About

A quiet, simple, natural way of life.

SÙ LIVING is a project to cultivate a quiet, simple, natural way of life through the practice of the classical art of tea, and exploring the application of this way of life to address the needs and challenges that arise from living in a modern world. It is our aspiration that choosing this lifestyle approach will return our body, mind and soul to a harmonized state, enabling us to progress towards a path of self-realization, and to do so with care and respect for the world around us.

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Appreciate who we are and the world we live in

We all work hard throughout our lives striving to achieve what is considered important to us. As we manage our priorities and cope with challenges along the way, we need to stop to ease our body and mind, allowing them to realign with our soul - the anchor and compass for our existence. This helps us to gather strength to move forward with a clear sense of purpose and to improve our awareness to better appreciate who we are and the world we live in.

Being the most widely consumed beverage after water, tea’s modest and natural qualities have been combined with the art of preparing and appreciating its infusion to bring peace, harmony and elegance to people’s lives for over a thousand years.

The classical art of tea is a ritual observed and practiced in China and Japan to quiet the mind and body, and to bring awareness to our senses so we can appreciate both the tea infusion and the goodness that exists in our lives and the world we live in. It is a practice suitable for anyone who wants to seek balance, meaning and joy as part of their modern lifestyles.

An approach to living a meaningful life

Elaine Tsien experienced a life-changing event in a quiet teahouse in Taiwan in 2012 while preparing and enjoying tea alone using water heated in a kettle over charcoal fire, loose leaf tea, a small crème-coloured teapot, cup and pitcher.

By slowly and gently making and drinking the infusion, Elaine was overwhelmed by the stillness and quiet joy that filled her soul. The profound moment gave her insight into how such a natural and almost indispensable daily routine can be carried out to bring peace, elegance and harmony to people living in a modern world of speed, noise and discord.

Captivated by its understated beauty, serenity and depth, Elaine started to study the classical art of tea in 2014. Her passion for the art and conviction that it also serves as an approach to living a meaningful life inspired her to establish SÙ LIVING in 2017.

SÙ LIVING is Elaine’s endeavour to cultivate a quiet, simple, natural way of life through the practice of the classical art of tea. It is also her attempt to explore how to apply this way of living to help meet the challenges of everyday life in today’s world.

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SÙ is the Romanization of the Chinese character 素 which means white, plain, quiet, unadorned, natural and native.

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Promote the practice of the classical art of tea

Its main focus is to promote the practice of the classical art of tea by offering workshops and tea gatherings/ceremonies in Toronto to people who enjoy tea, and who want to experience and explore the Eastern art of appreciating tea as a beverage and a way of living with awareness and appreciation. We also intend to promote the art by sharing our knowledge and experience and those from other practitioners through this website.

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The need to foster quietness

SÙ LIVING's secondary focus is to apply the timeless qualities derived from the practice of the classical art of tea to address the needs and challenges from living in a modern world. Of utmost importance to us is the need to foster quietness. This helps to collect ourselves and direct our focus inward to connect with our souls which hold the truth – the meaning of life and the purpose of our individual existence. It is our belief that seeking to follow this truth will bring peace and joy to our lives.

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A journey that starts with tea

We are not setting out to solve the problems around us or to change the world. We dare not think that we know the answer or the way to living well. Nonetheless, we intend to contribute, in our smallest effort, to the goodness of life. It is with this purpose that we continue our journey that starts with tea.

About Elaine Tsien

Elaine is a student and practitioner of the classical art of tea, which comprises of the Chinese and Japanese tradition and art of enjoying tea as a way to live. Elaine works to preserve and promote the classical art of tea by sharing knowledge and experience of hers and of other practitioners and masters of the art, and by exploring the application of the art as a way of living with awareness and appreciation in today’s environment.

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Elaine was born and raised in Hong Kong. She immigrated to Canada with her parents and siblings in her early twenties. After finishing her undergraduate studies in Toronto in the mid 90’s, she was qualified as a Chartered Financial Analyst in 2001. She spent almost 20 years working in the Canadian mutual fund industry, building her career specifically as a product management professional.

Her passion for the classical art of tea began in 2012. She started receiving training on the Chinese art of tea in 2014 and the Japanese art of tea in 2015. Convinced that the promotion and preservation of the classical art of tea is her purpose, Elaine stopped serving the mutual fund industry in 2015 and has since been dedicated entirely to her study and practice of the art in Toronto, Hangzhou, Taipei and Kyoto. Her efforts led her to complete the Certified Tea Sommelier program offered by George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology in 2015, and the TAC TEA SOMMELIER Professional designation from the Tea Association of Canada in 2016.

Elaine began sharing the classical art of tea through teaching tea lovers living in the Greater Toronto Area since 2016. She recognized that the inherent quality of the art as a way of life is not commonly known and understood in the Western world, which tends to approach tea as a Western food and drink culture and a quaint, ancient Chinese and Japanese way of preparing and drinking tea.

With a strong belief that the essence of classical art of tea is a relevant practice for people living in the modern world, regardless of their background or geography, Elaine established SÙ LIVING in 2017 to strengthen the experience of the art. It is her aspiration that her practice of the classical art of tea will contribute to bringing peace, harmony and elegance to anyone who wishes to seek meaning, balance and joy from living in a modern world.

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About Elaine's Workshops

With knowledge, practice and creativity, Elaine believes anyone can elevate the enjoyment of tea from simply drinking to an aesthetic experience that offers gratification to the senses and mind. Elaine offers three workshop series to anyone who has the interest to understand, experience, study and practice the classical art of tea.