Margot Bureaux says being a tea specialist has its perks.
Bureaux, a tea sommelier living in Hantsport, has travelled to India, Vancouver and, most recently, Toronto in the pursuit of her passion: making the perfect cup of tea.
In September, Just Us! Coffee Roasters in Grand Pre sent Bureaux to a Coffee and Tea Cocktail Competition in Toronto after her Safari Latte recipe qualified her for the competition.
Bureaux, a tea consultant for Just Us! Coffee Roasters, was one of only three contestants selected to square off in the tea category, the other two being from Ohio and Quebec. The goal was to prepare four flawless lattes, one solely for presentation, and three others for taste testing by the judges.
After earning the top score from the judges, Bureaux earned the title of Tea Cocktail Champion for 2010 and a $250 cash prize.
“I just have a love and a passion for tea,” said Bureaux, who studies every aspect of the beverage, from where tea leaves are grown and the history of the drink, to the diverse practices of tea party etiquette in various cultures.
Bureaux, an avid tea drinker for the past 40 years, says that while she is well-read on the subject of tea, blending original recipes is something that just comes naturally to her.
“I have very sensitive taste buds; I can distinguish many characteristics of tea that most people can’t.”
It is this love of tea, coupled with her employment, that sent Bureaux to India in 2009.
“I was working on what we truly wanted for our Maritime Breakfast which was to be a rich, strong, full cup of tea that would blend well to having milk and sugar added,” she said, speaking of her experience working directly with the company’s tea supplier in Calcutta to develop the new recipe, which has yet to be released.
She says people don’t have to travel far and wide to acquire the secret ingredient behind the perfect cup of tea.
“It really all boils down to good quality, clean water. In my opinion, the reverse osmosis water is absolutely ideal because there (are) no impurities in the water so that the full characteristics and unique quality of the leaf come through.”