Letter from Ellen

Welcome Tea Aficionado Friends,

My tea journey began several years ago as I discovered the social pleasures of taking tea. I then began to share this charming experience with my family and close friends. We discovered that sharing a cup of tea together was a time of celebration while creating special memories. As my passion for tea grew, so did my desire to see someone open a tea room in our historic downtown area.  Every time my friends and I visited the antique shops we would be reminded that downtown Plant City needed a charming tea room. It was through the encouragement of my family, close friends, and help of my business partner, Lorena Jaeb, that my desire for a tea room in Plant City became a reality. Little did I ever think that I would be the one to open the tea room I longed for in our historic community.  Camellia Rose was a labor of love and I enjoyed sharing my passion for teatime with guests from everywhere for over six years.

I am truly thankful for God’s providence to bring Camellia Rose into my life and for the faithfulness of my family for their dedication and encouragement.   I also had the added blessing of working with my beautiful mom, Nancy, and daughters, Stacey and Keri. One of my favorite descriptions of Camellia Rose, a “Haven of Rest” is from a precious friend I met through our tea room, Mary Ann Reitzel.  Although she is in heaven now, I remember her vivacious personality, her  contagious smile that lit up the room, her generous spirit, love for beauty and people.

I have had the privilege of learning from some of the tea industry’s leading educators to include noted  tea authors and educators, Jane Pettigrew, James Norward Pratt,  Elizabeth Knight, Kay Snipes and Teresa Eager, of Magnolia & Ivy. There is so much to discover about this ancient beverage.  In the words of James Norwood Pratt, “Tea is a lifelong learning experience.”   I have had the privilege of learning from some of the tea industry’s leading educators to include noted  tea authors and educators, Jane Pettigrew, James Norward Pratt, Elizabeth Knight, Kay Snipes and Teresa Eager, of Magnolia & Ivy.

The annual World Tea Expo has afforded me many educational learning opportunities.  I have attended seminars from professionals in the tea business, met tea importers and exporters from all over the world at the expo.

In 2005 I attended the STI educational program in New York where I earned my certification for completing the, “Foundations of Tea”: levels one and two. The Specialty Tea Institute’s “Foundations of Tea, Level One & Level Two,” was developed by a team of industry experts in response to numerous requests for a standardized education program that offers an industry wide, recognizable accreditation. This two-day educational conference is part of the most significant STI initiative ever undertaken and represents a major milestone in the history of the US specialty tea industry.I am also authorized by The Protocol School of Washington to present Tea & Etiquette classes.