Recently I went to the Urban Tea Merchant in West Vancouver. I’ve been here before but this time was a bit different. In a good way. They’ve standardized on one tea brand, The Ô Dor. While I will miss one of the other brands they used to carry, MARIAGE FRÈRES, I can get it at other places and The Ô Dor will give them a run for their money, if not beat them at their own game. It was probably a really smart move.
At the end of my lunch (which was delicious by the way), one of their lovely tea merchants, Reza, gave me a tour of some of their teas to introduce me to The Ô Dor. He was incredibly knowledgable about all the teas and the brand. He told me that the founder, Guillame Leleu, is one of the youngest people (26 when he founded the tea house) to pass the tea taster certification with as high of marks as he recieved.
I left with three teas to take home and sample:
- THÉ DU LOUP – “The first creation of The Ô Dor, Tea of the Wolf. Flavours of chocolate and hazelnut with blended black teas from China and Ceylon. Considered by many as a perfectly natural anti-depressant, this warm source of stress-relief, summer and winter, will seduce the ladies as it will the gentlemen.” It certainly puts a smile on my face when I have it.
- COÏNCIDENCE NOIR – “The Ô Dor wanted to propose a variation of a famous blend of tea for connoisseurs. For these enthusiasts, The Ô Dor has created a black tea, with captivating perfumes of the original creation, which is bound to attract attention.” It smells/tastes familiar, but I can’t place what it is.
- CÉLÉBRATION – “Rich in flavours of cream, vanilla and roasted hazelnuts. A masterful creation to be enjoyed with or without milk. A true delight!” Mmmm…a lovely combination of flavors that I prefer with milk and sugar.
And there was one tea that I keep thinking about and am kicking myself for not getting while I was there – Milky Oolong. It’s a super rare mistake of a find. According to the story that was told to me, they were experimenting with the fermentation processes and decided to put it through the process one more time. And what they got was this devine tea that smells exactly like caramel, with tastes of vanilla and “milk with softness of voluptuous cream”. At $86/100 g, I’ll be getting just enough for 1 pot of tea next time.
One thing that they do that sounds like fun are the tea leaf readings every Monday night – but unfortunately I can’t get over there during the week.
I make it sound like The Urban Tea Merchant is hours away from me, but going across the Lions Gate Bridge is a bit of a commitment from Cambie Village. But luckily I won’t have to travel too far come November – they’re opening a location on Alberni St in Downtown Vancouver. And it’s only a few block from where I work. I’m sure I’ll be in there weekly, but I’ll have to hide the receipts from my lunch hour sojourns.
Conclusion: Check out The Urban Tea Merchant and the Milky Oolong.