Hi! We’re Three Gems Tea. And we believe in the everyday magic of a shared tea break. More than just sharing a sip, it’s a chance to kick back and catch up!
That’s why we’re making it easy for you to discover loose leaf teas and brew up delight with our thoughtfully designed teaware.
Our first-ever collection includes a range of direct trade + single origin oolongs, and a reimagined Chaozhou gong fu tea set made for modern tea breaks.
WHAT'S GONG FU TEA?
Gong fu tea is a specialty of Chaozhou, a region in China’s Guangdong province. Gathered around small cups of strong, fragrant oolongs, family and friends (and even strangers!) are invited to swap stories and take a beat to enjoy each other’s company. And in Chaozhou, they believe it’s luckiest to serve tea in multiples of three.
Technically speaking, gong fu style is a way of brewing tea in small vessels with a high leaf-to-water ratio, resulting in a strong, flavorful brew. In both size and intensity, it’s kind of like the espresso of teas!
Rinsing the teaware with hot water is the first step of gong fu brewing — and spill all the tea you want! Your tea tray will catch it all.
THE THREE GEMS TEA GONG FU SETS
To bring our dream tea set to life, we traveled to Jingdezhen, the ceramics capital of China. There, we were lucky to stumble on the Li family studio, where a husband and wife team craft beautiful porcelain pieces with a modern twist. We knew they could help us create the functional and playful set we had always wanted.
For our Kickstarter backers only, we’re also offering a limited-edition set that shows off Mr. Li’s artistry. This ethereal set makes your daily tea break just a little bit dreamier.
For the full gong fu tea experience, we designed a nifty little bamboo tea tray that doubles as a storage box for the whole set — it’s magic!
Don’t forget to feed your tea pet—an important part of gong fu tea! Give this little gem a healthy sprinkle of our teas to keep it glistening bright.
OUR SINGLE ORIGIN, DIRECT TRADE OOLONGS
In our first collection, we’re focusing exclusively on oolong teas. What makes oolong teas special? Technically all teas are created from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), but are processed differently to make everything from white teas to dark teas — kinda like how grapes function in making different wines!
Oolongs are made from semi-oxidized tea leaves, meaning they fall between the more commonly known green (unoxidized) and black (fully oxidized) teas. Tea farmers then roast the leaves to varying degrees. As you might guess, that leaves a whole lot of in-between space for oolongs to express themselves. And that’s exactly why we chose to focus on them first: their wide range of flavors — from bright & grassy to dark & toasty — are best appreciated gong fu style.
We’re proud to be working with small farms to bring you single origin, direct trade teas.
For a taste of Chaozhou’s favorite kind of oolong, dan cong, we’re partnering with the Huang family. High on the peaks of the famous Phoenix Mountain, the Huangs meticulously tend to tea bushes on their organic farm. After picking, they process and roast the leaves on-site to coax a dazzling array of fragrances from the oolongs.
In our Fall 2019 collection, we feature three dan congs from the Huangs:
Yup, you’re reading that right — it does say Duck Shit. (We’ll save that story for our zine.) We're also including the Huangs' Orchid Fragrance and Dark Leaf dan congs.
- Dark Leaf: medium roast, fruity aroma, notes of honeysuckle, blackberry, and stone
- Duck Shit: medium roast, earthy aroma, notes of sweet potato, hops, and longan
- Orchid Fragrance: medium roast, floral aroma, notes of nectar, eucalyptus, and lychee
To round out our range of oolongs, we’re also excited to feature gems from other regions:
- Bamboo Peak Milk Oolong produced by the Lin family from Zhushan, Taiwan (light roast, milky aroma, notes of butter, peach, and bamboo)
- Forever Spring Oolong produced by the Chen family of Taiwan (light roast, verdant aroma, notes of alfalfa, honey, and gardenia)
- Sweet Cassia Rock Oolong produced by the Chen family of Fujian (dark roast, earthy aroma, notes of plum, mineral, and caramel)
Just for our Kickstarter backers, we’re offering a limited-time release of three Rare Gems that really show off the chameleon-like qualities of the Huang family’s dan cong teas: Honey Orchid, Midnight Blossom, and Song Era Classic.
- Honey Orchid: medium roast, floral aroma, notes of honey, orange blossom, and pumpkin
- Midnight Blossom: medium roast, floral aroma, notes of jasmine, milk, and wood
- Song Era Classic: medium roast, vegetal aroma, notes of sweet potato, nectar, and toast
We know gaiwan brewing is the best way to let beautiful teas like these shine — but we also recognize that it takes a little practice to catch on.
Don’t worry! We’re here to guide you through each step of the gong fu tea experience. We also want to share the stories behind all of our products and better introduce you to the people who crafted them. Look for the play-by-play breakdowns and behind-the-scenes content in your copy of our zine!
And to help your tea stay fresh, we’re also adding in a tea canister to help keep out light and air — the two mortal enemies of high quality oolongs.
Whew, that was a lot to take in. Here’s a visual guide to allllll the tea + teaware configurations available in our reward tiers:
QUARTZ - 1 x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine
ONYX: 3x Oolong Tea (25g) + Zine + Canister
JADE - 1x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine + Canister + Three Gems Gong Fu Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Bamboo Tongs, Tea Pet, Tea Tray)
AGATE - 3x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine + Canister + Three Gems Gong Fu Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Bamboo Tongs, Tea Pet, Tea Tray)
LAPIS LAZULI - 6x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine + Canister + Three Gems Gong Fu Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Bamboo Tongs, Tea Pet, Tea Tray)
NEW! AMETHYST - 1x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine + Canister + TGT Artist Series Limited Edition Tea Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Tea Tray)
TOPAZ - 9x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine + Canister + Three Gems Gong Fu Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Bamboo Tongs, Tea Pet, Tea Tray)
EMERALD - 9x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine + Canister + TGT Artist Series Limited Edition Tea Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Tea Tray)
RUBY - 9x Oolong Tea (25 g) + Zine + Canister + TGT Artist Series Limited Edition Tea Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Tea Tray) + Three Gems Gong Fu Set (Gaiwan, 3 Cups, Fairness Pitcher, Bamboo Tongs, Tea Pet, Tea Tray)
NEW! ADD-ON REWARD OPTIONS
We’re now offering the Artist Edition set as an add-on option to other rewards! If you’re interested, please send us a message with your shipping country. The set is priced at $175, and we’ll calculate the additional shipping charges based on your location. You can then increase your pledge amount by $175 + shipping and we’ll include the Artist Edition set in your rewards shipment.
Looking to pick up more easy gifts for giving? Grab another copy of our zine to spread the joy of tea along with holiday cheer! Simply increase your pledge by $10 and send us a message indicating you’d like another zine in your order. Contact us for volume discounts if you’d like to add more than 3 copies.
WHERE DOES YOUR CONTRIBUTION GO?
We’ll use funds raised through Kickstarter to place larger orders of tea and teaware to keep our prices low. Your money will support our direct trade with small tea farmers (like the Huang family) and artisans (like the Li family). You’ll also help us lay the foundation for future tea collections from all over the world.
We’re planning to ship out orders in November 2019, to make your holiday gift giving extra easy this year 😎
FYI! We’re happy to ship from LA to anywhere in the world, but backers will be responsible for any import duties levied at your country’s border.
HOW DID THREE GEMS TEA COME TO BE?
We like to think it’s thanks to the magic of three.
Collectively, we’ve waded through a sea of tea and teaware options, but none have felt quite right for our lives or our homes. We’ve been searching for a tea set that’s fun to use, modern and bright, and encourages us to slow down and smell the tea leaves.
From our travels across the world, we know that tea time elsewhere usually means a chance to hit pause on the day and catch up with family and friends. But in the US, it’s usually just a quick on-the-go pick-me-up. And flavor is often an afterthought! We became frustrated sifting through endless options to find interesting, delicious, ethically produced, and well-priced gems to sip and savor. There had to be an easier way to find teas we felt good about drinking.
At the same time, we kept having conversations with friends about our shared impulse to disconnect from our screens and reconnect with ourselves and each other, irl. Thinking back to leisurely visits with our families in China, and the endless rounds of tea we’d sipped on those trips, we realized the magic solution:
Chaozhou gong fu tea, which is best served in threes.
Across cultures and faiths, three gems have long represented the things that are most important in life. The stars aligned when the three of us met and found a shared passion for storytelling through food and art. And it just so happens that in Chaozhou, the ideal number for gong fu tea is three. We realized our gems for drinking tea also formed a perfect trifecta: sip the good stuff, enjoy with company, and take your sweet time.
WAIT A SEC, WHO ARE YOU?
Three years ago, Daphne traveled her dream trip across the Silk Road and saw that everywhere she went a cup of tea welcomed friends and strangers alike. Fast forward to early 2019, the idea for creating a tea business had been germinating in her head for a few years, but didn't fully take off until she met Ayumi and Diana (via a Kickstarter campaign!).
Ayumi grew up surrounded by rich tea traditions in Asia. As an illustrator, she’s taken her art to far-flung places — and uses her work to bridge cultures wherever she goes. When she met Daphne and Diana, she realized they had an opportunity to share gems from their heritage through tea and teaware! She hopes to inspire creativity and community with her designs.
Diana learned about Chaozhou’s unique culture and cuisine when she researched her cookbook, Jia! The Food of Swatow and the Teochew* Diaspora, which started as a Kickstarter project too! Chaozhou, where her family is from, is renowned for its gastronomy — but it’s the strong gong fu tea that really powers all-day eating sessions.
*that’s how you say "Chaozhou" in the local language!
SPECIAL THANKS TO THESE GEMS!
Risks and challenges
We’re excited to work with our tea and ceramic partners, who take deep pride in everything they create. Because of the small batch and handcrafted nature of their work, there may be some slight variations across individual pieces.
We’ve already prototyped our teaware and packaging, but will continue our refinement process over the next few weeks to get everything *just* right. That means there may be some slight changes to how things look. But don’t worry — we’ll be sure to update you, so there are no surprises on delivery day.
While we’re confident in our current delivery timeframe, there are always potential risks for delays as we import our goods from China. If we encounter any fulfillment setbacks — typhoons, customs holdups, etc. — we’ll notify you immediately.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)