A 'Rare' Experience in Tea Drinking!
Recently Abby and I met up for tea and a chat. We decided to try O5 Rare Tea Bar, in Kitsilano. Prepared to have our usual ‘orange pekoe with a dash of milk’, we were taken by surprise when we found O5, offers a totally different type of tea-time.
The ‘O’, in the name stands for their obsession with Origin. They travel the world sourcing rare teas. The ‘5', represents the five elements of nature - earth, water, wind, fire and void. In the words of ‘O5' - “In harmony, these elements express tea leaves into an outstanding cup.” This is a place serious about tea!
You enter through the front door off West 4th Avenue, into a long narrow, darkish room. On one wall there are shelves with tea and pottery for sale. The opposite side of the room is where the staff stands behind a long counter to serve the customers who are sitting on low stools.
The staff are warm, welcoming, knowledgeable and very eager to interact with the customers- which was great, because we had a lot of questions!
After scanning the code to look at the menu on our phones (that was a new experience in itself!) and asking some questions about the different teas, we sat back and absorbed what was happening around us. This was definitely a place where you were welcome to sit and chat with a friend, read, study or relax for a long period of time. In fact, we were told that our tea leaves would be replenished with hot water as many times as we like and ‘often the customers expire before the tea leaves do’.
Some things to note:
- As mentioned above this is not your ‘English tea house’ type of place. O5 is all about the tea – and just the tea! There is no dairy or sugar on the premises - all tea is served black.
- The customer service is very attentive and while that’s great when you are the customer they are dealing with, it’s not so great when they are having an in depth conversation with someone else and you are trying to get their attention. It is a lesson in patience.
- The tea is high quality and the price reflects that. The teas we chose were in the $8.00 price range.
O5, also has events. You can book a private get together where you are assigned your own barista to assist you and your guests. There are also classes introducing the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Ikebana Flower Arranging and Kombucha making.
While O5, will not become a regular hangout for Abby and I, (it just wasn’t our ‘cup of tea’), we can certainly see the appeal of this establishment and appreciate what it has to offer. I’m glad for having had the experience and I am planning on going back to attend a workshop!