Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dao Tea: “Farm-to-table” Tea Movement

Last month, Pedro Villalon came by The Network Hub for a tea session. He brought along a whole set of teas and tools to inform us about all the different aspects of tea – sustainability, health benefits, preservation of leaves, properly brewing it to bring out the most flavour.

From the couple of hours he was here, you could instantly tell that he was passionate and dedicated to tea which is exactly what lead him to form Dao Tea.

Pedro started learning about tea in small shops across Guangzhou, where he lived for two years and invested much of his time learning about tea. “I travelled across the province of Zhenjiang (Hangzhou, Anji, Changxing, Qian Dao Hu) to learn about green and flower teas; Fujian (Anxi) and Northern Guangdong (Phoenix Mountain) to learn about oolongs; Yunnan (Yiwu, Menghai and Xishuangbanna) to learn about Pu Ers and to the village of Hwagae in South Korea to learn about Korean green, herbal and balhyo teas.”

His reason to focus on tea came naturally after his travels; “I love Asia, its culture and its people. I’ve always wanted to be a farmer; working with farmers is close to that. I learned to love tea. It’s an art, it’s good for health, and it’s good for Earth (low impact agriculture).”

With Dao Tea, the concept is simple: “from farmer to table.” This is what makes Dao Tea so special – there are no additives in the tea. Pure tea leaves from farms on the mountains of Asia are put straight into the eco-friendly package.

In the end, the tea is good for you and the earth. “The package is eco-friendly while preserving tea in optimum condition. The recyclable aluminum foil bag keeps the leaves fresh and protects them from light; the recycled cardboard keeps the leaves from breaking,” Pedro explains, “my friends at Webb Scarlett deVlam (recently re-named Webb deVlam) in London designed both the identity and package. They graciously supported my new upstart company.”

Dao Tea has been in business for a few months now and Pedro described the process as fun, challenging and something completely new. “The great news is that a large community in Vancouver celebrates life and great food.”

He plans to make Dao Tea the choice for foodies in BC and reach out to yoga communities. “I’m working to create distribution in gourmet food shops like Capers and Meinhardt, fine restaurants (Nu, C) and boutique hotels. And Pedro has a concept in mind for 2011: to open Vancouver’s first farm-to-table tea shop where all food and beverage ingredients can be traced to the famers who produced them.”I believe that it’s critical to maintain a close relationship with the farmers and artisans who are the heart of the company.”

In a longer term, he sees business opportunities related to sustainable energy in Canada, Asia and Latin America. For aspiring entrepreneurs, Pedro leaves a piece of advice: “Drink a lot of tea.”

Posted via email from minna's posterous