Who We Are
Easthill Tea Co. is a Chicago-based company specializing in small batch, premium loose leaf tea. Founder, Keqi Meng, travels directly to farms in China, Taiwan and Japan to curate his list of teas and believes each is best enjoyed in its natural state, straight-up.
How It Began
In 2015, Keqi Meng, born and raised in Hangzhou, China (a city famous for its Dragonwell tea) graduated and relocated to Chicago for an accounting position. He searched with no avail for a place to drink 'real' tea while studying for his C.P.A. His inability to find an authentic source of premium loose leaf stayed with him during his first year at a firm in Chicago's Loop.
He often thought of a childhood in China spent at his Grandparents' home on Easthill Road, their street filling with the scent of green tea during harvest season. His upbringing and dedication to tea motivated him to take a risk.
In 2016, Keqi left his accounting career and opened a pop-up in Wicker Park, serving his personal collection of loose leaf tea. He received a warm welcome, and his mission became clear. Chicagoans craved quality tea.
Encouraged, he built a permanent location in Bucktown and traveled to East Asia to source premium leaves directly from farmers. One year after the pop-up shop, Tea Bar by Easthill opened its doors a mile north of Keqi's original location. It stands today as the Easthill Tea Co. flagship tea bar, serving Keqi's curated list of tea, straight-up.
In early 2018, the .com business launched and Keqi is now able to share his collection of Easthill Tea across the United States.
Meet The Founders
Keqi grew up in Hangzhou, China, surrounded by green tea farms. At eighteen, he moved to America to study psychology and accounting at University of Texas at Austin. With a double major, Master's Degree and C.P.A completed, he left his career to bring his Friendship Trade tea to Chicago and the rest of the United States. You can usually find him at the tea bar, cracking jokes between cups of Dragonwell.
Keqi is a certified Tea Sommelier and resides in the West Loop of Chicago with wife Angelia, and their Shiba Inu, Momoko.
Kate relocated to Chicago in May 2017 after spending a decade working in NYC entertainment, fashion and tech. Her passion for culture, branding and entrepreneurial life matched Keqi's passion for quality tea. A coffee drinker when they met, she now wakes up craving her favorite oolong and is fascinated by the expansive world of tea.
When Kate is not at the tea bar with a cup of Big Red Robe, you can find her in Logan Square working on her debut novel or guarding her beloved library card.