Great Wall Tea packs a lot of taste in a tiny space

Great Wall Tea
Great Wall Tea stores their loose-leaf teas in round tins attached to the wall with magnets. On the tin of each lid is an image of a teacup and saucer. Photo: Will Tomkinson.

Tucked away next to the escalators inside River Market, Great Wall Tea packs a lot of taste into a tiny space. While initially I was disappointed not to have a coffee shop open at the Quay, the silver lining is that this has encouraged me to expand my hot drink habits and try tea instead.

Great Wall has so many varieties of loose-leaf tea that it’s hard to know what to taste. I’ve liked everything I’ve tried so far, from the vanilla-infused Cream Earl Gray to the Ginger Rooibos. Plus, they will blend together different teas upon request. I’ve become a fan of a Chamomile-Lavender blend that my favourite Yaletown tea shop O-Cha has dubbed “Sereni-tea.” So soothing with a little honey. Plus, in my last visit I made the welcome discovery that Great Wall Tea is also set up to make tea lattes! I didn’t notice before that they had a milk steamer in the corner. The lovely women who run the shop recommended I try their twist on a London Fog that uses the Cream Earl Gray, and I intend to do just that on my next visit.

At launch there were only a few places to sit and sip, but River Market has now added more tables and benches in the sunny area at the heart of the space earmarked for food vendors, expanding the seating area beyond the barstools and low chairs immediately next to the shop. Plus, public wifi is coming to River Market (hopefully by the end of March, according to Community Services Manager Julie Ramirez), which will make the market a more attractive place for those of us who like a little Twitter with our tea.

Great Wall Tea Company on Urbanspoon

Like everyone else who used to frequent the New Westminster Quay before the renovations, I am eager to see the new River Market busy again with cafes, shops and people. Although there are only a few tenants open for business (Donald’s Market, Great Wall Tea, Tiny (disclosure: I have been hired to help launch the store), Pedagogy Toys, Bloom Art Studio and Vancouver Circus School, I am glad to see that they are all quality businesses who share a passion for what they do and for our community.

Great Wall tea is located inside River Market, at 810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster.

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10 Replies to “Great Wall Tea packs a lot of taste in a tiny space”

  1. I heart Great Wall. They are my new favourite thing about New West. I had them custom blend me an organic lemon lavender rooibos that is heavenly.

  2. I haven't been there yet, but it sounds great and would save me the long trip to the Granville Island Tea Co, along with supporting the local economy. 🙂

  3. A fantastic addition to the River Market and to New Westminster. The staff is very friendly and the prices are reasonable.

  4. Lets see an independent coffee merchant as well. I don't know what independent means, but as long as it is not Starbucks. I like tea as well, but I need my mocha fix. Can't wait for the Market to start filling up. I think people are getting antsy and want to see more.

  5. I loved the Great Wall Tea Company. Their display/tea storage tins were what first attracted our attention as we were down at the Quay to look at Royal City art a few weekends back. Great tea and very friendly staff. I hope they are able to make a go of it.
    When it comes to Rooibos though, Jen, I'm a traditionalist. I buy my Rooibos from a South African butcher/deli in Langley.

    1. Very nice! I’d love to try. The mobile coffee truck at the farmers market recently started offering a red latte that she makes espresso style with loose rooibos – not over sweet. I really liked it.

  6. My fave tea so far is the Kimono Rose. But I have to try Jen's Custom Blend now. They should name it after you, actually. Following The Great Wall on twitter is a good idea because they call out a name a day for a complimentary tea. I had mine!

    1. Oh yeah. Cream Earl Grey is the only tea my kids will drink now.
      Personally, I like the Russian Caravan – a lightly-smoked lapsang variety.
      Oh, and reuse those ziplock paper bags they give you – you'll get 5% off.
      My recent post Holiday Break!

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