My Cup of Tea is a quaint shop that houses a wide range of holistic Asian teas, packaged for the modern drinker.
The store welcomes you in off the busy Chinatown street with the sound of soft classical music and the subtle smell of blooming tea steeping on the counter.
Decked out with a grass-green carpet and wooden shelves, the one-room shop is packed from wall to wall in teas hailing from across Asia, all neatly stacked in vibrant packages.
Loose-leaf teas are sold in Chinese take-out boxes featuring graphic drawings of faces enjoying their My Cup of Tea favorites, lending a bit of style to your basic Oolong or Jasmine tea.
Located on St-Laurent Blvd., just upstairs from the owner’s father’s Chinese medicine practice, My Cup of Tea is in many ways a family business.
“My parents and grandparents were Chinese doctors,” said owner Kenny Hui. He gives credit to them for his acquired passion in herbal remedies. Medicine, however, wasn’t for him.
“As much as my father wanted me to be a Chinese doctor too, I am a very happy person […] I couldn’t deal with a life of seeing sick people every day. I wanted to do something preventative,” he explained.
By opening My Cup of Tea, Hui was able to showcase his knowledge of the natural benefits of flowers and Asian herbs. Right now he’s working with High Mountain Oolong tea from Taiwan, which stimulates digestion and blood circulation. It also acts beautifully as a palate cleanser if you’ve been eating spicy food.
Unlike other popular tea sellers that concentrate more on trendy taste combinations, My Cup of Tea aims to sell teas that are beneficial to the health.
“If you go to Hong Kong or Japan or Taiwan you won’t find chocolate tea or wine tea or popcorn tea, the flavors are very basic,” said Hui. “Nobody says their tea is boring because we know that a good tea, once you drink it, will feel very good in your system.”
Hui’s teas are imported from Hong Kong, but not in a mass-produced “Made in China” way: “I spend a lot of time travelling around and learning ceremonies, from Chinese tea ceremonies to Japanese tea ceremonies,” he said.
My Cup of Tea, though very traditional in many ways, has a unique array of products. It features a line called “Santhé” which is composed of five different tea combinations to aid with some of today’s most pressing day-to-day issues.
There’s the “Workaholic,” made with ginger and lemon peel, that boosts blood circulation and energy while relieving nausea.
Want to trim that waistline? Then the “Fashion Icon” is for you. It is a rooibos tea containing lemon verbena, enhancing one’s metabolism.
Others cater to the needs of the “Insomniac,” the “Shopaholic,” the “Meat Lover,” and the “Public Speaker.”
The shop’s signature “Zodiac Blooming” teas come in single packages of what looks like a mini tumble weed, but is in fact a flower that will bloom as it steeps in hot water. Each flower bulb corresponds with a Zodiac sign, and whichever one you’re born under is the tea you should drink, according to Chinese philosophy.
“If people are born in the summertime they are very hot in their system so we give them something to cool down. If you’re born in the wintertime you’re cooler and dryer, so we give you tea that helps retain moisture,” said Hui.
My Cup of Tea products can also be found at David’s Tea outlets, Archambault bookstores and the W Hotel. A box of the classic collection teas (Oolong, Jasmine Green tea or White Peony) goes for $12, the Santhé teabags are $6.99 for a fair sized pouch of ten, and a single Zodiac bloom is only $3.
In Hui’s opinion, the tea trend is here to stay. “I think the tea business will become better than coffee in the next few years,” he said with a smile.
My Cup of Tea is located on 1057 St-Laurent Blvd.