Is a tea at Butchart Gardens or any other location included as part of the trip in 2016?
If not, are advance reservations required. Suggestions for locations of best tea experience would be appreciated.


  • Tongue in cheek, you will get a better cup of tea just about anywhere on the planet that was or is under British influence, India, Canada, Certain Caribbean islands and so on, even at the lowliest of establishments, yep anywhere in comparison to the US. Americans do not know how to make a cup of tea. Let me tell you how--- pour boiling hot water onto the tea leaves or tea bag, don't present me with a cup of luke warm water with a teabag beside it.
    Afternoon tea, that's different, a tourist thing. Not done in your average home. Tea at the gardens was part of the tour when we took it.
  • In North American restaurants and hotels I have learnt to ask how they make tea. It is extremely rare that I order it. I prefer Earl Grey or green, depending on ... whatever. I don't like things called heaven, or serenity served lukewarm from a vase. In Melbourne we take our coffee very seriously and in the European style. I never even inquire in North America. That means that I never drink coffee, or tea (rarely) until I get on the plane to come home, unless I have made it myself with my nifty travel kettle. I am sure people know how to make tea in their own homes, just as British describes. I have found that the farther east and north you go on the continent, the more likely you are to have a nice cuppa.

    I see with interest that there are a growing number of boutique coffee houses in New York. Run by ex-pat Australians. They are doing very well. Who'd have thought.
  • Aaaah! A subject very close to my heart. I do agree with British on this one. That habit they have "abroad" of delivering a cup of luke warm water an a teabag in the saucer is just not British. Being British through and through I go for what they call here in England "Builders Tea", that is, tea allowed to brew in boiling water in a china teapot (forget those metal pots which seem only to deliver their contents into the saucer) then stirred until a strong brown solution is created - usually 3-4 minutes. Then just add a splash of milk (some wonder why I bother with so little) and drink while hot. Of course, there is always the vexed question of milk in the cup (or preferably mug) before the tea or after pouring the tea - I am an after man thus ensuring not too much is poured. Not to mention those who believe that you don't need boiling water - I suppose they are the ones who like it so weak there is hardly any colour at all. As for delivering a cup to you with a tea bag still dangling, that is really the pits.
    Now British, we are continents apart about Afternoon Tea. Maybe it is an age thing for us true English gentlemen, but I take , and have always done so, tea and cakes EVERY afternoon round about 4.00 pm. China utensils of course - never a pottery mug, but I do use a lovely china mug - saves pouring several cups!.
    Ginnijay, it is about 17 years since we did this tour and I am sure it would have stood out in my memory if the Butchart Gardens did not do things properly. That part of the tour is wonderful for plant lovers - I have two greenhouses full of orchids and travel the world judging them, so that part of the tour was of particular interest for me - apart, of course, from wanting to ditch my job and take on one of those cute water taxis which ply the route to Vancouver Island.
    Enjoy the tour and do give us feedback about the tea situation at Butchart when you return.
  • RICHARD B. I hope you see this post before the 27th March. It is interesting to hear you love orchids. I was wondering if you have ever been to Longwood Gardens in Kennet Square Pennsylvannia? It is south of Philadelphia near the Delaware border. I visit fairly frequently. Each year at this time they have an Orxhid Extravaganza and they also have a permanent beautiful Orchid house, so lovely in fact, that anywhere else I go in the world and have seen orchids, nothing compares. If you click on http://longwoodgardens.org/events-and-performances/events/orchid-extravaganza before the 27th you will see a short video and photos of the event. That particular area of Pennsylvannia and Delaware has quite a few World class attractions like Winterthur Museum, Nemours, the Brandywine River Museum, housing Andrew Wyeth art, even the QVC studio Tour which is actually quite interesting, to name just a few. If you travel a little further west you hit the Amish area. So maybe your next Tauck tour might be the one that includes Philadelphia! But make sure to stay longer to visit those areas too!
    Tea and cake! Ah, if only! I used to make the most amazing 'Afternnon tea' type cakes in my youth, but now guilt and the weigh scales just cannot allow me to indulge. I'm just about to get up and walk my daily four of five miles to keep the weight I am. The food on Tauck tours takes me weeks to get rid of too!
  • If you are going to be in Victoria, the Empress Hotel is considered one of the best, but they unfortunately call it High Tea which it is not. It is traditional afternoon tea.
  • Thanks, British, that was very thoughtful and the short video much enjoyed. Over here we have similar at the Eric Young Orchid Foundation in Jersey.
    Whw, Yes, I sampled the Empress Hotel when we did the trip and it was excellent.
    I know what you all feel about needing to compensate for added weight after Tauck food - we have never come home hungry from on of their tours . although when the bug hit me in India they restricted me to rice, bananas and yogurt for a few days which balanced things out on that trip.

    Oh yes, something I forgot to mention during my tea comments is that another measure of tea sophistication is whether they serve individual milk portions in those tiny plastic things which inevitably transfer their contents to your shirt during attempts to access the fluid - definitely not British, only a small jug will do (china of course).
  • Imitation milk in tiny plastic thingies! Urgh. I had afternoon tea at the Fairmont in San Francisco a few years ago. It was my birthday and was a special treat with a local friend. She assured me they could do tea! The ambience was delightful and the presentation lovely. The harpist was a nice touch. I felt safe indulging in the tea since all the presentation hurdles appeared to have been met. When the tea service arrived, there was something terribly amiss. Tea bag tags looped around the handle of the china teapot! I was gobsmacked at the deviation from normal Fairmont standards for the sake of local "sensibilities". They certainly wouldn't get away with that at The Savoy, a Fairmont managed hotel, where the tea choices are extensive and service perfect. I do agree, Richard. The afternoon tea ceremony is a delightful thing. I daren't indulge myself ... except on very special occasions. I make do with simply the cup that cheers. And since I don't take milk in my tea these days, mine no longer resembles your "builder's tea". Mine is a weak black. I know. No one's perfect.


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