Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Savoir Faire and the Art of Tea

As I mentioned in my last post before heading off to Montreal for the weekend, Montreal is a city of enormous savoir faire and always surprises me. A lot of French companies set up business there as their entrance into the North American market or just to serve the French speaking population.

One such company is Kusmi Tea. Walking along the Rue Saint Denis one afternoon I was drawn to a window display of fabulous coloured containers and upon closer inspection found that this was the Montreal headquarters of Kusmi Teas.

Founded in 1867 in St. Petersburg by Pavel Michailovitch Kousmichoff as a series of teahouses all over Russia. Kusmi then was then to become most famous for providing tea to the Russian royal court. Opening branches in London and Paris after the revolution and then between the wars opening offices in New York, Hamburg and Constantinople the business expanded.

The boutique is incredibly modern and decorated purely in white with splashes of red, which sets off the coloured labels of the Tea Tins and packaging perfectly.

The packaging itself is wonderful with the distinctive label in a variety of different colours shapes and sizes. We all know how much I adore packaging of anything and this does not disappoint. The label is distinctive blending traditional Russian backgrounds with up to date modern colours. One cannot help but notice it.

Over the years, fabrication of the exclusive blends has not changed: the meticulous selection of teas (from India, China and Ceylon), the confection of balanced and aromatic blends with the best natural essences from Grasse, Calabria and Madagascar. The Russian blends – made from a base of bergamot and citrus – created by the founder continue to be available and their recipes kept secret.

Needless to say I came away with the Russian sampler, a selection of 6 the Russian blends in the cutest little tins.

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