Daniel Lui offers first-time guests an intro into classic Chinese teas at Vancouver's Chinese Tea Shop
I'm sure you've heard of David's Tea, Murchies and Urban Tea Merchant. But did you know Vancouver tea culture is experiencing a revolution under our very eyes?
If you live in Vancouver, British Columbia you're at the locus of a blossoming tea city. There seem to be newer and better resources to access this most democratic of drinks here by the day. Indeed, we're at a point where Vancouver tea culture has been cited as being able to do what Seattle did for coffee!
About 15 years ago, when Daniel Lui first opened the iconic Chinese Tea Shop in Chinatown, he claims 80 to 90 per cent of his clientele were Chinese from Hong Kong and Guandong who sought the greens and oolongs they missed from back home.
Now, however, that demographic has flipped on its head. Now up to 70 per cent of his customers being of non-Chinese origin.
Walk into Daniel's shop on any given afternoon – especially a picturesquely cloud-covered and wet one like today – and you're sure to find Daniel behind his imposing oak desk expounding the virtues and complexities of 'gungfu cha' to tea novice and connoisseur alike.
Across town there's the O5 Rare Tea and Kombucha Bar offering Kits folk a bridge between the hipster café aesthetic and Daniel's more ground-and-loam tea experience. And if you're ready for a deep dive into the labyrinthine world of Chinese teas in particular, check out The Best Tea House, a direct transplant from Hong Kong to Richmond, where you'll find cakes, bricks and sundry tea implements stacked wall-to-wall with little handholding involved.
Drink local tea like an expert
But here's the thing: if you're not in the know on Vancouver tea culture, how do you know? That's where Vancitea comes in.
This blog aspires to be a comprehensive resource for local shops, events and news by tea drinkers for tea drinkers in the city. A burgeoning network across the spectrum of experience, taste and provenance with the ultimate goal of bringing together and promoting Vancouver's diverse tea resources! What we at Vancitea affectionately call our community of teaficionados (yes, we're also partial to puns and portmanteaus!)
Whether you're new to tea or as age-wisened as a Ming dynasty yixing pot, we hope this site will have something for you. Be sure to follow us on Instagram or get in touch directly for information on our semi-regular (highly secretive) tea sessions.
More to come soon. Till then, boil, steep, pour, read, repeat!