What We Do
We are obsessed with tea.
We get our teas through relationships we've built in Taiwan. Relationships with growers, roasters and old school wholesalers. Even if it's not a Taiwanese tea, most of our teas are sourced through Taiwanese people.
All of our oolongs (and most other teas) are unblended, single estate pickings. Everything we choose to carry is clean and well executed at its own price point. You're not going to find life-shattering teas for less than a buck a session, but there is good, drinkable stuff at that level that we are proud to brew for guests. We also have deeply satisfying, artistic teas that will take you on a journey.
Even a daily drinker should make your water taste better. Or else, why not just drink the water?
A better tea can start to leave an impression after you swallow it. That’s aftertaste, and it’s vital for oolong. (Have you ever taken a sip of something and you don’t even notice it a second later?) When you start getting into really fun teas, it will have the capacity to spread out in your mouth, stimulate salivation, puff up to the roof of your mouth, maybe even down your throat and beyond.
Basically, good tea can go further than you may have ever imagined. That's the essence of what we want to share with you, and it makes us happy when you get a chance to experience it.
We are not tea gurus. We are simply grateful that we can spend our lives sharing teas that we love. We have high standards. And we are stubborn. Over the years, we have found more profound teachers and better teas in Taiwan, challenging us to bring higher quality knowledge and teas back to our customers.
We are your bridge to Taiwan, and it is made of tea.
Shiuwen created a teahouse called Floating Leaves with the intent of bringing Eastern and Western cultures together in one room.
She grew up in Taiwan, where tea was simply a part of daily life. It was a way to bring friends together. In Seattle, tea developed a deeper significance for her. It's a connection to her home culture. Now she sees her position as a sort of bridge between East and West, sharing the simultaneously practical and abstract way the people of Taiwan see tea with an American audience.
When we can learn to understand each other beyond cultural barriers and get past the bounds of the mind, we can have a taste of freedom.
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 going to classes, and the rest is history.
I do all the writing on the site, I figure out how to make the internet work in our favor, and I spend my free time studying tea. I grew up in a culture that doesn't put a great value in the things we put in our mouths. My idealistic vision is to make an impact on a small group of tea drinkers to change that for the better.
Sunny is the FLT team member who is holding down the fort in Taiwan. She will be sending out all of the orders from Taiwan when Shiuwen and I are not there. She and Shiuwen went to high school together, and have remained good friends ever since! When the pandemic made it impossible for us to go back to visit farmers, Sunny helped make sure farmers were getting paid as well as organizing shipping bulk stock to our Seattle location. After about a year, Shiuwen made a joke that Sunny would want to get into the tea business, and Sunny responded with a big "YES"!
We had planned on moving back to Taiwan when Shiuwen's son turned 18, but now because of Sunny we are able start shipping directly out of Taiwan much sooner than that!
In Chinese, there is a word "Gui Ren" (貴人). Gui Ren are people that show up when you need them, and are an immense help in your 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