It’s 3 p.m. on a damp fall Wednesday and Davids Tea‘s Queen Street Toronto location is packed. It’s the kind of day that calls for a comforting brew, and most of the shoppers head straight to the counter, place their order and leave with a branded teal bag full of product.
They’ve obviously been here before. They know what to do. And judging by their decisiveness, they know exactly which flavours they’re after (not as easy as it sounds with over 150 loose leaf teas to choose from).
It’s hard not to get sucked into the Davids Tea experience by the brightly lit tea wall that dominates one side of the store or the cleverly merchandised shelves that showcase every tea accessory you can imagine (and, in some cases, didn’t know existed).
Shopping one of Davids Tea’s 85 brick-and-mortar locations or browsing its website leaves you believing that “Yes, I do need 10 different types of tea and I need to drink it out of a stylish mug.”
“We love the creativity in tea and that needs to be reflected in everything we do from the blends down to the packaging,” says Davids Tea co-founder and Montréaler David Segal, who was in Toronto this week to launch a new holiday collection of limited-edition teas, accessories and gift packs.
Tea has become, in one word: cool. And Segal, along with his business partner (and cousin) Herschel Segal, are leading the charge to put a little spice into the tea drinker’s cup. Blends for sale at Davids Tea range from traditional earl grey to more exotic blends such as ice cream cake and organic cherry cola.
The Segals opened their first location in 2008 and have quickly expanded across the country and the border with shops in Chicago and New York City.
Segal credits front-line staff for a lot of the brand’s success. “The people are what bring a brand alive,” he says. “We really believe in the human approach.
“We are the tea experts, and you’re going to leave with a smile on your face and a couple of teas to share with your family, friends or colleagues and that’s really what we’re all about.”
Videography by Pam Lau