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“Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”
Ancient Chinese Proverb

Gao Shan Zhai, a honey tasting green pu'er tea

I don’t think I would appreciate life without tea.  Yes, we know its multiple health benefits, from high anti-oxidants and its ability to lower cholesterol (particularly green tea); but I would drink tea for the taste alone and for the memories that swirl in every cup.  Green genmaicha tea at my favorite Japanese café in Vancouver, earthy, almost bitter assam tea in the mornings and a mainstay while pulling all-nighters in college, smoky oolong tea that marked the blessing for a friend’s baby, soothing ginger tea perfect in the rainy season to keep away dampness and Darjeeling’s golden-lightness that takes me back to the India of my childhood, where my family once vacationed in a guesthouse of an expansive tea estate.

Drinking tea is both my favorite morning ritual to welcome in a day as well as my nightcap of choice after a meal, perfect post a yoga practice and sometimes before one.  And I am not alone, hundreds of millions of people around the world drink tea, approximately 9 billion in Canada alone.  We continue to imbibe this most ancient of human beverages, one that owes its appearance to a chance meeting of leaves and hot water in the China of almost 500,000 years ago.

No, I cannot think of life without tea.

Recently, I discovered a fresh, fragrant green tea, made by Dao Tea, a small company in Richmond, BC – it tasted of rainforests and springtime, the green-ness of earth, possibility.  I wanted to know more.

A butterfly alight on a tea bush

Founded by Pedro Villalon, a former Brand Manager with Proctor and Gamble in Mexico, China and the US, who is passionate about sustainable farming, Dao Tea seeks out tea farmers from remote villages in China and Korea who are master artisans and craft tea in small batches following traditions that are centuries old.

Tea master Yang Si's home, photo by Pedro Villalon

Pedro also loves tea.  “Tea is great for people – promotes health and delights the senses – and it is great for the planet.  This is low impact agriculture; traditional tea groves support a diversity of plants and insects.”

In Search of wild Chrysanthemum Tea, photo by Pedro Villalon of Dao Tea

“We also want to reach & support more tea farmers, helping them to make a profitable living through traditional farming instead of switching to more modern means of production.”

Currently, Dao offers a range of teas from awakening morning ones to gentle wind down teas.  Each is unique and you can visit the website to learn more about the farmer who harvests and crafts the tea.  An added bonus is the packaging, that marries pop design, recycled kraft paper and an asian sensibility

With Dao Tea’s emphasis on crafting teas that make you pause with satisfaction and offer a moment of presence in every cup, we think that we will be seeing yogis and foodies both lining up for a taste.

For now, you can get your fix at:
Online Shop: www.daotea.ca
In Vancouver: at Inner Space Yoga, in Gastown.
Capers at Robson Street.

The teas are available in loose-leaf packages only, of 30g and range in price from CAD $10.99 to $21.00.

*to learn more about these ancient tea farming methods, visit: dao tea’s blog.