cup of te toronto

Toronto entrepreneur's luxury tea company makes Oprah's Favourite Things list

Taylor Lindsay-Noel has been subscribed to Oprah's O Magazine for as long as she can remember.

Now, the 27-year-old Toronto-born entrepreneur has been featured in an issue, and not just any issue: The November 2020 issue, one of the last printed issues of O Magazine before it moved exclusively online.

For Lindsay-Noel, whose loose leaf tea brand Cup of Té impressed the Big O enough to land a coveted spot on her annual Favourite Things list, the experience still feels surreal. 

"The only magazine I subscribe to is Oprah...I have an O Magazine in every room of the house," says Lindsay-Noel. "It was one of those subliminal things where it was always there in my mind, I just never thought I'd be on a list like that." 

But she's handling her success in stride—it's not the first time an unexpected event has changed the trajectory of Lindsay-Noel's life. 

She's an entrepreneur now, but 13 years ago, Lindsay-Noel was an elite gymnast getting ready to represent Canada at the Summer Olympics in London. 

In 2008, her dreams were derailed. At 14 years old, Lindsay-Noel broke her neck while training on the high bar at Seneca College's practice gym. The incident left her instantly paralyzed from the neck down. Her future as a gymnast—which she had been since the age of 5—was over.

But the young woman, who says she aspires to be a mix of Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Maya Angelou, kept going.

After high school, Lindsay-Noel enrolled at the radio and television arts program at Ryerson in hopes of becoming an entertainment reporter. Then she started her own podcast, Tea Time with Tay: a series that involved interviews and, of course, tea. 

Lindsay-Noel attributes her Caribbean and Trinidadian roots, and very social household, for her affinity for tea. And she notes that, after her accident, tea played a role in her healing process as she learned about her body as a quadriplegic.

"When I was in physical rehab, one of the things of my injury that I wasn't aware of was being to regulate your body temperature," says Lindsay-Noel.

"I'm chronically cold at all times. It'll be 20 C but my body registers temperatures at 6 C lower. I was drinking a lot of hot liquids when I was in rehab because I was always cold."

In 2018, Linsday-Noel launched Cup of Té, an online business offering 19 different flavours of ethically-sourced, loose leaf tea, including organic matcha from Kyoto and chai from India. 

Two years later, Oprah's team reached out asking for samples. Cup of Té's Luxe Organic Tea Set ($119.99) now has the official O stamp, and according to Lindsay-Noel, the effects of the media mogul's approval have been instantaneous.

"Oprah has always been that woman in my life," she says. "To have her and her team be like, 'We love your brand, we think it's great, we love it so much we want to make it part of our list.' It's at times overwhelming to imagine." 

You can order Cup of Té products online. $1 from each Tea Starter Kit goes toward CAMH. 

Lead photo by

Taylor Linsday-Noel

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