Just when we thought the recent explosion of high-end coffee shops had venerable tea wobbling on the ropes, back comes the old favourite with a hefty wallop of its own in the form of the O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver. Both beverages have now been elevated to the status of sciences, with blending, brewing and even cooking established branches of knowledge; it follows that coffee shops and tea rooms are advancing in sophistication to match their customers and ingredients.
O5 Tea is a modern concept with equipment to match. There are pieces of machinery in here that we won’t begin to pretend to understand, but we’re told they are the bee’s knees for tea preparation. The décor has some contemporary flavour as well, notably the fun suspended cushions – perhaps representing clouds, or protecting drinkers heads as they float off on a tea-trip. Blending nicely with the modern are more traditional elements that pay homage to the historic roots of the drink. Stone grinders sit alongside old wooden barrels and chests, and lots of dark wood suggests oriental origins. With all sorts of rare teas on offer, O5 is set to be a must-visit for Canadian tea-lovers.