Arriving At The Source

TT.Shiho Pinglin

Most tea consumers never have the opportunity to visit the source of the teas we drink – the tea growers and tea makers in the various tea-producing regions around the world. So here at Talking Tea we’ve been wanting to hear an insider’s take on sourcing trips, to get an idea of what sourcing trips are like and what tea retailers look for when they source their teas. 

Today we welcome back Shiho Kanamaru of Montreal’s Cha Do Raku, to get that insider’s look at sourcing.  Shiho tells us how she began Cha Do Raku by developing a network of sourcing connections in Japan and then Taiwan.  We chat about sourcing trips as a form of tea self-education, about the cultural differences between networking and sourcing in Japan versus Taiwan, and about Shiho’s use of instinct and sensation to find high quality, unusual and extraordinary teas on her sourcing trips. Shiho also talks with us about some of the challenges of gaining entry into the world of tea growers and producers, about the hard work and rewards of going to source, and shares an example of how she’s “arrived at” extraordinary teas through a combination of connections, spontaneity and experience.

More about Cha Do Raku, including its online store and info on its Montreal shop, can be found at Cha Do Raku’s website,, and on its Facebook page.


Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   

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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.


This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” ( by mpgiiiBEATS ( available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ( Adapted from original.

Photo of a tea farm in Taiwan’s Pinglin District, courtesy of Shiho Kanamaru

Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.



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