A few days ago I was invited by Diana (foodology) to attend a tea tasting event at O5 Rare Tea Bar on West 4th. To be honest, before she told me about it, I have never heard of O5. However, I must have been living under a rock because they have won multiple awards, been featured in articles, and wowing tea lovers with their exquisite handcrafted teas since their opening four months ago.
Pedro Villalon is the mastermind behind all of this and he is an expert in uncovering the freshest aromatic teas you have ever tasted.
I was first welcomed with their delectable White Moonlight Cold Infusion tea which was simple, clean, and refreshing.
I have had Matcha plenty of times before but this was the first time I saw matcha in its purest form, before it is grounded up into powder (the form most people usually encounter).
This is the Matcha Stone Mill Grinder that they use to grind up Matcha leaves into powder form. It takes a lot of effort to grind them into such a fine texture.
Before serving us the Matcha Shot, he made sure that none of us were extremely sensitive to caffeine. He said this Matcha shot has become an alternative to coffee for many of his customers. It is quick (he can whip one up in a few minutes), delicious, and gives you just as good of a caffeine kick than regular coffee.
After drinking it, I instantly felt the energizing effects. The taste was delicious so it could absolutely be savoured (as I did) by little sips instead of chugging it down in one gulp. Matcha lovers, you’ve gotta try this.
Pedro also enjoys trying out different ways of enjoying tea, so therefore he kindly offered us a taste of his Candied Hibiscus Flower from Mexico. The sour yet slightly sweet taste was strong at first, but it slowly melted into a chewy sweet texture, kind of like candied citrus peels.
After trying the hibiscus candied, he proceeded to make us a concoction with hibiscus flowers, candied ginger, a sprig of rosemary, and Bittered Sling Western Elderberry bitters. I felt like I was a judge on Iron Chef America in which the chef prepares a variety of dishes using the same ingredient! 😀 What a treat! This was my favourite tea of the night. The unusual combination of herbs, candy, and tea became a perfect marriage that I was not expecting. I can’t wait to try Pedro’s future combinations as they are genius.
You can also get their Darjeeling Caramels which they make in house in their kitchen using cream, sugar, milk, and tea.
I had a fantastic time sampling all kinds of tea from floral herbal teas to 20 year old Oolong tea. I would highly recommend O5 Tea Bar for any tea fanatic and this is a fantastic venue to have events or even your birthday party. As beautiful as the teas were, the gem here is Pedro. Talk to him about his tea adventures in Asia or ask him the meaning behind “O5”, you will not be able to help but feel his passion and love for his craft.
Overall Rating: 5/5