I began my journey to seek out tea merchants in my local area to see if they would be willing to share their experiences about tea and how they became involved in the business of tea.
As I began to call a few tea shops, I came across one named 05Tea in Vancouver, Canada. I spoke to the owner, Pedro Villalon, who surprised me because he was very receptive about sparing an hour of his time to share his tea experience.
Pedro moved to Vancouver from Asia, where he spent his time traveling throughout the continent, meeting and getting to know micro tea farmers. Pedro is known as a “tea hunter,” because he found small tea farmers throughout Asia, built relationships and learned all about farming methods and the types of teas each farmer grew. Each grower produces only a very small amount per year. They do not sell to large companies, so in some cases Pedro gained unique exclusivity to the teas. Pedro selects the teas based on the quality and the taste of each tea. At any given time, 05Tea may have only 15- 20 teas in stock to sell to consumers and in very limited quantities.
Pedro opened 05Tea Bar about a year ago. In that short time, he has already earned a reputation as a passionate and knowledgeable tea connoisseur. 05Tea Bar is like a gallery with its long wood counter, high ceilings, and funky lighting that receives as much attention as the tea. In the far end is a slide show of pictures of the farms and farmers where the tea is sourced. Throughout the store, hanging on spacious wooden paneled walls opposite the tea bar are clean displays of packaged loose leaf tea and tea ware. Pedro showed me Pu-erh tea wrapped in pressed pancakes, and went on to explain that each is aged for several years and, in some cases, passed down through the families of the growers as an a heirloom.
Pedro loves Matcha tea and has a ritual each morning of brewing a bowl of Matcha and savoring its texture and flavor.
Most of the teas at 05tea are very rare. Therefore, the unique experience of each tea can only be found at 05tea. O stands for Origin and the 5 represents the 5 element of nature. Yes, five the fifth, is for Void
O5tea also takes the tea experience one step further by also serving kombucha, non-alcoholic cocktails, and frequently host local bartenders and distillers who showcase their wares and pair with the teas to create exceptional beverages. Once a month Pedro hosts one of these unique events.
I would like to thank Pedro for taking the time out of his day to share his experience and knowledge of tea. He is one of many generous tea lovers that I have met in recent months who have been so helpful and willing to share their story. Many thanks, Pedro!
I would encourage the readers of TChing to check out the web site for 05Tea.