Arts & CultureFood

J-Tea International is not your average cup of tea



J-Tea International@@http://jteainternational.com/@@ is more than just a place to sip tea. It’s more than just another caffeine boost to start your day. J-Tea International is an experience. It delves into the creativity and mindfulness of the Taiwanese culture.

“Tea is the format where people can come together and talk about the day,” said Josh Chamberlain, J-Tea’s owner.@@http://jteainternational.com/about/@@

J-Tea International owner, Josh Chamberlin in his shop. (Alex McDougall/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Chamberlain began his tea business in 2004 while earning his master’s degree in business administration at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan.@@http://english.web.ncku.edu.tw/bin/[email protected]@ It was during this time that he fell in love with the tea of Taiwan. He found tea masters with whom he continues to study. He made three trips to Taiwan in 2006 to buy the finest Taiwanese and Chinese teas available.

J-Tea began in his living room, transforming it into a tea-house where visitors would come to enjoy tea and conversation. But he needed something more. So, in October 2010, he remodeled his house and made the whole place J-Tea International. He has since moved out, and foot traffic has greatly increased.

But what makes J-Tea different from, say, Starbucks?

It imports directly from small farms, and Chamberlain frequently makes trips to the mountains of Taiwan to buy tea directly from the farmers.

But how the beverage is made and where it comes from isn’t the only thing that makes J-Tea so unique. Its mission is to provide a place where friends can meet and discuss the day. The tea shop wants to spur discussion, encourage mindfulness and inspire creativity.

Chamberlain designed the shop to exude aspects of Taiwanese culture. He wanted a place in Eugene that gives to people what Taiwan gave to him.

“Tea is more than a beverage because of the culture,” he said.

The shop allows for the individual to create his or her own experience. He said drinking tea makes people stop worrying about the little things in life. Its fragrance is gentle and soothing but not overpowering.

Perhaps the tea shop’s most distinguishing feature, however, is that there is no coffee, no sugar and no cream.@@!…lost my business! bet you use honey though. [email protected]@

“I’m like the French cook that won’t give you ketchup,” Chamberlain said. “When you come here, I’m not going to make you a vanilla chai latte because you can get that somewhere else.”

J-Tea even offers classes to educate the world on the lifelong benefits of tea. Classes on Thursdays offer samplers (or “flights”) of tea. With more than 100 teas on the list, J-Tea starts at the top of the list, and class members get the opportunity to try every tea. The classes continue every Thursday until students have tried every tea on the list.

“We find 100 really good teas and invite you over to taste them so that you too can enjoy them as much as we do,” Chamberlain said.

Besides tasting classes, J-Tea also offers classes on the traditional brewing methods from Taiwan. These classes, however, have to be scheduled ahead of time to reserve a space.

Chamberlain said that the tea house and its classes are meant to promote healthy relationships and quality of life. Tea is grown for more than just to be a tasty beverage; it’s designed to stimulate interest and imagination. And J-Tea hopes to bring this awareness to each and every visitor.

“Tea is a powerful tool,” he said. “It encourages powerful thought and enhances relationships with people and yourself.”@@[email protected]@@@J-Tea [email protected]@@@2778 Friendly [email protected]@@@Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon-6 [email protected]@

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