Bachelor of Arts, 1991
One of the things I love about King’s is the tradition.
When Rebecca Brown is looking for a little comfort, she might put on an ivory cable knit sweater. But her ivory cable knit sweater is not a wooly pullover; it is a tea blend that she created.
“It was one of those cold rainy days and I made this tea,” she explains. “It’s black tea with vanilla. And I just thought – this is enveloping me like a warm hug. I had this vision of an ivory cable-knit sweater, almost a warm blanket feel. And I thought, that name’s a bit out there, but I own the company so that’s what I called it.”
Rebecca’s company is Clearview Tea, based in Creemore, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto. When Rebecca’s daughter finished high school, the two of them started the tea business. Rebecca was looking for “the next thing”. She had been part of another start-up business and Rebecca says, “I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. I really enjoyed the process of being part of a young company and all the excitement that goes with it. And I just thought – tea. It’s perfect. It’s good for the body and the mind and the spirit. And it’s a consumable product so people will keep buying it. As a business it just seemed to make sense.”
It made sense in other more personal ways. Rebecca says, “Tea was a family tradition. I have this lovely silver tea set from my grandmother.”
That set is wonderfully ornate, an elegant reminder of days gone by. But those days can be reimagined and relived with a simple cup of a drink that has been around for millennia. Rebecca loves her tea.
“I have lovely warm memories around tea,” she says.
But Clearview Tea is a business. Rebecca began selling tea blends at the Creemore Farmers Market. Then she started supplying cafés with tea. She now has twenty of those clients. She also has an online store and she created a “private label for the Ontario Legislature”. In the spring of 2017, Rebecca opened her first bricks-and-mortar store that will not only supply shoppers with a huge variety of organic teas, but she will also provide tea workshops. Her passion for the drink and the story of tea knows no bounds.
“I am a certified tea sommelier now. I know the different ways of processing the leaves, I know the history. I can tell the difference between teas from different areas in India, for example, just by taste.”
Rebecca is also a firm believer in the healthiness of tea. It is rich in cancer-preventing antioxidants, it has anti-inflammatory properties, and it is a natural de-stressor. Rebecca laughs and says if you’re still a little stressed after a cuppa, “you can always add a bit of whiskey.”
As much as the benefits of tea are important to Rebecca, it is the idea of tradition that appeals to her the most. “I am old school,” she says. “One of the things I love about King’s is the tradition; the formal meals and the history of the place. Tea is about tradition for me.”
And to punctuate that remark Rebecca says, “I only started drinking coffee after I left King’s.”
Hard to imagine late nights writing essays without coffee. It speaks well of the value of tea.