TEA CHAIN REACTION

A circularity for tea chain store

Tea store chains not only offer large amounts of drinks to their customers, but also generate a lot of tea waste every day. Tea store chains also seek for an identifiable visual concept in their interior and product packaging representation. To integrate these seemingly independent themes within a sustainable concept became the starting point of this project. 

The intention is to use all sensual qualities of tea waste, its visuality, texture, and smell, for the company’s cultural representation inside the tea shop. The two main forms developed are panels and paper-like materials. 

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ASIAN 

TEA CHAIN

CULTURE

TEA

WASTE

CIRCULAR

START 

FROM 

BERLIN

Tea has been quite a significant culture in Asia since ancient times.  If Starbucks is the coffee chain to the western world, then this kind of tea shop is just as the tea chain in Asia. Such tea shops provide more than 1000 cups everyday. On the one hand, it’s like a tea industry, producing a large quantities within a standard operating system. On the other hand, it’s also about branding. They usually run the store with an identifiable visual concept in interior or packaging to keep the customers’ loyalty.

As Kilos of cooked-tea are thrown away everyday, why not use its quantities and characteristics as resources for tea shops? For this, two specific characteristics of tea are employed, one is its soothing smell and the other is cellulose. Cellulose can be a good support structure to the material while the smell of tea leaves, even after having been used, still remains pleasant. From just drinking tea to sensing tea in multiple ways, I would like to trigger unique tea experiences for the customers. 

Made from recycled tea waste, these tea  panels not only present its muting function but also release the scent from the tea, creating a pleasant environment for the customer. People who come to this tea store  experience more than just tasting  tea, but also other senses such as vision, tactile and scent. Customer can associate the tea shop with its identifiable visual branding from daily recycled tea waste. 

Can tea waste return to tea shop, 

as a identifiable visual for branding?

From just drinking tea to broadening up multiple ways of sensing tea, I would like to trigger a unique tea experience with customers while they visit the shop.

Acoustic Panel

Made from recycled tea waste, these tea  panels not only present its muting function but also release the scent from the tea, creating a pleasant environment for the customer. People who come to this tea store  experience more than just tasting  tea, but also other senses such as vision, tactile and scent. Customer can associate the tea shop with its identifiable visual branding from daily recycled tea waste. 

Paper Gradience

During the experiment, I found out not all kinds of cellulose are suitable for paper making. Tea is too short to connect itself, therefore it‘s easy breakable. To avoid this, tea should be cooked with sodium carbonate to remove legnin and others, remaining only pure cellulose. And by adding some binder such as gelatine or agar, it provides a greater toughness. 

Dying

During the experiment, I found out not all kinds of cellulose are suitable for paper making. Tea is too short to connect itself, therefore it‘s easy breakable. To avoid this, tea should be cooked with sodium carbonate to remove legnin and others, remaining only pure cellulose. And by adding some binder such as gelatine or agar, it provides a greater toughness. 

MATERIAL EXPERIMENT

Start from experimenting different recipes of bioplastic, I gradually realized the general properties of these bio-degradeble materials. To simplify, there are two main categories of materials, "composite" and "binder".

Composite provides the volume while binder is as glue. Composite usually need the binder to be sticked to each other, while binder itself can not only be as glue, but also as a solid material, foil-like appearance.  

TECHNIQUE

While tea is constructed mostly by cellulose, it owns the strongness and rigidness. To highlight this characteristic, most of techniques are focusing on forming  with solid or hard material. Not to mention the common technique : 3D printing and molding. I also tried paper making  since paper is associated to  cellulose. Dying is possible as well due to the pigment extraction through soften process.