JusTeam Canada Feature: Grace Bain

Grace Bain

Mother to all staff – providing edible goodies

We refer to Grace as the mother to all staff because she’s always popping into the JusTea office to drop of delicious treats for us and lending a hand wherever it is needed. Grace is also our resident expert spoon wrapper! When we receive the tea spoons from the artisans in Kenya we wrap them with labels to prepare for packaging, and Grace is SO fast and precise! Seriously – none of us can compete! Though she still comes in monthly to help with spoon wrapping, these days her time is mostly spent being a Nana to her granddaughter Cleo (Paul and Sally’s daughter) so Paul and Sally can focus on their roles at JusTea.

Grace visited Kenya for the first time last year and she especially loved spending time in the Kitchen with Ruth (Our factory manager in Kenya Boaz’s mom) swapping recipes. Read on to learn more about Grace and follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more #JusTeamCanada features.

Grace Bain JusTea

What is your favourite thing to do while drinking tea?

Reading a book 

What’s your favourite Canadian delicacy; maple syrup or poutine?

Definitely maple syrup

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse?

I can’t relate to this question. Is there a food shortage?

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

I believe in you!

What’s your favourite tea from JusTea? How do you take it?

Mount Kenya Black with a little milk and sugar. 

Do you have any funny stories from Kenya?

When Grayson and I were in Kenya last October, we brought some gifts for Boaz’s kids. Trevor loved learning all about Bey Blades. A game with special spinning toys played in a plastic square arena. Grayson kept challenging him until Trevor finally started winning. He was the only one in his class who had the game. So much excitement!

How do you spend your free time outside of work?

I like to knit socks and sweaters. Growing tomatoes and dahlia flowers and anything gardening is a high priority. And of course, being a Nana to Cleo!

JusTeam Canada: Russ Lafond

Russ Lafond

Doctor of Operations

Russ, the Doctor of Operations has been with JusTea from the beginning of the company’s inception. Being very passionate about his involvement in a start up, he helped and learned a great deal about building a sustainable and ethical business. He has travelled to Kenya twice while working with JusTea and looks forward to many more trips to come. On his most recent trip, he transported a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast used to ferment and produce kombucha) with him to Kenya and taught Boaz how to make kombucha! Russ manages all product sourcing, production, international shipping logistics and helps with financial analysis. 

Read on to learn more about Russ and follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more #JusTeamCanada features.

Russ Lafond JusTea

What is your favourite thing to do while drinking tea?

Cook a good breakfast

What’s your favourite Canadian delicacy; maple syrup or poutine?

Poutine

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse?

Depends if I manage to escape out of the city.

What’s a movie you can practically quote from start to finish?

The Big Lebowski

What TV show are you watching right now?

Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain

What’s your favourite tea from JusTea? How do you take it?

African Breakfast, just as is, sometimes with milk and sugar

Do you have any funny stories from Kenya?

Paul and I went to a restaurant on the outskirts of Nairobi and we were brave enough to try goat stomach sausage! It was so chewy (as you can see from the GIF of Paul below) and not very tasty at all!

When we were ordering in front of the grill, I asked the cook what the sausage was made of and he said: “Stomach”. I figured he meant the sausage casing was made of goat intestines, which is normal. So, I asked again and said: “No, what is the meat inside the sausage?” and he replied confidently: “Stomach, goat stomach!”.

How do you spend your free time outside of work?

Playing guitar, Yoga, Running, Home-brewing Kombucha, Beer and Wine

JusTeam Canada Feature: Sonia Monty

Sonia Monty

Account Manager

Sonia is a pre-law student majoring in psychology that is passionate about how the legal system and social, environmental and animal-related issues intersect.

After taking a sociology course on the history of agriculture, she was excited to join the JusTeam as it addressed many of the concerns highlighted throughout the course, and allowed her to put what she learned into practice! Sonia has greatly enjoyed learning about tea: the benefits of tea, how it is grown and processed, and how to analyze tea. She’s loves hearing the Bain’s stories from visiting Kenya, and tuning in to JusTea’s Instagram and Facebook pages for new stories about the JusTea Farmers. When she’s not studying or working you’ll likely find Sonia reading fantasy books, gardening or cooking with her grandmother over Skype!

Read on to learn more about Sonia and follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more #JusTeamCanada features.

Who will win the battle for the throne in GOT?

Is anyone?

What is your favourite thing to do while drinking tea?

Read a fantasy novel.

What’s your favourite Canadian delicacy; maple syrup or poutine?

I can’t have dairy anymore, but boy do I miss poutine.

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse?

I’ve already got a well-stocked earthquake kit, so I think I’d do alright for supplies – provided I can keep my dog quiet. I don’t think she’d like the zombies too much either.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

“Same old” by Felivand.

What’s a movie you can practically quote from start to finish?

I can’t quote any movies from start to finish, but I can definitely quote the lines for every Seinfeld episode ever made. Elaine is my spirit animal.

What TV show are you watching right now?

The Good Life, I wasn’t sure about it initially, but stick to it – it’s surprisingly clever.

What’s your favourite tea from JusTea? How do you take it?

100% Purple Chocolate, just by itself – I can’t get enough of it!

How do you spend your free time outside of work?

read, study, go for long walks with friends, and take my dog through the trails, there’s no better way to relax than to immerse yourself in nature.

JusTeam Canada Feature: Grayson Bain

It seems like everywhere Grayson goes these days, people tell him they are looking for food that is natural, healthy and directly benefiting the farmer. So, he is proud to be the founding father of JusTea – who’s tea is all of those things! As Mzee (East African term for proud old man) he loves seeing how Paul (Tea Captain) and Russ (Doctor of Operations) have taken over the leadership of JusTea, in partnership with the Katah family of Kenya.

A day in the life for Grayson begins at 8 am. This Canadian Mzee wakes up and hops on his bike to go on a 15km uphill bicycle ride through the city to the JusTea office. During these daily bike rides to the office, Grayson dreams about his trips to Kenya and the magical 6 am sunrises on the tea farm in Nandi Hills filled with monkey chatter and bird song. Read on to learn more about Grayson and follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more #JusTeamCanada features.

Grayson Bain JusTea

What is your favourite thing to do while drinking tea? 

Contemplate family, flowers, read a good book…

What’s your favourite Canadian delicacy? 

Nanaimo Bars!

If you had a theme song, what would it be? 

Here for a Good Time (not a long time)

What’s your favourite tea from JusTea? How do you take it?

Kenyan Black.  Straight and strong.

Do you have any funny (maybe not so funny…but) stories from Kenya? 

Davison, who owned 1 acre of tea said, It’s too bad we have not been taught about how to protect our topsoil from erosion on these steep slopes, around the bushes.  See? It is flowing down into that stream, and then that joins the start of the Nile. And our soil goes all the way down the Nile.  The Egyptian should be thanking us.

How do you spend your free time outside of work?

Riding around (on my bike) or taking Cleo (Paul’s and Sally’s daughter) to the park.