For tea lovers there is really no better online community than the Instagram community. So many tea enthusiasts are active on Instagram on a daily basis, spreading their newest tea finds and tasting notes. I love Instagram for the tea community and the tea geeks active on it provide a very valuable stream of information on the best teas and shops around. That’s why I want to feature the accounts I love to follow in my ‘My InstaTea Friends Book’. This week: @tenchi.no.kouro!
Note from tealeafster
It were the stunning pictures of tea sessions in beautiful daylight and mindful sceneries that attracted my attention with the account of @tenchi.no.kouro and I think I fell in love with their pots many times the last couple of weeks now. It made me curious about the people behind this account and the philosophy of Tenchinokouro and so this edition of Insta Tea Friends Book was a really surprising and inspiring read for me too. Enjoy, and thanks Ben and @tenchi.no.kouro for being on the first edition of My Insta Tea Friends Book of 2017!
What’s in your cup?
As a way to recover from all the year-end activities, at this very moment I am gulping down some of that 2014 first-flush Sheng Puer, from Shen Shan (神山) region in Yunnan province in China. It’s a mouthful 😉
Where are you from?
Lately I spent a lot of time in Shizuoka, Japan and before this I had been living in Vancouver, Canada, but I was born in Taiwan.
What is your involvement with tea?
Tea has been many things, but currently, with other enthusiasts, we are raising awareness of Taiwanese tea category to the tea drinkers in Japan, as a median of relaxation in the often high-paced lifestyle most Japanese have. It started when we realized that it could be challenging to find quality Taiwanese tea in Japan, after I moved here from Vancouver.
How many teas are currently in your stash?
Enough to fill a whole room and last me a lifetime.
Favorite kind of tea?
The kind that you enjoy with friends and families.
Best tea you drank in the past six months?
Traditional style Oolong from the central part of Taiwan, usually known as DongDing Oolong. However, instead of using the leaves from DongDing region, leaves from an eco-farm on Mount Chilai are used. It’s the kind of long-finish tea that you can feel it in your gullet 10 minutes after you swallowed the tea. Depending on how you make it, it may smell Osmanthus, Honey, Caramel, and some of wood components that you typically find in vintage tea or Puer.
Favorite tea house to visit?
There is this tea house that people can do BYOT (bring-your-own-tea) near my place in Taichung. The architecture and interior are reminiscent of southern China with an inner lotus pond, the kind with Koi fishes swimming around.
Battle: Taiwanese oolongs vs. Chinese oolongs. Who wins, and why?
Chinese oolongs still retain the processing styles that are often tailored for local tea varieties and developed for local taste preferences. As such, their aroma and taste profiles can be quite foreign for first-timers. However, such characteristics are sought after by tea connoisseurs or the explorer-type of tea drinkers.
Despite being made with skills and knowledge inherited from China, Taiwanese oolongs, on the other hand, strive on highlighting often-desired aroma or taste profiles, such as floral and ripen-fruit smell and refreshing sweetness, while making sure that astringency acts as a complement. This approach starts from the cultivation stage and the resulting oolongs can be flavorful yet friendly and accommodating to almost everyone.
Bottom line is that it comes down to personal preference.
Your favorite picture on your Instagram account?
The picture is taken at my favorite tea house as mentioned above.
The last day of 2016 was a tea with friends kind of day. 一杯の茶を囲んで2016年を振り返る大晦日 . . #goodtimes #cafe #話 #people #conversation #茶芸館 #tea #oolong #instatea #いいね #cha #tealife #teatime #tealover #photooftheday #teaaddict #お茶 #afternoontea #リラックス #instapic #癒し #ilovetea #茶 #instamood #chilling #teagram #cupoftea #ティータイム #tenchinokouro #天地の香露
Can you tell us a little bit more about Tenchinokouro and on what other platforms/websites we can follow you?
We are based in Japan and specialize in micro-lot Taiwanese oolong tea, feel free to check out our event gallery at our website and Facebook page. In one format or another, providing an inspiring cup of Taiwanese tea is what we love to do. Tea has been many things in our lives, and we hope that through Tenchinokouro, we help you find out what tea means for you, in your life.