Tea Time at TehKu

Today I visited Tehku Tea Company and had an opportunity to sit down and have a chat with the owner, Inggrie Merriman (over a pot of tea of course) to learn a little more about tea and what inspired her to open TehKu.

Inggrie, originally from Indonesia opened TehKu, which means “my tea,” with her husband a few years ago in the Historic District of Dublin, OH. When I asked her what inspired her to open a tea company she told me that in the culture she grew up in it is very natural and almost expected that a family would open their own business.  So, when it came time for Inggrie to open hers, tea was a natural choice.

She told me a story of growing up in a culture that was very family oriented and one of the things she missed the most about Indonesia when she moved to the US over sixteen years ago was enjoying “Dim-Sum” (which means “with tea”) with her Mother’s family (which could sometimes end up being over 50 people) at least once a week.  She wanted to introduce this tea culture to this fast-paced society, by encouraging people to sit and take time to reconnect with family and friends.

Here is a bit more of what I learned from our “tea” talk today:

Where  do TehKU teas come from?
Inggrie makes a few of her own custom blends, but for the most part TehKu teas come from various farms throughout the world including Japan, India, Indonesia, and some teas come to TehKu blended by companies in Germany.  A good number of the teas are organic although they are not specifically labeled as such on the tea menu because many farms Inggrie works with adhere to the same strict farming practices without going through the certification process.

What are some popular teas that most anyone would like?
With over 50 different types of teas and a healthy rotation of new ones coming in regularly, it’s hard to choose.  Lately the Walnut Crunch (green), Almond Cookie (black), Earl De La Creme (black) and Creme Oolong are popular choices.  And I really wish you could smell the Cherry Blossoms green tea! Tea newbies, check out this handy chart to get you started.

And for the more experienced tea drinker to try?
Matcha, a green tea from Japan, is definitely one to try; the leaves are hand picked and stone ground into a fine powder.  You can also find Match iced, in delicious scones and in the Bubble Teas at Tehku.  Another great selection is a smokey black tea by the name of Lapsoung Souchang.

What is your favorite tea?
Inggrie has always loved Oolong tea, she says it’s great for everyone because it doesn’t “betray you.”  Meaning you can’t really mess it up, she said it’s the perfect selection if you are in a hurry and don’t have time to wait for the water to reach a full boil or the tea to steap.  Inggrie said that throughout her life she has always enjoyed searching for and indulging in new and more rare types of Oolong.

One of the most impressive things about Tehku, other than the huge selection of loose leaf tea, is the philosophy and the nature of the design behind the company.  Inggrie and her husband named their Tea Company “TehKu”  because they want you to enjoy their wonderful teas the way you like it and they set up a bar-like education center to help you do just that (just check out the TehKu list of events to find the next tea tasting).  She told me that from the very start she knew she wanted it to be something that any age group could enjoy and has always been mindful of their impact on the environment.

Next time you are in the Columbus area, you must come up to Dublin to experience TehKu in person, someone is always waiting to help you pick just the right tea for you.

Posted in Interviews by Liz on October 23, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

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