White Lions Tea House - Orillia

Experience The Charms of Tea

Teacup Weddings

Thinking Small...
How About A Teacup Wedding?

Your wedding day can be special without breaking the bank. If you want to "just get married", it doesn't have to be in someone's kitchen or at City Hall, you can still make it a memorable day. There are many things you can do to be totally unique, yet stay on budget and have fun.

There are many small restaurants and other venues that can host a small intimate wedding catering to different themed events. Just what kind of event? How about something like a Teacup wedding, for instance? If so, why not consider a tea house such as Orillia's White Lions Tea House.

Whether you are considering a tea house or other small venue for your special day, you will find that these smaller venues have hosted weddings for a few as four people to as many as 40. We have one private room that will accommodate as up to 14 and that can be used any time during the day.

We offer a charming and elegant environment right down to the silverware, bone china dishes, linen tablecloths, napkins and interesting decor, and, you don't have to spend $100 per person.

In addition, you don't have to worry about things like the weather, decorating or cleaning up before or after, a big advantage.

Now, when it comes to wedding costs, the two basics involve a marriage license-$150 and wedding officiant-$300 and, oh yes, two witnesses, priceless. Other costing depends on what you want to do. Do you want to have a breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea, or evening dinner perhaps? Food costs, which usually includes the use of the room, will range from $10 to $25 per person, in our location.  With the addition of a Special Occasion liquor license ($25), you can add Champagne or wine to your event.

A lovely afternoon wedding ceremony conducted by the fireplace or the picture window followed by tea, sandwiches, scones, fresh fruit, tea or coffee and a small wedding cake or cupcakes would cost approximately $15 per person at White Lions Tea House, for instance. 

Oh, and don't forget to add in a few fresh flowers, perhaps a basic photo package or a friend with a good camera, not a cellphone, and you have a day to remember.

Using a smaller venue is something to consider. Why not save your money and make a down payment on a house or have a wonderful honeymoon!

Time for Tea

Most of us don’t often have time to pause in our busy lives and enjoy taking tea.  It’s time to dust off those special cups (the ones you got from Grandma or even as shower gifts when you got married) or attend at your favourite tea house with friends to relax, socialize and rejuvenate.  There are many teas and tisanes with which to tempt you for a relaxing moment in your day or week. Try a different tea from your usual…perhaps a subtle Pai Mu Tan White, citrusy Green, aromatic Oolong, fragrant Darjeeling, bracing full-bodied Assam, fruity Rooibos, or a Wellness Herbal.  

A fun event with friends is “Tea Tasting” where you choose to sample several teas.  Ideas might include teas from a particular country such as India (Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri or even Masala Chai); various blends of white teas or green teas; comparing teas from different countries such as Orange Pekoe from Sri Lanka, Kenya, India, and China.  There are endless possibilities and while you pause to sample, compare and discuss you can’t help but relax.  

Cream Tea is an enjoyable repast of tea and scones with jam (or lemon curd) and Devonshire or clotted cream.  Preparing your scone is part ritual and part anticipation of its yummy goodness. 

The major beneficial properties of tea include controling hypertension, reducing fatigue, strengthening your immune system, reducing cholesterol, balancing body temperature and detoxification so it is also a very “healthy” break.  Take time for tea and conversation (turn off the cell phone!) and the stress of your day will just melt away.

More Research on White Tea Health Benefits

White tea has come a long way in its long history. It was largely unknown outside China and the Orient until recently. Now, with a renewed interest in fine tea and remarkable discoveries about its health benefits, white tea is being discovered and enjoyed around the world.
Tea has been used as medicine for centuries. Now modern science is discovering what people in China and throughout the world have long known: tea is good for you. While green and black tea are very healthy, white tea is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidant levels. It may be the supreme Drink of Health.
White Tea Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are nasty things that go around wreaking havoc on your body, damaging DNA and accelerating aging. Antioxidants scoop them up and neutralize them. White tea is loaded with these protective nutrients.
Cancer Prevention
White tea may have profound power against cancer-causing cells and against many different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers. Flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. In some cases, white tea has been found to work as well as prescription drugs, but without the side effects.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function. It helps lower high blood pressure and maintain a healthy one. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea guards against the ravages of stroke.
Lower Cholesterol
Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is teeming with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad. This helps prevent hardening of the arteries and blockage of blood flow.
Heart Protection
By thinning the blood, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol, white tea protects the heart and the entire circulatory system. Researchers have also discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. White tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.
Stronger Bones
Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. White tea may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Antibacterial & Antiviral
White tea is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. The antioxidants so abundant in white tea tone the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders and a wide range of diseases. Its helps guard against the common cold and flu, and can ease the symptoms of HIV.
Healthy Teeth and Gums
White tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. It also kills the bacteria which causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath.
Healthy Skin
Free radicals from staying out in the sun too long, stress, and a poor diet can damage the skin and cause it to prematurely age. By scavenging these free radicals, white tea protects the skin and helps to reverse some of the damage. Drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin.
Other Health Benefits
White tea has many other benefits to offer. It may reduce blood sugar and help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of diabetes. It reduces stress and increases energy.
White tea may or may not aid in weight-loss. Studies suggest tea may increase metabolism and encourage the body to burn more fat, but a balanced diet and regular exercise are more likely to produce results. Still, adding white tea to your weight-loss plan can't hurt.

The Wonderful World of White Tea

From the mist-shrouded mountains of China comes a new and exciting tea - white tea. The Chinese have enjoyed white tea for over a thousand years, but only recently has the rest of the world become aware of this secret brew. It has been the privilege of the rich, and the downfall of an emperor.

As I sit here sipping a delightful Pai Mu Tan flavoured with tropical fruits and lychee I realize not only is it delicate and extremely refreshing, it also contains more healthy benefits than green or black tea. What makes it so special? Simply put, white tea is the least processed form of tea, made of beautiful silver buds and select leaves which have been steamed and dried.

Because of its minimal processing, white tea contains more nutrients than its black or green cousins, making it the mightiest of the teas, the ultimate Health Tea. The brew has a light, delicate, slightly sweet flavour that sharpens the senses without overwhelming the tongue. Like green tea, white tea is best brewed with pure water that is very hot, but not boiling and steeped for 2-3 minutes. It has less caffeine than black or green tea, and far less than coffee, making it an excellent choice for those wishing to reduce caffeine.

Its supreme power is in preventing disease and disorder as it has the highest antioxidant levels. White tea protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke, the leading causes of death in the industrial world, as well as numerous other conditions. It eases the symptoms of illness and promotes recovery. White tea strengthens the circulatory and immune systems as well as bones and teeth, and builds healthy skin.

It is a superb tonic and one of Nature's great gifts. We encourage you to add it to your life. To your good health!

The Herbs Have It!

I am sure you have heard or read about the various spices or herbs that can cure, help or alleviate just about every symptom under the sun...Dr. Oz is a great proponent of herbal or natural remedies. Well, you don't have to eat cardamom seeds to get their benefits. How about a lovely herbal tisane...all the work is done for you and the blends of various herbs and spices are designed to provide the most benefits.
Did you know that most Chai blends contain Masala spices which include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper? All have their medicinal purposes such as improving brain function, detoxifying, lowering blood sugar, antioxidant, relieving congestion...We have 3 Chai blends including vanilla, pumpkin and a rooibos (caffeine-free).
A blend of chamomile, fennel, peppermint, anise, caraway and oregano will do wonders for relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. May I suggest Serenity Wellness or Licorice teas if you are experiencing IBS symptoms?
Got a migraine...try chamomile tea or green tea with ginger. Also Rooibos teas and peppermint will help to fight and prevent migraines.  Our After 7 Blend of rooibos, chocolate and mint will make this a tasty medicine!
To help you sleep, most of us know the sleepy time properties of Chamomile, but also try Valerian Root, Lemon Balm, and Linden Flower and even Catnip...it is truly calming in humans...not so much with your cat! Again, Serenity Wellness contains these herbs.  We also carry straight chamomile tea.  Just don't drink it and drive!
Lavender can help you to relax, soothe your nerves and also soothe itchy skin. Moonlight Lavender tea contains a blend of lavender, peppermint, rosemary and sage to calm and relieve a tension headache. Drink it or steep yourself in a bathtub for total relaxation.
What about an energy booster that does not contain caffeine? Ginseng is the most natural energy and immune system booster. Green tea with Ginseng and Men's Wellness may fit the bill. Also the ingredients in Yerba Mate will improve both your energy level and your immune system. South Americans drink Mate all day long instead of cola or coffee.  We have both a traditional green mate which is nice with a little lemon or peppermint added and a fabulous Mate Chino which tastes like a mocha coffee for those trying to wean themselves off of coffee.

A preview to TASTE Magazine article

We will be featured in the upcoming TASTE magazine with full photos.  Very exciting!  Here is a preview of our article...


Sum up White Lions Tea House in one word, and it would likely be "charming". With its English cottage-style atmosphere, vintage china tea cups and delicious home-made treats, what better place to enjoy tea with a friend?
But many people have discovered that White Lions is also the perfect place for special intimate gatherings – from weddings to birthdays to showers. Their private room can host up to 14 guests or the main dining room can accommodate up to 40 guests and they'll work with you to create the perfect menu for the occasion including special cakes or cupcakes.

Enjoy a wide variety of loose-leaf teas properly brewed in individual pots, locally roasted coffee prepared either French-press or Espresso style, homemade soups, fresh salads and sandwiches, including gluten-free and vegetarian options, but you will want to save room for the renowned sweet treats! Scones are baked daily and served with homemade lemon curd or strawberry jam and cream...heaven on earth with a cuppa. Or reserve for the full "Afternoon Tea" experience which includes tea sandwiches, scones, treats, fresh fruit and tea on an elegant three-tier tray. Breakfast is also served daily and a monthly Sunday brunch offering eggs benedict, waffles with fresh fruit and real maple syrup, frittata or other baked egg dishes and of course scones or crumpets! – call for reservations.

Along with a fantastic selection of gift ware for the tea-lover on your list and gift baskets made to order, White Lions features rotating art collections by members of the Orillia Fine Arts Association. You may just find the perfect present, as all of the paintings are for sale.

So, if you're looking to make your next occasion special be sure to contact the White Lions Tea House – "Experience the charms of tea"!

Afternoon Tea or High Tea?

There is much confusion over the terms Afternoon Tea and High Tea in North America. The terms are often interchanged incorrectly. Traditional Afternoon Tea is served between 3:00 and 5:00 as a light refreshment to stave off hunger until the later evening meal.  It typically includes miniature sandwiches, scones, cakes, pastries and fruit as well as cups of tea.  On the other hand, High Tea is served around 6:00 and constitutes a substantial evening meal including meat dishes.  

The History of Afternoon Tea

Tea consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of "having that sinking feeling" during the late afternoon. At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o'clock in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.

Later friends were invited to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and a walking the fields." Other social hostesses quickly picked up on the idea and the practice became respectable enough to move it into the drawing room. Before long all of fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.

Occasionally you will see hotels serving a 'high tea'. Traditionally, the upper classes would serve a 'low' or 'afternoon' tea around four o'clock, just before the fashionable promenade in Hyde Park. The middle and lower classes would have a more substantial 'high' tea later in the day, at five or six o'clock, in place of a late dinner. The names derive from the height of the tables on which the meals are served, high tea being served at the dinner table.

At White Lions Tea House, we compromise a little and start serving Afternoon Tea any time after 1:00 (by advance reservation only).  

You can also join us on Sunday, November 2nd for our Downton Abbey Tea Party. Get dressed up in your finest hat and return to a civilized time to enjoy the full Afternoon Tea experience!  RESERVE NOW


Enjoy a fall flavoured tea

We have a number of special fall-flavoured teas to try.  My personal favourite is the Ontario Blend which is made just for our shop by a master tea blender in Toronto.  It is a lovely black tea with the local flavours of peaches, maple syrup, vanilla and caramel...what's not to like.  Paired with a maple or peach scone...comfort on a cool fall afternoon.

What about a spicy chai such as our Sleepy Hollow Pumpkin Chai served with hot milk on the side or as a chai latte.  Pumpkin muffins would pair up well.  Watch our menu board for 

this tasty treat.

Clementine Clove is a spicy black tea with hints of orange, cinnamon and cloves...reminds me a lot of Constant Comment which was one of the first "flavoured" teas I drank many years ago.

I find any tea with vanilla is comforting on a cool day or just to enjoy on a lazy afternoon (not that I get many of those but I can dream!)  Some of our vanilla infused blends include Cream Earl Grey, Cream of Avalon, Monk's Blend, Bourbon Street Vanilla. Creme Caramel Rooibos and Vanilla Chai. A real treat is our London Fog which is made with both the Cream Earl Grey and vanilla infused hot milk for a double dose of pleasure.

Try some comfort soon.

Pumpkin Pie Butter Tarts

Enjoy these holiday butter tarts for a change...If you don't have a favourite pastry recipe, feel free to use the pre-made tart shells in the freezer section of your grocery store...they really are quite good!

2 cups canned pumpkin (plain)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup butter (melted)
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix or
(1 tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp cloves, 1 tsp ginger)
2 Tbsp flour
Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl
½ cup flour
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp grated nutmeg
¼ cup cold butter
Toss ingredients together and work butter in with fingers until crumbly.

Fill tart shells and top with crumble. Bake until puffy and lightly browned about 20 minutes in a 400o oven. Makes 12 medium tarts.
Enjoy with a pot of Pumpkin Chai or Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos tea
We can make these for you...just give us a call to order a special treat for your family this Thanksgiving.

Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea

I’ve just reviewed several avenues of research regarding the disease preventing and vitality raising health benefits of drinking tea. It seems obvious that tea should be an essential part of our diet if we want

 to maintain good health and vitality. Experts vary on their suggestion for the amount of tea to drink each day, but it’s at least 4 cups if you want to reap the great rewards, and who wouldn’t? 

The herbal tea made from rooibos has been a popular drink in Southern Africa for generations. The plant,Aspalathus linearis, is grown only in a small area in the Western Cape province of South Africa, but during recent years rooibos has become popular in other parts of the world as well. Though not technically a tea, the infusion made from oxidised rooibos leaves is commonly referred to as rooibos tea. The health benefits of rooibos tea seem to be mostly due to the flavonoids aspalathin and nothofagin, although other compounds in rooibos may also play a part. Here's a summary of the benefits:

  • Acts as an antioxidant
  • Prevents DNA damage
  • Relieves allergies
  • Cardiovascular protection
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Aids in liver tissue regeneration
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Resolves respiratory and gastrointestinal problems including colic
  • Inhibits brain aging and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Since nothofagin and especially aspalathin are not really found in any other plant, rooibos tea looks like a valuable addition to one's health regimen. Even people who are not fans of green tea usually like the taste of rooibos tea. Since rooibos contains no caffeine, it can be also enjoyed in the evening.

It isn’t difficult to live the high antioxidant lifestyle, taking in foods, herbs and teas that will protect your body in many ways, reduce the risk of various chronic and degenerative diseases and make you feel good. As Hippocrates remarked in his credo “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Drink Rooibos for taste or drink it for health. In either case, you’ll derive innumerable benefits.

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