Written by JulieReading time 3 min
Have you ever heard of George Cannon? Created way back in 1898, this premium tea brand has a somewhat low-key image. Which is why we wanted to tell you a bit more about these French tea specialists! Thankfully, company president Augustin Scala was only too happy to open the doors to the family business and speak to us about his passion for tea.
George Cannon, a family affair
Two Stories, One Shared Passion
Augustin Scala’s family has been importing tea to France for six generations. It all started back in Marseille in 1897 when two brothers, Lazare and Petrus Digonnet, inherited a taste for exotic foodstuffs from their uncle. Together, they decided to launch Les Thés de l’Eléphant. Business was soon booming and their company quickly became the largest of its kind in France. The following year George Cannon, a Brit married to a French woman, created his own eponymous tea company in Paris. While Les Thés de l’Eléphant grew on an industrial scale, George Cannon preferred to focus on developing a privileged clientele made up of luxury épiceries. His selection of premium teas, limited to only a dozen varieties, helped build him a solid reputation in tea circles. As a result, in 1969, despite its success on the French market, Les Thés de l’Eléphant was sold owing to disputes over matters of strategy and succession.
George Cannon: Excellence at Work
André Scala, one of the former directors of Les Thés de l’Eléphant, acquired George Cannon in 1970. On taking over the family business, his son Raymond – nicknamed the “tea aristocrat” by his peers – set his sights on the world’s finest tea regions while broadening the range of flavours on offer. He became the first businessman in France to import red tea from Yunnan, darker Pu’Er teas and Oolong tea from China and Taiwan. He placed greater importance on the notions of terroir and harvest – first flush, second flush, early teas and tea grades (OP, FOP, BOP, etc.) – while highlighting the subtle flavour differences among teas of the same origin. His expertise, his exceptional nose and his demanding standards in selection delighted the connoisseurs. It was not until 1978 that his son Olivier Scala convinced him to start offering scented teas. Made using natural flavours and high quality tea, these new varieties were gentle, not very bitter and easy on the palate, respecting the alchemy and balance between tea and flavour. It’s a tradition that Augustin Scala has continued to this day, as he oversees the development of the George Cannon brand by applying the same high standards of selection and quality for all its products, including organic loose leaf tea.
Now that you know more about the brand, it’s time for you to discover and try out these teas. Enjoy your next cup.
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