A Cuppa Tea With Monarch Tea Co – Interview With Katie Cyr

Monarch Tea Co Interview Katie Cyr

I am lucky enough to have several local tea companies near me.  It means I can pick up some hand blended tea without paying shipping as they are stocked in local indie type stores or sell at popups and craft fairs.  One of these is Monarch Tea Co.  You may remember them from my review of their Holiday Blend tea last year.  Similar to my cuppa tea interview with Tickled Tea last week, I asked Katie Cyr, the owner of Monarch Tea Co some questions about her, the brand and teas you should try.  So grab a cuppa and find out more about Monarch Tea!

I found Monarch when Katie was at a holiday market a couple of years ago.  It was freezing cold and she offered a steaming sample of tea not long after we walked in.  Not going to lie, with only coffee shops with cheap bagged tea nearby, I may have wanted to hug her.  Katie started Monarch Tea Co in late 2013.  She hoped to bring a modern twist to traditional teas.  I have tried a few of her teas, not sure why I haven’t blogged more of them?   None have had stevia, which is a huge plus given how sensitive I seem to it lately.  Yet, Katie manages to make dessert teas without the added sweetener too!

Katie from Monarch Tea Co

About Katie From Monarch Tea Co

Katie recommended a cup of Monarch Tea’s Cream Earl Grey black tea for our interview. It is gently sweet & creamy with a hint of vanilla that blends nicely with the Sri Lankan black tea. Perfect for good conversation!

I asked Katie to tell us three things we may not know about her:

  • I moved to Hamilton 4 years ago and have loved every moment!
  • One of my favourite rituals is to make a nice cuppa tea and settle down with a good book.
  • I love to cook & bake, especially when it starts cooling down outside!

It is great to see that Katie has made it as a local brand while still a Hamilton newbie.  It seems most tea lovers, and especially those who make their own tea blends, love to cook/bake and read books.

Like me, Katie’s love of black tea started early, sitting at the kitchen table with her grandmother drinking growing up.  Probably not quite as early as me having it (really milky) in a bottle as a toddler but you know…  Unlike me, Katie would choose Chai if she was forced to drink just one tea for the rest of her life.  Spicy and welcoming, she never tires of it!  Katie likes her teas “straight to taste the full flavours, but will add some almond milk to black teas for comfort.

I asked Katie if she ever cheats on her own brand to drink other teas.  “What’s wonderful about the world of tea is that it is so supportive. Many people don’t just stick to one brand because there is SO much out there! I love Sloane Tea (Toronto) and Camellia Sinensis (Montreal) as well as Red Blossom Tea Co. (San Francisco)! “

About Monarch Tea Co

Monarch Tea Co Logo

I asked Katie why she started Monarch Tea Co.  The tea world in Canada is not huge, so I imagine starting your own brand against the bigger brands like DAVIDsTEA can be very daunting!

“My love of tea has been with my my whole life. From those early memories of enjoying it with my grandmother, to it being a first choice when I wake up in the morning, tea has been a huge source of connection and comfort for me. Four years ago I started thinking of ways I could bring the art of tea to others. I started formulating small batch blends and brainstorming.. and from there, Monarch Tea Co. was born!”

Katie started off very small, and from there, grew organically through social media, community events and word of mouth. Hamilton is great for supporting small businesses. So many local cafes and boutiques have taken Monarch Tea under their wing. From there, Katie grew out to other cities and provinces through continued social media outreach and word of mouth.

“I’m always around the city doing events, like a wine, chocolate and tea course coming up at Toast Wine Bar, on Nov 22 or the second annual RBG Tea Fest on Nov 4 & 5!”

Monarch Tea Co Blends

Monarch Tea Co Holiday Blend

Asking Katie which teas she would recommend to someone new to tea, or new to Monarch Tea Co., she recommends some of her bestsellers.

  • Cream Earl Grey: The marriage of traditional earl grey with rich a rich, vanilla infused creaminess is an absolute treat!
  • Monarch Chai: A chai lovers unite! Assam tea comes together with cardamon, ginger, black pepper, anise, lavender, jasmine  and rose petals for a unique, spicy and invigorating blend
  • Toffee Bean: Ethiopian coffee beans married with Rooibos provide the perfect compromise between tea and coffee
  • Feel Better (tisane): Rich in vitamin A, C and beta-carotene, this hibiscus based blend is caffeine free and perfect for licorice lovers, this fruity tisane has notes of honey and fennel.
  • Garden Party (tisane) Relaxing, soothing and excellent for your skin,  sore tummies and chasing away stress and anxiety. Garden Party contains Egyptian chamomile, rose petals, spearmint.

Keep an eye on her shop, as her annual Monarch Holiday collection will be launching soon. It includes a yummy orange and spice black tea called the Monarch Holiday Blend, Mistletoe Chai and some new surprise blends!

Three Things You Should Know About Monarch Tea Co

Monarch Tea Co Packaging

Via @a_stylishstyle – used with permission from Monarch Tea Co

Katie hand blends and packages everything.  I love her bags, they come with a wax seal that Katie does individually on each bag!  She rents commercial kitchen space to blend her teas, so no worries about household stuff ending up in your tea.  These things pop into my head because if I made tea, you would probably get cat fur in your bags!

You’re supporting a local Hamilton business when you buy from Monarch Tea, so a great choice for keeping money in the community.

Katie is also a Tea Sommelier through the Tea Board of Canada.  She is taking the final exam in a few weeks, so there is a large amount of knowledge and passion behind the brand.

I asked Katie about the beautiful butterfly and crown logo that features on her bags.

“The idea came organically. I wanted something that conveyed elegance but yet was modern and fun. The idea of something “royal” that associated itself with tea time came to mind, so from there the Monarch with the crown evolved into the Monarch Tea Co.!”

Monarch Tea Co Holiday Blend 2016

Shop Monarch Tea Co

Follow Katie and Monarch Tea Co on twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram or shop online here.  If you are in the Hamilton area, check out her list of local stores carrying Monarch teas and save on shipping, but they generally will not have the full collection, so call ahead and check first.  Some, like Burlap & Twine, also have special blends for their store, so worth checking them out!

If you are in the GTA, Katie will be at several upcoming popups and holiday markets so you can save on shipping:

  • RBG Tea Fest on Nov 4 & 5
  • St. George Night Market in Burlington on Nov 24
  • Called to Create Hamilton on Dec 2
  • Burlington Made on Dec 9

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