In 1999, François-Xavier and his business partner, Mathias Minet, who joined the company in the late 1990s, wanted to help others experience and learn about tea in a more hands-on setting. Combining their tea prowess, they opened the Palais des Thés Tea School in the flagship location in Paris. The program walks students through the history of tea, different types and varietals, and a tasting of rare teas from different parts of the world. To fulfill the company’s mission, employees also partake in the training program offered through the Tea School, which has locations in New York and Moscow as well.
In 2012, François-Xavier’s niece Aurélie Bessiere (pictured above) joined the Palais des Thés leadership team and opened the first U.S. store. A native Parisian like her uncle, Aurélie’s appreciation for tea started from a young age. After a successful career working for high-profile companies in France, she and her husband, Cyrille, gladly accepted the challenge to take the tea brand across the Atlantic Ocean to New York. Following in François-Xavier’s footsteps, Aurélie, now CEO of Palais des Tés USA, became a tea sommelier and is an instructor at the Tea School and Tasting Studio in New York.
A few years after opening the first U.S. boutique in New York City’s SoHo district, Aurélie decided to transition the store into a showroom, tasting room, and tea school, in order to provide a more personalized experience to visitors, who can visit by appointment only. While the brand’s official tea sommelier course is available exclusively in the Paris school, Aurélie and the Palais des Thés team are hoping to bring the program to the U.S. in the near future.
Discover more seasonal recipes, table settings, and teatime inspiration by ordering your TeaTime subscription today!