Two weeks ago, on 9 September (the day our Queen of Canada, better known as Elizabeth II, became the longest reigning monarch of the Commonwealth), I had afternoon tea at Soffee (pronounced like Sophie) Cafe with my friend Tess.
As I had been away from Vancouver for nearly seven months, this was a new place on my list of afternoon tea salons to try. The day of our visit happened to be Soffee’s seven month anniversary (they opened in February; I had left Vancouver in January). Coincidentally, my former secondary school classmate happened to be part of this family-owned cafe – his mother is the owner and chef! My former classmate, by the way, designed the logo and business cards, and runs the website and social media. He also works at the cafe so be sure to say hi!
I was drawn to Soffee Cafe based on the photos I had seen of its elegant interior. There aren’t many cafes or tea salons that offer a cosy area to make diners and tea drinkers feel both at home and in a charming one, at that! As we later learned from Sophia Chen, everything in this cafe – from the furniture to the china ware – are from her home. Picking the right colour for the walls can often be a tricky one but the warm light grey makes everyone feel at home. There are four tables in the cafe; two by the windows across from each other, and two along the left wall. This allows guests to enjoy private conversations and to feel more relaxed. There is no wifi in the cafe so that guests can focus on enjoying the food and the company they’re with. That is the point of afternoon tea, non?
There are two types of afternoon tea available at Soffee’s: demi for $25 and high tea (the latter is Vancouver’s term for afternoon tea; ‘high’ gives everyone the assumption that it’s posh) for $39. If you’re not too hungry, demi has 8 pieces of mini sweet & savoury bites. If you haven’t had lunch, high tea comes with 13 pieces. Everything is made by the talented Sophia Chen, who can make everything from scratch (by looking at photos!). My favourite was the shrimp cocktail salad (pictured below)!
*IMPORTANT NOTE: Afternoon Tea must be booked 24 hours in advance!
The complimentary tea for afternoon tea are all from Kusmi Tea from Paris! I went with Provence, a rooibos blend with berries, lavender rosehips, rose leaves & petals. Tess chose a naturally sweet black caramel tea. (For those of you who are interested in having Kusmi tea at home, you can find them at Örling & Wu in Gastown or Nikaido in Steveston.)
One thing I absolutely loved about having tea here is the classical music in the background. I prefer classical to silence or ‘zen’ music. It really sets the ambience of the cafe.
A photo with my friend Tess
If you get a chance to meet Sophia Chen, you must ask her about how she started Soffee Cafe! Truly an inspirational woman. 🙂
1426 West 8th Ave. (8th & Hemlock)
Update: Please note that Soffee Cafe permanently closed in November 2017.
Wow, this looks scrumptious! I have never been to a tea salon, but it’s definitely high on my to-do list.
I hope you’ll find a nice one to go to and when you do, I’m certain you’ll enjoy your experience!
I must visit when I’m back!! _