We were in Yaletown looking to kill some time. An hour in between appointments, searching for a sit down place to spend it. The options were either dessert or drinks, but in Yaletown there isn’t too many of either. Not wanting to do so in a “Starbucks” or any other chain, we decided to consider “Cha Le”. Although it was their unique looking tea apparatuses, visible from the outside of their all glass interior, that had us ultimately venturing in.
Similarly, their wall of shelves, showcasing dozens of gourmet loose leaf teas grabs your attention, once inside. They are accompanied by “Cha Le” branded tea sets and metal tins available for purchase.
During our visit, the space was empty and the cafe became ours. This allowed us to engage the lone employee, and for us to ask questions, inquiring what is their cafe all about.
All their teas are brewed using specialized machinery, done with precision and the perfect cup of tea in mind. Because as purists know, if you steep a tea for too long you get a bitter brew; and if not long enough, you end up drinking water. So using the “Alphadominche” near perfection is achieved. The machine looks like an elongated bodum press. Your tea-rista sets the timer on the touch screen controls, which sets into motion the brewing process. Liquid rushing from one end of the press to the other, stopping between the two chambers as part of the steeping process. It is fun to watch.
View this post on Instagram
Check out this cool #tea making apparatus from @chaleteamerchant. Guaranteed to make the prefect cup, with perfectly timed brews. Here, they are making my “Dirty HK Style” #bubbletea tea with coffee and pearls. #magmeieats . . . . . . . . . #food #foodie #foodblogger #foodporn #foodlover #foodlove #instafood #yummy #nomnomnom #eat #eating #instagood #foodstagram #foodinsta #foodgram #vancouver #vaneats #vancityeats #vanfoodie #vancouverfoodie #yvrfood #vcbfood
I got to enjoy this show with my order of their “Dirty HK style” “Boba milk tea”. It includes a couple of pumps of coffee syrup in this shaken black tea. All their six available boba tea flavours use premium teas, grade “A” tapioca pearls, and organic dairy. And never any processed powders or artificial flavours. And because of it, it doesn’t taste like the regular, heavily sweetened, powered milky bubble teas that I am use to. So obviously my opinion was biased as I was more familiar with powder and when I think of bubble tea, that is what I reflect on of and imagine tasting. Where as in all accounts this should be the preferred version. A clean beverage, full of the intended flavours at their most fragrant. A pure tasting cup. And they weren’t joking about the pearls, this was some of the best I have ever had. Extremely fresh, with the ideal gummy chew, dare I say, some of the best in the city.
My guest opted for something more fun. This is their “Mint Majik Latte”. A drink to not only order for its health properties (as it contains over 65 minerals amid acids), but for its magical baby blue hue as well. At its bases it is organic peppermint tea, to it they add e3 live green algae and organic whole milk. The result is a mild minty beverage that tastes faintly of medicine. This is a cup I would reach for if I was under the weather or wanting something warming before bed.
With it we had some much sweeter macarons. A raspberry flavour and one that is caramel with fudge filling. One of the great little desserts and/or snacks they offer to accompany your tea of choice. They also have ready to serve danishes, cakes, muffins, and croissants; all easily visible behind glass.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Overall a unique concept and the only one of its kind in Vancouver. They make a great spot to hang out at, or to do work in. Well lit, spacious and clean, with easy going staff. And they even have longer hours for the loitering crowd. Don’t deny your cravings.