Interview with Jonathan Kane – Owner of The Naked Leaf
We are so thrilled to introduce you to Jonathan Kane, owner of The Naked Leaf. Like a sommelier with a fine wine, Jonathan carefully curates all the teas he brings into his Calgary tea shop. Learn more about The Naked Leaf and Jonathan’s passionate advice that we all need to take time in our day to calm down and experience the sense of pleasure and joy a beautiful cup of tea can bring.
At first, it might seem rude when Jonathan Kane slurps his tea from his mug. After five minutes in conversation with the owner of Kensington’s The Naked Leaf tea shop, you come to realize he is not slurping, he is savouring. There is no question Jonathan loves and reveres tea. Like a sommelier with a fine wine, Jonathan carefully curates the tea he brings into the shop. Many of the teas are custom blends that are ethically sourced from suppliers around the globe. Each tea has a unique profile, whether that is composed by the flavour, the shape and size of the leaves or the aroma of the combination.
Jonathan approaches tea as art – something to be cherished and enjoyed as a leisurely pastime. The shop in Kensington almost feels like a gallery, but instead of Renault or Picasso, you can browse rooibos and pu-erh.
Before he opened Naked Leaf in 2008, Kane was a professional dancer. He knows that precision and timing are of the essence, and he applies that philosophy to tea.
All About The Ritual
“Part of the tea process for me is all about the ritual,” he says. “Having beautiful tea wares, a beautiful tea pot, a beautiful tea cup, ways to prepare it – it’s part of the pleasure I get from a cup of tea, both taste and teaware. If you’re only drinking tea in your to-go cup as you’re rushing out the door. You need to be in the right state of mind. Take the time to enjoy it.”
The shop offers a complimentary collection of tea wares, from the whimsical to the traditional. The same applies to the tins you can take home. Kane is dedicated to supporting the local arts scene, and all of the labels on his tea tins feature art from local artists. Each label is printed in limited editions, making each one a collectors item.
As an avid tea drinker (he’s have to be, wouldn’t he?), Jonathan knows that water temperature and steeping time are the keys to a delightful cuppa. Tea is more than a hydrating beverage, it’s an opportunity to take a pause in your day.
“Take time in your day to calm down and focus on yourself,” he advises. “I try to get people to understand the beauty of tea, the work that goes into making it, how much work goes into making the tea leaves. It’s one of the best values around for what it can offer in a sense of pleasure, health benefits and the joy it can bring when you sit down and relax.”
Jonathan has also been incredibly inspiring over this last year by creating ‘The Kensington Box’ that brought together other small businesses in Kensington offering gift boxes for sale to customers during the early months of the pandemic. Jonathan has also pledged to make a sizeable donation to a different Calgary-based charity every month in 2021. Please make a point of visiting The Naked Leaf and including some tea in your daily routine. You will be glad you did!