Nestled in the heart of Kitsilano, O5 Tea Bar serves quality rare teas hand picked by passionate owner and tea hunter, Pedro Villalon. “O” stands for the obsession with Origin: Pedro travels around Asia sourcing teas from small farms in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the Himalayas. “5” represents nature’s elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Void all work in harmony to express the best qualities that each terroir gives to tea.
We were recently invited to O5 Tea to attend an intimate and informative tea tasting session. The evening began with an amuse bouche of warm water with a drop of Grapefruit & Hops extract from Bittered Sling to cleanse the palate. Bittered Sling is a culinary and cocktail friendly artisanal line created by local company, Kale & Nori Culinary Arts Inc., and is also sold here.
We learned that different types of tea can be enjoyed for different energy (chi), and specific teas are appropriate to consume during particular seasons. For example, green tea should be sipped to cool the body in warmer summer months.
Iced Yame Gyokuro (considered to be one of the finest green teas in the world) was a deep green tea with an ocean mineral infusion. It poured clear, smelled light, but had an intense green tea flavor with a nose of citrus peel and fresh peach. The cool drink was finished off with candied ginger.
To ensure the best taste, tea is steeped in filtered water that has been boiled fresh each and every time. And in general, good quality tea can be steeped five or more times!
Balhyocha is a micro tea harvest from Korea, and an ideal tea for colder seasons to warm the body. It had a smooth, not bitter taste with notes of chocolate, date and oak.
Matcha powder was freshly ground in the stone grinder for our vibrantly green matcha shots.
Matcha was paired with homemade matcha yema (pictured below), a custard candy and common Filipino dessert. Matcha lent itself very well to being paired with a sweet treat, as its flavors were drawn out by the yema.
The evening came to a close with white moonlight cold infusion served in champagne flutes. It had an aroma of wild orchid, apricot, and berries, and the light clover honey sensation on the palate was floral and refreshing.
We had the opportunity to taste a great variety of teas on this particular night. Quality was controlled every step of the way because Pedro ensured every process from picking to storing to brewing. Even as an avid tea drinker, I had not previously tried the majority of the teas on the menu, but I certainly tasted the quality of the teas. We would definitely recommend visiting O5 Tea to experience tea like you’ve never experienced it before!
FYI: O5 Tea Bar serves individual cups of tea, teas infusions, and hosts tea tasting events catered by Kale & Nori – their upcoming event “Tea of the Americas” is on February 22nd (more info here). O5 Tea | 2208 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC | O5Tea.com