Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sakura Sakura in Vancouver!

Just came back from holidays in Vancouver, British Columbia.  This Canadian West Coast city, known for its gloomy rainy winters...how gloomy?  Imagine, the heavens open up and just poured for days and days on end.

Days become weeks... and weeks become months, until suddenly the torrential downpour finally subsides and becomes a gentle pitter patter, the clouds soon start to part and warm golden beams of sunlight flood in to signal Spring.  It is about this time that you will notice little tufts of white and pale pink fluff start to cover the trees all around the city.

There are many flowering trees that start to wake up around this time in Vancouver, such as plum, magnolia trees, but the star attraction, without a doubt are their famous cherry trees!  Oh, the beautiful Sakura in Vancouver!

It all started with a gift of 500 cherry trees from Japan in the early 1930s to honour the soldiers who died in WWI.  Over the years, many more were planted, now with approximately 37,000 trees that line the city's public and private parks, streets and laneways, the cherry blossoms act as a symbol of Spring that greets Vancouverites and visitors, like me, each year.

Following the Japanese tradition of Hanami, cherry blossom viewing, became so popular that each year Vancouver holds a Cherry Blossom Festival.  I got into town mid-April, so missed alot of the organized festivities.  So I went about town in search for cherry trees and the perfect place to have a picnic under the blossoms.  And when I read that The Urban Tea Merchant was offering a special "Sakura Westcoast Tea Service", it fit the bill perfectly.

On West Georgia Street, just outside The Urban Tea Merchant
Look up...aaahhh...

Front entrance
Courtyard and side entrance
Upon entering The Urban Tea Merchant, your eyes will feast on a roomy, beautiful and luxurious tea lounge...no, tea lifestyle store!  with all sort of tea ware, tea linens, books, decorations, treats, and of course, TEA!  

The Urban Tea Merchant only carries the high quality, luxury TWG Tea line from Singapore.

Look at that huge wall of tea!  (that's on my wish list)

I met their resident Tea Sommelier, Reza Nasooti, when I first visited the teashop last December.

Reza is also one of the two instructors for the Certified Tea Sommelier program at the Vancouver Community College.  When I made my reservation for tea, I also made a reservation for a quick tea tasting with Reza to help my guest and me in selecting the tea we'll be enjoying at our tea service.

Reza ponders which teas to select from their extensive wall of teas

I had invited my friend, Drew, to join me on my Sakura tea adventure.  Drew is more of a coffee drinker, and very occasional tea drinker.  I thought this would be a fun way to introduce him to more teas, some tea infused food, and traditions...and who know, maybe leave as a new tea convert!?

Stay tuned for Part Two for our tea tasting with Reza and the Sakura West Coast Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant.  And see if there may be a new tea convert in our mist...


  1. Beautiful photographs. Great blog!

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    for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks!