Last weekend one took a ferry off the island and ended up spending time in Pedro's new brick and mortar tea shop, O5tea, in Vancouver. The shop is located on 4th, an upper scale Kitsilano business area for those unfamiliar with the city. A large window with displays of bamboo wrapped puerh tongs, hand carved matcha stone grinders, and Japanese style electric braziers welcomes you- the front door is wide open. When inside you are invited by the smiles of staff to sit down and try some tea at the long tea bar which stretches the full distance of the long narrow retail space. The space has high ceilings with funky lighting that receives as much attention as the tea. In the far end are pictures of the farms and farmers where the tea is sourced. Hanging on spaced wooden paneled walls opposite the tea bar are clean displays of packaged loose leaf tea and teawear (by David Louveau among others) for sale.
There is an iron tetsubin purchased from Hojo that boils water at lightning pace on a induction heater that smoothly blends into the sleek interior. The bar surface is composed of natural wood which adds a natural touch to the contemporary feel of the teabar. There are stainless steel drains built into the bar which offer contrast. The staff behind the bar, some of Japanese and Korean descent, keep the cups full and the conversation and tea info rolling. It is a charmingly social space where one effortlessly fades in and out of conversation with those to the right and left at the bar. Over the few hours drinking tea, numerous people of different ethnicity, age, tea experience, and walks of life cycle through.
During the few hours spent there one managed to sample some cold infused and bottled 2011 Autumnal Flush Margret's Hope Estate and 2012 Silver Needles, hot 2012 "Noeul" (Sunset) Kim Jong Yeol (Butea) Balhyocha, 1991 Oolong, slow-sugar reduced preparation of Jamaica, as well as some paring-chasers of old factory sake, and aged Mezcal. The comparison to Victoria's Jagasilk is hard to not make from the wood bar to the cold-bottled infusions, the influence is obvious. On the other hand O5tea has a more contemporary edge and a much more engaging space. Pedro, the once owner of Daotea, has done well in creating a special tea space- an experience much enjoyed!
Took home some 2012 "Noeul" Kim Jong Yeol (Butea) Balhyocha, watch for a review of this tea in the weeks to come.