Tag Archives: Vancouver Tea Shop

Cha Le Tea Merchant: Fine Chinese Teas Steeped in Tradition

Yaletown Cafe + Shop introduces premium line of high quality, single origin teas from China

In February we check out the then new Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe + Shop and sampled some very high quality teas and tasty prawn, tuna and ricotta toast. Cha Le (pronounced chah•luh), which translates to “Happy Tea,” features upwards of 20 high-quality, handpicked teas for retail sale in large tins and small boxes,  as well as a full-service tea cafe serving a rotating list of proprietary teas, blends, tea lattes, herbal infusions and a small bites menu.


They’ve even partnered with Beta5 Chocolate to make beautiful tea-infused chocolates.

Imported directly from independent tea farms throughout China’s tea-growing provinces, Cha Le Tea Merchant’s husband-and-wife owners, Charlie Zhang and Sue Wang, have selected two dozen of the finest black, white, green, oolong and pu’er teas representative of the best of a given region. Examples include:

• Edge of the City A rare, smokey black tea grown from ancient trees by the owners’ family friend high in the mountains over Sue’s native city of Chongqing.

• Moonlight Beauty 2009 This mellow, aged white tea from Simao in Yunnan Province that gets its name from its unique leaves, which are white and downy on one side, smooth and black on the other.

• Maofeng This internationally recognized green tea is cultivated on Anhui Province’s Huangshan Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cha Le’s Maofeng is especially handpicked to deliver a sweet tea with no bitterness.

• Cinnamon Rock Tea Grown semi-wild in rock cracks high on a mountain in the Fujian Province, this woody oolong tea expresses a cinnamon-like flavour. Tea from the other side of the same mountain, Narcissus Rock Tea, has a floral flavour profile reminiscent of narcissus blossoms.

• Aged Shou Pu’er Coin 2007 Processed in 2007, this aged pu’er, (named after Pu’er City in Yunnan Province this fermentation technique was invented), uses top-grade golden buds pressed into mini cakes. The earthy flavour and aroma mellow and become silkier over time, much like wine.



While Cha Le teas are steeped in tradition, the Yaletown Cafe is not your typical Chinese teahouse. Gone are the antique teapots, replaced by a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled glass vacuum brewing system that customizes temperature and brewing times for each individual tea to ensure optimal results. Most teas can be prepared and steeped to perfection within 90 seconds, less than the time it takes to make an espresso latte.
Designed by Leckie Studio Architecture + Design Inc., the café space is maximized with full walls of custom millwork shelving and a central tea bar where customers can watch the show of their teas being brewed into ceramic mugs thrown by Vancouver Island-based ceramics artist Rachel Saunders or in eco-friendly to-go cups. A tranquil and comfortable seating nook with eight seats is also available for a more tranquil experience.

cha le tea boxes photo credit john sherlock

Cha Le is open seven days a week, 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday; 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

1207 Hamilton Street, Yaletown
Vancouver, BC V6B 6k3

Instagram: @chaleteamerchant
Twitter: @ChaLeTea
Facebook: /ChaLeTea
Website: www.chaletea.com

TWG Valentine’s Day Menu and Treats

TWG Valentine’s Day – Take Time For Tea

Got plans for Valentine’s Day yet? On Friday we checked out Chef Cliff Hohl’s latest menu at TWG Tea and left very impressed with just how gorgeous and delicious the TWG Valentine’s Day menu was. I love doing afternoon tea here (TWG was previously the Urban Tea Merchant) as it gives me the chance to chat with a friend over a selection of fine tea, and what is always delightful treats; this meal was the perfect excuse to cozy up and catch up on a rainy afternoon.


The menu begins with a Bain de Roses Tea-infused sparkling wine cocktail and followed by the Mon Amour Tea, a black tea blended with yellow blossoms and sweet notes of quince, known as the sacred fruit of the Goddess of Love. How perfectly romantic! You could also go for an iced tea made with a blossom-infused green tea if you would like something cold, and we tried both as well as a sorbet-infused tea.


The main course is a plate almost too pretty to consume, a perfectly-seared pan-seared scallops complemented by a dashi broth infused with a white tea and served wtih steamed garden vegetables and garlic Korean brown rice; so very precious!


Dessert is just as stunning, a Bain de Roses Tea infused mousse and raspberry confit, served with scoop of Vanilla Bourbon Tea infused ice cream and fresh berries. As I am on a diet of sorts, preparing to fit into my wedding dress, I just had a bite, and that was very difficult.

One thing I managed to confuse was pouring the remainder of the broth into my tea, which made for an interesting cup of tea broth, I don’t recommend this, but do highly recommend the meal!

On until February 14 for $65 per person. TWG

Open Daily 10:00am to 8:00pm




O5 Tea Rare Tea Bar

Tasting at O5Along Kitsilano’s Fourth Avenue there are many places to shop for a sip of something special.   There’s everything from wine to coffee, but O5 Tea is certainly one of the more exotic shops along this street; they are serving up tea creations in an ultra modern space.  Sourcing teas from around the globe, these people know how to brew up an excellent cup of tea and serve green, white, oolong, dark, black and tisane from regions such as China, Taiwan and the Himalayas.

Along with teas they also have a selection of savoury and sweet treats crafted with their teas and also serve kombucha, non-alcoholic cocktails and frequently host local bartenders and distillers who then showcase their wares and pair up with the teas to create exceptional beverages.


Tasting at O5

Tasting at O5

Tasting at O5

Tasting at O5

Tasting at O5

Dream becomes reality as Tracy Stern SALONTEA makes Canadian debut in Vancouver

Sunday, May 6th Salontea opens and CEO/founder and TV personality Tracy Stern will be on-hand for Sunday to sign copies of her ’20 Themed Tea Parties’ book.

Hours are weekends from 10am – 5pm and weekdays from 10am – 7pm

This South Granville’s popular shopping and dining district is set to welcome the May 2012 arrival of sought-after, New York-based Tracy Stern SALONTEA as it sets up its first ever Canadian boutique location at 3010 Granville Street.  Not just your average cup of tea, SALONTEA is a sought-after sipping-must for Royals and celebrities such as Oprah and Rihanna; attracting widespread global attention and demand from as far away as Dubai, Moscow, Guatemala and Cannes.

SALONTEA embraces the rich artistry of tea blending and tasting; fusing it with a unique, modern-day appeal that caught the attention of Vancouver-based, Sarah Ambrose after seeing SALONTEA President, Tracy Stern on an episode of Bravo Televisions, “Mad Fashion.”

This chance viewing literally changed Ambrose’ life who states that, “she was instantly drawn to Stern’s style, outlook, story, SALONTEA product and concept.” This led to an evening of furious research to learn everything she could about SALONTEA – fuelled by her desire to see a lifelong dream to open a tea shop come to fruition.

The following day, Ambrose decided to contact Tracy Stern directly sharing that, “I just went for it and called her up out of the blue to discuss the possibility of expanding SALONTEA into Canada, and found we shared an instant connection.”

That serendipitous conversation took place just three months ago, and since then this hard-working single mother has secured the rights to distribute SALONTEA throughout Canada, left a career in social work and mastered the art of starting a business from her iPhone.

Both Tracy Stern and Sarah Ambrose are excited to bring the special world of SALONTEA (themed tea parties included!) to Vancouver and look forward to introducing people to the extensive selection of teas, accessories and tea beauty care products all part of the SALONTEA line.  In addition, Ambrose recognizes the importance of supporting local businesses and artisans alike and will feature locally-sourced, seasonal goods that echo the sentiment embodied by Tracy Stern herself, “Enjoy Life. Drink Tea. Celebrate Often.”  

Not your traditional tea boutique, SALONTEA’s Vancouver location will offer a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere to patrons in search of a unique tea experience where they can connect, think, write and celebrate.  In addition to more than a dozen tempting, estate blended teas, customers can partake in daily tea service while perusing a selection of baked offerings, sweets and other tea-worthy treats (courtesy of neighbouring Meinhardt’s) as they take in the full spectrum of items the boutique will feature.  Also available at the boutique: signed-copies of Tracy Stern’s popular book, ‘Tea Party: 20 Themed Tea Parties with Recipes for Every Occasion, from Fabulous Showers to Intimate Gatherings’.

Vancouver SALONTEA hours are 10am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 5pm weekends & holidays.


Sakura Spring Festival at Urban Tea Merchant

Poems, such as this Haiku, are written praising the delicate Cherry Blossom flowers, which can be seen as a metaphor of life itself, luminous and beautiful yet fleeting, momentary and temporary.  The Japanese tea ceremony, Chanoyu (cha-no-yu – meaning ‘hot water for tea’) compliments this time of Spring to also celebrate beauty and even the mundane aspects of every day life. 

This year, The Urban Tea Merchant’s Sakura Festival and Sakura Afternoon Tea will be fully participating in the celebrations of Spring. In Japan, people gather in great numbers to hold feasts under the flowering trees.  As the most beautiful Cherry Blossom trees begin to bloom in our Tea Garden at our Alberni Street location and along the walkway in The Village at Park Royal in West Vancouver, The Urban Tea Merchant will be ‘feasting’ with music, dance and a beautiful Sakura Afternoon Tea. We are featuring Hanami Imperial, green tea delicately perfumed by Sakura Cherry Blossoms. Our Salon de Thé will be a perfect setting to make connections with friends and family and to welcome Spring. Come and experience Chef Taura’s newest creation – Sakura Afternoon Tea.  On Saturdays during the month of March, in both of our locations, treat yourself to an Afternoon Tea Service and listen to Japanese Flutist Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos, (shakuhachi musician), or watch the Japanese Cherry Blossom Dancers organized by Akemi Komori, or relax with the beautiful sounds of harpist Janelle Nadeau. (Reservations are highly recommended for the times of these special events). You could also simply enjoy a Sakura Afternoon Tea and witness the amazing show Nature offers with the blossoming of Cherry Blossom trees. Whatever you decide, please reserve as space is limited.

The Urban Tea Merchant is pleased to work with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to raise funds for planting even more Cherry Blossom trees around our beautiful city. We will donate $1.50 from every Sakura Afternoon Tea sold in the months of March and April to this very worthwhile community legacy. 

Sakura Festival Events at The Urban Tea Merchant

Every Saturday from 2:00 – 4:00 pm between March 12 – April 2 we present you special performances at our Salon de Thé to celebrate the welcoming of spring.

Vancouver – Alberni Street

March 12: Japanese Flutist
March 19: Harpist
March 26: Japanese Cherry Blossom Dancers

The Village at Park Royal

March 12: Japanese Cherry Blossom Dancers
March 19: Japanese Flutist
March 26: Harpist

For a special experience why not reserve your Sakura Afternoon Tea during one of our Sakura Festival Events.  Call now because seating is limited.

Salon de Thé reservations limited to your choice of any Signature Tea Service (per person) during the Sakura Festival Events.

The Urban Tea Merchant – New Flagship Store Opens in Vancouver


Excusive Tea Brands, Retail Gifts, Home Decor and Fine Dining in the heart of downtown

Contact: Karinna James, Co-owner
The Urban Tea Merchant
Mobile 778-688-5396

This week, downtown Vancouver will be introduced to a new concept in retail shopping, dining and service with the opening of The Urban Tea Merchant, a three thousand square foot store on West Georgia and Alberni Street offering a unique blend of food and beverage, retail, home decor and, say owners Karinna and Tom James, a sensory experience!

As the exclusive North American distributor for the luxury French tea line, Thé Ô Dor, The Urban Tea Merchant will carry the complete line of the beautifully packaged hand blended aromatic teas as well as a wonderful collection of fine harvest teas, all purchased by weight. The retail shop will feature unique European home decor merchandise, gifts, china and glassware with an interesting selection of tea related products including tea pots and kettles, as well as Charbonnel et Walker chocolates and imported French macarons. Additionally, the retail store will offer a tea consultation counter where guests can taste and choose their preferred blends.

The Urban Tea Merchant is also home to Vancouver’s first Salon de Thé, a 30 seat tea salon offering exquisite afternoon teas, light lunches and petit plates in a separate dining area, and a Thé et Chocolat Bar, offering en route (to go) classic teas, tea lattes & chilled tea infusions as well as chocolates and scones.

Chef du Salon Phong Vo has created a menu that offers four types of afternoon tea services; the Signature Afternoon Tea, a selection of savouries and desserts; a West Coast Afternoon Tea with beautifully crafted canapés that include BC smoked salmon, imported cheese, fresh fruit and sweets all garnished with edible flowers, and a Petit Afternoon Tea, which samples both sweet and savoury items. The Urban Tea Merchant’s Salon de Thé also serves a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea (for children 12 and under) with hot chocolate, small sandwiches and sweets. Perfect after an afternoon concert or before a holiday favourite like the Nutcracker Ballet or Sugar Plum Ball.

Lunch items, with recipes that incorporate tea infusions, include a quiche trio, beef tenderloin with white truffle mash puree, poached salmon or duck breast as well as more casual items like beef pot pie and macaroni with trois fromages.

The Urban Tea Merchant opens this week, December 3rd, 7:00 am until 7:00 pm with expanded hours through the holiday season. Summer time will see a courtyard tea garden on the Alberni Street side. Reservations for lunch and afternoon tea are available at 604-629-0071.

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The Urban Tea Merchant – Downtown Vancouver
1070 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 2Y2
(Entrances also located on Alberni Street, across the street from Coast restaurant,
and through lobby of the Grosvenor Building)

The Urban Tea Merchant – West Vancouver
825 Main Street, Park Royal Village
West Vancouver, BC V7T 2Z3
Thé Ô Dor (Tay oh door)