Taipei,Taiwan / Cologne, Germany

Initial Position

The taiwanese tea culture belongs to the most famous ones on our planet. Tea trees are native to Taiwan, and tea was likely used by the aboriginal inhabitants as a medicinal plant. A developed tea culture was introduced to Taiwan by the earliest waves of Chinese immigrants from Fujian province. At this time, the 17th century, tea was used as a beverage and was also considered as a food with medicinal properties. Influenced by japanese and western culture. The Gongfu tea ceremony (“laoren” or “old mans tea”) has its origin in china mainland and flourished in taiwan.
A lot of different processes within the value-chain effect the the properties, the quality and so the use and the price-range. Farmers, Factories, Retailer (Wholeseller) and also the persons who prepares the final beverage taking part in these process.

Our leading Questions in advance:

1. What information is communicated at each step until consumption?
2. What are factors of quality and where do they emerge within the value chain?
3. Where and how are they communicated to the customer?
4. What kind of communication tools care used to transport economical and cultural value?

Desk Research

To become familar with the taiwanese teaculture we dealt with the chinese teaculture in general, with a special focus on the taiwanese specialities. We highlighted the transformation of the use and the position of tea, within the history, the productionprocess and various teaceremonies.
It turned out that parameter like the altitude of the growing area, the picking techniques, the season the harvest take place affect the tea quality also like the roasting and the blending in the further process.

Field Research

One the first day of the project in taipei we had a first briefing with the tawanese students and a lot of discussions, how to act. The taiwanese students informed us about their point of view as people acting common with the topic. We prepared questionares in dependence to our leading questions.They have been adjusted for our different interview partners. Several contacts have been figured out and we planed a two day research excursion through the stakeholders. Our first station was the Pinglin Tea Museum which is known as the world`s largest museum dedicated to tea. This should give us a closer understanding and a well overview of the topic. Our interview partners were farmer, tea-picker, factory owners and workers (Lin Hua Tai Tea Co. & Wen’s Tea House) and also some consumers. In the course of our questionings we found out that several, sometimes all processes are done by the farmer.Factories are focusing on blending, roasting and rejecting. They also act as wholesellers alternatively retailer. After a close look through the packaging we found out that there is not an information about the process transported. Alike ingredients are not communicated to the end-consumer. The information flow happens via talking to the seller. It is about trust.

Item Overview

#159 outdoor withering

The leafs are spread outside under sunlight and the master regular turn them over.
An alternative way to dry the leafs, often used at rainy days and by night, is using a drying- table. This one is using a gas fl ame to produce dry and warm air. A ventilator is blowing these under the leafs. more

by sven.kirschenbauer

#160 Roasting

The observation was done at Lin Hua Tai Tea Co. in Taipeh City. The roasting process in this factory is done by a machine which can handle up to 3000 kg a day. The tea is going to a flowing ribbon while roasting. The speed and the heat is programmed by a tea master. Lin Hua Tai Oolong is roasted at a temperatur of 180-190°C, the black tea 230°C. The roasting conservate flavours and make it more easy to... more

by christian.zander

#162 Packaging

The packaging this shop is using is really simple. It is a orange plastick bag with the
adress and telephone-number of the shop, written in chinese letter on it. They are using four different sizes of it. The only hint of the content is an atached label which shows the kind of tea inside (but this is just used if you buy two different kind of teas). There is no more information which belongs to the tea. The... more

by christian.zander

#163 Selling

The ancient architecture of Wang’s tea place impressed while getting through the shop. It’s a place supply for tasting introduction of tea by a tea-master and visiting a room for roasting and baking. It is not only a shop, they also act as a factory and they have a kind of tea-museum where it is possible to get information about every single step the tea is going through until it is ready for drinking.... more

by sven.kirschenbauer

#192 Picking

Location: Pinglin (600-700meter high)
Temperature: 14.9 °c - 27.62°c
Winter: 15.9°c
Summer: 25.6°c
Cultivation: rocky soil
(4-5 years old tea tree)
Breeding: chin shin oolong
harvest method : one bud, two leaves by hand
Season: whole year more

by sven.kirschenbauer


We figured out that the picking-season is one of the most important factor for the quality and the flavour of tea in taiwan. To increase awareness of these fact we came up with the idea of the “tealender”. The “tealender” combines a calender and a tea bag. The tea inside the bag is picked exactly one year in advance and gives the consumer a feeling for the differences, that way.

Our second approach is a smart interface consisting of two parts, which can be used on the point of sale (e.g. a shop). It offers a multisensory experience in an interactive way.

Integrated in a shelve, the stcd delivers the possibility of getting in touch with the product in a haptic and olfactory way while interacting with a screen, which is offering different information and supports the flow of information optical. So it is possible for the consumer to choose between information around the origin, each single step of the further process and the way to prepare the tea. The recognition works via rfid-tags (radio-frequency-identification).
A identification card of each tea can be choosen and be used on the second spot.
The second spot, a table, equipped with similar working interface is also available at the shop. Here, the customer can recall information about the choosen tea just like ordering a sample. In a relaxing enviroment the customer can get deeper information a share them with others, who also sitting aroud the table. A final exact order (type, size) can be done and will be prepared for take away, at the counter.