interview with kevin gascoyne, tea buyer and black tea specalist at camellia sinensis tea house

I first came across the Camellia Sinensis Tea House when I read about the ceramics competition they were holding in the Montreal Gazette. To be honest, now that I have learned so much more about them I’ve come to realize that they might quite possibly be the most perfect tea shop that I have come across.

Perhaps that’s a big call but here’s why I think that:  the guys behind Camellia Sinensis have traveled through all the world’s tea regions, they are specialists and are passionate and knowledgeable about tea. They have met the farmers and are part of these local tea communities, going back to the same producers again and again.  They also run a tea school, have written a tea book and blog and tweet about tea too, anyone who takes tea education to that level has my respect.  They have an amazing range of teas too, really exciting teas, no flavored teas that sound like unappealing desserts or bad marketing ideas; just beautiful and special leaves from all over the world.

Kevin Gascoyne, one of the owners, a tea buyer, and well-known tea writer took some time to answer my questions and tell me a little about the tea culture in Quebec, traveling though tea regions and his favorite tea memories.

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How did Camellia Sinensis Tea House come to be and how/when did you start in the world of tea.

I started in the world of tea in the late eighties.  Buying Darjeeling in the Himalayas.  Made my name in tea by writing for various publications in the US, the UK, Japan and Canada.

Camellia-Sinensis was started back in 1998 and then developed around the specialties of the four owner-tasters.

Tell me about tea culture in Quebec.

The Quebec market is impressively open to new products and inherently understands “paying for quality” and the expansion of taste experience, perhaps from the French gastronomical tradition.

I really love how the people behind your tea house have real expert knowledge different types of tea, tell me more!

The four taster-buyers are the owners of the company they cover the four principal quality regions of Asia (India-China-Japan-Taiwan) as well as many other more obscure producing countries.  They travel to the gardens every Spring for a month or two for the selection and buying.

Do you have a favorite memory from your tea travels.

Having done almost 20 tours in Asia I have so many wonderful memories….perhaps the strongest remains tasting fresh First Flush Darjeeling in the factory for the first time!  A moment that literally changed my life.

You are running a ceramics competition in Quebec, can you tell me a little more about this.

The “Terre et Thé” ceramics competition has been established to encourage local potters to produce functional and attractive tea-ware to accompany the expanding specialty tea market.

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You can find Kevin at Camellia Sinensis Tea House, on Twitter as @CamSinTeahouse and at the Tea Taster blog.  The guys at Camellia Senensis have also written a tea book, at the moment it’s only available in French, and is available from their own store and online shop.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by deb @travelandtea, deb @travelandtea. deb @travelandtea said: New post: interview with Kevin Gascoyne, tea buyer & black tea specalist at camellia sinensis tea house: http://t.co/Mya27lr #tea #interview […]

  2. […] Camellia Sinensis for sharing these photos with me. You can also read an interview I did with Kevin here, in this interview he talks about buying black tea, tea culture in Quebec and about his favorite […]

  3. […] Camellia Sinensis for sharing these photos with me. You can also read an interview I did with Kevin here, in this interview he talks about buying black tea, tea culture in Quebec and about his favourite […]

  4. […] Camellia Sinensis for sharing these photos with me. You can also read an interview I did with Kevin here, in this interview he talks about buying black tea, tea culture in Quebec and about his favorite […]



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