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Tea Processing Hut and Tasting Room Designs - Good or nah?  RSS feed

 
Ryan Hobbs
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First of importance is knowing what I need to be able to do in the area

Tea is picked by hand, then it is tossed and rubbed by hand for 4 hours until it becomes needle like in shape over a heated table for gyoukuro and sencha. The twigs are collected for the light flavored and refreshing konacha.

Houjicha is aditionallly toasted over a low flame for a long slow toast and brown color resulting in smoky carmelized flavor the lower grade sencha is used because the bitterness balances the flavor, though it could also be made of first flush, it might not be as good.

black tea is the first 4 leaves of a flush which are wilted in the sun, kneaded with lots of pressure but not torn, and then allowed to oxidize in a warm place. If matured outside in the sun it is Wuyi style gongfu cha, if processed indoors and dried over pine fire, it is lapsang souchong.

so I need A decent sized hut for processing and drying tea. Few of these teas overlap in time of production, but the yield of 3 acres of tea is going to take up space. The faster the tea dries, and the lower the temperature the more the essence is preserved. so I think having wattle or sliding walls is best so I can control air flow. I was thinking of the drying table for rubbing the tea by hand should be stainless plate steel in table form with a brazier under it for heat. A barrel-tile roof to protect from rain. Japanese style timber frame structure on mortared stone foundation. Ample space for bamboo racks for the oxidation process of black and oolong teas...

Can anyone think of something I'm missing? I'm doing the preliminary design tomorrow but can still make changes until it is time for plan approval next year.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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You are doing this in the USA, not in Japan or China. There are likely to be many complex food handling regulations and building specifications to be complied with. You might get more accurate information by asking your  local health/agricultural inspector.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:You are doing this in the USA, not in Japan or China. There are likely to be many complex food handling regulations and building specifications to be complied with. You might get more accurate information by asking your  local health/agricultural inspector.


Tea is on this list. As long as it is made at my home and properly labeled, I'm good to go. But I will double check before submitting the proposal.
http://www.agri.ohio.gov/foodsafety/food-cottageindex.htm

And speaking of the packaging, I was planning to go with little uline tea tins with mulberry paper labels.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Cottage Food Products may only be sold in Ohio.


That seems like a pretty narrow distribution market for a product that is not perishable, and that could easily be shipped worldwide.

 
Ryan Hobbs
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Cottage Food Products may only be sold in Ohio.


That seems like a pretty narrow distribution market for a product that is not perishable, and that could easily be shipped worldwide.



I'm not going to be producing more than my state can absorb. We have a really huge population of East Asian peoples. We also get people going to Hocking Hills from Toronto which has a very large Asian Majority. As my target markets are local Asians, Local Hipsters, and visiting tourists, I'm not worried about selling out of state at this point. There is also the curious phenomena among Japanese people of traveling great distances to try localized foods in their place of locality. I have a friend named Yukio who travels to try local alcohols and periodically writes books on local beers and wines. This is also a growing trend among young middle class Americans. I intend to label it trilingually in English, Japanese, and Traditional Chinese. 

My current concern is primarily the design and construction of the tea drying hut.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:We have a really huge population of East Asian peoples. 


About 3% of Ohio's population is of Asian descent. https://development.ohio.gov/files/research/P7004.pdf That seems like a really small niche market...
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Ryan Hobbs wrote:We have a really huge population of East Asian peoples. 


About 3% of Ohio's population is of Asian descent. https://development.ohio.gov/files/research/P7004.pdf That seems like a really small niche market...


Ohio has 11.61 million people (more than the entire population of Mongolia according to my friend B.K. whose family is from there). 348,300 Asians in Ohio, plus tourists from Canada, plus local hipsters. It's more people than I can serve. I'm not trying to be a billionaire, just have enough to live well.
 
Judith Browning
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We are big tea drinkers so love your descriptions of hand rolled tea leaves, the hut and other processes and packaging/labels. 
Sounds as though you've put a lot of thought into this.  We tend to buy unusual varieties of loose green and black teas when we run across them.

I'm sure there would be many ways to expand out of the state if you ever find you need a larger market.    A larger market means more rules of course and many of us have avoided that step.....sounds like just the item for good food stores and some high end markets on line though. 


best of luck
 
Glenn Herbert
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How much do you know about prices that are supported for your kind of product, and actual sales? How much distribution work would you have to do compared to the actual tea processing? Or could you concentrate distribution and promotion to winter months where you are not working with the tea directly?

For a processing hut, I would go absolute minimal expense until you prove there is a market for your product. Developing onsite tasting obviously requires an attractive tasting room. Would it be feasible to combine the functions in one structure (with separation of functions)? I would envision a rectangle with the back half dedicated to production and storage, while the front half is an elegant setting for tasting. Easy access to view the production facility would probably be a value-added feature to drive sales interest.

Finally, I expect the expense of just the materials, never mind the construction time and expertise, would take some years to be recouped by even good tea sales. Would this structure be something that would enhance your property beneficially even if the tea business fails?
 
Glenn Herbert
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Another possibility might be to build the initial hut very simply in a location where you could use it for utility purposes in the future, not in the picturesque location near the plantation that you would want for an elegant tasting room and full facilities. Then, if sales prove you have a viable business model, you can build the beautiful structure you describe, move into it at your leisure, and turn over the first hut to equipment storage or whatever else you need around the house.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Judith Browning wrote:We are big tea drinkers so love your descriptions of hand rolled tea leaves, the hut and other processes and packaging/labels. 
Sounds as though you've put a lot of thought into this.  We tend to buy unusual varieties of loose green and black teas when we run across them.

I'm sure there would be many ways to expand out of the state if you ever find you need a larger market. A larger market means more rules of course and many of us have avoided that step.....sounds like just the item for good food stores and some high end markets on line though. 


best of luck


Once I get this going, I was planning to send out free samples for review purposes, which is allowed as far as I know for out of state as long as I don't charge for it. If you'd like, I can add ya to my list of tasters. It will take a few years before this happens while we plant the fields, wait for bushes to mature, and fiddle with our processes, but it will eventually happen. And us crafty folk love to share our work with others.
 
Judith Browning
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:
Judith Browning wrote:We are big tea drinkers so love your descriptions of hand rolled tea leaves, the hut and other processes and packaging/labels. 
Sounds as though you've put a lot of thought into this.  We tend to buy unusual varieties of loose green and black teas when we run across them.

I'm sure there would be many ways to expand out of the state if you ever find you need a larger market. A larger market means more rules of course and many of us have avoided that step.....sounds like just the item for good food stores and some high end markets on line though. 


best of luck


Once I get this going, I was planning to send out free samples for review purposes, which is allowed as far as I know for out of state as long as I don't charge for it. If you'd like, I can add ya to my list of tasters. It will take a few years before this happens while we plant the fields, wait for bushes to mature, and fiddle with our processes, but it will eventually happen. And us crafty folk love to share our work with others.


I'll look forward to it...in the meantime hope you will have a project thread here at permies for us all to follow....I like your enthusiasm 
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Glenn Herbert wrote:How much do you know about prices that are supported for your kind of product, and actual sales? How much distribution work would you have to do compared to the actual tea processing? Or could you concentrate distribution and promotion to winter months where you are not working with the tea directly?

For a processing hut, I would go absolute minimal expense until you prove there is a market for your product. Developing onsite tasting obviously requires an attractive tasting room. Would it be feasible to combine the functions in one structure (with separation of functions)? I would envision a rectangle with the back half dedicated to production and storage, while the front half is an elegant setting for tasting. Easy access to view the production facility would probably be a value-added feature to drive sales interest.

Finally, I expect the expense of just the materials, never mind the construction time and expertise, would take some years to be recouped by even good tea sales. Would this structure be something that would enhance your property beneficially even if the tea business fails?


sorry Glen, I missed your post at first. I know the owners of several markets, am going to apply for a vendor permit, and there are lots of festivals locally; so distro is not a problem and not going to be a chore to do.

The processing hut is super cheap to build because I'm only looking at land in areas with lax or non existant building codes and plots with lots of trees for building with native timber. My preferred and practiced method of construction uses no nails or brackets, and I've been working with clay (for the tile roofs) for some time. The only expenses would be the building permits, mortar, and steel plate for the drying table. The tasting room is already designed and mostly just for us and one or two guests. It was designed with the Urasenke tea school (which my brother studied in university) in mind with thatch roof and central hearth and separate entrances for host and guests. It accommodates chanoyu and senchado tea preparations.

 
Mike Jay
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:The only expenses would be the building permits, mortar, and steel plate for the drying table.


One thing to consider is watching Craigslist for stainless steel restaurant/prep tables.  It may be a cheap way to get a drying table.

A layout or schematic could help get our juices flowing on the building design aspects.  I personally would be stuck between building it cheap until I know the business is profitable or building it pretty and more expensively and risking a financial loss if the business isn't profitable. 

I'm assuming that a tasting room should be quirky, authentic and cool.  The drinkers may be interested to see the processing area?  If so you'd want that to be professional, clean, clean and clean.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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I'll get some drawings posted before the day is out.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Tea Drying shack



I drew some gardens around this tea hut, but that is unnecessary in the beginning.
 
Glenn Herbert
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So a four-mat room around a central hearth? I forget, what is the size of a standard tatami mat?

The tasting room looks lovely, and would be an asset  with or without business purpose. The drying hut looks simple enough that whatever you decide on the details should be fine. You appear to know enough about traditional construction that your impulses can probably be relied on.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Glenn Herbert wrote:So a four-mat room around a central hearth? I forget, what is the size of a standard tatami mat?

The tasting room looks lovely, and would be an asset  with or without business purpose. The drying hut looks simple enough that whatever you decide on the details should be fine. You appear to know enough about traditional construction that your impulses can probably be relied on.


1 ken long x 3 shaku wide x about 2 sun thick... is about the size I'd be making them.

Or in Metric 2m x 1m x about 5 cm.

You make the mats out of reeds on the bottom and sorghum grass on top, then trim even, cover edges with cloth, and stitch the lot together with stout thread. something to occupy my time in the winter. I saw some rice straw cushions my priest had and I might give those a whirl too. They're made in a spiral to mimic the occurrence of spirals in nature such as whirlpools, snail shells, tornadoes, vine tendrils, and unfurling ferns. He says they're comfortable. I'm practiced at making grass ropes for the last 6 years or so, so this shouldn't be too difficult.

Thanks. ^___^ Tea is really one of my favorite subjects.... I have studied it a long time, including wagashi, teahouse architecture, tea gardens, teaware, and bamboo utensils. Never formally though... But sometimes I think tea and sweets and a good view are paving stones of the road to contentment.

 
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