Camellia Sinensis Latin Quarter Location, photograph courtesy of Kevin Gascoyne

Quebec’s Camellia Sinensis took residence two World Tea Awards on the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas in June. The 20-year-old Canadian enterprise was named Best Retail Tea Shop, Café, Bar and likewise gained Best E-commerce Tea Website.

Helmed by 4 enterprise companions with pursuits in numerous features of tea, Camellia Sinensis has grown from a single teahouse right into a conglomerate of tea-focused entities. These embrace three tea shops, two teahouses, two tea faculties, a wholesale operation and an experimental tea manufacturing facility—all of which have interaction, enrich and educate their communities.

Partner Kevin Gascoyne shares what makes Camellia Sinensis so particular: “The culture of our company is very much based on respect—respect to the client, respect to the staff and respect to the producers we buy from.”

The unique Camellia Sinensis teahouse was based in Montreal’s Latin Quarter in 1998 by Hugo Americi, who had drawn inspiration from his travels by way of Europe, particularly from the Dobra teahouses in Prague. He made certain his teahouse had the relaxed atmosphere of a bohemian lounge full with stay gypsy-style music enjoying into the night time.

Kevin Gascoyne, Hugo Americi, Francois Marchand, Jasmin Desharnais, photograph courtesy of Kevin Gascoyne

Before lengthy, Jasmin Desharnais and François Marchand joined Amirici as enterprise companions. The fourth companion, Gascoyne, first got here into the image as a tea importer who’d usher in tasting kits and slide displays of his worldwide travels. Then in 2004, Gacoyne mixed his firm with Camellia Sinensis, and the 4 males formally grew to become a staff.

“We’re almost like family,” Gascoyne says. “Each of us has a very different skillset, and we all take care of different parts of the business. We are all tea tasters and buyers, and we each specialize in a different geographical region.”

According to Gascoyne, Americi’s unique bohemian den steadily remodeled right into a showroom designed for centered tastings of the “leafy delights” the companions have been choosing in Asia. Nowadays, “the Mother Ship,” as they name it, has a contemporary, wooden inside with Asian references, though it’s not outlined by a single nation. A Camellia Sinensis teahouse fills a separate area subsequent door, and it’s “No Techno Zone,” that means there is no such thing as a Wi-Fi connection and cell telephones should be set to silent.

Camellia Sinensis’s different two tea shops every have their very own distinctive character. The one in Montreal’s Little Italy district on Marché Jean-Talon is the corporate’s smallest outpost at about 400 sq. toes. It options darkish wooden decor and three partitions wrapped in teas. The third location, in Quebec City, was designed by an architectural agency, so its look is extra trendy, with clear strains and a teahouse related to the entrance.

Besides being lovely areas, the Camellia Sinensis tea shops and teahouses are recognized for his or her intensive catalogues of teas, 85 % to 90 % of that are single origin, seasonal, hand-selected onsite and bought straight from the producer. The complete choices cowl most rising areas, Gascoyne says, and most of the teas are natural. Each 12 months, the corporate runs its teas by way of a testing protocol for pesticides and different chemical compounds. Good taste is at all times the utmost precedence, which fits the visceral sensibilities of the Quebecois.

Camellia Sinensis Tea Studio in India’s Nilgiri area, photograph courtesy of Kevin Gascoyne

Camellia Sinensis can also be prized for its distinctive customer support and tea information, serving as an academic useful resource for its communities. The firm’s two tea faculties provide 21 workshops (most taught in French) masking matters comparable to the invention of tea and pairing tea with chocolate, cheese and scotch. Additionally, Gascoyne leads a well-liked summer season college in English. This full weekend of courses options 4 workshops and two comparative tastings, masking 60 teas whole. Classes can even be supplied on the firm’s tea manufacturing facility in India, the Tea Studio, for individuals who need to find out about tea manufacturing and to show individuals about specialty tea.

On the technical finish, this 12 months marks the third time Camellia Sinensis’s web site has gained a World Tea Award. A complete useful resource for any kind of tea buyer, the web site options an internet tea retailer, details about the three teahouses and workshops, analyses of tea’s properties, recipes and extra. And but, at all times striving to higher serve its clientele, the corporate will launch a brand new and improved web site later this 12 months.

The firm additionally fosters neighborhood on-line however particularly inside its tea retailer and teahouse partitions. The Tea Club meets as soon as a month to swap tales and chat with a tea skilled. The After Hours Club, often comprised of worldwide guests, meets month-to-month as nicely.

Perhaps Gascoyne’s philosophy as a tea enterprise proprietor sums up Camellia Sinensis finest: “Always approach a client on their level; communicate in their language with generosity and an inclusive message. Tea is a democratic product; it’s the leaf of the people. Offer a good product and empower the client to feel that they are welcome.”

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