Foodie loves startups, especially when we unearthed loads of them last year. We revel in the chance to show off their passion for specialist ingredients, thoughtful cooking techniques and indulgent treats.
In anticipation of the upcoming Foodie Market on April 18th, we have restarted the Startup Foodie Diaries to flaunt some of the new talent who are turning up loads of things we want to eat right now.
Queue TeaCha! TeaCha is all about embracing curiosity and lifelong learning.
Founded on the teachings of Chinese tea masters and enriched by Western science, the TeaCha journey is dedicated to finding that perfect cup, by providing not only a unique, worldwide tea-tasting experience, but also a genuine education about each and every tea.
From flavour profile to caffeine levels and functional benefits, they took over two years to research deeply into the world of tea and ended up with a finely curated range of the most quintessential and revered teas from around the world.
A chat with Chris, owner and founder of TeaCha:
Why are you passionate about what you are doing?
Because I really want to share what we’ve spent 2 years learning in the most honest and straightforward way.
The tea industry is full of marketing jargons and fluff–I once came across a “Magic Charm No. 7” tea that is meant to “revitalise your soul” and that’s when I thought, enough, I want to know what’s really in the tea and whether there is actually anything special about the tea (apart from its funky name).
How did you find out exactly what's in tea?
We went so far as to conduct a meta-analysis of teas tested in laboratory conditions so as to give a fair and unbiased indication of how much caffeine and antioxidants is actually in the tea we carry. It is in these details that we hope to help our customers know about tea, the proper way.
Is your background in science then?
My education background is completely different. I’m a Management Science major from the London School of Economics and obtained my MBA from INSEAD. I was also once a high-flying yet stereotypical investment banker based in London and New York.
Then one day I realised I simply needed to follow my passion if I were ever to make my life meaningful.
Quite a career shift. Any misconceptions you have noted about startups?
“Having an idea is the most important part”: far from the truth-sound execution is by far the most crucial part of a successful startup.
“Being the boss means being free to do what I want”: I haven’t taken a single holiday for the past 2 years and every so often I do dream of the days when I was still able to travel for pleasure.
Can you tell us some valuable life lessons you've learnt?
There are always situations that arise that go beyond your control. The key to success in entrepreneurship goes beyond your business acumen and marketing savvy. Acquiring sound emotional intelligence and keeping perspective is arguably even more important.
How does an entrepreneur like yourself start the day?
With a piping-hot and potent dose of our very own Estate Darjeeling that is packed with the caffeine that I crave for early in the morning.
And a guilty pleasure for our readers at home?
Traditional scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam.
Lastly, what makes TeaCha unique?
- BRINGING THE WORLD OF TEA TO YOUR DOORSTEP We spent 2 years tasting more than 1,300 teas from across the world. We’ve whittled this down to 65 of the world’s finest, most revered teas. And they're all available—the full spectrum of international specialties, covered over 13 months. Each monthly pack introduces 5 unique teas in season, perfect for drinking during that specific month.
- BACKED BY RESEARCH We want you to know exactly what you’re getting in each and every tea so we studied, researched and profiled each of our selections based on the Six Elements that make a tea unique.We’ve also conducted a proprietary meta-analysis of academic studies on caffeine and antioxidants found in teas, to give you the clearest picture possible of each delicious brew.
TeaCha is one of the many exciting gourmet vendors at the upcoming Foodie Market, set to open its doors on April 18th, befittingly at Opendoor Café in Sheung Wan/Sai Ying Pun.
Read more or get involved here.