Shalom Life | April 20, 2014

Young Jewish Entrepreneur Makes Tea Drinking Trendy!

It's a new era of tea drinking - far beyond the days of sharing a cup of Red Rose and cookies with Bubbie.

By: Adena Lazowski

Published: June 21st, 2010 in Culture » Food » Interviews

Young Jewish Entrepreneur Makes Tea Drinking Trendy!

It’s a new era of tea drinking -- far beyond the days of sharing a cup of Red Rose and cookies with Bubbie. It’s modern, hip, and trendy. With eight new tea “collections” coming out ever year, tea is always in vogue.

“We treat it like fashion” said David Segal, founder of David’s Tea. In 2008, at the age of 27, this young Jewish entrepreneur opened David’s Tea, a tea shop that has morphed tea into a popular, mainstream beverage. They offer a plethora of loose leaf tea varieties, natural sweeteners (with exotic names like agave and manuka), and tea accessories (think clay tea pots, beautiful mugs, and iced tea makers).

Segal graduated from McGill with a business degree and has previously owned a software company. He was inspired to open his own tea shop when he visited a friend’s mother’s tea shop. “I saw tea and saw that no one was doing it in a fun, fresh way.” His entrepreneurial spirit quickly turned this idea into reality. David approached his cousin, Herschel Segal, founder of Le Chateau, to invest in his new venture.

David himself had been working in retail since he was 14. “I got exposed to the buying department so it was in my blood and I got a liking to it.” He used his experience there and applied it to his new endeavour. By applying the same business methods as retail to a tea shop, Segal was able to make tea exciting and accessible to more people. “We want to be the place for tea whether it’s traditional teas or new funky water infusions.”

It only takes one visit to David’s Tea to see that it is not your average tea shop. The bright, modern setting is decorated with a wall of colourful tins of more than 135 loose leaf tea varieties. It may seem intimidating (yet oh so enticing) at first, but once you tell the staff what you like, they’ll give you suggestions, being sure to list the various health benefits of each flavour. Then, they let you smell the tea to get a feel for the taste. After smelling the sweet aroma of David’s teas, you may just consider buying a bag to use for potpourri! But then, they give you a sample of the daily brew, and the only place you want it is splashing against your tongue.

Simple flavours like orange pekoe and English breakfast are a thing of the past at David’s Tea. Their flavours are exclusive, and are composed by a tea blender in California. “We have ideas all the time that we are feeding the blenders. Every season there’s something new.” In fact, this fall, David’s Tea is integrating the boundaries of beverages with a collection of wine teas. Mixing complex wine notes with delicate tea flavours? I can’t wait for a taste!

Segal can’t wait either. But for now, he’s lavishing over this season’s teas. He can’t pick just one favourite. “I have to give you at least three” he gushed enthusiastically. “Sencha Ashikubo I love it because I love Japanese senchas. You get this very sensual taste. I also love North African Mint.”

Then with a pause, as if he is being asked to choose which of his own children he likes best, he responds: “If I had to pick one more and I was on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean and could only take one more tea with me, it would have to be Forever Nut or Exotica.”

Just like that, the secret ingredient to his success has revealed itself: a true passion for his work. What began as a business endeavour has evolved into a lifestyle. “I like new ideas and creating something from nothing. I didn’t realize how much creativity you can put into tea. I don’t think anybody did and I think that’s why we’ve been so successful with it.”

So let us sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cup of tea, or, er -- have a cold cup of iced tea after we finish running a marathon, or an energy-packed green tea to rev us up for bungee jumping -- because with David’s Tea, the possibilities are endless….

To find a location near you, visit their website: www.davidstea.com/stores

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