for enjoying your tea at home. Karen and Gary have been in business for around a decade now and they’ve grown to know their suppliers. “The majority of our vendors are Canadian and we try our best to get Canadian made when we can,” says Karen.
When it comes to the tea, the leaves come from around the world. The globally popular Earl Grey is a firm favourite for those who come in looking for the familiar.
When guests go looking for something new, they can turn to the organized tea menu as a guide. Invariably, Karen puts her highly honed tea matching skills to work. “It only takes me a few questions to help you find the right cup of tea. We start with caffeinated or decaf and then it is always just another question or two until you’ve got it narrowed down.”
Gary points out that with a little bit of education and tasting, customers are able to confidently try out varieties from fruit teas, matcha – the trendy powdered green tea leaves – and white teas, to true British classics. “The Yorkshire Harrogate is very popular,” he says of the delicately robust black tea.
Many customers choose to try a cup and relax for a few moments at one of the tables in the store. “The experience is all about the tea, says Karen. “But, we do serve scones and pies too.”
If you are unable to pick just a single offering, there are a multitude of three piece sampler packs with intriguing combinations and options. These are created in-store with charming labels that Karen designs, inspired by the flavours and origins of each tea.
Summer is the best kept secret for quenching your thirst. Fruit teas can be served iced for some of the most refreshing non-alcoholic beverages available. “We have just so many iced-teas,” says Karen as she rattles off the very beginning of the suitable flavour list, “Hibiscus, fruit teas with a green tea base, green teas on their own.”
If making your own ice-tea seems a step too far, then Everything Tea & Gifts has an authentic granita machine for summer treats. Think of a granita as being a sophisticated and alluring slushee. Relying on the natural sugars in fruit juice, to slightly alter the freezing point of water, these granitas are a sophisticated and delightfully delicious reason to stop in, while on a road trip East of Edmonton.
Summer or winter, be prepared to spend a happy, relaxing time exploring teas from around the world and choosing delightful gifts for family and friends.
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