Laurence Marchese is the CEO and founder of the the Yemaya tea company. Her passion is to create and share a tea-losophy that surpasses any other tea producers. And she's certainly doing a good job - three Michelin starred chef Thomas Bruhner recently named it his favourite tea! We were lucky enough to catch up with Laurence earlier this week to discover Gastrnomy Tea Menus, Tea Sommeliers and what, exactly, makes Yemaya so special…
When did the Yemaya Tea Company first start?
Yemaya Tea Company started a few years ago. At this point, though, it was an idea in my mind and in my dreams. It only became a reality a few years later.
What was your inspiration?
My past job allowed me travel the world in a unconventional way, discovering what lay at the heart of the people in each country I visited.
I believe all these special meetings and experiences have infused Yemaya with the tea-losophy it holds today.
What is it about Yemaya’s tea-losophy that makes its so special?
I've chosen to follow the path of the oldest and most traditional tea in China which is packed using a compression method.
The reason for this is because compression preserves the entire leaves, which means we can offer the best quality tea we could source in each of our Collections.
The second reason is that we’ve created a nomadic product that finally responds to the tea drinker's needs.
All our teas are sourced with the purest intentions by a Tea Master who lives in Yunnan, China.
What are the health benefits of drinking Yemaya Tea?
I won’t go into the many medical benefits of drinking tea. Instead, I'll tell you what Yemaya adds to healthy living with its Collections - especially with our Puerh teas.
Puerh are the most amazing teas and probably the most complex. As a woman of challenge, this was the first Collection I created for Yemaya!
They are consumed as real medicinal drinks in China but are also part of a market which is very similar to the one we know with wines.
When we talk about Peurh tea we discuss territories, vintages, big family names and storage. Some Puerh teas are even sold at auction. So as well as a health product, Peurh is a symbol of luxury.
Our Collection "Bonbons de Thé à Infuser" is also our signature ‘health tea’ which we dedicate specifically to the spa industry.
We also offer a Gastronomy Tea Menu with loose vintages and very unique teas for restaurants.
Your Gastronomy Tea Menu sounds interesting! Tell us about the teas in the collection?
We have four Collections out which includes six different teas and three flower infusions.
The Collection "Bonbons de Thé à Infuser" – a Puerh Tea – has three different variations : Green , Black and Purple.
The Collection "Chocothé" has two different teas: White tea and Oolong tea.
The Collection "Thé à Moi" includes a Red tea and a Bud of rose tea.
The Collection "Elixirs de fleurs à infuser" includes a Jasmin, Roselle and Lys tea.
But we do have more than 20 other Teas in our Gastronomy Tea Menu. Visit www.yemaya-the.com for more.
Three Michelin starred chef Thomas Bruhner has named Yemaya tea as his favourite tea brand. Tell us about your connection to the culinary world…
Yemaya is very close to Chefs, restaurants, hotels.
Each of our clients has an eye for detail and perfection. And we share that same philosophy of excellence and service. That’s why been developing specific Collections for each of them including the Gastronomy Tea Menu and Tea Cocktails, etc.
We have been working on a Gastronomy Menu with our "Sommelier in Tea" in order to offer the perfect association for Tea Lovers or compromise for those who don't drink alcohol and want to associate their meals with a vintage Tea or a Unique Organic Tea Tree.
We are very proud to have been chosen by Thomas Buhner 3 Michelin Stars – Restaurant La Vie as one of his favorite tea!
What is your personal favorite Yemaya Tea?
Since being introduced to Puerh Teas in China years ago I’ve become a real addict ....
It is like taking my shower and doing my meditation ... something I can't miss! What's better than feeding yourself with the best mother's nature has to offer?
I do believe in medical plants as being the most powerful and best connection to our inner self. For me it really works!
I usually switch depending on my mood. When I need energy I go for a Puerh Green (Raw) mixed with Ginger. On the days that I need my creativity to be at its peak I drink liters and liters of Puerh Purple with lemongrass – a tea leaf that is softer and more feminine.
Puerh Teas are like a book: each infusion feels like a new chapter...
What advice could you give to the avid tea-drinker for choosing the best produce?
Tea consumption has been increasing a lot those past few years to become the second most consumed beverage after water worldwide
I do believe it also has a lot to do with all the marketing and press around its health virtues - especially green teas. Today most people order a green tea not knowing there are so many varieties, tastes and origins behind "green tea".
Unfortunately, people should be more aware that a lot of teas you find in stores are only dust of tea leaves and, naturally, the taste, effects and results will never be the same...
It’s always better to go for the best tea leaves less often than lower quality more frequently.
What countries is Yemaya Tea available in?
You can find Yemaya Tea Collections in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Macau, USA, Uruguay and very soon Brazil and Canada...
What plans have you got in the pipeline?
We always have plans! There is so much I would love to do and so many causes I would like to support.
This year we're planning to organise a Charity dinner with the Heart Fund (www.theheartfund.eu) which works to save the lives of children who suffer from heart conditions all over the world.
This association is just amazing, the team is young, positive, there is a fabulous energy behind each member. I hope it's only the beginning of our support and story with them.
Yemaya has absolutely no interest in doing business for business. We need meaning behind each of our actions and Pure Intentions of making a difference in people's lives either by offering them our divine teas or by actively raising funds for good cause.
In terms of our products, before the end of the year we'll have two more amazing Collections to add to our growing family of luxury teas:
The "7 moods" Collection. This will be a blend of superior black tea & divine spices which will form seven different versions that correspond to seven different moods. The second luxury Collection still remains a bit secret for now. Watch this space!
Any final words on what makes Yemaya teas such a luxury product?
I would say its uniqueness for sure...
I'm as demanding on the quality of our product as the sourcing. As for the packaging, I love expressing poetry and art. I imagine a Tea Box as a Beautiful Object ...you can wear it like a fashion accessory, you can offer it like a jewel, you can decorate your kitchen with it. It's a piece of Art!