interview with julie laurin, tea specalist at DAVIDsTEA

DAVIDsTEA is a Canadian tea retailer based out of Montreal  (with stores all over Canada).

Their resident tea expert, Julie Laurin, took some time to answer my questions about tea stories, social media and what tea means to her.

What does tea mean to you?

Tea is relaxing, soothing, warmth, energizing, healthy, its the beverage I turn to on a daily basis.  We have such an amazing selection of teas that its always a treat to think to myself “Hmm, which tea will I have next”

Who do you admire in the tea world; do you have any tea heroes?

I don’t have a tea hero but I do admire all of the different traditions and history involved around preparing and drinking tea.

Tell me what makes DAVIDsTEA so special, what had you seen elsewhere that you just knew you had to have in your own tea store.

We are demystifying tea and making it more accessible to everyone. We really pride ourselves in giving the BEST customer service experience possible to all of our customers.  Our seasonal collections are really fun and a great way to introduce ourselves to new customers, luscious watermelon this past summer and now pumpkin chai for fall just to name a few, irresistible!

How do you approach tea education; tell me about your staff knowledge & training etc

Our staff receive full training on our teas and tea in general, many staff also do their own research and take it upon themselves to further educate themselves via books, courses and from each other.

What’s the best perk of your job?

Being able to taste and discover all of these amazing types of teas, learning about the health benefits and how the different types are processed and of course I really enjoy to help educate and each others about tea.

How important is the story behind to tea to you or your customers – e.g.: tea from an old samurai village, picked by 8th generation tea farmers etc.

These are very important to us and our customers, customers really enjoy hearing “tea stories” or “tea history” this takes them away on short mental journey and teaches them something new about a particular tea they thought was just a warm beverage.

There is a lot of ceremony and ritual around tea in different cultures and I really believe that clients are starting to appreciate these rituals and are taking the time to sit down with a friend or family member and talk about the days events while preparing and then drinking their cup of tea, almost like a tea therapy.

Many of your teas are blends, which seems to be something that is done much more frequently outside Asia, than within Asia – why do you think that is?

The North American pallet is very different than in Asia and many of our delicious ingredients used in DavidsTea’s blends are more readily available in North America.

If there is one tea you could introduce to everyone in the world, what would it be?

toasted walnut tea

I would have to say that this is a very hard question, there are many that I love but right now the one that I am addicted to is our Toasted Walnut

What’s your most memorable tea experience

crème brulée tea

Getting a small teapot and teacup set for my 3yr old daughter along with our crème brulee and just sitting in the kitchen and drinking our tea while discussing going to the playground afterwards. Seeing her so interested in smelling the loose tea then scooping it into her little teapot was great for me.

The team that runs your social media do a really great job – can you tell me the best thing you’ve learnt through conversations or feedback from your customers?

Thank you, we are lucky to have a great team. I think that our social media has really played a big part in teaching us what and how our customers are drinking our teas, its always fun to read the reviews that our teas are getting and the different anecdotes.

Last question when it comes to tea cups – handle or no handle, what’s your preference?

I personally prefer no handle, I enjoy holding the cup in my hands and feeling the warmth of the cup in my palms 🙂

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DAVIDsTEA can be found here, on TwitterFacebook and on Steepster.

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