For Vivian Mak, owner of MingCha Teas, tea is more than a product, it’s poetry and part of life.
It’s certainly part of hers. She’s a Chinese tea evangelist, educating others about the different types of flavor-packed, all-natural leaves plucked from the elevated hills of mainland China.
Mak has been selling her MingCha brand of teas and accessories in Hong Kong for over a decade as well as teaching about the benefits and pleasures that come along with a good cuppa.
From unfermented greens to the semi-fermented oolongs to oxidized puers and more, Mak’s teas and Tai Koo-based showroom may not be life’s ultimate destination, but they certainly add to the journey.
THE NEWSWHISTLE Q&A with Vivian Mak, owner MingCha Teas, Hong Kong
Name: Vivian Mak
Date of Interview: Feb. 2013
Age (if you want to give it up): 45
Birthplace: Hong Kong
Current town: Hong Kong
1. What’s the funniest, saddest or best thing that’s happened to you this week?
I played ping pong with my 12-year old son.
2. What’s your favorite movie? And why?
Eat the Rich (1988). It is an outrageous British black comedy of resentment against the ruling class. It follows a ticked-off waiter who, with the aid of revolutionary cohorts, turns an upper crust restaurant into a wild banquet.
The story and scenes impacted me so much that it shaped my beliefs when it comes to equal rights for all and helping the less fortunate.
3. What’s the biggest risk you took in life?
Declining an MFA program and scholarship to follow my husband (my ex).
4. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be?
Not to get married that early.
5. Tell us your favorite joke or funny story:
I was once so tired that I mistook a broom stick that a lady held and thought that it was a hand pole during a bus ride. I kept putting it straight back whenever it bent over for 30 minutes. I finally found that the broom stick was not attached to the ceiling of the bus, which made all the passengers cry out in laughter. (A little bit like Mr. Bean, but true.)
6. What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
I am actually very shy. I’m also a graphic designer and an artist that works with textiles and handmade paper.
7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
Be content. Don’t go to the extremes.
8. Who’s your favorite celebrity? And why?
Anne Hathaway. She is talented, direct, dynamic and full of surprises (like me).
9. What’s your strangest phobia or superstition?
I have a fear of heights.
10. Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote or discuss?
I’d like MingCha to become a universal brand, like a Coca Cola or Starbucks, and known for its healthy drinks.
And a bonus curve question, what’s your favorite tea, and why?
Our Phoenix Oolong range from Phoenix Mountain, Guangdong Province. Its leaves are processed and twisted into curves like a dragon or a snake. Oolong in Chinese literally means “Black Dragon.” This tea range has so many different varieties and each has its own distinctive aroma, taste, body and after-taste. It’s fascinating to discover the unfolding details in each brew. I definitely think that this tea range represents the finest quality of what Chinese tea is all about.