Melbourne-based brand designers and tea enthusiasts Benjamin Wright and Lachlan Sinclair have opened Harvest Index – a Japanese tea studio in Collingwood offering 100% certified organic, limited release Japanese green tea to Australia.
Harvest Index blurs the lines between traditional tea house and science laboratory, with hardwood, stainless steel, soft white and forest green finishes. The calm ambience fosters a space for tea-sipping rituals and ‘yuttari’: a Japanese concept meaning ‘to feel relaxed’.
1. Tell us about Harvest Index and how it all started.
Harvest Index is a seasonal collection of Japanese teas, organically grown in the Uji region of Japan. The Harvest Index journey began in 2016 with the mission to provide the highest quality Japanese tea to Australia. Working closely with our tea farm, the first Harvest Index collection presents a story of mountain grown organic tea, unique for its climate conditions and revered for the challenges of cultivation in this environment.
2. You're both originally Melbourne-based brand designers. What drove you to venture into the tea industry?
As designers, our passion has always been to create compelling narratives, with authenticity always at the forefront. The idea of Harvest Index came to us via partners who have been long-term collaborators on our design projects in Japan. The world of tea is so expansive, not to mention the intricacies particularly unique to Japanese tea. It was with great pleasure that we undertook the assignment of unpacking this world, and repackaging a brand concept which sought to celebrate the harmony of science and the natural environment.
3. A lot of thought and consideration went into creating the unique appearance and ambience of the tea studio. Why is this so important?
Drinking tea is as environmental as it is sensory. The Japanese tea house has a longstanding tradition of design and ritual, and we were sure to reference these spatial layouts and needs in our modernised context. The guiding force of the store design was to encourage comfort to our guests, an environment of exploration and calm.
4. Tell us about Harvest Index's special Tea Tasting Ceremonies.
Harvest Index offers our guests complementary Tea Tasting Ceremonies, where our tea master Rie, will walk guests through a series of the teas on offer. Up to 4 guests at a time can reserve 30 minutes to explore the Harvest Index range and gain a greater understanding of Japanese tea.
5. When and how can you book in to participate in this practice?
Via our website, Harvestindex.co, you can access our booking system which reserves your tea ceremony. The website also offers an online store, and further information on each of our unique teas. We hope to see you soon.
As featured on Onya Magazine.