Tuesday, September 19, 2006

An introduction to Tea Masters

Thanks for visiting my tea blog. A few readers have suggested that I make a more complete presentation of myself, this blog and what it can offer Chinese tea fans around the world. So let's get started:

My name is Stéphane Erler. I'm 35 years old, married to a Taiwanese with who I have 2 adorable kids (3 and 1 years old). I'm from France, but my mom is German, and finished my studies with an MBA in Pennsylvania, USA. And it's because I had fallen in love with this Chinese student from Taiwan that I left Europe for Taiwan over 10 years ago.

A wine amateur in France (Bordeaux reds and Alsace whites mostly), I quickly missed the good quality, low priced French wines in Taiwan. 10 years ago, imported wine in Taiwan was heavily taxed and cost 5 times more than in France. Luckily, I was quickly intrigued by Taiwanese Oolong tea and the Lao Ren Cha brewing method ('old people tea' it was called back then, before it became fashionable again among the younger generation).

But my tea skills seemed to always lack those of my Chinese colleagues and friends. I was never completely satisfied by my tea. So my wife enrolled me in a series of tea classes by Mr. Chih Jung Sien who had just published a book called 'My first gongfu cha book' in Chinese. That was over 3 years ago and I haven't stopped taking classes with Mr Chih. He has published more books in the meantime (Puerh, Tie Kuan Yin, Baozhong, Long Jing, Taiwan's tea street, how to choose a teapot, the world of Chinese tea...) and also maintains a Chinese website called Teaparker with news and various articles about tea.

Thanks to his classes, my knowledge and tea skills have improved dramatically. This in turn has ignited my passion and thirst for tea. I then started to share my experience learning and discovering tea with Teaparker or by myself with this blog. One day, a few readers asked me to sell them the teas I love and that's how I started to sell tea and accessories. It's not yet a full time occupation, but it's one where I put all my heart and passion.

The goal of this blog is to help you better enjoy Chinese tea. How?

1. Knowledge and education are the fondations of real progress in any discipline. So, 'Tea Masters' is a source of education for fans of Chinese tea about the various aspects of the Chinese tea culture. One good place to check is the Tea Master's class room, a page with links to my most important articles.

2. Another way to help you make better tea is to provide you with high standard ingredients (Chinese teas) and the right tools accessories. For this, you can check my Selection. This is a list of the teas I prefer and of accessories I use regularly. All these items come directly from very reputable farmers and makers.

3. The blog allows readers to post comments. Thereby, you can get several opinions about a tea or my advices. This is quite important because it's never easy to define a taste or a fragrance. That's why I encourage my readers (especially those who have purchased from me) to post their comments. And you can use the comment function to ask me questions. If the question is good, I might even write a full article to answer it.

You can see that I like interactivity with my readers a lot. I'm actually even forcing you to contact me at: stephane_erler@yahoo.com if you want to get my selection's price list! You can send me your orders through e-mail and pay me with Paypal (or through a bank if you live in France or in Taiwan) after I've confirmed availability of all items.

7 comments:

Antonio from Milan, Italy said...

Great presentation Stéphane! Thanks for sharing all the great information and wonderful teas and accessories you are able to get in Taiwan.
For all of you who are new to this blog, I can say that I have ordered products many times from Stéphane in the last year and have always been very very satisfied. The teas are excellent and what is most important, they are very fresh, or, in the case of puerhs, properly aged and stored. A big advantage for those of us who live ... far from the Far East and rarely get good tea at home. Merci encore!

Tommy Lemay said...

Ici, au Québec, nous avons quelques boutiques de thés tenues par des gens très passionnés. Mais malheureusement, nous ne pouvons avoir accès à autant richesse d'informations que toi, qui est sur place, en Taiwan.

Grace à ton blog et grace aux délicieuses découvertes que tu m'as fais parvenir, je peux partager ces saveurs et ces connaissances avec d'autres Québécois qui ont soif de découvrir le monde des thés.

C'est un plaisir d'en connaître un peu plus sur toi. Merci de partager ces connaissance, ces thés et cette passion que tu as avec nous.

~ Phyll said...

I second what antonio from milan, italy said above.

Imen said...

Stephane,

Your blog has enriched my tea experience in a substantial fashion. You can translate and extend what you learn from teaparker in an articulately manner with details and bear with a discovery mind. Reading teaparker's books and articles leaves me frustrated some time, for reasons of his writing style despite his journalist editorial background. I am glad that I can find answers from your blog where I have questions from his publishings. Wish you the best!

Bambang said...

Dear Stephane,
I'm a new tea lover and very 'thirsty' to explore many kind of tea. This is the great blog. I want to learn many things about tea from you.

Prasad K said...

Dear Sir,

I am Prasad from Mumbai, India. I am looking for methods to make instant tea premix. Can you help me ? Or can you tell me where I can get these recipes ?

Thanks in advance,
Prasad

Stephane said...

Dear Prasad,

Sorry, I have no idea.