the LUME Melbourne Vincent Van Gogh Vincentea

How to Make Vincentea Van Gogh – The LUME Melbourne Challenge

The lockdown in Melbourne is getting longer AGAIN! We’ve already almost spent a year in lockdown since March 2020. 

I am crossing my fingers for individuals, businesses, organisations, overall this society will stay strong. 

Meanwhile, businesses are forced to shut again. Events are cancelled or postponed. Then I found this post from the exhibition I planned to visit.


how to make vincentea or any art inspired tea craft.

1. Choose which portrait you want to use

Vincent Van Gogh Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat

For the re-create Vincent Van Gogh’s portrait challenge, I chose Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat.

Title: Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat (obverse: The Potato Peeler)
Artist: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, Zundert 1853–1890 Auvers-sur-Oise)
Date: 1887
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 16 x 12 1/2 in. (40.6 x 31.8 cm)
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876-1967), 1967
Accession Number: 67.187.70a

2. Choose which tea, teaware you want to use

the LUME Melbourne Vincent Van Gogh Vincentea

Thanks to tea, it took me a second to come up with an idea.
I instantly grabbed my teacup, a tea strainer. 

the LUME Melbourne Vincent Van Gogh Vincentea

I used Japanese Sencha made in Australia to show my respect for the exhibition and also to honour Vincent Van Gogh.

3. Create ambience you want to use

the LUME Melbourne Vincent Van Gogh Vincentea

I wanted to create a low dim light. To create this, I  changed my lightbulb colour to blue and used starry lights.  

That's it!

This was very simple, yet fun tea craft activity. I also made a making film that you can see how I created Vincentea. 

This can be a great family friendly activity for people with kids. 

To the dreamers

While looking up the portraits painted by Vincent Van Gogh, I found out that Vincent drew himself because of short of funds and want of a model.

“Van Gogh produced more than twenty self-portraits during his Parisian sojourn (1886–88). Short of funds but determined nevertheless to hone his skills as a figure painter, he became his own best sitter: “I purposely bought a good enough mirror to work from myself, for want of a model.” This picture, which shows the artist’s awareness of Neo-Impressionist technique and color theory, is one of several that are painted on the reverse of an earlier peasant study.”

I can’t imagine life pursuing a dream even if that means dealing with loneliness, hunger, contempt, mockery and numerous life struggles. That’s probably why my Vincentea looks cute, yet looking like it needs some hugs 🙁 


Regardless, Making Vincentea is a great tea craft activity for family with kids or adults to have self-reflect time. To the dreamers (including myself), I hope life treats us kindly. 🙏

Sources & More Info

Japanese Tea Industry, Japanese Tea, Global Japanese Tea Association, Japanese Tea Marathon

Japanese Tea Industry Overview

As a Korean, Japan is such a far and close country to me. Between 1910-1945, Japan occupied Korea and committed all kinds of war crimes such as human experimentation, forced labour, mass rape, massacre, and more things that are too horrific to describe.

A century ago may sound like a long time ago. However, that’s only my parents of parents of parents generation. I grew up listening to primarily bad things about Japan.

During the Japanese colonisation, Japan forced Koreans to speak Japanese instead of Korean, change Korean names into Japanese names. Japan destroyed countless heritage places, artifacts, people, nature, whatever held significant importance in Korea.

It’s interesting how I didn’t grow up as one-sided, narrow-minded. I feel like drinking tea helped me to broaden my perspective and mature as a global citizen.

I am not sure how you process information. As a tea drinker, I tend to go through two steps.

First – I process information from my perspective that’s more instinct, subconscious based on my gender, age, nationality, situation, etc.

Second – I process information from a global tea drinker’s point of view that requires more time, learning and cognitive activities.

For example, when I hear, “Japanese tea is facing many challenges these days.”


My initial response would be something like, ‘Japan is still the world’s 8th largest tea export country!’, ‘Maybe it’s time for Japan to chill a little bit.’.

My second response would be something like, ‘What’s happening?’, ‘It’s impressive how people in the industry concern, prepare and informs about the issue to sustain, that’s something I need to learn!’, ‘What’s something I can do?’.

So, what’s happening in the Japanese tea industry? These are some of the information I learned from participating in the Japanese Tea Marathon.

“Japanese Tea is facing many challenges these days. Younger people in Japan are turning away from tea, seeing it as old-fashioned. Tea production is decreasing year by tear, followed by the rapidly shrinking and aging tea farmer population.”

1. Changing habits of Consumption


“In Japan, people prefer a more convenient way to drink tea. More teas are sold in bottles. “

This is also a global trend. According to Allied Market Research, RTD(Ready-to-drink) tea market is to reach $38.96 billion globally by 2027 at 5.5% CAGR with the outbreak of the pandemic and the change of people’s lifestyle.

Imagine all the wastage and use of plastics. If we don’t take care of this place, we are all gonna die underwater with the rise of sea level before any tea industry goes out of business. 

I am actually guilty of using RTD as well… I made the slide clip from my trip from Japan. Nowadays, I carry my own tea flask. 

2. Japanese Tea Production

“In Japan, the interest in tea has fallen. The tea production level has also fallen by 30%.”

3. Aging Tea Farmer Population

“In Japan, young people don’t see the future in tea. They don’t want to take part in tea activities. It’s hard work. Younger people are leaving away. Tea farmers are getting older and older”

4. Between 2000-2020

  “When looking at the trend last 20 years, there were 50,000 tea farmers in early 2000. There are just over 10,000 tea farmers now. 4 out of 5 tea farmers no longer make tea.” This is a big question to concern what’s gonna happen in the next ten years.

5. Japanese Tea Export

“However, there’s a positive sign in exporting. In the last five years, tea export increased by 5 times.”

Although tea export is increasing, it’s still small portion of Japanese tea consumption (about 6%).
Japanese Tea Marathon - Registration, Participation, What to Expect

Hence, Japanese Tea Marathon was created to raise interest and curiosity in Japanese tea around the world by giving more attention to the Japanese tea producers and tea regions. 

Simona and Anna from Global Japanese Tea Association also presented at the Nomad Tea Festival Europe. 

Japanese Tea Marathon is a great initiative that connects tea drinkers around the world with the Japanese tea farmers and regions.

I am not much familiar with the organiser Japan Tea Central Council PIIA. However, Global Japanese Tea Association is very active in the global tea industry. I highly recommend this event for tea drinkers. 

Japanese Tea Marathon - Registration, Participation, What to Expect Cover

Japanese Tea Marathon – the ultimate way to dive into the world of Japanese tea 🍵

“Japanese Tea Marathon was created to raise interest and curiosity in Japanese tea around the world by giving more attention to the Japanese tea producers and tea regions.”

Today was the second day I joined the Japanese Tea Marathon. As a person just getting into Japanese tea, I’ve already learned so much through this event.  

If you are interested in learning more about Japanese tea, I highly recommend the Japanese Tea Marathon! 

Japanese Tea Marathon - Registration, Participation, What to Expect

What To Expect

  • Thanks to the lockdown in Melbourne, I was able to join both sessions a day. 

I feel like by the time I complete the Japanese Tea Marathon, I will be able to pick up some Japanese phrase while drinking tea :D! 

So far the program had the format as below: 

1 hour for information, 

  • Japanese Tea industry Overview 
  • About Global Japanese Tea 
  • About Japanese Tea Marathon 
  • About the prefecture & region of the day 
  • Tea in the region 
  • About the tea company & maker of the day 
  • Introducing tea process style 

1 hour for tea brewing & tasting,

  • Tea brewing & tasting 
  • Q&A 
Japanese Tea Marathon - Registration, Participation, What to Expect Cover

Each day, I am travelling to the tea region virtually and learning about tea directly from a tea farmer. How cool is that?

Event Information

Date: 23rd July – 8th August  (except 27 July and 3rd August)

  • 7/23 Kagoshima
  • 7/24 Miyazaki
  • 7/25 Kumamoto
  • 7/26 Fukuoka
  • 7/28 Saga
  • 7/29 Nagasaki
  • 7/30 Kochi
  • 7/31 Kyoto
  • 8/1 Nara
  • 8/2 Shiga
  • 8/4 Mie
  • 8/5 Aichi
  • 8/6 Saitama
  • 8/7 Ibaraki
  • 8/8 Shizuoka

Time: Morning & Afternoon

  • 11 am-1 pm Japan Time
  • 4 pm-6 pm Japan Time 

Location: Zoom

Price: Free 
Thanks to the Global Japanese Tea Association and Japan Tea Central Council PIIA, the price is free. 

It's up to you how you enjoy Japanese Tea Marathon ✨

I was going to sit and chill while joining the marathon. However, I’ve decided to turn this opportunity for me to dive into the world of Japanese tea.

Just following the Japanese Tea Marathon schedule, you are naturally exposed to the region, tea making process, tea brewing method, tea talk. 

It’s been incredible.