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O5 Tea Bar: A Rare Experience

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Nestled on the busy strip of West 4th Avenue, O5 Tea Bar opened last fall in Kitsilano. O5 Tea Bar offers rare teas curated by managing partner Pedro Villalon, hand picked from small tea farms in China, Taiwan, Korea, the Himalayas and elsewhere.

It was a cold and wet evening, and we arrived a little early for our 6pm reservation. The shop was quite busy with customers, so we took the opportunity to snap some shots of the beautiful retail area.

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Handmade tea cups by Robert Stickney

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As soon as you walk into O5 Tea Bar, you’re struck by the simplicity of its aesthetic. Black wood slats line the walls, with minimalistic metal shelving housing its gorgeous array of striking merchandise from around the world.

Everything in the shop looks like it’s been meticulously sought out — like pieces of art, each on display for you to gaze at admirably. And rightfully so… not everyone has $150 for a Robert Stickney handmade teacup.

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Bittered Sling Extracts from local artisinal line Kale and Nori 

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We sat at the long communal bar which runs along the inside of the cozy space, and prepared for what would surely be a memorable experience.

It’s not too often we get to enjoy this type of event, after all. Vancouver is known for its endless selection of coffee shops and bars, but tea isn’t something we seem to think of as a destination or place for a social gathering.

Other local bloggers Sean, Kevin, Melissa, and Joann were also there for the event. One of the other customers at O5 commented about all of us with our cameras, snapping away, so it must have been kind of a funny scene to other people.

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We started the evening with a mixture of Kale & Nori’s Bittered Sling Grapefruit and Hops extract with warm water. It was extremely light, and felt sort of like a palet cleanser.

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This was a micro-harvest from Korea (can’t remember the name!) which Pedro said is “great for hangovers!” Not that we know anything about that.

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Here’s Pedro, whisking the Matcha. This was our favorite drink of the evening.

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Matcha paired with Matcha flavoured yema, a traditional Filipino dessert.

It was amazing to see how neutral the Matcha tasted at first, and after you ate the candy it intensified tenfold. The power of a great pairing.

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Gyokuro, served chilled. Pedro explained that Gyokuro has a high amount of chlorophyll, thus explaining its very bright green color.

But watch what it looks like once filtered and poured…

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It looks just like water, doesn’t it? The taste was still intensely green, almost grassy even. It was strangely refreshing, and actually quite good.

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White moonlight, Yunnan, hibiscus cold infusion. The hibiscus leaves tasted like little candies. Adrian loved this one.

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Over all our experience at O5 Tea Bar was unique and enjoyable. We do wish we had the opportunity to do more food pairings with the teas, as it was clear after tasting the Matcha and Yema together that this really enhanced the tasting experience.

If you’re looking for some place different to meet with friends or unwind after a long day, O5 Tea Bar is the perfect spot for you.

XX – The Food Gays

O5 Rare Tea Bar on Urbanspoon

About The Food Gays

The Food Gays are Jeremy and Adrian, two Vancouver men who love food.

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