Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sweet, sweet TEA

'Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world' -- T'ien Yiheng

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I am a prairie person. I need to see the sun set and embrace the feeling of wind on my face. I love calling 204 my home and supporting local businesses. With colder temperatures looming, I find myself stopping more often at a place where I can forget about the din of the world and stock up on comfort.

Imagine a place where the staff is kind, the tea is enchanting and the neighbourhood charming. Now imagine turning a brass doorknob and hearing the sound of little bells.

Step inside where the air is steeped with the scents of coconut, vanilla and jasmine, where tiny glass jars of loose-leaf tea line a shelf of possibility and there is a daily brew waiting to be sipped. Somewhere between the high ceilings and the hardwood floors you will forget about the din of the world because you have arrived at Cornelia Bean -- a quaint tea shop on Academy Road.

Often I stop for one new tea and return home with six. My cupboard does not discriminate and I have teas that are herbal, white, green and traditional black. At any given time I have 15 to 20 different kinds of tea on hand for days when I need a lift, days when I am feeling ill or days when I am racing through my life. Some of my favourites are their renowned Manitoba Rooibos, their caffeine-free Dream of Dates or their Orchid Oolong. But to this day, I haven't met a tea I wouldn't drink.

On my most recent visit, I chose a Cuban Rum Pu Erh, a Scarlett Runner Green and an intoxicating fruit drunken Garden Party, which also happens to be green. If you open up one of the jars and look down your nose, you will find mixed with the tea leaves everything from bits of chocolate to pieces of popcorn or rose buds. If you prefer in-house roasted coffee from around the world, they've got that too. It is no surprise that Cornelia Bean is my go to place when buying gifts for hostesses, teachers or friends.

Last year, I had the pleasure of spending some time on the East Coast in a tiny chalet on the water. I took with me three different kinds of tea from Cornelia Bean and would brew pot after pot as I met new friends and worked on my manuscript. When I returned home, I returned to Cornelia and sent a friend of mine a package filled with chocolate covered espresso beans, Bourbon Vanilla black tea and a new spoon.

They have everything. They will make you forget. They will indulge you in comfort. Mom if you're reading, I'd love one of their travel tea mugs or a new teapot for Christmas. Cornelia Bean is located at 417 Academy Rd. or on the web at www.corneliabean.com .

Brandi Parnell is a busy mom of two boys who has recently finished writing her first novel.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 25, 2012 A8

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