The People Behind the Magic at JP: Meet Bruce MacDonald

1) How long have you worked for The Jasmine Pearl?

Bruce: I am pretty green at the shop, I have been working at the Jasmine Pearl since December of 2014. I am looking forward to my future here at the shop.

2) What do you do there? What does a typical day look like for you?

Bruce: I work the tea bar most days, helping costumers sample and discover new teas and tea ware. I love introducing our costumers to our Puerh teas, my favourite type of tea. On days that I am not at the bar I bag and stock all of our ready-to-go 2oz. bag wall of teas in our blending room.

3) What attracted you to the world of tea? Tell us about the moment tea became special to you?

Bruce: My introduction to tea was at an early age. My mother would always make black tea, usually an Earl Grey with just a bit of honey, for my brother, father and I for breakfast. Most of my memories of my mom at home involved a cup of tea in her hands. Tea has become a special reminder of home, warmth and family for me. For the last 10 years I have worked in the café world serving tea and coffee, I love creating a drink that people appreciate as an important part of their day.

4) What are your top 5 favorite teas at The Jasmine Pearl?

Bruce: That's something that changes week to week but...I do have some great standbys, though. I have a cup of the Yellowbird Ripe Puerh every morning when I wake up. After that Dancing Dragon, Jasmine Pearl, the Yuzu Black, and our new Ceylon.

5) If you were a tea, what would you be and why?

Bruce: If I were a tea...hmmm. I would say that I am our Yuzu Black, a black Japanese tea from a small farm to the south of Tokyo. It is different and unusual from most other teas coming from Japan, is pretty bright in flavor and has a surprising citrus finish. So a little different, warm, and a bit surprising...yeah, that could be me. haha.

6) Tell a fun fact about yourself. What are your hobbies outside of work?

Bruce: Fun Fact: I spent years working at a stable back in New Jersey where I worked with handicapped kids in caring for and riding horses as a form of therapy. It was an awesome experience. Outside of work I love to read, journal, and going for hikes.

7) Tell us about your proudest moment with tea.

Bruce: My proudest moment with tea...I think would be the first time I made tea for my tea sensei David (our tea educator at The Jasmine Pearl) and getting a big thumbs up. He has been a great teacher.

8) What is your dream place to have a cup of tea and who would you like to share it with?

Bruce: One of my favourite places in the world is Edinburgh, Scotland. I would love to take my wonderful partner Dustin there in the Fall and walk along Princes Street sipping some Earl Grey together.

9) What is your favorite way to brew tea? What tea ware do you use at home?

Bruce: At home I brew tea using either a gaiwan for myself or a beautiful ceramic pot my roommate discovered with a stainless steel infuser for guests. At work I use our handy Gravity Brewer, I can brew tea easily with it, see my tea leaves at work, and when its ready I can set it on my cup and forget about it while I get the store in order.