Saturday Farmers’ Market Vendor Feature: Sunny M Specialty Coffee and Tea
This week we are featuring Sunny M Specialty Coffee and Tea, a first-year vendor at our market! Sunny M is dedicated to exploring the diverse flavors of specialty coffee and tea as well as providing an enjoyable and fascinating tasting experience. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with owner, Mark Chao, to find out more.
How long has the Sunny M been around? How did you get started?
We started late summer 2019. A few years ago, on a business trip to Portland, OR, my work partner took me to a specialty coffee shop – Coava which was my first experience to taste a remarkable coffee. The bright tropical fruit acidity attached with caramel-like sweet, multi flavors but perfectly balanced. It was a completely different experience I have ever had. Ever since, every city I visited, I feel excited to look for some local specialty coffee shops to fulfill my enthusiasm on the tastes and the aroma of special coffee. After experiencing many specialty coffees in different countries, I started to learn roasting coffee and began to explore and promote the opportunity of Taiwan’s fine tea. During the process of tracing the tea sources, I found that the product information was very opaque. Looking at the tea leaves on the table and the coffee in the cup, I was very curious about their origin. Fortunately, in the past years, the trends of Fair Trade, Direct Trade, and Transparency Report have prevailed in N. America and Europe. By learning from its spirit and get a glimpse of the current industry trend. I flew to origins, listening to the first-hand information from the tea and coffee farmers, to better understand the reality of the ecological chain. I then realized that to have an ethical coffee or tea, we need efforts and lucks. 2019, I decided to spend more time with my family and pursued my hobbies – Coffee & Tea. In July, landed in Richmond, B.C, and in December, registered a company name ” SUNNY M SPECIALTY COFFEE & TEA”.
What are the three most important things you think people should know about Sunny M?
- Health, our products are selected through our mixology standard which combines from different guidelines, standards, and observations.
- Choice, huge selection of varieties, processes and roast styles.
- Exceptional, from green bean vacuum pack, constant temperature storage to precise brew ratio, every step we do is to ensure an enjoyable cup of coffee/tea delivery to customers.
What criteria go into sourcing your teas and coffees? Do you work directly with the farmers?
In order to serve good cup of coffee & tea, chain of values required fastidious attention to detail from farm to cup; and each step in between. We always look for 3 criteria when sourcing, 1. How they take care of the farm and how they manage it. 2. Are they self-motive to improve better quality of their produces 3. What is its purpose? For teas, we work directly with the farmers. For coffee, we source through agents who visit coffee farms regularly and work with farms to achieve better quality. Green coffee beans with quality score 84+ is our minimum standard.
How do you select a new tea or coffee for your menu?
For coffees, we split into two categories. One is modern traditional and the other is what we called third wave. Modern traditional is roasted to fit into the taste between the traditional coffee and the third wave coffee. Third wave coffee represent light roast, focuses in aromas, fruity body and sweet aftertaste. Each category contains 3 different types of coffee, and each coffee has their unique flavors. We review and taste each of them to avoid overlap similar flavors on a menu.
For Tea, we provide tea with different types of process (e.g oolong, red oolong and black tea) and varieties. We carry only few types of teas at this moment but we are still source for more traceability teas with good quality.
You do not serve your tea and coffee with any milk or cream, why do you choose to do this?
We would like to invite our customers to taste and to feel how different the pure natural coffee and teas are without any artificial flavors or any additions. There are multiple amazing natural flavors in our beans and teas for our customers to explore and to experience.
Why did you choose to come to the UBC Saturday Market specifically?
We like the natural environment at UBC and we think people who come to UBC farm have the same goals, to enjoy natural, to support local and to have healthy and quality life.
If you could only have one of your teas/coffees for the rest of your life which one would it be?
Wush Wush has unique aromas (e.g bubble gum), tropical fruit sweetness and long aftertaste which make coffee appreciation incomparable. Our Red Oolong tea made with hybrid processes (Invented by Taiwan Tea Research Centre) which create its superb flavors in aromas and tastes. Amber(one of our Red Oolong Tea) will be my choice. These will definitely be the coffee/tea for the rest of my life.
Where else can customers find you?
We have a workshop in Richmond which is by appointment only. However, from late July until end of Aug, we will have a pop-up coffee & tea shop at 2nd-floor BlackBall Taiwanese Dessert shop in Richmond. Please check our website or IG for more information. www.sunnymspecialty.comMarket Dates| Instagram | Website | Facebook page