Tell us more about yourself. Have you always been working in the tea industry?
No I haven’t. I first started out as a photographer doing studio shoots, then a few years later, I moved on to film. I worked in a production house for about six years before I quit. I was feeling stagnant and wanted to try something totally different, so I went to do deliveries, the kind where you drive vans. I actually found that quite enjoyable, but there was no sense of accomplishment in what I was doing. So when COVID hit, I became a swabber. I just wanted to see different people and experience different things. Then finally, when the lease for my current shophouse popped up, my partner Melody and I just decided to take it and start our own teahouse, and now here we are.
Have you always been into teas? What made you want to venture into this industry full-time?
Yeah, I was already drinking a lot of tea back when I was working in film, but it was very expensive for me (laughs).
Something as subtle as tea is actually quite enriching to the mind and body, and I wanted to share this experience with other people, but it’s hard to share, because it’s quite intimate. So I thought the only solution was to have a space of my own so that I could have people over.
What’s your favourite type of tea?
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite type of tea, but I do have a favourite category of teas, which is rock teas, or yancha in Mandarin. It translates to mineral teas, and are grown on the mountains. These teas are very complex, and they have a lot of flavours, so you will never get bored drinking it, because the flavours will keep changing. Every time you brew a batch, it will be different. Using different vessels, different types of water—all of these variables can yield very different results, which gives a sort of personality to the tea itself. It’s complicated, and brewing it is even more complicated (laughs). Sometimes we’ll rack our brains doing it. It can be quite a headache (laughs).
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other people looking to make a 180 degree career switch like you did?
Just don’t think too much. There’s no right or wrong decision, and of course you can take time to consider your options, but when you’re in your youth, I think there are always opportunities to try something new. Well, maybe not just in your youth lah, any age also can (laughs). Yeah, I just remembered I’m not a youth anymore.