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North Side Tea

Shane Pendergast is a folksinger and documentary filmmaker from Tracadie Cross, Prince Edward Island. He learned to play music by ear at an early age, immersed in a culture of family kitchen parties. At age 22, Shane is known as an “old-school troubadour,” performing upwards of 200 gigs a year. Shane released his second album of original music, "Second Wind" on March 5th 2021. His short documentaries are available on his website

By Shane Pendergast

Those who believe that black coffee is the only way to start their day obviously haven’t heard of North Side Tea. The fishing families that live beside the Tracadie bay have been brewing it for years. The Pratt Dictionary of Prince Edward Island English defines North Side Tea as being so strong “you can walk on it.” It’s a rogue type of brewing that would bring any self-respecting tea sommelier to tears. One begins with two, maybe three bags of tea in the pot. There’s no limit on how long they should boil. The final step is where the real crime occurs. You simply leave the bags in there as long as you can stand it. It’s the same philosophy as a trust fund investor. There’s a verse from an Island folk song that really lays it out:

“Fill the kettle to the top, get the water scalding hot
If you want your perfect brew, boil the bags a day or two
In your thermos, strong and black, you don’t know when you’ll be back
There’s no telling where you’ll be, bring along your North Side Tea”

North Side Tea serves a utilitarian purpose. It’s a wakeup call. Though that may be too friendly a description. It’s a punch in the gut. Witchcraft. Down-home voodoo. A few years ago I did a series of videos for Lady Baker’s Tea where I travelled around the Island sampling various blends. I had to learn the art of removing the bag from the cup after a specific amount of time. Such a motion was foreign to my arm, and to this day I am far from mastery.

You have to understand my upbringing. Not mentioning any names, someone in my household has been known to scoop up used tea bags, add them to his pot, and let them mellow there for days. Folk tea at its finest. From birth, I was inculcated into the cult of North Side Tea. I realize the error in my ways, and have resolved to better myself. From here on out I will obey the instructions on tea pouches.

Shannon & Shane enjoying some Lady Baker's Tea

(not of the North Side variety)

Shane is a great friend of Lady Baker's Tea and we encourage you all to check out his new album Second Wind which was just released. You will not regret it!  


Check out some more of Shane's Lady Baker's Tea videos here:

Tea and Tunes

Loose-Leaf: a Universal Drink

Loose-Leaf Tea Journals: North Shore

Subscription Boxes

Lady Baker's Tea Welcome Video



Stephen Gouthro

Great post. Thanks for the smile and reminder of the tea of my childhood in Cape Breton.


This tea sommelier is cringing! I’ve had such tea and remembering emptying the pot at end of day when 8 tea bags would drop out. My dad just kept adding bags and water and left the pot on low burner all day.
Thanks Shane! Love your stories.

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