Home Travel Brewing up in Banff: tea with altitude at Lake Agnes Tea House, Canada

Brewing up in Banff: tea with altitude at Lake Agnes Tea House, Canada

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The Lake Agnes Tea House on the shores of the lake with the mountainous backdrop of Banff national park, Canada.

Enjoy a good pre-breakfast workout with a steep 3.5km trek to this secluded cafe in Banff national park, built in 1901 as a shelter for hikers. Starting behind the historic Fairmont Lake Louise hotel, the path winds through forest that opens up with spectacular vistas of snow-streaked crags. For brisk walkers, the journey takes about an hour; the less fit will find it verges more on two. Make sure to take a breather at the shimmering Mirror Lake before making the final ascent.

In midsummer, the cabin swarms with hikers. Early in the season, though, it’s possible to snag a seat on the porch overlooking Lake Agnes (named for the wife of John A Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, who visited the area in 1886) before choosing from the impressive menu of loose-leaf teas in relative tranquillity.

The cafe also serves baked goods that rival any of the fussier desserts in nearby Banff. Particularly memorable is the apple crumble, a rustic heap of tender fruit collapsing under generous layers of streusel. There’s also heartier fare, such as vegetable stews and sandwiches on thick slabs of brown bread. Joanna Magee, who owns the teahouse with her mother Cynthia, gets up at 5am to bake the day’s supply of loaves. Because the cabin has no electricity, she uses an old propane army stove.

Procuring ingredients is even more challenging. The dry goods are flown in by helicopter once a year, and to stock up on fresh items like cheese and vegetables, the teahouse staff trek down to Lake Louise with empty backpacks.

“If we run out of cucumbers for sandwiches, we have to hike 3.5km to get them,” Magee says.

For Joanna, the location also has its rewards. “My favourite thing is to see the look of accomplishment and sheer joy on people’s faces as they climb up the last of the stairs and see the lake,” she says.

[Source: Gurdian]

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