The Art Of Tea

TEALEAVES Bringing Art And Tea Together With An Exciting Collaboration

Tea is one of the oldest and most respected beverages on the planet; it serves to delight, and bring us warmth and refreshment. But with loose-leaf tea coming back into fashion, Vancouver-based brand TEALEAVES is filtering through the rest to reinvigorate tea as an art.

“We wanted to explore what would happen when tea experts, color experts and kitchen / bar experts came together as a community to work on a project,” CEO Lana Sutherland tells us. “The journey and the results are even more than what we could have hoped for.” As such, they have collaborated with colour-specialists PANTONE to create tea-colours that are unbelievable and dazzlingly beautiful.

In this unique selling-point, in which the pursuit of perfection is key, the project #PaletteForYourPalate has piqued our interest. Teamed up with over 30 world-class chefs and mixologists, they created both warm and cold colours depending on the type of tea. There’s a turquoise the colour of a pure Caribbean sea, and a lavender of the most serene fantasy. That’s just to name two. Relating colour to mood is what TEALEAVES has identified as an overlooked facet of the tea-blending art, aiming to make the ultimate palate with only the most special, organic ingredients.


“We want to sleep well at night, knowing that we are doing our part to help people live healthier lives.”

With over 400 loose leaf teas that cater to an international clientele, and with warehouses in London, Vancouver, Seattle, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Guadalajara, TEALEAVES is a delicacy bound to be enjoyed by any tea-lover with refined taste.

We caught up with the CEO, to find out more about the collaboration and the art of tea:

The Plus: What makes TEALEAVES special compared to other tea brands?
Lana Sutherland:
Nothing is more intimate than what we decide to put into our bodies. Each day we make many decisions about health that are determined by which foods we eat and which beverages we drink. We take this very seriously at TEALEAVES. and believe in the art of blending and its importance.

TP: Tell us about the #paletteforyourpalate campaign.
For us, tea is about sharing and making people’s live a little better. There is an inherent beauty in sharing with others, so we created a microsite: The purpose is to share and inspire. There are films showing the inspirations behind each cocktail, entrée and dessert. The site ( is our attempt to share this beautiful, enriched, behind-the-scenes experience and we hope that, like art, it makes each person’s life, a little better.

TP: How long did the TEALEAVES collaboration project take?
From start to finish the entire collaboration project including the consumer retail packaging co-design with Pantone and the individual films of the chefs and mixologists, took almost an entire year for completion.

TP: What’s the most exciting part during the collaborations?
Sharing knowledge with Pantone Color Institute and the many great Chefs and mixologists – and sharing their imagination with an innovative culinary challenge. Their methodology in color design and intelligence has close parallels to TEALEAVES’ tea blending technique.

TP: There were 30+ world-class chefs, what made TEALEAVES chose them?
TEALEAVES is very fortunate to have long standing partnerships with its five star hotel clients. When we presented our TEALEAVES’ Recipe Challenge: Tea (TEALEAVES) + Color (PANTONE) + Mood to the hotels, they were extremely excited. Internally they held competitions to see which chef or mixologist would have the opportunity to represent their property. These representatives then volunteered upwards of 30 to 40 hours of their own time to come up with the cocktails, entrees and desserts you see represented on the site. This recipe challenge was radically new and required a lot of thinking and experimenting, especially with the colors that are not normally seen in food or beverage. They are works of art.

TP: Most people drink tea, but with #PaletteForYourPalate, we see new savoury and sweet options. Please tell us a little bit about the concept.
Each cocktail, entrée and dessert recipe was created based on the recipe challenge of: Tea (TEALEAVES) + Color (PANTONE) + Mood. Whether the recipe offers a savoury or a sweet palate was derived from the creativity of the culinary artist.

TP: Who designed the tea packages? Can we learn a little bit about this?
In our recent project, designing TEALEAVES’ Whole Leaf Pyramid retail packaging, we collaborated with our friends at Pantone Color Institute, who picked all the colors, evocative of the mood of each of our teas. For in art, as in a cup of tea, colour evokes mood.

TP: Which one (or two) is the best-selling one at TEALEAVES?
This is a very hard question to answer. It really depends on which part of the world you are talking about and also what time of year.
For example, favorites in London would be, our Imperial Earl Grey and English Breakfast while in New York, it would our famous Organic Pear Tree Green or Organic Earl Grey with Lavender. During Christmas, it would be either Nutcracker (a black tea with natural Hazelnut and Vanilla) and Herbal or Monsoon Chai (Insider tip: great as an eggnog chai and extra tasty with a shot of rum in it!).

TP: Any big plans for Tealeaves next year?
We are excited to release our documentary on color (COLOR IN SIGHT) in February 2016. This came about by through our fascination for colour’s potential to excite and delight. We reached out to experts in design to see how they thought about—and used—color. We documented this journey, believing that the best condiment to any cup of tea is wisdom to share and a great story to tell.