Based in Berkeley, CA and in operation for over 15 years, Teance began as a passion project among friends who wanted to create a tea company that bridged the gap between the ancient tea culture of the East and the flavors of the West, using their knowledge of traditional tea service and storytelling.
The Teance Story
The initial goal was to provide a context for their customers to experience the finest teas in the world. Becoming the East Bay’s top destination for high quality, single origin, direct trade and rare teas, Teance began as a humble tea house that soon included a tea tasting bar and retail store.
Their methods involved offering a skillful tea service and a unique selection of teas, which inspired the artful design of their operations. Tradition is the driving force behind this tea company’s desire to provide the fullest expression of each tea, as well as craft and seasonality.
The Teance Mission
Along with sharing their passion for amazing tea, Teance strives to give their customers the historical and cultural context behind their teas via in-depth artisan producer profiles, detailed product information and education.
If you’re ever in the area, visit their tea house on Fourth Street in Berkeley for a tea tasting.
Teance celebrates the time-honored craftmanship of the artisanal tea farmers in China, India, Japan and Taiwan. They visit the family-owned farms to select their hand-crafted teas every harvest, which are carefully curated for complexity, exceptional taste and spirit.
Committed to help sustain traditional communities while sharing the treasures of the tea arts with their customers, they truly believe that tea can change your life. Co-founder Winnie Yu calls tea her “daily companion” and goes on to explain that tea can:
- Awaken and Calm
- Bring mindfulness and focus
- Contribute to overall health
Preparing and steeping tea can be slow and mindful or quick and intentioned, while simple things like sharing a teapot with guests or taking a thermos of tea on a hike becomes an important part of everyday life.
Bringing artisan teas produced by skilled tea farmers to the Western world means promoting their hard work to their customers. Teance lists the name of the producer of each tea and has created a page to share their stories, such as:
Mr. Yan – Anxi, Fujian, China: On rolling mountains that reach 2,000 meters, tea is often called “monkey-picked” due to the idea that only monkeys or the nimble hands of humans can harvest under such conditions, where no other industries or agricultural operations exist.
The region was discovered over 150 years ago and is considered to be the producer of the King of Oolongs. Mr. Yan is an artisan tea master from Bao Shan (Treasure Mountain) who learned to harvest tea at 8 years of age and went on to an apprenticeship that led to a lifelong practice shared by his offspring.
Mrs. Su – Tung Ting Village, Taiwan: One of the hardest working tea growers Teance works with, Mrs. Su is the daughter of 3 generations of tea farmers who works with the villagers and extended family members to harvest and process teas as one unit. Producing light, floral and intensely rich, sweet and complex Oolongs that are prized by connoisseurs around the world.
Mrs. Su works in tea harvesting and processing while raising her 3 boys and supporting her husband’s venture, as well as selecting charcoal pieces for roasting and aging her dowry Oolongs since the day she was married. She also gives tours to visitors on their mountain.
Mr. Shimo Oka – Uji, Japan: Producing the Gyokuro tea that is sold by Teance, Mr. Shimo Oka won the Emperor’s Cup in 2013 for his tea. Considered the best tea producer in Japan, he has been awarded many times over the last 50 years. He also has many plaques, medals and gold cups that prove his prestigious status.
Known as “the dew of jade” – Gyokura is a rich, viscous tea that is slightly savory with a sweet finish when properly infused. Mr. Shimo Oka advises that his tea should never be prepared with boiling water, unless you want to flush out the flavor and create a bitter cup.
Sourcing their rare, high quality and hand-crafted teas from some of the most highly respected producers in the world, Teance strives to pay fair prices for products grown with principles such as sustainability and tradition. Many of their teas are exclusively commissioned to preserve regional traditions and techniques.
A black tea that has a flavor described as brisk with a hint of ripe fruit, this tea hails from Qimen in Anhui, China. Considered to be a focusing and invigorating cup, this elder black tea is famously used as a base for English Breakfast and is satiny smooth with a full, amber body.
This green tea comes from Okutani Garden in Uji, Japan and is steamed, unoxidized and grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. With a marine flavor that is also naturally sweet, this tea has the distinctive Uji essence that is captured at the peak of freshness, creating a complex and tasty emerald cup.
Mt. Olympus Flowers
For those who enjoy an herbal cup, this tea is full bodied, spicy and richly complex. Sourced from Greece, Mt. Olympus Flowers is a made from flowering Sideritis (ironwort) which is a potent herbal that is naturally sweet and known in the region for its’ medicinal properties.
Teance also sells authentic, handmade Yixing teapots, crafted from purple sand found in Yixing. They also sell Japanese teaware and accessories.
With quality and rare tea, subscriptions, gift and sample sets, this company helps you discover a tea you’ll love with their useful questionnaire and they offer a free Gong Fu tea lesson.
Looking for something different? Here are some other teas to try: