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Born in London, Ontario, Karen was raised in a family of entrepreneurs. Her parents and grandparents were all successful business owners and she was able to watch and eventually be a part of businesses that would help mold the talents that she uses today.
Her love of tea was instilled at a very young age by her grandmother who created a ritual of teatime with Karen. A career in the tea industry began for Karen 32 years ago when she worked at a Swiss tea house and was taught how to pair tea with food. Years later, after much study, she entered into the specialty tea market with a vision and desire to bring great tea to Canadians.
In 2001, Karen founded Tea Leaves, a company dedicated to sourcing and providing the finest whole leaf teas available. In April of 2002, she opened Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. At the tea bar, she invites you to experience the tradition and artistry of one of life’s oldest and most rewarding pleasures – known simply as the Way of Tea. Tea Leaves is a combination tea tasting bar and tea shop. This format allows you the luxury of tasting before making an informed decision to purchase.
Being located in a busy, world-renowned theatre town, Karen has been able to share her passion and knowledge of tea and health with many out-of-town visitors. Her contagious smile and warm nurturing energy has enticed numerous North American travellers to become regular tea customers – many of whom now have their tea shipped to them.
Karen has studied with many of the world’s top experts on tea. She is well versed on the processing, preparation and the health benefits of tea. Her most recent studies included training in the Chinese tea ceremony. She is an active member and has top certification with the Specialty Tea Institute in New York. Education is an ongoing activity for Karen. She also frequently conducts lectures, tea tastings and is a published writer and tea consultant. Her business has expanded to include blending and tea programs for restaurants, bed and breakfasts and spa/yoga studios.
Mother of two grown children, Karen is an accomplished Macrobiotic chef and enjoys tai chi and meditation. She has studied shiatsu and reiki. Currently residing in Stratford, Karen also owns and operates a beautiful historic bed and breakfast inn.
Karen’s mission is to revolutionize the contemporary tea experience. By drawing on the tea traditions and rituals of the original tea-producing countries and combining that with the needs and wants of today’s consumer, Karen is teaching, practising and living The New Tea Tradition.