Boutique local tea purveyor Kintea embodies the unique beauty, ceremony and sensibility of Japan’s favourite beverage. It may yet convince Perth’s most avid coffee aficionados that this is, indeed, their cup of tea.
We chat to Kintea founders Janice Law and Shaun Sim over a cuppa on all things Japan, product design, doing business in Perth and why tea is the ultimate wellness drink, allowing sippers to stop and savour the moment.
Perth seems like such a “coffee” city, why should more people take up tea
The working culture and our busy lives in Perth is very much about ‘go, go, go’ – but there are times when we need to pause, reflect, and truly enjoy the moment. Tea offers a vehicle for relaxation and reflection. Sipping tea brings a sense of calmness and peace to the mind. In Japan there are tea cafes that solely focus on teas and tea-based desserts – they are incredible! There is so much variety in the different types of teas available, dating back to centuries of cultivation, refinement and enjoyment.
With health and wellness being such a big movement in Perth too, green teas – and especially matcha – are a healthy alternative to coffee. Matcha is specially cultivated by shading the growing tea leaves, which boosts the chlorophyll and L-theanine (a rare amino acid) in the leaves. L-theanine combined with caffeine gives the brain a consistent and calming energy boost, while at the same time providing an incredible amount of antioxidants. Try switching out a cup of coffee for matcha to experience the difference, and as an added bonus – it doesn’t give that coffee after-breath!
Tell us about Kintea?
The concept for Kin started while we were living in Kagoshima. We were astounded by the amazing crafts, produce, culture and tea, made with absolute intention and focus. When we came back to Perth, we wanted to bring this culture back with us and share it with our part of the world.
Kin was founded as a way to share the wonderful produce from Kagoshima, Japan with the rest of the world. We offer authentic Japanese teas such as Matcha, Houjicha (roasted green tea) and Genmaicha that are all 100% certified organic and sourced directly from the producers in Japan.
Kin stands for the ‘Kagoshima Inaka Network’. ‘Inaka’ is the Japanese word for ‘countryside’, where all our produce is grown. Perth and Kagoshima are sister cities, giving meaning to the name Kin.
What about you?
We’re really just two eager tea drinkers from Perth who lived abroad in Japan. Shaun teaches art, with a particular interest in landscapes. I am a graphic designer, which has been really useful in bringing the Kintea visuals to life. The label designs combine three main elements together: the natural, mountainous landscape of Japan, the carefully designed and manicured samurai gardens and the traditional arts and crafts. These represent our experiences of Kagoshima. One sashiko (traditional Japanese textile embroidery) artist in particular made a big impression on us, which is why you can see this pattern weaved throughout the labels.
What is unique about your business, philosophy and product?
We are here to bring an authentic Japanese tea experience to Australia while supporting small-scale producers.
We didn’t start Kin for money – our purpose is to tell the story of Japanese culture and share the beautiful produce to a wider audience. We’ve started with tea now, but we hope to offer more goods from Kagoshima (tea ware, ceramics and wood-work by local artists) in the future.
As a predominantly online purveyor do you have physical stockists?
We’re currently stocked at King St Collective and Vim & Co, with a few local cafes to come in the near future!