What We Do
We specialize in small batch Taiwanese teas, which we source through a community of world class growers and makers in Taiwan.
From the very beginning nearly twenty years ago, we were carrying teas that exceed standards for single origin loose leaf tea in America. We made a commitment to source teas that we love and feel excited to share. In order to share teas that can do things beyond what the average tea drinker expects from tea, we became educators out of necessity. If we can show our tea friends what a good tea can do -- for example development, aftertaste, texture, throat sensation -- we figure they will choose to drink better teas in the future. We strive to open a pandora's box, and we love to hear the response 'I didn't know tea could do that'.
We call our method of approaching tea Body Centered Tea Appreciation. This method was developed by Shiuwen based on spending time with multi generational tea families and preeminent tea masters in the Taiwanese tea community. We strive to bring this authentic Taiwanese understanding of tea and share it with our American friends. We believe tea can change lives, because it has changed ours continuously over the course of the last 20 years.
Shiuwen created a teahouse called Floating Leaves with the intent of bringing Eastern and Western cultures together over a pot of tea.
She grew up in Taiwan, where her journey with tea began at her uncle’s tea table. For her, tea brings people together. In Seattle, tea developed a deeper significance for her. It's a tether to her home culture and a way to connect with her host culture. Now she sees her position as a sort of bridge between East and West, sharing the knowledge and teas she’s picked up from Taiwanese tea masters with an American audience.
There have been countless times when, after a tea class, participants look up at Shiuwen and say ‘no one has ever talked about tea like this to me before’. She has a fresh perspective and she is an excellent teacher.
I was born in Seattle, and fell in love with Taiwanese oolong around the age of 13. I've worked in tea houses since I was a teenager and got a degree in Chinese Language to get closer to the tea producing culture. When a friend heard I wanted to learn more about tea, he said I 'had to go see Shiuwen'. I started attending her classes, and the rest is history.
Now I not only do all the web stuff for Floating Leaves, but I’m also studying charcoal tea roasting with our teacher in Taiwan, Master Zhan. It is a challenging process, but once I fell in love with his teas I felt it was my duty to continue the art form for the next generation.
Sunny has been the feet on the ground in Taiwan for Floating Leaves long before she officially became part of the team. She is Shiuwen’s highschool classmate, and she has been helping us pay hard to reach farmers and take care of pesky international shipments for many years.
When one day she was talking to Shiuwen over the phone and said that she was looking to change her career, Shiuwen half jokingly mentioned that she might be interested in the tea business. To Shiuwen’s surprise, she responded with a resounding ‘Yes!’
Since then, Sunny has taken on the role of warehouse manager in our Taiwanese office. She continues to help us communicate with farmers and receive shipments, as well as repackage teas for retail with a handy vacuum machine that maintains ultimate freshness.
In Chinese, there is a word "Gui Ren" (貴人). Gui Ren are people that show up when you need them, and help you through challenges in life. Floating Leaves would not be here without the help of so many Gui Ren that have seen us through difficulty, growth, stagnation and the mundane.
Thank you all so much for your support!
The Floating Leaves Team