Island Vibes Jan 2024

19 LIFESTYLE Island living is a cup of tea for Hong Kong tea connoisseur By Heather Rose Artushin rior to moving to the Isle of Palms in 2017, Richard Kligler, along with his wife, son and daughter, spent 12 years living in Hong Kong. “My wife, Marcia, worked for a major U.S. apparel company in New York City, and entered into a three-year contract to manage its Hong Kong office,” Richard explained. “At the time, I was CEO of a New York insurance company and was prepared to run the company from Hong Kong. We had a 5-year-old daughter and an 8-yearold son. Off we were on this amazing journey to Asia.” Soon after arriving in China, Richard discovered a special passion for tea. A welcome present from one of Marcia’s company’s manufacturers arrived in a beautiful box with a silk brocade covering. “To our surprise, inside was loose leaf tea leaves,” revealed Richard. “I was not aware of tea being brewed with loose tea leaves since the only tea I ever drank was made from tea bags.” Richard and his wife found the taste to be truly unique and flavorful, unlike anything they had tasted previously. Soon, Richard embarked upon a journey through nearly every tea house in Hong Kong to learn all he could about tea and its 5,000-year history. “During my quest for knowledge, I became close friends with the founders of two famous tea houses in Hong Kong. They were very enthusiastic in teaching me about tea, especially knowing I was a westerner who was interested in their culture,” Richard shared. “During my stay, I traveled to historic tea mountains throughout China and even worked on a tea farm in Hangzhou where the famous Longjing green tea is produced. I wanted to experience what it would be like to pick tea in the early morning hours, craft it during the day and then prepare the tea for market.” Upon returning to the U.S., Richard was excited to share his knowledge, and the world’s most prized teas. Two years after finding a home on the Isle of Palms, Richard sold his insurance business and launched For All the Tea in Charleston. Richard hosts guided tea tastings and workshops designed specifically for family, friends, travel groups, business colleagues and other events. Guests enjoy tasting some of the finest teas in the world, while learning about how to properly prepare and brew tea, the history, cultivation and crafting of tea, along with its many health benefits. “As part of the talk, we explore the history of tea from ancient China to South Carolina,” said Richard. “Charleston and the surrounding area has a storied history of tea culture starting in Colonial America to the present. Today, the Charleston Tea Garden on Wadmalaw Island is the only commercial tea farm in the United States.” Richard treasures the many wonderful neighbors that he’s had the pleasure of connecting with on the island through his tea tastings. “We are so thankful for choosing the Isle of Palms as our home,” he shared. “When we moved to IOP, Marcia and I immediately felt a strong sense of community. Couple that with our love for the beach and boating, and we knew this was our home.” P Photos Provided.