I'm not a huge winter sports person myself. I love to go sledding, snow shoeing, skating, and even a hay ride here and there, but I only like doing these things when it's relatively warm out. -5 Celcius is perfect in my books. Maybe even a bit warmer. The truth is, when it comes to cold weather, I'm a wuss. And yet, I live in Canada, go figure! My husband always jokes that my boots are good to -40, but I'm not. There's much truth to that statement.
So back to my vision of perfection: standing inside, staring out into the cold beauty that belays our country, sipping some delicious hot tea. The perfect remedy for a cold day, whether having enjoyed an outdoor adventure or not.
Tea, I've found, can be a finicky thing. It's not as simple as pouring water over a bag. Certain varieties of tea need to be steeped longer then others, sometimes they require a hard boil, sometimes just a soft, rolling boil, differing temperatures may be needed between this tea and that tea. In reality, drinking tea is an art form, not just a household beverage. To get good quality taste and the best tea experience, you need good quality leaves, not just your basic, chain store brand in a box.
Jolene Brewster, founder of Natur'el Tea, is just such a tea connoisseur and highly knowledgable about putting together that perfect blend, which will then translate into a perfect tasting cup of tea. Jolene is an outgoing, sweet woman who, at our first meeting, I could see was full of life and exuded passion, but ever so kind. Jolene desires to share her wealth of tea knowledge with the rest of us, so we, too, can enjoy tea the way it was meant to be had. Jolene introduced me to a few different varieties of her tea blends, including her Wild Blueberry Rooibos (which I'm drinking as I write this), Organic Yoga Chai, ImmuniTea, and a new personal favourite, Happy Mumma Tea, with it's lovely peppermint aroma and taste.
Jolene grew up in the beautiful Alberta countryside. This backdrop of beauty helped connect her to the land, agriculture and community. Thus it was no surprise that Jolene, currently one of those lucky enough to call Banff, Alberta home sweet home (I know I sure would), found herself inspired by the beautifully stunning Rocky Mountains. "I had a desire to bring people closer to nature through a simple, genuine, experience." This she accomplished 8 years ago, in 2005, when Jolene founded her business: Natur'el Tea.
With a love for tea at an early age, and "after years of independent study on the health benefits of herbs and plants, a double major in Land Reclamation and Sail and Water Conservation, and the opportunity to work closely with naturopath JanSmith in Adelaide, Australia, Jolene took the next step and opened her business specializing in the quality and ceremony behind Organic Looseleaf tea."*
This new business began as a Banff Avenue Tearoom with a goal to create and share a local product and a genuine experience. Although the Tearoom is no longer operational, Natur'el Tea has evolved forward and is now operated on a wholesale/online basis, where Jolene is able to carefully source and offer unique tea's and healthful herbs from around the world.
"I love creating new flavours and infusions with flowers, rare spices, and essential oils. Our Tea looks as beautiful dry as it tastes infused. We artfully package each tin of tea with love, labelled [with] Banff heritage photos from the Whyte Museum archives."
"My passion extends to the health benefits of herbs, the quality of the Tea leaf, and the ceremony in which it is enjoyed. I take pride in sourcing the best organic ingredients and look for projects supporting fair-trade agriculture." Jolene focuses on small plantations where traditional hand harvesting methods are still in practice alongside organic, sustainable and fair-trade agriculture.
Owning and operating Natur'el Tea has led to travel and more study, and in 2008 Jolene achieved her level one Tea Sommeller certification, accredited by the Specialty Tea Institute of New York.
"Tea is a lifetime of learning and over the years, my appreciation deepens as I discover more about the agricultural practices of this ancient plant and how this is affected greatly by the culture and customs of the people growing, caring for, harvesting and enjoying the tea in their way."
Jolene travels to Las Vegas each year, where the World Tea Expo is held, to meet and speak with plantation owners from China, India and Japan. "She uses this opportunity to find unique qualities of tea that arise from specialized growing conditions."*
"One of the most spectacular tea's in my collection is the Organic Sencha, which won a World Tea Championship. It's grown in an area of Japan with rich volcanic soils, giving the tea a pure, deep flavour and the most brilliant emerald green colour. This tea can be re-infused up to 4 times and each time you will notice the aroma and flavour changes and enhances."
Jolene intends to continue learning more about tea, importing distinctive leaves and flavours and creating and sharing amazing new blends.
"My core belief behind all that I do is that, within nature, we will find ourselves and here lies the answer to everything we seek."
One can really tell that Jolene has put her heart and soul into her teas, bringing us nothing but the best. The quality of taste and aroma are un-compromised and second to none, with each mouthful bringing pure delight. For all you tea lovers out there, this is a tea to put to the test. I highly recommend Natur'el Tea, with all it's goodness and everything it stands for. It's businesses like this that we have the responsibility to step up and support, and show the major corporations that we do care about quality, sustainability, fair-trade, and the little guy. Even if it means paying a couple dollars more, I'll gladly pay it with a smile on my face.
Please go to Natur'el Tea's facebook page and like it here, to stay up-to-date on new flavours, where you might find Natur'el Tea (markets etc), and all news of Natur'el Tea.
Visit Natur'el Tea's website at www.natureltea.ca to learn more about Jolene, her tea, to see a list of products and prices and to purchase your very own teas to try!
If you have any further questions please email Jolene at Jbrewster@NaturelTea.ca or phone at
Natur'el Tea is giving Growing Green readers a special PROMO CODE only found here!!!
When you make an online order at www.natureltea.ca, simply enter the code: HappyTea0113 when you check out and receive 25% off your order!!! This is an incredible deal, perfect for you to try a few new teas to enjoy. This offer expires Jan 31st, 2013, so hurry and take advantage of this awesome January sale!
"I was recently asked…. what is my personal tea ceremony? My cup of Darjeeling tea in the morning, in my eggshell mug, is the bridge to the rest of my day." - Jolene Brewster
What is your tea ceremony?
"To reach the infinite, you must focus on the finite"
* - quotes were taken from a previously written bio.