49th Parallel

Let's Talk Tea: Class Recap by Caleb Savage

Let’s talk tea. Oklahomans love tea. Even as soda becomes less and less common in restaurants, you can almost always find tea on the menu served in two forms: black or sweet. In fact, it’s not terribly uncommon to go to a restaurant in our great state, order an iced tea and receive a sweet tea instead, but we aren’t here to discuss our state’s sugar consumption.


Last Saturday we hosted our first tea class led by Aria & Caleb, examining the history and production of tea, discussing blends and single origin teas, and of course, drinking a lot of tea! We couldn’t have done this class without having an opportunity to talk to Sam Duregger at Woodshed Tea or serving fantastic teas from Urban Teahouse and 49th Parallel!

What is tea?

Tea comes from the dried leaves of the Camellia Sinesis plant, an evergreen with two main varieties. The plant is grown in places like China, Taiwan, Japan, Iran and Turkey as well as Sri Lanka, Kenya, and India. Countries like China & India have been cultivating tea for thousands of years, developing rituals, improving quality, and working tea into the culture of their communities.


Plantation to Teapot

Since tea growing can be highly regional, it’s hard to set clear steps on how we get from plant to teapot. Practices on how and where plants are grown and how the leaves are dried and processed to be used for tea can be highly specific.

Tea leaves are plucked according to how the leaves will be used. Lighter teas are often younger while teas like Oolongs or Pu-erhs often use mature leaves. The leaves are then withered to lower the moisture content of the leaf to retain flavor and then the leaves will be rolled, oxidized, or fermented depending on their desired tea. Well-produced teas are then sorted removing inferior or smaller leaves and defects discarded.


Current Offerings

You can always find a variety of teas in the shop as we always keep a black, a green, an Earl Grey blend (for London Fogs), a Chai blend (for Chai Lattes) and one or two seasonal teas! All teas can be served hot or iced.

49th Parallel Coffee & Tea by Caleb Savage

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters is a coffee and tea company founded in 2004 by brothers, Vince & Michael Piccolo. Now with three cafes, a tea sourcing program and a doughnut shop called Lucky’s, Vancouver’s 49th Parallel is an exceptional company valuing relationships with producers to ensure the they are able to serve the highest quality coffee and tea available. We spoke to Gianluca Zavarise about 49th, Vancouver, and 49th’s coffee and tea sourcing.

Photo courtesy of 49th Parallel

Photo courtesy of 49th Parallel

City & Cafe

Photo courtesy of 49th Parallel

Photo courtesy of 49th Parallel

Vancouver, British Columbia is home to an exceptional coffee community, and 49th leads the pack. Each 49th Cafe has its own Lucky’s Doughnuts and their downtown location currently serves breakfast, burgers, egg sandwiches, and more! But Vancouver is more than just a continuation of the Pacific Northwest’s coffee dominance.

If you make your way to Vancouver, the 49th team recommends a walk or bike ride along Stanley Park, A visit to Grouse Mountain, Lynn Suspension Bridge, and Kitsilano beach or Jericho beach for an evening sunset. For experiencing the city's urban culture, the team recommends checking out  Gastown, Robson Street for shopping, Mount Pleasant, Chinatown, or Yaletown.

The Source

Focused on “open communication and strong business partnerships with coffee producers”, 49th seeks to make “financially sustainable [decisions] for all involved – especially for those who make a living growing coffee.”

From their website:

“49th Parallel has two coffee buyers who travel throughout the year to Central America and Africa to source the highest quality coffees. The most cherished thing about the sourcing program is that 49th works with many of the same producers each year, building strong relationships. This not only guarantees the best coffee but also benefits the producers and their communities. 49th pays a premium for these coffees often paying producers 3 to 4 times the commodity market price.”

Coffee farmers in Honduras. Photo courtesy of 49th Parallel

Coffee farmers in Honduras. Photo courtesy of 49th Parallel

We’re serving Ecuador Gilda Carrascal and Ethiopia Mesina as well as a new green tea, Yellow Mountain Tip. It’s easy to taste the intentionality and care 49th Parallel puts into its offerings. Stop by the shop and try them before they’re gone!