By Eden Ramsay
Gourmet tea and coffee have become a big deal in recent years. Specialty tea and coffee places have been popping up all around the city. In our fast-paced modern society, many people enjoy the little vacation of sipping a warm (or iced) beverage that will help relax them or give them a little pick-me-up.
Cornelia Bean is a beautiful tea and coffee emporium located on 417 Academy Road. You instantly feel more relaxed walking into the place with its ultramarine and crimson hued walls and modern accents. Since it opened its doors in 2004, the place has been one of Winnipeg’s go-to tea and coffee supply hubs. The place even gets you to take a number when it gets really busy. Yes, that is how good it is.
You are graciously offered samples of their freshly brewed tea or coffee selection of the day. You can also buy these samples in a full size cup. I tried a sample of their Intelligentsia Celebration blend. It was excellent coffee full of flavour. There are subtle traces of sweetness, fruit and mulling spice.
Behind the counter of Cornelia Bean is a vast array of coffee in metal tins filled with tea and coffee. There are also a massive amount of glass jars that are used to smelling the different tea aromas. With more than 300 tea options available there is plenty to smell. Once you start, it is hard to stop, with so many different black, white, green, oolong, rooibos, pu-erh, spice, fruit and herbal teas available in enticing names like Green Poetry, Bourbon Vanilla Rooibos, and Frisky Rhubarb. I ended up going home with some of the floral-like Green Poetry and have been sipping it constantly.
Cornelia Bean also has Calgary-based Bernhard Callebaut chocolates for sale. They also offer gorgeous, state of the art brewing equipment and accessories.
One aspect I really enjoy about Cornelia Bean is how they remember the past. Cornelia Bean Ltd. was created as a tribute to Mrs. Cornelia Boon (1899-1934). She unfortunately passed away from Multiple Sclerosis at the young age of 35. Cory Krul has chosen to name her store after her grandma to honour her short, vibrant life. A large black and white photography of Mrs. Boon in an oval frame is displayed on the mantel of the stone fireplace that sits in the center of the store. Her face also appears on Cornelia Bean’s product packaging and business cards. As additional tributes to the past, vintage tea kettles, coffee grinders and Russian samovars that look hundreds of years old sit like monuments on the shelf reminding customers of tea and coffee’s earlier days.
Cornelia Bean’s tea and coffee selection comes from all around the world and is reportedly the best of the best. “We will only buy the top 10% of all quality products available in the market,” is stated on their website’s mission statement. The establishment is also one of the few places in North America that is able to blend and roast their own tea and coffee on site. This is great for customers that would like to try a bit of customization in their concoctions.
They also support fair trade principles and carry some fair trade and organic coffees. On top of all that they also support several local charities including CancerCare Manitoba, Friends of Assiniboine Park Conservatory, and the MS Society of Manitoba.
These are just some more reasons to feel good about visiting the already lovely Cornelia Bean for your tea and coffee needs.
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Eden Ramsay is a Creative Communications student at Red River College. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Manitoba and majored in graphic design. She loves culture, design in its many forms, and exploring the world around her. Follow her on Twitter: @EdenRamsay.