I love teas. It's one of my favourite drinks, and I love especially the sheer variety of teas - you can try tons of teas and still be astounded at a new flavour that you didn't even know existed. Somehow, there doesn't seem to be many tea places on the East Side of Vancouver, so when Shaktea opened up a few years ago, it was pretty unique. Now, we've visited here a few times - most of the time to get some loose tea; but we hadn't gone there for tea service in a long while.
The interior of Shaktea is filled with warm colours and had a cozy feeling. Aside from a few choice seats near the window, there is not much seating at all. However, the display of jars of tea is pretty neat.
They also always have three pots of tea to sample: usually an herbal one, a rooibus or honeybush one, and a black tea, all sitting in three glass teapots.
It was moderately busy when we arrived, and we managed to snag one of the last couple of free tables. We were given the menu right away, but it took almost 15 minutes to actually place our order. Even though other people all around us were placing orders, the servers seemed to forget about us. In the end, we actually had to flag someone and ask her if we could order.
From the time we were there, service seemed to be a problem; people would sit there without menus, without having orders taken, and given 'reserved' tables with a warning that they couldn't stay very long. The service wasn't too joyful.
I got the matcha latte, which arrived in a unique ceramic bowl (around $4). This was delicious - creamy and with a nice green tea flavour. One of the nice things about this place is that they always give you a few mini gingersnaps with your tea. It's a really great touch.
Shane had the Earl Grey latte ($4.25), which arrived in a small tea pot. The tea was unsweetened and had a very aromatic and wonderful Earl Gray flavour. The amount of creaminess was perfect. The teas did take a very long time to arrive though.
We also ordered a chocolate pistachio cookie ($1.95). Unfortunately this was very dry and lacked a distinct pistachio flavour.
The teas at Shaktea are great. And if you can find a time when they're not busy, so much the better. However, they do need to improve on the customer service aspect if they want to garner customer support.