Burlington Entrepreneur: Monarch Tea Co.

I recently had the chance to talk about tea with Katie Cyr, the lovely founder of the Burlington-based Monarch Tea Co. Katie’s lifelong love of tea inspired her to create her company, and with her passion and energy, it appears that Katie will have a successful future ahead! Keep reading and see what Katie has to say about tea. Maybe you’ll be inspired, too!

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BL: What is Monarch Tea Co.?

KC: The Monarch Tea Co. is a loose leaf tea company launched out of Burlington in March 2014. My passion and vision is to bring the art, reverence, and elegance of tea to every kitchen across Canada. My goal is to spread awareness and education on how to bring the ritual of tea into our daily lives. It’s not just a beverage – it’s a way to connect with friends and family, and a way to take time out of our busy lives to just sip, relax, and rejuvenate.

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What is the story of how your company came to be?

Tea has always been a part of my life. From a young age, I recall drinking Irish Breakfast tea with my grandmother out of delicate teacups. As I grew, a pot of tea was always on the table in the mornings, and served after dinner in our favourite mugs. As an adult, I decided to take the leap and find out how to bring my love of tea and make that into a career. I saw what my favourite tea companies were doing, and merged that with my own personal vision to create blends that are unique and inviting for tea drinkers. Combined with my education through the Tea Sommelier certification that I’m working on through the Tea Board of Canada, I was able to offer clients not just tea, but a fun educational aspect.

My favourite part of my job is doing the at-home chocolate and tea classes. I love showing people how easy it is to pair your favourite desserts with just the right tea to bring out new flavours that excite the palate. Turning my dream into a business took a lot of planning, hard work, and support from family and friends, but it was worth it! I couldn’t have done it without their support and having people who believe in me and can encourage me. (And of course a comforting cup of “Beauty Sleep” whenever things got too stressful during the launch!).

What are some health benefits of tea?

Each tea offers different benefits depending on what you’re drinking. I love recommending the “Garden Party,” which is an herbal blend of Egyptian chamomile, spearmint, and rose petals for people that want a caffeine-free blend to help relax and reduce stress. This tea is great for soothing upset stomachs and helping with digestion after a large meal. The Organic Bella Coola is a blend that is chock full of Vitamin C from rosehip. It works great for fighting off colds and flu as well as helping sore throats. It can also be disguised as a “juice” for kids when you make it iced.

Green tea is known for its metabolism-boosting benefits and its detoxifying merits. Black tea is great for heart health and a lower caffeine alternative to coffee. I could go on and on! When you’re using tea to enhance your health, always check with your doctor first if you have any health concerns as everyone is different!

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Are there other uses for tea, other than as a beverage?

Rooibos, which is an African red bush tea, makes a great facial scrub to help with acne and rosacea. I love sprinkling “Garden Party” into a hot bath to leave skin feeling silky soft and to give off a calming scent. You can even use tea to dye hair naturally or stain a wooden table! It’s so multi-purpose.

What is your favourite tea moment/experience?

I always travel with my loose leaf tea scooped into teabags so I can enjoy it anywhere. A special moment for me happened while backcountry camping in Algonquin park with my aunt. We both love our Cream Earl Grey in the mornings. It was very early, and the sun was slowly rising over this misty, tranquil lake. There was absolute stillness as we sat with our mugs of tea, watching the serene wilderness. A loon slowly paddled past, crying its haunted call. I could not ask for a more magical experience!

Do you have a favourite tea?

That’s a hard one! I change my favourite tea from season to season, but some of my all-time favourites would be Cream Earl Grey, Rooibos, Jasmine Pearl, and Assam.

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What inspires you?

I’m always inspired by seeing other local business owners succeed and share their passions with others. I’m inspired by my Mom, who always gives great advice and motivates me to continue doing what I love. I’m also inspired by every cup of great tasting tea I drink. I get excited about sharing that blend with others and inspired to create more that people can enjoy with their friends and family.

Tell me about the tea parties you offer.

These parties are such a fun way to connect with friends while learning something new. I come to your home and sample different types of tea that the host selects. I pair tea with gourmet local chocolate to enhance the flavours and show guests how to create their own tasting menu at home.

For people who love savoury pairings, I offer a tea and cheese class, where we sample tea with local gourmet cheeses to bring out wild combinations that will delight any foodie. I also offer basic “Tea 101” classes. These classes give hands-on learning to better explore and understand the vast world of tea. Everyone leaves with their own bag of tea to take home and enjoy!

What else makes Monarch Tea Co. so unique?

I do customized tea favours for any occasion. Baby showers, weddings, birthdays, or as a special gift – I do a consultation to create the perfect, unique blend for your event. I then design labels and packaging to create a favour like no other! It’s been really neat working with engaged couples and creating a blend to reflect their personalities and interests. They’re then able to share their own love of tea with their friends and family during their special day. It’s very honouring to be able to help make that possible.

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How can Burlington Lifestyle readers get in touch with you?

Readers can visit my website at monarchteaco.com, where you can order tea online. Monarch Tea is also on Instagram and Twitter @Monarchteaco. In Burlington, Monarch Tea is sold at Anise Apothecary, Be Yoga and Wellness and James North General Store in Hamilton.

About the Author Teresa Baerg

Teresa Baerg is a writer, editor and self-confessed word-nerd who loves telling a good story. She is proud to call Burlington home for over a decade. She is passionate about her family, sunshine and palm trees, growing veggies, running and cycling, good books, good food and good coffee. And football. Twitter: @teresabaerg Instagram: @teresabaerg Website: teresakbaerg.com

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