A Budapest pair is providing a taste of Asia near the City Park. Sourced directly from far-flung farmlands, fine-quality Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese teas warm hearts at Teavolution, a recently opened tea room and shop in Hungary’s capital. Pairing business sense with a passion for cuppas, founders Dóra Kapás and Balázs Nagy left behind a corporate career to visit producers in Asia on a quest to find the best quality leaves. Now, this intrepid duo is back in Budapest with a winning concept.
Six years, an audacious attitude and a thirst for tea. These are the elements required by Kapás and Nagy to pursue their passion and open a quality hotspot in Budapest. The couple’s initial interest in wine and coffee extended to love of tea, prompting the pair to supply Asian varieties to specialty cafés. Meanwhile, the duo painstakingly sought further inspiration by visiting trade fairs and teahouses around Europe.
A first trip to China in 2014 proved to be a major step in this labor of love. Immersion in the wide range of flavors and scents of high-quality Asian brews encouraged the couple to go right to the source and meet the producers at their farms, just as they had previously engaged with winemakers.
“In China, business relations are more personal, locals usually ask about your family and where you come from,” says Nagy. “We were among the first to learn that a producer we visited was expecting a baby, and it was before she could even break this news to her husband,” adds Kapás with a smile. However, not all is rosy in Asia. On one occasion, the Hungarians were forced to give up business with a farmer, after seeing how poorly he treated his staff.
A backpacking trip to Taiwan then ultimately changed their life and helped them trade in their nine-to-five routine for their newly found devotion. Teavolution Tea Room & Shop was launched in December 2017, offering some 150 types of teas stored in small boxes and bags. Sorted according to type, source and vintage, white, green, red, puer, oolong and matcha come from China, Taiwan and Japan. A specialty is a 2007 vintage shengh-puer, a tea that’s been maturing for 11 years.
“Besides the quality of leaves, the water used for making tea is also an important element,” highlights Nagy, a regular visitor at a countryside spring to source this liquid ingredient for the shop. “Water with a neutral taste and low mineral content is the most ideal for this process,” he adds.
Leaves are offered for takeaway in units of 30, 50 and 100 grams and prices start from 1,700 forints. For a sample portion, you pay only 400 forints. However, if you want to enjoy a cuppa professionally brewed, you can even sip on the spot and discover the beauty of this heartfelt heritage while hearing the couple’s stimulating stories. And who knows, you might find the inspiration to put on your hiking shoes and head to Asia to experience it all first-hand.