Taipei, Taiwan

Initial Position

At the very beginning of the Kung Fu Cha Dao Project we started to look for reasonable questions which would form the field of interest for our research on perspectives of chinese tea culture.

Looking for an essential topic we focused on taiwanese tea brands market and packaging. The aim was to analyse distinctive ways to communicate through packaging and brand appearance tea value in such an ancient traditional tea culture as Taiwanese. After evaluation there left two questions which have lead the work of our project group.


How does taiwanese tea advertisement and packaging communicate values and qualities of certain tea brands in tea consumption spaces like tea shops and tea houses?

What is the difference between taiwanese (asian) and german (european) perception on communication means and values?

Branding policy, strategy of communication and advertisement are subjects which seemed to be essential for our research in product dimension and that became a starting point for our group when we first started setting questions, problems and goals for the workshop in Taipei.

Desk Research

After arriving to Taipei we formed intercultural teams and set up our group. In the first phase of the project we had to narrow down the topic in order to concentrate more precisely and not to have just a very flat overview. Additionally we wanted to extract usable information which is to find just in Taiwanese context.

Searching for most popular Taiwanese tea marks, we have chosen four different tea brands which belong to different categories and accord different user needs and behaviors:

Ten Ren – traditional.
Wang De Chuan – luxurious
Emrepor Love – experimental
Zenique – modern

We aimed to compare their corporate policy and the way they try to deliver tea value to the customer. To what kind of customers do these brands address and how are these marks to distinguish on such a big market? How do they communicate tradition into modernity?

For us to not lose ourselves in the huge amount of information, we had to find key points which would lead our search, create observation item sheets and make a clear plan with daily tasks and targets to reach.

Field Research

One of our main goals was to compare visual appearance and communication policy of the chosen brands in order to understand Taiwanese (chinese) perception on communication means and values. We set up main targets of our intervention into brand shop environment: exploration, observation, testing. We explored and tested the field both as a client and as a science worker. While we visited these four brand tea shops we were trying to figure out how do these companies communicate value and qualities of their tea through tea advertisement, product display and packaging and to what kind of consumers do they address. In order to create personas and customer journeys for each tea shop and to better comprehend the core design solutions and corporate policy of each of these brands we have interviewed tea sellers in the tea stores. We appeared as clients asking precise information about the products but also as researchers and asked about brand’s history, tea origin and design team. The tea sellers shared with us main ideas hidden behind the packaging and brand’s color and always offered us tea to try. Additionally we photographed and documented exterior and interior appearance of each brand, range of products and packaging. After each observation trip we assigned collected data to the item sheets, edited photographs and had a long discussion about conclusions we could make out of our observation.

The next step was to check the marketing policy of the chosen marks and see how do they spread information about themselves: road signage, broadcasting, Internet, restaurants, retail stores, department stores, supermarkets, brand tea-shops, tea-salons, duty free in airports, media advertising (blog, social networks), print advertising (newspapers, magazines, column interviews, give-away information (flyers), posters, bill boards). Analyzing collected information we created personas (potential client profiles) for each brand and tried to find the “messages” inviting our personas to enter this particular tea shop and not another one. It was important to define age, social and financial status, interests, occupation and tea experience of such customer.

After that we thought of customer journeys and user cases: main purposes making people come and buy tea (self-usage or gift).

In order to compare european and asian perception on information we got and conclusions we made, we wrote down our impressions. The key question we asked ourselves was how do modern marks communicate old tea tradition with the modern world. During the first week of the workshop we redefined our questions with focusing brand tea shops:

  • How does tea packaging communicate value and qualities of certain tea brands?
  • In what way does tea packaging deliver brand’s policy?
  • Where is the balance between keeping tradition but still staying modern?
  • What is the difference between taiwanese (asian) and german (european) perception on tea packaging?

Methodology: explore broad & deep

- photo observation

- editing photo and information

- interviews

- marketing analysis

- creating personas and customer journeys

- visiting traditional and handcraft market


After a week research we came up with following conclusions:

every brand tries to play with an idea of tea as a value but through packaging and the whole corporate identity it gets lost. Packaging as brand’s face take too much customer’s attention and connection of the tea to its roots (plantation, origin place, farmers etc.) is barely to feel.

Item Overview

#172 Corporate Identity

To have a differentiated position on the market, to fulfill customer wishes and to be aware of competitors of central importance, the brand should present the benefits of it’s product or service as clearly and effectively as possible. The main aim of brand strategy and positioning is to reinforce what the brand stands for, how it stands out from the competition, what its strengths are, and to clearly define... more

by alexandra.agafonova

#173 Packaging

Packaging is a very powerful media and an important component to advertise the product. Purchasing in the supermarket crucial decisions are taken at the point of sale when customers  do have a look at the shelf and chose those things which appear to be the best, most beautiful or cheap.  Package designs reflect the identity of the brand and the product and are a clear incentive for customers to buy. Brands... more

by alexandra.agafonova

#174 Interior

The connection between marketing and exterior or interior design is one of the branding tools that enables brand to become visible, recognizable and to be experienced in a holistic way. “Branded spaces” transform corporate value by packaging the core messages in a spatial presentation which appeals to all of the senses. Interior design is an important part of brand communication and form an essential brand... more

by alexandra.agafonova


concluding research & conceptualising phase

Having researched on four chosen tea brands we came up with an idea to create a concept for a tea brand, which would combine things we found out and also things we missed.

Analyzing results of the deep explore of four brand tea shops our team has come to the common conclusion that tradition of harvesting, picking, drying, baking, packing tea leaves is hidden and forgotten by both tea production marks and generally by the taiwanese inhabitants. Getting familiar with tea becomes an attavism, something historical although the procedure hasn’t really change and still works the way as many centuries ago.

We went to DaDaoCheng handcraft market to get an idea how do sellers measure and pack tea leaves. The market sale has very strong influence on human senses (smell, haptic and visual sense). Tea sellers measure tea and pack it in simple paper or in a transparent plastic bag. A feeling of tea, of product you have just bought stays with you whether buying tea in a brand shop fully packed with colors and logos you just get an idea of what you have in your hands. On the market we have met some handcraft workers wattling baskets for drying tea leaves out of bamboo or some other natural plants.

To better learn about tea preparation we went to the oldest traditional tea shop which also offers tea guides who show backyard of the shop and tell how the tea gets prepared. Here we got introduced to the charcoal curing room where the leaves get baked, some machines and handcraft tools to work on tea plantation. This experience was very unique as we felt like touching tea culture by our own hands. Such feeling we would like to integrate into our concept.



designing tea experience

transforming asian tea culture into european context


Concept development:

  •  ideation
  •  developing ideas and building concept
  •  key values setting
  •  corporate identity foundation
  •  CI development
  •  visual appearance concept

Key value of the tea shop “Cha?” is keeping memory, history and tradition but at the same time staying up-to-date. Sharing and hospitality are the main ideas where guest has priority. Tea brand “Cha?” aims to introduce traditional chinese tea handcraft manufactury and to offer a unique trip through tea production experience. 

Corporate identity

name – “CHA?”

As we know tea in chinese and many other languages (russian, turkish etc.) sounds like “cha”, so this word is familiar in different regions and parts of the world. The word is short and simple to remember and to pronounce. Question mark stands here for share and offer, for hospitality.


Steam and charcoal form question mark. Natural colors (brown, green) – reminding of forest, tree, tea.


By the entrance of the shop there is a host greeting guests and offering tea cups. Trained employees should be able to tell about tea production, preparation and consumption.


Tea brand “cha?” addresses to the wealthy people appreciating cultural traditions, history and health, and ready to pay for imported taiwanese or chinese tea.


Packing tea and it’s measurement happens in front of the clients eyes. There are going to be used 2 different materials for packing tea depending on the purpose: for client himself or as a gift.


As a mean of communication we created concept for a mobile shop, which is practically going to sell tea on the streets and advertise the brand. The track looks at the same time modern and traditional and has logo on the front side. Such mobile shop offers tea to buy and tea to drink, in order to attract people to come to stay around vender. The chair and equipment of the track are smartly organized in the mobile vender, which is represents old elements in eco-friendly way.

Mobile shop is there to remind of our habits and memories from childhood to buy staff on the streets, from the tracks. In many countries and cultures there still exist such a tradition to get together in afternoon, chat, play chess.

interior appearance

Entering tea shop „cha?“ people appear to experience a small journey into tradition of tea production. The tea is displayed in the bamboo baskets usualy used to dry tea leaves. The shape and color of the shelves remind of tea plantation terraces, green and half-rounded. In the corner of the shop there stand charcoal ovens with baskets on them imitating tea leaves baking procedure.

exterior appearance

From the street the shop has a very modern visual appearance but with traditional elements.  Outside there hang a big board with the brand’s logo.