Jolene Brewster has been brewing tea in the Rocky Mountains since she was a little girl. Now the owner of Jolene’s Tea House in Banff, Alta., she spends her days sharing her love of the drink with visitors from far and wide. “The most important thing I’ve learned is that tea is a ceremony,” she shared with us. “What [tea] someone likes is special to them not just for how it tastes, but because of why it tastes that way.” We caught up with Jolene to ask about the personal tea ceremony she enjoys in the mountains she calls home as well as her top tips for taking tea into the wild.
What does your tea ceremony look like?
One of my absolute favourite times to have tea is first thing in the morning or on the go. Tea is absolutely the drink of the mountains. You are never going to go on a big expedition with a thermos of coffee. Tea is refreshing, it’s hydrating, it’s rejuvenating, it’s warming. Tea is actually very good for your health and wellness as you’re hiking and climbing through the mountains. And tea is also very easy to make over a fire with hot water. It’s a very simple drink.
Why is tea good when hiking?
Tea comes from the Camelia Sinensis plant, which contains theanine, a non-protein amino acid. Theanine can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heartbeat. It has been shown to affect brain functions by relieving stress disorders and improving mood. Drinking tea on the trail has further benefits, such as: stabilizing energy level, influencing focus and motivation, calming, reducing inflammation and relieving tired muscles.
What’s the best tea carrier for a mountaintop expedition?
I have a big old well-insulated Thermos that’s been with me for 20 years. Size is important. I drink a lot of tea – I want a big Thermos. The one I’ve had for years is just that good old Thermos brand. I mean, the thermal integrity is amazing. It will keep my tea hot for two full days. I’m doing a long hike in the mountains, I can literally have a hot sip of tea on the end of the second day.
What’s the best kind of tea to take?
I love individually wrapped teabags that are compostable. It’s nice to be able to have a bit of flavour selection depending on your mood or time of day. Steep, take it out, compost it.
Jolene’s Tea-To-Go Toolkit
Jolene’s Camper Mug
These ceramic mugs are modelled after retro enamelware and have a white interior that allows you to see the colour of your tea. The illustration on the side of the mug is of the Old Crag Cabin, a historic structure that now houses Jolene’s tea shop.