Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe is a new chic tea bar that recently opened in Yaletown, Vancouver (1207 Hamilton Street). It offers a proprietary line of premium, single-origin Chinese teas to Canada. While many people think of full service cafes, coffee shops comes to mind, tea bars are quickly becoming a global trend.
Although 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 (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, beautifully designed by Vancouver-based branding firm Glasfurd & Walker (Kissa Tanto, Savio Volpe).
Menu concept is simple yet refined by tea infused flavours to accentuate the ingredients’ inherent profiles. Former Executive at Fairmont Pacific Rim Chef Darren Brown develops six savoury toasts and two sweet offerings.
Choose from a selection of mouth watering:
- Prosciutto Smashed Avocado and Poached Egg
- Hand Peeled Shrimp – Ceremonial Grade Matcha, Avocado and Shredded Nori
- Wild Smoked Salmon -Green tea cucumber, radish sprouts and preserved lemon mascarpone
- Haidacore Albacore tuna – Poke style with sesame-spinach and Dragonwell salad 7.50
- Truffled Ricotta & Hazelnuts – With sundried tangerine & pu’er honey
- Toast & Jam – Toasts with chutneys, jams, spread & cheeses
- Chocolate Toast – milk chocolate, hazelnut & roasted Iron Goddess of Mercy spread
Salted Caramel and Banana with brown sugar and cinnamon mascarpone
Seafood ingredients are completely Oceanwise and sustainable!
Also available are collaboration items between Cha Le X Beta 5 features Artisanal chocolate tea truffles & bars.
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.
For more tea offerings, visit them in person or shop online.
I cannot wait to go back and indulge in their proprietary teas, blends, tea lattes, herbal infusions and a small bites menu. BTW, their licensed patio to open in the Spring!
Cha Le Tea Merchant
Cuisine: Tea Bar, Cafe
Mon 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tue 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wed 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thu 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Fri 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
1207 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6k3
image credit: 1