Maison de Thé Cha Noir
4611 Wellington St./ between 1st & 2nd Avenue
Telephone: (514) 769-1242
Cost: $ 17.76
Chef Hats: 4.0
All Photos Courtesy Alice I
Cha Noir Teahouse may not need an introduction to Verdun residents, but it deserves an honorable mention as being one of Montreal’s best eclectic teahouse. I was introduced to Cha Noir a few years ago by a friend who lives in the neighborhood. I decided to revisit it recently when we were looking for a quiet place to get together with my coffee friends. I also wanted to take the opportunity to introduce them to this neighborhood gem. The Cha Noir Teahouse is going into its 15th year now, the original Cha Noir Tea House opened in 2003 a little further down on the other side of the street and ran as a small teashop with limited seating capacity for a year. It was only the following year that Melanie Thibeault, the present proprietor took over management of the establishment from its original owner after she heard they were going to close or sell it.
Her story is inspiring, after it had become one of her favorite spots and not wanting to see it go, she purchased the business because of her love and passion for tea. She embarked on a mission to broaden her knowledge about the teas of the world. With her perseverance and hard work, she made Maison de the Cha Noir what it is today by not only offering fine high-quality teas, but also by creating a boutique that sells the best accoutrements to brewing the perfect tea. She also passes on her knowledge by giving you explanations and recipes to boot. The teahouse not only promotes well-being it is also environmentally friendly, it purchases organic traditional and herbal teas that promote agriculture and focus uses on local partnerships with local suppliers. Melanie who is a natural epicurean, also makes her own homemade treats and soon began offering light meals and desserts to the menu to enhance the exotic flavors of her teas. Each meal is paired with the right teas to high light every flavor.
In 2015, the teahouse moved across the street to a bigger space without compromising its cozy atmosphere. The décor is a mix of things but definitely has a Bohemian feel to it with its mix of art, heterogeneous lighting, sheer drapery, tapestry and burnt amber walls.
Divided into two, one side boasts comfortable seating where you can sit in a nook with your laptop and get inspired, the other side displays shelves with a variety of tea pots that come in different shapes and sizes for every taste to help tea aficionados brew the perfect tea at home.
The boutique sells a wide reasonably priced and a discounted choice of teas for you to enjoy at home. They now also have an online store that makes shopping easier so your favorite blend can be shipped directly to your home. Their staff is friendly, accommodating, and very knowledgeable. So, they can help you make the right decision when it comes to your purchases which are streamlined to your specific tastes. Popular with patrons near and far who come to sit in its eclectic atmosphere to simply enjoy a good brew, once you are hooked to the Cha Noir I guarantee you will be back over and over to buy some of their original mix of specially blended teas.
On our visit to the Cha Noir, I sampled for the first time a tea called the Monk’s Blend which came highly recommended. It is an Indian black tea from Sri Lanka which comes infused with flavors of Grenadines and vanilla. Its delightful aroma recalling sweet fruits sampled with a scone and homemade strawberry jam the flavors were enhanced twofold. I liked it so much I bought a small bag to take home for $ 6.75 and now I am addicted.
Our group sampled a variety of teas, like Pilgrim’s White tea blend which is a blend of Chinese white tea with rose petals and lavender. Delicately flavored and soothing, also low in caffeine. The Explorers Blend, an inspired North African subtle organic green tea, which is a combination of green tea, peppermint, rose petals and orange peel. Two Chai teas, the Chai of Cachemire, a traditional chai spiced tea prepared with black tea and different Indian spices simmered in milk and honey and the house blend the Chai Cha Noir which contain a mix of spices: like anise, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ginger and orange peel.
The Artic Fire tea was recommended for this cold rainy day that predicted a storm which never materialized. This Black tea from Sri Lanka contained Arctic wild berry notes. A rich raspberry flavored cup of tea enhanced by blueberry and elderberry hints. Exquisite and perfect on a cold day to soothe the soul. Maison de The Cha Noir also offers a variety of other teas like Oolong, Black, Red, Scented, Herbal, Organic and The Labrador Tea that I have looked for the last month. It has something for every palate.
On this quiet Sunday afternoon, nothing goes better with good tea than a light snack or dessert so we also ordered the Pork Dim Sum for $ 5.75, we received five Chinese steamed dumplings which can be either made with pork or shrimp as you prefer and a side of peanut butter dipping sauce.
The rest of the group had a mix of desserts, some had the Almond Pear Pie for $ 4.95, a pie made with an almond paste crust and slivers of caramelized pear, which was sweet but hit the right notes and a moist Carrot Walnut cake garnished with cream cheese for $ 5.75. One of our friends had the Apple-Strawberry Smoothie in lieu of tea for $ 4.50, which she liked very much.
What I love love love about Cha Noir aside from their magical blends of teas is the care they take in serving each tea in different and beautiful tea pots. Each teapot as original in style with its matching teacups relevant to the type of tea you are drinking. I believe that like fine wines and spirits the proper container enhances flavors. I am also big fan of table settings as my close friends know by now and I feel this really adds to the ambiance of a tea service or a meal and makes the experience so much more pleasurable.
Cha Noir also offers 90-minute tasting workshops for $ 30.00 per person that introduces the history of tea, how it’s harvested and cultivated, various tea rituals and ceremonies around the world and its health benefits. I found the teahouse and its staff super knowledgeable on the handling of teas, they go beyond that extra step to also educate their patrons. For this foodie it is all about education and the broadening your intellect. The Cha Noir was a great experience all around and definitely worth a trip to Verdun.