The Independent Newspaper and Hampton Daze Magazine had the pleasure of hosting a delightful tea party recently using Chambre De Sucre, an elite high quality sugar company derived from Japan. The brand was founded by Ms. Lisa Kunizaki, who expresses that the sugars have been in her family for many generations. Making this her own and sharing with the world, Lisa has perfected these delicious handcrafted amenities and imported them to the United States for luxury spa’s, hotels, specialty stores and used in events for guests to enjoy. Chambre de Sucre has expanded into a line of delicious tea’s having sentimental value behind each flavor. I had the p[leasure of interviewing her and learning more about this amazing business:
Lisa Kunizaki Q&A
Your brand, Chambre de Sucre, began as a sugar business for you, is this correct?
I started Chambre de Sucre 3 years ago. I import handcrafted gourmet sugars from Japan that are used for coffee and tea. We are a 270 year old, 17 generation deep, family owned business. My inspiration is my grandmother, whom I visited every summer in Japan growing up. She served these sugars and I learned that it is so simple to make your everyday coffee and tea special and elegant. As my company has grown, I’ve added a hand blended tea line. Each tea is name and numbered after family members.
What kind of teas do you produce and do you have a favorite ?
I hand blend my own teas and they are each inspired by members of my family. They are actually named and numbered after my family. I currently have 7 teas – a green rooibos, pu’erh, white, green, black, a tisane and an oolong. I love them all equally, but I have a special place in my heart for pu’erhs so I’d have to say my Chocolat et Fraise, a pu’erh blended with hand shaven chocolate curls and dried strawberries. I even numbered that one after myself.
Where do you want to see Chambre de Sucre in 10 years?
I’d love to have a storefront with maybe even an attached café. Something truly unique, elegant, and simple. I want you to feel like you’re actually in Japan somewhere experiencing the coffee/tea/dessert/food whatever. I’d love it to be designed by a Japanese architect and I’d love the menu to be inspired by Japanese cafes and tea rooms. In 10 years I hope to expand my team and territory (would love to see them in Canada, UK, France and Germany–just to name a few). My dream would be for my sugars and tea to be a recognizable brand by those in the coffee, tea and food industry. There is nothing like acknowledgement from your peers to make you feel like you’re doing something right.
Your sugars and teas are beautifully packaged in such detail, where do we find them?
You can find our sugars in New York City at Todd English’s The Plaza Food Hall as well as in the Dean & Deluca stores. You can also find us nationwide in 40 HomeGoods stores. Over the next few months, you will see us expand to Crate & Barrel, HMK (Hallmark concept stores), and Terrain . We’re thrilled that so many people have embraced our product and see the value in elevating the everyday cup of tea and coffee!
Any insider tips on finding a great High Tea in New York?
High Tea or Afternoon Tea? There is a difference. A high tea is served in the late afternoon or early evening (5 PM to 7 PM), taking the place of dinner. Served at a “high” table with seated place settings. The foods are heartier and consist of salads, one or two hot dishes, pot pies, cold chicken, sliced meats, cakes, fruit tarts, custards, and fresh fruits. The tea may be served hot or iced. The addition of any supper dish would be appropriate. Afternoon tea is also called “low tea” because it was usually taken in a sitting room or withdrawing room where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas or chairs generally in a large withdrawing room generally served between 3 and 5 o’clock.
I think it really depends on what kind of vibe you’re looking for. Are you really more into the teas, food, something fancy or something a bit more laid back? Does it need to be kid friendly? So many things to consider when I choose to take someone for Afternoon Tea. Each place has it’s own personality and I try to match what I’m in the mood for with the place I want to go to. My Fall and Winter choices tend to be in cozier locations that have fireplaces and a warmer interior (design wise).
My go-to place for English style Afternoon Tea is The Lobby Lounge at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York and The Pierre. Japanese style: Cha-An in the East Village.