German Chinese establish tea brand in Hamburg

Wenzhuo Liu

Stephan Sun, a German-born Chinese, started his career as a red wine online brand after graduating from economics. In 2016, he developed the tea brand Tea Addicts with his friends Jürgen Pitzschel and Jann-Volquard Posenauer in Hamburg. They are not only active in online social media, but also actively promote on television and radio in several mainstream media in Hamburg. Stephan has visited tea gardens around the world to purchase tea, and has visited several tea regions in China. His years of experience have also given him new plans. In 2023, he left the tea brand and prepared to enter fields of tea tree planting and tea processing in the future, such as owning his own tea garden.

Stephan was born in Germany and grew up in a traditional Chinese family. He recalled that his childhood was with many hardships, he could understand his parents’ difficulties. After finishing school, he always went to his parents’ restaurant to help. Because of his Chinese face, the German small town more than 30 years ago did not tolerate the existence of his special case. Because of his father’s strict education concept, he will strive to be the first in everything and also want to set a good example for his younger brother. Influenced by his parents’ business, Stephan chose to study economics at the university stage, and began to start a business at the school stage, selling red wine online. Growing up drinking Taiwan oolong tea with his parents, he slowly found that his Chinese face had more advantages in introducing tea and was more persuasive to customers than selling red wine. So he hit it off with his tea friend, Jürgen, a senior in the same major, and Jann, his younger brother best friend, who founded the tea brand Tea Addicts in 2016, and opened a small tea shop Teedeeler in the non-traditional community of Hamburg.

Their tea brand have been interviewed by many mainstream German media. Stephan thinks that participating in these TV and radio programs is a very helpful way of publicity, most of the customers have come in this way. He has also organized a tea activity with the Confucius Institute in Hamburg. Most German customers will find it mysterious and complicated to brew Chinese tea. Stephan advocates using simple tea sets and simple methods to brew loose leaf tea, which is easier for the general public in Germany to accept and use. The customer base of the brand is fixed. Customers around Hamburg will take the initiative to consult and buy tea in the tea house. 99% of the customers who order online are distributed in Germany, social media promotion is very necessary. From the perspective of data, Stephan found that simple chat videos that do not involve too much tea professional knowledge, instead, more viewers choose to watch them.

Hamburg Port is the largest and most important port for tea reprocessing and import and export trade in Germany and even in Europe. It is easy to find tea brands and tea shops operated by many generations through its Hamburg tea culture. After several centuries of operation, many tea brands have been known to every household in Germany, and even some chain stores have opened all over Europe. However, Stephan mentioned that Hamburg does not have any good professional tea houses. I also found that Hamburg is full of café, some of which offer some simple tea products. However, the atmosphere of Hamburg people drinking tea is not strong, and it can only be said that the tea business culture tradition is very good, which has continued to develop to this day, but it seems that there is a lack of change and diversity. Compared with the diversity and integration of Berlin, Stephan also said that Berlin gives more opportunities to young people. Hamburg is a representative city of developed countries, and it is difficult to accept new things, and it is also relatively difficult to start a business. But he also found small changes. There are often some elderly customers coming to the tea shop. They want to find a healthier way to drink and choose to learn more about organic tea, Pu’er tea, aged white tea and other healthy tea products.

Almost every spring and summer tea production season, Stephan will go to tea fields. He has been to Yunnan, Fujian, Guangdong, Zhejiang and other provinces in China. Stephan’s mother grew up in Taiwan, China, but her ancestral home is Wenzhou, Zhejiang. Many family relatives are in the mainland. His cousin is engaged in green tea processing business in Songyang County, Lishui, Zhejiang, and is also Stephan’s teacher of Chinese tea. However, he always felt that every time he visited tea gardens, he would rush to purchase only, and there was not much time to stay, and there was no chance to learn more tea knowledge and experience the local tea culture. Recently, he came up with a new idea. He hopes that he could stay in the tea area for a long time in the future and develop into the fields of tea planting and tea processing, such as owning his own tea garden.

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