This is Joe Cheng, from Vancouver, co-owner of Cold Tea.
Joe is 38 years old and was born and raised in Vancouver. He lived there until he decided to go on a one-year trip to Australia. That trip actually turned into him living there for five years, until he decided to come back home to open a restaurant with his brother.
Joe has been working in hospitality from his early university years. After he graduated and started to practice in physiotherapy, he kept working in bars and restaurants as a side job because he liked it and it was different than health care. When he landed in Australia, he found himself bartending full-time. That’s where he got most of his cocktail bartending foundations. Eventually, though, when he decided that he wanted to stay, he went back to working full-time as a physiotherapist and part-time in bars in order to keep his visa. Five years later, he realized that he could actually make something out of his path hospitality and wanted to bring home the experiences and knowledge he had gained in Australia.
Upon his return in Vancouver, Joe got his brother on board and together they decided to start working towards the opening of their own venue, Cold Tea. They had worked alongside each other in Australia. While Joe specialized in the beverage side of things, his brother went up the management route so they could round each other up. To open their own venue, all they needed was a chef.
The inspiration behind Cold Tea is a mixture of their back ground and culture when they grew up. Joe and his brother are Chinese and the chef is Vietnamese, together they wanted to bring the nostalgia of the food, the taste and the culture that they grew up having, all the while making it more approachable for people that didn’t grow up with these references. Cold Tea is designed to be a fun place, they want to show people what they are all about and highlight Asian culture as something that is approachable, not something you need to be afraid of. With all the Asian hate going around, they want to be a part of helping to erase that problem and be a place that is open to everyone looking to have fun and promote love instead of hate. Go to Cold Tea for a Sunday brunch and you’ll understand what they’re all about. You will find dim sum carts and mimosa carts going around, a DJ spreading good vibes with some funky tunes, some large, colourful and comfortable table settings as well as attentive and very friendly service. All the more reasons to fall in love with the place, try new flavours you might not be familiar with and wanna come back every week.
For Joe's cocktail creation, click here.